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First-half housing sales slump

Listings way up; values moderately up as Canada's housing market cools

Canada's housing market cooled considerably in the first half of this year, with sales recorded by the Canadian Real Estate Association slumping by 13.1 per cent from the same period last year. The real estate group said that new listings of homes for sale on the Multiple Listing Service jumped 9.1 per cent to 518,270 units in the first six months - a record high - while sale prices rose a tepid 3.6 per cent following the double digit increases of the recent past.

Unit sales were down in all provinces except Newfoundland, with British Columbia, Alberta and Prince Edward Island experiencing a fall-off in sales topping 20 per cent.

The numbers are indicative of a housing market that is trending downward after several strong years, particularly last year, said association president Calvin Lindberg.

"In essence, Canada's housing market has pulled back from the record-setting pace set in 2007, but in most provinces it continues at or near sales levels set in the years before that," said Lindberg.

"The increase in housing prices is also pulling back from the record-setting pace of last year, but we have yet to see any of the price contractions that have impacted the housing market in the United States," he added.

Lindberg noted that 251,550 units were sold through the multiple listing service in the January-June period, the fifth consecutive year sales have topped a quarter million.

Most of the decline this year occurred in February, after which activity has held steady, said the association.

Chief economist Gregory Klump added that the market appears to be cooling evenly between rural, urban and suburban markets. "There is no statistical evidence to date that shows increases in energy prices are prompting Canadians to re-locate," he said.

The association's latest report confirms previous indicators, including from CREA, that point to a slowing but not collapsing housing market in Canada. In a survey of Canada's 25 largest markets earlier this month, CREA reported that prices had retreated by 0.4 per cent in June from the previous year.

July 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Toronto ranks more costly

Toronto now the second most expensive city in North America to live in and 54th internationally.

Toronto has once again proven itself one of the most expensive North American cities to live in, sitting now just behind New York for tops in the continent, a noted report reveals. The annual U.K.-based Mercer's cost of living survey -- which looks at how expensive it is for a company to relocate employees -- shows that Toronto leap-frogged Los Angeles and Miami since last year.

Moscow retained its position as the most expensive city for corporations world-wide, with Tokyo, London, Oslo and Seoul rounding out the top five.

New York was the only North American city in the top 50, at 22nd overall.

Toronto, which jumped 28 spots from last year to 54th overall, is the most expensive Canadian city for newcomers to live in, but not the only one shooting up Mercer's list.

Vancouver went from 89th in 2007 to 64th this year, Calgary from 92nd to 66th and Montreal from 98th to 72nd.

American cities like L.A. (42nd to 55th) and Washington D.C. (85th to 107th) are in a free fall.

July 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Real estate markets finding "balance"?

Residential property listings set another monthly record

A surge of new listings combined with a sharp decrease in sales for British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan's housing sector this spring, creating some of the most balanced real estate markets in the country.

The number of residential properties listed with real estate boards across the country rose an average of 1.8 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis to 78,878 units in May 2008, setting a second consecutive monthly record for this year, according to statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

Seasonally adjusted sales activity on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), meanwhile, edged lower by 1.2 per cent month-over-month to 38,133 units this past May.

It was partly due to fewer transactions in B.C., Saskatchewan and Alberta.

That was slightly offset by a monthly rise in activity in Ontario, which resulted from record sales in Ottawa and a rebound in Toronto's numbers, according to CREA officials.

Toronto's sales continued a steady decline on a month-over-month basis when compared with a record year in 2007, but average prices were still up, figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) show.

The city's resale housing market recorded 9,411 transactions in May, a 16-per-cent decrease over the same month last year, when a record 11,146 properties were sold. It was up, however, from the 8,762 units sold the month before in April, which was a seven-per-cent decrease in the sales reported in April 2007.

Toronto real estate agents sold 8,600 properties in June, which was an 18-per-cent decrease from the June 2007 total of 10,451 units.

