What A Realtor Wants You To Know About Buying A Home In 2021

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Winter is typically the sleepiest season for real estate. The post-holiday pinch on our wallets, paired with our hibernation habits, aren't exactly conducive to selling (or buying) homes. Not so for 2021. We’re barely two months into the new year and the hot spring market has already started.

“The housing market was competitive before, but in the first few weeks of January, it’s become even more so,” says Davelle Morrison, a Toronto agent with Bosley Real Estate, who has witnessed bidding wars with up to 70 offers in the GTA. Not exactly the slowdown experts predicted would happen at the start of COVID-19. But is this just a — 10-month — blip? Will this year we finally see a softening in the country’s (frankly crazy) housing prices to make buying a home more affordable for those of us without a six-figure salary or a down payment from the bank or mom and dad?

If you’re thinking about buying and have no idea where to start, or if you can even afford it, we got you. Here’s what real estate and housing experts want you to know about Canada's real estate market in 2021.

What's happening in the Canadian real estate market in 2021?

Despite COVID, last year, the market took off once real estate was deemed an essential service and people working from home quickly realized that “cozy” and “intimate” in housing speak is really code for “cramped.” That desire for more space will continue to strengthen the market in 2021, Morrison says — for sellers at least. Record high demandespecially for homes — and a low supply in cities like Toronto and Vancouver are driving prices way, way up.

How up? In 2020, the average Canadian house price climbed 17% year-over-year. This year, realtors predict the sellers' market will continue, forecasting princes to rise between 4% to 6%. How those figures will actually play out depends on how many homes are put up for sale in the months ahead. (For example, the end of COVID mortgage deferrals did not result in homes foreclosing and more properties on the market as was expected.) “Home buyers right now really need to pack their patience,” Morrison says. 

Still, that doesn’t mean homes in *every* Canadian city are selling faster than Lysol wipes. While markets like Ottawa, Ontario's cottage country, and Halifax have soared, in Alberta, where the province’s economy has been hit by declining oil prices, homes in Calgary and Edmonton aren’t expected to surge in cost. You might also score a bit of a deal in Saskatchewan where properties in Regina are expected to remain steady or decrease ever so slightly due to a weakening economy.