Vancouver real estate entrepreneur Robert Quigg is all smiles as he looks down from his latest luxury project to the world famous Stanley Park. 'We were overwhelmed by demand,' said the former surveyor and journeyman carpenter who rose to become the leading high-end condominium developer in Canada's most pricey and sought-after real estate location. The average home price in Vancouver has shot up by 18.3 per cent to C$520,686 (HK$3.59 million) in the past 12 months. Mr Quigg is about to finish the Properties, 44 boutique luxury residences nestled high on the tree-lined slope of West Vancouver with a magnificent view of the downtown skyline. The homes are all equipped with custom-designed kitchens, walk-in wine cellars, limestone-floored ensuite bathrooms, private lobbies and elevators as well as private yards for all suites with an average 3,500 sqft space. The first buyers will move in this month. 'We have no other properties on the market right now. Vancouver has become just very desirable,' Mr Quigg explained. Western Canada, with huge construction projects for the Winter Olympics 2010 and the massive boom in Alberta's oil patch, is continuing to drive the Canadian housing market. The two provinces are responsible for more than half of the price gains recorded on a national level. Mr Quigg is an optimist by nature. But even his forecast of 6 per cent to 10 per cent price gains in the market this year was proven too conservative. 'In the last 12 months we saw prices rise by 12 to 16 per cent in the high end segment,' he said, adding that next year will see 'at least another 5 to 8 per cent gain'. That, of course, contradicts forecasts of economists who warned that Canada must brace for a United States slowdown. According to a list compiled by Merrill Lynch Canada the country is dangerously exposed to the slowing US economy. Canada sells 85 per cent of its exports to the US and, according to HSBC, is 'at the top of the tree' in terms of exposure to the weakening US economy. The TD Bank Financial Group in Toronto warned in a report in August that select urban centres in western Canada are 'flashing warning signs' and 'the recent dramatic price gains in Calgary and Vancouver are unsustainable over the long-term'. But Mr Quigg is not so sure about that. 'I don't see a big impact from a US housing slowdown,' he said, claiming that Canada's housing boom was shorter and less dramatic than the one in the US, with slightly higher interest rates and less speculative buying. US housing prices appreciated 10 per cent more than in Canada and affordability in some parts of the US has plummeted to a 20-year low whereas in Canada it went back only to 1995 levels. Market experts confirmed Mr Quigg's forecast. 'Economic fundamentals underlying the housing market remain supportive for housing activity,' claims Gregory Klump, the chief economist of the Canadian Real Estate Association. And RE/MAX regional vice-president for western Canada Elton Ash estimates that home prices will slow their pace of growth but still rise 6 per cent to 7 per cent next year. 'Weakening US economic growth is good news for Canadian interest rates, as slowing economic growth in Canada will keep mortgage interest rates low and the housing market on a solid footing,' Mr Klump said. 'History shows that when the US slows, we take a while to catch up,' said Andrew Gretzinger, an economic analyst at MFC Global Investment Management, the institutional investment management arm of Manulife Financial. Time for developers like Mr Quigg to launch even more high-end properties into the market. 'We are going to announce new projects within a couple of weeks,' he said.