Buyers reboot purchase plans in Q1 to get ahead of rising home prices, anticipated interest rate cuts

Spring is normally the most active period for Canada’s real estate market – the arrival of warmer weather triggers an increase in buying and selling activity across the country. In 2024, the traditionally-busy spring market kicked off early and is facing additional pressure, as homebuyer hopefuls who have been sitting on the sidelines jump back into the market ahead of anticipated interest rate cuts, and the tight competition and higher home prices that will inevitably follow. 

Royal LePage® is forecasting that the aggregate1 price of a home in Canada will increase 9.0% in the fourth quarter of 2024, compared to the same period last year. Based on stronger-than-expected first quarter results, the previous forecast has been upgraded nationally and in most major markets.

“Consistent with our previous forecast, the market did reach a critical tipping point in the first quarter of 2024, when home prices bottomed out and began to appreciate again. Clearly, more and more buyers are motivated by the need to get ahead of rising home prices, rather than adopting the strategy of waiting for mortgage rates to fall,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. 

How did home prices perform in Q1?

According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey, the aggregate price of a home in Canada increased 4.3% year over year to $812,100 in the first quarter of 2024. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, the national aggregate home price increased 2.9%, an indication that sidelined buyers are rebooting their real estate purchase plans ahead of expected interest rate cuts, as predicted in January. 

When broken out by housing type, the national median price of a single-family detached home increased 4.5% year over year to $845,300, while the median price of a condominium increased 3.5% year over year to $591,900. 

Toronto and Montreal home price appreciation to outpace Calgary

The aggregate price of a home in the greater regions of Toronto and Montreal are forecast to increase 10.0% and 8.5% year over year, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2024, outpacing price gains in the city of Calgary, which was previously expected to see the greatest increase in home values this year. 

“Last year, while property values dipped in most markets across the country, the Calgary real estate market bucked the trend and continued to record home price gains. While activity levels remain strong and prices continue to rise in Alberta, our research indicates that buyer demand, relative to available inventory, is strongest in the two largest urban centres in the country. We now expect Toronto and Montreal to log the highest home price appreciation this year,” added Soper. 

This sustained price appreciation is expected to close the gap between the country’s two most expensive real estate markets, Toronto and Vancouver. While Vancouver remains the nation’s most expensive market today, Royal LePage predicts that the aggregate price of a home in the GTA will surpass Greater Vancouver in the second half of 2024.

Busy spring, busier fall, on the cards for 2024

Within the first months of the new year, the Canadian housing market has already recorded solid price appreciation and higher sales activity. Starting in July of 2023, the Bank of Canada has held rates steady through six review periods. This has prompted many homebuyers to come off of the sidelines in advance of what they expect will be a more competitive spring market that will drive home prices higher. 

“Given the strong start to 2024, the cadence of the market for the balance of the year points to a normally busy spring market that will lead into an uncomfortably busy fall. It is clear we are rapidly transitioning away from a buyers’ market and back to an environment where the seller has the upper hand,” noted Soper. 

Read Royal LePage’s first quarter release for national and regional insights. 

First quarter press release highlights:

  • Among major regions, Calgary recorded highest year-over-year aggregate price appreciation (9.7%) for the second consecutive quarter; increased 1.9% on a quarterly basis

  • 89% of regions in the report recorded quarterly price appreciation in the first three months of the year, ahead of the traditionally busy spring market period

  • Royal LePage expects home prices in the Greater Toronto Area will surpass those in Greater Vancouver in 2024 


8 new housing policies announced in the 2024 federal budget

On Tuesday, April 16th, the Canadian federal government unveiled the 2024 budget. The annual fiscal announcement detailed dozens of new and ongoing initiatives aimed at creating new housing, along with policies targeted at making renting and home ownership more affordable for Canadians.

Here are eight standout housing policies announced in this year’s budget:

Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights

More Canadians are renting for longer periods of time before they transition into home ownership. The 2024 budget announced several measures intended to more effectively protect tenants and strengthen their path to buying real estate.

