Market Watch - Historic Demand for Suburban Low-rise Housing Continues.

It’s clear that the historic demand for housing experienced in the second half of last year has carried forward into the first quarter of this year with some similar themes, including the continued popularity of suburban low-rise properties. It’s also evident that the supply of listings is not keeping up with demand, which could present an even larger problem once population growth picks up following widespread vaccinations later this year and into 2022. 


Ontario - Historic Demand for Suburban Low-rise Housing.

Toronto, March 02, 2021 - Record home sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) continued in February as buyers remained confident in their employment situations and took advantage of ultra-low borrowing costs. With multiple buyers continuing to compete for many available listings, double-digit annual price growth was the norm throughout the GTA, with stronger rates of growth in the suburbs surrounding the City of Toronto.

GTA REALTORS® reported 10,970 sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in February 2021 – a 52.5% increase compared to 7,193 sales reported in February 2020. Looking at all areas of the GTA combined, the condominium apartment segment led the way with a 64% sales increase compared to last year, with similar rates of increase in the ‘416’ and ‘905’ area codes.

“It’s clear that the historic demand for housing experienced in the second half of last year has carried forward into the first quarter of this year with some similar themes, including the continued popularity of suburban low-rise properties. It’s also evident that the supply of listings is not keeping up with demand, which could present an even larger problem once population growth picks up following widespread vaccinations later this year and into 2022,” said TRREB President Lisa Patel.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 14.8% year-over-year in February 2021. Over the same period, the average selling price was up by 14.9% to $1,045,488. While market conditions were tight throughout the GTA region in February, the detached, semi-detached and townhouse market segments in suburban areas were the drivers of average price growth, with annual rates of increase above 20% in all three cases.

“In the absence of a marked uptick in inventory, the current relationship between demand and supply supports continued double-digit average home price growth this year. In addition, if we continue to see growth in condo sales outstrip growth in new condo listings in Toronto, renewed price growth in this market segment is a distinct possibility in the second half of the year,” said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.


Ottawa, February Resales Snapped up Quickly

Ottawa, March 3, 2021 - Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,390 residential properties in February through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 1,134 in February 2020, an increase of 23%. February’s sales included 1,028 in the residential-property class, up 24% from a year ago, and 362 in the condominium-property category, an increase of 19% from February 2020. The five-year average for total unit sales in February is 1,101.

“Resale properties are virtually flying off the shelves,” states Ottawa Real Estate Board President Debra Wright. “Even though our inventory is significantly lower than 2020 – a combined 46% decrease in housing stock for residential and condos – we witnessed a record number of sales in February 2021. How is that possible? Simply put, properties that come onto the market are selling very quickly.”

“With less than a month’s supply in both categories, residential homes, in particular, are experiencing the quickest turnarounds. This is evidenced in the sharp decline of Days on Market (DOM) from 30 days in February 2020 to 14 days last month. Interestingly, DOM for the condo market has gone up slightly from 19 to 22 days, likely due to the fact that the condo market was thriving and moving very quickly prior to the pandemic spread in Canada. We saw Buyer desire for more house space dampen that market temporarily; however, it is clear the condo market has stabilized and is starting to rebound with a 19% increase in transactions compared to last year at this time.”

February’s average sale price for a condominium-class property was $407,671, an increase of 17% from last year, while the average sale price of a residential-class property was $717,914, an increase of 27% from a year ago.With year-to-date average sale prices at $701,778 for residential and $395,496 for condominiums, these values represent a 29% and 15 percent increase over 2020, respectively.*

“With supply constraints continuing to place upward pressure on pricing, there is no doubt that this economic fundamental is driving the price increases. This is also reflected in February’s total sales volume for residential and condos, which combined was at $885,592,105, 54% higher than the same month in 2020. There is no denying that scarcity is leading to a more rapid price acceleration. This scarcity combined with Buyers’ willingness to pay and compete in this market will continue to drive up the sales prices,” Wright asserts.

“The upcoming spring market will bring more listings and increased inventory; however, the question is whether it will be enough to meet demand. Having a sound strategy, whether you are buying or selling, is the key to success. In this complex and fast-paced market, it is essential to utilize the skills and experience of a REALTOR® with negotiation skills and the market knowledge to act quickly on your behalf.”

“Did you know they also help tenants locate rental accommodations in addition to assisting landlords in finding tenants? Ottawa’s vacancy rates have soared due to the lack of immigration, visiting student populations, decline in Airbnb, etc. There are many good quality rentals out there, and a REALTOR® can help you find one whether you are selling and prefer to rent or searching for a different location,” Wright concludes.

