Regina house prices increase year-over-year

- Buyer confidence and lack of inventory put upward pressure on prices -

REGINA, April 8 /CNW/ - Thanks to a strong local economy, buyer confidence in Regina is up - and so are house prices. According to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey, inventory is at 60 to 70 per cent of typical levels, and lack of selection is leading to multiple offers.

"Unit sales in the first quarter increased for all housing types surveyed," says Mike Duggleby, Owner of Royal LePage Regina Realty. "Starter homes are selling quickly, since first time buyers and landlords are both going after affordable homes."

Standard condominium prices are up 9.9 per cent year-over-year to $185,500, followed by standard two-storey houses, which are up 9 per cent to $267,000, and detached bungalows, which are up 4.3 per cent to $278,125.

With few homes to choose from, some buyers are turning to the pre-sale market. "Regina buyers have traditionally favored custom-orders for new homes," he said, "but a new developer in town is building spec properties - meaning they sell before construction is complete."

A major expansion is underway for a local refinery, a global transportation hub is being built west of town, and the area's first million square-foot warehouse is under construction. "We've got wonderful things happening to our local economy," Duggleby says. "Big projects create jobs in construction."

Duggleby believes the city's 0.7 per cent rental vacancy rate is also pushing buyers into the market. "A low vacancy rate is putting increased demand on a limited supply of residential properties," he says. "People are getting fed up with the low rental vacancy, so they get into the real estate market."

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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