Home Prices Rally in February

A slowdown in housing prices in this country appears not to be a thing of the very-near future, according to figures released Tuesday.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices rose 1% from January, with prices in Toronto in particular remaining strong.

It was the largest February increase on record for the index going back 18 years as prices in Toronto jumped 1.9%. In nearby Hamilton, where home values have been boosted as buyers are forced out of Toronto, prices were up 1.4%

February ran Toronto's win streak to 13 straight months. While Canada's housing market has been largely robust in the years since the global financial crisis, some economists have begun to call the Toronto market a bubble.

A poll of economists showed the lofty prices in Toronto despite tighter mortgage lending rules will likely pressure policymakers to take further steps to rein in the market

Vancouver also helped drive the national index higher, with prices rising 1.4% though they were still down 1.1% from the peak seen in September last year. Activity in Vancouver cooled last year as the provincial government implemented a tax on foreign buyers in the city.

The Teranet report also showed prices across Canada were up 13.4% compared to a year ago, the biggest 12-month increase since November 2006. Toronto led the pack with a record 23% surge.