ÎLE-DES-SOEURS, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Jan. 23, 2013) - According to the real estate brokers' provincial database, there were 7,191 residential sales transactions in the Québec City Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in 2012, a virtually identical result to 2011, when 7,200 sales transactions were concluded, indicated the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB).

"There were two phases to the year 2012," said Paul Cardinal, Manager, Market Analysis, at the QFREB. "After a strong start to the year, when sales increased by 14 per cent in the first quarter and by 7 per cent in the second quarter, the real estate market suddenly changed direction after the entry into force of more restrictive mortgage rules in July. As a result, sales fell by 14 per cent in the third quarter of the year and by 13 per cent in the fourth quarter," he added.

Geographically, the Beauport area stood out in 2012 with a 13 per cent increase in sales compared to 2011, setting a new sales record. A strong increase in sales (+8 per cent) and a new sales record were also observed in the CMA of La Jacques-Cartier. Sainte-Foy/Sillery (+4 per cent) and Les Rivières (+2 per cent) were the only other areas that registered sales growth in 2012.

The median price of single-family homes in the Québec City CMA reached $239,000 in 2012. The median price of condominiums reached $196,000 and that of plexes (2 to 5 dwellings) reached $280,000. These represent increases of 4, 7 and 4 per cent, respectively, compared to 2011. However, the 4 per cent increase in the median price of single-family homes in 2012 was the smallest increase in eleven years.

For a second year, the number of active listings grew significantly (+15 per cent) in the Québec City CMA, mainly due to a sharp rise in the number of condominiums for sale, which was fueled by strong activity in terms of new construction. The increase in active listings was more subdued for the two other property categories: 10 per cent for single-family homes and 4 per cent for plexes, compared to 2011.

Market conditions show that it is still a seller's market for single-family homes throughout the Québec City area, particularly in the suburbs. As for condominiums, the increase in listings combined with the drop in sales at the end of the year resulted in market conditions shifting slightly to a buyer's market.

Provincial Real Estate Market: Slight Increase in Sales in 2012

According to the real estate brokers' provincial database, there were 77,463 residential sales transactions in the province of Québec in 2012, indicated the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB). This represents 292 more transactions than in 2011. For the first time since 2009, single-family homes registered the largest increase. In fact, it was the only property category that posted an increase in sales, as 54,079 single-family homes changed hands in Québec in 2012, up 1 per cent compared to 2011. Sales of condominiums fell by 2 per cent with 16,358 transactions, while plex sales decreased by 3 per cent with 6,607 transactions.

Geographically, the agglomerations that posted the best sales results in 2012 were those whose economy is primarily based on the mining and energy industry, such as the agglomerations of Amos, Thetford Mines, Val-d'Or, Sorel-Tracy, Baie-Comeau and Matane. All of these agglomerations registered a sales increase greater than 14 per cent. Elsewhere in the province, the agglomerations of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Mont-Tremblant, Saint-Lin-Laurentides, Victoriaville, Sainte-Marie, Montmagny and Cowansville all posted an increase in sales of 10 per cent or more in 2012.

The number of active listings increased sharply in Québec in 2012, where an average of close to 65,000 residential properties were for sale by a real estate broker, a 9 per cent increase compared to 2011. "With an increase in the supply of properties available, market conditions became relaxed in many areas of the province, particularly for condominiums, where buyers had the upper hand in negotiations in many areas of Québec," explained Paul Cardinal, Manager, Market Analysis, at the QFREB.

The median price of single-family homes continued to rise in 2012 in Québec. Half of all single-family homes sold at a price higher than $224,372, a 3 per cent increase compared to the median price of 2011. However, this was the slowest growth rate since the early 2000s. The province's six Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) all registered an increase in median price, and for all three property categories.

There were two phases to the province's real estate market in 2012: sales increased in the first two quarters of the year, and then decreased in the third and fourth quarters. "The year 2012 was marked by a tightening of mortgage insurance rules in which the maximum amortization period for new insured mortgages was reduced to 25 years. Qualifying for financing became more difficult for some first-time buyers in the second half of the year," explained Mr. Cardinal.

More Information on centris.ca®

For more information, including quarterly statistics for the province of Québec, as well as its municipalities and regions, visit centris.ca®, Québec's real estate industry website.

About the Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards

The Québec Federation of Real Estate Boards is a non-profit organization composed of Québec's 12 real estate boards and close to 15,000 real estate brokers who are members. Its mission is to promote and protect the interests of Québec's real estate industry so that the boards and their members can successfully meet their business objectives.

For more information on the Centris® statistics for each of the province's regions, don't miss the upcoming publication of the QFREB Barometer.

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