Ottawa house prices increased in second quarter of 2010

- Despite modest decline forecast for second half of the year, Ottawa prices expected to remain above 2009 by end of year -

OTTAWA, July 7 /CNW/ - Ottawa's real estate market continues to prosper across all three housing types surveyed as we enter the second half of 2010, according to the Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast.

"Ottawa is still the second most affordable major city in Canada, after Montreal, and people feel good about the economy," said John Rogan, broker and manager, Royal LePage Performance Realty. "Interest rates are still affordable and Ottawa has always benefited from immigration and steady employment from the public sector."

Standard two-storey homes and detached bungalows both saw an 8.5 per cent year-over-year increase in prices. Standard two-storey homes averaged $353,083 at the end of the second quarter of 2010 compared to $325,417 during the same period in 2009. Detached bungalows increased to $352,917 in the second quarter of 2010 compared to $325,417 in 2009. Standard condominiums saw the largest increase, 12.3 per cent, with the average price increasing in the second quarter to $237,750 from $211,750 in 2009.

However, according to Rogan, Ottawa's housing market is entering a cooling period. "We will likely see a slight decline in the second half of 2010, but we anticipate for prices to be around 4.3 per cent higher by end of year when compared to 2009." This will be good news for the many discouraged home buyers frustrated after losing in competitive bids with a limited choice of inventory. "We are coming out of a period where we saw listings sold as soon as they were put on the market. Inventory is starting to build and we will see a more balanced market," added Rogan.

This mirrors Royal LePage's national forecast, which 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: Tammy Gilmer, Director, Public Relations and National Communications, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, 416-510-5783; Sarah Louise Gardiner, Consultant, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, 647-339-6445

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