B.C. real estate market frozen over COVID-19 uncertainty

March 27th, 2020

Fears of spreading COVID-19 and less job security are contributing to frozen market

Joanne Lee-Young
The Province

The local real estate market is mostly frozen as fears about the spread of COVID-19 have halted most home showings and there is uncertainty in the market for buyers and sellers.

The list of causes for this uncertainty is long, from personal health well-being to job security to newly announced policies such as the B.C. government’s ban on rental evictions, according to real estate agents.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said Wednesday that a temporary renters’ supplement of $500 a month will be paid to landlords and that it should be used by renters who have seen a drop in their work hours or layoff notices.

This will help renters who have lost jobs and wages, but it will also squeeze some mom-and-pop investors, said Vancouver real estate agent Steve Saretsky.

Saretsky is worried that the ban on evicting tenants might “green-light renters into thinking, ‘I don’t have to bother paying.’

“To me, it’ll be a bit of relying on the honour system,” he said.

Saretsky thinks small, individual landlords will have trouble making their mortgage payments if rent payments, even with the government supplement, are forced to be smaller.

Meanwhile, since earlier this week, there is no longer an option on the Multiple Listing Service to register an open house, so Vancouver real estate agent Justin Smith has been offering quick walkabouts via his Instagram live video. He’s offering it as an option and there have been times in the past when sales were easily sealed with a video tour, but “not right now.”

“No one is eager to buy. They (buyers) just are seeing what comes of it,” Smith said.

In recent weeks “there had been a small bounce in sentiment (in sales), depending on how you were priced and what you offered,” said Smith, but word of sales that have closed this week are being seen as the last for a while.

On the flip side, Saretsky said there are still some private showings that are happening, even though most real estate agents aren’t doing them to cut down on social interactions that could spread COVID-19.

The ones that are still happening, he said, come as real estate agents are being pressured by sellers to meet with potential buyers. He explained that as these sellers see a fast-closing window for getting out of the market they’re telling agents that if they don’t show a property, then they’ll take it to another agent.

© 2020 Vancouver Sun, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

Mortgage Rate Forecast

March 27th, 2020

The panic sent Canadian bond yields down sharply

BCREA

HIGHLIGHTS

  • COVID-19 sends interest rates plummeting
  • Canadian recession unavoidable
  • Bank of Canada cutting rates, but how low?

Read The Full Report HERE

Mortgage Rate OutlookThe growing fears of the potential impact of COVID-19 resulted in a full market meltdown in late February, sending equity markets into free fall and global bond yields plummeting. On top of an already volatile situation, two of the world’s largest oil producers, Saudi Arabi and Russia, have engaged in a price war that sent oil prices to levels not seen since the late 1990s.The panic sent Canadian bond yields down sharply and prompted emergency rate cutting by the Bank of Canada. Variable and 5-year fixed qualifying mortgage rates have followed bond yields lower with the 5-year fixed rate reaching 2.59 per cent, its lowest level since 2016 and very near its lowest level on record.

Landlords, renters to get help from British Columbia government

March 27th, 2020

BC government to support landlords, renters

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

The British Columbia government has announced support for the province’s landlords and renters during the coronavirus crisis.

It is introducing a new rental supplement to pay up to $500 a month towards rent payments, building on provincial and federal support already announced.

The payment will be made directly to landlords for any British Columbians who are facing financial hardship.

“With lost jobs and lost wages due to COVID-19, many tenants are worried they can’t make the rent. It’s a challenging time for landlords too,” said Premier John Horgan. “Nobody should lose their home as a result of COVID-19. Our plan will give much-needed financial relief to renters and landlords. It will also provide more security for renters, who will be able to stay in their homes without fear of eviction or increasing rents during this emergency.”

The supplement will support those in low and moderate incomes who are not eligible for existing rental assistance programs.

The Province is implementing a number of additional measures to keep people housed and protect their health. The full list of immediate measures includes:

  • The new temporary rent supplement will provide up to $500 per month, paid directly to landlords.
  • Halting evictions by ensuring a landlord may not issue a new notice to end tenancy for any reason. However, in exceptional cases where it may be needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the property, landlords will be able to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a hearing.
  • Halting the enforcement of existing eviction notices issued by the Residential Tenancy Branch, except in extreme cases where there are safety concerns. The smaller number of court ordered evictions are up to the courts, which operate independently of government.
  • Freezing new annual rent increases during the state of emergency.
  • Preventing landlords from accessing rental units without the consent of the tenant (for example, for showings or routine maintenance), except in exceptional cases where it is  needed to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit.
  • Restricting methods that renters and landlords can use to serve notices to reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19 (no personal service and allowing email).
  • Allowing landlords to restrict the use of common areas by tenants or guests to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.

