Immigrants are drawn here in hopes of achieving the Canadian dream, whether it is a higher income or home ownership. This allows them to plant new roots in a nation consistently ranked as one of the top countries in the word, and pass on this wealth to future generations.  Evidently, many families that are arriving here may find themselves challenged by the current state of the inched up 0.2 per cent month-over-month in December, while the MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose 2.5 per cent month-over-month and rose a record 26.6 per cent year-over-year. The actual national average home price in December 2021 reached $713,500, up 17.7 per cent per cent from the same month last year, says CREA. What will it take to ease the Canadian real estate market? Might record-low supply levels be positively impacted by rising interest rates this year?

With that being said, it appears that a considerable portion of immigrants have maintained a bearish view of the Canadian real estate market dating back to 2018, when prices were approximately a third less than they are today. Will this attitude change in the coming years, with more than one million immigrants projected to enter the country?

New Immigrants Struggle Amid Overpriced Canadian Real Estate Market

According to Statistics Canada’s Housing Experiences survey, two out of five recent immigrants were dissatisfied with the state of the Canadian housing market in 2018. The study found that 63 per cent of recent immigrants were satisfied with their housing situation, below the national average of 82 per cent.

The survey also reveals that Canada’s visible minorities were less satisfied with their housing market compared to the national average. The statistics agency reported that 75 per cent of South Asian households, 74 per cent of Chinese households, and 69 per cent of black households were satisfied.

This comes after Statistics Canada data from 2019 revealed that immigrant incomes were much lower in major urban centres, such as Toronto and Vancouver. The study revealed that Toronto is the worst place to earn a living for immigrants, with median incomes hovering at a mere $29,600 before the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Vancouver saw immigrants earning a median income of $31,000. Montreal didn’t fare much better, sitting somewhere in the middle of the list of challenging cities for newcomers.

Overall, after a decade, it is estimated that immigrants coming to Canada will earn a little more than 13 per cent compared to the median for all Canadians nationwide.

National Bank of Canada (NBC) calculations found that prospective homeowners require an annual income of close to $200,000 to afford a house in Toronto, or annual earnings of about $215,000 in Vancouver. In total, the financial institution’s qualifying annual income for its urban composite is $144,356, although the median annual income in the index is $77,000.

In the end, the data suggest that the housing affordability crisis is hitting Canadians and immigrants alike. But will these conditions become more pronounced in the next few years?

More Immigrants Will Boost Housing Competition

In 2020 the the federal government announced plans to bring in approximately 1.2 million newcomers before the end of 2023, as part of efforts to boost the economy, be it through job creation or supporting the post-pandemic economic recovery. Reports indicate that Ottawa is considering increasing its target for new permanent residents this year.

Permanent resident arrival admissions skyrocketed in September, marking the biggest monthly gain in a century. The country witnessed the arrival of a little more than 45,000 permanent residents.

But while many immigrants are choosing Ontario and British Columbia as the top landing spots, an increasing number of newcomers are looking to Manitoba and Quebec.

Financial experts are split on this public policy pursuit. “It is a conundrum,” said Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics. On the one hand, Canada’s struggling labour market and a falling fertility rate justify the need for immigration. On the other hand, an influx of prospective homebuyers could further crowd an environment where housing supply is already hovering at record lows. The solution, asserted by many industry observers, is a greater push to increase housing supply from coast to coast.

An Expensive Canadian Housing Market in 2022?

Whether you’re a recent immigrant or a Canadian citizen, rising real estate prices are a likely reality in 2022.

RE/MAX anticipates that Canadian real estate prices could rise a whopping 9.2 per cent this year, according to the 2022 Canadian Housing Market Outlook Report, with 97 per cent of regions analyzed projected to remain seller’s markets.

“Based on feedback from our brokers and agents, the inter-provincial relocation trend that we began to see in the summer of 2020 still remains very strong and is expected to continue into 2022,” said Christopher Alexander, President of RE/MAX Canada, in the report. “Less-dense cities and neighbourhoods offer buyers the prospect of greater affordability, along with liveability factors such as more space. In order for these regions to retain these appealing qualities and their relative market balance, housing supply needs to be added. Without more homes and in the face of rising demand, there’s potential for conditions in these regions to shift further.”

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