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Economic downturn expected to suppress real estate prices

If you're figuring on buying a house in the next two or three months,your timing is likely to be pretty good. But if you're selling, whatyou get may not be what you expect.  

If you're figuring on buying a house in the next two or three months, your timing is likely to be pretty good. But if you're selling, what you get may not be what you expect.

"We will likely see single family home prices, this year, fall by two percent to approximately $451,000 dollars," said the incoming president of the Calgary Real Estate Board, Bonnie Wegerich. "Condominium prices will fall by a further five percent to $287,000 dollars."

That was the message to about 1500 Calgary realtors, at the yearly CREB market forecast.

"The market has changed in the past year from a seller's market, to a buyer's market,"
Wegerich said.

On a broader economic front, a trio of well-known Canadian economists assembled in Calgary for a panel discussion about just where the economy is heading, and all three of them said probably in the wrong direction.

Dr. Frank Atkins, of the University of Calgary, said the principal cause of continuing economic gloom will be the federal government and its forthcoming stimulus budget next Tuesday.

"I fear what is happening here is the threat of a coalition government is enough that some nonsensical things will have to be put in the budget."

And Dr. Mark Mullins, Chief Economist with the Fraser Institute, said it would be helpful if there were "less politics in policy, so the government isn't panicked into doing things where perhaps there isn't judicious support for what they may do."

The federal budget is expected to include a range of stimulus packages, including several billion dollars for the anaemic Canadian auto industry. Overall, the budget is likely to produce a deficit of up to $30 billion.

 
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