Canada Home Prices See Record Drop as High Rates Hit Buyers

(Bloomberg) — Canadian home prices fell by essentially the most on record in 2022, as rapidly rising rates of interest forced a market adjustment which will have further to go.

Most Read from Bloomberg

The country’s benchmark home price fell 1.6% in December to C$730,600, bringing the full decrease since February’s peak to 13.2%, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Monday.

The decline was the largest peak-to-trough falloff because the group began compiling the information in 2005. Last yr also saw the largest price decline for a calendar yr since records began, with a 7.5% drop overall.

With the economy at risk of entering a recession, and the Bank of Canada warning of more rate hikes to counter persistent inflation, the housing market may face continued pressure in the approaching months.

A record variety of buyers used floating-rate debt for purchases during Canada’s pandemic-era real estate boom, and people borrowers may come under increasing strain if mortgage costs remain high. Job losses from an economic slowdown also would make it harder for people to maintain up with loan payments and stay of their homes.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict Canada will enter a recession in the primary a part of this yr.

“As we look forward to the crucial spring selling season, the all-important query is who will emerge from hibernation in greater force — buyers or sellers?” Douglas Porter, chief economist on the Bank of Montreal, said in a note to clients commenting on the brand new sales data. “We suspect that the market will still be digesting the rapid run-up in rates of interest, and that buyers will likely be more reluctant to re-emerge, keeping prices under pressure for a while yet.”

Pulling Back

The housing slump to this point has largely been driven by a pullback amongst buyers who’ve been priced out as a result of higher rates of interest. The variety of transactions in December was down 39% on a non-seasonally adjusted basis from last yr, when the market was approaching its peak and before rates of interest began rising.

Read more: Global Central Banks Aren’t Declaring Victory Over Inflation Yet

Compared with November, the variety of sales in December rose 1.3%, while recent listings fell 6.4% as more prospective sellers opted to attempt to wait out the market weakness.

A part of which may be seasonal: Listings are inclined to slow during Canada’s winter months, then pick up again when the weather warms within the spring, traditionally the busiest time to sell.

Thus far, the decline in prices doesn’t appear to be enough to lure back many buyers since it’s been so outpaced by the rise in borrowing costs. From a record low 0.25% last March the Bank of Canada has raised its benchmark rate to 4.25% today, meaning prospective buyers in search of a 5-year mortgage now often face rates of about 6.5%.

Despite the past yr’s decline, prices rose so fast throughout the pandemic buying frenzy that the national benchmark in December remained 33% higher than it was three years earlier. A report last month by Royal Bank of Canada showed that for the everyday buyer depending on a mortgage, housing affordability deteriorated to its worst level ever as mortgage rates rose with prices still elevated.

(Updates with commentary from economist in seventh paragraph and extra context)

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2024. All Rights Reserved. Finapress | Flytonic Theme by Flytonic.