Calgary house prices expected to post healthy year-over-year gains in 2012

Vibrant local economy and low interest rates to drive demand for area homes

CALGARY, Jan. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - The Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast released today showed varied year-over-year price increases for the housing types surveyed in Calgary. Despite this, the local market gained momentum as 2011 drew to a close and Royal LePage expects Calgary to post some of the highest year-over-year price increases in Canada in 2012.

In the fourth quarter, detached bungalows posted the largest year-over-year price increases, rising 6.2 per cent to $416,622. Prices for standard two-storey homes rose a modest 2.2 per cent year-over-year to $414,778, while prices for standard condominiums were flat, rising slightly 0.1 per cent year-over-year to $248,567.

"The modest year-over-year gains we saw in the fourth quarter conceal a strengthening market in Calgary," said Ted Zaharko, broker and owner of Royal LePage Foothills. "A vibrant local economy combined with continued low interest rates has Calgary poised to be one of Canada's strongest real estate markets."

According to Zaharko, low interest rates combined with a lack of homes for sale helped create upward pricing pressure and led to frequent multiple offer situations as the year drew to a close.

Zaharko noted that first-time buyers looking to take advantage of low rates were an active group in the fourth quarter of 2011. Retirees looking to downsize were also an active group and drove demand for the city's detached bungalows.

According to Royal LePage, by the end of 2012, average house prices in Calgary are expected to increase 3.6 per cent. Market activity is forecast to be the strongest in Canada with 2012 unit sales expected to rise 10.6 per cent higher than they were in 2011.

Nationally, despite calls in some quarters for Canadian house prices to soften in 2011, the market proved resilient as demand created by low interest rates and a relatively stable national economy created upward pricing pressure for all housing types surveyed. Further, recent high profile reports forecasting significant house price declines in 2012 are not supportable. In the fourth quarter, standard two-storey homes rose 4.2 per cent year-over-year to $375,427, while detached bungalows increased 6.1 per cent to $344,392. Average prices for standard condominiums increased 3.6 per cent to $234,680.

"In the recovery period following the 2008-2009 recession, I found myself repeatedly speaking of 'irrational exuberance' in the Canadian housing market," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "Expectations were too high and the pace of expansion unsustainable. With this report, I find myself in exactly the opposite position. Widespread calls for a major real estate correction in 2012 simply can't be justified. The industry has significant momentum entering the year, and is buoyed by the stimulative effect of very low interest rates; we expect the market to continue to expand - albeit at a slower pace."

Royal LePage expects average price growth to continue through 2012 and predicts national average prices to increase by 2.8 per cent by the end of the year.

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 90 communities across the country.  A complete database of past and present surveys is available on the Royal LePage Web site at Current figures will be updated following the complete tabulation of the data for the fourth quarter 2011. A printable version of the fourth quarter 2011 survey will be available online on February 10th, 2011.

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. 

About Royal LePage

Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country's leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of 14,000 real estate professionals in over 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women's & children's shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Brookfield Real Estate Services Inc. company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbol TSX:BRE.

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SOURCE Royal LePage Real Estate Services

For further information:

Martyn Lafrance
Fleishman-Hillard Canada
403-266-4710 ext. 238

Tammy Gilmer
Director, Global Communications & Public Relations
Royal LePage Real Estate Services

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