Differences in the Canadian Real Estate Market

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Differences in the Canadian Real Estate Market

This just in from CBC news: Average house price in Canada jumps 15% to $508,567 in March.

Incredible.

But is our housing market really so red hot? Is that average house price representative of what’s really going on across the country?

I turned to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) website to learn more. All numbers I share below are from CREA’s latest National Statistics or National Average Price Map (March 2016). I wasn’t surprised to discover that a few big cities are still skewing the numbers. Let’s take a look at the differences in the Canadian real estate market.

Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria

These three markets are still going strong. Prices in these big cities are definitely bringing up the Canadian average. Vancouver alone saw a price jump of more than 22 per cent, bringing their average house price to over $1 million dollars. Toronto saw their average price increase to about $688,000.

But what happens if you take British Columbia and Ontario out of the picture? The year-over-year national average house price drops to $299,591. That actually represents a one per cent drop in price from this time last year.

Calgary and Edmonton

Despite the downturn in the oil industry, Calgary’s stats aren’t as bad as many expected. Their latest year-over-year average house price only dropped by about half a percent, or to about $455,000.  Edmonton actually saw a 1.9 per cent increase, to about $379,500.

East Coast

If you’re looking for the most affordable real estate markets in Canada, you’ll find them on the East Coast. The most recent average house price in New Brunswick came in at about $154,000. Nova Scotia came in around $223,500 and Prince Edward Island actually saw a large increase, jumping up to about $194,000. Newfoundland & Labrador saw a decrease in average price, down to about $258,500.

Quebec

Real estate is still quite affordable throughout Quebec. The average price for the province is approximately $274,600. If you prefer the big city life, Montreal housing comes in around $336,000 and Quebec City around $260,000.

Urban Versus Rural

Throughout the country, real estate continues to be most expensive in the largest metropolitan areas. Smaller towns and cities, even those within commuting distance to large urban centres, still offer good prices. Rural properties offer some of the best deals. The biggest exception? Popular cottage areas. Ontario’s Georgian Bay area, Lake Louise and Banff in Alberta, Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, or Mont Tremblant in Quebec are home to some of Canada’s most beautiful – and expensive – properties.

For those struggling to afford a home in Canada’s biggest cities, thinking outside the box can help. A rental space, for example, can create a new income stream which is reasonably passive. A home with a basement suite could allow you to buy in an area you might have difficulty affording otherwise.

When done right, a home can become a great investment. Historically, real estate is a great hedge against inflation as it typically grows in value over time – as shown once again by Canada’s latest prices.