Victoria housing market on its way to full recovery

- Affordability generates high sales volume -

VICTORIA, Oct. 8 /CNW/ -The Royal LePage House Price Survey released today shows Victoria's year-over-year average home prices are down 5.5 per cent, but sales volume is up. Detached bungalows bucked the price trend with a 5.9 per cent year-over-year increase.

Year-over-year inventory is down 25 per cent, and sales volume is up across the board: 43 per cent for single family homes, 40 per cent for condominiums and 50 per cent for townhomes. "The biggest surprise is how quickly the market has recovered," says Carol Geurts, Managing Broker for Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty. "First time buyers are a factor, but Victoria is a special market. It's a destination of choice, particularly for people moving from eastern Canada."

Most listings are still selling below asking price, but bungalows are a hot commodity. "Overall, consumer confidence is coming back to the market," she says. "People aren't sitting on the fence anymore; they're committing to purchases."

Detached bungalows in the $600,000 range - particularly those with rental suits - are generating multiple offers. "Mortgage helpers are attractive to buyers, and there is a large demand for rentals, partly because of the university. Victoria almost has a zero vacancy rate."

Inventory fell throughout Q3, and Geurts expects inventory will continue to tighten in the fourth quarter. "Activity is still strong, and we are not into the slow period of the year yet. The weather is still beautiful, and people are still excited about shopping for homes."

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 are 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 low 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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