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Will Canadian Real Estate Prices Decline? Not Likely – RE/MAX News

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The strength of the Canadian real estate market has continued to prove itself time and time again during the pandemic. While we’re not out of the woods yet, we are expecting continued growth for the duration of 2020, with an active market for the foreseeable future and balanced conditions at the national level into 2021. This is great news for Canadians.

So why all the fear mongering by the CMHC?

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Chief Economist Bob Dugan, told reporters at a press conference recently that the agency stands by its previous forecast in May that warned of a decline in Canadian house prices between nine and 18%.

“I’m not convinced that we have a sustainable basis for housing demand in the economic disturbance that’s going on related to COVID-19,” Dugan said. “That’s why I say I stand by the forecasts.”

We expressed our concerns over CMHC’s predictions in the spring, and Dugan’s latest statement continues to raise eyebrows – ours, and other industry insiders as well, as the Canadian housing market stays on its upward course.

While I can appreciate some of the reasoning that went into CMHC’s prediction, especially in the spring when so much was still unknown,  . The market data doesn’t support such a steep price decline, especially with the two largest real estate markets of Toronto and Vancouver continuing their upward momentum. The Prairies are facing different circumstances and challenges due to the resources sector, however Ontario and BC are expected to offset slower activity in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Canadian Real Estate Prices Have Remained Resilient

Nobody could have predicted the success of the Canadian real estate market in the wake of COVID-19. At the height of the pandemic, March and April 2020 experienced dramatic declines in activity, but transactions quickly resumed across the country as real estate professionals and consumers alike adapted to social distancing measures and embraced technology to continue transacting, despite disruptions to the economy and every facet of daily life.

Last month we at RE/MAX Canada revised our forecast for national average house price in 2020, increasing it to +4.6% from our original expectation of +3.6% at the end of last year.

In terms of declining prices, “the impact was on rent as opposed to home ownership,” said Benjamin Tal, Chief Economist at CIBC World Markets. His optimism in the Canadian housing market was due to continued low interest rates and strong pent-up demand. “Eighty per cent of jobs lost were in the service sector. Many of them were low-income and many of them were renters. So, the impact was on rent as opposed to home ownership,” he noted.

Economists Aligned in Strength of Housing Market

RBC Economics recently reported that a large-scale decline was unlikely. “The pandemic completely disrupted normal seasonal patterns by shifting activity from the spring to summer. With pent-up demand now largely exhausted, we see activity cooling later this fall. This should let some of the steam out of prices though not to the point of causing outright declines on a large scale.”

TD’s Beata Caranci also commented on Canada’s “swoosh” economic recovery and the housing market. The level of unemployment suggests the housing market should not be as active as it is. However, when you look at income levels, it all makes sense. Incomes today aren’t behaving like we’re in a recession, Caranci explained, and incomes are being supported at the same or at higher levels than in previous recessions. So, there’s a complete disconnect between the employment rate and income levels, which is adding fuel to the housing market.

So, if the real estate industry disagrees and economists disagree, just where is the CMHC getting its insight to support such a steep decrease?

Recently the Ontario Real Estate Association surveyed Ontarians, finding a strong majority think housing is an important (60%) or somewhat important (32%) contributor to the provincial economy recovery. They are now pushing on governments to help stimulate the market with incentives like a “Land Transfer Tax Holiday” to help get more homes on the market and address some of the supply issues the province in currently facing.

I do think we may see a “hangover” from the busy market we’re experiencing right now, but overall as we head into 2021, I think a prediction of more balanced conditions across the Canadian housing market is warranted. But an 18% decline in prices is highly unlikely.

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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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Vancouver posts Canada’s lowest commercial property tax rate – Business in Vancouver

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Altus Group 2020 Canadian Property Tax Rate Benchmark Report.

The City of Vancouver now has the lowest tax rate for commercial property among major Canadian cities, but Vancouver has shifted the burden to residential real estate, creating the most heavily-taxed homeowners in the country.

With a decrease of 27.9% from 2010, Vancouver posted the largest drop in commercial rates out of 11 cities surveyed by the Altus Group for its 2020 Canadian Property Tax Rate Benchmark Report, released October 26. The 17th annual survey was done in conjunction with the Real Property Association of Canada.

