Niagara housing market to favour sellers in 2021, prices expected to rise 12%

The Niagara housing market will likely continue to favour sellers in 2021, as a continuation of a busy market in 2020 driven by the migration of homebuyers from the Greater Toronto Area, Peel and Halton regions, prompting price growth in the region. The Niagara housing market saw average residential price rise to $533,198 in 2020 (Jan. 1-Oct. 31) compared to $449,410 in 2019 (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). Looking ahead, continued demand is expected put upward pressure on prices, with an expected increase of 12% in average price to $597,181 across all property types.

Niagara housing market outlook 2021

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Who’s driving demand in the Niagara housing market?

Niagara has been experiencing an influx of out-of-town buyers attracted to larger homes and more space. This has been a common trend across many Canadian housing markets as well as regions abroad, as homebuyers seek more square footage and green space outside of urban areas in the wake of COVID-19. Factors impacting this broader trend include the rise in remote work, the desire for more space and less density, as well as lower housing prices.

Current market conditions are expected to continue in 2021 as more move-over buyers from larger cities outside the region continue to look for some of the typical attributes that come with a more suburban lifestyle, including the option to live in a single-detached home.

The top three neighbourhoods in Niagara based on 2020 sales include Crystal Beach/Ridgeway, Lincoln/Crowland and Lincoln Mall. This is a shift from pre-COVID conditions, when downtown St. Catharines was the most in-demand area in the greater region, but has since seen suburban neighbourhoods grow in popularity.

First-time homebuyers in the region are typical young couples in search of single-detached homes. Families make up the bulk of Niagara’s move-up market as well as the condo buyer segment in the region, along with retirees/downsizers, who are also frequently looking to purchase condo properties.

Meanwhile, Niagara’s luxury home market has remained relatively strong amidst COVID-19, which is expected to continue in 2021.

Canadian housing market in 2021

Canadians are on the move. RE/MAX isn’t calling this an “exodus,” but the re-location trend across the Canadian housing market is real, and it’s just one focus of the RE/MAX 2021 Housing Market Outlook Report. RE/MAX Canada anticipates healthy housing price growth at the national level, with move-up and move-over buyers continuing to drive activity in many regions across the Canadian housing market. An ongoing and widespread housing supply shortage is likely to continue, presenting challenges for homebuyers and putting upward pressure on prices.

Due to these factors, the 2021 RE/MAX 2021 outlook for average residential prices is an estimate of +4% to +6% nation-wide. Here’s the regional break-down:

Canadian Housing Market Outlook REMAX 2021 Data Table

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Additional report findings include:

  • 35% of RE/MAX brokers indicate that “move-over” buyers from other cities and provinces will continue to spark market activity in 2021
  • 45% of RE/MAX brokers indicate that move-up buyers will likely be a primary driver of the housing market demand in 2021
  • Half of Canadians (53%) are confident that Canada’s housing markets will remain steady in 2021
  • 52% of Canadians believe real estate will remain one of the best investment options in 2021

“We’ve seen a lot of anecdotal evidence since the summer that households are considering significant lifestyle changes by relocating to less-dense cities and neighbourhoods,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “This has sparked unprecedented sales this year in suburban and rural parts of Canada and we expect this trend to continue in 2021.”

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The Niagara housing market experienced a 70% decline in sales in April 2020 following the COVID-19 lockdown that started in mid-March. However in May, the region saw a quick recovery, according to the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report – a common trend across many Canadian housing markets. Currently, Niagara is experiencing balanced market conditions, but is beginning to lean toward a seller’s market as prices continue to climb. Year-to-date, Niagara home prices have increased 11%, with further growth expected over the next 12 months.

Niagara’s luxury and recreational housing markets continue to thrive as buyers increasingly seek to purchase larger, more spaced-out properties outside of city centres.

Average prices across the Niagara housing market are expected to increase 4% to 6% in the remainder of 2020.

Ontario Real Estate Trends

What’s been happening across other Ontario real estate markets? With the province being one of the hardest-hit regions in Canada, markets such as Niagara, Mississauga and Kitchener-Waterloo experienced significant drops in activity. However, come June, they bounced back aggressively as economies began to reopen. With all of Ontario now in phase three of re-opening and consumers more comfortable engaging in the market, market activity in Ontario is expected to remain steady in the fall, with modest price increases of up to 6% in some regions.

Canadian Housing Market Heat Map Fall 2020



Canadian Housing Market Trends

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.

Canadian Housing Market Data Table Fall 2020



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. “The classically hot spring market that was pushed to the summer months due to the COVID-19 pandemic created a surprisingly strong market across Canada and across all market segments,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Looking ahead, government financial aid programs may be coming to an end in September, which could potentially impact future activity; however, the pent-up demand and low inventory dynamic may keep prices steady and bolster activity for the remainder of 2020. Overall, we are very confident in the long-term durability of the market.”  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.


Shift to seller’s market in 2020, prices expected to rise 7%

RE/MAX  is expecting balanced conditions for the Niagara housing market in 2020, with an anticipated residential price increase of seven per cent.

Niagara is currently experiencing a balanced market, with 3.5 months of supply; however, this is expected to shift in favour of sellers in 2020. Affordability isn’t a concern in the region, with value-conscious consumers from the GTA buying in droves (and sometimes commuting to Toronto for work). Both commercial and residential development in the south end of Niagara Falls and Fort Erie is expected to impact the housing market as well.

The RE/MAX average residential sale price expectation for Niagara in 2020 is an increase of seven per cent based on historical price appreciation, which was particularly high from 2018 to 2019 at almost 13 per cent.

Economic conditions should improve, especially due to the redevelopment of the auto assembly plant in St. Catharines. The fate of the auto engine plant is also a factor.

First-time buyers and downsizers will drive demand in 2020, attracted to the Niagara housing market for its affordability. The most in-demand neighbourhoods to watch in 2020 include Prince Charles, Lincoln and Stamford.

Niagara housing market reportFrom 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, according to the RE/MAX 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report.

Most individual markets surveyed across Canada experienced moderate price increases year-over-year from 2018 to 2019. However, some regions in Ontario continue to experience higher-than-normal gains, including London (+10.7 per cent), Windsor (+11 per cent), Ottawa (+11.7 per cent) and Niagara (+12.9 per cent).

“Southern Ontario is witnessing some incredibly strong price appreciation, with many regions seeing double-digit gains,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Thanks to the region’s resilient economy, staggering population growth and relentless development, the 2020 market looks very optimistic.”