Here are some numbers to help frame this conversation:

551,000 – residential sales over all Canadian MLS® Systems in 2020—a new annual record.

Think that’s a lot? It’s really not. When you adjust home sales to account for population growth, we’re still below 2005, 2006, 2007 (by a lot) and 2016.

But activity is on the rise. Here are the numbers to think about as we begin 2021:

714,500 – December 2020 sales activity on a seasonally adjusted at annual rates (SAAR) basis.

December was another all-time monthly sales record. Just as a thought exercise, if monthly sales activity were to stay where it was in December right through 2021, we’d have more than 700,000 sales in 2021. Compare that to the 2020 record of about 550,000! To be clear, we aren’t expecting 700,000 sales in 2021. The point I want to make here is things could really cool off from where they are currently and 2021 would still be another record year. It shouldn’t be all that hard to beat “the year with no spring market.” The challenge we have in 2021 may be “the year with not enough homes for sale.”

99,265 – the number of active listings on all Canadian MLS® Systems as we were all singing Auld Lang Syne (distantly) on January 1. Want to know when the last time this number was under 100,000? Unfortunately, our database for active listings only goes back three decades so I can’t say. Given population and housing stock growth over all that time, the fact we currently have the lowest level of active supply on record is a big deal. Five years ago, it was 250,000.

OK, so that’s record setting sales (right now) and record low supply (right now). Put them together and you get one of our favourite stats, the number of months of inventory. As of New Year’s Day, there were 2.1 months of inventory for all of Canada. The longer-term normal or balanced level for this metric is 5.2 months. But how does that compare with history? Well, we had a housing boom in the early 2000s—prices basically doubled from about 2002 to 2007. Months of inventory then were a little under four. Then, following the financial crisis for much of the 2010s things were sort of boring, with months of inventory a little over six. That’s how you get an average of five. Right now, it’s two!

What does it all mean? Well, the stat to watch in 2021 will be new listings, particularly in the spring. How many existing owners will put their homes up for sale?

Even though sales are already setting records, we know demand is much stronger than those sales numbers suggest because we see it overflowing increasingly on the price side. A listing with 10 offers still only results in one sale but a whole bunch of upward price movement. That’s not a prediction. It’s already happening.

How the current situation plays out in the sales and price data will depend on how many homes become available to buy in the months ahead. Our experience suggests that we might see a bit of a head-fake slowdown in sales to start 2021. Don’t be fooled. With markets as tight as they are, there is less carry-over of existing supply into the New Year, so things tend to quiet down in January and February as we wait for the new spring listings. It’s hard to know how many of those there will be, and how many buyers are out there waiting to pounce, but I’ll go on record saying it will probably be headline-grabbing however it plays out.

As a final thought, ideally, we’d like for households to be able to find and acquire the homes that best suit their needs, for people to be able to move around when they want to, and for housing to remain affordable. But the fact is, we’re facing a major supply problem in 2021.

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OTTAWA — The number of homes sold nationally rose 11.3 per cent in November compared with a year ago but the picture varies significantly by region, said the Canadian Real Estate Association.

By: Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The number of homes sold nationally rose 11.3 per cent in November compared with a year ago but the picture varies significantly by region, said the Canadian Real Estate Association.

A major rebound in sales in the Greater Vancouver Area and continued growth in the Greater Toronto and Montreal regions propped up sales, while the Prairie cities of Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina saw declines.

Overall, there were 37,213 homes sold through CREA's MLS system, up from 33,437 in November 2018.

The increase in sales came as the national average price for a home sold in November was about $529,000, up 8.4 per cent compared with a year ago. Excluding Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver, the average price was around $404,000, up 6.9 per cent compared with last year. The MLS home price index rose 2.6 per cent year over year to $638,300.

Price gains also saw regional variances, with the Greater Vancouver benchmark price down 4.59 per cent from a year ago and Prairie home prices also down, while Greater Toronto saw gains of 6.52 per cent, Greater Montreal had gains of 8.72 per cent, and Ottawa registered gains of 11.45 per cent.

"Sales continue to improve in some regions and not so much in others," said Jason Stephen, president of CREA in the release.

In its updated outlook, the association says it expects home sales this year to total 486,800, while it says the national average price is on track to rise 2.3 per cent.

That compared with an earlier forecast for 482,000 home sales for 2019 and a 0.5 per cent increase in the national average price.

Prices rose as the number of newly listed homes slid 2.7 per cent, driven primarily by fewer new listings in the GTA.

Nationally there is 4.2 months of inventory, the lowest recorded since the summer of 2007. The inventory, which represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, is well below the long-term average of 5.3 months.

For 2020, CREA says it expects home sales to rise 8.9 per cent next year to 530,000. The national average price is forecast to rise 6.2 per cent to $531,000.

TD economist Rishi Sondhi said he also expects rising sales in 2020 from job growth, population gains and a mild boost from government programs for first-time home buyers, though he notes there is some room for caution.

"This view rests on financial conditions remaining accommodative. The backup in bond yields since September, if sustained, could offer some downside risk to our forecast."

He said the recovery in home sales, especially helped by the Greater Vancouver Area's 55.9 per cent jump, would yet again support fourth quarter economic growth.


When you think of the best timing of selling your home, winter might not be the first season that comes to mind! Aside from the freezing temperature outside, people are often preoccupied with the holiday season! However, there are many reasons why you should consider selling your home during the winter.

If you want to sell your home during the winter but are hesitant, here are five reasons to do it!

1. The buyers are serious.

Unlike popular belief, demand does not really go that low during winter. And while it is not the peak buying season, the buyers that will encounter are much more serious and motivated. The buyers you will encounter during winter are often in a rush, are ready to make offers, and plan on moving in before or after the new year. This is a great advantage for sellers because you don’t have to waste your time with buyers who are just looking.

2. There Is less competition.

You won’t have that much competition if you sell your home during winter. Many people decide against listing their homes during winter and wait for Spring instead. With less competition, it will be easier for your listing to stand out. You’ll be able to have a higher chance at attracting buyers and selling your home much quicker and at a better deal for you.

3. Loans are processed quicker.

For lenders, winter is a time when the inventory is smaller and they have more time to process loans. Since loans can be processed more quickly than other seasons, your selling process will be much smoother and your road to closing will be faster. If you or your buyer is in a rush to close the home before the new year, your buyers will not have s problem processing their loans.

4. You can get better deals.

Since there is less competition and buyers are much more motivated during this season, you can definitely negotiate better deals with your buyers. According to Redfin, listings during winter actually sell faster and for more money. Make sure to stage your home, create a good and sound contract, and have it inspected so you can put a premium on its price. You can take advantage of serious buyers and try to sell your property at a higher price and better payment terms.

5. It’s a great way to start the year.

If you’ve been wanting to sell your home or if there’s an inevitable reason to do it, doing it before the start of the year is definitely the best time. The end of the year is the perfect time to let go of your property. It is the perfect timing for Spring where you’ll be able to move on and start anew without carrying any pieces of baggage from the year before.

Selling your home during the winter, whether it’s because of financial reasons, relocation, or if it’s an investment property you’ve been holding on to, is a decision that you will be thankful for when Springtime comes.

If you think that it’s best for you to wait for Spring or Fall to sell your home, you better think again. While there are many factors that can contribute to your listing being sold, winter can definitely be a good time to sell it if you give it a chance. Keep these five reasons in mind the next time you hesitate on selling a home during winter!