Whistler’s housing market experienced a significant slowdown at the peak of COVID-19 lockdowns in April and May. Most transactions that were already processed at the time were completed, but due to travel and lockdown restrictions, there were very few in-person showings.
Activity was back to pre-COVID-19 levels by mid-June and several buyers from the Greater Vancouver Area are now interested in moving to Whistler and surrounding areas to work remotely.
Whistler’s luxury market has remained steady despite the impact of COVID-19, with 21 sales this year in the $3 million plus range between January and June, compared to 16 sales in the same period in 2019. With low mortgage rates as well as buyers and sellers looking for a lifestyle change, an active market is expected to continue into the fall in Whistler, British Columbia.
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 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.
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.