As we close out a year that featured a gloomy start followed by a solid recovery in many real estate markets across Canada, RE/MAX has released a favourable outlook for 2010. While a lot of the market activity in '09 has been attributed by industry analysts to low interest rates, RE/MAX expects that consumers will be further buoyed by improving economic conditions and overall confidence in the economy, which will result in stronger market prices (particularly in Western Canada) and an increase in the number of transactions in many of the country's major cities. See below for the complete news release.
Mississauga, ON (December 3, 2009) -- In the midst of one of the most tumultuous economic periods in recent history, residential real estate has proven to be a safe harbour, with sales and average price expected to post gains in most major Canadian cities in 2009, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.
The RE/MAX Housing Market Outlook for 2010 examined residential real estate trends in 23 markets. The report found that sales are forecast to recover in almost all major centres by year-end 2009, led by an anticipated 45 per cent increase in Greater Vancouver. Two markets --Ottawa and Quebec City -- are expected to hit historic highs in the number of homes sold. Average price should post new records in 65 per cent of markets surveyed this year. As economic performance ramps up across the country, so too will residential real estate. Eighty-three per cent of markets (19/23) are expecting sales to increase over 2009 levels while housing values are forecast to escalate in 91 per cent (21/23) of Canadian centres in 2010. The remaining markets will match 2009 levels.
Approximately 465,000 homes are expected to change hands nationally in 2009, a seven per cent increase over one year ago. Canadian housing values are forecast to close the year at $318,000, up five per cent from $303,594 in 2008. By year-end 2010, the number of homes sold is predicted to climb another two per cent to 475,000 units. The average price of a home is also expected to experience an uptick, rising two per cent to $325,000 – the highest level in Canadian history.
"2009 was without question the year of the house," says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. "Real estate not only defied industry and analysts’ predictions in 2009 -- it's performance went well beyond the realm of expectation by boosting consumer confidence levels and ultimately kick starting the national economic engine. While low interest rates were a principle factor driving home buying activity, no one can discount the value that Canadians place in owning a home."
The upswing in residential housing values speaks volumes. By year-end 2009, average price is expected to increase in 15 of the 23 markets surveyed, led by St. John's, NF (15 per cent); Quebec City, QC (eight per cent); Regina, SK (seven per cent); Saint John, NB (six per cent); and Winnipeg, MB, Ottawa, ON, and Greater Toronto, ON (five per cent). Other noteworthy developments include shattered price benchmarks in Greater Vancouver at $600,000; Toronto at $400,000; Ottawa at $300,000; and Quebec City and St. John's at $200,000. St. John's will once again lead the country in terms of percentage increase in average price in 2010 with a projected upswing of 11 per cent. Quebec City and Regina are expected to experience escalation of six per cent, while Calgary, Kelowna, and Victoria are forecast to climb five per cent next year. Victoria, Kelowna, Edmonton and Calgary – all down marginally in 2009 – are all positioned for growth in 2010.
"Some of the greatest percentage gains were reported in Western Canadian markets in 2009– demonstrating the higher the peak, the lower the valley," says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western, Canada. "That said, the recession barely registered on year-over-year activity in most major centres. The economic fundamentals in place going forward ideally position the ten provinces, and the sector overall, for further growth."
The major frontrunners in terms of unit sales appreciation in 2010, are all located in Western Canada, including Kelowna with an anticipated upswing of 10 per cent in housing sales; Calgary with an expected increase of eight per cent: and Victoria, which rounds out the top three with a seven per cent hike forecast for unit sales.
"Canadians continue to demonstrate their commitment to homeownership – regardless of the economic climate," says Sylvain Dansereau, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX Quebec. "No where in Canada is that more evident than in Quebec. The province, with one of highest percentage of renters in the country, is well-poised for an escalation in homeownership levels as renters enter the market en masse to take advantage of ideal market conditions. Prices remain well under the national average, making ownership more attainable and leaving more room for appreciation that's been long overdue."
A number of factors will help prop up activity going forward, including improved economic conditions, continued low interest rates, rising consumer confidence and solid capital spending which will buoy employment. Inventory will once again assume the wildcard role, with any decline placing upward pressure on prices. Multiple offers will remain the exception in most markets, more commonplace on quality entry-level product which remains in tight supply.
RE/MAX is Canada's leading real estate organization with over 17,000 sales associates situated throughout its more than 677 independently-owned and operated offices across the country. The RE/MAX franchise network, now in its 36th year, is a global real estate system operating in more than 70 countries. Over 6,700 independently-owned offices engage nearly 100,000 member sales associates who lead the industry in professional designations, experience and production while providing real estate services in residential, commercial, referral, and asset management. For more information, visit: www.remax.ca.