Is the Canadian real estate market still a great way to invest?
Over the last year, it has been a challenging time trying to navigate Canada’s housing sector. Since the Bank of Canada (BoC) started raising interest rates this past spring, home sales and prices began retreating from their pandemic-era boom.
In November, national home sales tumbled by 3.3 percent month-over-month, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) fell by 1.4 percent month-over-month and 4.4 percent year-over-year. The average price for a home in Canada is now around $630,000 and about $405,000 when the Greater Toronto Area and the Greater Vancouver Area are removed from the calculations.
Whether it is called a correction or a downturn, Canadians are beginning to find opportunities for homeownership. Despite mortgage rates hovering in the five percent range, many households with a down payment could purchase a residential property in many housing markets. And this could turn out to be the best investment they can make in their lifetime.
More Canadians Bullish on Real Estate Investments
A new RE/MAX survey conducted by Leger found that 73 percent of Canadians agree that real estate is the best long-term investment. This is up from 45 percent a year ago.
Of those who think homeownership is the best investment, 84 percent are homeowners, and 79 percent are affluent. Moreover, 50 percent of Canadians are aware of home price forecasts, while 51 percent stated that the wide-ranging forecasts make them more confused or concerned.
Despite polling respondents’ general bullish attitude on real estate, more than two-thirds (67 percent) are less optimistic about the short-term performance of Canada’s housing market. In addition, 67 percent are less inclined to purchase a home in the first half of 2023, and 62 percent are less inclined to sell in this period.
“It’s good to see the majority of markets moving toward more balanced conditions, which is typically defined by 45 to 90 days on market. This is a much-needed adjustment from the unsustainable price increases and demand we saw early in 2022,” said Christopher Alexander, the President of RE/MAX Canada, in a statement.
“Many Canadians have understandably expressed hesitancy about engaging in the real estate market early in 2023, in the wake of rising interest rates and broader economic uncertainties. However, despite this, a greater number of Canadians consider real estate to be a solid long-term investment compared to this time last year. As we head into the new year, it’s important that governments work collaboratively to support housing affordability and address the supply challenges that Canadians continue to face, in order to make home ownership feasible for those who want it.”
The survey also found several other consumer trends that could impact the Canadian real estate market in 2023:
- 54 percent said they feel confident that their financial situation will remain stable this year.
- 45 percent are worried that additional interest rate hikes will hinder their ability to buy or sell a home in 2023.
- 38 percent are not confident in their financial situation, which is felt more among non-homeowners and low-income households.
Canadians Can Expect a Balanced Housing Market
With more housing markets across the country anticipated to experience balanced conditions, could more people gain exposure to homeownership in 2023 and beyond?
This is the growing expectation heading into the second half of 2023.
“We expect that market activity will return to a more-regular pace, as economic conditions stabilize toward the second half of 2023,” said Elton Ash, the executive vice president of RE/MAX Canada.
According to the Canadian Real Estate Outlook (2023) report, the national average price is forecast to decline by 3.3 percent, while sales are projected to rise 34 percent. Overall, more than half (55 percent) of regions are likely to transition to either balanced or buyer’s markets.
Outside of Halifax, Ottawa, and Montreal, balanced market conditions are being pencilled in for most of Canada’s major urban centres, such as Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, and Winnipeg.
With the central bank widely believed to be at or near the top of its tightening cycle, market analysts are now looking at when the institution could begin cutting interest rates, potentially supporting the rate-sensitive housing sector.
As a result of everything that is unfolding, it is critical for Canadians to stay on top of the latest developments, work with a real estate professional, and determine what is best for you, your family, and your wallet.