markets

Canada's New Home Prices Stall for the First Time Since 2015

New Canadian home prices stalled for the first time in almost three years, another signal that the boom in Toronto has been slowed by higher interest rates and tougher rules for buyers.

Statistics Canada’s index of new home prices was unchanged in December, the first time that’s happened since April 2015, the Ottawa-based agency said Thursday.

In Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, prices ended the year flat -- as they have been in six of the last seven months. The December report also showed unchanged readings across most of the surrounding area known as the Golden Horseshoe, where buyers seeking cheaper places to live had been boosting demand.

Ontario’s provincial government stepped in to cool the housing market in April after reports of bidding wars and yearly price gains topping 30 percent. On top of that, home buyers were hit with two interest-rate increases from the country’s central bank last year that passed through to higher mortgage rates. Those policy changes may have contributed to the Toronto slowdown, Statistics Canada’s report said.

The figures showed gains in Vancouver, the other big city where there have been warnings about an overheated market. Prices climbed 0.2 percent on the month and 8.9 percent over the previous 12 months.

Nationwide prices posted a 3.3 percent year-over-year gain, and even with the recent slowdown Toronto prices climbed 4.7 percent over that period.

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