A press release from the CREA noted there was also a 22-per-cent increase in listings with 26,698 properties going on the market in June compared with 21,789 during the same period in 2007.

Members of the Winnipeg Realtors Association were popping champagne corks at the end of May and June after posting their highest dollar volume in the organization's 105-year history. Agents sold $319.7 million in properties during May and $317 million during June.

Winnipeg's average residential detached sale price in May was $221,431, an increase of 13.7 per cent over the average closing price of $194,728 recorded in May 2007.

Saskatoon's housing market stabilized during May with 1,015 properties being put up for sale, compared with 706 properties available during the same month a year ago in May 2007, according to the Saskatoon Real Estate Board.

That was offset by 367 homes valued at a total of just over $110 million sold during May, board officials said. It was down 18 per cent over May 2007, when more than $135 million worth of real estate was sold.

The average selling price of a residential single-family dwelling in May was $301,527, a bargain compared with Calgary's average for the same month of $479,564 and Edmonton coming in at $383,167.

MLS numbers from the Calgary Real Estate Board were down in almost all categories. Board data showed June listings of single-family dwellings fell 18.8 per cent over the previous month to 2,787 units. Sales were also down in Calgary 18.1 per cent to 1,439 compared with the same month in 2007. They edged up slightly 5.2 per cent from the previous month's total of 1,368. The average price of a single-family home in Calgary was $473,774 in June, down 4.7 per cent from the same month in 2007, with an average price of $496,890. Prices in May didn't fare that much better, with an average of $479,564 for a 1.6-per-cent drop from $487,523 in May 2007.

That balancing act between increased new listings and lower sales was particularly evident in Vancouver, however, when the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board released its statistics for May. The number of residential property sales in the city declined 30.7 per cent to 3,002 in May 2008, compared with the 4,331 units that were sold during the same period in 2007. New listings for attached, detached and apartment properties, however, were up 20.2 per cent to 7,390 in May 2008, compared with 6,149 in May 2007. Sales of detached properties in May 2008 dropped 33.4 per cent to 1,244, compared with the 1,805 sales recorded during the same period in Vancouver during 2007.

July 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

The National Do-Not-Call List

"Do Not Call" Registry effective September 30, 2008

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is responsible for the National Do-Not-Call List (DNCL), which contains the names and telephone numbers of the consumers who do not want to receive unsolicited telephone calls from telemarketers.

Telemarketing is the use of telephony technology (telephone, cellphone, fax, etc.) to make unsolicited telephone calls or send unsolicited messages to consumers for the purpose of solicitation. Solicitation is selling or promoting a product or service, or soliciting money.

The object of the National DNCL is to provide a way for consumers to prevent telemarketers from calling them without consumers having to deal with individual telemarketers and their do-not-call lists. Telemarketers will not be permitted to call any of the numbers on the National Do-Not-Call List (DNCL), unless they already have an existing business relationship with the consumer or individual.

The federal legislation creating the framework for Canada’s National Do-Not-Call List was passed in 2005. On December 21st, 2007, the CRTC awarded a five-year contract to Bell Canada to operate the National DNCL, and announced the list would be active on September 30th, 2008. The operator is responsible for registering numbers, providing telemarketers with up-to-date versions of the National DNCL, and receiving consumer complaints about telemarketing calls.

Consumers can register up to three different numbers on the list, and have to renew that list every three years. There is no cost for getting onto the list. Telemarketers are required to monitor the National DNCL and remove any numbers they find on it from their calling lists. Telemarketers have to pay for access to the list.

Real estate brokers and salespersons making unsolicited telephone calls are “telemarketers” within the meaning of the legislation. Realtors can still contact consumers in other legal ways, such as direct mail. But if consumers (including private sellers) put their phone numbers on the National Do-Not-Call List, Realtors cannot telephone or fax them to solicit business.

