Canada new housing prices rise on Vancouver, Toronto strength

FILE PHOTO: Construction equipment is parked at the bottom of a pit on the site of a new condominium complex off Redpath Avenue in Toronto, Ontario, Canada April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prices for new housing in Canada rose by 0.2 percent in March from February on gains in Toronto and Vancouver, two of the country’s hottest markets in recent years, Statistics Canada data indicated on Thursday.

The increase matched estimates from analysts in a Reuters poll. Compared with March 2016, prices climbed by 3.3 percent, largely reflecting continued strength in Toronto.

Prices in Toronto, which accounts for 25.49 percent of the entire Canadian market, edged up by 0.2 percent in March.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz last week said hefty Toronto home prices increases were not sustainable and had been driven in part by speculation.

Vancouver prices posted their first price increase in five months, jumping by 0.7 percent on better market conditions. Vancouver is the largest city in the Pacific province of British Columbia, where the government imposed a 15 percent property transfer tax on foreign real estate buyers last August.

The price index excludes apartments and condominiums, which the government says are a particular cause for concern and which account for one-third of new housing.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn