(Adds details from report, background)
OTTAWA, April 13 Canadian new home prices rose
in February, driven by higher costs in Toronto and other cities
in Ontario, Statistics Canada said on Thursday in a report that
was likely to underscore concerns that some markets are becoming
The 0.4 percent increase topped economists' forecast for a
gain of 0.2 percent. Compared to a year ago, prices were up 3.3
percent, the fastest pace of growth since June 2010. The home
price index excludes apartments and condominiums.
Toronto was the top contributor, up 1.0 percent on the month
as builders cited a shortage of land and improving market
conditions. On the year, home prices in Toronto climbed 8.6
percent, the biggest increase since January 1990.
The price acceleration in Toronto has prompted some
economists to say the city's real estate market is in a bubble.
The Bank of Canada said on Wednesday that there are speculative
forces at work in Toronto.
The price gains in Toronto have also spilled over to other
nearby cities, with Oshawa up 1.2 percent on the month, while
Hamilton gained 1.0 percent, the largest gain since July 2009.
Prices increased in all 10 areas surveyed in the province of
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)