July 24, 2008 in Agency Matters | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

China’s property price rise slows

China´s real estate price rise continued to slow its pace in June, according to statistics released by the country´s top economic planning organ. Property prices in 70 major cities increased by 8.2 per cent in June from the same month last year, one percentage point slower than in May, said the National Development and Reform Commission in a bulletin on its website.

Market analysts attributed the slowdown to the government´s efforts in tightening lending rates and mortgage requirements to control duplicated construction, curb excessive investments, and rein in surging property prices.

Prices of new houses rose 9.2 per cent from that in last June, one percentage point lower than in May. The price increase for second hand houses slowed to 7.5 per cent in June from 8.8 per cent in May.

Non-residential houses saw their prices increase by 5.6 per cent in June from the same month last year, 0.9 percentage point lower than in May.

New house prices in northwestern Urumqi, southern Haikou, eastern Ningbo, Hangzhou, and Beijing rose by 20.2 per cent, 18.1 per cent, 14.7 per cent, 13.3 per cent, and 14.3 per cent, respectively, compared with the same month last year.

July 22, 2008 in World View [of real estate] | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Downtown Oshawa is looking up

Though transition has been slow, signs point to a business and entertainment revival.

Oshawa's downtown is area in transition, where boarded-up buildings and empty storefronts share street space with busy upscale restaurants and ambitious restoration projects. Decay and degeneration is giving way to new development and a vibrancy not seen since the '70s.

The signs are everywhere. Among them:

The conference centre, to be built on a parking lot at Queen's Market Square, is "very significant," says Councillor Louise Parkes, who landed the deal by taking the developer on a tour "to show them we were serious about downtown." "This may be the domino that makes the rest fall into place," says Parkes, chair of the development services committee.

It's a viewpoint challenged by GM's recently announced plan to close the truck plant in the city, throwing thousands of people out of work.

Last month's year-to-date total of more than $242 million for building permits was the strongest in Oshawa's history, Parkes notes. "We are booming."

But more than that, "we're bringing high-quality businesses back into downtown."

Joe Bhola represents the new face of downtown Oshawa. Attracted by the city's efforts to revive it and "so many offices with working women," he and his wife Anjali opened Rheanna on Simcoe St. S. eight months ago. Selling high-end European fashions and jewellery, the boutique has been well-received since being officially opened by Mayor John Gray, Bhola says.

"We're doing well. There's a good office crowd and good traffic here. That's why I came – I love this area."

The Bholas' store is what downtown development officer David Tuley calls the "authentic environments" where today's consumers want to shop and socialize. That's one of the driving forces behind the new wave of business and commerce in the heart of the city, he says.

Like other urban centres, Oshawa fell victim to big box stores and indoor malls that pulled retailers out to the suburbs, says Tuley, who was hired two years ago to stickhandle the city's revitalization plan developed in 2005.

Proof of its turnaround is in the numbers: the commercial vacancy rate that was 28.6 per cent in 1996 now sits at 14.5 per cent. A year ago, there was more than 200,000 square feet of large office space sitting empty; today it's down to 40,000.

"It's been amazing," says Tuley. "It's an excellent sign." He thinks it's Oshawa's turn to blossom.

"The last bastion of development in the west GTA was Burlington. We're the final frontier, the largest urban downtown in the north and east GTA. We're still affordable and it's easy to come in and get your piece of the action. Compared to the rest of the GTA, we're kind of a golden nugget."

July 21, 2008 in Location, location, location | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Market woes mean reno shows

The slowdown of home sales in the real world has not hurt the growth of property-related programming. If anything, the housing slump has reduced the genre to two simple choices: Fix-it shows and flip-it shows.

In the United States, where the housing crisis is more pronounced, the trend is more toward the flipping option. According to The New York Times, ratings on HGTV and TLC - the two cable channels with the highest volume of home reno shows - have soared in correlation with the gradual decline of the housing market in the past few years.

In recent months, TLC has been earning all-time high ratings for shows such as Property Guide, Date My House and Flip That House (which is not to be confused with A&E's Flip This House). Prospective home buyers and sellers are looking for any edge they can find.

