Oakville real estate is continuing to attract buyers, despite COVID-19. The region’s housing market started 2020 strong, as was the case in many cities across Canada. Balanced market conditions and an average price increase of five per cent were expected by year’s end, as outlined in the RE/MAX 2020 Housing market Outlook Report. A few months into the year, the global pandemic sent many industries into a tailspin, impacting local housing markets to varying degrees. Oakville real estate appears to be holding its own and if current conditions continue, prices are expected to hold steady.
This is in stark contrast to a recent prediction from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., warning that housing prices in Canada could drop between nine and 18 per cent over the next year. However, based on reports from RE/MAX brokers in many of Canada’s largest housing markets, consumer inquiries are back on the upswing, inventory is low and the demand for homes is there. Here’s a closer look at Oakville real estate activity over the past few months, and some insight as to what may lie ahead.
According to market data from the Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board (OMDREB), February 2020 saw a dramatic spike in sales activity year over year, with a total of 639 home sales compared to just 485 transactions in February 2019. Properties hitting the market also saw a significant increase, with 925 new listings in February 2020 compared to 847 in 2019.
By all accounts, Milton and Oakville real estate was primed for a busy spring market. Homebuyers emerged earlier than usual with strong sales activity, with luxury infill and detached homes sales in Oakville leading the charge in the $1M+ to $2.5M sale price range, according to OMDREB.
Despite the social distancing mandates and business closures that took effect on March 13, March 2020 actually reported an increase in transactions across Oakville and Milton. OMDREB reported 670 home sales in the region, compared to March 2019 when 650 sales were recorded. The month experienced a slight decline in the number of properties for sale, with 1,118 new listings in March 2020 compared to 1,220 in March 2019.
April marked the first month that the impact of the global pandemic was truly felt in local housing markets across Canada, and Oakville real estate followed suit with a dramatic dip in transactions in April 2020, when 289 homes sold in the region, compared to 761 home sales in April 2019. The number of new homes hitting the market also took a hit, with 559 new listings in April 2020 compared to 1,347 in April 2019.
“With social distancing measures still in place for the foreseeable future, we can expect the coming months to see a decline in home sales and listings compared to last year as well. However, while sales activity has seen a significant drop, the numbers also show us that real estate has not experienced a total shut down. Ultimately, some areas along with certain home types have been more impacted than others,” said OMDREB President Richard Weima.
What’s in store for Oakville real estate?
Oakville’s housing market has been surprisingly active during the pandemic. With the exception of the first two weeks of the lockdown – the second half of March – there has been a steady stream of buyers and sellers entering the market, according to Oakville-based RE/MAX Aboutowne Realty Corp. In the past few weeks, the brokerage reports an increase in call volume, appointments booked, and units sold.
And contrary to some widespread predictions, Oakville real estate prices did not adjust down based on the pandemic. In fact, the average home price increased 9.76 per cent year-over-year, reaching $1,251,124 in April 2020, compared to April 2019, when the average price was $1,129,093.
Some multiple-offer scenarios continue, with some properties selling for over asking. Based on these factors, RE/MAX expects that Oakville real estate will continue to be in high demand.
Luxury real estate in Oakville
The luxury housing market in Oakville starts at around $3 million. This property segment did experience some slight softening over the last 60 days, which is tied to COVID-19. These buyers may be temporarily sitting on the sidelines as the economy gradually returns to activity.
A return to “the new normal”
Are Canadians ready to return to some semblance of normalcy? According to a weekly consumer survey by Leger published on May 20, 60 per cent of Canadians think their provincial government should maintain the pace at which it is relaxing social distancing/self-isolation measures. Furthermore, 53 per cent of Canadians are afraid of contracting COVID-19; however, this proportion continues to trend downward.
Here in Ontario, while social distancing measures still in effect, some businesses have started to re-open their doors in an effort to reignite the local economy. They will join other essential services such as real estate offices, which have continued to operate under strict guidelines throughout the pandemic. The economy, employment and general consumer comfort level will continue to impact home-buying and selling decisions. Click here to find out what Canadian real estate might look like in the coming weeks and months.