2021 News Index
New home price hikes not builders’ fault
New home prices in Canada posted the highest one-month gain in August 2021 in three years—not due to the fault of home builders. Instead, the price hike was traced to rising, and even record-high, costs for building materials.
B.C. rent increase capped lower than inflation
While property taxes, utilities and other input prices for residential landlords are increasing in British Columbia, the provincial government recently capped the allowable annual rental increase for 2022 at 1.5 per cent—well below the rate of inflation.
Liberals “use it or lose” lingo spooks landowners
The federal Liberals have raised some concerns in Canada’s estate community with an election statement, released September 1, that hints at government expropriating privately-owned vacant land that could be used for affordable housing.
Economic dip reveals housing’s vital role
An economic contraction in Canada during the second quarter (Q2) 2021 has further exposed the near dominance of the real estate industry on the country’s overall economy
GTA housing market tightens in August
August housing sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) slumped nearly 20 per cent compared to a year earlier and were down 8 per cent from a month earlier, but prices are rising as inventory plunges, reports the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB).
B.C. super tax on new homes shot down
In what could be precedent for residential development in British Columbia, the Property Assessment Appeal Board has ruled the Additional School Tax (AST) being levied on a market and rental housing project in Vancouver by Musqueam Capital Corp. is “counterproductive” and should not apply.
Election 2021: Suddenly, housing supply is the answer
Federal politicians appear to have experienced an epiphany on the road to the September 20 federal election: suddenly all political parties see increasing housing supply as the route to more affordable homes.
Biggest B.C. pour requires 429 cement trucks
What is considered among the largest continuous residential concrete pours in Canada this year will soon require a rolling convoy of 429 cement trucks in a possible 14-hour, non-stop operation on the New Westminster, B.C., waterfront.
Typical home value increased $175,000 in five years
The 75 per cent of Canadian homeowners who have owned their home for more than five years have amassed more than $175,000 of equity on average, according to a report from RateSpy.com.
Concord condos sport more-than-acre-sized bike room
A Metro Vancouver condo developer is building a plush 50,000-square-foot indoor facility dedicated to bicycles and their users—among the largest of its kind in the world.
Latest power tool upgrades for contractors
This jig saw is a compact tool with barrel-grip ergonomics perfect for roofers, carpenters and cabinet installers.
Residential permits pull down second-quarter intentions
Total building permits declined 1.7 per cent to $31.0 billion in the second quarter of 2021 compared with the previous period.
BMO unlocks $12 billion for “affordable” home building
BMO announced August 5, 2021 that it will commit $12 billion to finance “affordable housing” over the next ten years, in support of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), but released few specific details.
Under-40 crowd lead housing demand
Aging millennials—now nearing 40 years of age as a group—represent the highest demographic bulge among Canadian homebuyers, a new Finder.com study suggests.
Greater Toronto new home sales remain strong
The Greater Toronto Area new home market saw another active month in June 2021—with a total of 24,060 new home units sold during the first half of the year.
Lumber not yet cheap, but may be getting there
In July 2020, the price for 2x4 lumber for Ontario home builders was $1,242 per thousand board feet. On July 30, 2021, it was $690. In Western Canada, the price of 2x4s has fallen from $961 to $500, according to data from Madison Lumber.
Surprise is how few Canadians own a second home
A recent survey shows that about 10 per cent of Canadians own at least two homes.
When one looks at the potential income a home can generate, the question one asks is, Why do so few own a second home?
Home prices in 2021 rise nearly 20 per cent: CREA
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is forecasting Canadian average home prices will increase 19.2 per cent this year but switch to much more moderate pace in 2022, with prices rising by only 0.6 per cent.
Kitchen tech now pushing the edge
The venerable National Kitchen and Bath Association, which has members in both the U.S. and Canada, recently noted that the emergence of voice-controlled devices and Wi-Fi “are changing the way homeowners interact with their appliances.”
Suppliers bake in price increases as inflation fears rise
While the Bank of Canada claims the apparent increase in the inflation rate is “transitory” and temporary, manufacturers and suppliers are baking price increases into their sales forecast, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB).
New home starts rise across Canada
Even as the resale market slowed, the housing starts trend showed a seasonal increase in housing starts in June.
Housing sales boom now an echo
The resale housing boom that shook real estate markets across Canada earlier this year is now an echo as June marked the third straight month for sales declines, according to the data from Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
Downtown condo sales bounce back
During the pandemic, there was a marked migration from central urban areas to suburban and even rural locales by buyers seeking more space and work-from-home opportunities. However, as mass vaccinations continue and cities reopen, it appears this migration is starting to reverse.
