The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations in 2016 and 2017.
Canadian resale housing market trends that defined 2015 have intensified. National sales activity and average prices reached new heights in the first half of 2016 amid a growing supply shortage of single family homes in British Columbia and Ontario, particularly in B.C.’s Lower Mainland as well as in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Price gains in these regions stand in contrast to declines in provinces where economic and housing market prospects are closely tied to the outlook for the oil patch and other natural resource industries. Elsewhere, home prices are growing modestly, such as in Ottawa or Montreal.
Activity should begin to rebalance away from B.C. and Ontario, as supply shortages put upward pressure on home prices and constrain transactions even as housing demand remains strong in these provinces and interest rates remain low. Accordingly, sales activity over the second half of the year is expected to ease in B.C., Ontario and on a national basis.
Sales in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador are expected to struggle to regain traction this year, resulting in continuing softness for home prices. In most other provinces, home sales activity and average prices should improve as their economies strengthen and interest rates remain low.
Nationally, sales activity is forecast to rise by 6.1 per cent to 536,400 units in 2016. This would represent a new annual record, but remain below the peak reached in the 2007 after adjusting for population growth.
Prices have continued to push higher in British Columbia and Ontario and sales in these expensive real estate markets have recently hit record highs. Accordingly, CREA’s forecast for the national average price has been revised upward to $490,700 in 2016, representing an annual increase of 10.8 per cent.
Highlighting how provincial sales activity affects the national average price, British Columbia is the only province where the average home price is forecast to climb faster (+13.5 per cent) than the national average in 2016. Ontario’s average price is forecast to rise roughly in line with the national increase.
The national average price is forecast to remain stable (+0.1 per cent or +$400) to $491,100 next year, with modest price gains near or below inflation in most provinces.