As the Bank of Canada’s rate hikes caught up to homeowners in 2023. Canadian real estate market was characterized by tightening affordability and buyer uncertainty. National inventory raised closer to a normal level, but that came at the cost of fewer sales. However, now that inflation is coming down, many economists predict the Bank of Canada is done raising rates and that they will come down in mid to late 2024. What will that mean for the 2024 housing market?
GTA predictions for the housing market
In 2023, the CMHC is expecting the total number of housing starts to take a bit of a tumble. But don’t worry, things should pick up again in 2024 and 2025. The catch here is that higher costs for things like construction financing, labor, and materials might put a damper on construction activity. The average price for homes on the MLS® in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is predicted to drop a bit in 2023, to be similar to home prices in 2021. But just like with housing starts, prices should start going up again in the following couple of years. That said, the high price levels in the GTA will make it tricky for people to buy their first home.
The demand for housing also softened as some buyers decided to wait on the sidelines for more clarity and stability in the market. Moreover, the federal government introduced a new stress test for uninsured mortgages in June 2022, requiring borrowers to qualify at a higher rate than their contract rate or the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate, whichever is higher.
The impact of these factors varied across different regions and segments of the market. the Greater Toronto Area, saw strong price growth in the first quarter of 2023, driven by low inventory and high demand for detached homes and condos.
Looking ahead to 2024, most experts and analysts expect the Canadian housing market to recover gradually as interest rates stabilize and demand returns. CREA forecasts that national home sales will rise by 13.9 percent to 561,090 units in 2024, while the national average home price will increase by 4.7 percent to $702,200.
TD Economics forecasts the unemployment rate to peak at 4.5% in Q4-2024, before gradually moving back to its long-run average of 4% by early-2026. The demand for housing is also likely to rebound as buyers regain confidence and take advantage of lower prices and favorable mortgage rates.
Final Thoughts for the Future Years
The Canadian housing market has been through a lot of ups and downs in recent years, influenced by various factors such as interest rates, mortgage rules, pandemic effects, economic trends, and consumer preferences.
The outlook for 2024 is cautiously optimistic, with expectations of a gradual recovery in sales and prices as conditions improve. However, some potential pitfalls could derail this scenario, such as supply shortages, health crises, or external shocks.