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Homeownership in Canada: The Coast to Coast Difference

Clock5 min. read
byVexxit Staff onDecember 10, 2020

The pandemic has contributed to some vast shifts in housing costs and preferences in communities across Canada. Home prices have taken unexpected turns and people are craving a return to rural regions as work-from-home appears here to stay.

 It’s a strange time for the housing market in Canada. Some experts predicted the effects of COVID-19 would be serious and swift. Some conjectures stated that sharp income losses would cool the market. 

However, according to Statistics Canada’s New Housing Price Index, prices for new houses were up 1.3 per cent six months into the pandemic, and housing costs have risen in 23 of 27 of Canada’s largest cities. 

These costs look starkly different in each city, just as they did before the pandemic. There are huge coast-to-coast differences in average housing costs, availability and demand.  

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Average housing costs across Canada in 2020

RE/MAX Canada’s 2020 Fall Market Outlook Report released the average residential sale price of a single-detached home in July 2020.  

2020 FALL MARKET OUTLOOK REPORT

  • Vancouver $2,331,583.00 

  • Victoria $1,037,859.00 

  • Calgary $485,800.00  

  • Edmonton $436,142.00 

  • Regina $340,000.00 

  • Saskatoon $381,016.00 

  • Winnipeg $353,238.00 

  • Ottawa $585,084.00 

  • Toronto $1,541,003.00 

  • Charlottetown $282,411.00 

  • Halifax $406,079.00 

  • St. John’s $296,312.00 

The cost of housing in Vancouver is the highest across Canada at $2.3 million, and lowest in Charlottetown at $282,000. 

Trends in Canada’s housing market

The RE/MAX report also notes a few important shifts in Canada’s housing market.

The average residential sale price in Canada could increase by 4.6 per cent during the remainder of the year. Statistics Canada points to the same conclusion, noting the higher cost of building materials, especially lumber, will continue to drive up new house prices. 

With high demands and low inventory, prices in recreational property markets (meaning areas with lakes, cabins and outdoor attractions like Whistler and Muskoka) have been swiftly increasing. This is fitting as a recent RE/MAX Market Outlook survey recently found that nearly half of Canadians want to live closer to green space. 

Highlights from the Fall Canadian Market Outlook Report Survey

  • As remote work and life dynamics shift, Canadians are showing more interest in suburban homes. 32 per cent of Canadians no longer want to live in urban centres, opting for rural communities instead.

  • 48 per cent of Canadians say it’s more important than ever to live in a community close to hospitals and clinics.

  • 33 per cent of Canadians would like more square footage in their home and have realized they need more space. 


  • 44 per cent of Canadians want a home with more outdoor space and personal amenities (i.e. balcony, pool etc).  


New Housing Price Index Statistics Canada’s New Housing Price Index ranks 27 metropolitan areas based on changes over time in the selling prices of new houses. 

The index reveals a few noteworthy shifts in pricing. Prior to the pandemic, housing prices in Vancouver and Toronto were on a downward trend. Six months into the pandemic, there is strong demand and prices have increased in both cities. 

Additionally, because of more buyers choosing to live in suburbs near large urban centres, prices have been pushed up in smaller cities like St. Catharine’s-Niagara and Oshawa. 

Of the 27 metropolitan areas, the five with the largest change in housing costs in 2020 are:

  • Ottawa 

  • Halifax 

  • Hamilton 

  • Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo

  • Guelph

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