“People are feeling a lot of fear and anxiety and they need to be able to depend on the comfort and stability of home right now. Our government is taking steps to help take some of the pressure off renters and landlords and protect people’s health,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We’re helping renters pay rent and giving them the peace of mind that they have a stable home in these unprecedented times, and ensuring that landlords can count on some rental income right now to keep them afloat too.”

Copyright © 2020 Key Media Pty Ltd

Ethics Guy: Doing business virtually in a crisis

March 27th, 2020

Kim
REBGV

It goes without saying that we’re expected to look after our clients and not to put them in harm’s way. 

I’d think many potential buyers and sellers are sitting things out for awhile, waiting for the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 to subside. 

If you encounter a seller or buyer who absolutely has to buy or sell for some reason, know that you’re not obligated to take their business. If you do, however, you become their agent and as such, you’re obliged to follow their lawful instructions so long as they comply with government instructions. 

First, the mea culpa, I’ve never done a virtual deal. My deals were all done with quill pens. But we’re facing strange times so let’s take this “doing business virtually” idea out for a test-drive. 

Let’s start with my definition of doing business virtually. 

For me, it means you’re causing something to happen without you being there in person. Think about it, we’ve been doing business virtually for quite a while now. I mean, you’ve been phoning, emailing, texting and Touchbasing your clients and each other for years. 

We’ve made your listings visible to anyone on the planet via the web for at least 20 years or more. 

Posting photographs, floor plans and virtual tours is commonplace. With access to the wealth of property information from LTSA, local government maps and now, the enterprise version of AutoProp, it’s never been easier to get the necessary information to clients and others. 

For years, you’ve been writing offers with products like Docusign and legally executing contracts. Making counter-offers and other contract changes is also a breeze, since all of the parties go to the same live document to affix their encrypted signatures. 

Some members are promoting their listings virtually and handling offers electronically. These offers are being made subject to inspection. This means that the buyer makes the offer based on the listing information, pictures and virtual tour. The deal is established by way of contract, subject only to the buyer inspecting the property in person. Again, the informed consent of the parties for that inspection, with an appropriate nod to the health risk, tenants’ rights and physical distancing, would be absolutely vital.

Most buyer agents have been emailing their buyers’ offers to sellers’ agents for ages. Perhaps less frequent, is the use of products like Facetime, WhatsApp or similar, to present and discuss contracts, documents and other things, without us having to be physically there with our clients.

See. We’re already virtual REALTORS®. 

But there’s more we can do because, the times being what they are, we’re expected to do everything we can to keep this infernal virus at bay. For us, this has now become a professional and societal obligation.

That’s why your Board relaxed Rule 3.22 regarding showing availability and continues to strongly recommend that you refrain from holding Open Houses, avoid in-person interactions as much as possible, and adhere to the most up-to-date physical-distancing requirements from our government and public health officials. 

These requirements, and they are required, are changing often. We have an obligation to know and follow them.

For example, the provincial government announced on Wednesday that, while the provincial emergency order is in place, landlords are not permitted to enter a tenant’s rental space (for showings, routine maintenance etc.) without the tenant’s consent. Exceptions were given to protect health and safety or to prevent undue damage to the unit. (Expect more details from the Residential Tenancy Branch early next week.)

Your showings, if there are to be any, must be kept to an absolute minimum, with them being arranged only with the consent of the parties, including any tenants.

Please work with your clients, and their tenants where applicable, to discuss how to responsibly achieve their housing and shelter needs amid today’s public health emergency. 

As much as possible, employ other approaches to in-person interactions, such as virtual showings and other technology-based solutions. 

We’re all in a challenging spot and we’re trying to do the best we can given the circumstances. Let’s all do our part.

We’re watching the COVID-19 situation carefully and will continue to provide you with advice as often and quickly as possible.

As I prepare to hit send on this message, I worry that a new government announcement could make my suggestions outdated by the time you read it.

That’s just the times we’re living in.