The tax shift is measured by a commercial-to-residential ratio that compares the commercial tax rate to the residential tax rate. For example, if the ratio is 2.50, a commercial property valued at $1 million dollars would incur property taxes 2.5 times higher than an equally-valued residential property.

Because of the pandemic, many cities have shifted the tax burden away from businesses, which resulted in a decrease of the commercial-to-residential tax ratios in 2020.

But Vancouver was particularly aggressive.

Vancouver’s commercial-to-residential tax ratio dropped 36.84% in 2020 from a year earlier to a historic low of 2.3. This was the largest decline of all cities surveyed, Altus found. This decrease took Vancouver from the third highest ratio in 2019 to the fourth lowest in 2020.

In comparison, the average national commercial-to-residential tax ratio in Canada is now 2.65, down 6.6% from 2019.

“[This] marks the fifteenth year in a row that Vancouver’s commercial rates have gone down. Over the last five years, Vancouver’s commercial tax per $1,000 of assessment has dropped 55.3%, going from $15.05 in 2015 to $6.73 in 2020,” Altus reported.

The city cannot take full credit for the dramatic cut in commercial taxes. The drop was driven in large part by a B.C. government decision in April to reduce the school tax portion of the commercial tax mill rate (tax per $1,000 of value)  by 70% this year as part of its COVID-19 Action Plan.

The tax shift has dinged owners of homes, which remain the highest priced in the country.

Vancouver posted the largest increase in residential tax rates in Canada this year, with a 14.2% increase from 2019, the Altus report reveals. This moved the city’s mill rate on a median residential unit to approximately 2.92 this year, from approximately 2.56 in 2019. This increase adds $131 more in property taxes for a median priced home of $1.2 million, according to the City of Vancouver.

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Real estate sales set new mark in Powell River – Powell River Peak

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Residential real estate sales in the Powell River region for September 2020 were significantly higher than the value of sales from September 2019, setting a new record in the process.

In September 2020, there were 50 single-family homes sold, for a value of $23,051,740, compared to 15 in September 2019, valued at $6,946,300.

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According to statistics, a new sales record for the month of September was reached in Powell River and it was the third highest sales figures for any month on record in the region.

“Home sales in the region continued to rebound in September, hitting the third highest level for any month on record,” said Neil Frost, president, Powell River Sunshine Coast Real Estate Board. “New supply also hit a new record level for the month of September but is not keeping pace with the strong demand we are experiencing. As a result, the market continues to tighten significantly and the imbalance between supply and demand is putting upward pressure on prices in the region.”

For single-family mobiles and manufactured homes, in September 2020, there were three units sold, valued at $765,369, compared to three units valued at $594,000 in September 2019.

In the single-family condos, apartment and duplexes category, there were three units sold in September 2020, valued at $823,500, compared to four units sold in September 2019, valued at $935,500.

Total residential sales for September 2020 were valued at $24,640,609 for 56 units, compared to $8,475,800 for 22 units in September 2019.

On the non-residential side, there were five parcels of vacant land valued at $797,000 sold in September 2020, compared to one, valued at $84,000, in September 2019. There was also one industrial, commercial and institutional property sold in September 2019, valued at $300,000, compared to none in September 2020.

Grand totals show 61 total sales in September 2020, valued at $25,437,609, compared to 24 sales, valued at $8,859,800 in September 2019.

The average price of a single-family home in September 2020 was $461,035, compared to $463,087 in September 2019. The median price of a home in September 2020 was $470,000, compared to $344,000 in September 2019.

While the average price of homes sold in September 2020 was $461.035, Frost said the more comprehensive year-to-date average price was $414,794; rising 16.5 per cent from the first nine months of 2019.

There were 75 new residential listings in September 2020. This was the largest number of new listings added in the month of September in history.

Active residential listings numbered 101 units at the end of September.

While month-end figures are not yet available, Frost said Powell River sales figures for October are strong. As of October 26, 2020, there had been 50 sales in the Powell River area, compared to 26 in 2019.

In terms of year-to-date figures, as of October 26, Frost said the 2020 figure sits at 375 sales, compared to 311 over the same period in 2019.

“When we started out, we didn’t think we were going to touch 2019 because we had a couple of dead months, then we started to catch up, were on par, and now we are ahead,” said Frost. “We definitely had our strongest September and it was our strongest month in a long time. It was a banner month.”

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