Homebuyers brace for continued price increases and tight competition this spring following double-digit gains in final quarter of 2021


Modern living room with indoor plants and dog sitting on the couch

Demand for homes remains high across the country as Canadians continue to prioritize their living space over other purchases. However, housing shortages characterized many urban centres before the pandemic and supply has continued to tighten. Multiple buyers competing for too few properties has resulted in continued upward pressure on prices and buyers who were unsuccessful are strengthening the pipeline of demand. With no supply relief on the horizon, home prices are expected to rise through the spring market of 2022.

“Everywhere, in our largest urban centres, and in the nation’s small and medium-sized towns and cities, new homes are not being built fast enough to satisfy growing demand,” said Soper. “In addition to the slow and expensive regulatory processes that burden builders, construction has been hampered by pandemic-specific challenges, including labour shortages and the increased cost of construction materials as suppliers struggle with supply chain issues. Some developers have been hesitant to commit to new projects.”

The country has been fighting a chronic housing supply shortage since long before the pandemic forced us to repurpose our homes for work, school, dining and entertainment, not to mention an alternative to travel. With more young people than ever before looking for their first home and tens of thousands of newcomers to Canada adding to demand, it has never been more important for policy makers to take steps to address the country’s housing supply shortage crisis.

Those hoping that an increase in interest rates will slow demand or bring prices down may be out of luck. Higher borrowing costs will be coming off historical lows, and the increases may not be enough to offset the significant upward price pressure from inventory shortages.

Nationally, the aggregate price of a home increased 17.1% year-over-year to $779,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021. When broken out by housing type, the national median price of a single-family detached home rose 21.1% year-over-year to $811,900, while the median price of a condominium increased 15.8% year-over-year to $553,800.

Read Royal LePage’s fourth quarter release for national and regional insights. 

Fourth quarter press release highlights:

  • High demand outstripping low inventory at start of 2022 signals further home price gains going into spring market
  • 87% of the report’s 62 regions saw double-digit year-over-year aggregate price growth in Q4
  • 61% of the report’s 62 markets saw a quarterly aggregate price increase of 3% or greater
  • Kingston, Ontario, posts highest year-over-year aggregate and detached home price gains in Canada (38.1% and 44.3%, respectively)

Clever ways to boost your home’s curb appeal

Clever ways to boost your home’s curb appeal

clever_ways_to_boost_curb_appealWhen selling your home, nothing looks quite as good as a well-manicured front garden or beautifully decorated balcony. While many homeowners focus on the interiors of their homes, a property’s exterior can make all the difference, adding to its appeal and boosting its resale value.

And, a home’s exterior plays an important role in shaping a prospective purchasers’ decisions. As a first impression, these areas help set the tone and encourage buyers to visualize themselves owning the home.

An attractive exterior doesn’t have to break the bank. There are a number of ways you can create a stunning outside environment without much effort or money. Here are just a few tips to carry you through the selling season:

Clear the clutter. One of the easiest ways to make any outdoor space come to life is to keep it clean and tidy. This lets buyers visualize how they will make the space their own when it trades hands. 

Easy container gardens. Planted containers can add a charming look and feel to entranceways and balconies. When picking pots, look for similar styles that vary in size for a nuanced appeal.

Drought-tolerant plants. Flowerbeds and plants are often a great way to add a splash of colour to any exterior. For maximum effect, choose an assortment of perennials and annuals that require less water and are able to withstand hot summer days.

Don’t forget to fertilize. Though sunlight and water are usually enough, periodically feeding your plants essential nutrients will promote lavish growth and ensure consistent flowering.

Basement basics to elevate your home

Finishing an underutilized basement makes financial sense in certain situations, and may add to your home’s resale value. For a family who has outgrown their current space and  wants to avoid buying a more expensive, larger home, finishing the basement can be worthwhile. Yet, there are considerations to ensure your project will be worth the time, effort and expense.