"The current economic environment is changing everything about home TV shows," TLC president Angela Shapiro-Mathes said last week at the TV critics press tour. "People aren't buying and selling homes the way they were a few years ago. Now, they're worried about paying the mortgage, or whether or not they should move in the first place."

The changing times have prompted TLC to form a Saturday-night prime-time block titled House Calls featuring the popular home-reno programs My First Home, Trading Spaces and the more recent addition of the Canadian-made series, Holmes on Homes (which airs in Canada on HGTV, Thursdays at 8 p.m.). The arrival of the brawny contractor on American cable television means a broader viewing audience, but his message remains the same: buyer beware.

"The whole idea of real estate is to make money," says Holmes, who came to Los Angeles to promote the show's U.S. launch. "People use cheaper contractors to get the work done, and before long they've got a leak that turned into mould or some other problem. And it's getting worse."

Holmes has performed countless missions of mercy since the show launched on Canadian television in 2003. Forever sporting work coveralls and his trademark buzz cut, the native of Halton Hills, Ont., specializes in uncovering substandard construction and works with each homeowner to fix the problem.

Over six seasons, Holmes has discovered more mouldy walls, unsafe wiring, rusty pipes and generally shoddy repair jobs than anyone on television. On this week's show, he leads his team of carpenters, electricians and plumbers into a development where literally every new house is beset by cheap workmanship. As in all renovation matters, the road to proper home repair begins with finding the right person for the job.

"There is still no substitution for a reliable contractor," he says. "I think the mistake of some programs is showing people how simple it can be, and that they can do it themselves. I'm totally against it. You might as well perform your own brain operation."

The house-flipping phenomenon is taken in a different direction with the upcoming series Hope for Your Home, which makes its debut in August on TLC. Hosted by Kirsten Kemp Becker of TLC's popular Property Ladder, the new series acknowledges the sagging housing market and shows distressed homeowners how to add value to their domiciles before putting out the For Sale sign.

Source: Toronto Globe and Mail

July 21, 2008 in Home Maintenance Matters | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Toronto Real Estate Market “Leveling”

After years of record-setting prices, the GTA’s real estate market increasingly appears to be leveling off, analysts and statistics suggest, although experts remain relatively optimistic about the health of the region’s market. Since April, the number of properties to exchange hands has dropped each month, compared to the records set in the same months last year. In June, for example, there were 18% fewer sales than in 2007. Numbers released this week for the first half of July show the trend continues, with a drop of 11% over the same period in 2007.

Meanwhile, the price of an average house in the GTA continues to rise, albeit at a slower rate than last year.

“This is very common in the real estate cycle, that prices are going up but not so much, and volume goes down,” said William Strange, a professor of real estate and urban economics at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. He called the GTA a “leveling” market. The Canadian Real Estate Association announced this week the first drop in housing prices nationally in almost a decade, but characterized it as a one month blip that is not likely a sign of things to come.

That news was followed by the Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) latest figures, which showed that the average price of a home in the GTA during the first half of July was $379,072, which is a 1% increase from the $374,254 recorded in the first two weeks of July 2007 and a 9% increase from $346,267 recorded during the same period in July 2006. The board has emphasized comparisons to 2006 in order to “present a more accurate perspective” of this year’s resale housing market, since 2007 was an overheated year.

Up until July, monthly sales in the region had increased by about 4% from 2007 to 2008.

Jason Mercer, a senior analyst of the GTA market for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, said that slowdown may be attributable to a rise in homes up for sale, which has tempered the bidding wars. Also, “as you move into July you move out of the strong spring sales months and into the summertime when people are away,” he said. “Before I made a call on price or moving forward I’d wait until we were back in the fall when you see a bit more of activity pick up again.” TREB reports that in the 416 area, the average price was $419,199, up 1% from the $414,321 recorded during first half of July, 2007, while the average price in the 905 was up 2% from $345,741 recorded in the first half of July, 2007.

