State of the Real Estate Market: August 2020

Nationally, home sales and new listings continued to climb in August, and while some markets have eased back down toward pre-pandemic expectations, others are still abuzz with high buyer demand.

Ontario’s figures continued to impress. Though some areas saw prices leveling off from the upward trajectories set in June and July, others witnessed even more growth, revealing that buyer demand is still strong. With new listings quickly turning to sales, most markets continue to see low inventory levels and homes selling for top dollar. For the second month, most regions have seen a year-over-year average home price increase of 20% or more.

In Manitoba, the continued increase in year-over-year sales activity and falling inventory levels meant favourable conditions for sellers. Though the post-lockdown growth in price has eased slightly, the average residential home price is still up 12% from August of last year. As COVID-19 reshapes what buyers’ are looking for in a home, we’ve seen substantially more demand for detached homes, with nearly one-third of sales in this category selling for above asking price.

Good news for Alberta sellers as the major real estate markets saw slight gains in average year-over-year selling prices. Despite sales activity leveling out after the increases seen earlier in the summer, numbers aren’t far from what they were at this time last year. A decrease in new listings in both Calgary and Edmonton could mean favourable conditions for sellers going into the fall. 

If you need to sell or buy a home during the pandemic, rest assured that a Purplebricks REALTOR® can help you navigate the market safely and with professional insight. We saved our home sellers an average of $13,500 in commission last year, and we give buyers $2,000 cash back* when they use a Purplebricks REALTOR® to buy their home.


Map of Ontario showing major cities and purple 'pins' indicating real estate listings


The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) reports1 that the City of Toronto continued to experience strong demand in August with 3,365 sales, up 32% year over year. “Generally speaking, market conditions remained very tight in the GTA resale market in August,” says Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst. “Competition between buyers was especially strong for low-rise home types, leading to robust annual rates of price growth. However, with growth in condominium apartment listings well-outstripping condo sales growth, condo market conditions were comparatively more balanced, which was reflected in a slower pace of price growth in that segment.” The average selling price for a home in the City of Toronto is $1,012,506, with a year-over-year increase of 24%. Homes were selling quickly at an average of just 16 days on market, with many sellers receiving asking price or higher.


The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) reports2 2,301 residential sales in the Peel region in August, which represents a whopping 35% year-over-year increase despite a 2% month-over-month decrease. The region also saw the average days on market drop to 14, down 2 days since July, and an inventory of available homes sitting at only 1.4 months, making it a strong seller’s market. Brampton accounted for 52% of total August sales. The average selling price for a home in the Peel region is $897,391, a year-over-year increase of 20% and a month-over-month decrease of just 0.5%.


The Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) reports3 continued year-over-year increases in sales activity with 2,017 residential properties sold, representing an increase of 17% year over year. According to OREB President Deborah Burgoyne, “August’s resale numbers were undoubtedly driven by the considerable increase in new listings that came onto the market in both July and August. There were at least 300 more residential and 175 more condo listings added to inventory than we saw last year at this time. In fact, we have not seen new listing numbers like this since August 2015.” Yet, despite the notable increase in new listings, buyer demand remains high, and multiple offers continue to drive prices up. The average selling price for a condominium-class property is $383,640, a year-over-year increase of 24%, and the average selling price for a residential-class property is $592,548, a year-over-year increase of 22%.


The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) reports4 the Halton region is continuing to see a dramatic increase in sales activity with 10,775 homes sold in August – a year-over-year increase of 40%. New listings increased by 48% year over year, but with 13% fewer active listings than in August 2019, homes are in high demand. Average days on market decreased from 18 to 17 month over month, and with only 1.7 months of inventory, Halton is clearly in a seller’s market. The average selling price for a home in the Halton region is $1,031,721, a year-over-year increase of 20% and a month-over-month increase of 4%.


