Housing market cooldown continued in November, but few signs of widespread selling related to renewal shock

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The slowdown in housing activity across the country continued in November, but so far there aren’t signs of widespread distressed selling, figures show.

Sales from the country’s largest metro housing markets continued to ease in the month, with most markets now—or near—buyers’ market territory.

Calgary, however, remains a notable exception, with sales and prices up roughly 10% from year-ago levels.

“There’s no doubt high interest rates, affordability issues and growing economic uncertainty are holding back potential buyers in a big way,” noted RBC’s Robert Hogue.

Paul Baron, President of the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), said inflation and elevated borrowing costs have “taken their toll on affordability.”

However, he said relief appears to be on the horizon, with bond yields—which lead fixed mortgage rates—down sharply from their peaks and expectations growing that the Bank of Canada will start cutting rates in the first half of 2024.

“Lower rates will help alleviate affordability issues for existing homeowners and those looking to enter the market,” he said.

No “concerning” rise in housing inventory

Despite high interest rates and concerns about rising delinquencies as billions of dollars worth of mortgages come up for renewal over the coming years, new listings in most regions remain little changed compared to October.

“Generally, we have yet to see any concerning rise in supply that may be associated with the mortgage renewal shock,” Hogue said, adding that new listings actually fell month-over-month in several markets, including Toronto and Vancouver.

That follows a 2.3% decline in new listings nationally in October, the first such decline in seven months. This has led to an increase in inventory, which rose to 4.1 months’ worth in October from 3.7 in September.

“We expect buyers will stay on the defensive in many parts of Canada into the early part of next year,” he added. “We see them leveraging their stronger bargaining position to drive prices further down until interest cuts bring in more competition.”

Here’s a look at the November statistics from some of the country’s largest regional real estate boards:

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Greater Toronto Area

Toronto real estate marketToronto real estate market
November 2023 YoY % Change
Sales 4,236 -6%
Benchmark price (all housing types) $1,082,179 +0.3%
New listings 10,545 +16.5%
Active listings 16,759 +40.7%

“Home prices have adjusted from their peak in response to higher borrowing costs,” said TRREB chief market analyst Jason Mercer.

“This has provided some relief for buyers, from an affordability perspective,” he added. “As mortgage rates trend lower next year and the population continues to grow at a record pace, expect demand to increase relative to supply. This will eventually lead to renewed growth in home prices.”

Source: Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB)


Greater Vancouver Area

Vancouver housing marketVancouver housing market
November 2023 YoY % Change
Sales 1,702 +4.7%
Benchmark price (all housing types) $1,185,100 +4.9%
New listings 3,369 +9.8%
Active listings 10,931 +13.5%

“We’ve been watching the number of active listings in our market increase over the past few months, which is giving buyers more to choose from than they’ve been used to seeing over the past few years,” said Andrew Lis, REBGV Director of Economics and Data Analytics.

“When paired with the seasonal slowdown in sales we typically see this time of year, this increase in supply is creating balanced conditions across Metro Vancouver’s housing market,” he added.

Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV)


Montreal Census Metropolitan Area

Montreal housing marketMontreal housing market
November 2023 YoY % Change
Sales 2,664 -1%
Median Price (single-family detached) $539,700 +4%
Median Price (condo) $395,275 +4%
New listings 4,787 +3%
Active listings 17,715 +11%

“Unlike other large Canadian metropolitan areas such as Toronto and Vancouver, the residential market in the Montreal region is not experiencing a rapid increase in the number of properties returning to the market,” said Charles Brant, Director of the QPAREB’s Market Analysis Department.

“For the moment, the slowdown in the economy and the rise in borrowing costs seem to have less impact on the financial health of households in the Quebec metropolis,” he added.

Source: Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB)

Calgary

Calgary housing marketCalgary housing market
November 2023 YoY % Change
Sales 1,787 +8.8%
Benchmark price (all housing types) $572,700 +10.7%
New listings 2,227 +38.2%
Active listings 2,989 -4%

“Like other large cities, new listings have been increasing,” said CREB Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However, in Calgary, the gains have not been enough to change the low inventory situation thanks to strong demand. Our market continues to favour the seller, driving further price growth.”

Source: Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB)


Ottawa

Ottawa housing market statisticsOttawa housing market statistics
November 2023 YoY % Change
Sales 724 -1.6%
Average Price (residential property) $708,900 +1.6%
Average Price (condominium) $424,300 +1.2
New listings 1,428 +2.7%
Active listings 2,752 +15.8%

“Sales are performing as expected with the arrival of colder months, and an uptick in new and active listings is bringing more choice back into the market,” said OREB President Ken Dekker.

“While more choice may mean the pace of buying and selling has slowed, that doesn’t mean people looking to enter or upgrade in the market should sit back,” he added.

Source: Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB)

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