“Today, we’re kind of on the cusp of a sellers and a balanced market,” said Mr. Mercer, who expects to see some price growth through the year. There was an 11% drop in properties sold across the GTA, however some neighbourhoods recorded impressive gains. The Annex, for example, sold 70% more properties in the first half of July than the same time last year, due largely to purchases of detached homes. Bowmanville saw a 12% increase in sales, while Brampton went up by 18%. “I don’t think anybody looking at Canadian markets right now is seeing an absolutely imminent crisis from stuff that is happening here,” said Mr. Strange, the U of T professor.

And while Torontonians have profited from the housing boom of recent years, it was a far cry from the frenzy that swept through Alberta, where prices have dropped.

July 18, 2008 in Toronto Real Estate Update | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Toronto Real Estate Board:

GTA Resale Housing Prices Up, Sales Down

Moderate activity and strong prices continued to characterize the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) resale housing market during the first half of July, Toronto Real Estate Board President Maureen O'Neill has announced in a mid-month report.

"The average price in the GTA during the first half of July was $379,072, which is a one per cent increase from the $374,254 recorded in the first two weeks of July 2007 and a nine per cent increase from $346,267 recorded during the same period in July 2006," said Ms. O'Neill.

In the 416 area, the average price was $419,199, up one per cent from the $414,321 recorded during first half of July 2007 and up 14 per cent from the $367,541 recorded during the same period two years ago.

At $353,257 the 905 region's average price was up two per cent from $345,741 recorded in the first half of July 2007 and up six per cent from $332,733 recorded during the same period in July 2006.

"Continued strength in house prices throughout the GTA indicates that consumers continue to recognize the value of real estate as a long-term investment," said Ms. O'Neill.

Sales activity remained moderate in the first half of July, with 3,497 homes changing hands in the GTA. This is a decrease of 11 per cent from the 3,947 properties sold in the same period in 2007 but an eight per cent increase from the 3,251 transactions recorded in the first two weeks of July 2006. Sales in the first two weeks of July 2007 saw a 21 per cent increase from mid-July 2006.

In the 416 area there were 1,369 sales, down 17 per cent from the 1,641 recorded during the first two weeks of July 2007 but up eight per cent from the 1,264 sales recorded in the same period in July 2006. Before the Land Transfer Tax went into effect, sales increased 30 per cent in the first half of July 2007 compared to the same period in July 2006.

Sales in the 905 region came in at 2,128 in the first half of the month, down eight per cent from the 2,306 recorded during the same period last year but up seven per cent from the 1,987 sales recorded during the first half of July 2006. Sales in the first two weeks of July 2007 saw a 16 per cent increase over mid-July 2006.

Activity in certain areas increased in the first half of this month.

Bowmanville (E17) saw a 12 per cent overall increase in sales due to an increase in detached home transactions.

Brampton (W24) sales increased 18 per cent, driven primarily by a significant increase in semi-detached home transactions.

The Annex (C02) experienced a 70 per cent increase in sales largely due to an increase in detached home transactions.

"Although the number of available properties has increased 25 per cent compared to a year ago, from 21,777 to 27,317 listings, the number of days on market remains the same at 32, which is a positive sign," said Ms. O'Neill.

July 18, 2008 in Toronto Real Estate Update | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Price increases forecast to continue

Despite easing rates of appreciation, the average house price in Canada is forecast to rise by 3.5 per cent by year's end.

Canada's real estate market is poised to maintain the momentum gained from a solid second quarter through to the end of 2008, with Regina set to experience the greatest rise in house prices. While home prices are expected to appreciate in all but two major markets during the year, activity levels across the country are expected to decline from 2007's record-setting pace, as pent-up demand is satisfied and some buyers retreat to the sidelines in the face of increasing economic uncertainty, according to a House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast report released today by Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

During the second quarter, average house prices rose across most of the country with rates of appreciation easing from the dramatic spikes that were observed in 2006 and 2007. Continued robust demand led to strong double-digit gains in Saskatchewan, Winnipeg and St. John's; while a surge in inventory caused Alberta's white-hot market to record the country's only major-market price decreases.

