Luxury home sales hold steady in most major markets across the country, says RE/MAX

    Two-thirds of markets surveyed report upswing in the number of upper-end
    homes sold in 2008

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Luxury home sales have outperformed
virtually all other residential price points this year, but activity in the
top-end is expected to taper in most major Canadian centres in coming months,
according to a report released today by RE/MAX.
    The RE/MAX Upper-End Report, which highlights trends and developments in
15 housing markets across the country for the first seven months of 2008 found
Vancouver, Victoria, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London, Kitchener-Waterloo,
Ottawa, Halifax-Dartmouth, and St. John's all experienced an upswing in sales
activity, while declines were noted in Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton,
Hamilton-Burlington, and Toronto. Also significant is in all but two markets,
percentage increases in sales were greatest in the upper-end when compared to
the overall residential marketplace in 2008.

    Market      Price Point     Sales/07     Sales/08     Luxury     All Res.
                                                          % +/-       % +/-
     Vancouver   $2 million          370          390          5         -24
    Victoria     $1 million          159          165          4         -18
    Kelowna      $1 million           71           63        -11         -30
    Edmonton       $850,000          110           67        -64         -23
    Calgary      $1 million          312          258        -17         -30
    Regina         $500,000           17           69        306         -11
    Saskatoon      $500,000           11           19         72         -14
    Winnipeg       $500,000           62          117         89        0.01
    London         $350,000          383          435         14          -9
     Waterloo      $500,000          128          188         47          -5
     Burlington    $750,000           76           50        -34          -7
     Toronto   $1.5 million          505          487         -5         -13
    Ottawa         $750,000           99          135         36          -3
     Dartmouth     $400,000          218          262         20          -7
    St. John's     $400,000           28           50         78          11
    Source: RE/MAX, Local Real Estate Boards

    "Given the transition occurring in most residential real estate markets,
upper-end sales remain exceptionally strong," says Michael Polzler, Executive
Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. "The
market for luxury homes is usually the first to show pressure cracks, but the
reverse is actually true this year, with pent-up demand (due to trade-up
activity), less speculation, and job transfers all factors contributing to
stability in this segment. That being said, we feel uncertainty in financial
markets both here and abroad will give purchasers cause for concern in the
immediate future."
    Although the top-end of the market represents less than five per cent of
total sales, activity is generally a gauge of overall market conditions.
Leading the country in terms of percentage increase in luxury home sales are
Regina (up 306 per cent); Winnipeg (up 89 per cent); St. John's (up 78 per
cent); Saskatoon (up 72 per cent); Kitchener-Waterloo (up 47 per cent); Ottawa
(up 36 per cent); Halifax-Dartmouth (up 20 per cent); London (up 14 per cent);
Greater Vancouver (up five per cent); and Victoria (up four per cent). Solid
performance is likely a result of consumer confidence, particularly in
provinces like Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and parts of
Ontario where solid economic fundamentals helped to bolster the number of
homes sold in the upper-end.
    "In two-thirds of the markets we surveyed, demand for upscale homes
surpassed peak levels reported last year," says Elton Ash, Regional Executive
Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. "However, with supply edging higher
in most major centres and few markets reporting tight inventory levels, we are
seeing a return to more balanced conditions. This situation is expected to
have an impact on high-end values in coming months, especially in areas that
have experienced consistent double-digit growth."
    The RE/MAX Upper-End Report also notes serious appreciation in housing
values in recent years has pushed upper-end price points to new levels. This
is especially so in Western Canada where $2 million is now merely a starting
price in Greater Vancouver, while in the tony Westside, that figure is closer
to $4 million. Calgary is steady at $1 million this year, but is pushing
closer to the $1.5 million benchmark. In Ottawa, where the upper-end price
point is currently pegged at $750,000, sales are increasingly occurring over
the $1 million mark.

    Other highlights include:

    -   The most expensive MLS sale in Canada in 2008 occurred in Greater
        Vancouver with a sticker price of $11.5 million. A property priced at
        $9 million in Greater Toronto sold in a multiple offer situation for
        more than $11 million as well.
    -   The priciest condominium currently listed for sale on MLS is priced
        at $14.8 million in Greater Vancouver - reduced from $18 million
        earlier this year.
    -   The Four Seasons Hotel, currently under construction in Greater
        Toronto's Yorkville area, has the most expensive list price in the
        country - $30 million for a penthouse suite on the 55th floor.

    To view the full RE/MAX Upper-End Market Trends Report 2008, click here:

    RE/MAX is Canada's leading real estate organization with over 18,000
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 100,000 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:

For further information:

For further information: Christine Martysiewicz, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic
Canada, (905) 542-2400; Eva Blay/Melissa Lucas, Point Blank Communications,
(416) 781-3911

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