SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Adine Deford, Cynthia Dunlop, Harry Trott, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

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The new year heralds in a seller's market in Canada's largest cities

Conditions are ripe for as strong a market as the post-recessionary rebound

TORONTO, Jan. 9, 2014 /CNW/ - According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast released today, the average price of a home in Canada increased between 1.2 per cent and 3.8 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

The survey showed year-over-year average price increases in the fourth quarter of 2013 of 3.6 per cent to $418,282 for standard two-storey homes and 3.8 per cent to $380,710 for detached bungalows, while the average price of a standard condominium rose 1.2 per cent to $246,530. Prices are expected to maintain healthy momentum into 2014, with Royal LePage projecting a 3.7 per cent increase nationally from 2013 and a shift to a seller's market in the first portion of the year.

"A few short months ago, the country's housing market emerged from a year-long correctional cycle of dramatically slowed sales volumes. Later 2013 was marked by a transition to buoyant sales volumes and above average price growth," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage. "In the absence of some calamitous event or material increase in mortgage financing costs, we expect this positive momentum to characterize 2014. In fact, we expect a market tipped decidedly in favour of sellers for the first half of the year, after which we project a shift to a more balanced market."

"We predict continued upward pressure on home prices as we move towards the all-important spring market. In addition to normal demand, housing prices in Canada this year will be influenced by buyers who put off purchase plans in the very soft spring of 2013," continued Soper. "Talk of a 'soft landing' for Canada's real estate market in the new year is misguided.  We expect no landing, no slowdown, and no correction in the near-term. Conditions are ripe for as strong a market as we saw in the post-recessionary rebound of the last decade."

Canada's economy is expected to perk up in the year ahead, supported by increased business spending, improving employment and wage prospects, and a pick-up in exports propelled by a recovering U.S. economy and a lower Canadian dollar, among other factors.

"We believe aggressive government intervention, such as further restrictions on first-time buyer's access to insured mortgage financing, or significant increases in interest rates, is unlikely to occur in 2014," said Soper. "Our forecast assumes a continuously improving economy, both at home and abroad."

While most indicators point to a strengthening housing market, some optimism has been overshadowed by fears of instability in Canada's real estate market resulting from high volumes of condominium projects in major Canadian cities.  In light of this growing discussion, Royal LePage released a report in December 2013 analyzing the sustainability of condominium markets in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

The report found that while actual condominium production across these three cities currently exceeds estimated near-term consumer requirements, strong condo market activity has been generated by important fundamentals including low interest rates, strong job creation in central areas of cities, evolving consumer preferences and conditions that can make condo ownership an effective investment opportunity.  According to the report, this strong activity "is not sufficient evidence of a housing bubble," but rather the result of positive economic forces and changes in demand patterns supportive of condominium living.

Regional Market Summaries

Despite a swelling of inventory at year's end, the Halifax housing market made strong gains in 2013. Standard two-storey homes saw the largest year-over-year gain, with the average price increasing 4.8 per cent to $329,633. At the same time condominiums increased 2.9 per cent and detached bungalows increased 2.4 per cent. Average Halifax house prices are forecast to increase by 1.1 per cent in 2014.

St. John's housing prices shot up again in the fourth quarter, with all three housing types experiencing 9.0 per cent or greater year-over-year growth. An increase in the supply of homes available for sale in that market point to more moderate price appreciation in 2014.

The price for standard two-storey homes in Montreal increased markedly in the fourth quarter, increasing by 5.8 per cent to $401,714. Other housing categories were more balanced, with detached bungalows rising by 2.9 per cent and standard condominiums declining a modest 0.4 per cent.  Average housing prices in Montreal are forecast to increase by 1.4 per cent in 2014, partially because of an expected decline in unit sales.

Prices for detached homes in Ottawa increased slightly on a year-over-year basis, with the average price for standard two-storey homes increasing 2.2 per cent to $397,667 and detached bungalows increasing 2.4 per cent to $395,167.  Condominiums saw a slight depreciation in prices in reaction to a surge in available units. Average home prices in this region are expected to see mild growth of 1.6 per cent in 2014.

A supply shortage of detached homes in Toronto led to steady increases in the average price for these types of properties, with standard two-storey homes increasing 2.7 per cent to $686,250 and detached bungalows increasing 3.9 per cent to $580,151. Over the same timeframe standard condominium prices were up slightly, increasing by 1.0 per cent to $360,272. Toronto home prices are expected to grow by 3.9 per cent in 2014, while unit sales are projected to increase by 0.9 per cent.

The Winnipeg housing market witnessed mixed results in the fourth quarter, with condominiums experiencing a significant 7.2 per cent year-over-year price increase based on a surge in demand for this housing type. Standard two-storey homes showed more modest growth increasing 2.0 per cent, while detached bungalows were down slightly with a 0.1 per cent decrease. The average price of a home in Winnipeg is forecast to rise by 2.0 per cent year-over-year in 2014.

A surge in supply of homes available and prudent buyers in Regina led to modest price depreciation for detached homes in the area. Standard two-storey homes dropped 3.2 per cent year-over-year to $370,250 while bungalows declined 0.5 per cent to $331,500. At the same time standard condominiums posted a slight increase of 0.6 per cent. The city's residential real estate market is expected to bounce back in 2014, with average prices projected to increase by 2.5 per cent.

The Calgary market saw strong year-over-year price appreciation across all housing types as inventory shortages continued. Average prices for detached bungalows increased 6.4 per cent year-over-year to $468,967 and standard two-storey homes increased 6.1 per cent to $461,089, while condominiums rose 7.0 per cent to $269,778. With continued supply scarcity expected in the year ahead, average prices for homes are predicted to increase by 5.1 per cent.

