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This Week’s Top Stories: Canada’s Real Estate Industry Forecasts Soaring Prices, And Toronto Lags Cottage Country – Better Dwelling

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Time for your cheat sheet on this week’s most important stories. 

Canadian Real Estate

Canadian Real Estate Industry Forecasts Prices Rising Over 9% Next Year

Canada’s real estate industry is forecasting lofty price gains next year. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is forecasting an average national sale price of $620,404 in 2021, up 9.1% for the year. That’s on top of the 13.1% increase seen in 2020. All but one market is expected to see big gains, except B.C. The industry expects prices in the province to be virtually flat.

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Canadian Households See Net-Worth Growth Slow, Decline For Seniors

Canadians are seeing their net-worth slow in growth, and in some cases decline. The median household net-worth reached $329,900 in 2019, up 5.57% from 2016. Canadian seniors, aged 55+, have actually seen their net-worth decline over the period. The previous measure in 2016 showed growth at more than double the current rate, with seniors seeing the biggest growth.

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B.C.’S Best Performing Real Estate Markets Are Underperforming The National Average

Canadian real estate prices have been soaring during the pandemic, but B.C. is lagging. The best performing real estate market in the province is Chilliwack. The cost of a typical home there will set you back $597,900 in November, up 9.89% from a year ago. As big as that annual price increase is, it lags the national average. Typically when a whole country is seeing prices soar, it has more to do with a juiced up credit market than fundamentals.

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Flight To The Burbs: Every Real Estate Market In Ontario Is Outperforming Toronto

Small towns and cottage country real estate is in high demand as people leave the city.  Ontario’s best performing real estate market is now the Kawartha Lakes. The price of a typical home in the region has jumped over 28% in the past year. To contrast, Toronto has seen prices increase just over 10% over the same period. In fact, Toronto is now the worst performing market as people ditch the city as work from home becomes more accepted.

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RBC: Toronto Condos Are The Only Housing In Canada That Became More “Affordable”

Canada’s largest bank is observing a further deterioration of affordability. A median family buying a single-family home in Q3 saw costs rise 1.4%, when compared to the previous quarter. Condo apartments saw a 0.4% increase over the same period. In fact, the only regions to see affordability improve is Toronto, and only in one segment. Condo apartments in the region saw carrying costs fall 0.4% from the previous quarter. The only segment in any region across the country’s major markets to decline last quarter.

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Canada’s Household Savings Rate Plummets Lower After Government Supports Slow

Canadian households are easing on the cash hoarding, as government support gradually ends. The household savings rate fell to 14.6% in Q3, down 12.9% from the previous quarter. Even with such a large drop, households are saving over 9x what they were during the same quarter last year. Experts believe the increase in savings rate will drop as government supports gradually fade.

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Teranet: Canadian Real Estate Prices See Biggest November In 24 Years

Canadian real estate prices made a historic jump, but a National Bank economist sees some signs of slowing. The C11, an aggregate index of Canada’s 11 largest real estate markets, made a record advance. The index increased 0.93% in November, the strongest monthly gain for the month in at least 24 years. The bank’s economist notes, seasonally adjusted there was some deceleration in price growth. This suggests the uptrend could slow in the coming months. 

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These are the most affordable cities for real estate in Ontario – blogTO

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If you’re looking to take the dive into homeownership but, like the vast majority of us, can’t possibly afford housing in Toronto, there are a number of nearby cities where you can get more bang for your buck (and won’t have to spend a million dollars).

While prices have continued to skyrocket in Toronto and other parts of the GTA as if there isn’t a global pandemic and worldwide lockdowns taking place, there are parts of the province where homes can still be purchased for fairly reasonable prices.

Take Kingston, for example, just halfway between T.O. and Montreal and under two hours’ drive from Ottawa.

Known for being home to Queen’s University and the Kingston Penitentiary, the city of less than 200,000 people is rich with history and beautiful heritage architecture. It also has the benefits of low crime rates.

As noted by RE/MAX, the average price of a residential property sold in Kingston in 2020 was only $464,083, compared to a whopping $986,085 in Toronto — a huge difference that just may make the move a few hours east worth it.

Then, there’s somewhere like Windsor, the most southernmost locale in Ontario.

