Markham, Vaughan, Burlington, Pickering, Oakville. The average home price in all these Ontario-based cities increased by at least $100,000 last quarter, compared to 2019.
These latest stats in the housing market puzzle come from the Royal LePage House Price Survey, released last week. According to Q4 data, the average price of a home in Canada rose 9.7 per cent year-over-year to $708,842 in 2020. Sixty-four per cent of all regions surveyed showed median price gains of more than 10 per cent for two-storey homes. On the condo side, the average price went up 3.9 per cent to $509,239.
“High levels of unresolved housing demand and low inventory levels will likely characterize the 2021 spring market, putting further upward pressure on housing values, particularly in the detached and larger townhome segments, as families with access to extremely low borrowing costs trade traditionally desirable urban locations for more personal space,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage.
Large urban centres
Demand for properties in urban centres has remained high despite the trend to move outside of cities, to suburbs and country-side landscapes. Single-family and condo prices climbed in Winnipeg, Regina and Montreal. In Greater Vancouver, condo prices grew 3.3 per cent to $662,120 and 3.9 per cent to $784,351 in the city’s centre.
In the Maritimes, it seems local buyers are competing with out-of-province buyers in cities like Halifax, which posted the highest increase in average home price: 17.1 per cent year-over-year to $377,469. Condos ticked up 4.0 per cent to $301,615. Meanwhile, Charlottetown recorded the second highest increase in average home price, rising 12.7 per cent to $344,823.
Greater Toronto Area
The average price of a home in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) rose 10.4 per cent year-over-year to $936,510 in Q4, with condos increasing 3.6 per cent to $593, 811—still lower than the median price of a two-story home which rose 11.9 per cent to $1,102,155.
In Toronto, strong home price gains were also evident in Q4, with the exception of condos where the price grew 1.4 per cent year-over-year to $634,081. The price of a two-storey home rose 10.6 per cent to $1,446,184.
Debra Harris, vice president, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd, said buyers were prioritizing as much space as they could afford during the second half of 2020. “While many buyers shifted their target neighbourhood away from the city centre, so few properties for sale meant that most detached listings saw multiple-offer scenarios,” she said. “2020 did bring some balance to the region’s condominium market but larger units, often in the greater region, are still in high competition.”
Pent-up demand in the GTA remains high for detached homes. Inventory levels will be a leading indicator of price appreciation in the spring market. “The GTA real estate market could absorb a short-term influx of detached home listings and remain in a seller’s market,” she said. “If inventory remains low, prices can only go up.”
Home prices in Canada’s capital city went up 14.9 per cent year-over-year to $568,608, with condos increasing 13.8 per cent to $385,525 and two-storey homes rising by 14.8 per cent to $595,991.
Jason Ralph, managing partner, Royal LePage TEAM Realty, expects prices to continue a steady climb as buyers re-enter the spring market. “The strong seller’s market is expected to persist through 2021, as demand continues to outpace supply in Ottawa,” he said. “The city is more affordable than Vancouver or Toronto and that’s attractive to both first-time buyers and young professionals from across the country, especially those with families.”
Other regions are seeing prices dip. In Calgary, condo prices decreased 3.7 per cent in Q4 to $248,840 compared to 2019. Even the average price of a two-story home went down, but by 0.5 per cent.
Corinne Lyall, broker and owner, Royal LePage Benchmark, noted the increase in immigration will likely create new opportunities for investors and people looking to move to the region due to the increasing viability of remote work “Calgary remains an attractive place to purchase a home, partly due to its affordability relative to other major cities in Western Canada,” she said. “With inventory levels the lowest we’ve seen in nearly two decades, specifically in the single-family detached market, I expect a brisk spring market in 2021.”
In Edmonton, the average price of a two-storey home remained flat at $427,530, while the condos dipped 1.3 per cent to $217,141.
Tom Shearer, broker and owner, Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate, said young families will likely continue to drive demand for detached homes in the city where inventory remains low. “Edmonton’s housing market has been relatively flat throughout the pandemic, with sellers hesitant to list their homes due to safety concerns,” he said. “However, the resilience of Edmonton’s home prices during the pandemic is reassuring to both buyers and sellers. I anticipate a brisk spring market, as consumer confidence rises once a vaccination plan is well underway.”