Rachelle Younglai’s recent piece in the Globe and Mail does a great job summarizing Canada’s COVID-19 housing boom. The title of the article is, “How Canada’s real estate market defied expectations in the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Non-mortgage debt is down. Mortgage debt is up. Money is cheap. And people are clamoring for drivable vacation homes. Average home prices in places like Prince Edward County and the Kawartha Lakes (both outside of Toronto) are up ~30% from Jan 2020 to Jan 2021.
But after I sent this article around this morning, I was reminded that this is a good summary of what has just happened. It, for the most part, does not speak to what might happen going forward.
None of us can travel anywhere. We’re stuck at home. And immigration volumes last year were down some 48% in Toronto, 43% in Vancouver, 40% in Montreal, and 46% in Calgary. The Toronto region went from about 120,000 new permanent residents in 2019 to about half that last year.
The behaviors and market outcomes that we have seen over the last 12 months, therefore, make intuitive sense. But how about the next 12 months or the next 5 years? I would prefer to use this latter time period for decision making right now.
Chart: The Globe and Mail