Separated by the Detroit River from the U.S. — which actually sits to the northwest of the city — the border crossing in Windsor is the busiest commercial land crossing between the two countries, meaning it’s bustling with Americans and provides easy access to the states.

Slightly larger than Kingston, Windsor is known for its auto industry and its cheap real estate, with houses in 2020 going for an average of just $406,861, which is actually way up from the year previous.

As the experts at RE/MAX state, “when you consider that this price will not get you any house or condominium in Toronto or Vancouver, this market could be considered a steal for first-time homebuyers.”

If you’re willing to move further north in the province, things get even cheaper, even while staying in an urban centre. The average home in Sudbury, an old mining settlement that’s a four-and-a-half hour drive north of Toronto, sold for a meagre $311,940 last year.

If you’re really looking for a steal but still want to live in an Ontario city, you’ll have to go another 11 hours northwest of even Sudbury, all the way to Thunder Bay, which has a population of around 120,000 and abuts Lake Superior. It is also known for its scenic views and nearby hiking trails where residents can get in touch with nature.

While Sudbury has a giant nickel, Thunder Bay is home to a giant curling rock, as well as the cheapest home prices in Ontario: just $248,462, on average. For comparison, you can buy a coveted parking spot in Toronto for a third of that price, or the average detached home for about $1.5 million.

But, with population forever on the rise and municipalities across the province growing, housing costs are expected to increase in many Ontario housing markets this year, some of them significantly, so things may not be so affordable for long.

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4 Quebec Cities Ranked Among The Most Affordable Real Estate Markets In Canada – MTL Blog

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If you’re one of the many Montrealers leaving the metropolis for another region, you might consider a move to Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke or Trois-Rivières. A recent report by Point2Homes ranked the four cities among the most affordable real estate markets in Canada in 2020. 

The report, published on January 19, evaluated the percentage of income that homeowners in cities across Canada spend on their mortgage.

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income share spent on mortgage in Quebec City

The four Quebec cities were among just 10 in the study where mortgages occupied less than 15% of household income: 12% in Quebec City, 12.4% in Saguenay, 12.7% in Sherbrooke and 14.5% in Trois-Rivières

The others were Halifax, Windsor, London, Oshawa, Winnipeg and Regina.

In Halifax, the percentage of income dedicated to a mortgage was only 10.8%.

In Montreal, meanwhile, the “share of income spent on mortgage” was 19% in 2020, according to the report.

As for the markets where mortgages take up the largest share of income, cities in Ontario and British Columbia dominated the list.

At the very top were Burnaby and Richmond, BC, where homeowners had to reserve 44.7% and 44% of their income, respectively, for their mortgage.

National trends aren’t promising either.

The Point2Homes report says that the number of real estate markets it labels “unaffordable” more than doubled between 2010 and 2020 — from six to 16.

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Real estate board posts record numbers in December – My West Nipissing Now

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The region has become a destination for people to purchase homes.

That’s according to the North Bay Real Estate Board (NBREB), which released its statistics from December. The stats show a record number of homes being purchased during what is normally a slow month. 

80 units were sold for an average price of $270,000 (26 percent increase from December 2019) for a total of $34.7 million (67 percent increase) during December, record numbers for the month.

“We have a lot of people moving into our area because it’s a beautiful place to be,” said Sue Symons, president of the NBREB. “Our area is a target for people to move into. We have a great lifestyle here, we’re close to peak centres and the community has so much to offer.”

Symons says there were many instances of people moving to North Bay and the surrounding area over the course of 2020, as was referenced in U-Haul’s migration trends that named North Bay as the country’s top city for growth last year. 

With more people working from home in the past year, Symons says the pandemic has highlighted one of the key needs for the North Bay area. 

“One of the biggest takeaways is the infrastructure and things like high-speed internet and how important that is to a community,” she noted. 

Looking ahead, Symons is optimistic the North Bay-area’s real estate market will continue to be successful this year. 

“With this pandemic, I wouldn’t even want to predict what the future holds, but we anticipate a vibrant market in 2021,” she said.

North Bay Real Estate Board represents over 150 REALTORS and over a dozen offices from West Nipissing to Mattawa.

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