OTTAWA  - New home prices rose 0.4 percent in November for the fifth consecutive monthly gain, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday, adding to growing evidence that the housing market is leading Canada's economic recovery.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast, on average, an increase of 0.3 percent in the new housing price index. Prices fell 1.4 percent from a year earlier.

On a monthly basis, the housing-only component of the index rose 0.5 percent while the cost of land-only component edged up 0.2 percent.

Reports of rising home prices and sales have led some economists to raise the alarm about a possible housing bubble, fueled by record low interest rates.

But the Bank of Canada on Monday said it was premature to talk about a housing bubble and that the hot market simply reflected supply and demand.

The central bank has pledged to keep its benchmark interest rate at a historic low of 0.25 percent until at least the end of June 2010, on the condition that inflation stays on track. (Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)