Housing prices, sales and starts soared in major markets during pandemic

Housing prices, sales soar

A Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. report has found the COVID-19 pandemic was no match for Canada's real estate market, which saw prices and sales soar in several major cities during the health crisis.

The federal housing agency says government relief programs, variations in lockdown measures and pent-up demand for homes resulted in higher than expected sales, average prices and housing starts in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal in 2020.

CMHC says lockdowns and other restrictions caused a sharp declines in sales and price levels in the second quarter of 2020, but by the end of the third quarter, they had rebounded and climbed beyond pre-pandemic levels.

CMHC now says the number of sales has outpaced new listings, placing upward pressure on average prices.

The agency found sales growth is stronger in more expensive housing markets like Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, where more high-income households adapted to work from home easily.

Those working in lower-paid industries have been less able to adapt to pandemic conditions and are driving down demand for less expensive housing.

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