Vancouver average house prices up 14 per cent since January

- Year-to-date sales activity already exceeds 2008 totals -

VANCOUVER, Oct. 8 /CNW/ - The Royal LePage House Price Survey released today showed the average price of homes in Metro Vancouver has nearly recovered to the highs seen in 2008 although West Vancouver prices pulled down the average with year-over-year price declines of 5 per cent.

According to Chris Simmons, President of Royal LePage Westside, average residential real estate prices are moving up across the region. "We're playing catch up for the previous slow period. The average selling price in Q3 is almost where it was last year. We're seeing a correction caused by pent-up demand."

While Vancouver's key housing types saw price increases between Q2 and Q3, home values were still down compared to the third quarter of 2008. The average price of a detached bungalow dropped 1.8 per cent year-over-year to $802,500, standard two-storey homes declined 2.3 per cent to $904,750, but standard condominiums were up 0.7 per cent to $445,500.

With third-quarter inventory approximately two-thirds of 2008 levels, homes are typically selling at or above asking price, and multiple offers are common. Single family homes are particularly scarce, Simmons said.

August 2009 was a particularly active month, with twice as many condominiums and three times as many single family homes sold in Metro Vancouver over the same period last year. "People are over the shock of the economic crisis that occurred last October, so we're seeing renewed confidence in the economy. Plus, low interest rates were important drivers."

Looking at the North Shore, well-priced homes are a sought-after commodity. "Sales are driven by first time buyers and the current low interest rates," said Bill Binnie, Vancouver President, Royal LePage North Shore. "The average West Vancouver price is over a million dollars, so sales are typically slower. But a well-priced, clean house in a prime West Vancouver neighbourhood is guaranteed to generate multiple offers."

Overall Canada's housing market is on the road to recovery, but despite the strength of the market in the third quarter, giving the appearance of a surge in real estate activity, Royal LePage cautioned that sales activity is following the normal cycle albeit lagging approximately one month behind the typical seasonal pattern in year-to-date analysis.

"The economic recession interrupted the flow of the real estate cycle but it is essentially back on track," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage Real Estate Services. "There is the illusion of a boom in the market, but in fact what we are experiencing is the end of a normal, short-term correction. Once housing supply returns to normal levels, we believe the economy will support modest pricing growth into 2010."

About the Royal LePage Q3 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 third quarter. A printable version of the third quarter 2009 survey will be available online on November 6th, 2009.

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."

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SOURCE Royal LePage Real Estate Services

For further information: For further information: Jeremy Twigg, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, (604) 688-2505 ext. 232; Tammy Gilmer, Director, Public Relations and National Communications, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, (416) 510-5783

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