While the COVID-19 pandemic had a strong impact on home sales in April and May, the Victoria housing market experienced a significant increase in sales activity in June and July. Between pent-up demand from the spring and consumers wanting to advance their moves in anticipation of a second wave of COVID-19, a strong market is anticipated throughout the summer and into the fall.

Low inventory will continue to impact the market with multiple offer scenarios and high demand expected into the fall market. Overall confidence in the market remains high among consumers. While outdoor space, home offices, and single-family homes have always been desirable in Victoria, the region has seen an increase in buyer demand within this category for the past 120 days with a slight decrease in condo and townhouse demand.

The Victoria housing market is expected to remain balanced in 2020, with sellers’ market-like conditions such as low days on market and multiple offers in the most desirable locations. A 3% increase in the average residential sale price is expected in Victoria, British Columbia for the remainder of the year.

Western Canada

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.

Canadian Housing Market Heat Map Fall 2020

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Canadian Housing Market Outlook

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.

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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 Victoria housing market is expected to remain balanced in 2020, with “sellers market” like conditions such as low days on market and multiple offers in the most desirable locations. A slight increase in sale prices of three per cent over the next 12 months as demand remains high while inventory still trends well below Victoria’s 10-year average is expected.

Housing affordability continues to challenge buyers in this region when it comes to home ownership and rentals due to lack of supply. Demand for condos continues to rise as many first-time home buyers can afford this property type.

The South Victoria areas such as Fairfield, Rockland, Gonzales, James and Downtown are expected to be the hottest neighborhoods in 2020 due to high demand. Bear mountain is expected to see more demand as it continues to build more developments, with both single-family and strata offerings.

Some of the top neighbourhoods in Victoria for sales include Saanich, Langford, Oak Bay and Sidney. First-time buyers and move-up buyers drove demand in 2019.

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.

“The drop in sales in key markets across British Columbia can be partially attributed to Canadians’ increasing difficulty in getting an affordable mortgage in the region,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “The situation created by the introduction of the mortgage stress test this year, as well as continually increasing interest rates, means more Canadians will be priced out of the market.

Click to read the full RE/MAX 2020 Housing Market Outlook Report.

Learn more about RE/MAX real estate franchise opportunities in Ontario-Atlantic Region and Western Canada.