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New-home prices rise again in February

New home prices advanced 0.4 percent in February from January, Statistics Canada said on Tuesday.

The gain exceeded market expectations of a 0.3-percent climb following January's 0.2-percent rise. Prices were up in 11 metropolitan regions, down in four and flat in six.

Year on year, prices were 2.1 percent higher, up from 1.9 percent in January.

Statistics Canada has reported monthly increases from August 2010 through February, though a revision of its series of data now has October 2010 as having no change.

Separately, real estate broker Royal LePage said low interest rates and a recovering economy continued to fuel the Canadian residential housing sector over the past year.

In the first quarter, the average price of a detached bungalow was up 4.3 percent at $341,355 from a year earlier, the survey of more than 250 neighborhoods across the country showed.

Over the same period, standard two-storey homes rose 3.5 percent to $379,388 while standard condominiums rose 4 percent to $237,919.

"Canada's real estate market has maintained momentum coming out of 2010, indicating that the post-recession recovery is continuing," said Phil Soper, chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

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