Canada real estate: RBC Economics observes growing preference for single-detached homes over condos

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      Last July, Statistics Canada predicted a shift in demand from condos to single-detached homes.

      “As working from home becomes more prevalent,” the agency stated,” we may see an increase in the demand for larger living spaces that single-family homes can offer, causing a shift in demand from condominium apartments towards single houses.”

      A recent housing commentary released by RBC Economics appears to validate the forecast.

      “Buyers nationwide are demonstrating a stronger preference for single-detached homes,” bank economist Robert Hogue wrote.

      In a commentary about the August housing market in Canada, Hogue noted that sales of freestanding homes “vastly outpaced condos”.

      “Even in Calgary, detached home sales were up from a year ago, which contrasted with transactions involving condos falling substantially,” the economist stated.

      Moreover, the “growing penchant for single-detached homes is supporting stronger price increases in that category”.

      “That, too, is a Canada-wide trend,” Hogue stated.

      In addition, Hogue predicted that single-detached and condo valuations will “continue to diverge in the period ahead”.

      For the month of August, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported that residential sales in the region totalled 3,047 in August 2020.

      The number represents a 36.6 percent increase from the 2,231 sales in August 2019.

      Sales of detached homes in August 2020 numbered 1,095, a 55.1 percent increase from the 706 detached sales recorded in August 2019.

      Condo sales reached 1,332 in August 2020, a 19.4 percent increase compared to the 1,116 sales in August 2019.

      Meanwhile, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) recorded 2,039 sales in August, a 57.2 percent increase from the 1,297 sales during the same month last year.

      The sale of single-detached homes reached 877 in August, a 71.6 percent increase over the 511 sales in the same month of 2019.

      Also, condo sales reported by the FVREB totalled 422 in August 2020. This constitutes a 27.5 percent increase over the 331 sales during the same month last year.

      In his September 4 commentary, Hogue noted that early numbers “showed red hot activity in many areas around the country” last month.

      “But the bigger story might be that COVID-19 is now prompting more people to sell,” Hogue also wrote.

      According to Hogue, new listings “increased strongly in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver”.

      “We think this in part reflects the pandemic altering the housing needs of many current owners—who are opting to move, something they might not have considered just a few months ago,” Hogue noted.