FIRST QUARTER HOUSE PRICES REVEAL BALANCED MARKET IN VICTORIA

Low rates offset by healthy inventory stabilize market

VICTORIA, April 12 /CNW/ - The Royal LePage House Price Survey released today showed slight price increases for most housing types surveyed in Victoria, with the exception of detached bungalows.

Selling for a first-quarter average of $299,000, standard condominiums had the largest year-over-year price gain at 1.4 per cent. Standard two-storey homes gained 1.1 per cent, selling for an average price of $480,000. Detached bungalows fell 4.2 per cent, selling for an average price of $490,000.

"It's a great time for buyers to be out there. Inventory is up on average 10 per cent and listings for single-family homes are up 20 per cent," said Carol Geurts, Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty. "This increase in supply has cooled prices and created a buyer's market."

The 'days-on-market' indicator, a sign of overall market conditions, reflects Victoria's high inventory levels. Guerts stated that last year an average single-family home spent 34 days-on-market, compared to 57 days-on-market this year - a 66 per cent increase. Victoria's unseasonably chilly spring has led to a slow start for the 2011 market.

Nationally, low interest rates and a recovering economy continued to fuel activity in Canada's housing markets over the past year, which has led to country-wide increases in average home prices. In the first quarter of 2011, the national average price of a detached bungalow rose 4.3 per cent year-over-year to $341,355, while standard two-storey homes rose 3.5 per cent to $379,388 and standard condominiums rose 4 per cent to $237,919.

"The rate at which Canadian homes are appreciating may well have peaked for the next year or so," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "We expect house prices will continue to creep up, but most of the excess demand created by the initial drop in interest rates has been satisfied, and affordability continues to erode slowly, allowing the listings supply to catch up.  In most markets, lower single digit percentage increases are more likely for the balance of the year."

"Canada's real estate market has maintained momentum coming out of 2010, indicating that the post-recession recovery is continuing," Soper added. "While low interest rates continue to drive demand, the tepid pace at which employment levels are improving is tempering the rate of home price appreciation in many Canadian cities."

About the Royal LePage House Price Survey

The Royal LePage House Price Survey is the largest, most comprehensive study of its kind in Canada, with information on seven types of housing in over 250 neighbourhoods from coast to coast.  This release references an abbreviated version of the survey which highlights house price trends for the three most common types of housing in Canada in 90 communities across the country.  A complete database of past and present surveys is available on the Royal LePage Web site at www.royallepage.ca.  Current figures will be updated following the complete tabulation of the data for the first quarter 2011. A printable version of the first quarter 2011 survey will be available online on May 6th, 2011.

Housing values in the Royal LePage House Price Survey are Royal LePage opinions of fair market value in each location, based on local data and market knowledge provided by Royal LePage residential real estate experts.

About Royal LePage

Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country's leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of 14,000 real estate professionals in over 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women's & children's shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Brookfield Real Estate Services Inc. company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbol TSX:BRE.

For more information visit www.royallepage.ca or www.brookfieldresinc.com.

SOURCE Royal LePage Real Estate Services

For further information:

Jeremy Twigg
Fleishman-Hillard Canada
(604) 688-2505
jeremy.twigg@fleishman.ca

Tammy Gilmer
Director, Global Communications & Public Relations
Royal LePage Real Estate Services
(416) 510-5783


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