OTTAWA - New housing prices in Canada rose less than expected in June as Toronto paused for the first time in six months following provincial government measures to rein in the hot market, data from Statistics Canada showed on Thursday.
National prices rose 0.2 per cent from the month before, short of analysts' forecasts for a gain of 0.4 per cent. The new housing price index excludes apartments and condominiums.
Prices in Toronto, Canada's largest city, were unchanged on a monthly basis for the first time since December 2016. Prices also paused in nearby areas, including Oshawa and Hamilton, where home values have been driven up as high costs in Toronto pushed potential buyers elsewhere.
A rapid acceleration in Toronto home prices prompted the Ontario government to introduce a foreign buyers' tax and a number of other measures in April amid fears the market was becoming overheated. Toronto home sales have fallen since then.
Prices in Vancouver, where the British Columbia government imposed its own foreign buyers' tax last August, rose 1.5 percent, making the west coast city one of the top contributors to the national increase.
Activity in Vancouver initially cooled following last year's tax but the market has shown signs of recovery lately. Economists are watching to see whether Toronto will follow a similar path.