TORONTO'S HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES TO PROVE RESILIENT WITH YEAR-OVER-YEAR PRICE GAINS

Condos and detached bungalows witness largest increases

TORONTO, April 12 /CNW/ - The Royal LePage House Price Survey released today showed year-over-year price appreciation across all three housing types surveyed in Toronto.

On average, detached bungalows witnessed the largest year-over-year price increases climbing 4.5 per cent to $499,050. Standard condominiums rose 3.7 per cent to $339,025, while prices for standard two-storey homes increased by 2.5 per cent to $589,929.

"Affordability has kept detached bungalows in demand. We are still seeing a lot of first-time buyers in the market that are motivated by the concern of rising interest rates. Detached bungalows have also been popular with builders who either renovate or rebuild them into larger units," said Gino Romanese, senior vice president, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.

"Our condo market has continued to defy expectations. While this property type has always been attractive to first-time buyers because of their affordability, increasingly more buyers are choosing to live in condos as a lifestyle choice. In addition, the Toronto condo market is attractive to foreign buyers who are looking to add a low maintenance residence in the heart of Toronto to their portfolio," added Romanese.

According to Romanese, sellers are often receiving multiple offers, but usually only on appropriately priced homes in desirable neighbourhoods. He added that this is much more typical than the boom experienced three years ago, when sellers were receiving multiple offers across the board.

Regarding unit sales, Romanese stated that the late arrival of spring weather has kept inventory low, which has impacted market activity, and noted that a year-over-year comparison is challenging as 2010 was front-end loaded.

"Comparing sales in the first quarter of 2011 to 2010 is difficult because last year buyers rushed to the market early in the year to avoid HST and take advantage of low rates," concluded Romanese.

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:

Michael Gotzamanis
Fleishman-Hillard Canada
(416) 598-5788
michael.gotzamanis@fleishman.ca

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


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