The pandemic-triggered housing boom has shredded a number of long-standing assumptions Canadians have about real estate.
The overall resale market in Winnipeg for housing remains balanced according to the latest Housing Market Assessment update from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The seasonally adjusted sales-to-new listings ratio was 55.3% in the third quarter of 2019, a slight adjustment from the previous quarter. Over the same period, resale market activity remained strong as seasonally adjusted sales increased 2.5% while new listings were up 4%.
The market has been buoyed by strong population growth stats coupled with low mortgage rates that have helped keep overvaluation of the market place in check.
This means the vulnerability rating for the city’s real estate market has dropped from moderate to low.
“We are currently seeing balanced market conditions in Winnipeg,” said Heather Bowyer, a senior analyst for CMHC. “When we have a balanced market we generally see more stability than we would if we were in other markets, like buyers’ markets or in some of the other markets out west like Calgary or Edmonton where there is a different kind of rental market there.”
Year over year, the average MLS price dropped by 0.3% in Winnipeg to $297,604, compared to the same quarter of 2018.
The HMA takes into consideration four pillars when doing its quarterly reports: overheating, price acceleration, overvaluation and overbuilding.
Winnipeg scored a low vulnerability in three of the four categories with the only moderate score coming in overbuilding. Inventory levels in both single-detached and multi-family units both remain above historical values.
According to the report, the majority of the completed and unsold units in the quarter were single-detached homes (48.8%) while condominium apartment units represented 38.8% of the inventory. Meanwhile apartment vacancy rates in Winnipeg also remained strong at 3.1%, according to the October Rental Market Survey, which is well below the threshold for overbuilding.
“One of the things we look at in regards to overbuilding is what’s going to happen if we have an elevated level of starts, is that going to contribute to overbuilding in the area?” said Bowyer. “We’ll also look at the demand for these units, as they get absorbed, they come out of the inventory, so we would expect to see in Winnipeg, demand increase as our inventory fall. If this were the case we would see overbuilding mitigate into the next several quarters.”
The pandemic-triggered housing boom has shredded a number of long-standing assumptions Canadians have about real estate.
Distance from, not nearness to, downtown cores is now a key buyer desire. Communities that were unpopular with buyers two years ago because of a lack of jobs or amenities are some of today’s most active markets. Even taking out a gargantuan mortgage in the midst of a crushing global recession went from “undeniably risky” to “par for the course” seemingly overnight.
And this Great Real Estate Rethink continues: A new survey by real estate brokerage Royal LePage finds that 79 per cent of real estate professionals think sellers should list their homes this winter rather than waiting until spring 2022.
Winter is traditionally the slowest season for home sales in Canada. But buyers have already tossed aside so many real estate traditions. What’s one more?
The pro-winter listing sentiment is strong across all regions.
Realtors in British Columbia led the way, with 93 per cent of respondents in the province saying they would advise their clients to sell this winter; 87 per cent of agents in Quebec and 85 per cent of those in Atlantic Canada shared the same view.
The proportion of agents in favour of winter listings were lower in Ontario (72 per cent), Alberta (73 per cent) and the remaining prairie provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan (75 per cent).
While those numbers are all high, many of the real estate agents surveyed — at least half in every area of the country — were advising their clients to list in the winter even before the pandemic. The reason then is the same as it is today: A painfully low number of homes for sale has created a seller’s market so rabid that weather is the last thing desperate buyers are worried about.
“Typically we see a seasonal adjustment in real estate activity,” says Adil Dinani of Royal LePage West Real Estate Services in Vancouver. “However, last year, we saw one of the busiest winter markets in our history. Even if there are fewer buyers in the winter, it is unlikely there will be enough inventory on the market to satisfy demand.”
That could be especially true in Toronto, where there were only 7,750 homes left on the market at the end of October.
“That’s versus 17,000 last year,” says Cameron Forbes, general manager and broker at RE/MAX Realtron Realty in Toronto.
But Forbes still believes that a spring listing is better for sellers, pointing out that since 1999 there have, on average, been more homes on the market in the winter in the GTA than in the spring. If selling in a low-supply market is the goal, why not wait until the spring, when the market will be even more depleted?
“All things being equal, that’s a better time to sell your home,” he says. “That’s why agents will generally recommend that you wait to list in the spring market, when your home shows well and, frankly, when buyers are out looking to buy.”
You may have noticed that the areas where the preference for winter listings were lowest are in parts of the country where winter can be especially brutal. (Ontario’s placement in this category may have more to do with fears around what an extra three or four months might do to the province’s already sky-high prices.)
And this one could be particularly messy. Both The Weather Network and the Farmer’s Almanac are preparing Canadians for a potentially long, storm-filled winter.
