Home buyers can expect more choice and lower prices in the second half of 2010, while sellers can expect fewer offers for their homes, says one of Canada's leading real estate brokers.

"Accurate pricing is going to be really key," said Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

In its latest housing survey, Royal LePage said yesterday the real estate market will start to slow in the second half of 2010 with the number of sales expected to fall compared with the hot activity early in the year.

"I would say if you're a seller, the first thing you should expect is fewer multiple offers on your home," Soper said from Toronto.

Sellers who try to squeeze extra money out of their homes will likely have their homes "languish" on the market, unless they're exceptional properties, he said.

"I believe we are through the highly volatile spiking of prices and activity levels, both up and down," Soper said. "We'll see a much a more stable, but frankly less exciting in a good way, real estate market in the next 18 months," he said.

Soper said a lot of buyers were frustrated by a tight supply and "overexuberant competition," particularly in the first quarter, but that's easing with increased listings.

In the first half of this year, about half of real estate transactions were from people who were looking to buy a home, but weren't necessarily selling one, he said.

"It took a while for sellers to get comfortable that the recovery from the recession was real. We had an all-time record number of new homes come on the market in the first quarter of 2010. It started to impact prices in the second half (of 2010)."

Soper also noted that "fiscally aware 20-somethings," especially women, are now much more interested in buying homes than they were in the past.

Royal LePage said some markets will see a decline in home prices and sales volumes toward the end of 2010, but they should be seen more as a reflection of the highs reached late last year rather than a major slowdown.

Prices for detached bungalows and two-storey houses were up about 9 per cent in the April-June quarter, compared with the same time last year. Condominiums were up 7.3 per cent.

Royal LePage is forecasting that by the end of 2010, home prices will rise an average 6.8 per cent over last year, while the number of home sales will increase by just over 1 per cent from 2009.

Vancouver and Toronto showed some of the largest increases in the second quarter of 2010.

Average prices in Vancouver were up 16.6 to 19.1 per cent while prices in Toronto rose by an average of 7.7 to 11.4 per cent.

However St. John's, N.L., had the country's biggest increase with prices up an average of 18.4 per cent to 9.6 per cent.

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