Luxury housing sales edge higher as purchasers take advantage of buying
opportunities in Ontario-Atlantic Canada, says RE/MAX

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 3 /CNW/ - Luxury homes sales continue to accelerate as economic recovery takes hold in major markets in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.

The RE/MAX Upper End Report found that momentum is building in St. John's, Saint John, Halifax-Dartmouth, Ottawa, Kingston, Greater Toronto, Hamilton-Burlington, and London as purchasers realize that the best buying period in recent history is about to come to a close. Sales are already on par or ahead of last year's levels in 50 per cent of cities surveyed, while the remaining markets are set to reach 2008 figures by year-end.

    
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                                                                          %
    Market                           Price Point   Sales/08  Sales/09    +/-
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    St. John's                         $350,000       173       173       0
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Saint John                         $300,000       105        90     -14
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Halifax-Dartmouth                  $400,000       314       306    -2.5
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ottawa                             $750,000       153       155       1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Kingston                           $400,000       193       190      -2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Greater Toronto Area             $1 million     1,687     1,706       1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        -  Toronto East                $750,000       222       226       2
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        -  Toronto Central         $1.5 million       355       358       1
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        -  Toronto West              $1 million       158       148      -6
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        -  Thornhill/Richmond Hill   $1 million        83       103      24
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        -  Mississauga               $1 million        99       109      10
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
        -  Oakville                  $1 million       148       143      -3
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hamilton-Burlington                $750,000       126        86     -32
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    London                             $500,000        73        81      11
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Source: RE/MAX, Local Real Estate Boards, CREA
    Based on January to September Statistics
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

"Twelve months of healthy home buying activity have clearly been crammed into five short months," says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. "It's hard to believe that the transition in the market began in May. We've seen steady upward momentum since that time, with solid year-over-year gains posted each and every month."

Pent-up demand and greater affordability have been the catalyst. Increased selection in all markets - except Greater Toronto - as well as record low interest rates have also helped fuel move-up activity from Ontario to Newfoundland.

Leading in terms of sales appreciation is London, Ontario where the number of homes sold, priced in excess of $500,000, has climbed 11 per cent from January to September 2009, compared to one year ago. Greater Toronto and Ottawa both reported a one per cent increase in the number of homes sold in the top end during the same period. Within the GTA, Richmond Hill/Thornhill is particularly heated, with sales up 24 per cent over 2008 levels, followed by Mississauga - up 10 per cent. St. John's, Newfoundland is on par with year-ago figures.

Of the six markets reporting a year-over-year decrease in sales, four are off by just a handful of transactions (10 units or less), including Halifax-Dartmouth (off eight units), Kingston & Area (off three units), Toronto - West End (off 10 units), and Oakville (off five units). Activity in the remaining two markets-Saint John and Hamilton-Burlington-is on the upswing, with the gap between 2008 and 2009 narrowing each month.

"A considerable shift is underway in the upper end," explains Polzler. "The price correction that we witnessed earlier in the year is over and prices have since firmed up. Conditions are more balanced across the board or leaning toward seller's territory once again. The one exception is the Greater Toronto Area -- now largely a seller's market -- with bidding wars making a comeback amid tight inventory levels. The strength of the luxury segment is evident. This is now a real estate market with all sectors working in tandem."

To view the full RE/MAX Upper End Report 2009, click here: http://files.newswire.ca/348/UpperEndRpt2009.pdf

    
    Highlights:

    -   Upper end sales started to move upward as positive indicators of
        economic recovery began to emerge. The momentum is expected to
        continue as Canada edges closer to positive periods of GDP growth in
        Q4 2009 and in 2010.
    -   Locals are fuelling luxury sales in the majority of markets surveyed.
        Activity among out-of-province and international purchasers has waned
        from one year ago, although their presence in still evident in some
        markets.
    -   Sixty-one properties in Canada are currently priced over $10 million,
        with 18 of those located in Ontario. The priciest Ontario home is
        nestled in Toronto's prestigious Bridle Path area, listed at
        $23 million.
    -   Three hundred properties currently listed for sale are priced over
        $5 million in Canada.
    -   In Atlantic Canada, there are 22 listings in excess of $2 million -
        13 in Nova Scotia, five in New Brunswick and two in Prince Edward
        Island. The most expensive property in Atlantic Canada is a
        $7.75 million estate on a bluff fronting the Atlantic Ocean on PEI's
        north coast.
    

RE/MAX is Canada's leading real estate organization with over 17,000 sales associates situated throughout its more than 677 independently-owned and operated offices across the country. The RE/MAX franchise network, now in its 36th year, is a global real estate system operating in more than 70 countries. Over 6,700 independently-owned offices engage nearly 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: www.remax.ca.

SOURCE RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada

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


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