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Resale home price index rises for 2nd month

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Canadian resale home prices rose for a second straight month in January, led by gains in the Vancouver area, 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 in six metropolitan areas, showed overall prices were up 0.4 percent in January from December.

"The key that is worth emphasizing here is that the repeat-sales Teranet gauge posted its second consecutive monthly rise in January after a three-month downdraft prior to that," wrote Scotia Capital economists Derek Holt and Gorica Djeric in a research note.

The Teranet data lags other Canadian resale data. The Canadian Real Estate Association's (CREA) latest figures, for February, showed the national average resale price jumped 8.8 percent year-over-year, largely due to a show of strength in the Vancouver market.

The Teranet index showed Vancouver had a price gain of 0.9 percent in January. Prices in the Halifax, Montreal, and Toronto markets also rose.

Calgary slid 1 percent, its fifth decline in six months, while prices were down 0.6 percent in Ottawa, the fifth straight monthly contraction.

"Market conditions are currently balanced in Canada," said Marc Pinsonneault, a senior economist at National Bank Financial.

He noted conditions look "somewhat tight" in Vancouver and Toronto, but "favorable" to buyers in Calgary.

Looking ahead, analysts said an expected rise in interest rates and recently announced tighter mortgage rules could limit price growth.

Prices were up 3.9 percent from a year earlier.

The index tracks home prices over time for repeat sales, so properties with at least two sales are required in the calculations. The report did not provide actual prices. 

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