"Canada's resale housing market proved resilient in the second quarter. In fact, we have been pleasantly surprised that strong fundamentals, such as enduringly positive employment numbers and reasonable mortgage rates, have countered increasingly pessimistic consumer sentiment, based primarily on the American housing recession," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer, Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

Added Soper: "After several years characterized by a persistent shortage of listings, home buyers have felt the pressure of bidding wars and take-it-or-leave-it counter offers ease during 2008; home sellers have had to come to grips with the longer time it is taking to sell properties, but can take comfort in a market that continues to support reasonable price increases. Our research indicates that all markets will continue to perform well, albeit at a tempered pace."

The national average house price is forecast to rise by 3.5 per cent, to $318,000 by the year's end. Home sale transactions are projected to decrease by 11.5 per cent to 461,000 unit sales by the end of 2008.

Examining figures from the second quarter, the highest average price appreciation occurred in detached bungalows, which rose by 5.6 per cent to $351,587, followed by standard two-storey properties, which rose to $418,943 (5.2%), and standard condominiums, which increased to $248,408 (3.9%), year-over-year.

An extreme inventory shortage has helped pressure prices upwards in the mid-west, while excess supply loosened markets in the previously frenzied Alberta.

While Saskatchewan's cities recorded the country's highest price gains, Winnipeg followed closely behind. Growth in agricultural sectors, and subsequently high levels of immigration required housing that simply could not be met by current levels of inventory. The inevitable result of a booming economy was observed as the markets held strongly in the sellers' favor as house prices skyrocketed in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Despite some mild price erosion during the second quarter in both Calgary and Edmonton, these markets remain strong. Although prices have come down from where they were last year - one of the best years on record - current house prices are far higher than they were three years ago, before energy-rich Alberta experienced its boom. Relative to the rest of the country, Calgary and Edmonton are still home to some of Canada's most expensive real estate.

Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa all experienced strong second quarters, and are poised to continue to see prices appreciate. In all three cities, listings rose during the second quarter, compared to the same period last year. The increase in inventory has translated into fewer, albeit still occurring, multiple offer situations. Homes priced appropriately had listing periods that often lasted one to two weeks during the second quarter; a relatively short period of time by historical standards.

Echoing the trend of the past few months, St. John's has become the economic bright spot of Atlantic Canada. With various new oil projects underway, and others to begin shortly, St. John's is experiencing housing market conditions typically only seen in major metropolitan cities. Skyrocketing house prices and multiple offer situations have quickly swung the city into a sellers' market. Strong demand in the country's eastern provinces has led to many Atlantic cities recording double-digit prices increases.

Regional Summaries
In Halifax, strong buyer demand combined with the city's low inventory levels created an abundance of activity during the second quarter leading to many multiple offer situations. Buyer demand was strong during the second quarter with all types of buyers drawn to the market. Looking ahead prices are anticipated to increase, while unit sales are expected to decline.

St. John's had a phenomenal second quarter, characterized by an abundance of buyer activity, with multiple offer situations and bidding wars becoming the norm. With various new oil projects underway, and others set to begin shortly, the strong economy in St. John's has boosted consumer confidence across the city. High buyer demand led to double-digit price increases in all housing types during the second quarter. These strong conditions are anticipated to continue over the next six months.

The housing market in Moncton experienced a healthy second quarter, with moderate house price appreciation expected to continue throughout the year. The job market in Moncton is very healthy - in-migration of Moncton natives returning from out west will continue to create activity in the real estate market with prices increasing slightly to year's end.

First time buyers helped boost activity in Saint John, showing a preference for homes priced between $150,000 and $250,000. Workers returning from the oil fields in Alberta also entered the high-end real estate market leading to strong activity levels in this housing type during the second quarter.

