The Edmonton Real Estate Blog

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Edmonton Vacancy Rate Plummits while Rents Increase

From the CBC news.... as expected, while the housing market is taking off, rents are going up as well... the average 1-bedroom in Edmonton goes for $650/month now!

Edmonton's apartment vacancy rate has fallen from 4.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent in the past six months, making it tougher to find a place to rent.

Commercial real estate company CB Richard Ellis surveyed over 30,000 apartments and found only about 500 vacancies.

Vice-president Paul Gemmel expects the rental market will only get tighter.

"The general economy is so strong. There's no new rental being built, it's not affordable, you can't build these things and make sense out of them," he said.

"I think we're going to see a real tight market here for the next several years."

After years of stability, rents have taken a 13 per cent jump. The average one-bedroom now rents for about $650 dollars a month.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

How Long Will The Edmonton Real Estate Market Stay Hot

You’ve probably heard about the real estate market in Edmonton; if you thought it was hot in the spring, the pot is boiling over now. Alberta is out pacing the rest of the country as prices are rapidly increasing; the average price of an Edmonton home was up 39% in the first half of this year compared to last.

You’ve probably also heard stories about homes selling with multiple offers and over list price. In the current market buyers should expect to pay at least list price and probably more. We’ve developed a new marketing strategy to get the most out of the hot market, and as a result our listings are selling well above the area average.

See for examples.

Why is the Edmonton market so hot?
  1. Jobs - The employment rate is the highest it has been in 30 years.
  2. Oil - Oil and gas prices are high, there are over $7 billion worth of projects on the books to expand the oil industry in the province (which means more jobs).
  3. Net Migration - All these jobs mean more and more people are moving to Edmonton. Out of town buyers are willing to pay more for real estate as they have short deadlines to find a home and many markets in Canada are priced higher than Edmonton.
  4. Price - Compared to Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and many other areas, Edmonton is cheap.
  5. Vacancy rates - A very low rental vacancy rate, and relatively low prices is attracting investors like never before.
  6. Supply - Demand for housing is very high (see points 1 through 5), and supply is very low (last year there were more than 3 times as many listings as there are now). Economic principles dictate that prices go up under these conditions.

How Long Will Prices Continue to Rise?

While we don’t have any crystal balls, it is safe to say the market will continue to rise for some time. Edmonton has always shown moderate price increases, even when economic indicators have been poor. That being said, there would have to be a major shift in supply and/or demand for the current market to significantly change. If you are considering buying, it is still a good time to buy but the market can be challenging. We have proven strategies to help buyers in this market as well, so give us a call anytime.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Why Now is a Great Time to Buy Edmonton Real Estate

Ok, I know it is a seller's market. I know that there are fewer listings for sale in Edmonton now than there have been in ages (last I read from the real estate board there were 4500 listings a year ago, and 1800 listings now). I know demand is very high. I know the other day when we received 17 offers on one of our listings, 16 buyers went home unhappy. So why on earth would now be a good time to buy real estate in Edmonton???

Simple... the market is going up, and it's going up fast. Calgary and Vancouver have been experiencing this type of market for the past couple of years. Edmonton is playing catch up, and many people are projecting that Edmonton's prices will catch up with Calgary because of the very strong job market. Compared to the rest of Canada, Edmonton is cheap, and the rest of Canada is starting to invest in real estate here.

Many people in the Edmonton market have been looking for weeks or months, often because they've lost out in multiple offer situations. Many buyers don't want to offer over list price, because they don't want to pay too much money. The problem is, in the time they have been looking, the type of property they can afford has steadily been shrinking. They may have started looking at two-bedroom condos, and now they can only afford a one-bedroom.

In March we had a client who would not offer over list price (a member of a large real estate investment club) and lost out on 13 properties. At the time we suggested if she offered $5,000 to $10,000 over list price, she would get the property and in a month or two that price would seem like a bargain. If she had purchased one of those properties at that price range in March, she would now easily would have made $20,000 - $30,000 on the property. We finally had to suggest she find a new real estate company to work with.

Last week we found a property for one of our clients, that was just perfect for them....but, in their words "We want this exact property, just for $20,000 less." Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

The point of all this is.... even though you may have to pay more than list price to purchase real estate in Edmonton today, it is still a bargain.

Market value is defined as "what a reasonable buyer will pay a reasonable seller." As soon as a buyer pays $10,000 over list price on a home, that home and any similar homes in the area are now worth $10,000 more. Any new listings that come up on the MLS in the area will be priced to reflect that sale price.

