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A real estate sign is posted in Toronto's east-end neighbourhood of The Beach on February 25, 2012. (Michelle Siu for The Globe and Mail)
A real estate sign is posted in Toronto's east-end neighbourhood of The Beach on February 25, 2012. (Michelle Siu for The Globe and Mail)

Home prices rise in February, but pace slows Add to ...

Price increases in Canada's booming housing market may be topping out, according to the latest survey by the country's largest real estate organization.

The Canadian Real Estate Association says the survey of five major housing markets showed prices continued to rise in February.

However, the 5.1 per cent year-over-year increase in February was the smallest since June 2011. It was also the fourth consecutive month in which gains slowed.

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CREA said its Multiple Listing Service Housing Price Index, or HPI, found that the largest year-over-year increase was in Toronto at 7.3 per cent, but even there price momentum continued to fade.

Price increases also moderated further in Calgary to 2.5 per cent and to just 1.6 per cent in Montreal.

As well, gains decelerated in all housing categories tracked except for two-storey, single-family homes.

The aggregate composite MLS HPI rose 1.1 on a month-over-month basis in February, with prices for two-storey, single-family homes up 1.6 per cent. Prices for townhouse/row and apartment units saw smaller gains of 0.4 and 0.5 per cent respectively.

Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist., said the HPI typically rises in February from the previous month as demand ramps up leading into the spring housing market.

“(But) The monthly price increase in February this year was less than what we saw in either of the past two years, which is more evidence that the trend for Canadian home prices is slowing,” Mr. Klump said.

The index based on single-family, townhouse/row unit, and apartment unit sales activity in Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Calgary, Greater Montreal and Greater Toronto.

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