Canadian Real Estate Market Transitions, and The Most Affordable of Canada’s Big Cities

This week’s top real estate stories.

By  Jared Lindzon | 2 minute read

Mar 22

Wahi's Week in Real Estate

Every Friday, Wahi brings you the most important real estate stories from the past week.

Canada’s Housing Market Springs Forward

After a gradual uphill crawl, the roller coaster that is Canada’s housing market appears to have reached its peak. According to CREA’s latest report, home prices were flat in February after five straight months of declines, suggesting the market is transitioning from a buyer’s to a seller’s market. According to the report, home sales dipped 3.1% compared to January but were nearly 20% higher than last February. The report notes that buyers aren’t necessarily waiting for interest rates to drop before entering the market. Please remain seated with your seatbelt fastened and hold on tight — it’s going to be a wild ride. 

“According to CREA’s latest report, home prices were flat in February after five straight months of declines, suggesting the market is transitioning from a buyer’s to a seller’s market. ”

Housing Starts Keep On Starting  

If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the sound of shovels chipping away at icy ground, as housing starts continue to trend upwards. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, construction jumped a seasonally adjusted 14% in February and 0.4% based on a six-month moving average. The increase was largely driven by Vancouver, which saw an 82% jump in construction, and Toronto, which saw a gain of 10%. The pace of new home construction, however, remains well below 2022 levels — before interest rates started increasing — and well behind what the country needs to reach its federal housing targets.

Inflation Continues Downward Trend

Hope for Canadian’s underfed piggy banks was restored on Tuesday morning when Statistics Canada dropped some surprisingly encouraging inflation data. Despite an anticipated rise in costs the consumer price index edged downward last month to 2.8%, from January’s 2.9%. Prior to the announcement economists were bracing for a jump to 3.1%, effectively reversing recent gains. While housing and fuel prices remain elevated, declining grocery, cellular services and internet costs tipped the scales towards overall price declines. Economists are now optimistic that rate cuts are on the horizon, though a decrease remains unlikely for the Bank of Canada’s upcoming April announcement.    

Ontario’s Fourplex Complex

Alanis Morissette once warned her fellow Canadians about the folly of ignoring good advice, so it’s a little ironic that Ontario’s Liberal Party is pushing a plan that was first floated by the Progressive Conservatives. That plan — which was highlighted in the Ontario PC’s 2022 Housing Affordability Task Force — allows developers and homeowners to build fourplexes without municipal approval. While the suggestion was ignored by the party that commissions the report, it was implemented by Bonnie Crombie as mayor of Mississauga and is ironically expected to be a central piece of her housing strategy as leader of the Ontario Liberals.

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Go West, Young Canadian 

If you’re looking to maximize housing affordability, earning potential and cost of living, you should probably look westward. According to a recent study conducted by TopMove.ca, Toronto and Vancouver offer the highest salaries and Winnipeg and Montreal feature the lowest cost of living, but Calgary offers the most affordable housing. In fact, Stampede City took the top spot in the ranking, scoring 9.8 out of a possible 10 for income to cost of living and housing ratio, followed by Halifax, Ottawa, and Montreal. Toronto ranked 5th with a score of 7.4, while Vancouver sat firmly in last.  

Jared Lindzon

Wahi Writer

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