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The Pandemic Was Bullish For Canadian Real Estate, Confirms National Stats Agency

Mon Feb 08, 2021 5:52 pm

FEBRUARY 8, 2021
Canada’s national statistics agency reported real estate prices made the biggest gain in years — during a pandemic. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) data shows real estate prices increased in Q4 2020. The rise was the biggest since 2017, and is being attributed to low interest rates. The data is consistent with local real estate boards, showing detached homes represent almost all of the gains. Meanwhile, condo apartments are stalling compared to a year before.

Canadian Real Estate Prices Grew The Fastest Since 2018
Canadian real estate prices made one of the biggest jumps in history. Prices in the 6-City index increased 2.5% in Q4 2020, the fastest acceleration since Q2 2017. Virtually all gains are from single-family homes, which increased 3.5% in the quarter. Condo apartments increased just 0.16% over the same period. The trend of single-family homes outperforming in price growth is consistent.

Toronto Detached Prices Grow, While Condos Fall
Toronto did something it doesn’t do often – underperformed real estate price growth. Prices for the city’s composite increased 2.02% in Q4 2020, neither a high or a low even this year. Detached prices increased 3.54% in the quarter, the biggest quarterly move since Q2 2017. Condo apartments fell 0.69% over the same period, the biggest drop in the data set. More detailed statistics from local boards show gains were largely led by detached suburban units.

Vancouver Detached Real Estate Prices Grow, While Condos Fall
Vancouver’s segments have also diverged, but not nearly as much as Toronto. The composite for home prices in the region increased 2.44% in Q4 2020 – a very large move, but still underperforming the index. Single-family homes increased 3.57% in the quarter, the biggest increase since 2017. Condo apartments dragged the index with a relatively flat move of 0.09% lower over the same period. The index was driven entirely by single-family price gains.

Montreal Is Seeing Both Single-Family Homes And Condos Outperform
Montreal is seeing huge growth, but it’s slower than the month before. The composite for the region increased 3.98% in Q4 – which is huge, but smaller than the previous quarter. Single-family homes increased at an even faster pace of 4.58% higher, over the same quarter. Condo apartments increased a little slower at 3.13% higher, over the same period. Both home types saw huge gains, but detached prices are moving faster. Still on trend, but a slightly more robust market.

These stats generally show a boom for single-family homes, and a slow down for condos. The agency notes this trend is driven by low interest rates, stimulating demand for detached homes. It’s also pulled forward even more demand, by increasing the credit available to households. As demand trends normalize, they expect the sudden shift in preference will have a lower impact. That appears to be a popular take – going back to normal is now the risk.

Canadian Urban Real Estate Price Index Change
The quarterly percent change for Canadian urban real estate prices in Q4 2020.
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