Are we Headed Towards a Mini Real Estate Boom? Possibly.

June 17, 2020

Spring usually marks when real estate signs are enthusiastically hammered into the ground. People are talking to their friends at dinner parties explaining how they are capitalizing on the market, and why everyone else should be too. There’s a hustle in the real estate world that kicks off in the spring and continues into the early summer, but that’s when things are business as usual, and truthfully, things aren’t business as usual right now. 

Many Canadians who were hoping to capitalize on the spring market are cautiously and optimistically waiting to see how the real estate market continues to react in the coming weeks and months amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. It is a bit of a guessing game at this point, but we can make some educated predictions based on market data from the past three months.

In the short term, we expect to continue to see year-over-year declines, but with month-over-month improvements.

In March, we saw sales and new listings were up the first two weeks of the month, and then a sharp decline occurred in the final two weeks after the State of Emergency was declared in most of Canada.

Expectantly, April sales figures and new listings were down 50% year-over-year, but average housing prices remained steady. This sharp decline is a natural reaction to a dramatic event, especially to a disaster that is quite foreign to Canadians.

May saw month-over-month improvements, which is great news for the market. In Ontario and Alberta, most markets were down about 40% year-over-year in sales, compared to the 50-60% in April. And in Manitoba, sales were down just 19% year-over-year, compared to 30% in April. These month-over-month improvements, coupled along with the fact that average housing prices year-over-year have remained steady, and even increased in some markets, shows us that the real estate market is improving.

A decline in new listings and sales is to be expected during a pandemic, but we are still seeing lots of online activity on and offers are still coming in for our home sellers. What does this mean? It means that real estate is still being bought and sold in Canada, just at a slower pace.

The reality is there are many people who simply must sell their home or buy one right now. Existing obligations, like relocation or being in an existing home contract, force people to sell or buy a home without them having much choice, even if there is a global crisis happening. There’s a reason real estate is considered an essential service.

This situation of seller and buyers potentially holding back on selling or buying a home will likely create a bottleneck in the market once physical distancing measures are lifted or relaxed; we can already see the market is picking up. As we have seen month-over-month from March to April and April to May, the market is improving and that is because more people are listing their homes for sale and more people are buying them. And although a “boom” may or may not happen, what does seem to be clear is that people who were planning on selling their home or buying a home in 2020 will still likely do so.

How can you take advantage of this situation? Consider marketing your home now!

With an expected bottleneck and mini boom potentially coming, having your home on the market now may be advantageous. As physical distancing measures are lifted, which we are starting to see now,  there will be a lot of buyers who are ready to make their move quickly. Having your home already online so buyers can save it to their “favourites” as a “must-see”, will help get buyers through your front door as soon as possible. And if you’re not yet comfortable having visitors in your home, you can show your home virtually, which is still a great option to showcase your home to agents and buyers

In the long term, the impacts on the real estate market will depend on the duration and magnitude of the outbreak.

Canada is in a good position compared to many countries. At time of writing, Canada has less than 1.3% of all global cases, and nearly 62% of all Canadian cases have recovered1. Although COVID-19 is a serious issue, we are positioned to recover from this outbreak, and so is the real estate market.

The real estate market has recovered before. Take 2008-2009 as an example. Canada was in a recession and Toronto home sales reflected that. Year-over-year sales were down 32%, new listings down 11%, and days on market increased 50%2. Despite these dramatic changes in figures, average selling price was only down 5.4% year-over-year; the average price was $361,305. In 2020, few markets in Ontario see an average selling price of the mid-$300s, let alone in Toronto. As of February 2020, the average selling price was $910,2903, which is a 152% increase over 11 years – that is amazing price growth! What this example illustrates is that despite economic downshifts, the real estate market recovers and is an invaluable asset to have in your investment portfolio.

Whether you choose to buy or sell now, or wait until the outbreak is over, is a personal decision you must make. And although the duration and potential severity of the outbreak has yet to be determined, we know that the real estate market will recover in the long term, and we may see a mini real estate boom when physical distancing measures are removed in the short term.


Need your sell or buy a home? Purplebricks can help.

If you need to sell your home or buy a home during the outbreak, rest assured that a REALTOR® can help you navigate these murky waters. Purplebricks is here to support Canadians by providing them full-service real estate while saving them thousands in commission when selling their home. As for homebuyers, we share the commission by giving buyers $2,000 in cash back* when they buy a home with us. Call 1-855-999-9740 for more information.

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COVID-19 Tracker (Bing)
2 Market Watch February 2009 (TRREB)

On December 1, 2021, Purplebricks rebranded to FairSquare Group Realty. Blog articles published before this date were created under the Purplebricks brand but remain the property of FairSquare Group Realty.

In January 2019, ComFree Commonsense Network Brokerage rebranded to Purplebricks.