canadian home prices 2021 Photo: James Bombales

Against a tumultuous backdrop, the Canadian housing market put on a remarkable display of resilience in 2020.

Now, as we enter the final stretch of this bizarre and challenging year, one of the country’s largest brokerages is forecasting more healthy home price growth and strong buyer demand for 2021.

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RE/MAX Canada published its Housing Market Outlook Report on Tuesday, addressing a wide range of real estate topics, from the pandemic-driven suburban home buying surge to the much-better-than-expected performance of the country’s housing market despite 2020’s abundant economic turmoil.

RE/MAX brokers and agents surveyed for the report said a lack of housing supply hitting the market will continue, leading to challenges for homebuyers and putting more upward pressure on property prices.

This upward pressure is expected to result in national home price gains in the four to six percent range for 2021, driven by “move-over” buyers who are relocating from their cities and provinces and “move-up” buyers looking for more space.

“We’ve seen a lot of anecdotal evidence since the summer that households are considering significant lifestyle changes by relocating to less-dense cities and neighbourhoods,” said Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President at RE/MAX Canada.

“This has sparked unprecedented sales this year in suburban and rural parts of Canada and we expect this trend to continue in 2021,” he added.

There was certainly no shortage of pessimistic takes on the country’s housing market in the early days of the pandemic. With housing markets frozen due to lockdowns and subsequent restrictions, it was difficult to be optimistic as sales plummeted through the spring and job losses piled up.

Yet, according to a survey of Canadians commissioned by RE/MAX for the report, the pandemic directly influenced only six percent of Canadians to sell their homes this year. It’s a far cry from the anticipated market upheaval caused by large numbers of homeowners who, unable to make mortgage payments, would be forced to sell, leading to a tsunami of listings hitting all at once and driving property prices down.

Instead, the survey found that 40 percent of Canadian homeowners realized their current home needed renovations during the pandemic while 29 percent said they decided they needed more space.

As for the outlook for 2021, 52 percent of Canadians were confident that the housing market would “remain steady” and still viewed real estate as a strong investment option.

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