Victoria house prices show year-over-year increase

- Low inventory and renewed buyer confidence strengthen fourth quarter market -

VICTORIA, Jan. 7 /CNW/ - A tight supply of affordable homes, coupled with a recovery from last year's economic downturn, has led to a healthy residential real estate market in Victoria, according to the latest Royal LePage Market Survey Forecast and House Price Survey.

Victoria's detached bungalow prices gained 7.7 per cent over the same period last year, selling for an average of $474,000. Detached two-stories sold for an average of $449,000, an increase of 3.7 per cent year-over-year. The average price for a standard condominiums remained unchanged year-over-year at $265,000.

Although overall inventory is down by one third year-to-date, unit sales are up significantly. With upward pressure on prices, affordable homes are attracting multiple offers.

"It's no surprise the greatest price increases were for detached bungalows and standard two storey homes," says Carol Geurts, Manager of Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty. "Both offer price ranges that are attractive to first time buyers. Overall, 2009 has been a great year in terms of both market recovery and stability." Geurts expects the new batch of listings in the spring to ease the tight housing supply.

Geurts points out the exception to rising prices were condominiums. "There has been little change in the cost of condos, since Victoria has a good selection and that healthy supply kept prices steady. We have a large inventory of new condos, which are being absorbed into the market."

Canada's residential real estate market is forecast to remain unusually strong through the first half of 2010 as economic conditions across the country improve and the stimulus impact of low interest rates continues to stoke demand, according to today's Royal LePage Market Survey Forecast and House Price Survey.

"The Canadian real estate market enters 2010 with considerable momentum from an unusually strong finish to the previous year," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "The stimulus effect of low borrowing costs has contributed to a sharp rise in demand that has driven activity levels to new highs. This demand, coupled with a typical seasonal undersupply of homes for sale, should cause home prices to continue to appreciate significantly during the early months of the year. Improving supply as the year unfolds and easing demand as the cost of home ownership rises should moderate home price increases in the second half of 2010."

Regions that saw the strongest declines during the recession are now showing marked gains. Those regions include Toronto and the Lower Mainland, B.C. Vancouver in particular experienced a robust quarter, with home prices rising across all housing types surveyed.

About the House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast

The Royal LePage Survey of Canadian House Prices 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 fourth quarter. A printable version of the fourth quarter 2009 survey will be available online on February 5th, 2010.

Housing values in the Royal LePage 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 over 13,000 brokers and sales representatives in 600 locations across Canada. Royal LePage is managed by Brookfield Real Estate Services, and is part of a brand family that includes Royal LePage, 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 Canada, (604) 688-2505; Tammy Gilmer, Director, Public Relations and National Communications, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, (416) 510-5783


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