Saskatoon posts modest house price increases in Q4-2011: Royal LePage

Continued migration and low interest rates offset by healthy supply of homes for sale

SASKATOON, January 12, 2012 – The Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Survey Forecast released today showed slight year-over-year price increases for all three housing types surveyed in Saskatoon.

Detached bungalows posted a modest gain of 0.9 per cent, selling for a fourth quarter average of $334,250, over the same quarter in 2010. Standard two-storey homes saw a 2.6 percent increase over the same quarter last year, selling for an average of $368,750. Standard condominiums sold for an average price of $232,333 – a 3.3 per cent year-over-year increase.

“Migration to the area continues to sustain Saskatoon’s balanced market,” says Norm Fisher, Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate. “In the fourth quarter we also saw a demographic shift. Although we see a range of buyers, typically the market is dominated by first-time buyers. In the fourth quarter, more established buyers took advantage of low interest rates to move-up from their previous homes.”

Fisher also noted that pockets of Saskatoon still had an ample supply of inventory and this led to the balanced conditions seen in the fourth quarter.

Nationally, despite calls in some quarters for Canadian house prices to soften in 2011, the market proved resilient as demand created by low interest rates and a relatively stable national economy created upward pricing pressure for all housing types surveyed. Further, recent high profile reports forecasting significant house price declines in 2012 are not supportable. In the fourth quarter, standard two-storey homes rose 4.2 per cent year-over-year to $375,427, while detached bungalows increased 6.1 per cent to $344,392. Average prices for standard condominiums increased 3.6 per cent to $234,680.

“In the recovery period following the 2008-2009 recession, I found myself repeatedly speaking of ‘irrational exuberance’ in the Canadian housing market,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services. “Expectations were too high and the pace of expansion unsustainable. With this report, I find myself in exactly the opposite position. Widespread calls for a major real estate correction in 2012 simply can’t be justified. The industry has significant momentum entering the year, and is buoyed by the stimulative effect of very low interest rates; we expect the market to continue to expand – albeit at a slower pace.”

Royal LePage expects average price growth to continue through 2012 and predicts national average prices to increase by 2.8 per cent by the end of the year.

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