Calgary house prices rise slightly in second quarter

- House prices forecast to moderate slightly by the end of 2010 -

CALGARY, July 7 /CNW/ - The Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast released today showed that house prices in Calgary remained strong in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, however prices are expected to decrease slightly for the remainder of the year.

"Overall, prices are still higher than they were a year ago," said Ted Zaharko, broker and owner of Royal LePage Foothills. "But as the second quarter ends, we are seeing the market lean in favour of the buyer."

Compared to this time last year, sales in the Calgary market have decreased and inventory levels have risen slowly. However, prices still remain stronger than they were a year ago in most housing categories except standard condominiums, which saw a 0.2 per cent decline to $251,756 due to its large inventory levels. Standard two-storey homes posted the largest year-over-year price increases, rising 5.5 per cent to $422,078. Prices for detached bungalows increased 4.6 per cent compared to the second quarter of 2009 (to $419,978).

"Buyers don't feel the urgency to make decisions when inventory levels are high," said Zaharko. "However, we expect to see a slight increase in the number of sales and a decrease in the amount of inventory as we continue through 2010, but we also anticipate overall prices to soften in the second half of 2010 as buyers continue to remain cautious and inventory levels continue to remain higher than in past years."

Nationally, Royal LePage's forecast predicts Canada's residential real estate market will start to slow in the second half of 2010 after two quarters of strong price appreciation and sales activity. While market fundamentals remain strong across most major centres in Canada, sales activity was overly 'front-loaded' in the first half of the year and is expected to cool off for the third and fourth quarters. Prices are also expected to steady in the second half of the year.

"We have seen an unusual pattern of activity in the housing market over the past 12 months, with the market experiencing a surge of activity and price increases that peaked in the fall of 2009 rather than spring. Early 2010 has followed a more typical seasonal pattern with prices and activity peaking in the second quarter," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "An expected increase in the supply of homes on the market will now bring stabilization in prices and in some cities we will see both prices and unit sales decline towards the end of the year. This should not be interpreted as a severe correction but rather a natural reaction to the market having peaked quite early this year."

The surge of activity in the first and second quarters of 2010 corresponds to a number of significant regulatory and financial industry changes that affected homebuyers over the same period, including an increase in interest rates in the spring, tightening of mortgage lending rules for first-time homebuyers and investors, and the lead up to the introduction of the HST in British Columbia and Ontario.

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 Current figures will be updated following the complete tabulation of the data for the second quarter. A printable version of the second quarter 2010 survey will be available online on August 6th, 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."

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SOURCE Royal LePage Real Estate Services

For further information: For further information: Jacque Benson, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, 403-266-4710 ext. 227; Tammy Gilmer, Director, Public Relations and National Communications, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, 416-510-5783

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