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Grim Prospects: Exploring the Shadows Over Canada's Housing Market

Max Ortoli

Prior to joining Homelife/Romano Realty Ltd., Brokerage, Max was a telecom analyst from 1993-2007 with Fortune 500 Companies, Invesco and PWC...

Prior to joining Homelife/Romano Realty Ltd., Brokerage, Max was a telecom analyst from 1993-2007 with Fortune 500 Companies, Invesco and PWC...

Oct 13 8 minutes read

Canada's housing market is a dynamic landscape influenced by various economic factors. As of October 13, 2023, we observe a significant shift in trends, particularly in existing home sales, building permits, and housing shortages. Let's delve into the latest statistics and predictions to gain a comprehensive understanding of the current situation.

Existing Home Sales: A Three-Month Decline

The latest data from October 13, 2023, reveals that existing home sales in Canada experienced a decline of 1.9% in September. This marks the third consecutive monthly decrease, signifying a potential shift in the market. To put it in perspective, since June, Canada has seen a rollback of nearly 40% of the sales gains witnessed from January to June when the central bank initially paused its tightening cycle.


The decline in sales is not limited to the usual suspects of Toronto and Vancouver. Instead, the trend is spreading across various markets, indicating a cumulative response to increased borrowing costs. This prolonged softness in home purchases has led to an upswing in properties for sale, with new listings registering a remarkable 35% national increase since March. This six-month advance is the most robust ever recorded outside of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regional Contrasts: From Calgary to The Big Smoke

Not all regions are feeling the pinch equally. Calgary and Edmonton have emerged as bright spots, with sales remaining robust despite higher interest rates. In fact, for several months, home purchases in Alberta's largest city have been nearly double those in the pre-pandemic year, a stark contrast to most other Canadian centers.


Calgary's short-term demand-supply balances suggest conditions firmly favoring sellers, implying potential upward price pressures. Meanwhile, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has experienced a third consecutive month in buyers' market territory. Halifax and Vancouver are trending in a similar direction as the GTA. This reversal from pre-pandemic trends highlights the evolving dynamics of the Canadian housing market.

Building Permits: A Positive Rebound in August 2023

Shifting gears to building permits, Canada witnessed a 3.4% increase in total permit value in August 2023, reaching $11.9 billion. This rebound is particularly notable considering the 3.8% drop observed in the prior month. The non-residential segment led the charge with a remarkable 14.8% increase, bolstered by significant growth in institutional and commercial components, partially offset by a decline in the industrial sector.


However, the residential segment experienced a 3.7% dip, primarily due to weaker intentions for multi-unit construction in specific provinces. Notably, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec saw declines in this category. On a positive note, the value of single-family home permits increased by 5.5%, marking the fourth consecutive monthly rise.


Shifting gears to building permits, Canada witnessed a 3.4% increase in total permit value in August 2023, reaching $11.9 billion. This rebound is particularly notable considering the 3.8% drop observed in the prior month. The non-residential segment led the charge with a remarkable 14.8% increase, bolstered by significant growth in institutional and commercial components, partially offset by a decline in the industrial sector.


But what does this mean for the future of the Canadian housing market?


Now, this leads us to another commonly asked question: What is the average price of a house in Ontario according to CREA? The increase in building permits, especially in the non-residential sector, reflects economic activity. When businesses expand, it can have a cascading effect on the real estate market. Therefore, the price of homes can be influenced by the overall economic climate.


However, housing supply and demand are not uniform across the country. While non-residential construction has surged, the residential segment experienced a 3.7% dip, primarily due to weaker intentions for multi-unit construction in specific provinces. Notably, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec saw declines in this category.


This prompts another question: Will home prices drop in 2023 in Ontario? The answer isn't straightforward. The local housing market dynamics, including the specific region in Ontario, will play a significant role in determining price trends. A decline in building permits for multi-unit construction can impact supply, which, in turn, can influence prices. It's advisable to keep a close watch on local real estate indicators and consult experts for precise predictions.


On a positive note, the value of single-family home permits increased by 5.5%, marking the fourth consecutive monthly rise. This prompts us to consider: What is the housing prediction for Canada in 2023? The increase in single-family home permits suggests continued demand in this category. Housing predictions for Canada in 2023 will depend on various factors, including economic indicators and government policies. Factors like these can significantly influence the housing market's trajectory.

Navigating the Path Ahead

In conclusion, the Canadian housing market is experiencing a period of transformation, with existing home sales and building permits being crucial indicators. The variations across regions underline the complexity of the market and highlight the importance of staying informed.


While exact predictions can be elusive, understanding these dynamics can help homeowners, buyers, and industry professionals make informed decisions in these dynamic times. For the most current insights and tailored advice, it's advisable to consult with real estate professionals and industry experts.


Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on available data as of October 13, 2023. Market conditions may change, and it is advisable to consult with real estate professionals or industry experts for the most current and tailored advice.

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