Use these guidelines to determine if your basement is a good candidate for a renovation and will deliver adequate return on your investment:

  • Is there enough headroom? A finished floor-to-ceiling height of at least 7.5 feet is required. Include in your calculation 2.5 inches for flooring and ceiling finishing materials. If you own an older home with insufficient floor to ceiling space, you may need to consider additional costs to lower and underpin the foundation to create sufficient headroom.
  • Is your basement wet? You’ll want to address any moisture problems before you begin. In older homes, moisture issues can be severe. In some cases, you’ll need to waterproof the foundation from the outside. Waterproofing can add substantially to the cost as excavation, waterproofing, weeping tile and backfill may be required.
  • Are your windows adequate? The outside bottom edges of all basement windows should be at least six inches above the soil. Consider the size and condition of the windows. Are any large enough for fire escape? Are they operable, damage-free, airtight and energy-efficient? Be sure to calculate the cost of any needed window upgrades when estimating your costs.

Finished basements provide a myriad of possibilities including guest rooms, nanny suites, play rooms and home theatres. Whether you’re looking to increase the value of your home, or enhance your living space, do your research to ensure a successful project.

More information is available at www.royallepage.ca.

Should you sell your home?


Should you sell your homeFor many, you’ll know it’s time, when posed with the question to stay or sell. Specific reasons to sell your home can come quickly, including job changes, divorce, children, health issues and marriage.  But for others, the decision to stay or sell will be one of great deliberation.

Few decisions will have bigger impact on your life than selling your home. Often, the decision requires landing on priorities to ensure you are doing the right thing and you are clear about what you will gain if you chose to sell.  Pondering these three crucial questions to help shape your decision:

What do you value about your current property and what do you find lacking? Make a list of pros and cons considering all features of your home and how it fits with your current lifestyle. If change is needed, see if renovating a viable option.

What are the pros and cons of your current location? Remember why you moved to your neighbourhood in the first place and consider if those reasons are still valid.

How about the financial picture? Are you looking to reduce expenses by downsizing to a smaller, less expensive home? Or, has your financial picture improved since you first purchased and it’s now time to leave this home behind?

Answering these questions will sharpen your perspective and help your decision to stay or sell your home.

If you’d like to find a Royal LePage agent in your neighbourhood, click here.

Make merry with a late-in-the-year home sale

You may have fewer people viewing your home during the fall and winter months, but that doesn’t necessarily mean fewer offers. Compared to selling a home in the spring when there are more homes on the market, selling during the final months of the year can often be a successful endeavour.

With careful planning and a few helpful tips you can showcase your home  and find time to enjoy the season too. Here are tips to help you through a late-year sale:

  • Weekends are for showing. Homes show better during the daylight hours, but as the days get shorter, the work week gets in the way for many buyers. However, this can work in your favour if you are selling a home late in the year. Show your home over the weekend during the day and leave it the evenings to enjoy outside social events.
  • Get help with the cleaning. You’ll need to keep your home sparkling clean for showing, so this might be a good time to spend a little extra money on a housekeeper. Alternatively, have the whole family pitch in daily to pick up, wipe clean, dust and vacuum. Many hands make light work.
  • Trim a smaller tree. Opt for a smaller Christmas tree and decorate sparingly to make an impact while not taking over the room. Be sure to store wrapped presents out of sight.
  • Strip out the clutter to make merry. If you’re selling during the holidays, it’s critical to clear out and store away all household clutter and personal items. Once the decks are clear, you can accent with a few tasteful and carefully-placed decorations.
  • Leverage tradition to create a warm, homey atmosphere. Plump pillows in cream and golds and soft earthy coloured throws coupled with red and woodsy greens accents provide seasonal touches that draw directly from nature. This kind of decorating is easy on the eye and attractive to any buyer.

More information on selling your home can be found online at www.royallepage.ca.

Canada’s 2021 home sales have already broken an annual record


The year may still be well over a month from done, but Canada’s home sales have already broken the annual record.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released its monthly national home sales statistics on Monday, revealing that Canada’s sales have already surpassed those of 2020 — the previous record holder for the most sales in one year.

