Ottawa's house prices stabilizing, forecast shows continued growth for the
coming year

- Royal LePage reports year-over-year house price gains for Ottawa in fourth quarter -

OTTAWA, Jan. 7 /CNW/ - Ottawa's real estate markets made modest gains in the fourth quarter after prices soared in the previous quarter, signaling that house prices are stabilizing, according to today's Royal LePage Market Survey Forecast and House Price Survey. House prices in Ottawa are expected to grow by an average of 5.9 per cent in 2010, with a moderate increase in sales volume.

In comparison to the fourth quarter of 2008, the average price of detached bungalows increased 3.4 per cent (to $332,417) and the average price of standard two-storey houses increased 3.7 per cent (to $331,917). Standard condominiums made the largest gains at 5.0 per cent (to $218,167). This reflects Ottawa's historically strong first-time buyer market, which was supported in 2009 by low interest rates.

"We expect moderate price increase in 2010." said John Rogan, Broker and Manager of Royal LePage Performance Realty. "Ultimately it will be about mortgage rates and mortgage availability. Higher interest rates, shortening amortization and a mandatory increase in down payments could all be important factors in this year's market performance." Rogan also added that the increased cost of HST may also be factor. "We may see a small boost in sales prior to the implementation of HST from buyers who are incented to avoid it, but after it comes into effect some buyers may find the additional cost to be a new challenge to break into the market."

Canada's residential real estate market is forecast to remain unusually strong through the first half of 2010 as economic conditions across the country improve and the stimulus impact of low interest rates continues to stoke demand, according to today's Royal LePage Market Survey Forecast and House Price Survey.

"The Canadian real estate market enters 2010 with considerable momentum from an unusually strong finish to the previous year," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "The stimulus effect of low borrowing costs has contributed to a sharp rise in demand that has driven activity levels to new highs. This demand, coupled with a typical seasonal undersupply of homes for sale, should cause home prices to continue to appreciate significantly during the early months of the year. Improving supply as the year unfolds and easing demand as the cost of home ownership rises should moderate home price increases in the second half of 2010."

Regions that saw the strongest declines during the recession are now showing marked gains. Those regions include Toronto and the Lower Mainland, B.C.. Vancouver in particular experienced a robust quarter, with home prices rising across all housing types surveyed.

About the House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast

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 fourth quarter. A printable version of the fourth quarter 2009 survey will be available online on February 5th, 2010.

Housing values in the Royal LePage 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 believes in the importance of giving back to the community and is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation. The Shelter Foundation 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, 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."

For more information visit

SOURCE Royal LePage Real Estate Services

For further information: For further information: Michael Gotzamanis, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, (416) 598-5788; Tammy Gilmer, Director, Public Relations and National Communications, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, (416) 510-5783

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