If you don't pay market value, and therefore don't buy a property you are missing out. Each month that you wait, you loose money. Not only do you loose out on the type of property you can afford, but the equity you could have in a home is in someone else's pocket.

So, if you you are thinking the best thing to do is to wait to get into the real estate market, think again. Get into the real estate market, and then wait. You will end up with far more equity in the end.

Search all Edmonton MLS listings, days before they appear on

Sunday, July 23, 2006

How Mortgages Have Changed

The following are exerpts from an article in the Vancouver Sun about different generations attitudes towards and experiences with mortgages over the years. ALthough the article references the Vancouver market quite a bit, it is still quite relevant to Edmonton. It's quite interesting.

Mortgaged Dreams
Michael Kane, Vancouver Sun
Published: Saturday, July 22, 2006

Attitudes to debt have changed over the generations as real estate prices have skyrocketed in Greater Vancouver and the rest of B.C. While survivors of the Great Depression worked to be mortgage-free, many younger people have been anything but reluctant to borrow money to finance the home they have always dreamed about.

Lindsey McDonald bought her first real estate in Cloverdale two years ago when she was 22. The ambitious student sees her mortgage as an opportunity to build wealth and expects to sign up for more and bigger loans in the years to come.

In contrast, John and Joan Ross bought their first home in 1959 and "survived and sufficed" to become the mortgage-free owners of a bigger home on Vancouver's west side by the end of the 1970s. As children of the Great Depression, the two seniors have avoided significant debt ever since.

In the middle are baby boomers such as Bill and Marlene McLean who bought their first property in the early '70s, worked like the dickens to pay off the mortgage within eight years, and have repeatedly refinanced their home to renovate or build 40 houses for sale. With retirement on the horizon, most of their contemporaries can only wish they had been so bold.

Attitudes to debt have changed over the generations as real estate prices have skyrocketed. At the same time, mortgages have evolved to do much more than simply sustain the great Canadian dream of home ownership...

Once upon a time, the best mortgage was no mortgage. That's if Joe or Jane Average could even find one.

The big banks were barred from offering residential mortgages until 1953...

Single women had to wait many years before being taken seriously as potential homebuyers and the incomes of married women still weren't counted for mortgage qualifying purposes until well into the 1970s.

Until recently, the standard wisdom was to pay your mortgage down quickly because mortgage interest generally cannot be written off against other income. Debt was seen by many as an intolerable burden to be shaken off as soon as realistically possible...

Today we are hanging on to our mortgages for longer, sometimes into retirement. The modern mortgage has evolved into a source of capital for investments, which typically makes the interest cost tax-deductible, and a personal money machine or ATM to minimize the interest cost of consumer spending.

To many, a mortgage has become a flexible friend that allows more first time buyers to enter the real estate market and permits repeat borrowers to maintain their living standards and, potentially, grow their wealth.

To others, the mortgage has become the modern-day equivalent of the company store, enticing Canadians to ratchet up debt beyond their means and keep them chained to work when they might be embracing retirement.

There is a nagging concern that easy money is pushing home prices to unsustainable levels and that younger buyers could find they are in too deep when interest rates move up or when the real estate market sours.

When the Royal Bank entered the consumer mortgage market in the 1950s, its advertising showed an "average" house valued at $8,000 could be bought with monthly payments of $48.88 after an $800 down payment. Fast forward 50 years and the average detached home in Greater Vancouver is selling for $718,687. If you can come up with a 10-per-cent down payment of $71,869, your monthly payments will be $4,023, assuming a five-year term at 5.70 per cent and a 25-year amortization.

- - -

The modern mortgage offers a range of features that were largely unknown a generation ago. There are weekly, biweekly and lump sum prepayment options to reduce the total interest paid. There are open mortgages with rates that track the bank rate and fixed-rate mortgages for terms from six months to 10 years, and even longer. And there are interest-only mortgages that allow people to remain in homes where they have built up equity but which they might otherwise be unable to afford.

The mortgage has even become a tool to reduce borrowing costs through "all-in-one" or "total equity" products such as Envision Financial's "Redfrog" which keeps the customer's money working all of the time...

Mortgages have become increasingly flexible and so much more than a necessary tool to acquire a home, says Vancouver's Rob Regan-Pollock of mortgage brokers Invis Inc.

"Looking back at the previous generation, the mindset was to pay it down and become free and clear as quickly as possible, and then you have a certain number of years to amass some assets for retirement.