Budget 2024 announced the creation of the Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights, which proposes a nationwide standard lease agreement, and would require landlords to disclose rental price history on properties. Through the Canadian Mortgage Charter, the Budget also calls on banks and lenders to allow tenants to report their rental payment history to credit bureaus in order to better their credit scores, thereby strengthening their future mortgage applications.

Additionally, $15 million over five years has been allocated to a Tenant Protection Fund, which will provide legal support to tenants.

Funding for the construction of new homes

The federal government is promising billions of dollars in spending towards the construction of new housing.

The 2024 budget unveiled the Canada Builds initiative, which will enable the country’s Apartment Construction Loan Program to partner with provincial governments in order to build more rental accommodation. Starting next year, the program will receive $15 billion in additional funding for the creation of 30,000 new homes, topping up the program’s current funding allocation to over $55 billion for a total of 131,000 units, set to be built by 2031.

The Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation’s (CMHC) Housing Accelerator Fund will also receive $400 million in financial support to build 12,000 new housing units.

Infrastructure Canada will receive $6 billion over the next decade towards the Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund, which will support the creation of water and waste infrastructure needed for new communities. $100 million over two years will also be dedicated to Employment and Social Development Canada to support apprenticeship and skilled-trade programs that address the workforce shortage needed to build housing.

30-year mortgage amortizations for first-time buyers of new homes

Through the Canadian Mortgage Charter, the 2024 budget announced that starting on August 1st, first-time buyers purchasing a newly-constructed home can access 30-year mortgage amortizations, a product that has previously only been available to those with a down payment of at least 20%.

In practice, a longer amortization period would allow borrowers to pay off their mortgage over an extended timeline, thereby reducing their monthly payments.

Amendments to the Home Buyers’ Plan

Saving for a down payment is one of the largest hurdles new homebuyers face. To make it easier to access funds for a home purchase, Budget 2024 unveiled an amendment to the withdrawal limit on the Home Buyers’ Plan, which has been increased from $35,000 to $60,000 as of April 16th.

Support for single-family home suites

To encourage the creation of secondary housing units, the 2024 budget announced $409.6 million over four years towards a Canada Secondary Suite Loan Program, run by the CMHC. This will enable homeowners to borrow up to $40,000 in low-interest loans towards the cost of adding a secondary suite to their homes, which can be used for multi-generational living purposes or as a source of rental income.

Increase to the inclusion rate on capital gains above $250,000

Effective June 25th, Budget 2024 proposes an increase to the inclusion rate on capital gains realized annually above $250,000 by individuals, corporations and trusts from one-half to two-thirds, by amending the Income Tax Act. This would include the sale of secondary residences and investment properties.

Currently, only 50% of capital gains are taxable. The 2024 budget would increase the inclusion rate to 66% on capital gains above $250,000. The sale of principal residences will continue to be exempt from capital gains tax.

New funds for post-war housing catalog

In December 2023, the federal government announced that it would be modernizing its post-war home design catalog, providing standardized home blueprints that would accelerate the creation of much-needed housing. The 2024 budget unveiled $11.6 million towards the development of 50 home designs, which includes plans for row homes, fourplexes, sixplexes, accessory units and modular homes.

Conversion of public lands into housing

Land scarcity is one of the main barriers to the creation of new housing. The federal government intends to utilize public lands in order to free up space where new housing can be built, with a goal of building 250,000 new homes by 2031 under the Public Lands for Homes Plan. In Budget 2024, the government announced plans to lease public land to builders in order to lower capital costs, and review the federal lands portfolio to identify more usable lands for housing. The budget also outlines plans to reduce the footprint of federal office buildings, and convert these spaces into housing.

Over the next three years, $5 million will be allocated to the Canada Lands Company to support initiatives to build properties on public lands.

Want to know more about the 2024 federal budget? You can read the full budget announcement here.


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