“Twenty-twenty-one continues to surprise,” said CREA’s Senior Economist Shaun Cathcart. “Sales beat last year’s annual record by about Thanksgiving weekend, so that was always a lock, but I don’t think too many observers would have guessed the monthly trend would be moving up again heading into 2022.”

canadas home sales


According to the report, the number of newly listed homes across Canada rose 3.2% from September to October. The sales-to-new listings ratio also rose, up to 79.5% from September’s 75.5%, illustrating an ongoing tightening of the market.

“A month with more new listings is what allows for more sales because those listings are mostly all still getting gobbled up; however, with demand that strong, the supply of homes for sale at any given point in time continues to shrink,” Cathcart said. “It is at its lowest point on record right now, which is why it’s not surprising prices are also re-accelerating. We need to build more housing.

Significant price growth has been seen all across the country. Year-over-year price growth in BC is up above 20%, and in Ontario, it’s closing in on a whopping 30%. In Quebec, Greater Montreal’s year-over-year prices are up over 20%, and Quebec City’s are up 13$.

Alberta and Saskatchewan’s growth is slightly smaller, sitting in the mid-to-high single digits. Meanwhile, Manitoba’s is up roughly 10%.

BMO: ‘Your House Makes More Than You Do’

This can’t last.

If you own a home in Montreal, B.C.’s Fraser Valley or just about anywhere in Ontario, there’s a good chance your house is earning more money than you are.

With home sales on a tear across Canada this winter, “house prices are not only rising faster than family income, they are rising more than total annual income,” Bank of Montreal senior economist Sal Guatieri wrote in a client note Wednesday, titled “Your house earns more than you.”

That’s not necessarily true everywhere. If you live in the Prairie provinces, the single-digit price growth there wouldn’t match a median household income, but it’s true for virtually every market in Ontario, while many places in B.C. ― Chilliwack, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan Valley ― came very close.

In the Hamilton-Burlington real estate market southwest of Toronto, the benchmark house price rose by $154,000 in the past year, to $786,600. That’s double the $75,464 median household income for the area, as reported in the 2016 census.

“It’s clearly unsustainable in the long run, as affordability would deteriorate pretty quickly if it continued,” Guatieri wrote in an email to HuffPost Canada.

Still, Guatieri doesn’t see a correction in the cards this year “as demand is simply too strong relative to limited supply, but we do expect sales levels and price growth to moderate as affordability weakens and pent-up demand from teleworkers ebbs.”

One thing that could take some steam out of house prices would be rising mortgage rates, and there is some chance of that in the coming months. Mortgage rates tend to move with the interest paid on government bonds, and those have jumped in recent weeks.

“We doubt either scenario would send house prices into reverse,” he wrote in a client note, adding that this would reduce the maximum purchase price by only a few percentage points.

BMO’s Guatieri doesn’t expect much of an increase in mortgage rates for one key reason ― the Bank of Canada won’t allow it.

“Central banks are pretty determined to keep the stimulus taps wide open,” he wrote.

Select cities where houses are making more than households:

Greater Toronto

Benchmark house price: $941,100
House price change, Jan. 2020-Jan. 2021: $100,082
Median household income: $78,373

Greater Montreal

Benchmark house price: $434,200
House price change, Jan. 2020-Jan. 2021: $62,000
Median household income: $61,790

Fraser Valley, B.C.

Benchmark house price: $911,300
House price change, Jan. 2020-Jan. 2021: $75,900
Median household income: $69,289

Ottawa, Ont.

Benchmark house price: $561,000
House price change, Jan. 2020-Jan. 2021: $102,000
Median household income: $86,541

Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont.

Benchmark house price: $660,900
House price change, Jan. 2020-Jan. 2021: $126,800
Median household income: $94,057

Mississauga, Ont.

Benchmark house price: $988,500
House price change, Jan. 2020-Jan. 2021: $107,000
Median household income: $83,018

Simcoe, Ont.

Benchmark house price: $478,800
House price change, Jan. 2020-Jan. 2021: $108,100
Median household income: $76,489 
Benchmark house prices from the Canadian Real Estate Association. Household income data from the Canada Census 2016.