Stay safe,

Kim

Bank of Canada enacts another overnight rate cut

March 27th, 2020

For the third time this month, the Bank of Canada cut to the overnight rate

Phil Hall
Mortgage Broker News

For the third time this month, the Bank of Canada cut to the overnight rate, this time slashing off 50 basis points to a new level of .025%. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 0.50% and the deposit rate is .025% percent.

In a press statement, the central bank said this “unscheduled rate decision brings the policy rate to its effective lower bound and is intended to provide support to the Canadian financial system and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The BoC also launched two programmes designed to address the economic chaos created by COVID-19: The Commercial Paper Purchase Program (CPPP) is designed to “alleviate strains in short-term funding markets and thereby preserve a key source of funding for businesses,” while the second initiative will have the BoC acquiring Government of Canada securities in the secondary market, beginning with a minimum acquisition of $5 billion per week across the yield curve.

“The program will be adjusted as conditions warrant, but will continue until the economic recovery is well underway,” the BoC said, adding that its balance sheet “will expand as a result of these purchases.”

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Online data shows real estate activity plummeting

March 26th, 2020

Prospective homebuyers are taking COVID-19 seriously.

Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Before going any further, CREW would like to first say this:

STAY. HOME.

And if you can’t do that:

KEEP YOUR DISTANCE.

The sooner everyone begins following the suggestions of the world’s best-informed health experts and avoiding the kind of contact that all but guarantees the continued spread of COVID-19, the sooner everyone goes back to work. The sooner we’re all back to work, the sooner we can start building the economy back up. None of that happens, however, until we start acting like adults. And sometimes being an adult involves doing what you’re told by people who know more than you.

This goes doubly for investors who are flat-out ignoring the COVID-19 crisis by continuing to view properties in person, and triply for those who see the pandemic as a way of saving money by purchasing properties in a less competitive environment. Opportunism at a time like this doesn’t prove a person’s shrewdness. It’s just a naked display of grossness. If you can’t put your personal appetites on hold for the greater good now, there’s not much hope for you the next time the world’s in turmoil.

Fortunately, recent data indicates that prospective homebuyers are taking COVID-19 seriously.

A recent study by Point2Homes showed that visits to the company’s website dropped 8 percent on March 11 and continued falling for the next several days. By March 16, traffic on the site had fallen by 32 percent.

Point2Homes also tracked Google Trends and found search activity related to homebuying has also fallen. Searches for “real estate” had fallen by over 25 percent between March 9 and March 16, with “homes for sale” searches declining by almost half over the same period. “Houses for sale” decreased in popularity by approximately 40 percent by March 16, but there was a spike in searches around March 14, just before the crisis started hitting home for Canadians and the Canadian economy.

Shifting to 3D space, technology provider ShowingTime found that real estate showings in three provinces have dipped significantly. In Ontario, the average number of weekly showings started falling on March 13. By March 24, the average weekly number of showings had decreased by 28.8 percent.

In Alberta, showings began slowing on March 11. On March 24, the number of showings in the province had shrunk by 56.7 percent.

In Nova Scotia, the only other province being tracked by ShowingTime, showings began their decline on March 10. Two weeks later, their number had fallen by 38.9 percent.

Will a slightly quicker response among buyers in Alberta and Nova Scotia help limit the spread of COVID-19 more effectively than what’s being seen in Ontario? Probably not. But it does imply a level of seriousness that anyone living in Toronto, where groups of people are still meeting in parks and cars are buzzing along most roads – to where? someplace essential? – would find refreshing.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media Pty Ltd

Luxury home market still a bright spot

March 26th, 2020

Top-tier residences had sales growth in first two months of 2020

Gerv Tacadena
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Top-tier residential properties recorded substantial sales growth over the first two months of the year, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Vancouver, and Montreal, according to the latest market update from Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

In GTA, residential sales of over $1m grew by 107% over the past two months. At the same time, sales of properties of over $4m surged 75%.

GTA reported gains across housing types despite the limited inventory. Condominiums registered the highest jump in sales at 117%, followed by single-family homes at 115%. Sales of attached homes also grew, up by 52%.

Vancouver’s luxury home market managed to rebound in January and February, reporting an 80% increase in sales of homes with values of over $1m.

In Montreal, luxury home sales of over $1m rose by 68% in the first two months of 2020.

Don Kottick, CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, said the shortage of listings and the robust demand in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal will help boost the resiliency of these markets in the months ahead.