The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reports5 sales are up 13% year over year, though they’ve fallen 21% from last month’s unseasonably high numbers. As the average selling price for residential properties across the region nudges up by 0.2% month over month, inventory levels remain low with new listings down 16% from July 2020. Kathy Della-Nebbia, RAHB President, reports, “This month’s activity was in line with what we would typically see for August; however, due to COVID-19 the trends for the year are not what we would normally experience. Over the spring, we saw lower than normal activity, but a balance between supply and demand. Into the summer months we saw an increase in activity where we would normally see a decrease. As we move into the fall, we would expect a return to higher activity.” The Hamilton region is comprised of an array of cities, which results in varying home prices. In Niagara North, the average selling price is $651,220, a year-over-year increase of 12% and a month-over-month decrease of 10%. In Haldimand County, the average selling price is $559,535, a year-over-year increase of 15% and a month-over-month increase of 2%. In Burlington, the average selling price is $856,056, a year-over-year increase of 13% and a month-over-month decrease of 3%. In Hamilton, the average selling price for a home is $662,257, a year-over-year increase of 21% and a month-over-month increase of 5%.


The Niagara Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports6 record-breaking sales in August, with a total of 978 homes sold, with a majority of sales occurring in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. Overall sales for the region were up 37% from August 2019, though numbers dipped by 2% compared to July 2020. Terri McCallum, President of NAR, comments, “Steady inventory with multiple offers was still putting an upward pressure on sale prices in August in all areas and decreasing the average days on market.” The average selling price for a home in the Niagara region is $482,600, a year-over-year increase of 15% and a month-over-month increase of 2%, while the average days on market is 35, down from 39 in July.


August saw record-breaking sales in Kitchener-Waterloo7, with 686 residential homes sold – an increase of 48% over the same month last year. Though sales dipped by 8% compared to last month, it’s still a hot market favouring sellers. Colleen Koehler, President of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR), states, “Following a spring market where most people were observing physical distancing guidelines, sales in August continued to be very active with demand continuing to outstrip supply forcing buyers to act quickly.” The number of houses on the market, also known as months of inventory, was so low that if sales continued at the August pace, all active listings would be sold in the period of one month. Despite 833 new listings added to the MLS® System in Kitchener-Waterloo – a whopping 44% increase over August 2019 – buyers are extremely active and continue to compete for properties. The average selling price for a home in Kitchener-Waterloo is $634,409, a year-over-year increase of 21% and a month-over-month drop of just 0.8%.


The London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) reports8 the second-best August for sales since 1978 with 931 homes sold across the region, resulting in a 2% increase over August last year. Blair Campbell, 2020 LSTAR President, commented, “August capped off a very strong summer for home sales in the region. For the first time, the average home sales price was over $500,000. It's a testament to the pent-up demand caused during the COVID-19 lockdown months." The average selling price for a home in the London region climbed 3% since July to $501,584, representing a year-over-year increase of 22%. The median days on market is 10 – down from 13 in August of last year, with months of inventory at just 1.1, positioning August as a clear seller’s market.


The numbers of MLS® residential sales continued to nudge their way up in the Windsor-Essex County9 with 728 sales in August, a 18% year-over-year increase and a 6% increase over July. Prices leveled off slightly after the big increases observed from April to July: the average selling price for a home in the Windsor region is $430,810, a year-over-year increase of 28% and a month-over-month increase of just under 1%. In August, 63% of sales occurred in the $300,000-$549,999 price range.


The Brantford Regional Real Estate Association (BRREA) reports10 record-breaking sales for the month of August, with 250 residential properties sold – an increase of 13% over August 2019. “New listings have started to return to the market, but overall supply is still at historically low levels,” said Rose Sicoli, President of the Brantford Regional Real Estate Association. “Strong demand combined with low overall supply have once again pushed the average price of homes sold in our region to a new record for a third consecutive month.” The average price for a home is $567,773, up 31% from August 2019. Total new listings came in at 304, which is a year-over-year increase of 21% and the highest number of listings added to the August market in 25 years. Nevertheless, inventory was down to just under one-month’s supply, meaning it would take less than one month for all active listings to sell at the current rate of sales.



