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By Yali N'Diaye
     OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada's new housing prices were flat in August 
after edging up 0.1% in July, bringing down the 12-month rate to 0.4%, 
the lowest since June 2010, Statistics Canada reported Thursday. 
     Prices have been growing at an increasingly slow pace since 
reaching a peak of 3.9% year-over-year in June 2017. The rate of 
appreciation fell below 3% in February this year and below 1.0% in May. 
     On a monthly basis, prices have been flat for five out of eight 
months so far this year, including in August. 
     New house only prices were down 0.1% on the month, for a 12-month 
gain of 0.2%, the smallest since November 2010. Land only prices were 
unchanged in August from July, with the 12-month growth rate stable at 
0.6%. 
     --UNCERTAIN PRICE TURNAROUND 
     While the Bank of Canada has recognized the stabilization of 
activity in the housing market following a rough start to 2018 due to 
the introduction of tougher mortgage qualification rules last January, 
the turnaround in terms of prices is less clear. 
     Prices in Toronto remained flat on the month after edging up 0.1% 
in July, for a 12-month decline of 1.2%, the same as in July. 
     In Ontario, prices rose 0.1% on the month and 0.2% from August 
2017. 
     The more comprehensive Teranet-National Bank National Composite 
House Price Index showed that national prices rose 0.2% in August, with 
a 12-month rate of 1.4%, the smallest since November 2009. 
     Prices in Toronto rose 0.3% on the month, but were down for the 
fifth consecutive month after factoring in seasonal pressures. 
     In Vancouver, seasonally adjusted prices were down for the third 
consecutive month, and decreased 0.4% on an unadjusted basis in August, 
according to Teranet-National Bank. 
     Statistics Canada's data showed that new house prices decreased 
0.2% in Vancouver in August, as they did in July. The last time prices 
decreased for two consecutive months was in January-February 2017. 
Builders cited market conditions as the main reason, although promotions 
and cash rebates also contributed to lower prices. 
     On a 12-month basis, new house prices were up 1.0% in Vancouver, 
the smallest increase since May 2015. 
     Vancouver and Toronto together represent 40% of the New Housing 
Price Index. 
     In British Columbia, prices were down 0.1% on the month and up 1.1% 
year-over-year in August. 
--MNI Ottawa Bureau; email: yali.ndiaye@marketnews.com
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