An especially expensive year for houses doesn't seem to have hampered broker business, with a new study suggesting 2013 will close with prices -- and sales -- eclipsing a five-year high.
"Inventory played a key role in keeping housing markets at equilibrium in 2013—with supply largely meeting demand throughout the year," said Elton Ash, regional executive VP for RE/MAX in Western Canada. "The anticipated run-up in inventory failed to materialize in most major centres (and) prices remained healthy as a result, with steady upward momentum noted, particularly in the latter half of the year.
“The trend is forecast to continue, with average price appreciation expected to break existing records in 2014."
The trends were captured in RE/MAX’s Canadian Housing Market Outlook 2014, which looked at developing trends in 25 of the country’s major markets. It found that almost two thirds of the markets are expected to see sales in excess of 2012 levels and 92 per cent of the markets are expected to see average price increases by the end of this year.
As for 2014, a number of factors, including a recovering economy, continuing low interest rates and growing customer confidence are expected to bolster growth in 2014. The average Canadian home price is also expected to rise 3 per cent to $390,000.
"The housing outlook remains healthy and positive," RE/MAX’s Gurinder Sandhu said. "Continued growth and expansion should characterize most residential markets in the year ahead. The appeal of residential real estate continues to resonate with Canadians, as a relatively low-risk, tangible asset that serves multiple purposes—shelter, investment and retirement fund rolled into one."
And in what will come as no surprise to brokers in the GTA, multi-family dwellings are expected to continue to play an important role in Canada’s housing game.
"We are seeing an increasing focus on higher-density developments across the country," Dansereau said. "While the trend is expected to gain traction in most major centres, we anticipate a softening in Quebec's condominium segment, until the current oversupply is absorbed."