Slow and steady growth forecast for residential real estate
After posting extraordinary gains in 2007, housing market performance will moderate in most major Canadian centres in 2008, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.
The RE/MAX Housing Market Outlook 2008 examined residential real estate trends in 18 markets across the country. The report found that while economic prospects will continue to improve next year, few major markets are expected to exceed record sales levels set in 2007. Winnipeg, Hamilton-Burlington, Kitchener-Waterloo, London-St. Thomas, Ottawa, Sudbury, Saint John, Halifax-Dartmouth, and St. John’s are all predicted to buck the trend in 2008, with appreciation ranging from one to seven per cent. Average price is forecast to increase in 78 per cent of markets surveyed next year, with the lowest price increase expected in Edmonton and the highest in St. John’s.
Nationally, the number of homes sold is expected to break through the half-million threshold in 2007, climbing 13 per cent to an estimated 545,400 units, up from 483,770 units one year ago. Average price is projected to appreciate nine per cent to $303,000, up about $25,000 over 2006 levels. In 2008, home sales are expected to retreat to 500,000 units while Canadian housing values are forecast to continue their ascent, rising six per cent to $321,000.
Clearly, economic prosperity has translated into increased housing sales and upward pressure on prices across the board. The country’s economic engine fired on all cylinders throughout the year, despite dire conditions south of the border. As in 2007, inventory will be the major wildcard next year—the ultimate variable most expected to influence housing market conditions and performance. A return to tight market conditions could mean all bets are off as buyers are forced to compete, creating increased market pressure.
Major market frontrunners for price appreciation in 2008 include St. John’s (12 per cent), Regina and Kelowna – Central Okanagan (nine per cent), Hamilton-Burlington and Saint John (eight per cent) and Greater Vancouver (seven per cent). Leading the country in sales growth next year will be Kitchener-Waterloo (seven per cent), followed by Hamilton-Burlington, London-St. Thomas, Sudbury and Halifax-Dartmouth, each forecasting a five per cent gain.
Higher mortgage rates and increased inventory levels failed to materialize in most major centres, making 2007 a record year for real estate activity in Canada. By year-end, housing values across the country are expected to shatter existing records. Serious double-digit increases in average price are forecasted for Saskatoon (49), Edmonton (31.5), Regina (21), Calgary (20), Sudbury (20), Kelowna (19.5) Saint John (17), St. John’s (12), and Greater Vancouver (10).
Saskatchewan dominated real estate news in 2007, reporting some of the highest percentage increases in unit sales. The number of homes sold in Regina by year-end is expected to top 35 per cent, bringing sales to an estimated 4,000 units. Neighbouring Saskatoon is forecast to climb 28 per cent to 4,400 units in 2007. Other centres expected to post double-digit gains in activity include Saint John (19 per cent) Kitchener-Waterloo (13 per cent), Halifax-Dartmouth (12 per cent), St. John’s (11 per cent), and Toronto (10 per cent).
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