Kelowna, BC - Residential real estate markets across Canada are set to return to more normal levels of activity after a brief summer pause, but most are unlikely to exceed robust sales posted in the final half of 2009, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.
The RE/MAX Market Trends Report Fall 2010, highlighting trends and developments in 19 major centres, found year-to-date sales (January to August) ahead of 2009 levels in 11 markets (58 per cent). Prices were up year-over-year in all cities, with five experiencing double-digit gains in 2010 (Vancouver and St. John’s up 16 per cent, Sudbury up 13 per cent, and Winnipeg and the Greater Toronto Area up 11 per cent). Balanced conditions prevailed in most markets (79 per cent), with St. John’s, Kelowna and Calgary declaring a firm buyer’s market. By far the most interesting statistic reported was the significant upswing in upper-end sales in both smaller and larger centres between January and August of this year, led by Sudbury at a 193 per cent increase, Kelowna with a 163 per cent increase, Kitchener-Waterloo at 145 per cent, and Winnipeg at 104 per cent. Last but not least, despite a lot of hype, the threat of higher interest rates, tighter lending policies and the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in Ontario and British Columbia had a nominal impact on the market. Economic uncertainty played a much greater role on softer housing conditions over the summer months.
“Conditions are firming up, although comparisons are difficult,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “2009 defied logic in terms of residential housing activity. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We cleaned up in the first quarter of 2010 because housing activity during the same period one year earlier was dismal. We’re now comparing the second half of the year to 2009 and falling short of expectations. Looking at the big picture however, the market remains healthy.”