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Will Canada's Real Estate Market Stay Hot This Winter? RE/MAX Thinks So – Toronto Storeys

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After COVID-19 reared its ugly head on Canadian soil, life as we knew it changed forever… or at least for the foreseeable future.


Businesses closed and jobs were lost across every industry as the government tried to gain control of the deadly virus. However, despite a minor hiccup in the spring, the Canadian real estate market has managed to (so far) come out unscathed — for the most part, anyways.

In the months to follow the initial outbreak of the virus, Canada’s housing market experienced a record-setting recovery from coast to coast, thanks to high demand, Canadians taking advantage of low-interest rates, and real estate agents utilizing digital sales tools.

Since the start of the pandemic, Canadian homebuying behaviours have shifted immensely, with many urbanites relocating to the ‘burbs in search of more space as the work-from-home trend continues.

As such, both sales and prices are up, which raises the question: will the Canadian housing market maintain this upward trend as we head into winter?

READ:  Home Renovations in Canada Up Nearly 40% Since Start of Pandemic

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently published a report that analyzed the real estate markets in the Group of Seven countries during the second quarter. According to the report, Canadian residential real estate prices reported the biggest jump in the G7, rising 2.42% from Q1-2020. The next biggest jump by a G7 country was France, rising 1.71%. This occurred in Canada despite soaring vacancy rates and very little immigration during the April-to-June period.

To get a better understanding of the Canadian housing market, RE/MAX shared the average sales prices and the year-over-year growth from August.

  • Greater Toronto Area: $890,400 (+11.1%)
  • Greater Vancouver Area: $1,038,700 (+5.3%)
  • Ottawa: $517,800 (+19.9%)
  • Greater Montreal Area: $408,200 (+16.4%)
  • Halifax: $372,982 (+18.1%)

“The unforeseen developments of 2020 may have stumped market watchers, but the upward trends make sense since a key factor helping in the recovery of the national real estate market has been an inventory shortage that surfaced long before COVID-19 reared its head in Canada,” wrote RE/MAX in a recent report.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), inventory levels fell to an all-time low of 2.6 months in August.

Looking ahead, some economists said that the pent-up demand has been exhausted, which could mean the Canadian real estate market would lose some of its current momentum in the months to come. Despite the possibility of a slowdown, RE/MAX suggests that prices will continue to climb.

“With pent-up demand now largely exhausted, we see activity cooling later this fall,” said RBC economist Robert Hogue.“The pent-up demand created this spring proved a powerful driver of activity. Question is: how much longer can it be such a dominant factor? We think there’s probably little pent-up demand left to satisfy in most markets.”

RBC’s forecast for higher prices coincides with RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report, which predicted a “continuation of growth in valuations and activity in most housing markets.”

Regardless of where you’re looking to move, RE/MAX says the Canadian real estate market is “ripe with a wide range of opportunities for both new homebuyers and homeowners looking to upgrade.” Particularly since more people are working remotely and fewer workers need to be in close proximity to their workplace, which is leading to growth outside of downtown cores — namely within small suburban or rural municipalities.

The Bank of Canada (BoC), which is anticipated to maintain an accommodative monetary policy for a few more years, forecasts that it’ll still be some until Canada’s economy recovers. However, despite the remaining roadblocks within the economy — including business closures and widespread job loss — the real estate sector is booming.

RE/MAX suggests that “any significant price cooling activity is unlikely to correlate with Canada’s cooling temperatures” and when it comes to the national real estate market, “all signs point to a hot winter market ahead.”

Of course, it must be noted that RE/MAX has a vested interest in the market performing, and they have been one of the most critical voices of the CMHC’s dire forecasts since COVID-19 began. That said, RE/MAX’s predictions about the housing market have so far been more aligned with real life occurrences than those of the CMHC. But, as the saying goes, winter is coming — and if buyers start to get cold feet it’s going to be a long one.

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Booming real estate market reaches rural N.S. – CBC.ca

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Realtors in rural Nova Scotia are adjusting quickly to a new way of selling houses as buyers from places like Ontario and B.C. snap up properties without seeing them in person.

Christopher Snarby, the co-owner of Exit Realty Inter Lake, sells properties from Chester to Queens County and estimates he’s sold 12-15 of them sight unseen since May.

“People have been desperate and they can’t get here to see it, and they know things are moving quickly so they just kind of have to make a choice,” Snarby told CBC’s Information Morning on Monday.

“And not everybody’s comfortable with it, but certainly I’ve had a number that have been.”

He admits selling a property virtually can be a challenge. 

