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‘We haven’t seen anything like this before’: pandemic boosts Canadian real estate

The Canadian real estate market is hot. And the heat is spreading far beyond big cities.

Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal Lepage, says the coronavirus pandemic is part of the reason.

“Real estate is one of those sectors that is actually seeing what I call a ‘COVID catalyst,’ maybe the three P’s of the pandemic: puppies, Peloton and property.”

Soper says home prices are up about 10 per cent this year — double the long-term average.

A new report from the real estate company shows “cottage country,” known as the recreational market, is especially hot.

To the end of September, year-over-year home prices in recreational property markets soared, driven by “Canadians’ ability to work remotely. ” The aggregate price of a single-family home in the recreational market rose 11.5 per cent to $453,046. The aggregate price of a waterfront property increased 13.5 per cent to $498,111.

Soper says there’s been a significant shift.

“You see people saying, ‘You know, my job can be done from anywhere, I’m making that decision. So potentially, I’m gonna relocate my family to where the cost of living is less, and the quality of life might be better for me.”

Soper says questions about a home’s internet are now a priority, and that more than half of new buyers are looking at recreational properties as full-time homes.

In Falcon Lake, Man., near the Ontario border, Rishi Ramberran and his family decided cottage country made sense.

“We actually were looking to move our home in the city, but when this thing came up, we just were like, ‘No, we will buy this instead.’”

Analysts say some of the increase is pent-up demand from the spring lockdown that paralyzed real estate.

In Atlantic Canada, long considered the best real estate deal in the country, there are far more buyers than sellers.

As a result, agent Kim Stewart says the cost is skyrocketing.

“We haven’t seen anything like this before.”

Stewart is representing a family from Vancouver, which got a surprise this week in pursuing a house in Dartmouth, N.S.

“Even I was shocked at the price. It was almost $200,000 over the asking price.”

Royal LePage doesn’t see the trend letting up — it’s forecasting demand and prices for recreational properties will keep increasing in the new year.

References: Global News

Canadian home sales, prices hit new highs for January compared to last year Home sales slowed in October but average price up 15% in past year, CREA says