RBC expects home sales to dive 30%, prices to decline because of outbreak

RBC expects home sales to dive 30%, prices to decline because of outbreak

TORONTO — Canada’s housing market could see a significant pullback this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but could rebound next year, a report by RBC says.

This year’s home resales could dive by 30 per cent to a 20-year low as physical distancing limits sales while the economic fallout erodes confidence and leaves speculators sitting on the sidelines, said bank analyst Robert Hogue.

“Canada’s housing market will slow to a crawl this spring as Canadians follow social distancing orders in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.”

Market activity in the Greater Toronto Area is already showing a sharp drop-off.

John Pasalis of Realosophy Realty said in a report that while sales were up 50 per cent in the first two weeks of March compared with a year earlier, by last week sales were down 37 per cent compared with a year earlier, while new listings were down 33 per cent.

Pasalis said average prices are still up over last year, but that prices have trended lower over the month.

Hogue said home prices could stay stable in the near-term as both buyers and new listings pull back, but expects the composite benchmark price to fall 2.9 per cent in the second half of this year compared with last year.

“In a matter of weeks or months, surging unemployment and the market’s illiquidity will compel a growing number of tight-squeezed sellers to make price concessions.”

The trends, however, could reverse next year as low interest rates, a strengthening job market and a bounce-back in immigration help sales to surge more than 40 per cent in 2021 and price dynamics also return to favouring sellers, Hogue said.

The report said Prairie economies that rely on oil will feel the housing pullback more acutely, with price declines “bound to re-accelerate significantly” and little prospect of prices rebounding any time soon.

The report also notes that the bank’s affordability measure, defined as the share of median income needed to cover home ownership, was steady at 50 per cent in Canada in the fourth quarter of 2019. Vancouver was highest at 80.4 per cent, Toronto at 68.2 per cent, while Edmonton was 31.6 per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2020.

Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press

Keystone XL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

freezer
The Rimbey Food Bank recently received a grant which went to the purchase of a new freezer and shelving

‘Also, our first Cultured Chef was filmed and will be out on social media and our web site Friday’

Supporters gather outside GraceLife Church near Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday, April 11, 2021. The church has been fenced off by police and Alberta Health Services in violation of COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hundreds gather to support Alberta church shut down for ignoring COVID-19 orders

GraceLife Church and its pastor, are charged for holding services that break health restrictions

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,183 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

50.5% of all active cases are variants of concern

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

A health-care worker holds up a vial of the AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Montreal, Thursday, March 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
PHAC receives first report of blood clot linked to AstraZeneca

The federal agency says the person is now recovering at home

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Marathon of Hope runner Terry Fox is shown in a 1981. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/CP)
Terry Fox’s legacy of resilience resonates during COVID-19 crisis, says brother

Fred Fox said his brother’s legacy of resilience has taken on renewed resonance as COVID-19 rages on

Madelyn Boyko poses along with a number of the bath bombs she makes with her mom, Jessica Boyko. Madelyn says she enjoys making the bath bombs with her mom as it is a special time for just the two of them. (Photo Submitted)
5-year-old Sylvan Lake girl selling bath bombs in support of younger brother

Madelyn Boyko is selling bath bombs for CdLS research in honour of her younger brother

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read