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5 Canadian real estate market trends to watch in 2021

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Every year is unique, but 2020 was truly unlike anything we’ve ever experienced in the Canadian real estate market. No one could have predicted that a pandemic would sweep across Canada, slowing the market initially and then driving prices upward in many regions across the country. Many markets across Canada even saw historically strong levels of activity as things picked up very quickly after a short period of inactivity.

Trying to foresee where things are headed this year is a difficult task, but we think these trends are certainly worth paying attention to over the next 12 months. If all five of these trends continue, it should be a very busy year for Canadian real estate.

Here are five Canadian real estate market trends to watch in 2021:

  1. A steady increase in home prices
  2. Detached homes will be in high demand
  3. Monthly home sales numbers will fluctuate less
  4. Mortgage rates will remain depressed
  5. Potential rental resurgence could change trends

1.  A steady increase in home prices

The Canadian Real Estate Association predicts that the national average home price will rise 9.1% in 2021, and if you’ve been following the market, that’s really not hard to imagine. Noting improving economic conditions, the association says that markets across Canada should either hold in terms of pricing or climb higher.

It’s important to point out that this is one of the most bullish forecasts, but nevertheless, most models from industry professionals and economists are predicting increases. Royal LePage, for example, is predicting a 5.5% increase in home prices across the country, citing limited inventory and unmet demand as the major market drivers. The company is predicting a 9% rise in Vancouver, a 5.75% increase in the Greater Toronto Area, a 0.75% and 1.5% increase respectively in Calgary and Edmonton, and a whopping 11.5% increase in Ottawa. Their full forecast for major Canadian cities is projecting no aggregate losses at all.

2. Detached homes will be in high demand

Many factors should contribute to the expected increase in home prices across Canada this year, but it’s hard to overlook the impact of detached home sales on the market. Detached homes are already typically more expensive than condos, so seeing their demand rise should bring up overall sales volume. While condos are expected to see modest gains over the next year, detached homes are expected to become even higher in demand in every major Canadian city. Young families looking for more space, more home offices, and places to entertain once the pandemic passes are expected to drive the demand for detached homes to new highs, so keep an eye on this trend in 2021. Should the pandemic continue into the summer and fall, this demand could easily continue well into 2022.

For sellers, this is big news. It will be a seller’s market in most Canadian cities this year, and homeowners looking to downsize can expect to see a lot of interest in their detached homes. In a recent survey, 84% of RE/MAX agents and brokers agreed that 2021 would be a seller’s market, largely due to the high demand for more space and low-interest rates.

3. Monthly home sales numbers will fluctuate less

One of the most notable things about the real estate market in 2020 was the wild monthly sale number swings, largely an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CREA expects sales volumes to surge 7.2% to around 584,000 in 2021, but that total number will very likely be more evenly spread out over the year than in 2020. After things began to slowly open up last year after the initial lockdown period, interest in real estate peaked, and buyers flooded the market with offers. This year should have fewer fluctuations.

4. Mortgage rates will remain depressed

To further support borrowing, we’d expect mortgage rates to remain low throughout 2021. The extremely low rates that were introduced last March to calm the markets have enticed first time home buyers who didn’t have their incomes affected by the pandemic. If mortgage rates do stay low throughout the year, which we’d fully anticipate, expect to see the real estate market remain very busy. For many, it’s being viewed as a welcomed opportunity to enter the market.

Interest rates remain low when The Bank of Canada wants to encourage spending and stimulate the economy, and given the challenges Canadians have faced resulting from the pandemic, that’s exactly what they intend to do. The Bank of Canada has stood by its comments last year where they claimed that rates would remain low until 2023, which is how long they expect it to take for the economy to make a full recovery.

“Canada’s economic recovery will continue to require extraordinary monetary policy support,” the bank said in October 2020. “We remain committed to providing the monetary policy stimulus needed to support the recovery.”

Statements like this should give market watchers confidence that mortgage rates will remain low throughout 2021 and beyond.

5. A potential rental resurgence could change trends

Renters could seriously change how the market looks in 2021. We’d expect renters to return to cities in larger numbers once vaccination levels reach the point where a herd immunity to COVID-19 can be established, which would be a trend worth watching. Many people moved back home with family when the pandemic began, but don’t expect that trend to stay around forever. When renters return to major city centres, investors should reenter the condo market, or at the very least be less inclined to sell. It may take until the end of 2021, but keeping an eye on where renters are choosing to live is a great way to tell where condo prices are headed in 2021 and beyond.

We’ll be watching these five real estate trends very closely in 2021, especially given how fast we’ve seen things change in the last year. While markets across the country will experience different trends, 2021 could be a year where Canada’s major real estate markets have more in common with each other than they have differences. Low-interest rates in many ways are the glue that holds many of these trends together, so buyers, sellers, and agents should be closely watching what The Bank of Canada is doing and planning accordingly.

For more real estate and lifestyle news, check out REW.ca.

