House prices rise significantly during first quarter for Vancouver region

- Increasing demand, diminishing supply pushes average West Side single family home to $1.3 million -

VANCOUVER, April 8 /CNW/ - Buyers looking for a reprieve from high Vancouver house prices didn't get one in the first quarter of 2010, according to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey. Single family homes in the West Side and West Vancouver are increasingly out of reach for many buyers, however Vancouver East and North Vancouver remain relatively more affordable. Vancouver continues to attract new residents and detached bungalows and standard two-storey properties continue to be the most popular with buyers.

City-wide, detached bungalows posted the largest year-over-year price increases climbing 21.8 per cent to $906,045. Prices for standard two-storey homes rose 19.2 per cent to $987,500, while standard condominiums were up 15.7 per cent year-over-year to $470,500.

"Single family homes on Vancouver's West Side are the hot ticket," said Chris Simmons, Owner of Royal LePage Sunshine Coast. "They're a diminishing commodity, due to zoning changes to allow for higher density. A bare lot on the West Side can now cost up to $1 million."

East Vancouver saw the largest year-over-year price gains in the first quarter, with standard condominiums increasing 29.3 per cent to $402,000, detached bungalows increasing 24.8 per cent to $674,180 and standard two-storey houses increasing 23.5 per cent to $710,000. The average price of detached bungalows and standard two-storey houses in both the West Side and in West Vancouver increased more than $100,000 in the first quarter alone.

"Because of strong demand, first quarter unit sales in Vancouver were nearly double those of last year," said Simmons. "Inventory growth has lagged behind, but with nearly 15,000 new listings at the end of March, buyers have a reasonable selection. The market didn't slow down as much as we expected during the Olympics."

North Vancouver's standard condominiums rose 13.8 per cent year-over-year to $330,000 - an affordable price compared to other Vancouver markets surveyed by Royal LePage - while the area's detached bungalows climbed 22.3 per cent to $740,000. "North Vancouver has pretty much recovered from the downturn," says Bill Binnie, Owner of Royal LePage North Shore, "It is receiving attention from a wide cross section of buyers - particularly first timers and move up buyers. Everything is moving, and the number of bungalow sales has doubled since the beginning of last year."

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: Jeremy Twigg, Fleishman-Hillard, (604) 688-2505; Tammy Gilmer, Director, Public Relations and National Communications, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, (416) 510-5783


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