What the Real Estate Market Has in Store for 2024

If we’ve learned anything this decade, it’s that it’s nearly impossible to make accurate predictions about what’s next. But that doesn’t mean we won’t try! 

When it comes to the Canadian housing market, the past three years have brought many surprises—from surging prices and tight supply, to a radical shift from low to high interest rates. 

While things seem to be slightly calmer right now, we thought we might dare bring out the crystal ball to see what might be coming down the pipeline for 2024. We caught up with Shaun Cathcart, Director and Senior Economist, Housing Data and Market Analysis with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), to gather his thoughts. 

Learn about the forecasts for the real estate market in 2024.

Buyers and sellers in 2024 

“Buyers have headed into hibernation mode,” says Cathcart. Much like their bear counterparts, Cathcart believes buyers are unlikely to make any significant moves before spring, and that’s only on the condition that prices are expected to come down. However, Cathcart noted when the Bank of Canada did pause on changing interest rates earlier this year, even he was surprised at how many buyers came out of the woodwork.

Now, though, it looks as though rates could be at a peak, even though nothing is guaranteed until announcements are made. It’s hard to know when the first rate cut will be, but Cathcart said it would need to come in advance of the spring market for the best chances of having a robust spring…and an equally robust 2024. “If you don’t have a spring market,” says Cathcart, “then you don’t have much of a year.”

For sellers, things may be quieter as well. Cathcart notes listings fell towards the end of 2023 for the first time since March, and it seems unlikely potential sellers will list their home in a cooler real estate climate unless absolutely necessary. Listing in a warmer market could mean multiple offers and more demand.

Explore the Housing Market Outlook for Buyers and Sellers in 2024.

West is where it’s at

When it comes to location trends, Cathcart notes, just like it was a decade ago, Alberta has once again become a hot ticket item. As Vancouver real estate became unaffordable for most buyers, those looking to purchase moved towards the interior of British Columbia, and then headed a bit further east for Alberta. However, Alberta’s not just for displaced Vancouverites—it’s picked up a following amongst Ontarians as well.

Recent years have seen a significant price hike in homes in Calgary, and the rest of Alberta may soon follow suit. Cathcart joked he recently gave a presentation in Edmonton, and when they bragged about still having affordable real estate, he cautioned them they were next. Even if the temperatures are less favourable than Southwestern Ontario, that isn’t stopping buyers from making the move. 

Cathcart also notes the East Coast has also seen a boom, with prices creeping up in cities such as Halifax, Nova Scotia. Remote work has now allowed employees in the Greater Toronto Area to move farther and farther afield, and many who have left the province are now simply refusing any sort of return-to-office plan. 

Explore the predictions from Real Estate Experts for 2024.Some final thoughts

It’s impossible to tell exactly what’s going to happen next. As Cathcart notes, much of the government’s decision on interest rates is based on inflation, and there’s still one final Bank of Canada announcement to come before the end of 2023. 

However, the data we have on hand may help paint a clearer picture. National home sales fell about 9.8% in 2023 compared to 2022 but according to CREA’s fall statistics, home sales should rebound by about 9% in 2024, which brings things closer to the 10-year national average without hitting some of those record levels that we saw during the pandemic. Provinces that are projected to lead the way in home sales in 2024 are Ontario (up 10.8%), Nova Scotia (up 10.4%), Newfoundland and Labrador (up 9.8%), and Alberta (up 9.6%).

As for prices, any gains next year are predicted to be modest, roughly up 1.5% on a national level. In Ontario, prices are expected to stay relatively level, despite that projected 10.8% increase in sales. Provinces expected to see the largest price gains in 2024 include Alberta (up 4.8%), New Brunswick (up 2.7%), and Newfoundland and Labrador (up 2.6%). 

In other words, the economy may feel unpredictable at times, but the news isn’t all bad. Interest rates may be a sore spot for some, but if you are looking to make a move in 2024, there will be plenty of opportunities at your fingertips.

If you’re looking to buy or sell in 2024, get in touch with a REALTOR® who can provide insights and trends happening in your area.

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