Canadian Real Estate Market Relatively Resilient During First Quarter



    
    "Only modest house price declines despite predictions of double digit
    depreciation."
    

    TORONTO, April 8 /CNW/ - Consistent with current economic trends,
Canadian residential real estate prices declined during the first quarter,
according to a quarterly House Price Survey released today by Royal LePage
Real Estate Services Ltd. As the market correction unfolds, year-over-year
home prices were lower, as was expected. Increased buyer activity at the end
of March suggests that spring will bring its typical increase in unit sales
activity as buyers target summer moves.
    Regional disparities in quarterly housing prices showed markets in
Atlantic Canada outperforming other areas of the country as hardy local
economies spurred house price growth across the three housing types surveyed.
Markets in central Quebec and eastern Ontario held steady with areas of modest
growth and limited declines. In the balance of Ontario, and in particular the
Greater Toronto Area, prices retreated from the record levels set in the first
quarter of 2008, with most trading areas showing mid to low single digit
declines. With the exception of Manitoba, western provinces saw significant
changes as the rapid run-up in prices experienced earlier in the decade gave
way to double-digit declines in most regions. As market corrections in B.C.
and Alberta were underway well ahead of the full impact of the current
economic crisis, it is suggested that these areas may be first in Canada to
stabilize.
    "We expected a sharper decline in house prices across Canadian markets
during the first quarter," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive
officer, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. With economic hardship
dominating our global consciousness, it was predictable that dwindling
consumer confidence would continue to drive prices lower. But markets were
relatively resilient during the period. Soper continued, "Canadians in most
regions should not expect the prices of their homes to begin appreciating
again until the overall economy begins to stabilize, likely in the first half
of 2010."
    The report shows that the average price of a two storey home in Canada
declined 6.5 per cent to $379,636 compared to the same quarter last year. In
Vancouver, the average price declined 12.6 per cent year-over-year to $828,750
while in St. John's prices climbed 15.6 per cent to $265,000. With consumer
confidence bolstered following investments by Vale Inco NL and Hebron, Soper
commented: "Using house price change as a gauge, Newfoundland is Canada's sole
remaining seller's market."
    Moderate growth occurred for detached bungalows in Montreal (up 2 per
cent) and Ottawa (up 1.9 per cent), while Toronto saw a decline of 6.3 per
cent compared to the same period in 2008. Prices in the prairies and in
western cities declined with the average price for a detached bungalow down
8.1 per cent in Saskatoon and 11.2 per cent in Edmonton.
    The nation's condominium market waned with the average price of a
standard unit dropping 3.4 per cent to $232,877 compared to $241,152 in the
first quarter of 2008. Calgary saw a 12.8 per cent drop in average price of
condominiums, but declines were less severe in Vancouver (down 5.3 per cent)
and in Toronto (down 3.1 per cent). "Condominiums are generally the most
affordable housing option, especially in urban centres," Soper said. "With
record low lending rates and new government initiatives aimed at encouraging
first-time buyers to enter the market, ownership at the entry level is
becoming increasingly accessible."
    Noting recent global efforts to address the economic crisis, including
the coordinated response from the world's leading economies coming out of the
G20 meeting and stimulus package announcements at home and in the United
States, as well as what appears to be the beginning of equity market recovery,
Soper commented, "These glimmers of economic hope are coinciding with a time
of year that typically brings renewed interest in the housing market.
Traditional spring trends - increases in open house attendance, calls to
brokers and viewing appointments - tell us that potential buyers are stepping
off the sidelines and an increase in purchase activity is likely to follow."
    Royal LePage's quarterly House Price Survey shows the following annual
change of prices for key housing segments in select national markets:


    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Detached Bungalows
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Q1 2009     Last Quarter      Q1 2008    Bungalow %
       Market             Average        Average        Average      Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Halifax               215,667        195,000        185,000         16.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Charlottetown         157,000        157,000        155,000          1.3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Moncton               156,000        150,000        152,000          2.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fredericton           167,000        162,000        160,000          4.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saint John            201,476        225,064        199,786          0.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    St. John's            193,000        190,050        164,000         17.7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Montreal              232,375        235,293        227,799          2.0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ottawa                317,500        321,333        311,583          1.9%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toronto               405,286        376,286        432,679         -6.3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Winnipeg              231,663        221,150        229,125          1.1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Regina                266,625        274,167        237,138         12.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatoon             312,500        300,000        340,000         -8.1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Calgary               391,833        410,333        442,852        -11.5%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Edmonton              298,750        300,000        336,250        -11.2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vancouver             743,750        743,750        852,750        -12.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Victoria              453,000        440,000        439,000          3.2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    National              319,865        316,717        337,023          -6.1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Standard Two Storey
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Q1 2009     Last Quarter      Q1 2008   2 Storey %
      Market              Average        Average        Average     Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Halifax               242,000        240,000        229,000          5.7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Charlottetown         188,000        188,000        185,000          1.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Moncton               134,500        126,000        135,300         -0.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fredericton           210,000        210,000        197,000          6.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saint John            268,000        294,695        264,000          1.5%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    St. John's            265,000        261,800        229,333         15.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Montreal              330,056        334,850        332,389         -0.7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ottawa                318,500        320,083        309,833          2.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toronto               516,052        522,050        545,750         -5.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Winnipeg              251,721        251,171        242,943          3.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Regina                245,000        245,000        227,500          7.7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatoon             348,500        348,500        395,000        -11.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Calgary               390,689        417,511        445,792        -12.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Edmonton              326,713        354,363        372,738        -12.3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vancouver             828,750        837,500        948,750        -12.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Victoria              435,000        433,000        460,000         -5.4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    National              379,636        385,777        401,040         -6.5%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Standard Condominium
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Q1 2009     Last Quarter      Q1 2008     Condo %
      Market              Average        Average        Average      Change
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Halifax               144,000        144,000        130,000         10.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Charlottetown         120,000        120,000        120,000          0.0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Moncton                   N/A            N/A            N/A        N/A(*)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fredericton           137,000        133,000        126,000          8.7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saint John            181,387        158,283        153,000         18.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    St. John's            205,667        203,000        173,333         18.7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Montreal              206,528        203,808        206,556          0.0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ottawa                207,833        207,833        198,083          4.9%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toronto               289,397        296,895        298,662         -3.1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Winnipeg              145,943        132,643        138,000          5.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Regina                168,806        172,917        160,917          4.9%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saskatoon             187,000        186,500        220,000        -15.0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Calgary               245,756        257,189        281,807        -12.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Edmonton              210,000        219,031        243,750        -13.8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vancouver             431,500        405,000        455,750         -5.3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Victoria              260,000        265,000        294,000        -11.6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    National              232,877        233,462        241,152         -4.0%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*)Housing type is not covered in the select area.
    

    The Royal LePage Survey of Canadian House Prices 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, and current
figures will be updated following the end of the first quarter. A printable
version of the first quarter 2009 survey will be available online on May 16,
2009.
    Housing values in the Royal LePage Survey are Royal LePage opinions on
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 over 14,000 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: Melissa Cassar, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, (416)
645-3647; Tammy Gilmer, National Communications Manager & Public Relations
Manager, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., (416) 510-5783


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