Luxury market leads renovation rebound
While home renovation spending is forecast to rebound in 2021 to the $80 million range seen in post-pandemic 2019, according to the Altus Group Housing Report, a survey by Sotheby’s International Real Estate zeroes in on where money will be spent and by whom.
New building panels could speed multi-family construction
A new building wall panel developed in Saskatchewan and now being rolled out across Canada could potentially speed up and reduce the construction of multi-family buildings, according to the former mayor of Vancouver.
Homebuyers ignore government incentive
Novice homebuyers in Canada have soundly—and perhaps wisely—rejected the federal government’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) program, announced nearly two years ago as a way to help those struggling to afford a down payment.
Nova Scotia buyers put down $100K less than in British Columbia
Homebuyers in Nova Scotia and Quebec are paying the lowest down payments in the country—both about $100,000 less than in British Columbia, the province with the highest down payments, according to a new survey from LowestRates.ca.
Lending rates may increase within a year
The majority of Canadian economists believe the Bank of Canada’s 0.25 per cent rate will only hold for 12 to 18 months, with 55 per cent believing the second half of 2022 is when the rate will rise—marking a significant shift in the panel of economist’s perception from the last two Bank of Canada surveys in March and April.
New home prices rising sharply
Canadian new home prices jumped 11.3 per cent in May 2021 compared to a year earlier—the largest 12-month increase in 15 years according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.
Check surveys when buying rural land
There has been intense interest in 2021 from Canadian urbanites who want to buy recreational and rural property—motivated by the number of people working from home due to the pandemic and those seeking a retirement destination.
‘Supply only answer to housing crisis’
In separate reports, an organization of top chartered accountants and one of Canada’s leading financial firms say that increasing the supply of new homes is the key to housing affordability.
Calgary seeks to turn empty offices in homes
A $45 million City of Calgary plan to convert empty office space into residential units is plausible, according to global architectural design firm Gensler. This conversion would mean changing the use of six million square feet of offices in Calgary’s core.
Manitoba slammed for high land tax on homes
Manitoba’s land transfer tax has ballooned over the past two decades and is in need of reform, says a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.
‘Canada’s smallest house’ is priced under $25,000
Western Canada small-house projects are gaining traction.
In Greater Vancouver, where the average detached house sold for $1.8 million in May 2021, and a typical condo apartment for $737,000, a small-house builder is offering perhaps the least expensive—and smallest—house in Canada.
Vancouver eyes stepping back on enforcing ‘net-zero’ regulations
The City of Vancouver’s new city manager has called for a one-year step-back on enforcing ‘net-zero’ regulations on new low-rise housing as part of sweeping measures to reform the city’s backlogged residential permit process.
Montreal home prices higher even as sales slow
Home sales in the Montreal census metropolitan area (CMA) fell in May 2021 even as prices for condos and plexes continued to climb, according to the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB).
Residential building permits tumble
The total value of residential building permits issued in Canada during April 2021 decreased from March, and was led by double-digit declines in Quebec and British Columbia, according to Statistics Canada.
Low-priced Moncton hosts condo build
Moncton, New Brunswick, has among the lowest-priced homes in Canada at an average composite value of $251,000 compared to a national average of $695,000, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Ottawa offers $5,000 grants for home retrofits
Homeowners are being offered federal government grants of up to $5,000 to improve energy efficiency in their property.
Quebec City said top city for Millennials. Again
Quebec is again the most desirable city in Canada for Millennials, according to a new national survey by Point2Homes, an online real estate marketing firm. Point2Homes’ 2021 poll looked at the best place for younger Canadians to work, buy a home and raise a family.
Cottage country prices forecast to soar
Canadians are increasingly looking to buy rural recreation properties, and average sale prices on these properties are likely to grow by as much as 25 per cent in the most contested markets, according to a new survey by Re/Max.
Condo developer self-finances to beat price hikes
Soaring prices for lumber and other building materials, and spooked lenders in the condo sector, have convinced some developers to take drastic action.
Scarborough leads GTA in home price hike
The contention that home buyers have moved out of inner city neighbourhoods to the suburbs during COVID-19 is borne out by a survey of home price increases in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Commercial builders share lumber price pain
One of the biggest challenges for the entire real estate building industry is the cost of construction because material prices escalated quickly during the past year.
‘B.C. home sales will fall 20 per cent in 2022’
British Columbia housing sales will see another “record-smashing” performance this year before sales plunge more than 20 per cent in 2022 as price increases fall to single-digit levels, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA).
Calgary home sales surge 462 per cent
Calgary home sales soared 462 per cent in April as Alberta’s largest city continued a record-setting sales pace increase across Canada from the depths of the April 2020 market.
