The Saint John housing market experienced a decline in sales activity at the onset of the COVID-19 lockdowns in mid-March, however home sales quickly resumed in the second week of April. According to the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report, sales activity is still going strong in the region and is expected to continue into the fall market. Prices have continued to climb and are anticipated to increase 7% through the remainder of 2020, due to lack of inventory, pent-up demand and high cost of building materials all impacting the bottom line.
Recreational markets within Saint John, such as Rothesay and Kingston, have experienced normal levels of activity that are common throughout the summer months. Waterfront properties in these regions have always been in demand from local buyers, this interest is expected to remain the same, even during the pandemic.
Atlantic Real Estate Market Trends
Other Atlantic Canada regions that reported low case counts of COVID-19, such as Halifax and Charlottetown, also experienced reduced market activity in March, however these Atlantic housing market declines were less pronounced than those experienced by some Ontario and Western Canada regions. Activity here returned to pre-COVID-19 levels by May 2020, and like many sellers’ markets in Canada, multiple offer scenarios continue to take place.
Canadian Housing Market Trends
Leading indicators from RE/MAX brokers and agents across Canada’s housing market point to a strong market for the remainder of 2020. According to the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report, RE/MAX brokers suggest that the average residential sale price in Canada could increase by 4.6% during the remainder of the year. This is compared to the 3.7% increase that was predicted in late 2019.
The pandemic has prompted many Canadians to reassess their living situations. According to a survey conducted by Leger on behalf of RE/MAX Canada, 32% of Canadians no longer want to live in large urban centres, and instead would opt for rural or suburban communities. This trend is stronger among Canadians under the age of 55 than those in the 55+ age group. Not only are Canadians more motivated to leave cities, but changes in work and life dynamics have also shifted their needs and wants for their homes. According to the survey, 44% of Canadians would like a home with more space for personal amenities, such as a pool, balcony or a large yard.
Canadians equally split on their confidence in the housing market
Canadians are almost equally split in their confidence in Canada’s real estate market, with 39% as confident as they were prior to the pandemic, and 37% slightly less confident. When it comes to the prospect of a second wave of COVID-19, 56% of Canadians who are feeling confident in Canada’s real estate market are still likely to buy or sell. “The classically hot spring market that was pushed to the summer months due to the COVID-19 pandemic created a surprisingly strong market across Canada and across all market segments,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada. “Looking ahead, government financial aid programs may be coming to an end in September, which could potentially impact future activity; however, the pent-up demand and low inventory dynamic may keep prices steady and bolster activity for the remainder of 2020. Overall, we are very confident in the long-term durability of the market.” Additional highlights from the 2020 RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report Survey:
- 48% of Canadians would like to live closer to green spaces
- 48% of Canadians say it’s more important than ever to live in a community close to hospitals and clinics
- 33% of Canadians would like more square footage in their home and have realized they need more space
- 44% of Canadians want a home with more outdoor space and personal amenities (i.e. balcony, pool etc.)
About the 2020 RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report The 2020 RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report includes data and insights supplied by RE/MAX brokerages. RE/MAX brokers and agents are surveyed on market activity and local developments.