OTTAWA — Canadian housing prices rose by 0.3% in January, the biggest jump for 20 months, on strong gains in the western Prairie region, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
Prices in the metropolitan region of Calgary, the capital of Canada’s oil industry, jumped by 1.3% from December on higher material and labor costs as well as market conditions.
Elsewhere in the West, prices in Saskatoon rose by 1.4% while those in Winnipeg climbed by 0.5%.
The Canadian government, which has intervened in the mortgage market four times since 2008 to cool the sector, has long expressed concerns the housing market might overheat though it thinks a soft landing is more likely.
The new housing price index excludes condominiums, which the government says are a particular cause for concern.
The closely watched Toronto-Oshawa region, which accounts for 28.01% of the entire market, posted a 0.2% increase from December.
Overall, prices were up in five of the 21 metropolitan regions, down in nine and unchanged in seven. Prices rose 1.5% from January 2013, breaking a five-month spell of slowing year-on-year growth.
Canada’s national housing agency announced last month it would increase its mortgage loan insurance premiums from May 1 to shore up its capital and reduce taxpayers’ exposure to the housing market.
© Thomson Reuters 2014