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Residential Market Commentary - 2020 foresight

The New Year is here, we are heading into a new decade and by most accounts all is right in Canada’s housing market.

2019 has been a turnaround year in the industry, particularly through the second half. The Canadian Real Estate Association, the big realtors and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation all expect an ongoing recovery through 2020. But each has its own interpretation of “recovery”.

CREA’s early projections for the coming year forecast a 9% increase in sales activity to 530,000 units with a 6% increase in the national average cost of a home to $531,000. However, the association says the price increase will be driven by a lack of supply. New listings sagged in the second half of 2019 and CREA expects that trend to continue.

Re/Max and Royal LePage see prices rising by 3.7% and 3.2% respectively. Both firms say homebuyers, especially millennials, have adjusted to the government “stress test” and are coming back to the market after stepping to the sidelines back in 2018.

CMHC measures the recovery in terms of the market falling in line with economic fundamentals. Its concerns with overvaluation and rampant price acceleration are easing especially for the hot markets of Toronto and Vancouver. The agency says the current outlook “does not imply that overvaluation and/or price acceleration … will necessarily worsen”. But with ongoing, ultra-low interest rates, and the prospect of a Bank of Canada rate cut sometime in 2020 there is no implication there will be an improvement either.