Charlottetown saw a return to a more balanced market during the second quarter - with an increase in inventory coming on stream, ultimately positioning the market in favour of the buyer. The stable housing market in Charlottetown is anticipated to continue through to the end of the year.

In Fredericton, the housing market experienced more balanced market conditions during the second-quarter with activity in the condo market tempering from where it was several months ago, as more of this property type was listed on the market. Fredericton's real estate market is anticipated to remain robust for buyers and sellers alike well into the next year.

Montreal's housing market experienced moderate growth during the second quarter, with average house prices inching upwards by high single-digits. Healthy employment rates and the relatively low cost of borrowing money continues to bolster buyer demand, and will help maintain the strength of the market into the second half of the year.

Toronto's real estate market is anticipated to see healthy price appreciations throughout the remainder of 2008. The market is expected to mirror the second quarter's conditions of rising average house prices, which were bolstered largely by healthy buyer demand. During the second quarter, all housing types received considerable buyer attention, with the city's upper end properties doing extremely well. A heightened awareness of the environment, as well as rising prices at the gas pumps, have contributed to an influx of purchasers relocating to the city's core, placing properties near public transit at a premium.

The outlook for Ottawa's resale housing market is optimistic, with average prices anticipated to rise and market activity to remain steady, through to the end of 2008. Bolstered by the combination of a robust and unwavering local economy, and high consumer confidence, Ottawa's real estate market maintained its title as the country's most stable market during the second quarter.

In Winnipeg, limited new and resale housing inventory continued to tighten the city's real estate market, and will do so for the remainder of 2008. The limited supply of housing throughout the city had a dramatic impact on average house prices, which, for all housing types surveyed during the second quarter, experienced double-digit year-over-year increases. Inventory levels were tightened throughout Winnipeg due to an influx of provincial in-migration, during the second quarter.

Prosperity in both Regina and Saskatoon - generated by surging commodity prices and market speculation - continued to fuel interest in residential real estate throughout the province. In Regina, all housing types continued to demonstrate their resilience in the second quarter, as even a five fold spike in inventory levels could not dampen price appreciation. As a result, average house prices continued to demonstrate substantial year-over-year gains. Similar to Regina, second quarter house prices in Saskatoon continued to climb at an exceptional, yet slightly slower rate than that of Regina's. Market conditions appeared slightly more balanced in the second quarter, when compared to activity in recent months. Look ahead; listing inventory will rise, resulting in a slight period of stabilization.

Calgary's resale housing market moderated in the second quarter of 2008 - a trend that is expected to continue throughout the latter half of the year. After a period of substantial growth in new housing development and skyrocketing average house prices, Calgary's real estate market took a collective exhale during what is typically one of the market's busiest periods. Signs of a market in the latter stages of a hurried boom are evident in Calgary, primarily in the city's inventory surplus; inventory levels throughout the city will soon return to healthier levels as more speculators move east in search of new real estate development opportunities, while principle-asset homeowners hold onto their existing property until market conditions once again pick-up steam.

Inventory levels - which increased substantially in the last 12 months - also led to a softening of Edmonton's housing market during the second quarter. The spike in the city's housing inventory can be largely attributed to new housing construction and market speculation, which, in recent years, have both been rampant. The high inventory levels will dwindle into the second half of the year, and as affordability improves, subsequent market conditions will continue to normalize.

In Vancouver, a spike in inventory during the second quarter simmered the heat in the long-standing hot market, resulting in single-digit average house prices increases for most areas examined, when compared to this time past year. Despite the increase in listing volumes, buyer's interest remained strong and it is anticipated that much of the inventory will be absorbed over the next few quarters, leading to low single digit price appreciations through to the year's end.

Victoria's housing market continued to experience average price increases during the second quarter, compared to the same period last year. While average house prices continued to increase, the pace has definitely tempered from the frenetic pace observed in previous quarters. Victoria is experiencing a more normal and healthier real

July 17, 2008 in Canadian Real Estate Market | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack


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