Condominiums achieve unprecedented favour among Canadian homebuyers, says RE/MAX

    Double-digit sales gains reported in most major markets in 2007

    KELOWNA, BC, Nov. 14 /CNW/ - After more than three decades of slow but
steady growth, the condominium concept has finally clicked with Canadian
homeowners. The lifestyle has proven to be a solid investment in housing
markets across the country, chalking up some of the most impressive gains in
residential real estate in 2007, according to the RE/MAX Condominium Report
released today.
    Their universal appeal is substantiated, with every market reporting
increased momentum in condominium sales volume over 2006 levels. In fact,
80 per cent of markets surveyed reported double-digit gains in sales
year-over-year, with 53 per cent reporting increases over 20 per cent. The
greatest growth was experienced in Canada's small to mid-sized markets.
Leading the country, in terms of percentage increase in sales so far this
year, are Kitchener-Waterloo (+59%), Regina (+57%), St. John's (+54%), and
Saskatoon (+33%).
    "The white picket fence, sprawling green lawn and tidy urban bungalow has
become an unattainable ideal for many first-time buyers - especially in the
West," says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western
Canada. "By necessity, condominiums have become the only practical means to
homeownership for a growing segment of the population. Today's entry-level
purchasers aspire to manageable mortgage payments, sunset city views, and the
non-stop action and amenities of central core living, all packed into 600 to
800 sq. ft. The momentum of the market in recent decades has redefined the
home buying process."
    While price appreciation on freehold properties, in particular, was the
primary factor in the upswing, the strong desire among baby boomers to lead an
active, carefree lifestyle has also driven the concept to unprecedented
popularity. The RE/MAX Condominium Report identified Greater Vancouver as the
strongest market in the country - where close to 60 per cent of all
residential sales now involve a condominium. Condominium presence is also on
the rise in centres such as Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Ottawa, and
Hamilton-Burlington, where condos now represent 20 to 30 per cent of all MLS
    "Deteriorating affordability levels in major Canadian centres have led to
the resurrection of the condominium lifestyle in recent years," says Michael
Polzler, Executive Vice President, Regional Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic
Canada. "Condominiums are clearly the answer to the skyrocketing cost of land
and shelter that has all but eradicated the dream of homeownership for many
first-time buyers."
    Condominium values were also up from coast-to-coast in 2007, with all
major markets reporting an increase in average price. Thirty-three per cent of
cities surveyed reported double-digit price appreciation. The most dramatic
hikes were seen in Western Canada's red-hot housing markets, led by Saskatoon
(+24%), Calgary (+22%), Edmonton (+19%), Kelowna (+16% for town homes, +12%
for apartments), Vancouver (+14% for town homes, +11% for apartments), and
Victoria (+9% for town homes, +12% for apartments).
    At the top end of the market, condominium ownership has been equated with
lifestyle. Throughout 2007, aging baby boomers fuelled demand for luxury
condominium units. Upper-end activity was reported to be on the rise in all
markets examined, with the greatest appreciation occurring in Edmonton
(+154%), Greater Toronto (+98%), Victoria (+85%), Winnipeg (+58%), Vancouver
(+49%) and Kitchener-Waterloo (+39%). The maintenance-free factor, the ability
to travel and to enjoy the best the city has to offer - from restaurants to
recreation - were cited in overall condominium appeal.
    "In years past, there seemed to be a ceiling in terms of what buyers were
willing to pay for this type of product," says Polzler. "Widespread acceptance
has seen that philosophy tossed out the window. In the upper-end especially,
buyers have demonstrated a willingness to set new benchmarks, and in some
cases, are spending more than what a detached home might cost. Multiple
offers, once unheard of, have become a reality in some centres."
    New benchmarks for the most expensive apartment-style condominium units
ever sold through MLS have been reported in several cities in 2007, including
Vancouver ($18 million), Calgary ($3.7 million), Edmonton ($2.3 million),
Winnipeg ($1.25 million), and Kitchener-Waterloo ($670,000).
    Given solid demand through all price ranges, it comes as no surprise that
investors have been very active in the majority of markets surveyed, hoping to
snap up a piece of the pie while demand remains at peak levels. Yet, with a
growing number looking for a quick return on investment, swelling inventory
levels have become a serious concern in several markets, most notably in
Calgary and Edmonton, and to a much lesser extent, Kelowna.
    "The impact of speculation, especially in Canada's largest condominium
markets, has yet to be determined, but concerns for the future are relevant,"
says Ash. "In downtown Vancouver, an estimated 50 per cent of sales activity
is attributed to investors, whereas as much as 60-85 per cent of new
condominiums sales in Toronto's downtown core reportedly involved investors in
2007. This is a major factor that could influence prices in years to come."
    For now, a number of market fundamentals point to increased growth in
sales, prices and demand well into 2008. These include vibrant economies,
Canada's aging population, rising prices, and higher levels of immigration, to
name a few.

    To view the complete RE/MAX Condominium Report 2007, please click here:

    RE/MAX is Canada's leading real estate organization with over 17,500
sales associates situated throughout its more than 640 independently owned and
operated offices across the country. The RE/MAX franchise network, now in its
34th year, is a global real estate system operating in over 65 countries. More
than 7,000 independently owned offices engage more than 115,000 member sales
associates who lead the industry in professional designations, experience and
production while providing real estate services in residential, commercial,
referral and asset management. For more information, visit:

    Market Leaders by Percentage Increase in Unit Sales

                     % Increase         2006                    2007
    ---------------    in Unit   --------------------------------------------
    Market              Sales    Apts  Towns  Combined   Apts  Towns Combined

    Kitchener-Waterloo    59%                     581                     925
    Regina                57%                     348                     545
    St. John's            54%                      63                      97
    Saskatoon             33%                    1008                    1340
    Kelowna               30%     796     463    1259    1029     605    1634
    Halifax-Dartmouth(*)  23%                     612                     752
    Winnipeg              21%                     939                    1140
    Edmonton(xx)          18%                    5202                    6133
    Greater Toronto       14%                   21950                   25072
    Victoria              12%    1744     575    2319    1883     717    2600
    Ottawa                11%                    2283                    2527
    Hamilton-Burlington   10%                    2216                    2447
    Greater Vancouver      7%   13297    5594   18891   14279    5942   20221
    London-St. Thomas
     (xx)                6.5%                    1546                    1647
    Calgary                1%                    7260                    7350

    (*) Jan. - Oct. 15th
    (xx)Jan. to Sept.
    Source: Local Real Estate Boards, RE/MAX - All figures are year-to-date
    Jan 1st - Oct. 31 unless otherwise indicated.


For further information:

For further information: Marie Selby, RE/MAX of Western Canada, (250)
860-3628; Eva Blay, Charlene McAdam, Kim Kofman, Point Blank Communications,
(416) 781-3911

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