“Furthermore, historically favourable mortgage lending conditions and extreme stock market volatility make Canadian real estate a desirable and secure investment. While uncertainty lies ahead, housing will remain essential, activity will continue and the long-term prospects for Canadian real estate are solid,” Kottick said.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media Pty Ltd

Do we have to continue paying strata fees in these tough times?

March 26th, 2020

No contingencies for a strata to defer fees

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our strata council has been contacted by several owners asking if the strata corporation can defer strata fees until people can get back to work. We are not sure what options we have.

Is this something the council has the authority to consider? Could we declare an emergency and transfer money from our contingency fund to cover several months of strata fees? What happens if the strata corporation runs out of money and cannot pay for our expenses? With the increase in our insurance costs and higher deductible costs, we don’t want to tap into our reserve funds unless absolutely necessary.

— Karen Lynch, Vancouver

Dear Karen:

Under the current crisis there are no provisions in the legislation, or contingencies within budgets, for a strata corporation to defer strata fees. How you collect those fees if an owner is in financial difficulty is a decision of the strata council and determined in your bylaws. Have your council work closely with your manager and treasurer to review monthly receivables and then decide on collection procedures if necessary.

Your council is not obliged to impose fines or interest, or file liens or take further actions for collections; however, it is important to pay attention to balances owing and treat everyone the same, and be mindful of the obligations to eventually collect the funds and protect the interest of the corporation. It will be essential to monitor the period of our shut downs and when residents may be returning to work. In conjunction with mortgage and loan payment deferrals and funding provided by government, owners will hopefully still be in a position to manage their strata fees.

Before you consider options for reducing budgets for the next fiscal year or using reserve funds, it is vital that you look at your essential obligations and services for your strata corporation. During the spring many strata corporations convene their Annual General Meetings and while it is tempting to reduce your expenses, many strata corporations are already at their minimal levels of funding to simply maintain crucial services.

If your strata corporation reduces its operating costs the effects will result in deferred maintenance and services that may end with compounded damages, building failures and likely disputes that will cost exponentially more to remedy. These are text book results in strata corporations who fail to maintain their properties with low strata fees.

Look at a single high-rise or low-rise building with no shared commercial spaces. The administration and management of your service contracts, increased janitorial protocols, increased demands on concierge or maintenance staff, utility costs, insurance costs, and building security, are all essential costs and services for the protection of your property and your owners.

Who will ensure the elevators are serviced and someone can respond to after hours calls when residents are trapped or there is a shut down? Who will manage the maintenance and emergency response for the hot water boilers and circulation systems? What if there is a flood or fire in the building? In addition to the management of a potential insurance claim who will respond to the calls, emergency abatement and management of the repairs? How are plumbing and drainage systems being maintained and flushed to prevent back ups within units? How is the waste management and collection being administered? With so many residents isolated and using home delivery, the increase in waste and cardboard recycling has doubled in many buildings.

Even though on-site meetings may be reduced, the network of service providers and emergency responders coordinated by your strata manager or resident manager are critical services and likely even busier and in higher demand with reduced staffing. The CHOA offices have seen a doubling of calls and emails for assistance with meetings and operations during this period, and with residents isolated there will be increased demand for hot water, gas fireplace use and janitorial services.

These are stressful tough times for everyone. Strata fees are necessary for operations to continue, and suppliers and contractors are still working to provide essential services.

For more guides and resources on managing your strata corporation during the COVID-19 crisis go to www.choa.bc.ca

© 2020 Postmedia Network Inc.

Skagen 606 Foster Avenue Coquitlam 52 three and four bedroom townhomes by Eighth Avenue Development Group

March 26th, 2020

Spacious townhomes, passive house design on offer at Skagen in Coquitlam

Michael Bernard
The Province

As Metro Vancouver’s residential market continues to evolve, developers face the constant challenge of identifying and building new housing product that meets the needs of young families who have outgrown a condo but don’t want the maintenance or costs of a single-family home.

Eighth Avenue Development Group Ltd. and its owner Ed Kolic are finding success with an approach summed up by the mottos “upsize your home” and “upsize your life.” The company aims to meet the needs of young, growing families seeking a new category of home: something bigger than a two-bedroom condo but more affordable and manageable than the maintenance-heavy older single family home. Kolic’s newest project—Skagen in Coquitlam—also promises that its larger three and four bedroom townhomes that are “future proofed” through advanced environmental standards also save people money—lots of it. There are 14 three bedroom homes and 12 four bedroom units being built in each of two phases.

