Canada's urban enclaves appreciate more than suburban surroundings over 10-year period; however, prices in both areas double



    - A mature house near the subway or a new home with a big yard; both have
    big gains -

    TORONTO, June 3 /CNW/ - When it comes to laying down roots, the
proverbial debate of 'the city versus the suburbs' is likely to get a little
more heated, as the majority of house prices in both Canada's major urban and
suburban neighbourhoods were found to have nearly doubled over the past 10
years, with urban dwellings appreciating slightly more than their suburban
counterparts, according to the Urban vs. Suburban Survey released today by
Royal LePage Real Estate Services. The country's most impressive gains were
seen in Edmonton where condominiums in both urban and suburban areas more than
tripled and quadrupled in price, respectively.
    Of the thirty-two urban and twenty-six suburban markets examined across
Canada, the national average price of a standard two-storey home in an urban
neighbourhood appreciated by 129.2 per cent to $522,999, over the past decade;
while the same property type in the suburbs appreciated by 110.1 per cent to
$334,380. The national average price of a bungalow in urban Canada appreciated
by 122.3 per cent to $371,059, while its suburban counterpart rose by 115.2
per cent to $318,346, over the past 10 years. The last decade saw the national
average price of an urban condominium increase by 131.5 per cent to $284,312,
while the same property in the suburbs pressured upwards by 103.7 per cent to
$212,323.
    "A look back at the last 10 years in Canadian real estate growth reveals
that typically, home prices in urban markets have grown faster than those in
the suburbs, with both areas showing impressive appreciation," said Phil
Soper, president and chief executive, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "This
decade has provided Canadians with the historically longest housing market
expansionary cycle in the nation's history. It is no surprise that house
prices have increased as much as they have; strong demand for amenities and
limited supply in city centres have spiked prices upwards in urban areas,
while affordability and spacious yards continue to attract buyers to the
suburbs. It really comes down to a lifestyle choice."
    The study revealed that house price appreciation patterns differed
significantly from city to city, and across different housing types. Some
cities saw their surrounding suburbs appreciate more than urban properties,
and others experienced a reversed pattern. Factors driving price increases in
the country's urban neighbourhoods generally included limited property
availability, a desire to be near the workplace, diverse amenities and more
recently, the rising cost of fuel - which, when combined, have heightened
buyer interest in these city-core areas.
    Suburban price appreciation has mostly stemmed from the relative
affordability of areas that are removed from the city core. The availability
of affordable, larger properties with garages and more green space also appeal
to buyers. Increases in the cost of doing business in commercial downtown
areas have seen more corporate offices moving outside of urban areas, where
many buyers are realizing that their workplace can be only minutes away from
home in the suburbs.
    It was the cities that have recently experienced huge levels of
in-migration, as well as cities that were historically the most affordable,
that have seen the highest price increases.
    Added Soper: "Looking forward to the next 10 years, it's likely that the
great debate of city dwelling versus suburbia will continue. Regardless of if
your home address is in the middle of an urban metropolis, or you hang your
hat many kilometres from the city centre, real estate proves to be a solid
long-term investment."

