Robust demand for housing across the country

Canada’s housing market continued to make advances from coast to coast in the second quarter, according to a new report. 

“Interest and activity in the residential real estate market continued unabated in the second quarter, with record or near record sales volumes experienced throughout the country,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage Real Estate Services which released the report. 

“The process of buying or selling a home across most of Canada has become easier, as supply has been able to keep up with demand and price increases have been modest. The story in the West, and particularly in Alberta, is quite different, with extraordinary demand levels far surpassing available inventory. 

“The result has been some of the highest year-over-year price increases that have been experienced in any region of this country in decades. This pattern will likely continue for the remainder of the year,” he added.

According to the report, Winnipeg recorded strong gains, year-over-year, “with most of the city’s areas experiencing solid double-digit growth during the second quarter.

The growth in Winnipeg was attributed to a combination of massive job opportunities at new hydro projects and the floodway, a strong labour force and tight housing inventory within a competitive market.

The Winnipeg Real Estate Board has just released its June MLS® statistics which show that residential-detached dollar volume sales reached $193.6 million, the best result for a single month in the 103-year history of the board.

Total local MLS® sales in all categories hit $232 million, another new record. Sometime this week, dollar volume sales recorded by the WREB is expected to reach the $1-billion mark, which would be the earliest that this level has been reached. All that is required is $23 million in MLS® sales for the $1-billion level to be attained. 

The Royal LePage report said that the average price of a single-detached bungalow in Winnipeg has increased by 18.7 per cent since the second quarter of 2005, rising to $188,567, which is the fourth highest price increase in Canada. 

Calgary had the highest average single-detached bungalow price increase at a staggering 50.4 per cent, rising to an average of $371,200. Edmonton was next with a 33.2 per cent increase which translated into an average price of $253,857. 

The third highest average price increase for a single-detached bungalow was in Vancouver which rose 22.3 per cent to an unprecedented $708,000. This is also by far the highest average price in Canada, well ahead of Toronto which has the next highest average price at a more modest $373,504.

Of the housing types surveyed in Canada’s major centres, the highest average price appreciation occurred in detached bungalows, which rose to $292,237, a 15.6 per cent year-over-year increase, followed by standard condominiums which rose to $208,403 and represents a 14.2 per cent increase. 

Standard two-storey properties rose 13.3 per cent to $351,367.    

The report said the average Canadian  house price is forecast to rise by 9.2 per cent year-over-year to $272,200 by the end of 2006, while transactions are projected to rise marginally to 485,000 unit sales, up by 0.4 per cent from 483,250 unit sales last year.

The report said that the continued strength of Canada's economy, coupled with strong consumer confidence and rising — but still moderate — interest rates continued to drive robust demand for housing across the country. 

“Canadians are currently more optimistic about their financial future than are their American counterparts, and for good reason,” said Soper. “Current economic forecasts for the balance of this year and into next remain positive. We are unlikely to see the kind of housing market corrections that have begun to occur in isolated regions south of the border in our country.

“The mid-term outlook for the Canadian housing market remains very positive,” he added.