 “The typical townhome comes in at 1,350 square feet while Skagen’s homes range between 1,650 square feet and 2,030 square feet,” Kolic said.  “We see these as the ‘missing middle’ between the existing choices of a condo and the older traditional model townhome and the single-family home. At this price point (from $929,900 for a three bedroom and $1,019,900 for a four bedroom) you can basically buy an older 50-year-old single family home that requires a major overhaul and investment of $250,000. So Skagen meets the needs of people who want an urban lifestyle and want a home but not the maintenance of a single-family home.”

The larger size homes are just one differentiator, says Kolic, whose firm prides itself on being one of Canada’s leading passive house builders. Skagen’s passive house design includes features such as double the conventional insulation thickness to R40 values, triple-glazed windows, a heat recovery ventilation system, no thermal bridging through which heat is lost and airtight construction.

“We call it a high-performance building with a passive house design. It’s a premium building, not a luxury building. Luxury focuses on high-end finishes that you may or may not need. With a passive house, you are getting reduced energy costs, and a quiet, comfortable home that is healthy.”

Kolic says there is an 80-per cent saving in heat reduction. “The concept is effectively like putting on a down jacket to keep warm. If you don’t lose the heat, you don’t have to re-create it.”

The double insulation walls, floors and roofs mean that the heat already in the unit can be re-captured through heat recovery ventilators while air quality is maintained by a constant new supply of fresh air, he said. The homes are also greenhouse gas free through the use of electric baseboards and hot water tanks based on heat pump technology. “Basically we are future-proofing your home,” Kolic said.

Skagen, named after Denmark’s northernmost town and that country’s dedication to energy conservation, has lots of other advantages going for it. Situated in Coquitlam, it is just a 12-minute walk to the Burquitlam station on Skytrain’s Evergreen Line and just a 20-minute walk to the Lougheed station on the Millenium Line. It also has easy access to Highway 1. Burquitlam, an amalgam of Burnaby and Coquitlam, is also an older neighbourhood that is undergoing a welcome transformation but still retains more than its share of traditional parks and well-regarded elementary and high schools.

Inside the homes, there are two flex areas. The first is a 200-square-foot room entered from the underground car park that could be used for storage, an exercise room or workshop. On the top floor of three-living levels is space that could be retained as an open den or converted into a child’s bedroom adjacent to the master suite.

All homes have front and back doors opening onto patios. The homes feature resilient vinyl-plank flooring on the lower and main levels and soft wool carpet on the upper two levels. Each home comes with a 27-inch side-by-side stacking Whirlpool energy-efficient washer and ventless heat-pump dryer.

In the kitchen, the appliance package includes a 30-inch Blomberg electric range, a 30-inch KitchenAid bottom-mount fridge, an integrated Blomberg dishwasher and a Faber slide-out range hood. Optional upgrades are available including a 32-inch Fisher & Paykel bottom mount fridge, a 30-inch Fulgor Milano wall oven, and a 30-inch Fulgor induction cooktop. There is modern, flat-panel custom cabinetry in matte laminate and an island that also serves as a breakfast bar. Black plumbing fixtures, rather than chrome ones, have been chosen for a more modern look.

In the bedroom, the master suite is spacious enough for a king-size bed and walk-in closet. The ensuite bathroom is also spacious with his-and-her vanity, frameless glass-enclosed shower with fixed and moveable shower heads and an optional upgrade to a tub-shower combo. The shower stall also has a practical wall niche for holding toiletries. Most ensuites also have an opening window and there is also a main-level powder room.

The project also features a “common house”, a 1,600-square-foot, two-storey amenity building that can be booked by homeowners. Inside is a harvest table with bench seating and a full chef’s kitchen for preparing food. A kid-friendly entertaining space features oversize bean bag chairs, modular seating and TV viewing with Bluetooth connectivity. There is also a shuffleboard zone with books and games while a mezzanine features an intimate bar area and reading nook. Outside the common house is an outdoor terrace and barbeque area and a children’s playground.

Optional features include upgrades for air conditioning and for a personal EV charger in the homeowner’s parking stall. The underground parking also includes space for car and dog washing.