“It’s hard to describe a smell or feel of a house, but it really does become our responsibility to try to convey as much information as we can,” Snarby said. 

October was a record-breaking month for property sales across the province with inventory low and prices continuing to soar, according to the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.

Bobbi Maxwell said half of her buyers right now are from outside the province and won’t see their houses in person until they arrive. Most are middle-aged people who can work from home and are looking for a place to retire at some point.

“We’re starting to see more people … migrate this way because they want the solitude, the peace, the quiet, the safety and the beauty of the beaches,” said Maxwell, a realtor with Viewpoint Realty Services who sells properties around Barrington and Clyde River in Shelburne County.

“We’re not as hot as the metro [market], but it’s definitely been one crazy market for us as well.” 

Record October across N.S.

The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors compiled data for the month of October that shows 1,427 units were sold across the province, up more than 30 per cent from October 2019.

The average sale price was a record $304,590, rising just over 21 per cent from the previous October. 

In Yarmouth, there were 24 residential sales in October, up 41 per cent from last year and in the Annapolis Valley, 203 properties were sold, up 30 per cent since last October. The average sale price also went up in both areas last month. 

Christopher Snarby, co-owner Exit Realty Interlake, said people are moving to communities on the South Shore for the relative affordability, friendliness and proximity to the ocean. (Robert Short/CBC)

On the South Shore where Snarby works, sales in October were up about 30 per cent from last year and the average residential price was just over $291,000, an increase of 36 per cent over last October. 

The booming market is a major win for sellers but can be frustrating for buyers

“We’re not usually accustomed to that many bidding wars in our area, but now … most properties have gone into at least two or three offers and the time frames are a lot quicker as well,” Snarby said.

In the past, houses would sit on the market for six months to a year and now they’re gone in weeks or days, he added.

Rural internet still a challenge

Even though people are eager to move to Nova Scotia for its friendliness and relative affordability, Snarby and Maxwell said they are routinely asked about internet service.

“It’s really funny because people are more concerned about the internet than they are health-care services,” Maxwell said.

She said newcomers are good news for rural areas like Shelburne County that have struggled with out-migration. 

Bobbi Maxwell hopes the tide is turning for communities like Shelburne, which have seen an out-migration of residents in recent years. (Robert Short/CBC)

But she said there could be challenges, too. 

Many new buyers say they eventually want to build their own homes but finding skilled labour in the area isn’t always easy, she said. 

“I think we’re going to have a lot of growing pains because with the demand, we’re very short on tradesmen like plumbers and electricians and carpenters,” Maxwell said.

“I really am hoping that a lot of the people who are moving here from away are bringing in new skills or new motivation to want to … become career oriented or focused and become tradesmen in our area.”

Snarby said some of his clients are selling homes in the $800,000 range in Ontario and buying a property in rural Nova Scotia for around $200,000, leaving a healthy amount for their retirement fund.

 “And at the end of the day, if they’re not comfortable with their house or if it’s not quite the right one, they can put it back on the market and there’s a good chance it’ll sell,” Snarby said. 

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Pandemic-induced demand for more space pushing up cottage prices, real estate firm says – CBC.ca

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Home prices are increasing in Canada’s cottage country as more buyers look to move there full-time, according to a report released Monday by Royal LePage.

Prices of single-family recreational homes rose 11.5 per cent to an aggregate of $453,046 in the first nine months of the year, the real estate brokerage said.

The data from Royal LePage comes amid an overall uptick in home prices this year, after COVID-19 lockdowns stymied the spring buying season.

A rush of demand and a limited supply as the economy reopened this summer and fall meant that home prices were up 15.2 per cent last month in Canada compared to a year ago, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Royal LePage chief executive Phil Soper says the number of cottages, cabins, chalets and farmhouses on the market have also dwindled amid the increased demand, at least through September.

“Inventory levels are the lowest I’ve seen in 15 years,” said Heather FitzGerald, a Royal LePage agent in Moncton, NB, in the report.

While local buyers have moved away from cities and closer to nature, FitzGerald also noted an increase in buyers from Ontario and Quebec.

Corey Huskilson, another Royal LePage agent quoted in the report and based in Halifax, said buyers from outside of the Maritimes, “who expect to be working remotely for the foreseeable future, are flocking to the area.”

Real estate agents in 54 per cent of regions told the brokerage that there was a significant increase in buyers looking to work remotely at a cottage as a primary residence.

Eric Leger, a Laurentians-based agent, said in the report that Quebec’s lockdown periods “sparked an urgent desire for many city dwellers, in need of more living space, to relocate to the suburbs and cottage country.”

