2021 Housing Market Outlook

Canadians on the move: Not an exodus, but the re-location trend across Canadian housing market is real

RE/MAX Canada expects average residential prices to rise 4% to 6% in 2021

  • 35% of RE/MAX brokers indicate that “move-over” buyers from other cities and provinces will continue to spark market activity in 2021

  • 45% of RE/MAX brokers indicate that move-up buyers will likely be a primary driver of the housing market demand in 2021

  • Half of Canadians (53%) are confident that Canada’s housing markets will remain steady in 2021

  • 52% of Canadians believe real estate will remain one of the best investment options in 2021

RE/MAX Canada is anticipating healthy housing price growth in 2021, with move-up and move-over buyers continuing to drive activity in many regions across the Canadian housing market. An ongoing housing supply shortage is likely to continue, presenting challenges for homebuyers and putting upward pressure on prices. Due to these factors, the 2021 RE/MAX Housing Market Outlook Report estimates a four to six per cent increase in the average residential sales price nation-wide.

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“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,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “This has sparked unprecedented sales this year in suburban and rural parts of Canada and we expect this trend to continue in 2021.”


Despite the disruption of the virus, consumers are feeling optimistic, according to a Leger survey conducted on behalf of RE/MAX Canada, with 52 per cent of Canadians eyeing real estate as one of the best investment options in 2021, and expressing confidence that the Canadian housing market will remain steady next year.


The impacts of COVID-19 on the Canadian housing market


While many economists predicted employment disruptions would negatively impact the Canadian housing market, the pandemic directly influenced only six per cent of Canadians to sell their home, according to the survey. Furthermore, 40 per cent of Canadians realized that their home needed renovations during the pandemic, and 29 per cent discovered that they need more space.


When it comes to where Canadians would prefer to live – urban, suburban or rural – they are evenly split, with roughly three in 10 preferring to live in each area. In fact, many suburban markets across the country have been heavily impacted by out-of-town buyers, a segment that is expected to drive market activity in 2021. This was a trend that was evident in many regions across the country, including North Bay, Kingston, Moncton and Greater Vancouver, among others.


Unsurprisingly, younger Canadians (under age 35) are significantly more likely to have realized that they need more space and are motivated to move out of their current neighbourhood.


“Despite the tragic impacts of the pandemic, our optimism in the strength of Canada’s housing market has always remained,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “While we’ve seen a significant shift in buyer preferences this year, we believe factors such as the supply issue, pent-up demand and historically lower interest rates will continue to fuel activity in 2021.”


A deeper dive: 2021 Winnipeg housing market insights


RE/MAX brokers and agents were asked to provide an analysis on their local market activity in 2020, as well as an outlook for 2021. Heading into the new year, 84 per cent of RE/MAX brokers and agents surveyed are anticipating sellers’ markets.

Winnipeg to continue as seller’s market in 2021, prices to increase 3%


Winnipeg real estate is likely to continue as a seller’s market in 2021, with an uptick of activity anticipated as many home sellers that were initially hesitant to sell during the pandemic are reassessing their financial situation and are anticipated to decide on up or downsizing in the new year. The average sales price in Winnipeg increased by 4% to $283,652 in 2020 (Jan. 1 – Oct.31), compared to $271,652 in 2019 (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31). The RE/MAX Outlook for Winnipeg real estate in 2021 is an increase of 3% in average price to approximately $291,976.16.


Who’s Driving Demand for Winnipeg Real Estate?

Move-over buyers are currently driving demand in the Winnipeg real estate market, which is expected to continue into 2021. The most popular property type with move-over buyers are single-detached homes.


First-time homebuyers in Winnipeg are typically young couples looking for single-detached homes. These properties range in price from $300,00 to $400,00. Bidding wars have continued to impact both first-time homebuyers as well as move-up buyers from entering the market. Moving into 2021, it may be easier for first-time homebuyers to enter the market, as people will not be in such a panic to move as they were at the beginning of the pandemic.

Move-up buyers in the Winnipeg housing market are typically families, and many have decided to wait on entering the market if their current home continues to meet their needs. This results in a lack of urgency to move.


The condominium market in Winnipeg is most popular with single homebuyers and young couples, with the average price for a condominium in Winnipeg being $241,785. The current condo market in Winnipeg is better than it has been in a while but is still slower than the detached home market. This is expected to continue into 2021.


Winnipeg’s luxury market is currently driven by move-up buyers, with the average starting price for a luxury home in Winnipeg being $500,000. Due to COVID-19, it is taking a little longer for luxury homes to sell, but it is hopeful that this is only a short-term impact on the luxury market in Winnipeg.


Winnipeg’s Hottest Neighbourhoods

Winnipeg’s top-selling neighbourhoods in 2020 were River Heights, St. James and Cresentwood. These neighbourhoods are expected to continue to be popular in 2021 as they offer large properties with more outdoor space and good price points.


Winnipeg New-Home Construction

It is believed that Winnipeg’s new-home construction sales have increased as the gap has been bridged in terms of price point between what resale is being bid up to and what you can purchase a new home for. The current number of homes being constructed in Winnipeg is sufficient to meet the current demand.


Canadian Housing Market in 2021

Canadians are on the move. RE/MAX isn’t calling this an “exodus,” but the re-location trend across the Canadian housing market is real, and it’s just one focus of the RE/MAX 2021 Housing Market Outlook Report. RE/MAX Canada anticipates healthy housing price growth at the national level, with move-up and move-over buyers continuing to drive activity in many regions across the Canadian housing market. An ongoing and widespread housing supply shortage is likely to continue, presenting challenges for homebuyers and putting upward pressure on prices.


Additional report findings include:

  • 35% of RE/MAX brokers indicate that “move-over” buyers from other cities and provinces will continue to spark market activity in 2021

  • 45% of RE/MAX brokers indicate that move-up buyers will likely be a primary driver of the housing market demand in 2021

  • Half of Canadians (53%) are confident that Canada’s housing markets will remain steady in 2021

  • 52% of Canadians believe real estate will remain one of the best investment options in 2021

  • More than one-third (36 per cent) would prefer to work with realtors who use technology/virtual services to enhance the buying/selling process

  • 15 per cent of Canadians have spent more time researching/monitoring the real estate market during the first and second wave of the pandemic

“Despite the tragic impacts of the pandemic, our optimism in the strength of Canada’s housing market has always remained,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “While we’ve seen a significant shift in buyer preferences this year, we believe factors such as the supply issue, pent-up demand and historically lower interest rates will continue to fuel activity in 2021.”

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