Average Saint John home prices increase in first quarter

- Consumer confidence and low interest rates prompting increased activity -

SAINT JOHN, NB, April 8 /CNW/ - The Royal LePage House Price Survey released today reported that average year-over-year house prices in Saint John have increased for all property types surveyed. Combined with low interest rates and high consumer confidence, a balanced market has emerged.

"Activity is up this quarter," said John McAloney, Royal LePage Atlantic. "We are seeing considerable movement in the higher-priced category for first-time buyers; this is driven by strong consumer confidence and low interest rates. This category is also witnessing a few multiple offers on well-priced homes."

In Saint John, detached bungalows sold for an average of $233,775 in the first quarter, up 16 per cent from the same period last year. Standard two-storey homes saw year-over-year growth of 11.6 per cent with an average price of $299,000, and condominiums saw a modest increase of 1.1% to 160,000.

Overall Saint John is trending well over 2009, with sales up slightly from Q4 2009. "Unit sales are up this quarter by about 15 per cent," said McAloney. "This is very positive and it's because the interest rates are low, we have great inventory and a balanced market."

In comparison, the national average price of a detached bungalow in Canada rose 11 per cent to $329,209 in the first quarter year-over-year, while standard two-storey homes rose 10.3 per cent to $365,141 and standard condominiums increased 10.9 per cent to $228,963.

"National averages from our first quarter report are not particularly useful in painting a picture of the country's neighbourhood real estate stories. House sale data from the past two year period shows tremendous variances in terms of how different cities reacted to the recession," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "In Vancouver and Toronto, for instance, the dramatic unit sales fluctuations exhibit a significant degree of market irrationality: inordinately fearful when faced with poorer markets; and overly enthusiastic when the tables turned. Montreal is an example of a city where the market has been much more stable and homeowners there seem quite happy with the relatively slow pace of change."

In addition to strong price appreciation in the first quarter of 2010, the volume of sales in Canada also increased year-over-year as pent-up demand from constrained supply of homes for sale in 2009, coupled with unseasonably warm weather, prompted a spike in home sales in the country's largest housing markets from January through March.

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 80 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. A printable version of the first quarter 2010 survey will be available online on May 7th, 2010.

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. Historical data is available for some areas back to the early 1970s.

About Royal LePage

Royal LePage is Canada's leading provider of franchise services to residential real estate brokerages, with a network of nearly 14,000 real estate professionals in over 600 locations across Canada. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation; the Shelter Foundation which is dedicated exclusively to funding women's shelters and violence prevention and education programs. Royal LePage is managed by Brookfield Real Estate Services, and is part of a brand family that includes Royal LePage, Real Living, Johnston and Daniel, and La Capitale Real Estate Network. An affiliated company, Brookfield Real Estate Services Fund, is a TSX listed income trust, trading under the symbol "BRE.UN."

For more information visit www.royallepage.ca.

SOURCE Royal LePage Real Estate Services

For further information: For further information: Jessica Culp, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, (416) 645-3664; Tammy Gilmer, Director, Public Relations and National Communications, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, (416) 510-5783


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