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Housing Market Outlook (Fall 2020)

Canadian housing market expected to remain active for the remainder of 2020 due to pent-up demand and low inventory levels, say RE/MAX brokers and agents

Canadians showing more interest in suburban and rural homes for sale, as work and life dynamics shift 

  • Canadian housing prices anticipated to increase by 4.6% in the third and fourth quarter according to RE/MAX brokers and agents. This is compared to the earlier prediction by RE/MAX brokers and agents of +3.7% at the start of the year.
  • 32% of Canadians no longer want to live in urban centres, opting for rural or suburban communities instead.
  • Canadians are almost equally split in their confidence in Canadian housing market, with 39% as confident as they were before the pandemic, and 37% slightly less confident.

Leading indicators from RE/MAX brokers and agents across the Canadian housing market point to a strong market for the remainder of 2020. According to the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report, RE/MAX brokers suggest that the average residential sale price in Canada could increase by 4.6 per cent during the remainder of the year. This is compared to the 3.7 per cent increase that was predicted in late 2019.

The pandemic has prompted many Canadians to reassess their living situations. According to a survey conducted by Leger on behalf of RE/MAX Canada, 32 per cent of Canadians no longer want to live in large urban centres, and instead would opt for rural or suburban communities. This trend is stronger among Canadians under the age of 55 than those in the 55+ age group.

Not only are Canadians more motivated to leave cities, but changes in work and life dynamics have also shifted their needs and wants for their homes. According to the survey, 44 per cent of Canadians would like a home with more space for personal amenities, such as a pool, balcony or a large yard.

“While COVID-19 lockdowns slowed the Canadian housing market at the start of a typically busy spring market, activity bounced back by early summer in many regions, including Vancouver and Toronto,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “Despite the tragic impacts of the pandemic, our optimism in the strength of Canada’s housing market has always remained, and current market activity further exemplifies this. Many homebuyers are now exploring different neighbourhoods that better suit their new lifestyles, and real estate agents are getting busier and working more with buyers from different major cities.  According to our brokers and agents across the RE/MAX network, Canada’s fall market is expected to see spring market-like activity.”

Looking ahead at the Canadian housing market

RE/MAX brokers across Canada were asked to provide an analysis on market activity during COVID-19 lockdowns, assessing how their regions have bounced back with easing restrictions. They also provided a prediction of market activity for the remainder of 2020. Unsurprisingly, most provinces experienced a slowdown in March and April, with significant drops in activity up to 70 per cent year-over-year. Prices, however, have remained stable across the country. Heading into fall, 50 per cent of RE/MAX brokers and agents surveyed anticipate a modest increase in average residential sale prices.

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Ontario Housing Market

With Ontario being one of the hardest-hit provinces in Canada, markets like Niagara, Mississauga and Kitchener-Waterloo experienced significant drops in activity, but bounced back aggressively in June as economies began reopening. Toronto continues to be a sellers’ market with low listing inventory and high demand. An uptick in new listings is anticipated for the fall market, now that buyers and sellers are more comfortable engaging in the housing market, with all of Ontario now in phase three of re-opening. RE/MAX brokers estimate a five-per-cent increase in average residential sale price in Toronto for the remainder of the year. According to the RE/MAX broker network in Ontario, market activity in the province is estimated to remain steady in the fall, with the potential for modest price increases of up to six per cent in regions like Hamilton, Brampton and London.

Regional housing market insights: Niagara

The Niagara housing market experienced a 70% decline in sales in April 2020 following the COVID-19 lockdown that started in mid-March. However in May, the region saw a quick recovery, according to the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report – a common trend across many Canadian housing markets. Currently, Niagara is experiencing balanced market conditions, but is beginning to lean toward a seller’s market as prices continue to climb. Year-to-date, Niagara home prices have increased 11%, with further growth expected over the next 12 months.

Niagara’s luxury and recreational housing markets continue to thrive as buyers increasingly seek to purchase larger, more spaced-out properties outside of city centres.

Average prices across the Niagara housing market are expected to increase 4% to 6% in the remainder of 2020.

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