Please, just tell us if it’s going up or down: ReMax adds to the confusion about the real estate market

Please, just tell us if it’s going up or down: ReMax adds to the confusion about the real estate market

Toronto can expect slow real estate growth (Image: MsAnthea)

We have no idea whether Canada’s real estate market is going to grow, shrink, stay the same, or get invaded by martians, but we don’t feel bad about it because apparently nobody else does either. The last six months have seen claims that the market is so over-valued it’s ready to collapse, followed by claims that it’s only a little bubbly, and now the latest report from ReMax says that compared to the roaring growth of previous years 2011 in Canada is going to be a slow one: three per cent growth nationwide, with much of that happening outside of Toronto. From the ReMax report:

The overall health of the Greater Toronto Area’s housing market is perhaps best illustrated by the continuation of price appreciation against the backdrop of softer sales activity. Home sales were front-loaded in 2010 as purchasers moved to get ahead of higher interest rates, tighter lending criteria, and the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax mid-year. Economic uncertainty cast a shadow over home-buying activity during the summer months…

Slow but steady economic recovery is forecast for the Greater Toronto Area moving forward. An improving employment picture and healthier outlook should serve to bolster home-buying activity in the new year. Immigration—which has had a major impact on housing in the past—will continue to be an integral part of the market in the future. Low interest rates—expected for much of the year—will also attract first-time and move-up activity in 2011.

So it won’t be bad for the GTA, but home prices won’t go up as fast as they will in other places. Oddly, leading the pack (if ReMax is correct) is St. John’s, NL, where ReMax expects the Lower Churchill hydro project to boost local spending. Ontario, alas, has no big hydro projects left to build near the GTA so we’re left out of that particular stimulus package. In Ontario, more rapid growth will come from the communities outside the GTA, like London-St. Thomas.

• ReMax Housing Market Outlook 2011 (PDF) [Remax]
Housing market to see ‘greater stability’ [Globe and Mail]
• Home prices expected to keep rising next year: Re/Max [Montreal Gazette]