Map of Winnipeg, Manitoba, with purple 'pins' indicating real estate listings

The invigoration seen in Winnipeg’s real estate market since June made for a strong end to August, despite slight decreases from last month’s soaring figures. According to the WinnipegREALTORS® August report11, sales surpassed 1,800 for the third straight month with 1,845 residential sales, representing a year-over-year increase of 28% and month-over-month decrease of 3%.

Catherine Schellenberg, president of WinnipegREALTORS®, observes, “Following three months of overall heightened sales activity we are not seeing the same response with listings coming on the market. The impact is a shortage of listings for eager buyers and increased situations where multiple offers and bidding wars are occurring.” In fact, the report shows that inventory is down 30% year over year, while close to one-third of detached homes sold for above listing price.

August’s high buyer demand pushed the average selling price up 12% year over year to $349,247, though that figure has fallen a scant 1% since July.

Residential-detached homes represented the most market gains, with sales for this category increasing nearly 31% year over year. For the second month in a row, detached homes in the $300,000 to $349,999 price range saw the most growth, with 16% of total sales. The report notes this is an indication of the move-up market gaining strength, since the previous most active range was $250,000 to $299,999.

Condominium sales increased 7% year-over-year, with the most active price range – about one in four sales – being $150,000 to $199,999, though the next three higher price ranges all showed strong activity.

The third most active category was vacant land, with a 66% growth in sales over August of last year.

As Schellenberg points out, the growing demand for detached homes could be yet another effect of COVID-19: “A work from home trend is changing the way one thinks about the kind and extent of space and has definitely garnered more thought and attention. This coupled with historically low mortgage rates are motivating factors for a number of sellers and buyers to make a change during this pandemic.”



Map of Alberta with callouts showing detail for Edmonton and Calgary, with purple 'pins' indicating real estate listings

Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area

Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area’s (Edmonton CMA) average home price is on a slow-but-steady rise since April.

The REALTORS® Association of Edmonton (RAE) reports12 that the Edmonton CMA saw a 20% year-over-year increase in residential sales, despite a 13% month-over-month decrease. Nevertheless, the average home price rose to $374,409, a 2% increase from August 2019 and a 1% increase from July 2020.

RAE Chair Jennifer Lucas points out that the increases are mostly driven by the single-family homes market, stating that there have been “more sales of single-family homes compared to August of last year, while we’ve seen less sales in the condo and duplex market.” Moreover, “[s]ingle family home pricing increased 1.01%, duplexes are down 3.48%, and condos are down 2.23% year-over-year.”

The average price of single-family detached home was $439,000 in August, while condos landed at $229,000 and duplexes/town houses came in at $342,00013. New listings of all residential types are down 4% year over year, spending an average of 52 days on market – a 16% drop from August 2019.

City of Calgary

Calgary’s average selling price is still climbing despite increased inventory.

The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®) reports14 the City of Calgary’s residential sales remained consistent with numbers for the last five years, with 1,573 homes sold in August – a decrease of only 0.4% year-over-year15.

CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie observes, “[r]ecent national reports have shown a bounce back to new record levels over the past several months. Calgary has seen improvements over the lows recorded during the lockdowns but is far from record levels.” This, she points out, has a lot to do with disproportionate unemployment in the city due to COVID-19: “There have been more than 100,000 jobs lost since last year and Calgary’s unemployment rate sits at 15 per cent. This is well above the national average of 11 per cent.”

Nevertheless, the improvements she mentions can be seen in the numbers. The average selling price for a home in Calgary increased slightly to $469,612 this August, a year-over-year increase of 4% and a month-over-month increase of 0.7% - this in spite of the fact that inventory rose from 3.6 months’ supply in July to 4.1 in August.

If you need to sell your home or buy a home during the outbreak, rest assured that a Purplebricks REALTOR® can help you navigate the market.

Purplebricks is here to support Canadians by providing them with a full-service real estate experience 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 to learn more.

†Average savings based on a commission of 5% in Ontario and Manitoba and 7%/3% in Alberta, less a buyer agent commission estimated at 2.5% in Ontario and Manitoba and 3.5%/1.5% in Alberta for clients who were represented by Purplebricks during offers and negotiations, taking into account fees paid to Purplebricks and applicable taxes, from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019.

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.