December Sales for Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary

Major Housing Markets Cap a Hectic Year With Growth in December

Housing markets in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal jumped in December, capping a hectic year that saw sales rebound from a temporary pandemic-induced slump. Record-low mortgage rates and the work-from-home trend had buyers looking for bigger properties, driving demand toward houses and away from downtown condos.

House sales and prices spiked in the three big urban centres as well as their suburbs and nearby vacation locations. The competition for townhomes and houses with green space inflated property values, with the Toronto region’s average selling price rising to a record high of $929,699. Meanwhile, the condo market in downtown Toronto and Montreal showed signs of softening amid the slowdown in immigration and flood of units for sale.

Volume of Sales Increase from 2019
Montreal CMA



Toronto Region







After home sales stalled in April because of pandemic restrictions, competition for low-rise properties soared and sent overall sales to record highs in major markets in the ensuing months. The surge in buying continued into the fall and the traditionally slow winter months. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver all had record sales in December.

Economists and realtors have said a shortage of houses for sale has contributed to the jump in prices; with the common five-year fixed mortgage below 2%, that has made it easier for home buyers to handle a bigger loan.

In the Vancouver region, the home price index across all types of properties hit $1,047,400 in December, up incrementally from November but an increase of 5.4% over December of 2019. In vacation locations such as B.C.’s Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island, it was up 22% and 28%, respectively.

In the Toronto area, the average selling price reached $932,222 in December, an increase of 11% over the same month in 2019. The value of detached houses rose the most in the suburbs, up 23% to $1,175,753. Only condos in the city of Toronto lost value last year, with the average selling price falling 5% to $625,828 in the 12 months to December.

Condo listings in the cities of Toronto and Montreal have skyrocketed. In Toronto, they are up 171% over December, 2019.

On the Island of Montreal, active condo listings were up by 69% compared with December, 2019. In contrast, active listings of houses were down 44% across the Montreal region and down 17% in the city. The median price for houses across the Montreal area climbed 21% to $430,000 in the 12 months to December, and was up 14% to $325,000 for condos.

Source: Globe and Mail

Neighbourhoods Across Montreal Set Home-Sales Records in December

The Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers says it was the best December on record for home sales across every Montreal neighbourhood. The association says agents sold 4,613 Montreal homes in December, up 32% from 3,503 during December 2019.

Montreal’s median price for a single-family home was $430,000 in December 2020, 21% higher than the same time last year, with condo prices up 14% to $325,000 and plex prices up 10% to $640,000.

The association says sales were especially hot in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, North Shore, Laval, the South Shore and Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

But the association’s director of market analysis, Charles Brant, also says the pace of condo listings exceeds condo sales on the Island of Montreal. While 44% fewer single-family homes were listed for sale in December compared with the same month last year, condo listings in Montreal spiked 18% to the highest December level since 2012.

Source: Toronto Star

Calgary Sees Highest December Home Sales Since 2007 Amid 40% Buying Surge

In December 2020, Calgary’s residential real estate market notched its best December since 2007 as real estate agents sold nearly 1,200 homes according to the Calgary Real Estate Board. “Housing demand over the second-half of 2020 was far stronger than anticipated and nearly offset the initial impact caused by the shutdowns in spring,” said CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

The real estate board said low interest rates helped boost home sales to 1,199 in December — a 40.1% increase from December 2019. Sales of homes in Airdrie, Alta., just north of Calgary, were at a record high for December while Cochrane, Alta., northwest of the city, had its best sales year in five years in 2020.

The average price for Calgary homes was up 1.5% year-over-year in December to $422,300. New listings were up 10.5% year-over-year in December, but were outpaced by sales, leaving inventory down 20.5%. 

Despite the sales surge in December, Calgary has not seen the same level of activity as other cities, and total home sales for 2020 in Calgary were down 1% compared with 2019. A recent report by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. noted that through summer and early fall, the pandemic and energy sector were dampening demand for housing in Calgary, particularly in apartment buildings.

Prices for Calgary apartments were down 2.1% to $243,600 in December from the same month in 2019, while detached home prices grew 2.8% to $490,500, CREB said. “Sales [in December 2020] were the best December since 2014. However, it was not enough to offset earlier pullbacks as apartment condominium sales eased by 10% in 2020,” CREB said of the apartment market. “This is the slowest year for apartment condo sales since 2001.”

Source: Toronto Star

Toronto Home Prices up During 2020

The average price of a Toronto home sold in 2020 hit a new high as the number of sales climbed 8.4% compared with 2019, the Toronto Real Estate Board said. The average selling price in Greater Toronto was $929,699 in 2020, up 13.5% from $819,279 in 2019, the board’s report said on January 6. The number of homes sold in 2020 in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) totalled 95,151, up from 87,751 in 2019, and the third-best year on record, according to the board.

