Toronto/Vancouver – Canada’s real estate market slowed down considerably since COVID-19 measures were introduced across the country in March. With public health and safety top of mind, a number of real estate associations (like the Ontario Real Estate Association and BC Real Estate Association), put forth guidelines for realtors to prioritize virtual communications over any in-person meetings. Such physical distancing measures in tandem with broader economic uncertainty pushed many buyers and sellers to the sidelines, as they await more stability.
In addition to record declines in sales activity across the country, the latest data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) for April – which is the first full month after COVID-19 measures were implemented across the country – reveals that the average home price in Canada is now $488,203. This price is 10 per cent lower than the average home price of $539,724 in February, which was well before any COVID-19 measures were introduced at the federal or provincial level.
To get a snapshot of how the market activity shifted in the short run since COVID-19 measures were introduced across Canada, Zoocasa used data from CREA to compare average home prices and sales between February and April 2020 for 20 real estate markets across the country. Average home prices were used as this is the price metric used and most widely available across regions in official monthly reports from CREA. As always, our analysis serves to provide a high-level overview of market dynamics and a broad perspective on market activity. Prospective home buyers will benefit from a more detailed analysis of price and sales trends for specific home types of interest or at the city, town, or neighbourhood level.
BC Housing Markets See Consistent Sales Declines; Varying Impact on Average Prices
In all three BC markets studied, roughly half the number of homes sold in April, compared to February. In Victoria and in Fraser Valley, home sales declined 48 per cent, whereas in Greater Vancouver there were just 1,119 sales in April; 49 per cent lower than the number of sales in February.
Despite the consistent rate of decline in sales for each of these markets, there was a diverging impact on average home prices. In Greater Vancouver, home prices grew two per cent between February and April from $1,006,708 to $1,031,321 (a $24,613 increase). On the other hand, the average home price stayed flat at $769,666 in Fraser Valley and also remained unchanged in Victoria at $701,632.