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Many positive signs in local real estate market, says Weyburn realtor – Weyburn Review

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A longtime Weyburn realtor, Winston Bailey, said there are many positive aspects to the real estate market in the city and area right now, in a presentation he gave to the Weyburn Rotary Club on Thursday via Zoom.

He noted he’s been in business in the city for 46 years, since he began with a construction company in 1976, and in real estate for the last 16 years, “and I have no intentions of quitting just yet.”

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Sharing statistics about how real estate is doing in this area, Bailey noted that provincially the real estate market has had one of its strongest ever starts to a year, according to the Saskatchewan Real Estate Association, with housing values up by one per cent after going down for the previous four or five years.

One factor is the low interest rates, said Bailey, pointing out that on a recent home sale the buyers were able to get 1.79 per cent on a 20-year mortgage with a five-year term.

Comparatively, when he built a home in 1983, the interest rate went down from 14 per cent to 11.5 per cent, “and I said yep, we can afford this — so that’s quite a difference.”

He added that in the last few months, he hasn’t seen any interest rates higher than 2.25 per cent, which can make a large difference in mortgage payments.

Currently the number of houses and other properties on the market has dropped by about 30 per cent, which has the positive effect of quick sales for a seller — unless it’s a condominium unit, which are “very sluggish” right now with 41 condos on the market in Weyburn right now.

Overall, there are about 135 properties on the market in Weyburn right now, including the condos, where normally the city has over 200 properties for sale. Bailey noted that “well over 200” properties sold in 2020, and “that’s pretty impressive. We haven’t seen that for a long time.”

There are few housing starts right now due to the high cost of building materials, said Bailey. He noted his son, Chad, recently built a fishing shack, and a sheet of plywood cost about $60, up from the past average price of around $22-23 a sheet.

The strongest real estate markets right now are in the larger cities, like Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert, while in the smaller cities, like Weyburn, Estevan, North Battleford and Kindersley, most of them have a strong presence of the oil industry.

“When the boom was on, it was our cities that grew the most. We’re suffering a little bit right now, but by the same token, we’re not in trouble. I don’t think that’s too negative a thing, I’m still very optimistic,” said Bailey.

Farmland values have been very strong in the Weyburn region, particularly good quality farm land from Yellow Grass, Lang and Colfax areas up to Regina, said Bailey.

He pointed to two recent land sales just north of Yellow Grass, with six quarters selling for $3,500 an acre in one sale, and in a smaller parcel, the land sold for $4,000 an acre, “so $600,000 for a quarter is what you’re seeing on some farmland.”

Land in the Weyburn area has sold for around $250,000 a quarter, he added, saying as a general rule, farmland will sell for 1.2 to 1.3 times its assessment, and high-quality farmland will sell for 1.5 to 1.6 times its assessed value.

“Even pasture land will sell for $150-175,000 a quarter,” he added.

For commercial properties, Bailey said some oil-related properties have had their tenants move on, but many of them have tenants renting so very few of those are sitting empty.

Addressing how COVID-19 has impacted the real estate business, Bailey said they are making it work and are abiding by the provincial regulations around how businesses are to operate.

“When I go to show a house, I have a mask on and keep a physical distance, and use hand sanitizer. You just comply by the rules,” he said. “People in general have been very open to allow us in. Some ask us to wear gloves, and that’s fine, that’s not a problem. In all, it’s a different way of doing business, but we just comply with the provincial standards, rules and regulations, and we can live with that.”

Weyburn has a lot going for it, such as being declared one of the best communities to live in on the prairies and in Canada.

“I’m a believer in our city, and in what we have going for us. It continues to attract people of all walks of life,” said Bailey, pointing out Weyburn has a new school and a new recreation and culture centre under construction, and a new hospital is on the way.

“I’ve had the privilege of taking a couple of tours (of the new facilities) and it’s absolutely amazing, it’s unbelievable. We should be very, very proud to have that facility here,” he said, adding the new hospital will also be a big boost for the city.

Combined with having Southeast College here, Weyburn has a lot to offer, he said. “Education and health care always assist in attracting people to the city.”

The ranking of Weyburn as one of Canada’s top communities is based on many factors, he added, including affordability, crime rate, schools, recreation and sporting facilities, and the business community, not to mention Weyburn’s friendliness, which is mentioned to him all the time by visitors from other communities.

Asked if Weyburn’s Golf Club is a selling feature for potential buyers, Bailey said it absolutely is a major recreational asset, along with the other sporting and recreation facilities that are here.

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Pattie Lovett-Reid: Bank of Canada governor sees signs of 'excess exuberance' in real estate market – CTV News

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HUNTSVILLE, ONT. —
Over the past year, one thing has become abundantly clear as we work from home. We now know with crystal clear clarity what our homespace should look like. If it didn’t meet your new expectations, you likely have been on the move.

The result? Home prices are on the rise, and this has caught the attention of the Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem. 