TRREB’s report was just the latest to show how robust the real estate recovery has remained over the course of 2020. In February, weeks before COVID-19 hit the public consciousness, TRREB forecast a 10% average increase in prices for 2020, to about $900,000. TRREB said that after a steep drop in the spring due to the pandemic, the market took off in the second half of the year.

Board president Lisa Patel said the GTA housing market followed an unfamiliar path in 2020. On top of shifting the homebuying season later into the year, the pandemic had other effects. Patel pointed to “ultra-low” borrowing costs and virtual open houses and showings as ways that the housing market adapted.

“The next 12 months will be critical as we chart our path through recovery. In particular, the impact of resumption in immigration and the reopening of the economy will be key,“ said Jason Mercer, the board’s chief market analyst.

The results for the full year came as the Toronto board reported home sales in December soared to 7,180 compared with 4,364 in the final month of 2019. The average price of a home sold in December was $932,222, up 11% from $838,662 in December 2019.

But the board also pointed to a widening divide between the markets for single-family homes and condos. Sales of detached homes were up 15.1% last year and average prices were up 13.2% from 2019. In the condo market, sales fell 5.5%, with more modest annual price growth of 7.1%. “The supply of single-family homes remained constrained, resulting in strong competition between buyers and double-digit price increases,” Mercer said.

In contrast, Mercer said, growth in condo listings “far outstripped” condo sales last year. Total new listings of all housing types were up 66.1% year-over-year in December, compared with 64.5% sales growth.

In December, condo sales were up 75.4% from December 2019, but prices were down 2%. “Increased choice for condo buyers ultimately led to more bargaining power and a year-over-year dip in average condo selling prices during the last few months of the year,” Mercer said.

The split between condos and single-family homes was clear in the suburbs of the GTA. While condo sales were down 2.6% last year in the suburbs, they were down 6.7% in the city. Detached home sales were up 18.3% in the suburbs and only 4.4% in the city.

Home prices showed a similar trend in December, with South Simcoe County showing the biggest price growth and the City of Toronto posting the most modest gains. “Now that we’ve entered this new era of just working from home, I think homebuyers are now looking for more living space,” said real estate agent Navid Rashid.

Nonetheless, Rashid said he has seen buyers of pre-construction condos get their confidence boosted by the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and potential reopening of the economy. “Tourists, an influx of international students and of course, the continuation of immigration growth — now, just to add on to that, condo prices being so low,” he said. “I think condo living will start to get more exciting and a lot more in demand.

Source: Toronto Star
Source: Toronto Star
Source: Financial Post

Canadians Haven’t Felt This Good About Housing in 3 Years

Canadians are the most confident in more than three years that real estate prices will continue to rise, according to weekly telephone polling, a positive signal for the recovery. About half of respondents, or 49.2%, see home prices climbing over the next six months, the highest share since May 2017. That helped lift the Bloomberg Nanos Canadian Confidence Index, a composite measure of financial health and economic expectations, to 55.1 for the week of December 21, levels last seen in early March.

It’s been nine months since Canada first shut down its economy to contain the spread of COVID-19, leading to a record plunge in consumer confidence. The index began to recover over the summer but a second wave of virus cases put the brakes on that.

However, the vaccine rollout that began this month in Canada is stirring hopes that the pandemic’s end is near even as case counts continue to rise. Two of the largest provinces, Ontario and Quebec, have tightened restrictions to try to control the spread.

Record-low interest rates and strong demand for more spacious accommodation are pushing Canadian home prices and sales to record highs this year. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has pledged to keep the fiscal taps open to support the recovery, and the income support measures have left households flush with cash.

“Consumer confidence in Canada continues to gain strength with news on vaccines,” Nik Nanos, chief data scientist at Nanos Research, said in the report. “Forward perceptions on both the strength of the economy and the value of residential real estate gained a full five percentage points in the past four weeks of tracking.”

Every week, Nanos Research surveys 250 Canadians for their views on personal finances, job security, the economy and real estate prices. Bloomberg publishes four-week rolling averages of the 1,000 responses.

Key Highlights

  • Real estate optimism continued to climb, with only 12.7% of respondents saying they believe home prices in their neighbourhood will decrease in the next six months, the lowest share since early March. Views on the economic outlook also improved.
  • Some 23.7% of consumers expect the country’s economy to be stronger in the next six months, the largest share since June and up from 18.1% at the end of November
  • Views on personal finances were largely unchanged with 14.9% of Canadians saying they were better off compared with a year earlier, and 25.7% saying they were worse off
  • Measures of job security fell on the week but were still higher on the month
  • Sentiment rose in every province except Quebec, which is experiencing some of the strictest containment measures to lower virus cases

Source: Financial Post