Major housing markets’ speed of recovery to vary

Significant employment and income declines, coupled with uncertainty over the future trajectory of the virus and employment and income conditions, will lower demand for housing in 2020. The Housing Market Outlook — Special Edition (HMO) recently released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) forecasts housing starts, sales and prices for Canada’s major housing markets are likely to remain below their pre-COVID-19 levels over the forecast period. The precise timing and speed of the recovery in major markets is highly uncertain and will vary considerably.

Building on the release of CMHC’s HMO on May 27, 2020, which provided housing forecasts for Canada and the provinces, this report provides projections for housing activity in Canada’s largest urban centres until the end of 2022: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montréal.

“COVD-19 has had unprecedented impacts on Canada’s urban centres. Short-term uncertainty will lead to severe declines in sales activity and in new construction,” said Aled ab Iorwerth, CMHC’s Deputy Chief Economist. “As the virus is overcome, cities will bounce back but there is significant uncertainty with respect to the path and timing of the recovery.”

Average prices in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa are expected to rebound sooner and in the 2020 – 2021 period, while average prices in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary are not expected to see a rebound until later in the forecast period.

CMHC supports the housing market and financial system stability by providing support for Canadians in housing need, and by offering housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry.

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