Skagen, Coquitlam

Project address: 606 Foster Ave., Coquitlam

Project Scope: Fifty-two three and four bedroom townhomes ranging in size from 1,653 sq. ft. to 2,083 sq. ft. and built in two phases. Located walking distance to the Evergreen and Millenium Skytrain stations, the revitalized Lougheed Mall and local shopping, recreation and schools.

Prices: Three bedrooms from $929,900; four bedrooms from $1,019,900

Developer: Eighth Avenue Development Group

Architect: Cornerstone Architecture

Interior Design: Port + Quarter

Sales Centre: 1071C Ridgeway Avenue, Coquitlam

Centre Hours: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday (closed Thursday and Friday)

Sales Phone: 604-931-2283

Website: skagencoquitlam.com

Completed: Summer 2022

© 2020 Postmedia Network Inc.

How May COVID-19 Impact Real Estate Prices?

March 26th, 2020

COVID-19 and Real Estate: How Home Prices changed During the 2008-2009 Recession

Penelope Graham
other

The last two weeks have ushered in a time of financial and public health uncertainty that’s unprecedented for many Canadians. As governments enact measures to keep the public safe from COVID-19 community spread, with the closing of schools, small businesses, and other non-essential services, many are questioning what the economic impact will be for all, from individuals to entire industries.

While we all do our part to “flatten the curve” by working remotely if possible, avoiding gathering in public, and going out only on a need-to basis, businesses that require an in-person approach are having to make drastic changes to continue to operate – and that includes the real estate industry.

The home buying and selling process typically requires a personal connection between real estate agents and their clients; from the first in-person meeting to discuss their needs, to the viewing of open houses and delivery of deposit funds, real estate transactions are typically hands on. 

However, while real estate brokerages and agent services have been considered “essential services” in some provinces including Ontario, the strong recommendation from municipal and provincial real estate bodies is to stop operations altogether in order to comply with best social distancing practices. This comes after a call last week to cancel all open houses, and make all showings virtual, to be conducted on an only as-needed basis. As well, it has been strongly discouraged to show homes that are currently tenanted. 

The bottom line is, as long as these health risks are present, it’s widely expected that anyone without an urgent need to buy or sell a home will put their real estate ambitions on hold for the time being. That bodes a lot of questions for the market in general; what will be the immediate impact? When the threat of COVID-19 dissipates, will prospective home buyers still be there to pick the market back up? 

To get an idea of how COVID-19 could shape the housing market in the short- and long-term, let’s take a look at a similar scenario that led to slower market conditions. 

A Look Back at the 2008 – 2009 Recession

Though the circumstances are very different, the closest economic event that’s comparable to the impact of COVID-19 is the 2008 – 2009 global recession, which was spurred by mass defaults in mortgage debt and resulted in similar monetary policy moves from central banks to mitigate the damage, along with bank bailouts and stock market upheaval. While Canada has been lauded for fiscally weathering that recession better than many nations, home prices did see a drop during its deepest crevice, between the springs of 2008 and 2009.

According to analysis by Zoocasa, benchmark real estate prices dipped across the nation during this time period by -8%, from $370,900 to $341,700. The drop was most pronounced in the Greater Vancouver real estate market, which experienced a -14% decline, from $575,400 to $497,000. Losses remained under double-digit percentages for Toronto homes for sale, down -6% from $367,100 to $344,900. 

However, as anyone who has been witness to the Canadian housing market over the last decade can attest, these losses were largely contained to the period of economic downturn, with enormous growth seen between January 2008 – February 2020. Canada-wide, home values have surged 75%, from $362,300 to $634,300, while gains were even more pronounced in the largest urban centres. Vancouver home prices rose 82% from $560,500 to today’s searing price tag of $1,020,600, while Toronto home prices were up a whopping 135% from $359,500 to $846,100.

What’s Next for the Market? Reason for Post-COVID Optimism

While it’s impossible to predict just how long COVID-19 will impact the economy, Lauren Haw, Zoocasa’s CEO and Broker of Record, points out that the fundamentals of the housing market, especially in large cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, generally don’t change. “There has long been a lot of pent-up buyer demand in these markets, particularly due to a long-term lack of inventory,” she says. “Combined with continued population growth in these regions, it’s expected that the market will experience a strong bounce back once the health risks have subsided, and buyers return to the market with restored purchasing power.” 

© 2015 – 2020 Zoocasa Realty Inc., Brokerage