Toronto, Ottawa Condo Markets Remain Strong Yet Accessible Opportunities for First-Time Homebuyers



    Cranes will dot the skies of Toronto this year

    TORONTO, March 26 /CNW/ - Condos will continue to offer solid
opportunities for first-time homebuyers trying to enter the market and looking
for accessible, affordable housing, according to new data released today by
Genworth Financial Canada, a subsidiary of Genworth Financial, Inc.
(NYSE:  GNW).
    Genworth's Winter 2008 Metropolitan Condominium Outlook reports that
local condo resale prices in Ontario's two largest cities, Toronto and Ottawa,
will post average annual increases of 3.2 per cent and 3 per cent respectively
from 2008 to 2012.
    Toronto's average condo price will rise from $236,351 in 2008 to $268,488
by 2012, while Ottawa's condo prices are expected to climb from $188,276 in
2008 to $215,231 by 2012.
    In Toronto, the average price of a condo jumped 7.6 per cent in 2007, but
price appreciation is forecast to slow to 2.9 per cent this year before rising
more rapidly toward the end of the decade, providing a strong opportunity for
first-time buyers this year.
    "Condominiums continue to fill the demand for relatively affordable
housing that is accessible to first-time buyers, particularly in Toronto,"
said Peter Vukanovich, president of Genworth Financial Canada. "With prices of
detached homes forecast to exceed $459,000 on average throughout the province
- and in most Toronto neighbourhoods well above $500,000 - condos remain
attractive options and provide a good homeownership entry point in Ontario's
two largest cities."
    Cranes will dot the skies over Toronto this year. Condo starts are
forecast to increase by 28.3 per cent to 11,883 units, leading the country and
overtaking 2007 leader Vancouver, where 8,688 units are projected for 2008.
    The Toronto surge follows a decline in starts of more than 30 per cent
last year to 9,261 units. That 'see-saw' market effect will even out through
2012, with condo starts in the city forecast to increase by 8.8 per cent
annually over the next four years, peaking at more than 16,600 units in 2012.
    Ottawa condo starts will remain virtually flat this year at a projected
1,057 units, and are forecast to remain at about 1,000 starts per year through
2012.
    The Genworth report, produced with the Conference Board of Canada,
concludes that "recently elevated volumes suggest condos are becoming
entrenched in most communities," and that certainly is the case in Toronto and
Ottawa.
    "The Toronto and Ottawa condo markets remain a good opportunity for
first-time homebuyers. The slower rate of price appreciation in 2008 will
benefit first-time buyers looking to get into the market, and the availability
of innovative mortgage solutions makes that first-time purchase more
accessible and affordable than ever," said Vukanovich.
    "This report underscores the solid value condominiums in Toronto and
Ottawa offer to first-time homebuyers looking to get a foothold in Canada's
robust housing market. A condo offers an affordable opportunity to begin to
build equity in a home of your own," said Jim Murphy, President and CEO of the
Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP).
    The Winter 2008 Metropolitan Condominium Outlook reviewed resale condo
markets in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton,
Vancouver and Victoria. All eight markets registered moderate price growth in
2007 and are forecast to continue to have moderate growth this year and
through 2012.

    
    Average Resale Condo Price by City: Forecast

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    City      2007       2008       2009       2010       2011       2012
              Forecast   Forecast   Forecast   Forecast   Forecast   Forecast

              Percent-   Percent-   Percent-   Percent-   Percent-   Percent-
              age        age        age        age        age        age
              Increase   Increase   Increase   Increase   Increase   Increase
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Quebec
    City      $130,133   $134,872   $139,485   $144,898   $149,623   $154,304

              4.7        3.6        3.4        3.9        3.3        3.1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Montreal  $175,555   $182,700   $189,571   $195,040   $199,785   $203,591

              2.9        4.1        3.8        2.9        2.4        1.9
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ottawa    $185,377   $188,276   $194,778   $201,372   $208,266   $215,231

              5.7        1.6        3.5        3.4        3.4        3.3
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Toronto   $229,708   $236,351   $242,254   $250,623   $259,507   $268,488

              7.6        2.9        2.5        3.5        3.5        3.5
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Calgary   $275,633   $286,896   $295,248   $303,768   $312,129   $320,728

              22.2       4.1        2.9        2.9        2.8        2.8
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Edmonton  $235,881   $250,873   $255,193   $260,748   $267,116   $274,333

              43.2       6.4        1.7        2.2        2.4        2.7
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vancouver $328,158   $346,713   $355,184   $366,348   $377,932   $389,344

              11.9       5.7        2.4        3.1        3.2        3.0
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Victoria  $272,061   $282,619   $289,399   $297,065   $305,641   $314,298

              9.4        3.9        2.4        2.6        2.9        2.8
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Sources: The Conference Board of Canada; Canada Mortgage and Housing
    Corporation; Canadian Real Estate Association. Note: For Montreal,
    Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, resale apartments classified as condos
    were included; for Calgary and Edmonton, data includes condos that are
    single-detached units, semi-detached units, townhouse/row units, and
    apartments that are classified as condos.
    

    The full Winter 2008 Metropolitan Condominium Outlook is available at
www.genworth.ca.

    About Genworth Financial Canada:

    Genworth Financial Canada, The Homeownership Company, works with lenders,
mortgage brokers, real estate agents and builders to make homeownership more
affordable and accessible throughout Canada. The company combines global
experience in mortgage insurance with technological and service leadership to
deliver innovation to the mortgage marketplace.
    Genworth Financial Canada issues reports on Canada's housing market and
Canada's condo market in winter and summer; all in conjunction with the
Conference Board of Canada. Our intention is to educate and provide useful
information to Canadian consumers, homeowners, future first-time homebuyers
and governments. We believe homeowners and homebuyers require up-to-date
information about Canada's housing market to make informed decisions about
homeownership, for many the most important investment of their lifetime.
Genworth Financial Canada also listens to homebuyers about their challenges
and concerns, to make us better informed about how we can offer products that
help Canadians realize the dream of homeownership.
    Additional information about Genworth Financial Canada is available at
www.genworth.ca or through mortgage lenders.

    About Genworth Financial

    Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE:  GNW) is a leading public Fortune 500
global financial security company. Genworth has more than $114 billion in
assets and employs approximately 7,000 people in 25 countries. Its products
and services help meet the investment, protection, retirement and lifestyle
needs of over 15 million customers. Genworth operates through three segments:
Retirement and Protection, International and U.S. Mortgage Insurance. Its
products and services are offered through financial intermediaries, advisors,
independent distributors and sales specialists. Genworth Financial, which
traces its roots back to 1871, became a public company in 2004 and is
headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. For more information, visit Genworth.com.





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange interviews: Sherri Leclair,
Genworth Financial Canada, Marketing/Communications Leader, (905) 287-5408,
sherri.leclair@genworth.com

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