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Canadian home prices fell in March for the sixth straight month as most major markets weakened, data showed on Friday.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices fell 0.3 per cent last month from February.

It was just the second March decline in the index’s 20-year history – the only other March fall was in 2009 amid a recession during the global financial crisis, Marc Pinsonneault, senior economist at National Bank of Canada, said in a news release.

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Prices fell in seven of the 11 markets in the index, led by a 1.5 per cent drop in the capital region of Ottawa-Gatineau. In Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city, prices were down 1.1 per cent, with Vancouver prices down 0.5 per cent.

Canada’s once-hot housing market has softened since the start of last year, as tighter mortgage rules and five interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada since July, 2017, have curbed buyer spending power.

Prices rose 1.5 per cent in March on an annual basis, led by a 5.5 per cent increase in Montreal and a 5.2 per cent increase in Ottawa-Gatineau.

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