OTTAWA/TORONTO - The Canadian government will keep a close watch on the country's housing market but has no imminent plans for further cooling measures, its finance minister said on Thursday, as fresh data showed prices were still on the rise.
Canadian resale home prices rose in September from a month earlier while new home prices were up in August, separate reports showed, suggesting that slowing sales in some regions have not yet cooled prices.
Canada's housing market has been robust since the global financial crisis, partly due to low borrowing costs, but surging prices in the major cities of Toronto and Vancouver have fueled concerns about a potential housing bubble.
The Liberal government tightened mortgage rules and closed a tax loophole on home sales earlier this month in its latest bid to cool the market.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in Toronto on Thursday the government does not have more measures to be announced imminently.
"We don't have any other measures that we're waiting to announce, but we will remain vigilant in watching the market to ensure that it is stable for the long-term," he told reporters.
It is impossible to say with absolute clarity what the economic impact of the measures will be, Morneau added, though he expects they will ensure Canadians take on appropriate mortgages. Stress tests for insured homebuyers will come into effect Oct. 17.
Prices for repeat sales of single-family Canadian homes rose 0.8 per cent in September from August as the Toronto market continued to soar, according to the Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index.
But the increase was not very broad-based, Teranet noted, with gains in only six of the 11 markets surveyed.
Toronto led the way, up 2.2 per cent. Vancouver prices rose just 0.2 per cent, while Victoria prices climbed 1.1 per cent in the month.
Vancouver's once-boiling market slowed in August after a foreign buyers tax was levied in response to complaints that wealthy investors, mostly from mainland China, had priced locals out of the market.
Still, prices in the west coast city were up 24 per cent in September from a year ago, Teranet showed, while Toronto prices gained 16.4 per cent.
Nationally, prices were up 11.7 per cent from a year earlier, despite a cooling in oil-dependent Alberta.
A separate report from Statistics Canada showed prices for new homes rose 0.2 per cent in August on continued strength in Toronto, though the national gain was slightly less than expected.