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Jul 31, 2023

Home ownership still top priority for Canadians

What began as a trickle of movement into housing markets late in the first quarter turned into a swell, as move-up buyers drove strong demand for residential properties across the country throughout the second quarter of the year, says RE/MAX Canada. The ‘RE/MAX Canada Move-Up Market Report’ says buyers took advantage of the Bank of Canada's (BoC) temporary pause in overnight rate hikes in the second quarter of the year, sparking a flurry of activity in the mid- to upper-price ranges. Tight inventory levels placed upward pressure on values, prompting double-digit price increases in five of the markets analyzed, between January and June of 2023, including Regina, SK; Greater Toronto and Hamilton, ON; Winnipeg, MB; and Montreal, QC. Meanwhile, single-digit price upswings were noted in the four remaining markets – Greater Vancouver, BC; Calgary, AB; Ottawa, ON; and Halifax, NS – as sellers held on to properties that fell short of peak price levels reported one year ago.

Fear of further rate hikes continues to impact the market psyche, with many move-up buyers hoping to get into the market before rates climb again. RE/MAX brokers noted increased urgency in the market as buyers sought to obtain pre-approvals with guaranteed rate holds in place for a 120-day period, prior to both the BoC's June and July announcements. 

Necessity was the primary factor driving demand throughout the first half of 2023. Whether it was a growing family, the need for more space to accommodate new work-from-home arrangements and schedules, or a better school district, quality-of-life considerations were central to purchasing decisions. This proved true regardless of the move being made – whether downsizing or simplifying in more walkable neighbourhoods closer to the core, trading up or making lateral moves, urban or suburban. 

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