Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Market Watch – October 2010

Housing Market Conditions Remained Healthy in September

Residential real estate markets across Canada are set to return to a normal level of activity for the last half of 2010, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. This news comes after a summer lull; however, the return to normality for markets coast to coast will not likely exceed the sales posted in the final half of 2009.

“The number of sales we saw in September is pretty much on par with the levels of sales for Septembers over the last eight years, last year excepted,” said Joe Ferrante, REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) President, “Our year-to-date sales are still ahead of last year’s, although the gap is closing as the year progresses.”

Based on a variety of indicators that we look at each month, signs of more market stability are showing in most areas across the country.

Ontario - Sales are normal for September

Toronto, October 5, 2010 - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 6,310 sales through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in September 2010. This represented a 23% decrease compared to the 8,196 sales recorded during the same period in 2009. Through the first nine months of the year, sales amounted to 69,069 – up 4% compared to the first three quarters of 2009.

"The level of sales in the second half of 2010 has been lower, representing a balancing out period following record levels of sales in the latter half of 2009 and the first few months of 2010. We remain on track for one of the best years in history for existing home transactions in the GTA," said Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) President Bill Johnston.

The average price for September transactions was $427,329– up 5% compared to the average of $406,877 reported in September 2009. The average selling price through the first nine months of the year was $429,657.

"Resale homes in the GTA remain affordable," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

In September, the median price was $360,325, up from the $347,000 recorded during September of 2009.

Ottawa, October 5, 2010 – In Ottawa, 1,074 residential properties (240 condominiums and 834 residential properties) were sold in September compared with 1,218 in September 2009, recording a decrease of 11.8%.

“After record-breaking sales in September of 2009, this year’s sales were closer to the five-year average for this time of year. Home prices continued to appreciate but not skyrocket, as they generally do in Ottawa. I would describe the current state of the housing market in our region as balanced, with a good supply of homes available for sale,” said Immediate Past President Rick Snell, Ottawa Real Estate Board.

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in September in the Ottawa area was $324,745, an increase of 6.6% over September 2009.

The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $240,050, a decrease of 0.8% over September 2009. While the average sale price of a residential-class property was $349,117, an increase of 8.2% over September 2009.

Hamilton, October 5, 2010 – The Greater Hamilton-Burlington area resale market reported a total of 1,046 units sold in September, indicating a decrease of 13.5% from the same month last year but an increase of 2.8% over August of this year, according to Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) statistics released by the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB). Total unit sales for the first three quarters of 2010 are being reported at 5.4% higher than the same period last year, while new units listed are 13.3% higher year-to-date.

Residential properties sold during September totaled 1,007 which included 813 freehold properties and 194 condominiums. Commercial sales for September, including industrial, farm, vacant land and business, totaled 39 units.

The average price of freehold residential properties sold in the month of September was $336,351, an increase of 3.4% over September last year. The average sale price reflects the dollar volume of residential sales divided by the number of total residential units sold.

In the condominium market, the average price of condominiums in September was $233,596, an increase of 1.7% over September 2009.

The total number of units listed for sale during August was 1,935, which is a 17.2% increase over the number listed in the same period in 2009.

Alberta - Home sales in the city of Calgary increased in September

Calgary, October 1, 2010 – Home sales in Calgary were up month-over-month in September 2010, the first up tick in sales since April 2010. Year over-year sales continued to trend lower in the month of September, but at a pace slower than previous months, according to figures released today by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®).

The number of single family home sales in the month of September 2010 grew by 10% at 958, compared with August 2010, when sales were 867. The number of condominium sales for the month of September 2010 was 366. This was an increase of 1% from the 364 condominium transactions recorded in August 2010.

Year-over-year, the number of single family homes sold in September 2010 in the city of Calgary were down 24%. In September 2009, single family home sales totaled 1,257. Condominium sales saw a decrease of 37% from the same time a year ago. In September 2009, condominium sales were 580.

“There are signs that September may mark a gradual, if not slight, up tick for Calgary’s housing market—we are seeing a modest improvement since the market’s decline, that really started in April of this year,” says Diane Scott, president of CREB®. “The Bank of Canada is in no hurry to raise interest rates to any significant level, and affordability continues to improve in key segments of the Calgary housing market. These factors, along with great selection, have clearly tipped this market in favour of the buyer,” says Scott.

The average price of a single family home in the city of Calgary in September 2010 was $460,278, showing a 3% increase from August 2010, when the average price was $445,617, and no significant change from September 2009, when the average price was $459,085.

The average price of a condominium in the city of Calgary in September 2010 was $284,028, showing a 1% decrease from August 2010, when the average price was $286,384 and a 2% decrease over last year, when the average price was $290,253.

British Columbia – Housing market factors indicate stability

Vancouver, Oct 5, 2010 - September home sales in Greater Vancouver were consistent with activity experienced in the preceding two months across most categories.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that the number of residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totaled 2,220 in September 2010. This represents a 0.8% increase compared to August 2010 and 37.6% decline from the 3,559 sales in September 2009.

In comparison, last month’s residential sales represent a 40.1% increase over the 1,585 residential sales in September 2008, a 20% decline compared to September 2007’s 2,776 sales, and an 11.9% decline compared to September 2006’s 2,519 sales.

“We’ve seen fewer properties coming on to the market over the last three months. This trend, combined with the continued attraction of low interest rates, is likely having the effect of less downward pressure on home prices,” Jake Moldowan, REBGV president said.

Since spring, housing prices in the region have trended slightly downward, with a decrease of 2.7% compared to the all-time high reached in April when the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) residential benchmark price was $593,419. The overall benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 5.5% to $577,174 in September 2010 from $547,092 in September 2009. The current price remains consistent with last month, rising just 0.1% between August and September 2010.

Total active property listings currently sit at 15,401, basically unchanged compared to last month and a 22% increase from September 2009. Over the last three months, active listings in the region have declined 12.3%.

New residential property listings posted in September declined 17.6% to 4,731 compared to September 2009 when 5,746 new units were listed.

“We saw signs of more stability in our marketplace last month than we have seen since spring based on a variety of indicators that we look at each month,” Moldowan said. “At 56 days, it took, on average, three days less to sell a home in our region compared to August. This is the first month-over-month decline we’ve seen in this category since April.”

Sales of detached properties in September 2010 reached 866, a decrease of 39.1% from the 1,423 detached sales recorded in September 2009, and a 58.6% increase from the 546 units sold in September 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 6.7% from September 2009 to $790,992.

Sales of apartment properties reached 971 in September 2010, a decline of 34.7% compared to the 1,489 sales in September 2009, and an increase of 27.1% compared to the 764 sales in September 2008. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3.7% from September 2009 to $388,373.

Attached property sales in September 2010 totaled 383, a decline of 40.1% compared to the 647 sales in September 2009, and a 39.3% increase from the 275 attached properties sold in September 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 5.2% between September 2009 and 2010 to $490,385.

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