TORONTO - Canadian home resale prices rose for a sixth straight month in October on gains in all six major metropolitan markets surveyed, according to a report on Wednesday.
The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures price changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed overall prices were up 1.3 percent in October from September.
The Toronto and Vancouver markets led the gains, rising 1.6 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. Calgary climbed 0.8 percent. Halifax, Ottawa and Montreal showed modest increases of 0.4 percent, 0.3 percent, and 0.3 percent, respectively.
Teranet's year-over-year national measure showed prices were up 0.6 percent from October 2008, the first increase in 10 months.
In only six months, the composite index has regained almost all of the ground lost during the recession, proving that home price correction in Canada had nothing in common with the one...in the U.S., said Marc Pinsonneault, an economist at National Bank Financial.
In fact, prices have recovered so fast on this side of the border that the authorities are contemplating tightening the standards of eligibility to housing.
Earlier this month, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Ottawa sees no evidence of a housing or household-debt bubble, but that if a bubble does emerge the government can make mortgages harder to get. In any case, the minister said, the government is not close to taking action but was rather watching and monitoring along with the Bank of Canada.
Concern about a housing bubble has grabbed headlines across the country as home prices and sales have soared on the back of near-zero interest rates. Some market watchers are reluctant to call it a housing bubble and they attribute the red-hot activity to pent-up demand that should burn off in the spring and as Canadian interest rates are expected to start rising.
Canada's housing sector avoided the crash seen in the United States and other Western countries, partly because of the conservative lending practices at the country's banks, which are often considered to be among the world's soundest.
The Teranet-National index tracks home prices over time for repeat sales, so properties with at least two sales are required in the calculations for the index. The report did not provide actual prices. (Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Peter Galloway)