Saskatchewan, New Brunswick alone in April job growth
The two provinces with the lowest housing costs in Canada were also the only ones to post higher job numbers in April compared to March .
B.C. temporarily stops vacancy tax on imaginary homes
In an April 27 announcement, the B.C. government said it will temporarily stop charging a speculation and vacancy tax on homes that do not and may not ever exist.
Housing now Canada’s trump economic card
Canada’s housing industry now accounts for about 9 per cent of the country’s total gross domestic product (GDP), but if current trends continue it will become the dominant player in the economy.
Stress test gets more stressful on June 1
As of June 1, 2021, homebuyers applying for an uninsured mortgage—those with more than a 20 per cent down payment—will need to qualify as if their mortgage rate was 5.25 per cent, or two per cent higher than their actual contract rate.
Canada “the best country in the world”
Canada has been ranked the top country in the world according to a major new study.
For the first time, the U.S. News & World Report has placed the Great White North at the top of its annual Best Countries Report.
Supply may cool red-hot housing market
As long predicted by Canada’s home builders, supply could cool one of the hottest housing markets the country has ever seen.
Calgary “most affordable for housing” in the world
A global study from a U.K. mortgage firm claims Calgary is the world’s most affordable city in which to buy a home, based on changes in average annual net salary and per-square-foot condo prices over a five-year period ending in 2020.
Builders call for action on lumber prices
The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) wants the federal government to take action on soaring lumber prices.
Many under age 40 fear they will never be homeowners
Canadians are apparently split between giving up on ever buying a home or putting away money to save for one.
Oshawa leads GTA with 48 per cent home price hike
A new online home price calculator, Properly, has crunched Greater Toronto Area (GTA) pricing data to compare the selling prices of homes bought in the six-month period prior to COVID-19 (September 2019 to February 2020) with the current value (April 2021).
Renovators should ready for a boom in 2021
Six in 10 Canadian homeowners are planning to renovate in the next two years—with backyards, kitchens and bathrooms topping the list, according to a March 2021 survey from Scotiabank.
Foreign home buyers nearly vanish from Vancouver
While Metro Vancouver’s housing market has been on a blistering pace during the COVID-19 pandemic – with sales up 126 per cent year-over-year as of March 2021 – foreign buyers have nearly vanished.
PEI posts fastest population growth in Canada
Prince Edward Island is posting the highest population increase of any region in a country with the highest population growth in the word, according to Statistics Canada data.
Home prices rise faster in Saskatoon than Vancouver
Vancouver home price hikes during the year-old pandemic may seem high, but the increase is minor compared to metropolitan centres like Medicine Hat and Saskatoon.
Million-dollar home sales double in GTA
Sotheby’s International Realty Canada reports Greater Toronto Area (GTA) residential real estate sales over $1 million more than doubled in the first two months of the year—soaring 107 per cent year-over-year in January and February while luxury sales over $4 million surged 75 per cent.
More supply needed to cool housing market
Dueling economists are calling for government intervention in Canada’s red-hot housing market with very different ideas of what governments should be doing.
Smaller cities share in home sales boom
While Toronto and Vancouver grab the housing headlines, higher sales of homes and prices are also being seen in smaller markets right across the country, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
Avalanche of listings coming to home market
In the 28 days ending March 19, a total of 6,471 new listings for homes came onto the Greater Toronto market, according to a survey by Zolo. A similar trend is being seen in Canada’s other big-city market of Greater Vancouver.
Kelowna boasts first $10 million condo listing
Kelowna, the third-largest city in B.C. outside of the Lower Mainland, moved into the big leagues of home prices this month with the listing of its first $10 million condo.
Lending rates stay low despite “exuberant” housing market
Despite a sharp uptick in Canada’s employment rate and an “exuberant” housing market, the Bank of Canada (BoC) has no plans to increase its overnight lending rate from the current rock-bottom 0.25 per cent, according to BoC governor Tiff Macklem.
Pandemic trends will stick, design expert says
A top U.S. home design firm, which works with number of architects and designers, says trends that emerged during the pandemic will become part of North American home designs for years.
Net-zero code mandated in three B.C. cities
Three of the most expensive housing markets in Canada will mandate net-zero level building codes starting July 2021 for new housing, but a major home builder says the top-level standard is too pricey for most Canadian consumers.
Wood back as top kitchen trend
Perhaps part of a pandemic-induced longing for a return to traditional values, wood is making a big comeback this year in new kitchen trends, according to HGTV, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and a top Canadian cabinet supplier AvA Kitchens.
Suburbs take lead in housing starts
Housing starts are becoming stronger in suburban markets surrounding major Canadian cities, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.(CMHC) data on January 2021 new home construction.
