Prices for new housing in Canada rose by 0.2 per cent in March from February on gains in Toronto and Vancouver, two of the country's hottest markets in recent years, Statistics Canada data indicated on Thursday.

The increase matched estimates from analysts in a Reuters poll. Compared with March 2016, prices climbed by 3.3 per cent, largely reflecting continued strength in Toronto.

Prices in Toronto, which accounts for 25.49 per cent of the entire Canadian market, edged up by 0.2 per cent in March.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz last week said hefty Toronto home prices increases were not sustainable and had been driven in part by speculation.

Vancouver prices posted their first price increase in five months, jumping by 0.7 per cent on better market conditions. Vancouver is the largest city in the Pacific province of British Columbia, where the government imposed a 15 per cent property transfer tax on foreign real estate buyers last August.

The price index excludes apartments and condominiums, which the government says are a particular cause for concern and which account for one-third of new housing.