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Fresh Session Lows After RBA's Lowe Speaks


Lowe "Welcomes A Lower Exchange Rate"

By Greg Quinn and Anahita Alinejad
     OTTAWA (MNI) - New home prices in Canada declined for a 
third straight month in July to mark the longest losing streak 
since 2009 around the time of the last recession.
     Statistics Canada's price index fell by 0.1%, matching the declines 
in June and May. Prices also fell by the most in about a decade on a 
12-month basis, declining by 0.4%. 
     The largest monthly decrease came in Edmonton, the city 
struggling with low and volatile prices for Alberta's heavy crude 
oil, where prices dropped 0.8%. 
     Toronto and Vancouver, the focus of concern about a housing 
correction, also saw some of the biggest monthly declines in a decade. 
Prices fell 0.6% in July in Toronto, Canada's biggest city, and by 0.5% 
in Vancouver.
     Government officials have sought to engineer a soft landing in the 
housing market to avoid a U.S.-style bust after annual housing price 
gains in Vancouver and Toronto surged to more than 30% a few years ago. 
Homebuilders and buyers have complained that tougher mortgage lending 
rules imposed last year were driving good buyers out of the market.
     Housing is a hot topic for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he 
called an election yesterday for Oct. 21. Trudeau and Conservative 
Leader Andrew Scheer are appealing to middle-class voters who are 
struggling to buy homes that often cost a million dollars in Vancouver 
and Toronto. 
     The report covers single-family homes and some semi-detached 
properties like row houses, but doesn't track condominiums that have 
been a major source of growth in Vancouver and Toronto. Statistics 
Canada yesterday published "experimental" figures showing condo prices 
fell 0.1% in the second quarter, and said more regular figures should be 
ready later this year.
--MNI Ottawa Bureau; +1-613-314-9647;