House prices rise, defy expectations

Story by:Financial Post

Home prices rose during the third quarter of 2011, but the raw numbers may not be telling the whole story of the Canadian housing market, a new survey says.

The Royal LePage House Price Survey released Wednesday found that the average price of a home in Canada increased between 5.7 and 7.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2011 compared to the same period last year.

The average price of a detached bungalow was $349,974, a standard two-storey home was $388,218 and a standard condominium was $239,300, according to the survey.

Royal LePage said that the rise in price defied expectations and suggested that record-low interest rates and a fairly stable Canadian economy have bolstered consumer confidence.

However, the third quarter of 2010 was a relatively weak period for housing prices, which makes the increase this year appear rosier than they are and may mask a decline in prices in the months ahead, it said.

"The strength in Canada's national housing market conceals signs of predictable softening in some regions," Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services, said in a statement.

"A broader slowdown is expected in the months ahead, but fears of a U.S.-style correction are completely unfounded."

Vancouver had the highest priced homes in the country during the third quarter of 2011 and was the only city in the survey where the average bungalow or two-storey home cost more than $1 million.

Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Saint John, N.B., and Ottawa all saw prices increase between 4.4 and 10.4 per cent.

In Alberta, the volume of homes trading hands increased, but prices stayed soft, the survey found: Detached bungalows in Calgary fell one per cent in the third quarter.

Victoria was similarly weak, with detached bungalows and standard two-storey homes falling two and 1.1 per cent respectively.

Story from the Financial Post

Chris Frederickson | Sutton Group West Coast Realty | 604.306.1062 |