Throughout the pandemic, one of the pillars of the economy has been the real estate market. Rising demand, constrained supply and rock-bottom rates are all conspiring to lead us to believe home prices have only one way to go: higher. 

Now to be fair, home prices have been on the rise, but we still have a long way to go before we get to the heated market of five years ago. But that doesn’t mean the Bank of Canada isn’t watching this closely. Macklem has stated he is seeing early signs of what he called “excess exuberance,” with people expecting the recent increases in prices to go on indefinitely. 

I have learned that nothing goes on indefinitely when one of the variables changes. In this case, it could be mortgage rates.

Canadians might have grown accustomed to fixed rates continuously declining after the five-year fixed rate in Canada reached a record low this past summer of 1.39 per cent.

This is about to change for the first time since the pandemic began.

According to RateHub.ca, fixed rates are on the rise in response to higher-than-expected inflation in January. And if this inflation continues to go higher and optimism around the vaccine rollout continues, Canadians should expect to see rates continue to move higher. By the end of the week, the expectation is for the best rate to be 1.54 per cent.

Call to action: if you are in a variable rate mortgage, you might want to consider locking in. If you are first time homebuyer, a mortgage pre-approval today will hold rates for 90-120 days. 

According to the RateHub.ca mortgage calculator, a homeowner with a 10 per cent downpayment on a $500,000 home with a five-year fixed rate of 1.39 per cent and a 25-year amortization would see their payments increase per month by $32.00, or $384.00 per year, if rates increase to 1.54 per cent.

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B.C. real estate: Bidding wars again hitting high-end housing market – Vancouver Sun

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One recent sale went more than $1.6 million over the asking price, while another went $700,000 higher.

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When the COVID-19 real estate boom started, multiple offers and over-asking sale prices were mostly happening for detached homes in the $1.5 million to $2 million range in parts of East Vancouver and North Vancouver, and lower-prices houses in the Fraser Valley.

Now, there are signs of this moving into more expensive housing. In particular, there were two eye-popping sales in mid-February, one that went for over $700,000 the asking price, and the other for more than $1.6 million higher than the asking price.

In a fast-escalating market with heated demand and multiple offers, it can be challenging for sellers and real estate agents to determine an asking price by relying on a property’s assessment or recent sales of a similar property. This can lead to sale prices that are hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price.

For example, at the beginning of the real estate boom between 2014 to 2018, a home in Shaughnessy sold for $2 million over the asking price of $5.99 million in March 2015. Later, in June 2015, there was a sale of a home in West Vancouver that caught attention for selling for $1.1 million over the asking price of $2.98 million. These were one-off sales, but they help set a higher comparable price or margin for next sales.

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Real estate agents say “cheap money” or very low interest rates are spurring sales and prices. Existing homeowners are refinancing at low rates and taking that cash to make another property investment. First time buyers or those with less home equity also benefit from low interest rates, but they are at a disadvantage when it comes to competing for sales that involve multiple and over asking price offers because they have to bid in smaller increments and take fewer risks such as forgoing a house inspection before the sale closes.

Vancouver real estate agent Muzda Stenner described the recent scene at a West Vancouver detached home on Queens Avenue that was on sale for $2.877 million.

“It was almost like a garage sale (with) cars lined up on the street,” said Stenner. “Even with COVID, and people wearing masks, it was a full house, and people were trying to get in.”

The home is assessed at $2.69 million. She helped her client bid “$3 million, with subjects” to buy the home. “And it was like, ‘no, no, no.’ I had one of the lowest bids.”

With some 19 other offers, the home went under contract in mid-February to be sold for $3.6 million or $723,000 over the asking price.

“It had great potential, but it was a very small house,” said Stenner of the 3,000-square-foot, two-storey home on a 12,000-square foot lot with ocean views that was built in 1957.

On the West side, a 4,000-square-foot, five bedroom, rancher-style home on West 41st Avenue just west of Granville Street went under contract in mid-February to be sold for $5.66 million.

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The property, which is assessed at $3.95 million got one offer at the asking price of $3.98 million, but three other offers that were all above that, according to the listing agent, Sarina Han. The sale price was $1.68 million over the asking price.

Han said the property has RS-3 zoning, which allows for a single-family home in keeping with the design and density of the surrounding area, even though it is on busy 41st Street near a major intersection at Granville Street.

The condo market, which has been described as more balanced in pricing because there is more supply of listings and because more buyers were seeking larger homes with outdoor space to cope with the pandemic, is also seeing some of this frenzied activity, according to some real estate agents.

Ian Watt said he was juggling two multiple offer situations for potential condo buyers one recent evening. One condo they were interested in got five offers and the other had 14 of them. It was a one-bedroom, 965-square-foot condo in Kits that was asking $899,999, but sold for $1.107 million or $207,001 over asking price.

“I lost out with my buyers because someone totally overpaid,” said Watt.

jlee-young@postmedia.com

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