Saskatoon house prices increase for key housing types

- Low inventory and high demand put upward pressure on affordable homes -

SASKATOON, April 8 /CNW/ - Single family homes priced under $350,000 in Saskatoon are in short supply, and healthy demand is pushing prices up. According to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey, buyers looking for affordable bungalows and condominiums are facing stiff competition, while high end homes are moving slowly.

"We're seeing multiple offers for the most affordable homes, which are at a premium," said Norm Fisher, Sales Manager for Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate. "The market is slower for more expensive homes, which are seeing year-over-year prices come down slightly. There is clearly a buyer's market for single family homes over $400,000 and for condos over $300,000."

Selling for an average of $240,000, standard condominiums led the way with year-over-year price gains of 28.3 per cent. Detached bungalows were up 5 per cent, selling for an average of $328,250 while standard two-storey homes rose 5.1 per cent to $366,250.

Overall inventory is down since the first quarter of 2009. "We usually operate well over the 1,000 listing mark, and we were just under the 1,000 mark at the end of the first quarter," Fisher says. "We're actually experiencing a shortage in some price ranges."

Fisher believes declining house affordability is being offset by a strong provincial economy. "Saskatchewan has shown stronger than average gains in population and income growth over the past few years," he said. "Positive employment numbers suggest our province is in a better economic position than most."

Unit sales for single family homes are down slightly year-over-year, whereas standard condominium sales have increased 50 per cent. "Overall, March sales were quite brisk and finished stronger than expected."

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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