"Mortgages were never really thought of an investment vehicle or a way of creating wealth or minimizing interest costs for consumer goods or other items that might be required."

Increasingly, Regan-Pollock is dealing with clients who are borrowing against their principal residence for the down payment on an investment property.

"People are realizing that leveraging, whether to invest in the stock market or to acquire rental properties, is a proven way to create wealth. It's using other people's money to help better your circumstances long-term.

"Of course, there are downsides to that, including market risk and budget comfort, and that's where professional guidance is really essential."...

Mortgages have morphed into a continuous credit facility with homeowners tapping into their equity to pay for investments, renovations, debt consolidations, post-secondary education and even car purchases, says Ben Eyton, an investment specialist with North Shore Credit Union.

"The younger generation feel a lot more comfortable with credit than their parents or grandparents did. They really grew up watching their parents carry debt, so they are familiar with it. They've never really had to feel the pinch of going without."

Eyton worries that today's borrowers fixate on getting the lowest interest rate possible when he would prefer they sit down with a financial adviser to assess how "this ongoing facility through life" is going to impact their cash flow, taxes and estate planning.

He notes that a 40-year mortgage can lower monthly payments on a typical $350,000 mortgage by about $300 monthly but it will increase the borrower's total interest payments by a whopping 75 per cent unless they can make extra payments later on.

Now Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has introduced a mortgage that is interest-only for up to 10 years while "sub-prime lenders" are moving into the Canadian market from the U.S. to offer higher cost mortgages to higher risk borrowers...

While rising prices and interest rates are making it tougher for first-time buyers, homes in Greater Vancouver are still more affordable than they were 15 or 20 years ago, says Kevin Lutz, regional mortgages manager with RBC Financial Group.

Of course, mortgage amounts have risen sharply to keep pace with prices. In July, 1999, the average mortgage approved by the Royal's specialists in B.C. was $143,000. In July, 2006, it is up exactly $100,000 to $243,000.

Lutz says borrowers are comfortable with bigger loans when their equity is growing and "they are seeing their homes as their retirement nest eggs more than they ever have before."

As for buyers biting off more than they can chew, Lutz notes that mortgage defaults remain rare and home buyers still have to qualify for a mortgage under the same debt-to-income ratios that applied a generation ago, although they are more likely to push those limits to the maximum today. The rules are even stricter for buyers of investment property...

Mortgage Facts

- Canadians typically pay off their mortgages in 22.5 years, a number that has not changed significantly over several years of tracking.

- The chartered banks hold 72 per cent of the mortgage market but share held by credit unions has grown to 16.6 per cent from 6.4 per cent in 1970.

- Roughly 60 per cent of Canadian homeowners have mortgages. Average remaining mortgage principal is $116,800.

- Two-thirds of Canadians have fixed-rate mortgages, 22 per cent have variable rates, and 11 per cent have a combination of fixed and variable rates.

- 56 per cent of people aged 55-plus hold a mortgage but seven in 10 say it is very important to pay it off by retirement.

- 17 per cent of homeowners say their homes will be their primary source of retirement income.

- Only 28 per cent of baby boomers are very confident they will be financially secure in old age compared to 41 per cent of those who are younger and 47 per cent of those who are older.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

House prices soaring high in Strathcona

From the "Sherwood Park News" this article highlights what the Sherwood Park market is doing, as opposed to the Greater Edmonton area as a whole. The president of the Edmonton Real Estate board points out in the article that even though prices are soaring, they are still quite reasonable compared to the rest of the country. As I blog this, our client M. Elliot, who is a Calgary investor sitting next to me said "Edmonton is the runt of litter just starting to play catch up". I think she hit the nail on the head....

by Dave S. Clark
Sherwood Park News — As Alberta’s economy continues to boom, Sherwood Park’s house prices are rising to heights never seen before.

In June, the average price of a house in the Park was $350,000, according to the Edmonton Real Estate Board, which is a jump of almost $75,000 from last June’s average of $276,000.

“I’ve never seen numbers like this before. It’s nuts,” said president of the board, Madeline Sarafinchan. “The biggest factor is the economy. There is a great deal of confidence in it.”

Another reason for the high prices, is the basic idea of supply and demand. With very few houses on the market compared to years past, the demand is reaching new heights.
Sarafinchan says 74 per cent of the houses sold have had multiple offers put on them, which is staggering. The bidding wars often lead to sales several thousand dollars over the original asking price.

