Ontario housing markets defy industry expectations as confidence levels push sales and prices to new heights, says RE/MAX



    MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 21 /CNW/ - Despite concerns over a higher Canadian
dollar and its impact on the province's manufacturing sector, housing markets
across Ontario continue to perform above and beyond industry expectations,
according to a report released today by RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada.
    Stronger than expected consumer confidence levels have fuelled
extraordinary demand for properties this year. The REMAX Ontario Market Trends
Report, highlighting residential real estate activity in more than 30 major
centres, found that sales were climbing in 85 per cent (28 out of 33) of
markets surveyed, while all but one market saw average price escalate. Parry
Sound, Clarington/Bowmanville/Newcastle, Trenton, Belleville, North Bay and
Pembroke lead the province in terms of percentage increase in unit sales, with
double-digit gains of 20, 17, 15, 15, 12, and 11 per cent respectively.
    "While an overall healthy economy has supported home-buying activity,
consumer confidence in the future of housing has taken markets to the next
level," says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President and Regional Director,
RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. "Given current momentum, we expect demand for
housing to continue throughout the traditionally slower summer months and
shatter existing records for sales and/or price in many markets by year-end."
    Average price has seen solid appreciation in the first five months of the
year, with all but Windsor reporting an increase in values. The greatest gain
occurred in Timmins, where the demand for residential properties prompted a
29 per cent upswing in year-to-date average price, compared to one year ago.
Double-digit increases in average price were also noted in Sudbury
(22 per cent), Haliburton (20 per cent), Collingwood (10 per cent) and North
Bay (10 per cent), Pembroke/Petawawa (10 per cent) and Sarnia (10 per cent).
    "Affordability is a huge factor in the marketplace, with smaller, more
reasonable-priced centres experiencing exponential growth this year," explains
Polzler. "This is especially true in communities within close proximity to the
Greater Toronto Area - as far as Bowmanville to the east, Barrie to the north,
and Stratford to the west. Many purchasers are willing to sacrifice location
for value, as long as it allows them to realize homeownership."
    Statistics Canada recently substantiated the trend. Between 2001 and
2006, six census metropolitan areas located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe
reported population growth rates higher than the national average, including
Barrie, Oshawa, Toronto, Kitchener, Guelph, and Brantford.
    Empty-nesters and retirees are also setting down stakes for their golden
years, returning to their original hometowns flush with equity gains realized
in larger, metropolitan areas. In many instances, these purchasers are
sparking demand for upper-end product - as evidenced by the 73 per cent of
markets reporting an uptick in luxury home sales in the first five months of
the year.
    "While the GTA's bidding wars tend to dominate headlines, multiple offers
are also occurring in more than half of the markets surveyed in the RE/MAX
Report," says Polzler. "Limited inventory levels, particularly in hot pocket
neighbourhoods, are seriously contributing to the increase in this
phenomenon."

    
    Other highlights include:

    -   In-migration from other areas of the province has been a boon to
        residential real estate in small to mid-sized markets.

    -   Positive economic fundamentals have buyers spending more, with a
        growing number of first-time purchasers foregoing starter product and
        opting for homes in the mid-range.

    -   The renovation trend now blankets southern Ontario, driving up values
        across the board.

    -   Although the provincial average price now approaches $300,000,
        starting prices for entry-level product can be as low as $100,000,
        making homeownership a realistic expectation for most Ontarians.

    -   Detached homes were most popular in markets across the province,
        accounting for the vast majority of sales. Alternatives such as
        condominiums and townhomes, just gaining a foothold in smaller
        centres, were not necessarily the more affordable choice.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ontario Market Trends Report 2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    City (Population)         Unit Sales       % +/-   Average $       % +/-
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Barrie (177,000)                2299          9%   $ 256,623          6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Belleville (48,821)
    - Stats represent
      Quinte Region                 1663         15%   $ 180,116          4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cambridge (124,000)             1349          3%   $ 236,891          1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Clarington, Bowmanville,
     Newcastle (77,000)              816         17%   $ 247,180          6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Collingwood                      800          0%   $ 278,246         10%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cornwall (45,965)(*)             100        -10%   $ 122,000          4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Haliburton                       216          1%   $ 117,496         20%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hamilton, Burlington,
     Grimsby (692,000)              5970          2%   $ 268,135          8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kitchener-Waterloo (300,000)    2216          8%   $ 243,481          4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kingston                        1738          8%   $ 200,100          2%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    London (St. Thomas,
     Strathroy) (457,028)           4275          7%   $ 202,952          8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mississauga                     4986          7%   $ 342,309          4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Muskoka                         1077         -6%         n/a          5%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Niagara (82,184)                3044          2%   $ 204,880          3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    North Bay (53,966)               604         12%   $ 184,777         10%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Orangeville                      315          6%   $ 277,409          6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Orillia (40,256)                 555          6%   $ 253,144          6%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Oshawa - Stats represent
     Durham Region                  4616          8%   $ 259,826          1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ottawa (812,129)                6508          8%   $ 272,301          7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Parry Sound                      113         20%   $ 170,000          4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Peterborough (105,000)          1441          5%   $ 220,590          4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pembroke, Petawawa (22,000)      497         11%   $ 200,000         10%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sarnia-Lambton (70,876)          876          6%   $ 170,885         10%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sault Ste. Marie (74,948)        577          8%   $ 104,939          8%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    St. Catharines (131,989)        2378         -3%   $ 202,473          3%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Stratford (30,000)               237         -4%   $ 221,449          7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sudbury (157,857)               1177          7%   $ 178,290         22%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thunder Bay (120,370)            561          5%   $ 129,210          7%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Timmins (42,997)                 231          9%   $ 129,272         29%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toronto (2,503,281)            40437          7%   $ 371,905          4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trenton (42,697) - Stats
     represent Quinte Region        1663         15%   $ 180,116          4%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Windsor (216,473)               2132          1%   $ 161,127         -1%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Woodstock (35,480)               230          1%   $ 209,580          9%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*) Year-to-date (January to April) statistics. All other statistics
        are January to May.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: Local Real Estate Boards, CREA
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    To view the full 2007 RE/MAX Ontario Market Trends Report, click here:
    http://files.newswire.ca/40/OntarioMarketTrends.pdf

    RE/MAX is Canada's leading real estate organization with nearly
17,000 sales associates situated throughout its more than 638 independently
owned and operated offices across the country. The RE/MAX franchise network,
now in its 34th year of consecutive growth, is a global real estate system
operating in over 65 countries. More than 6,900 independently owned offices
engage 121,000 member sales associates who lead the industry in professional
designations, experience and production while providing real estate services
in residential, commercial, referral, relocation and asset management. For
more information, visit: www.remax.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Christine Martysiewicz, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic
Canada, (905) 542-2400; Eva Blay, Charlene McAdam, Kim Kofman, Point Blank
Communications, (416) 781-3911


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