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Canadian Real Estate Market Feeling The Impact of COVID-19

After the first full month with social distancing measures in place, the housing market is adjusting to the effects of COVID-19.  While the number of unit sales has decreased substantially, residential prices are still holding their own and are up over last year’s figures, with properties often selling marginally above the asking price. 

It is too early to predict the effects of COVID-19 on the real estate market. These are unprecedented times, Past recessions and recoveries do not necessarily provide the best guide as to how the housing market will recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A key factor for the housing market recovery will be a broader reopening of the economy, which will result in an improving employment picture and a resurgence in consumer confidence.

 

Ontario - Real Estate Pivots in the Age of COVID-19

Toronto May 5, 2020 -- Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 2,975 residential transactions through TRREB’s MLS® System. This result was down by 67% compared to April 2019. Weekday sales remained within a relatively steady range during the month, averaging 130 per day.

New listings amounted to 6,174 in April 2020 – down on a year-over-year basis by a similar rate compared to sales (-64.1%).

The average selling price for April 2020 transactions was $821,392 – up by 0.1% compared to the average price of $820,373 reported for April 2019. The semi-detached and townhouse market segments experienced annual average price growth above the rate of inflation. The condominium apartment and detached segments experienced year-over-year price declines on average.

The trend for the MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark, which had been on an upward trajectory since the beginning of 2019 flattened in April. On a year-over-year basis, the Benchmark was up by 10%.

The MLS® HPI indices represent prices for typical homes with consistent attributes from one period to the next. The fact that the MLS® HPI was up year-over-year by a greater rate than the average selling price suggests that the share of higher-end deals completed in April 2020 versus April 2019 was down.

 

Ottawa, May 5, 2020 -- Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 913 residential properties in April through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 2,025 in April 2019, a decrease of 55%. April’s sales included 700 in the residential-property class, down 56% from a year ago, and 213 in the condominium-property category, a decrease of 51% from April 2019. The five-year average for April unit sales is 1,692.

“While the Ottawa real estate market statistics for April come as no surprise, they are a stark contrast to the previous month and the year-over-year figures for April 2019,” states Ottawa Real Estate Board President Deb Burgoyne. “I am proud to say, our Members have rapidly adapted to following the “State of Emergency” guidelines and are limiting work activity to assisting those who must sell and/or buy during this pivotal time – while keeping the health risk to all parties to a minimum.”

April’s average sale price for a condominium-class property was $327,813, an increase of 6.3% from this time last year while the average sale price of a residential-class property was $521,694, an increase of 6.8% from a year ago. Year to date figures show a 15.1% and an 18.5% increase in average sale prices for residential and condominiums, respectively.*

“While the number of unit sales has decreased substantially, residential prices are still holding their own and are up over last year’s figures, with properties often selling above the asking price,” Burgoyne reports. “There is still a holdover of pent-up demand in our marketplace. We believe that when the market opens up again, although it won’t be business as usual, sales will rebound and make up for the decline the spring market has experienced,” she adds.

“Our Members have been adjusting and retooling the way real estate is conducted. They are finding new ways to market properties and provide options for viewings using technology such as live streaming open houses, posting virtual tours, and holding virtual showings, etc. These adaptations are key in mitigating risk for all parties and will certainly continue to be necessary as things normalize in the city and our working environment.”

“If you are a potential home buyer or seller, and in a situation where it is essential that you buy or sell a property right now, there are means to do this in a safe and prudent manner. Do not hesitate to contact a REALTOR® to discuss, plan and protect you through this unique period,” recommends Burgoyne.

In addition to residential and condominium sales, OREB Members assisted clients with renting 947 properties since the beginning of the year compared to 778 at this time last year.

 

Britsh Columbia - Home sales and listings down amid COVID-19,

Vancouver, May 5, 2020 --  While Metro Vancouver* home sale and listing activity remains limited by the COVID-19 situation, REALTORS® across the region are fast adopting new tools and practices to help advise and serve their clients in a responsible way.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totaled 1,109 in April 2020, a 39.4% decrease from the 1,829 sales recorded in April 2019, and a 56.1% decrease from the 2,524 homes sold in March 2020.

Last month’s sales were 62.7% below the 10-year April sales average and were the lowest total for the month since 1982.

"Predictably, the number of home sales and listings declined in April given the physical distancing measures in place. People are, however, adapting. They’re working with their Realtors to get information, advice, and to explore their options so they’re best positioned in the market during and after this pandemic." Colette Gerber, REBGV’s president-elect

Realtors have been named an essential service by the provincial government to help the home buying and selling community meet their housing needs during the pandemic.

“We’re seeing more innovation in today’s market, with Realtors using different technology to showcase homes virtually, assess neighbourhood amenities with their clients and handle paperwork electronically,” Gerber said.

There were 2,313 detached, attached, and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in April. This represents a 59.7% decrease compared to the 5,742 homes listed in April 2019 and a 47.9% decrease compared to March 2020 when 4,436 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,389, a 34.6% decrease compared to April 2019 (14,357) and a 2.3% decrease compared to March 2020 (9,606).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for April 2020 is 11.8%. By property type, the ratio is 10% for detached homes, 14.7% for townhomes, and 12.4% for apartments.

Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12% for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20% over several months.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,036,000. This represents a 2.5% increase over April 2019 and a 0.2% increase compared to March 2020.

“Home prices have held relatively steady in our region since the COVID-19 situation worsened in March,” Gerber said. 

Sales of detached homes in April 2020 reached 388, a 33.8% decrease from the 586 detached sales recorded in April 2019. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,462,100. This represents a 2.3% increase from April 2019 and a 0.8% increase compared to March 2020.

Sales of apartment homes reached 503 in April 2020, a 43.2% decrease compared to the 885 sales in April 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $685,500. This represents a 2.7% increase from April 2019 and a 0.2% decrease compared to March 2020.

Attached home sales in April 2020 totaled 218, a 39.1% decrease compared to the 358 sales in April 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $796,800. This represents a 2.8% increase from April 2019 and a 0.6% increase compared to March 2020.

 

Alberta - Calgary real estate market feeling impact of COVID-19

Calgary, May 1, 2020 –- After the first full month with social distancing measures in place, the housing market is adjusting to the effects of COVID-19.

April sales hit 573 units, a decline of 63% over last year.  "The decline in home sales does not come as a surprise. The combined impact of COVID-19 and the situation in the energy sector is causing housing demand to fall,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Demand is also falling faster than supply. This is keeping the market in buyers’ territory and weighing on prices.”

Sales activity eased across all price ranges, but the largest declines were for homes priced above $600,000.

With a greater share of the sales occurring in the lower price ranges, the average price decline was more than eight%. Prices for the average home are also declining, reflected by the benchmark price, which fell by nearly two% compared to last year.

New listings this month totaled 1,425 units, a decline of 54% compared to last year. Inventories also declined, but with 5,565 units available, they remained high enough to push the months of supply above nine months. 

The economic impact of the situation is significant and early indications point toward more job losses and higher unemployment rates. Several government incentives will help cushion the blow, but challenges in the housing market are expected to persist throughout this year.

 




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