The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have made it more difficult to forecast what is likely to come in the residential real estate market.
But two of the country’s big realtors are looking ahead to ongoing increases in demand and ongoing upward price pressure.
Both Re/Max and Royal LePage see the demand for larger, single, detached homes on larger lots as key driver of the market.
“There was a clear shift towards larger properties and single-family dwellings in 2020, as families repurposed their homes to become office, school classroom, gymnasium and restaurant during the pandemic,” says Royal LePage president Phil Soper.
“We’ve seen a lot of anecdotal evidence since the summer that households are considering significant lifestyle changes by relocating to less-dense cities and neighbourhoods,” says Re/Max Executive Vice President Christopher Alexander.
December’s employment numbers from Statistics Canada show 200,000 more Canadians working from home, for a total of 4.8 million. Well over half of those people, 2.8-million, do not normally work from home.
Royal LePage sees the shift as part of a larger, demographic change that is merely being hastened by the pandemic.
“Corporate Canada’s pandemic-driven move to work from home operations has simply accelerated relocation patterns already underway,” says Soper.
“The huge baby-boomer demographic began post-children migration to suburban and recreational-style communities in the middle of the last decade, and material numbers of the equally populous millennial generation have been exiting city centre condos in search of space as they began families,” he adds.
Soper also says that the trend of high demand outside of urban centres will slowly ease as listings in city centres become more competitive against growing prices in suburban and exurban markets.
The Re/Max forecast suggests Canadians are, generally, evenly split on where they prefer to live. Roughly 3-in-10 expressing a preference for each of urban, suburban or rural.