In 2004, the average house price in Sherwood Park between January and June was just $232,000. In 2005, that number jumped over $30,000 to $255,000. This year that number is up $65,000 to an average of $320,000.

Sarafinchan says people are attracted to Sherwood Park because of its large industrial tax base and its convenience to Edmonton.

She says the market has become very strategic since prices started escalating rapidly. Before, if a seller wanted to move in August, the house would be listed in April. Now, they’ll wait until July so they can as much as they can for their property.

It’s a great market for sellers, but it makes it very difficult for buyers, she said.
“What realtors have to do is flag in the computer what their client wants and as soon as something comes up, get there as soon as possible.”

She says one of her clients has to completely put her life on hold every time a potential house comes up for grabs. She drops everything to go look at a house.
The market is even more troublesome for first-time buyers.

“They now have to look for things like condos and mobile homes when before they could have looked at small houses,” she said.

But despite the increasing housing costs, Sarafinchan says Edmonton is still playing catch-up with other Canadian cities. It is ranked 10th behind major centres like Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto.

“Nationally, Edmonton still looks like a reasonable option,” she said.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

MLS® home sales set record for first half of 2006

The latest release from CREA (Canadian real estate association), as per every release for the last few years it is better than expected and breaking records. And like every release for the past few months Calgary and Edmonton are pulling up the averages with surging markets. Enjoy...

Ottawa – July 17, 2006 — Resale housing activity in Canada’s major markets in the first six months of 2006 surpassed all previous records for the first half of any year, according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association. Sales activity remains on track to set a new annual record in 2006 even though further expected price increases and recent mortgage rate hikes will cause transactions to soften marginally in the second half of the year.

Actual (unadjusted) home sales via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Canada’s major markets numbered 186,177 units in the first half of 2006 – up 3.6 per cent from the previous record for first-half activity set in 2005.

Surging activity in Calgary and Edmonton remains the driving force behind the continuing strength of national residential sales activity. New records for resale housing activity for the first half of the year were set in a number of major markets including Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, London, Sudbury, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City.

Seasonally adjusted MLS® home sales in the second quarter of 2006 numbered 84,391 units – down just slightly from the record levels posted over the past year. Actual (unadjusted) sales reached the second highest level on record for the second quarter period, and were less than 0.5 per cent below activity levels reached during the second quarter of last year.

Seasonally adjusted home sales activity eased by less than one per cent from the previous month to 28,185 units in June 2006. Monthly sales activity ebbed in Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, and a number of other markets, which more than more than offset monthly gains in Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal, and London.

Actual (unadjusted) MLS® residential new listings totaled 308,923 units in the first half of 2006 – a new record for the first six months of the year, and the highest level on record for any six month period. New listings were up by 4.6 per cent from the first half of last year. They were 2.3 per cent higher than the previous record set in the first half of 1990, which is the only other six-month period on record in which new listings topped 300,000 units.

There are no signs that new listings have peaked, as seasonally adjusted quarterly and monthly new listings reached their highest levels in more than 15 years. Driven by increases in Victoria and Montreal, seasonally adjusted new listings in the second quarter reached the highest level since the fourth quarter of 1990. A rebound in Calgary helped to push major market new listings to the highest monthly level since May 1991.

The major market MLS® residential average price at mid-year was up by 11.8 per cent compared to December of last year. It was also up by 12.2 per cent year-over-year in the second quarter, which tied with the second quarter of 2004 for the highest year-over-year price growth of any quarter in the past 15 years. The 6.8 per cent jump in price from the last quarter was also the highest quarterly increase since 1989. Average price in the second quarter of 2006 set new quarterly records in almost every major market in Canada.

The major market MLS® residential average price reached $304,328 in June – up 11.8 per cent from the same month last year. Average price has posted double-digit year-over-year gains in every month during the first half of 2006, and reached the highest monthly level on record in June in Calgary, Edmonton, London, Montreal and Quebec City. Average price edged down slightly from the record levels reached in May 2006 in a number of other markets.

"With interest rates having peaked, strong employment and rising after-tax incomes will no doubt keep resale housing activity strong over the second half of the year," said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. "The housing market is tightest in Alberta, where a sizzling job market is stoking buyer demand and fueling remarkable price increases."

"The rise in new listings in Montreal and Toronto gives buyers in those centres a wider selection of homes to choose from, and will keep price increases in those markets below those for major markets in British Columbia and Alberta," Klump noted.

