House Price Survey
CENTURY 21 Canada/U.S. House Price Survey Spring 2009
• Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax outperforming their U.S. “twins” Chicago, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Boston
• Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary have similar price trends to their U.S. “twins” Washington, D.C., Seattle and Houston
• Housing market most relevant to homeowners everywhere is the one that is closest to home
Major Canadian and American cities with similar economies and geographies are experiencing variable price trends this Spring — with three Canadian cities outperforming their United States “twins” and three other Canadian cities having similar price trends to their U.S. “twins”, according to a survey released today by CENTURY 21 Canada.
Don Lawby, President of CENTURY 21 Canada, said the survey also shows that the suburbs of major cities have prices and other market characteristics that are specific to local conditions and are often very different from the major cities they orbit.
“When you compare Canadian and American cities with similar economies and geographies — so-called “twin cities” — you see some dramatic differences,” said Lawby.
“National capitals Ottawa and Washington, D.C., oil centres Calgary and Houston and West Coast ports Vancouver and Seattle have price trends reflective of their economic and geographic similarities,” said Lawby. “However, when you compare business centres Toronto and Chicago, midwest hubs Winnipeg and Minneapolis and East Coast centres Halifax and Boston, the Canadian cities are doing much better than their American twins.”
Neighbourhood markets most relevant
The CENTURY 21 survey of Canadian and American cities also showed that suburbs have their own housing market dynamics that can be different from major cities they orbit and different from other nearby suburbs and communities.
“While average prices are useful for establishing trends over time and for comparing overall markets of provinces, regions or cities, buyers need to monitor prices of typical homes in the neighbourhoods where they want to live,” said Lawby. “Similarly, sellers can best determine the market value of their homes by monitoring the selling prices of similar homes in their neighbourhoods.”
Ottawa vs Washington, D.C. March 2009 (vs 2008)
• Prices are strong in both Ottawa and Washington, D.C., but Ottawa’s prices are trending up, while Washington’s prices are trending down. Price levels are significantly lower in Ottawa than Washington; however, it takes more than twice as long to sell a home in Washington than in Ottawa. Average prices in March 2009 were $302,131 in Ottawa, compared with $519,030 in Washington. Median prices in March 2009 were $277,250 in Ottawa, compared with $380,000 in Washington. Ottawa’s average and median prices increased 1% and 3% respectively, while Washington’s average and median prices declined 3% and 5% respectively.
• Average prices in the suburbs and nearby communities varied significantly, however selling time is much longer in Washington suburbs than Ottawa suburbs. In the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, the average price increased 1% to $277,995 while the median price declined 3% to $249,900. In Orleans, the average price increased 1% to $277,860 and the median price increased 14% to $273,000. In the Washington suburb of Boonsboro, the average price increased 10% to $321,480 and the median price increased 26% to $315,000, while in the suburb of Hagerstown the average price declined 24% to $169,959 and the median price declined 12% to $167,495.
Calgary vs Houston March 2009 (vs 2008)
• Price levels are significantly higher and selling times are shorter in Calgary than in Houston, but Calgary also has greater price declines than Houston. Average prices in March 2009 were $380,737 in Calgary compared with $200,233 in Houston. Median prices in March 2009 were $340,500 in Calgary, compared with $130,000 in Houston. Calgary’s average and median prices declined 11% and 12% respectively, while Houston’s average and median prices declined 4% and 6% respectively.
• Price levels in the suburbs and nearby communities varied significantly. Price levels were lowest but market strength year-over-year was strongest in the Houston suburb of Pasadena, where the average price dipped 1% to $112,480, median price increased 14% to $109,000, and selling time was reduced to 74 days from 114 days. The Calgary suburb of Okotoks had the highest prices of all the Houston-Calgary suburbs surveyed, with an average price down 3% to $360,496 and a median price down 5% to $349,450.
Vancouver vs Seattle March 2009 (vs 2008)
• Prices are significantly higher in Vancouver than Seattle. The average price was $636,785 in Vancouver compared with $426,825 in Seattle. The median price was $482,228 in Vancouver, compared with $367,000 in Seattle. However, Vancouver and Seattle had similar declines in average prices (-15% and -12% respectively) and median prices (-12% and -11%).
• All Vancouver and Seattle suburbs surveyed had declining prices, but price levels varied significantly. The Fraser Valley city of Langley, 30 minutes from Vancouver, had the strongest market with an average price decline of 14% to $383,631 and a median price decline of 13% to $338,500. Weakest of the four suburb markets surveyed was Tacoma, where the average price dropped 24% to $206,681 and median price declined 19% to $183,500.
Toronto vs Chicago March 2009 (vs 2008)
• Prices are significantly higher and the market much stronger in Toronto than in Chicago. In Toronto, the average price declined 4% to $394,099 and the median price dipped 2% to $325,000. In Chicago, the average price fell 34% to $249,901 and the median price dropped 39% to $180,000. It took an average of 37 days to sell a house in Toronto, compared to 168 days in Chicago.
• In the suburbs, Toronto suburbs performed similarly to Toronto, while Chicago suburbs were much stronger than Chicago itself.
Winnipeg vs Minneapolis/St. Paul March 2009 (vs 2008)
• Prices are higher and the market much stronger in Winnipeg than Minneapolis or St. Paul. In Winnipeg, the average price increased 3% to $209,628 and the median price increased 4% to $189,000, whereas in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the average price fell 24% to $148,317 and 36% to $105,858 respectively and the median price dropped 47% to $95,000 and 45% to $75,000 respectively.
• Prices in the suburbs and nearby communities varied but were more similar than prices in the cities they orbit. In Brandon and Steinbach, the average price increased 10% to $194,334 and declined 6% to $189,050 respectively, and the median price increased 11% to $186,500 and dipped 1% to $196,500 respectively. In the Twin Cities suburb of Maple Grove, the average price declined 9% to $282,193 and the median price slipped 7% to $225,000.
Halifax vs Boston March 2009 (vs 2008)
• Price levels are lower but the market is currently much stronger in Halifax than Boston. In Halifax, the average price increased 7% to $282,499 and the median price increased 1% to $241,000, while in Boston the average price fell 28% to $394,550 and the median price dropped 20% to $301,500. Length of time to sell a house was similar in the two cities, with Halifax trending to fewer days on the market and Boston holding at year-earlier levels.
• Markets in the suburbs and nearby communities varied significantly. The strongest Halifax suburb surveyed was Dartmouth, where the average price increased 5% to $203,341 and the median price increased 4% to $190,000. The strongest Boston suburb surveyed was Newton, where the average price declined 7% to $621,426 and the median price increased 3% to $580,000.
Average prices are useful for establishing trends over time and for comparing overall markets of Provinces, regions or cities, but often do not reflect market dynamics in specific neighbourhoods that are most relevant to buyers and sellers of homes. The “typical home” concept focuses on prices of real homes in real neighbourhoods and is intended to alert home buyers and sellers to the necessity of monitoring prices in specific neighbourhoods most relevant to them. A typical home is the type of home that occurs most frequently in any given neighbourhood.
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