real estate

Cooling prices, smart tech and the suburbs are in the cards for Canada

After a roller-coaster market, 2019 is pressing the reset button on housing and starting fresh. That’s the word from Engel & Völkers, the Germany-based international luxury real estate firm, in a list of five trends it expects to shape the Canadian industry this year.

Homebuyers don’t like interest, but it sure is fond of them. First, banks will probably raise interest rates with several hikes throughout 2019, Engel & Völkers reckons. Those increases will likely be enough to cool down the inflated markets in places such as Vancouver and Toronto. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) expects that the average price for homes across Canada will rise by a soft 1.7 percent, below the predicted pace of inflation.

The second trend is no stranger to the Canadian real estate market: foreign buyers. Although some cities’ new policies may have been scared off outside money, markets with no foreign-buyer tax, such as Montreal and Whistler, should pique the interest of offshore purchasers, resulting in a rise in home sales throughout the year.

Third, some smaller Canadian cities are becoming a force of their own. Medium-sized centres like Calgary and Halifax have undergone a revitalization, with development, industries and real estate ramping up in their markets. As a result, some downtown dwellers may be drawn to surrounding areas and markets such as Coquitlam and New Westminster. Don’t expect big cities to see a fall, though. They’ll continue to enjoy healthy growth, thanks to emerging industries and the tech boom being felt across major metropolises.

No. 4: millennials are starting to play a significant role in the Canadian real estate market. Due to the narrowing price gap between condos in the city and houses on the outskirts, Engel & Völkers predicts, new families will seek suburban homes away from the bustle of the downtown core.

The fifth trend? Banisters and billiards rooms are a thing of the past for most consumers. Engel & Völkers has seen more property purchases based on location, amenities, transit, sustainability and smart tech integration within new homes. Rather than traditional luxury, homebuyers want the convenience of a nearby gym and remote control of household devices. As a result, developers are reportedly beginning to factor smart building technologies into new construction projects right from the planning stages.

The red-hot market may be over, but these trends are sure to make 2019 a dynamic year for the housing sector.