Photo: James Bombales

After a rough start to the year, the Canadian housing market started to warm up in July, with sales and prices inching up month-over-month.

But while most markets remain in balanced territory, not every city is made equal — though the GTA has seen signs of recovery, many of BC’s major markets continue to struggle.

With this in mind, Zoocasa has measured the sales-to-new-listings ratio for 26 of Canada’s major housing markets, to determine which fall into buyer or sellers’ territory. A ratio of between 40 to 60 is considered balanced, with reading below and above indicating buyers’ and sellers’ markets, respectively.

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“Those looking to ascend the property ladder in [cities with a buyers’ market] will encounter fewer competitive hurdles such as bidding wars, as the number of sales are too few to outweigh new inventory,” reads the Zoocasa report. “Sales activity ranges from roughly flat to steep declines, from the -0.8 per cent recorded in the Edmonton real estate market, to the -33.4 per cent drop in BC’s Fraser Valley.”

The report found that the country’s strongest buyers’ markets were Newfoundland and Labrador (35 per cent), Greater Vancouver (43 per cent), Fraser Valley (45 per cent), Edmonton (48 per cent) and Quebec (49 per cent).

“A buyers’ market doesn’t necessarily equal an affordable market,” Zoocasa managing editor Penelope Graham tells Livabl. “When you look at the fact that two of the strongest buyers’ market are in BC, those markets are still quite unaffordable for many buyers, but the new mortgage stress test which came into effect in January is having a greater impact on these areas than in other areas of the country.”

When it comes to sellers’ markets, London and St. Thomas came in first at 78 per cent, followed by Montreal (73 per cent), Ottawa (72 per cent), Windsor-Essex (71 per cent) and Saguenay (70 per cent.)

“In these strong sellers’ markets, your home likely won’t linger for long, and is more likely to draw in multiple offers, as strong buyer demand outstrips the number of homes available for sale,” reads the Zoocasa report. “Some regions, such as the Ottawa real estate market, are becoming especially popular for their supply of affordable single-family homes, drawing a steady stream of buyers from more expensive neighbouring municipalities.”

According to Graham, it’s important for buyers to be aware of the market conditions of the area they’re looking in, in order to prepare for unexpected hurdles.

“You can better prepare for a multiple offer situation,” she shares. “You can consider the fact that you might have to sweeten your offer later on, and you can be smart about setting your target budget.”

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