Retirees a factor, too

Agents in other provinces noted similar trends, with one agent noting that Alberta-based buyers are competing with people across the country for properties in Canmore.

“Highway developments have reduced the drive from Saskatoon to 1.5 hours, which makes working remotely more possible for those who still have to go into the office a few days a week,” said broker Lou Doderai in the report.

The report says retirees have also bid up cottage prices, with agents in 68 per cent of regions saying more retirees are buying cottages this year compared to last year.

“Retiring baby boomers have been putting upward pressure on prices and reducing inventory for the last few years. Retirees are now finding themselves competing against remote workers,” said Bob Clarke, an agent in Ontario’s Muskoka region, in the report.

“The most common question used to be ‘is the property West-facing?’ Now my clients’ biggest concern is internet quality.”

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Booming real estate market reaches rural N.S. – CBC.ca

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Realtors in rural Nova Scotia are adjusting quickly to a new way of selling houses as buyers from places like Ontario and B.C. snap up properties without seeing them in person.

Christopher Snarby, the co-owner of Exit Realty Inter Lake, sells properties from Chester to Queens County and estimates he’s sold 12-15 of them sight unseen since May.

“People have been desperate and they can’t get here to see it, and they know things are moving quickly so they just kind of have to make a choice,” Snarby told CBC’s Information Morning on Monday.

“And not everybody’s comfortable with it, but certainly I’ve had a number that have been.”

He admits selling a property virtually can be a challenge. 

“It’s hard to describe a smell or feel of a house, but it really does become our responsibility to try to convey as much information as we can,” Snarby said. 

October was a record-breaking month for property sales across the province with inventory low and prices continuing to soar, according to the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors.

Bobbi Maxwell said half of her buyers right now are from outside the province and won’t see their houses in person until they arrive. Most are middle-aged people who can work from home and are looking for a place to retire at some point.

“We’re starting to see more people … migrate this way because they want the solitude, the peace, the quiet, the safety and the beauty of the beaches,” said Maxwell, a realtor with Viewpoint Realty Services who sells properties around Barrington and Clyde River in Shelburne County.

“We’re not as hot as the metro [market], but it’s definitely been one crazy market for us as well.” 

Record October across N.S.

The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors compiled data for the month of October that shows 1,427 units were sold across the province, up more than 30 per cent from October 2019.

The average sale price was a record $304,590, rising just over 21 per cent from the previous October. 

In Yarmouth, there were 24 residential sales in October, up 41 per cent from last year and in the Annapolis Valley, 203 properties were sold, up 30 per cent since last October. The average sale price also went up in both areas last month. 

Christopher Snarby, co-owner Exit Realty Interlake, said people are moving to communities on the South Shore for the relative affordability, friendliness and proximity to the ocean. (Robert Short/CBC)

On the South Shore where Snarby works, sales in October were up about 30 per cent from last year and the average residential price was just over $291,000, an increase of 36 per cent over last October. 

The booming market is a major win for sellers but can be frustrating for buyers

“We’re not usually accustomed to that many bidding wars in our area, but now … most properties have gone into at least two or three offers and the time frames are a lot quicker as well,” Snarby said.

In the past, houses would sit on the market for six months to a year and now they’re gone in weeks or days, he added.

Rural internet still a challenge

Even though people are eager to move to Nova Scotia for its friendliness and relative affordability, Snarby and Maxwell said they are routinely asked about internet service.

“It’s really funny because people are more concerned about the internet than they are health-care services,” Maxwell said.

She said newcomers are good news for rural areas like Shelburne County that have struggled with out-migration. 

Bobbi Maxwell hopes the tide is turning for communities like Shelburne, which have seen an out-migration of residents in recent years. (Robert Short/CBC)

But she said there could be challenges, too. 

Many new buyers say they eventually want to build their own homes but finding skilled labour in the area isn’t always easy, she said. 

“I think we’re going to have a lot of growing pains because with the demand, we’re very short on tradesmen like plumbers and electricians and carpenters,” Maxwell said.

“I really am hoping that a lot of the people who are moving here from away are bringing in new skills or new motivation to want to … become career oriented or focused and become tradesmen in our area.”

Snarby said some of his clients are selling homes in the $800,000 range in Ontario and buying a property in rural Nova Scotia for around $200,000, leaving a healthy amount for their retirement fund.

 “And at the end of the day, if they’re not comfortable with their house or if it’s not quite the right one, they can put it back on the market and there’s a good chance it’ll sell,” Snarby said. 

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