Canadian home price gains expected to moderate in 2008

Canada's real-estate market posted solid gains in the final three months of 2007, showing little sign of its usual midwinter slowdown, but price increases are likely to moderate this year, Royal LePage Real Estate Services (TSX:BRE.UN) reports.

The average price of a Canadian bungalow in the fourth quarter was $337,555 (about R2,4m), up 11,6 percent from a year earlier, led by increases of more than 50 percent in Regina and Saskatoon.

The country's biggest residential real estate agency franchiser says in a recent article on its website that bungalow prices rose 43 percent in Saint John, N.B., and 21 percent in Winnipeg, and double-digit percentage gains were also recorded in Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria.

Nationally, the average price of standard two-storey properties rose 11,3 per cent year-over-year to $399,738 (about R2,55m, and standard condominiums gained 11,7 per cent to $240,395 (about R1,53m).

"The fourth quarter 2007 was surprisingly strong, with unseasonably high price increases and unwavering demand," stated Royal LePage president Phil Soper.

"As we move into the new year, activity levels are expected to wane from the frantic pace that many regions of the country experienced in 2007; however, average prices are expected to continue to rise, albeit at a much more moderate pace," added Soper, who has predicted average home prices will rise 3,5 percent this year.
"Canadian buyers and sellers can expect healthy, balanced conditions in 2008."

The quoted prices are based on opinions of fair market value from Royal LePage, which has 13,000 salespeople at 600 locations under the Royal LePage, Realty World, and Johnston and Daniel brands
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