Real estate agents Re/Max are forecasting a busy spring for the Canadian real estate market, as major markets in the country have performed quite strongly since the beginning of the year. Its market trends report surveyed 15 Canadian markets, and found 12 had reported increased sales activity in January and February compared to the same period last year.
According to the survey more than half of the cities had seen increases into double digits, mainly due to lack of supply and strong demand, setting the scene for a busy spring. Continued low interest rates, and the strength of consumer confidence have both contributed towards this scenario, as has the relatively mild winter that has brought house hunters out earlier than normal.
Average prices increased in 14 out of the 15 markets, and prices in Toronto and St John's, N.L., increased by more than 10%. This was at least partially due to low levels of inventory, and bidding wars are becoming more common for the most sought-after property.Inventory levels of houses for sale are also low in Saskatoon, London-St Thomas, Hamilton-Burlington, Ottawa, and Saskatoon.
The best performing markets in terms of sales volumes were Halifax-Dartmouth, where sales increased by 35%, Saskatoon at 21%, St John, NB. at 20%, and Regina and 16%. However Vancouver, Winnipeg and Kitchener-Waterloo have seen housing activity soften this year, and sales have fallen by 16% in the Greater Vancouver area, by 4.5% in Kitchener-Waterloo, and by 0.2% in Winnipeg.
Although sales are expected to remain strong this year, price gains are likely to be marginal especially compared with previous years. However this will vary, as some markets are suffering from low levels of inventory, and this will help push up prices, and other markets such as Saskatchewan and Newfoundland are benefiting from a strong local economy.