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A Tale of Three Canadian Cities

The three main Canadian cities have seen differing prospects in their real estate markets at the beginning of 2019.

While the city of Toronto and surrounding areas remain strong, Greater Vancouver is suffering. But the new real estate star Canadian cities is now Montreal.

The Greater Toronto Area, the largest regional housing market in the country, is showing signs of stability, much of which is propelled by low inventory. Additionally buoyed by an improving job market, Ontario carried the national average, which would have been 0.4 per cent without it. Toronto’s median home prices increased 5.8 per cent year-over-year during Q1 2019.

However, other Canadian cities did not fare so well. Although British Columbia’s economy is robust, its housing market’s well-documented struggles persist. During the first quarter of this year, Greater Vancouver home prices declined year-over-year for the first time in seven years, with the aggregate price declining 1.5 per cent to $1,239,306.

Despite population growth and high employment levels, policy intervention, such as the extra tax charge on overseas property investors, has induced a drop in home sales to levels not seen in three decades.

Tellingly, some of Greater Vancouver’s most desirable regions have witnessed dipping housing prices. High-end submarkets, like West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, and the City of Vancouver, are all declining, and that has, in effect, produced a rare opportunity for luxury homebuyers.

The biggest winner among the Canadian cities however, is enjoying a prosperous housing market the likes of which Toronto and Vancouver enjoyed in recent years. Aggregate home prices in Greater Montreal rose 5.5 per cent year-on-year to reach $406,332. In fact, the rate of home price appreciation outpaced the national average, as well as rates in the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Vancouver.

It seems that when it comes to real estate markets in Canadian cities, a new star has been born.

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