"As the market becomes more balanced in many urban centres, average price growth will continue to be skewed higher by a surge in demand for luxury homes," said Alan Tennant, FRI, President of The Canadian Real Estate Association. "Market trends differ between cities, and among areas and housing types within a city. For local market expertise and information, buyers and sellers should use the professional services provided by a REALTOR®."

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Mortgage Rates Hold Steady, Edmonton Market Sizzles

Some of the info in this article from the Edmonton Sun is old news, but it does put all the bits and pieces into perspective. The Bank of Canada did not raise the "overnight bank rate" this past week for the first time in a while. They think Canada's inflation rate has begun to slow. Alberta on the other hand is booming. New records are being set in the housing market every month, and oil is now more expensive than they had projected. Well... I don't want to ruin the whole article for you... here it is by Neil Waugh of the Edmonton Sun.

After seven consecutive tugs on his torque wrench, Bank of Canada governor David Dodge left his big spanner in his tool belt last week.

The overnight bank rate – which the consumer banks key on to set their mortgage and other loan rates – stayed put at 4.25%.

“The outlook for economic growth and inflation in Canada is largely unchanged,” Dodge said in his monetary policy report update that was kicked out of Ottawa at the end of the week.

Sure, the only thing that remains constant in the economic-forecasting game is change.

Unpredicted strength in the Canadian dollar was compensated for by stronger than expected consumer spending.

While consumers did their thing, “it should be more than offset by a weaker outlook for net exports, owing primarily to the recent strength in the Canadian dollar,” Dodge reckoned.

Not great news if you are an Ontario plant worker. But here in Alberta, oil and gas exports are strictly a sellers’ market. So it’s no worries.

Of course, all bets are off if the American economy tanks – which means exports will decline even more.

But it’s Dodge’s primary job to hold the line on inflation by manipulating the economy with his bank rate.

Except an economist can’t make predictions without building some best guesses into his model.

“Prices for crude futures over the projection period are slightly higher than in April,” he admitted. Averaging over $74 US-per-barrel. Although natural gas prices are “somewhat lower.”

Settle down

While the consumer price index cranked up to 2.6% in April and May because of high energy prices, Dodge feels it will settle down to the 2% range for the rest of the year – which is just about where he wants it.

This got CIBC World Markets economist Avery Shenfield to chirp, “Dodge has it right.” Then Shenfield made the bold prediction that the Bank of Canada will stand pat “for the balance of 2006 as the world unfolds roughly in line with the policy updates projections.”

Over at the Bank of Montreal, senior economist Sal Gautieri called it an “adamant decision.” But he also warned that “resource pressure, especially in Alberta” could force the bank governor off the sidelines to slay the inflation dragon.

Dodge himself confirms there’s another “upside risk” out there that could change his game plan radically. And that’s “momentum in household spending and housing prices,” which could have a negative effect on output and inflation. At least from a bank governor’s perspective.

Real estate-related inflation could be alive and well in Edmonton. The Edmonton Real Estate Board and the upstart ComFree group posted their record-setting results for June over a week ago.

Last week it was Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp’s turn to report the happy news.

CMHC senior market analyst Richard Goatcher described the city’s new residential housing market as setting a “sizzling pace.”

In fact the capital region “achieved its best June performance on record.”

The 1,547 housing starts was up an amazing 31% from June 2005. For the first six months starts are up 14%. Single detached developers dug more than 800 basements for the third straight month. So far this year, 4,562 single family homes have been started, up 25% from 2005. And that was a record year.

Strong fundamentals

Goatcher talked about “strong economic fundamentals” – like low inventories of new and resale houses, employment growth and net migration.

Add them all together and it puts single detached housing starts “well on their way to an new annual starts record,” Fearless Rick predicted.

Of course, Dodge’s hold-the-line interest- rate policy will do nothing to buck that trend.

The housing boost certainly caught Bank of Montreal analyst Lindsay Scott by surprise. She described the strong June starts nationally as “higher than expected.” But she predicted that Dodge’s previous rate hikes may already be having their effect.

“Despite the latest increase in housing starts,” Scott said, “activity is expected to moderate in response to past increases in mortgage rates.”

But if they don’t, Dave Dodge may have to reach for the wrench again.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Albertans Confident Amid Rising Prices

Even with new housing price records being set every month, consumer confidence is up in the province. The following is an excerpt from a report done by the Conference Board of Canada.

Consumer sentiment continues to climb
Confidence reaches record levels in the Prairies
National consumer confidence – a significant indicator in projecting Canada’s housing market – continued to rise in the second quarter of 2006 despite rising prices and interest rates.