    Regional Summaries

    In Halifax, the combination of strong demand and limited availability of
land drove prices upwards in the city's urban neighborhoods, and also led some
people to expand their search to bedroom communities in the suburbs. In
particular, condominiums in the suburban area of Bedford experienced a huge
surge in activity and price increases. The trend of booming suburban growth is
likely to continue as many business and manufacturing companies migrate from
the city to facilitate easier access to major transport routes.
    In general, homes in Ottawa's urban areas boast a higher price tag due to
buyer demand for a house close to work. Young professionals and empty nesters
alike dominated activity, opting for an urban address and shorter commute
times.
    The combination of a shortage of inventory in Montreal, and virtually no
space for new development, led to the significant gains that the city
experienced over the past decade. Also contributing to the city's rising house
prices is the fact that historically, Montreal's prices were well below the
Canadian average. As the country experienced a rapid expansion cycle in the
early-2000s, Montreal followed suit with house prices near - or more than -
doubling.
    The survey found that Toronto's urban detached bungalows and standard
two-storey homes appreciated more than their suburban counterparts. Soaring
prices in urban areas can largely be attributed to the limited supply and
increase in demand to be closer to amenities such as work, transit and
restaurants. Despite trailing slightly behind their urban counterparts in
house prices, suburban areas have seen a greater appreciation in condominium
prices, which may be largely due to maturing baby boomers looking to downsize
their empty nests to something that requires less maintenance.
    The last five years have seen Winnipeg's average house prices in both
urban neighbourhoods and the suburbs skyrocket. While the desire of many
homebuyers in Winnipeg is to live in urban centres to be close to work and
amenities such as restaurants and shopping, has pressured prices upwards, the
proximity of the suburbs to the city has attracted many buyers as well. Also,
as affordability tightens in Canada's central cities, homebuyers see the
suburbs as the less costly option.
    In Edmonton, the decade-long retrospective survey shows that bungalows
and condominiums in the suburban area of Sherwood Park appreciated more than
their urban counterpart. Meanwhile, the price of a standard two-storey home in
urban Edmonton trumped that of the same housing type in the suburbs.
Skyrocketing prices in Edmonton's suburban areas can be largely attributed to
the surge of workers who have recently flocked to the city to work in the
burgeoning energy sector.
    As one of the provinces to experience a recent spike in the cost of
homes, average prices in Saskatchewan for the areas surveyed have all more
than doubled, with the highest rate of growth seen in Saskatoon's suburbs. As
in-migration skyrockets in both Regina and Saskatoon, and as people flock to
both cities to take advantage of the burgeoning commodities sector, the
suburbs are likely to continue to grow, while those who are willing to pay top
dollar will seek out properties in urban neighbourhoods.
    In Calgary, both urban and suburban neighbourhoods have seen triple digit
house price appreciation in a number of communities. Calgary residents have
seen boundary expansion in several urban communities, causing a steady
increase in average prices during the entire decade, especially in the last
24-month period. Popularity for urban housing has made it difficult for buyers
to purchase a home. As a result, many are now are opting for slightly more
affordable urban condominiums.
    In the last decade, neighbourhoods within Vancouver urban and suburban
areas have seen astounding house price appreciation, with average house prices
close to doubling in some areas. A growing number of first-time buyers still
gained entry into the Vancouver housing market by taking advantage of the
increased condominium availability within urban areas, regardless of a spike
in the cost of housing.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          TOP 10 SUBURBAN AND URBAN
                    AREAS WITH HIGHEST PRICE APPRECIATION
                             OVER 10-YEAR PERIOD

    Urban
    1.  Castledowns, Edmonton (Condo) 633.3%
    2.  Mount Royal, Calgary (Condo) 363.8%
    3.  Cathedral, Regina (Bungalow) 318%
    4.  Scarboro, Calgary (Bungalow) 271.3%
    5.  Dollard-Des-Ormeaux, Montreal (Condo) 243.1%

    Suburban
    1.  Sherwood Park, Edmonton (Condo) 416.7%
    2.  Warman, Saskatoon (Std. 2-Storey) 305.3%
    3.  Martensville, Saskatoon (Std. 2-Storey) 300%
    4.  Warman, Saskatoon (Bungalow) 292.7%
    5.  Martensville, Saskatoon (Bungalow) 263.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