Can sellers in hard-hit markets really plan on buyers being hungry enough to brave the elements and view properties when winter’s at its most miserable?
Regina-based Royal LePage agent Shayla Ackerman, no stranger to extreme winter weather, says listing in the winter is not something she would recommend unless a seller has no other choice.
“Our winter market slows right down,” she says.
But in Montreal, which also receives its fair share of colossal snow-dumps, Century 21 Immo-Plus agent Angela Langtry expects buyers to be out in droves.
“We are still in a low-inventory market, especially for houses,” Langtry says. “I always say that the serious buyers come out in the snow storms.”
Capitalizing on raging buyer demand is not the only reason to list your home this winter.
The Bank of Canada announced in late October that it is ending a key pandemic emergency measure: buying billions of dollars in bonds to keep interest rates low, including those attached to mortgages.
If mortgage rates begin rising, and mortgage amounts begin shrinking, buyers may have less buying power in the spring. Listing now may give sellers one last shot at enticing buyers while they have more money to play with.
But Paul Taylor, president and CEO of trade association Mortgage Professionals Canada, isn’t sure a rise in interest rates will impact buyers’ budgets in the next few months.
“Almost everyone is qualifying at a 5.25 per cent stress test rate today,” Taylor says, referring to the benchmark interest rate lenders use to evaluate mortgage applicants’ ability to repay their loans.
Even if the Bank of Canada were to raise interest rates by 100 basis points, or one per cent, over the next 12 months, Taylor says buyers who qualified at 5.25 per cent would still have at least 200 basis points worth of breathing room, meaning their mortgage budget “will be effectively unchanged.”
Taylor expects a 0.25 per cent increase in the BoC’s overnight rate, which should trigger a rise in variable mortgage rates, in the spring. He says two additional increases could occur before the end of 2022.
“I expect the media coverage of the tiny rate increases will scare many and slow the market, which is likely very good for everyone, but I don’t think we’ll see enough of a slowdown to erode prices,” Taylor says.
This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.
Housing prices in Canada are expected to increase steadily in 2022, with inter-provincial migration continuing in many regions and a short supply of homes in those areas pushing up costs, according to Re/Max’s housing market outlook report published Wednesday.
Sale prices are projected to go up by 9.2 per cent on average across the country next year, the real-estate company estimates. It would follow an already “sensational” year in terms of sales and price appreciation, Re/Max’s president says.
“In the history of our nation, I don’t know of, certainly not in my tenure, of more than 95% of markets being in seller’s market territory,” he told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview. “So it can’t be overstated enough how strong the market was in Canada in 2021.”
That momentum will likely carry forward into next year, Alexander says, with 36 of 38 markets across the country poised to maintain their seller’s status.
Another trend he suspects will continue is inter-provincial migration as investors look for more affordable places to set up shop. The ability to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has given some homebuyers the flexibility to shop in different places.
“Remote work has really allowed people to set up in ways that weren’t possible before the pandemic,” Alexander said. “We”e hearing of some people that have moved to a different province but still hold their job in the province they left.”
The report indicates short supply in areas with high demand due to migration is a key factor in driving up the cost of real estate.
Despite prices seemingly set to continue going up, making home ownership more expensive for Canadians, the report says about half of residents across the country still view buying a house as a good investment option for next year.
“I don’t think people are nervous at all,” Alexander said of the real-estate market. “We surveyed a lot of consumers and more than half are confident that the market is going to remain strong for next year.”
Apart from outlining industry trends, the report breaks things down region by region in Canada, offering predictions and projections for different areas in the coming year.
In Western Canada, Calgary and Edmonton became seller’s markets this year, a trend that’s expected to continue into 2022. The report attributes this to heightened demand coming from homebuyers migrating from Ontario and British Columbia while supply remained low.
Cities such as Victoria, Nanaimo and Kelowna in B.C., along with Regina in Saskatchewan, also apparently saw a boost due to incoming buyers searching for more affordability.
Winnipeg is said to be an outlier and it seems will remain a buyer’s market next year, the report says, apparently due to more remote working options in the area.
Brokers in Ontario anticipate steady market activity and price growth in 2022, at least on average. Several regions experienced wild price appreciations across all property types this year, including Brampton (25 per cent), Durham (29 per cent) and London (30 per cent), while Toronto only saw a seven-per-cent increase.
All regions in Atlantic Canada are currently seller’s markets, according to the report, and could see sale prices rise between five and 20 per cent next year.
The spike in demand seems to be driven by out-of-province buyers from Ontario moving to cities like Moncton, Fredericton, Halifax, Charlottetown and St. John’s in search of more affordability.
Although places like Charlottetown may cool off, sales prices in Halifax and Moncton are projected to increase by 16 and 20 per cent, respectively.
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