Friday, January 9, 2009

Correction Not Crash for Real Estate

Correction, not crash for Canadian real estate market in 2009; Average house prices forecast to fall 3.0 per cent

- Historically low interest rates, stable local economies and increasing affordability should upport Canada's residential real estate market during transitioning period -

TORONTO, Jan. 6 /CNW/ - After experiencing a significant reset in 2008 -a reaction to continuous dire news surrounding the health of the global economy combined with a cooling from the previous years' fervid activity levels - Canada's resale real estate market should see only modest price and unit sales corrections take place across the country during 2009. Both national average house prices and the number of homes sold is expected to decline this year, according to the Royal LePage 2009 Market Survey Forecast released Jan 06,09.

Nationally, average house prices are forecast to dip by 3.0 per cent from last year to $295,000, while transactions are projected to fall to 416,000 (-3.5 %) unit sales in 2009. In spite of this cooling trend on a national level, price and activity gains are anticipated in some provinces.

Emotional reaction to recent economic and political instability did much to dampen consumer confidence during the latter part of 2008, causing a marked slowdown in house sales activity. However, as a more rational understanding of the issues gains ground, together with a wide range of announced corrective measures, consumer confidence is anticipated to recover, prompting real estate activity to pick up once again in the latter half of 2009. Further, Canada in
2009 enjoys a stronger economic foundation than most countries and that should temper the housing market correction. The combination of low inflation, reasonable employment levels and improving housing affordability, driven in part by low mortgage rates, are anticipated to stimulate demand in the coming months.

"While Canada's housing market is anticipated to continue to move through a period of adjustment over the next six months, we should expect modestly lower home prices, not a U.S.-style collapse, which was brought on by a structural failure of the entire American credit system," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

"Most consumers are not aware that nationally, Canadian housing market activity peaked in 2007 and has been adjusting lower since. We are well into this inevitable cyclical correction."

Added Soper: "While a grey cloud hangs over some markets, the sky is not falling. In recent years, Canada has been a difficult place to be a purchaser of real estate, particularly for first-time buyers. When real estate markets correct, inventory levels rise, providing buyers choices instead of frustrating bidding wars. In 2009, appropriately-priced homes will still sell
for fair value."

The housing market is expected to perform quite differently from region to region across the country. In many mid-sized cities where home prices remain below the national average, such as Regina and Winnipeg, prices are expected to increase moderately through 2009, as home ownership remains particularly affordable. The most significant price decreases are forecast for
Canada's most expensive city, Vancouver, which has experienced above average price increases for most of the decade. The correction is a natural cyclical reaction to an extended period of high price appreciation. Vancouver's fundamentals, including growing population figures and the positive economic spinoffs expected from the 2010 Olympics, remain very positive.

Read balance of News release Posted on CNW

David Pylyp; This very resoundingly echoes my own observation. I felt hesitation even last year in October 07, as people considered their debt loads and consumer confidence. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Forecast does call for a Price adjustments in different regions but overall discusses how the market will be more balanced over the next year.

The challenge it seems; is how to deal with the Buyer's Strike rather than a Buyer's Market.

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