CMHC was wrong in spring outlook, remains cautious now
In May 2020, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) forecast that national housing sales would slump and that average house prices would fall from 9 per cent to 18 per cent over the coming 12 months proved inaccurate.
Young buyer survey findings “defies logic”
A Royal LePage survey released February 25 claims 49 per cent of B.C. residents between the ages of 25 and 35 already own a home—and that 27 per cent bought one during the pandemic.
Genesis buys 157 acres for Calgary subdivision
Calgary-based Genesis Land Development Corp. is paying $29.15 million for approximately 157 acres of future residential development land in the Calgary suburban community of Belvedere.
Lumber prices hit record US$1,000
Lumber prices have been increasing for months are at an all-time high.
Western SPF (spruce, pine, fir) lumber prices rose to US$1,000 per thousand board feet on February 17, according to market analyst Random Lengths.
‘Affordable’ GTA homes will each cost $376,000
A federal Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) for the Greater Toronto Area, launched January 15, aims to create approximately 540 affordable homes. RHI is prioritizing “people experiencing homelessness, Indigenous communities and women and girls.”
BILD Alberta calls for renovation tax credit
BILD Alberta wants the province to introduce a renovation tax credit to help the industry recover losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.
No-payment mortgage plan ‘looks crazy’
A Vancouver firm is launching a no-payment mortgage plan starting in B.C. and Ontario, but one mortgage expert said the scheme “looks crazy.”
GTA new condo prices crack $1 million mark
New home prices in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have hit an all-time high, reports the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). Benchmark condo prices topped $1 million for the first time as of the end of 2020.
Canadian home prices rising by $7,376 per month
Prices have increased by 20 to 30 per cent in a number of markets across Canada in the past year, based on data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
Mortgage deferrals fears prove unfounded, so far
A projected explosion in mortgage defaults following deferrals earlier this year as the pandemic bit into household finances has failed to materialize, with active deferrals in Canadian banks representing a mere 0.8 per cent of their residential mortgage portfolios as of December 2020.
GTA new home inventory dips to two-year low
A strong housing market in Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has driven the inventory of new homes to a two-year low, according to the Building and Land Development Association (BILD).
New rentals have highest vacancies
While rental vacancy rates have increased across Canada, this rise is mostly apparent in new purpose-built rental projects completed over the past few years, according to the Rental Market Report
2020, released January 28 by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.(CMHC).
Low lending rate spurs record mortgage debt
Total residential mortgage debt in Canada ballooned to $1.66 trillion as of December 2020 as homebuyers and homeowners continued to pounce on the lowest mortgage rates in 100 years.
Winnipeg stars as Prairie home prices improve
Winnipeg proved a star performer among big cities in the Prairie housing market by ending 2020 with a 7.6 per cent annual increase in average home prices, while the province set an all-time annual high for housing sales.
UV-lit fans can kill COVID-19, tests confirm
A new ceiling fan that uses ultraviolet (UV) light can kill 99.9 per cent of the SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that causes COVID-19, according to the Canadian distributor and independent test results.
B.C. Lower Mainland homes now worth $50 billion more
Owners of more than one million properties in the Lower Mainland have seen values increase by $50 billion over the past 12 months, according to BC Assessment. The total value of these homes is now north of $1 trillion.
Edmonton 536-acre housing project under way
The City of Edmonton is developing the massive Blatchford residential community on a 536-acre site close to its downtown that once housed the City Centre airport.
First buyer incentive sweetened due to low demand
Canada’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI), which has met with very low demand, has been sweetened to attract more applicants in Canada’s most expensive housing markets of Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.
B.C. top U-Haul destination in 2020
British Columbia was the top province to move to in Canada in 2020, according to data released by U-Haul Canada analyzing internal migration patterns across the country.
CREA forecasts price hike in 2021
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) expects the national average home price will rise 9.1 per cent to $620,400 in 2021, with sales also rising everywhere but in Ontario.
Ontario, B.C. lead as residential permits surge
The value of residential permits rose to new heights in November, 2020, increasing 10 per cent to $6.4 billion and breaking the previous record set in September 2020. Except for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, which reported slight declines, every province posted growth, according to Statistics Canada.
B.C. construction wages top at $50 per hour
Construction wages are rising in British Columbia as the industry faces a shortfall of workers, according to a survey of 1,000 B.C. construction firms by the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).
North America’s most expensive home goes to auction
North America’s most expensive home, Villa Firenze, which is currently listed for US$160 million will be going to auction January 26, 2021 with no reserve and no minimum bid, according to TopTenRealEstateDeals.com.
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