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Canada home price growth cools in Aug as Toronto declines

[OTTAWA] The pace of Canadian home price growth slowed in August as prices in Toronto dropped for the first time in 19 months as sales in the city have declined following provincial government efforts to rein in the market.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices rose 0.6 per cent last month from July, less than the August average of 0.7 per cent.

In Toronto, Canada's largest city, prices were down 0.4 per cent, the first decline since January 2016. Price weakness was seen in particular among homes other than condominiums, such as single-family homes, the report said.

Toronto prices were up 23.9 per cent compared with a year ago, though that was still a moderation from the 28 per cent annual increase seen in July.

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Sales have declined in Toronto since the Ontario government in April imposed a number of measures to address concerns of affordability in Toronto and surrounding areas, including a foreign buyers tax.

Monthly prices in nearby Oshawa and Barrie declined 2.2 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively, while Hamilton was up 0.6 per cent.

In Vancouver, where the province of British Columbia implemented its own foreign buyers tax last year, prices were up 2.4 per cent, putting the index at a fresh peak.

Although the tax initially dampened activity in Canada's most expensive real estate market, sales and prices in Vancouver have been heading back up.