                 HOUSE PRICE APPRECIATION OVER 10-YEAR PERIOD

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Detached Bungalow               Standard Two-Storey
                     -----------------               -------------------
                 Price      Price                 Price      Price
                 Jan -      Jan -                 Jan -      Jan -
    City       Mar '08  March '98   % change    Mar '08    Mar '98   % change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    HALIFAX
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Urban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    193,500     99,000      95.5%    276,333    144,000      91.9%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    230,667    118,000      95.5%    216,667    139,000      55.9%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    MONTREAL
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Urban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    253,125    110,000     130.1%    307,400    139,400     120.5%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    226,673    113,750      99.3%    265,625    128,250     107.1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    OTTAWA
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Urban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    273,500    136,667     100.1%    325,375    154,375     110.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    283,500    137,500     106.2%    278,750    148,000      88.3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    TORONTO
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Urban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    655,000    320,000     104.7%    779,000    411,250      89.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    409,375    229,500      78.4%    407,250    223,250      82.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    WINNIPEG
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Urban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    220,900     95,275     131.9%    254,433    105,300     141.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    232,500    106,125     119.1%    263,125    117,425     124.1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SASKATOON
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Urban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    365,000    122,500     198.0%    432,500    137,500     214.5%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    322,000     85,250     277.7%    382,500     95,000     302.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    REGINA
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Urban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    247,680     75,899     226.3%    243,875    111,834     118.1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    170,000     66,000     157.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    CALGARY
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Urban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    506,350    214,625     135.9%  1,657,242    539,150     207.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    444,898    173,172     156.9%    399,005    147,766     170.0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    EDMONTON
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Urban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    337,500    124,000     172.2%    380,475    149,094     155.2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    360,000    117,500     206.4%    390,000    140,000     178.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    VANCOUVER
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Urban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    723,250    366,250      97.5%    809,500    372,500     117.3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    493,333    240,000     105.6%    485,000    254,967      90.2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    -----------------------------------------
                    Standard Condominium
                    --------------------
                 Price      Price
                 Jan -      Jan -
    City       Mar '08    Mar '98   % change
    -----------------------------------------
    HALIFAX
    -----------------------------------------
    Urban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    215,000    107,500     100.0%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    195,000     75,000     160.0%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    MONTREAL
    -----------------------------------------
    Urban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    204,333    108,000      89.2%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    169,000     85,000      98.8%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    OTTAWA
    -----------------------------------------
    Urban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    209,500     82,875     152.8%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    175,250     77,500     126.1%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    TORONTO
    -----------------------------------------
    Urban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    366,000    232,500      57.4%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    280,447    151,000      85.7%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    WIINIPEG
    -----------------------------------------
    Urban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    158,600     60,600     161.7%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    134,200     58,000     131.4%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    SASKATOON
    -----------------------------------------
    Urban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    REGINA
    -----------------------------------------
    Urban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    CALGARY
    -----------------------------------------
    Urban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    555,833    119,850     363.8%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    264,730    127,513     107.6%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    EDMONTON
    -----------------------------------------
    Urban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    227,500     52,500     333.3%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    310,000     60,000     416.7%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    VANCOUVER
    -----------------------------------------
    Urban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    404,875    178,000     127.5%
    -----------------------------------------

    -----------------------------------------
    Suburban
    -----------------------------------------
    AVERAGE    194,333    125,000      55.5%
    -----------------------------------------

    Source:   Royal LePage House Price Survey data, local real estate boards
              and Royal LePage real estate experts
    

    Methodology

    Housing values in the Royal LePage Urban vs. Suburban 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. Local
Royal LePage real estate experts identified the urban and suburban areas, as
neighbourhoods that best represented the city. For the purpose of this survey,
urban neighbourhoods were defined as areas that are within the city
guidelines, while suburban was defined as areas beyond this perimeter.

    About Royal LePage

    Royal LePage is Canada's leading provider of franchise services to
residential real estate brokerages, with a network of over 13,000 agents and
sales representatives in 600 locations across Canada. Royal LePage is managed
by Brookfield Real Estate Services, and is part of a brand family that
includes Royal LePage, Johnston and Daniel, Realty World and La Capitale. 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 or www.brookfieldres.com.





For further information:

For further information: For the regional market highlights or to
contact a spokesperson: Tiffany Fisher, Mansfield Communications Inc., Phone:
(416) 599-0024, ext. 222, or E-mail: tiffany@mcipr.com


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