Halifax house prices increased in second quarter

- Prices expected to decrease slightly by the end of 2010 -

HALIFAX, July 7 /CNW/ - The Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast released today showed year-over-year price appreciation across all housing types surveyed in Halifax, though prices are expected to decline slightly by the end of the year as inventory levels rise.

The average price of detached bungalows in Halifax increased by 6.4 per cent (to $250,333) over the second quarter of last year, while the average price for standard two-storey homes was up 3.5 per cent (to $287,167). Standard condominiums had year-over-year average price gains of 3.7 per cent (to $170,000).

Activity was driven by the anticipation of higher interest rates and the HST increase from 13 to 15 per cent according to Matt Honsberger, managing associate broker of Royal LePage Atlantic. "We've seen strong demand for homes so far this year; buyers are purchasing with a sense of urgency," he said. "Everyone is buying before the HST increase is in place and it will be interesting to watch this trend in 2010."

"Inventory is down year-over-year, which has been influencing the demand this quarter. We may see an increase in the remainder of 2010," said Honsberger.

Nationally, Royal LePage's national forecast predicts Canada's residential real estate market will start to slow in the second half of 2010 after two quarters of strong price appreciation and sales activity. While market fundamentals remain strong across most major centres in Canada, sales activity was overly 'front-loaded' in the first half of the year and is expected to cool off for the third and fourth quarters. Prices are also expected to steady in the second half of the year.

"We have seen an unusual pattern of activity in the housing market over the past 12 months, with the market experiencing a surge of activity and price increases that peaked in the fall of 2009 rather than spring. Early 2010 has followed a more typical seasonal pattern with prices and activity peaking in the second quarter," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "An expected increase in the supply of homes on the market will now bring stabilization in prices and in some cities we will see both prices and unit sales decline towards the end of the year. This should not be interpreted as a severe correction but rather a natural reaction to the market having peaked quite early this year."

The surge of activity in the first and second quarters of 2010 corresponds to a number of significant regulatory and financial industry changes that affected homebuyers over the same period, including an increase in interest rates in the spring, tightening of mortgage lending rules for first-time homebuyers and investors, and the lead up to the introduction of the HST in British Columbia and Ontario.

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 second quarter. A printable version of the second quarter 2010 survey will be available online on August 6th, 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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