Housing Demand Surges as Buyers Take Advantage of Low Rates While They Last
Canada’s largest markets saw a surge in homebuying demand in November, driven in part by buyers trying to secure mortgages before next year’s expected interest rate hikes.
That’s keeping upward pressure on home prices, according to the latest monthly reports from some of the key regional real estate boards.
Anticipated Bank of Canada rate hikes in 2022 are creating a “sense of urgency” for buyers, says Ann-Marie Lurie, chief economist for the Calgary Real Estate Board. In Calgary, sales are up over 46% from a year ago, but new listings haven’t been able to keep up.
It’s a similar story on the West Coast, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
“The imbalance between supply and demand, coupled with some buyers wanting to use rate holds on lower rate fixed-term mortgages, is keeping upward pressure on home prices in this traditionally quieter time of year for the market,” said Keith Stewart, an economist with REBGV.
Housing inventory continued to dry up in November as new listings fell in most major markets on both a monthly and annual basis. In Ottawa, for example, new listings are down by 27% from October.
Here’s a look at November readings from some of the country’s regional real estate boards:
Greater Toronto Area
+3.3% Year-over-year (YoY)
-8% Month-over-month (MoM)
“A key difference this year compared to last year, is how the condo segment continues to tighten and experience an acceleration in price growth, particularly in suburban areas. This speaks to the broadening of economic recovery, with first-time buyers moving back into the market in a big way this year. The condo and townhouse segments, with lower price points on average, will remain popular as population growth picks up over the next two years,” said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.
Source: Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB)
Greater Vancouver Area
Sales are 33.6% above the 10-year average for November.
MLS Home Price Index for all property types:$1,211,200
New Listings: 3,964
“We expect home sale totals to end the year at or near an all-time record in our region. We’ve had elevated home sale activity throughout 2021 despite persistently low levels of homes available for sale,” said REBGV economist Keith Stewart. “With a new year around the corner, it’s critical that this supply crunch remains the focus for addressing the housing affordability challenges in our region.”
Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV)
Montreal Census Metropolitan Area
Median Price (single-family detached):$525,000
Average Price (condo):$374,000
New Listings: 5,056
“In the context of a low supply of properties on the market and persistent high demand, pressure on prices for residential real estate in the Montreal region remains strong. The good news is that in November, new listings showed signs of exceeding pre-pandemic levels when compared to November 2019 or even 2018,” said Charles Brant, QPAREB’s director of market analysis. “The announcement of an earlier-than-expected rise in interest rates no doubt motivated potential sellers to advance their project in order to benefit from the sustained activity and the opportunity to sell at the best price.”
Source: Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB)
Benchmark Price (all housing types):$461,000
New Listings: 1,989
“Lending rates are expected to increase next year, which has created a sense of urgency among purchasers who want to get into the housing market before rates rise,” said CREB Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “At the same time, supply levels have struggled to keep pace, causing tight conditions and additional price gains.”
“Despite significant increases in average prices over November 2020, month-to-month price accelerations have tapered off slightly, with average prices for residential units on par with October’s and condo average prices increasing by 7%. This is a far better situation than the monthly price escalations we had seen in the first quarter of 2021,” said Ottawa Real Estate Board President Debra Wright. “However, there is no question that supply constraints will continue to place upward pressure on prices until that is remedied.”