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Report unveils uneven impact of interest rate growth on Canadian home prices

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Canadian housing prices have experienced a slight decline due to rising interest rates, but experts assert that the market remains on a long-term upward trend, indicating no imminent freefall in sight. 

According to the seventh annual Price per Square Foot survey released by Century 21 Canada, the impact of interest rate growth has been uneven, with the hot housing markets of major city centers witnessing lower condo prices, while smaller markets, particularly in Atlantic Canada and Alberta, see growth in price per square foot, especially for single-family homes.

Todd Shyiak, executive vice president of Century 21 Canada, emphasized the importance of viewing these changes within the larger context. “The fact that we haven’t dipped to pre-pandemic levels shows that homes are still in demand, and we continue to see growth in smaller markets as more families seek a lower cost of living,” he stated.

Notably, most markets that did experience price declines from last year remained roughly equivalent to their 2021 benchmarks and well above earlier years.


Uneven market trends across Canadian regions


Atlantic Canada: Home prices in Atlantic Canada have continued to rise, driven by Canadians from expensive urban markets seeking more affordable living options. While condos in Halifax experienced a modest increase this year after a sharp rise in the previous year, detached homes in Fredericton, Moncton, and St. John saw double-digit increases, making New Brunswick an emerging leader in Atlantic Canadian growth.

British Columbia: The steep prices in British Columbia have reached a cooling point, with the province experiencing the most significant price declines compared to other regions. However, despite the dip, prices remain at or above the 2021 levels, with Vancouver maintaining some of the highest price per square-foot dwellings in Canada. 

Detached houses and condos in the surrounding suburbs also maintain comparatively high prices. Cities farther from the metropolitan core, such as Chilliwack and Kelowna, saw dips but managed to maintain prices above 2021 levels. Victoria is the only B.C. region that saw growth, potentially indicating an influx of Lower Mainlanders searching for cheaper real estate options across the water.

Quebec: Montreal experienced a dip in condo and detached home prices like other Canadian metropolises. However, unlike Vancouver and Toronto, the decline in Quebec was modest and remained in the single digits. Mohamad Al-Hajj, owner of Century 21 Immo-Plus, attributes the relative stability to the appeal of Montreal among young buyers.

Ontario: Canada’s most populous province saw a mixed bag of changes in home prices, with variations across different cities. Toronto condos remain expensive at a price-per-square-foot (PPSQ) of more than $1,000 but have experienced a 16 per cent drop from 2022, bringing prices roughly in line with 2021 and 2020 levels. 

However, cities like Niagara Falls and Cambridge saw double-digit growth in the price of single-family homes, reflecting a trend of families seeking more space outside the Greater Toronto Area.

Eryn Richardson, owner of Century 21 Heritage Group, highlights the continued demand for homes away from the downtown core, driving steady growth in several Ontario cities.

Prairies: The Prairie provinces remained relatively stable, with minor gains and losses across the board. Saskatoon led with the highest PPSQ of $344 for detached homes, reflecting the appeal of the region for families seeking space and lower costs.

Winnipeg, Brandon and Regina continue the trend, seeing their detached single-family homes at $291, $276 and $275, respectively. The most significant decline was in Winnipeg, where detached homes fell 7.62 per cent in price per square foot — the moderate change reflecting the region’s stability, according to Century 21. 

Alberta: Alberta experienced the most significant growth in home prices over the past year, with consistent PPSF gains in most markets. While rising interest rates affected Edmonton condos, smaller towns like Okotoks rose 14 per cent in price. 

George Bamber, owner of CENTURY 21 Bamber Realty, notes that Alberta is becoming an attractive option for buyers leaving expensive B.C. areas, as it offers cheaper housing.


Inventory and future market outlook


Looking ahead, experts suggest that inventory levels will play a crucial role in determining future prices, as sellers may hold off on putting their homes on the market due to a hesitant buyer base. 

“Ultimately, we don’t know what the next six months holds for our housing prices, but it’s important not to get too focused on any single year and look at each data point within the larger context of ever-evolving trends,” Shyiak says.



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