Alberta - Sellers' market in February leads to rising prices

City of Calgary, March 1, 2021 – With gains in every price range, residential sales activity in February totalled 1,836.

“Despite continued COVID-19 restrictions, housing activity continues to improve. Much of the strong sales activity is expected to be driven by exceptionally low mortgage rates,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“Confidence is also likely improving as vaccine rollouts are underway. Additionally, some of the worst fears concerning the energy sector are easing with recent gains in energy prices.”

New listings also improved in February, but the gap between new listings and sales narrowed. This is causing the sales-to-new-listings ratio to rise to 65%, keeping the months of supply well below three months.


Conditions are far tighter in the detached sector of the market, especially for products priced below $600,000, where strong sellers’ market conditions are present with less than two months of supply.

The market has faced relatively low inventory levels compared to sales for the past several months and prices continue to trend up. In February, the residential benchmark price rose over the previous month and currently sits four% above last years’ levels. 

Detached product has the lowest months of supply and is also exhibiting the most significant gains in prices. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the apartment condominium segment still has a relatively high level of inventory compared to sales, which is impacting price recovery for this property type.

Detached sales improved across every price range this month, but the lack of choice in the lower price ranges likely placed limits on the gains in sales.

New listings did rise, but it was not enough to prevent further tightening in the market, as the sales-to-new-listings ratio rose to 71% and the months of supply fell to under two months. This is the lowest months of supply recorded in February since 2007.

Tighter market conditions occurred across all price ranges, but properties priced below $600,000 saw the months of supply fall to just above one month. These conditions are supporting significant price gains in the detached sector, which recorded a February benchmark price of $502,500. This is nearly two% higher than last month and five% higher than last year. It is also the first time since 2018 detached prices have risen above $500,000, and currently sits under five% below previous highs recorded in 2014.

Prices increased compared to last month and last year in every district of the city. However, the magnitude of those increases varied, with the largest year-over-year gains occurring in the South East district at nine%, and the lowest gains occurring in the City Centre at under two%. 

Semi-detached sales in February recorded significant gains, pushing sales activity to the highest February levels seen in nearly 13 years. However, like the detached sector, the improvements in new listings were not enough to offset sales, ensuring this sector continues to favour the seller.

With lower levels of supply relative to sales, benchmark prices improved over both last year and last month. However, this was not consistent across all districts. The West district continues to see prices that remain over two% lower than last year’s levels. The strongest year-over-year price gains were reported in the South East and North districts.

Despite a significant increase in new listings, improving sales offset the gains and the months of supply fell to three months.

Conditions for row properties are not as tight as what we have seen in both the detached and semi-detached sectors. However, they do reflect an improvement relative to the oversupplied conditions recorded last year. However, when considering activity by price range, pockets of oversupply persist in this market.

Citywide reductions in inventory relative to sales supported some price improvements in this segment. The benchmark price trended up from last month and currently sits just over one% higher than last year’s levels. Year-over-year gains did not occur across all districts, as prices remain lower than last year’s levels in the North, North West, South and South East districts.

Apartment Condominium, Driven by product priced mostly under $300,000, apartment condominium sales improved to best February levels recorded over the past six years.

However, the gain in sales was not enough to cause any significant changes in inventory levels. February inventory remained elevated compared to levels we typically see at this time of year.

While the months of supply has trended down in this sector, it remains above five months. This is preventing the same type of price recovery seen in other sectors. On a year-to-date basis, the benchmark price remains similar to levels recorded last year.


Britsh Columbia - Housing Market Continues at a Record Pace

Vancouver, BC – March 11, 2021. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 10,918 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February 2021, an increase of 89.1% over February 2020 and over a thousand sales higher than the previous February record, set in 2016. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $889,584, a 17.3% increase from $758,382 recorded in February 2020. Total sales dollar volume was $9.7 billion, a 121.8% increase from last year.

“Near-record sales in Metro Vancouver, combined with unprecedented housing demand outside of Metro Vancouver, continues to drive a blistering pace of home sales in BC,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson.

Total active residential listings were down 28.7% to 20,185 units in February, the lowest level of provincial active listings on record, going back to 2000. Fortunately, new listings have increased considerably, but given the pace of sales, the total inventory of homes for sale remains severely depleted. 

"There is a drought of resale inventory across the province,” added Ogmundson. "With so few listings, and with so much demand for single-detached homes, average prices have increased dramatically.”


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