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Big three markets roar out of pandemic

July 7, 2020

Housing markets in Canada’s three largest cities are roaring out of the pandemic as restrictions are lifted and more homes are listed.
Montreal is seeing bidding wars on homes by frustrated buyers; home sales and price in Greater Toronto are within 86 per cent of their pre-pandemic pace; and, in Metro Vancouver, housing sales in June were double the pace of May and higher than June 2019,  according to local real estate boards and Zoocasa’s early data on the Toronto market.
Daniel Dagenais, managing broker for Sotheby’s International Realty Quebec, told the Montreal Gazette that the lineup of Montreal buyers has grown as the number of listings has fallen. The result is multiple bids on some properties from desperate buyers.
Montreal real estate activity resumed May 11 after more than a month on lockdown. According to Centris data, although the volume of sales in May dropped by 41 per cent compared to 2019, the median price of a single-family home increased by 9 per cent to $370,000.
Montreal agents say homebuyer interest in June is evidence that the market is recovering much quicker than most expected, and note the action is spreading to areas outside of the city.
“I’ve never seen it busier, which has taken me by surprise,” said Anne-Marie Ashcroft, a broker with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Quebec, who specializes in homes on the outskirts of the city, in Hudson, St-Lazare and Rigaud. She’s getting two to three times the number of calls she’d expect on her listings, mostly from buyers looking to move away from the city, Ashcroft told the Gazette.
In Greater Toronto, sales and new listings are rising at the approximately same pace, according to Zoocasa sales data for the first three weeks of June,
“The detached house market in [the Greater Toronto Area] was in balanced territory in June with a sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR) of 47 per cent for the period, compared to 45 per cent for the same period last year,” Zoocasa reports. 
“Based on the recent traction we are seeing in the market, although demand is not quite at pre-emergency levels, it certainly feels as though we are heading back in that direction,” said Emma Pace, a Zoocasa agent in the City of Toronto. 
The average price of a detached house in the GTA as of July 1 was $1.1 million, up 10.4 per cent from May and 16.9 per cent higher than in June 2019, Zoocasa reports.
Metro Vancouver posted 2,443 home sales in June, which was 17.6 per cent more than in June 2019 and 64.5 per cent higher than in May, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
Prices have held steady this year and are up compared to a year earlier.
The benchmark price for all Metro Vancouver homes sold in June was $1.02 million, down 0.3 per cent from May but up 3.5 per cent from the same month a year ago.
“Home prices have remained steady with minimal fluctuation over the last few months,” said REBGV chair Colette Gerber. “With increasing demand, realtors have begun seeing multiple offers for homes priced competitively for today’s market.”
As in Montreal, much of the action in Metro Vancouver is flowing out of the city. In the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver, June housing sales soared 113 per cent higher than in May and were 32 per cent above the pace in June 2019.

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