The housing market in Calgary experienced low activity during April and May due to strict COVID-19 lockdowns. However, market activity picked up in June and July. At the start of 2020, Calgary was still dealing with a slow economy due to the oil and gas sector, which was further impacted by the pandemic.
Home prices are expected to remain steady throughout summer and into the fall. Since June, first-time homebuyers in the region have been more active as there are no advantages in waiting for prices to fall.
Higher end properties in Calgary are beginning to sell faster due to falling prices, and acreages in small towns are beginning to see more interest from local buyers. A 3% increase is expected in Calgary, Alberta for the remainder of the year.
While COVID-19 lockdowns in March and April slowed down the housing market in Western Canada, transactions in Kelowna, Saskatoon and Vancouver resumed by May, with sales in both May and June surpassing year-over-year levels. Many buyers put their plans on hold at the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns, but they returned to the market quickly to make up for lost time. Edmonton’s housing market quickly bounced back to pre-COVID levels in June, while Saskatoon experienced its busiest June in years; this momentum is anticipated to continue into the fall market, with RE/MAX brokers and agents estimating a three-per-cent increase in average residential sale prices for the remainder of the year. Overall, brokers and agents in Western Canada say the potential buyers they are talking to are not too concerned with a potential second wave of COVID-19 impacting their real estate journey, and RE/MAX brokers are estimating steady activity to round out 2020.
Leading indicators from RE/MAX brokers and agents across Canada’s housing market point to a strong market for the remainder of 2020. According to the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report, RE/MAX brokers suggest that the average residential sale price in Canada could increase by 4.6% during the remainder of the year. This is compared to the 3.7% increase that was predicted in late 2019.
The pandemic has prompted many Canadians to reassess their living situations. According to a survey conducted by Leger on behalf of RE/MAX Canada, 32% of Canadians no longer want to live in large urban centres, and instead would opt for rural or suburban communities. This trend is stronger among Canadians under the age of 55 than those in the 55+ age group.
Not only are Canadians more motivated to leave cities, but changes in work and life dynamics have also shifted their needs and wants for their homes. According to the survey, 44% of Canadians would like a home with more space for personal amenities, such as a pool, balcony or a large yard.
Canadians equally split on their confidence in the housing market
Canadians are almost equally split in their confidence in Canada’s real estate market, with 39% as confident as they were prior to the pandemic, and 37% slightly less confident. When it comes to the prospect of a second wave of COVID-19, 56% of Canadians who are feeling confident in Canada’s real estate market are still likely to buy or sell.
“While COVID-19 lockdowns slowed Canada’s housing market at the start of a typically busy spring market, activity bounced back by early summer in many regions, including Vancouver and Toronto,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “Despite the tragic impacts of the pandemic, our optimism in the strength of Canada’s housing market has always remained, and current market activity further exemplifies this. Many homebuyers are now exploring different neighbourhoods that better suit their new lifestyles, and real estate agents are getting busier and working more with buyers from different major cities. According to our brokers and agents across the RE/MAX network, Canada’s fall market is expected to see spring market-like activity.”
Additional highlights from the 2020 RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report Survey:
48% of Canadians would like to live closer to green spaces
48% of Canadians say it’s more important than ever to live in a community close to hospitals and clinics
33% of Canadians would like more square footage in their home and have realized they need more space
44% of Canadians want a home with more outdoor space and personal amenities (i.e. balcony, pool etc.)
About the 2020 RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report
The 2020 RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report includes data and insights supplied by RE/MAX brokerages. RE/MAX brokers and agents are surveyed on market activity and local developments.
The Calgary housing market will lean toward buyers in 2020 with a zero percent residential sale price expectation. This is dependent on a number of different factors, including the province’s economy and the fate of the Keystone Pipeline. The city’s employment rate and overall economy will have the greatest impact on the housing market, along with strong population growth.
Calgary’s buyer’s market is due to its economy and high unemployment rate which is expected to continue into 2020 should major changes not be made. Housing affordability isn’t a concern due to low condo prices allowing buyers to easily enter the market. Despite the high unemployment rate, the city’s population is increasing due to residents from other parts of Alberta moving to the city.
Condominiums and two-story detached homes are the most popular properties in Calgary while Coventry Hills, Evergreen and Northeast Calgary are expected to be the hottest markets of next year because of their affordability. First-time and move-up buyers are expected to drive demand in 2020, with more first-timers entering into the market compared to past years, due to the city’s overall younger population compared to the rest of Canada.
From a national perspective, RE/MAX anticipates a leveling out of the highs and lows that characterized the Canadian housing market in 2019, particularly in Vancouver and Toronto, as we move into 2020. Healthy price increases are expected, with an estimated 3.7-per-cent increase in the average national residential sales price.
As more Canadians have adjusted to the mortgage stress test and older Millennials move into their peak earning years, it is anticipated that they will drive the market in 2020, particularly single Millennials and young couples. A recent Leger survey conducted by RE/MAX found that more than half (51 per cent) of Canadians are considering buying a property in the next five years, especially those under the age of 45.
RE/MAX of Western Canada
Kayley Jackson is an English & Creative Writing graduate, as well as writer and photographer whose love for words and creativity brought her to RE/MAX. As Communications Coordinator at RE/MAX of Western Canada, Kayley creates and oversees content that appeals to buyers and sellers alike, aiming to assist them on their homebuying or selling journey. Kayley carries out public relations, communications and social media content for RE/MAX, which includes creating content and writing for the consumer-facing blog at remax.ca. When she’s not behind the lens of her camera or writing away at her desk, Kayley can be found enjoying the Okanagan lifestyle in Kelowna, BC, where she lives with her fiancé, or daydreaming about where her next travel adventure will take her. Email Kayley at email@example.com.