According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey released on January 9, the aggregate1 price of a home in Canada increased 2.2 per cent year-over-year to $648,544 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Similar to the third quarter, potential buyers are continuing to come back to the real estate market. In the first half of 2019, buyers had remained largely at the sidelines waiting to gauge the potential impact of the federal mortgage stress test.
“We have successfully navigated the first significant national housing market correction since the Great Recession a decade ago,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “While the drop in the number of properties bought and sold during the 2018-19 downturn was large, the value of homes in Canada held up remarkably well, with only minor, single-digit declines in the areas of Ontario and B.C. that had experienced the most aggressive price inflation in recent years, and of course those regions still suffering from a downturn in the oil and gas sector.
“The federal government has signaled that changes could come to the mortgage stress test mechanism in 2020,” said Soper. “The stress test pushed people out of real estate markets across Canada temporarily. For the most part, buyers have adjusted, yet it still represents a significant hurdle as families pursue the dream of owning their own home.”
Soper added that the impact of the regulations-driven drop in demand is felt very differently in different parts of the country.
“We believe policy makers have the necessary experience to modify the tool to meet the reality of today’s Canada – that we have very different and varied economies, and by extension housing policy needs, from region to region,” said Soper.
The Royal LePage National House Price Composite is compiled from proprietary property data in 64 of the nation’s largest real estate markets. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a two-storey home rose 2.3 per cent year-over-year to $761,817, while the median price of a bungalow increased modestly by 0.7 per cent to $537,622. Data analyzed contains both resale and new build transactions, provided by Royal LePage’s sister company, RPS Real Property Solutions.
Across Canada, condominiums remained the fastest appreciating housing type, with the median price rising 3.3 per cent year-over-year to $487,525. Largely, condominium data is weighted towards the country’s largest urban centres where the majority of them are found. The median price of a condominium rose 7.8 per cent year-over-year to $565,919 in the Greater Toronto Area and 4.4 per cent year-over-year in the Greater Montreal Area to $338,148 during the fourth quarter. However, national price gains were offset by year-over-year declines in Greater Vancouver’s real estate market where the median price of a condominium decreased 3.4 per cent to $645,607. Nationally, after significant price gains in recent years in the condominium segment, double digit gains have become more rare as the price of a detached home is now more attractive as the gap between the two segments tightens, especially for millennials looking for more space for their growing families.
According to the Royal LePage Market Survey Forecast, released in December 2019, the aggregate price of a home in Canada is expected to increase 3.2 per cent year-over-year in 2020, rising to $669,800. The company’s 2020 forecast is dependent on consistent economic conditions, assuming no new housing policy changes. Royal LePage’s 2020 forecast includes regional aggregate and housing type forecasts.
Low supply, population growth and increased consumer confidence continued to fuel home prices in the Greater Toronto Area. In the fourth quarter, the aggregate price of a home in the region increased 4.8 per cent year-over-year, rising to $843,609. During the same period, the median price of a standard two-storey home and bungalow increased 4.4 and 2.4 per cent to $982,944 and $806,977 while condominiums rose 7.8 per cent to $565,919.
“The Greater Toronto Area is at a pivot point where we are seeing signs that prices could begin to rapidly increase,” said Kevin Somers, Chief Operating Officer, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Limited. “The region has a very low supply of listings while we are seeing more potential buyers trying to enter the market.”
Home price growth varied significantly across the region. While some areas showed stabilizing prices and healthy price growth, many regions, including the city centre, showed the potential for rapidly accelerating appreciation rates driven by high demand and low inventory. Significant price gains were seen in Pickering and Mississauga, where the aggregate price increased 9.7 per cent and 7.9 per cent year-over-year, respectively. The aggregate price of a home in the City of Toronto increased 6.6 per cent year-over-year.
The cities of Ajax and Oshawa were the only two areas to show a year-over-year decline in aggregate price. The aggregate price of a home in Ajax and Oshawa decreased 1.2 per cent and 1.8 per cent to $661,049 and $524,423, respectively.