Canadian Real Estate Outlook for 2024

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Canadian Real Estate Outlook for 2024…eh!

Like its southern neighbor, we've watched the Bank of Canada hike up their benchmark interest rate. Now, there's talk that maybe, just maybe, the housing market's rough ride could smooth out in 2024. But predicting exactly when this will happen and how strong the rebound will be isn't easy. It's got a lot of us on the edge of our seats, wondering if it's the right time to jump into the market.

The central bank's rate is like the heartbeat of Canada's housing market. If the predictions are right and we see interest rate cuts in 2024, it could be a break for those itching to buy a home. But it's not all sunshine and rainbows yet. Despite the Bank of Canada hitting a pause on rate hikes for a bit, a survey by Ipsos for Global News found that a whopping 73% of Canadians feel locked out of the housing market because of these high rates. It's especially tough for millennials and folks in British Columbia and Quebec.

Darrell Bricker at Ipsos Global pointed out to Global News that while these high borrowing costs are a barrier, they might also nudge some sellers who can't keep up with their mortgage payments to sell.

As for the 2024 housing market, Robert Hogue from RBC thinks we might see some action before the busy spring season. But high borrowing costs could keep a lid on things in the first half of the year. If mortgage rates tied to bonds start to dip, we might see some buyers, especially investors, jumping in.

Hogue doesn't think sellers will flood the market, even though a lot of folks will have their mortgage terms ending. He believes the mortgage stress test should help prevent a wave of forced sales. He's expecting a bit of a boost in demand if we see interest rate cuts, but nothing crazy until borrowing costs really start to drop.

Over at Royal LePage, they're also predicting a pick-up in sales and prices in the second half of 2024. They even think home prices could get close to their pandemic peak by the end of the year.

Phil Soper from Royal LePage says there's a lot of pent-up demand. A drop in interest rates could be the sign people are waiting for to feel confident that the price of the home they buy today won't drop tomorrow.

But it's not just about buying. The rental market has been through the wringer, too. Even though overall inflation has cooled down, the cost of shelter remains high. There's some hope that if borrowing costs ease up, it might also take some pressure off the rental market, as more renters might buy homes and free up rental units.

But don't expect miracles in affordability. Housing affordability hit a 41-year low in 2023, but there's been a slight reversal recently, with home prices dropping in some areas. However, a big factor in whether housing becomes more affordable is the supply. We need a lot more houses to meet the demand, especially with Canada's immigration levels.

The federal government has plans to boost home construction, but even with that, it might not be enough to keep up with the demand and make housing truly affordable.

To sum it up, 2024 is shaping up to be a crucial year for the Canadian housing market. There are a lot of promises and proposals floating around, and it's time to see if they actually pan out. We're all waiting to see if this is the year things start to turn around in the housing world.

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