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March 2009 - Canada Market Watch

Blog by | March 19th, 2009

Market Watch - March 2009
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Many buyers are out there looking, but seem nervous about making offers. They’re confused by what they’ve been reading and hearing about the state of the real estate market. The fact is, although sales and prices have both declined in different percentages around the country, they have remained relatively steady when compared with prices south of the border.

Typically the spring real estate market tends to experience more activity and with the Canadian economy experiencing a period of low mortgage rates and strong immigration, this trend could continue. According to Statistics Canada, Canada welcomed 247,202 permanent residents in 2008, 70,000 more than in 1998, and well within the government’s planned range of 240,000 to 265,000 new permanent residents for 2009. Many of these new immigrants will soon be in the market as First Time home buyers.

With the Bank of Canada dropping its prime lending rate this month, those in the market for a home will see mortgage rates at near record lows. This combined with the federal government’s decision to increase the withdrawal amount in the Home Buyers Plan from $20,000 to $25,000 will make buying a home a little easier.

Below is a brief summary of sales activities in some areas across the country:

GTA - Ontario
Toronto Real Estate Board Members reported 4,120 sales in February 2009 compared to 6,015 sales recorded in February 2008. The average home price was $361,305 last month compared to $382,048 during the same month last year.

On a month-over-month basis, sales and average price were above January levels of 2,670 and $343,632 respectively. The housing market is seasonal. Traditionally, in the first half of every year, sales and average price climb to their highest levels in late spring before trending lower from July onward.

Hamilton - Ontario
The Hamilton-Burlington area real estate market showed a total of 750 unit sales in February, indicating a 27.6% decrease over the same period last year, according to the Multiple Listing Services® (MLS®) statistics released by the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB). New units listed are less than 1% lower when compared to February 2008.
The total unit sales, when compared to January, were 58% higher in February. The average price of freehold residential properties sold in the month of February was $278,614, a decrease of 6% over the same month last year, but an increase of 1.5% over last month. Average price of condominiums in February was $200,618, a decrease of 4.2% over February 2008, and a decrease of 7% over last month.

Ottawa - Ontario
Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 787 residential properties in February through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system compared with 980 in February 2008, a decrease of 19.7%. There were 530 sales in January 2009. The average price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in February in the Ottawa area was $273,719, a decrease of 2.9% over February 2008.

Edmonton - Alberta
The average price of most types of residential property slipped down a notch in February after a short rally in January. Sales numbers climbed across the 1,000-unit threshold for the first time since October but are still below the same month sales for last year.
There were 1,075 residential sales in February with 2,667 listings added to the MLS®. The sales-to-listing ratio was 40% and there were 7,097 homes in the inventory on February 28th. The average price of a single family home in February was $347,309—down 1.5% as compared to January. Condo prices were down 4.9% to $226,857 and duplex/rowhouses sold on average for $309,180 (a 3.3% price increase).

Calgary - Alberta
Sales activity of single family Calgary metro homes was 825 in the month of February 2009 showing an increase of 50% from 550 sales in January 2009, according to figures released by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®). This was a decrease of 34% from February 2008 when single family home sales were 1,252.

The number of condominium sales for the month of February 2009 was 343, an increase of 52% from the 225 condominium transactions recorded in January 2009 and a decrease of 39% from February 2008 when 562 condominiums changed hands.

The average price of a single family Calgary metro home in February 2009 was $415,568, showing an increase of 0.6% from January 2009, when the average price was $413,049 and showing a decrease of 12% from February 2008 when the average price was $471,696. The average price of a Calgary metro condominium was $268,971, showing a 0.7% decrease from January 2009 when the average price was $270,940 and showing a decrease of about 13% over last year, when the average price was $311,812.
Surrey, British Columbia
February sales on Fraser Valley’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) experienced a typical ‘early spring’ surge, increasing by 75% in one month from 389 sales in January to 682 last month. However, by historical standards, they continued to reflect sales levels last seen in the mid-1980s, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

Sales showed a 48% decrease compared to the 1,308 sales processed in February 2008. The Board also received fewer new listings last month compared to the same month last year – 2,369 compared to the 2,808 new listings received in February 2008 – however, the total number of active listings at 9,594 was still 11% higher than in January and almost 30% higher than the 7,415 active listings available in February 2008.

Housing Price Index (HPI), decreased 10.4% compared to February 2008, however, increased from the previous month for the first time in nine months. The benchmark price was $456,683 in February 2009 compared to $509,958 last year. The average price of Fraser Valley townhouses decreased by 10.5% in one year, going from $330,444 in February 2008 to $295,731 in February 2009, while the average price of apartments decreased by 10% going from $253,351 in February of last year to $228,091 in February 2009.

Regina - Saskatchewan
According to the Association Of Regina REALTORS®, there were 219 residential properties sold inside the city during the month, a 6% decrease from the record high set in 2008 of 232 sales but tying with 2007 as the second highest number in the past ten-year period. For the entire MLS® including all geographic areas, 232 sales were reported, down 21% from 2008’s record high of 294.

For the year-to-date 378 homes have sold in the city, down 17% from 456 recorded in 2008.

The average price of residential properties sold in February inside the city was $231,880—a new monthly high—up 5% from the previous one set last year of $221,814. The average price for the year-to-date was $223,971, another high and up 5% over 2008’s $213,257. There were 521 new listings received during the month, an increase of 39% from 2008’s 375.



Alexandra Rebagliati

Associate Broker / Property Manager

Tel: 250.870.2792