OTTAWA - New home prices in Canada kept climbing in January, rising 0.4 percent from the previous month as expected, according to Statistics Canada on Thursday.

On a monthly basis, the housing-only component of the new housing price index rose by 0.5 percent and the land-only component edged up 0.1 percent.

New home prices firmed 0.1 percent in January from a year earlier, the first year-over-year rise since December 2008.

Despite nationwide gains, prices have been falling in Western Canada, which saw huge price spikes prior to the recent economic crisis.

Declines slowed in most of Western Canada's metropolitan regions as new housing prices returned to the price levels observed prior to the highs registered at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008, Statscan said.

The Canadian housing market slumped during the recession last year but never underwent a U.S.-style collapse. Strong sales and price gains in recent months have led to worries of a made-in-Canada housing bubble and prompted the government to tighten mortgage lending rules in February. (Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by James Dalgleish)