HALIFAX POSTS SOLID YEAR-OVER-YEAR HOUSE PRICE GAINS

House prices expected to increase modestly in 2011 as more stable market emerges

HALIFAX, Jan. 6 /CNW/ - The Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast released today showed year-over-year price increases for all housing types surveyed in Halifax.

Standard two-storey homes witnessed the largest year-over-year price increases rising 9.7 per cent to $291,000.  Prices for detached bungalows rose 7.5 per cent year-over-year to $255,967, while standard condominiums saw an increase of 7.8 per cent to $180,000.

"The increase in prices is a reflection of the type of buyer we saw in 2010 compared to 2009. In 2009, we saw a lot of first-time buyer activity. In 2010 established homeowners looking to upgrade drove the market so the more expensive homes were in demand," said Matt Honsberger, managing associate broker of Royal LePage Atlantic. "We expect first-time buyers to be more active this year as more entry level inventory becomes available and current homeowners upgrade."

Average house prices are expected to climb a further 3.8 per cent during 2011 while the rate of unit sales is expected to remain relatively unchanged.

"The Halifax housing market is balanced and we expect this trend to continue throughout the year. As new units become available the resale market will have more competition and potential buyers will have more choice as inventory grows."

Nationally, the average price of a home increased between 3.9 and 4.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to the previous year, as markets shrugged off a lackluster third quarter and returned to a post-recession growth profile. Home values are forecast to continue a moderate and steady climb in many of the country's key housing markets through 2011 with sales activity skewed to the first half of the year.

"Trends in the housing market continue to be driven by the lingering after-effects of the recession," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "Canadians realize that interest rates are unsustainably low and that homes will become effectively more expensive when mortgage rates return to normal levels. We will likely see more price appreciation early in 2011 as some buyers complete transactions in advance of anticipated higher borrowing costs."

Across Canada, the average price of a home is forecast to rise 3 per cent over the coming year to $348,600 while the number of transactions is expected to drop 2 per cent.

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 www.royallepage.ca.  Current figures will be updated following the complete tabulation of the data for the fourth quarter 2010. A printable version of the fourth quarter 2010 survey will be available online on February 4th, 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.  Historical data is available for some areas back to the early 1970s.

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.

SOURCE Royal LePage Real Estate Services

For further information:

Jessica Culp
Fleishman-Hillard Canada
416-645-3664

Tammy Gilmer
Director, Public Relations and National Communications
Royal LePage Real Estate Services
416-510-5783


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