National confidence posted the third consecutive quarterly increase and reached the fifth highest level on record in the second quarter. The latest national increase reflected another new record for confidence in the Prairie region, and quarterly gains in Ontario and Quebec.

Confidence remains highest in the Prairie region where near-term expectations for job growth reached their highest level on record in the second quarter. Those expectations are being fueled by Alberta’s tight labor market and projections for strong economic growth in Alberta and Saskatchewan this year and next.

The outlook for household budgets in the Prairie region also reached the highest level in almost a decade. Combined with an upbeat near term outlook for job growth, enthusiasm about making major purchases is expected to remain high in the coming months.

The Conference Board of Canada measures consumer confidence on a monthly basis.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Edmonton Real Estate Continues to Set Records

As promised, here is the press release from the Edmonton real estate board. As expected, there are new records all over the place for price and volume of sales. These stats prove exactly what we've been experiencing in the market - it is sizzling hot - homes are selling incredibly quickly, and often for over list price.

Edmonton Real Estate Board spokesman Jon Hall reckons that's because migration is strong. The 20,845 people who came to Alberta in the first four months of this year represent a 138% increase over the same period last year.

We feel it's not just the increase in migration, but also a big increase in investment from outside of Edmonton. We're seeing a lot of investment from Calgary and Vancouver - which is also reported in the Edmonton Sun - as we are working with more and more buyers from these areas. These people have been dealing with this type of market for 2 or more years, and Edmonton is cheap to them! There is still a long way to go before we catch up to their prices, so hold on tight, it's going to be a wild ride.

Consumers struggle with hot housing market

Edmonton, July 6, 2006: The current real estate market is unlike anything that consumers have ever seen in Edmonton. Consumers on both sides of the transaction struggle to understand the new language and market mechanics of escalating prices, multiple offers, unconditional sales and low housing inventory. REALTORS® work closely with clients to educate them about the market. Their objective viewpoint helps both buyers and sellers to minimize the frustration and desperation that results from lost sales or missed buying opportunities.

Property sales through the Edmonton Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in the first six months of the year have soared well above expectations. Total MLS® sales to date are 13,313 up 19% over the same period last year. Escalating prices have further contributed to record-breaking MLS® volumes.

However, higher sales are drawing down the available inventory. At the end of June there were only 1,859 residential properties available for sale on the Edmonton MLS®. Last June there were 4,592 active listings.

The average days-on-market was 19 days (similar to 20 in May and 19 in March). “The official days-on-market figure is extended by unattractive properties or those that are clearly overpriced,” said Madeline Sarafinchan, EREB President. “Liveable, well-priced homes often sell in just four or five days. Buyers have to respond quickly when a property becomes available. They must have their needs and wants clearly identified, have financing in place and be prepared to remove conditions as soon as the offer is accepted.”

Consumer desperation is rising along with prices. Sellers want to ensure they get top dollar for their property without scaring buyers away. Buyers, on the other hand, are aware that they may have to offer more than the list price but don’t want to exceed competing offers by too much. Consumers need the advice of a REALTOR® to set both realistic and attainable asking and bid prices.

The average* price for single family dwellings in June rose 5.8% from May. The average price for a single family dwelling was $298,631 in June.

Average condominium prices went up 8.2% in a month to $186,738 in June. Duplexes and townhouses sold for $227,810 on average – an increase of just 1% from last month.

The average residential price (includes all types of housing) has increased from $197,884 in December to $254,240 in June. This is a 28% increase in the first six months of the year. Real estate sales are typically most active in the second quarter and then slow down for the rest of the year. However, housing prices are expected to rise steadily for the rest of the year in the face of heavy demand and low interest rates.

“Year-to-date MLS® sales topped $3 billion dollars in June,” said Sarafinchan. “That’s over two months earlier than last year. I am readjusting my forecast to say that total MLS® sales for the year will top $5 billion – up from $4.25 billion last year.”

June 2006 activity Record * % change from 2005
Total MLS® sales this month 2,610* 6.6%
Value of total MLS® sales - month $682 million* 34.1%
Value of total MLS® sales - year $3.16 billion* 43.1%
Residential¹ sales this month 2,183* 2.3%
Residential average price $254,240* 27.5%
SFD² average selling price - month 298631 32.7%
SFD² median³ selling price $279,900* 33.6%
Condo average selling price $186,738* 29.4%