In the balanced Edmonton market, detached bungalows rose 3.7 per cent year-over-year to $344,626 while standard two-storey homes posted a modest increase of 1.9 per cent to $363,075. In the same period, condominiums increased by 2.2 per cent to $207,270. Looking ahead to 2014, average house prices are expected to rise by 3.0 per cent.

Confidence crept back into the Vancouver market, with prices for all housing types seeing moderate growth. The average price for detached bungalows increased 4.0 per cent year-over-year to $1,041,300 and standard two-storey homes increased 3.3 per cent to $1,139,050, while condominiums rose 2.3 per cent to $492,500. The momentum of the real estate market is expected to carry over into the New Year, with prices projected to rise 4.4 per cent in 2014.

Royal LePage's quarterly House Price Survey shows the annual change of prices for key housing segments in select national markets.

  Detached Bungalows Standard Two Storey Standard Condominium  
Market Q4 2013 Average Last
Quarter Avg
Q4 2012 Average Bungalow % Change Q4 2013 Average Last
Quarter Avg
Q4 2012 Average 2 Storey % Change Q4 2013 Average Last
Quarter Avg
Q4 2012 Average Condo % Change
Halifax 300,000 299,000 292,833 2.4% 329,633 329,333 314,500 4.8% 214,500 214,000 208,500 2.9%
Charlottetown 173,000 173,000 172,000 0.6% 205,000 205,000 205,000 0.0% 128,000 128,000 127,000 0.8%
Moncton 155,200 148,000 156,000 -0.5% 141,000 145,000 137,800 2.3%        
Fredericton 203,000 207,000 205,000 -1.0% 215,000 215,000 220,000 -2.3% 151,000 153,000 158,000 -4.4%
Saint John 176,357 176,092 176,357 0.0% 202,750 278,895 202,750 0.0% 154,687 156,905 154,687 0.0%
St. John's 296,000 296,000 271,667 9.0% 401,010 400,333 367,333 9.2% 316,235 315,333 289,333 9.3%
Montreal 291,050 289,306 282,911 2.9% 401,714 403,007 379,546 5.8% 239,322 239,819 240,272 -0.4%
Ottawa 395,167 398,167 386,000 2.4% 397,667 401,500 389,167 2.2% 260,500 259,000 263,667 -1.2%
Toronto 580,151 577,563 558,345 3.9% 686,250 678,016 668,133 2.7% 360,272 355,483 356,865 1.0%
Hamilton 234,241 228,901 222,704 5.2% 302,998 294,919 272,723 11.1%        
Winnipeg 303,760 307,069 304,157 -0.1% 329,104 346,860 322,538 2.0% 205,976 195,226 192,062 7.2%
Regina 331,500 336,500 333,330 -0.5% 370,250 372,250 382,500 -3.2% 212,000 212,622 210,750 0.6%
Saskatoon 367,250 366,250 363,750 1.0% 379,250 399,750 376,750 0.7% 264,667 255,000 261,333 1.3%
Calgary 468,967 465,411 440,600 6.4% 461,089 446,411 434,667 6.1% 269,778 263,087 263,200 7.0%
Edmonton 344,626 337,804 332,286 3.7% 363,075 362,000 356,286 1.9% 207,270 203,637 202,714 2.2%
Vancouver 1,041,300 1,070,000 1,001,250 4.0% 1,139,050 1,156,500 1,102,500 3.3% 492,500 503,750 481,250 2.3%
Victoria 460,000 458,000 470,000 -2.1% 463,000 462,000 475,000 -2.5% 249,000 268,000 258,000 -3.5%
National 380,710 386,547 366,773 3.8% 418,282 419,614 403,747 3.6% 246,530 248,750 243,607 1.2%



2014 Royal LePage Market Survey Forecast

Average House Price % Change
Market Province 2014/2013
% Change
2014 Forecast 2013 2013/2012
% Change
2012
Halifax NS 1.1% 278,000 275,000 1.6% 270,742
Montreal QC 1.4% 336,000 331,500 1.8% 325,655
Ottawa ON 1.6% 365,252 359,500 2.0% 352,610
Toronto ON 3.9% 545,000 524,500 5.1% 498,973
Winnipeg MB 2.0% 271,800 266,500 4.5% 255,058
Regina SA 2.5% 321,300 313,500 4.1% 301,145
Calgary AB 5.1% 461,000 438,500 6.4% 412,315
Edmonton AB 3.0% 355,000 344,500 3.0% 334,318
Vancouver BC 4.4% 801,000 767,000 5.1% 730,063
National   3.7% 396,500 382,500 5.2% 363,740




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 90 communities across the country. A complete database of past and present surveys is available on the Royal LePage website at www.royallepage.ca. Current figures will be updated following the complete tabulation of the data for the fourth quarter of 2013. A printable version of the fourth quarter 2013 survey will be available online on February 6, 2014. 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. 

About Royal LePage
Serving Canadians since 1913, Royal LePage is the country's leading provider of services to real estate brokerages, with a network of nearly 15,000 real estate professionals in over 600 locations nationwide. Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable foundation, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, dedicated to supporting women's and children's shelters and educational programs aimed at ending domestic violence. Royal LePage is a Brookfield Real Estate Services Inc. company, a TSX-listed corporation trading under the symbol TSX:BRE.

For more information, visit www.royallepage.ca.

SOURCE Royal LePage Real Estate Services

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