Price per sq ft growth rate soars into the double-digits
Photo: James Bombales
From coast to coast, the Canadian housing market has experienced a boost in prices over the course of the last year, including the country’s busiest and largest market regions.
In its fifth-annual Price per Square Foot survey, CENTURY 21 Canada evidenced how nationwide price per square foot (PPSF) levels have changed compared to last year. The survey compared the PPSF of properties sold between January 1st and June 30th in 2021 to the same six-month period in 2020.
Following the initial decline in market activity during the spring 2020 wave of the pandemic, pent-up demand for housing pushed prices upwards throughout the fall and into early 2021 as supply dwindled. According to the survey’s report, home prices in major city centres have been “softer” compared to those in traditionally less expensive markets. Brian Rushton, Executive Vice-President of CENTURY 21 Canada, noted in the report’s findings that there wasn’t a single region across Canada that didn’t record price growth in the past year.
“When the pandemic began in 2020, the market became unchartered territory. But because of low inventory and high demand from buyers looking for a larger space, prices have steadily climbed for the past year, particularly detached homes,” said Rushton.
“Over the past couple of months, that growth has slowed and condo prices have started increasing again– it’s still a seller’s market from Victoria to St. John’s,” he added.
Out of all the markets CENTURY 21 analyzed across Canada, detached homes in the downtown and southwest areas of Montreal logged the highest PPSF, having soared 40.92 percent year-over-year to $1,350. By contrast, detached properties in Saint John, New Brunswick recorded the cheapest PPSF on record, rising 8.63 percent between 2020 and 2021 to $134.
In seventh place on the national list, townhomes in downtown and southwest Montreal reported annual price gains of 22.01 percent, boosting the average PPSF to $937.
“Montreal saw affordable prices for many years, but people saw the value in this city and the cost of a home is now on par with other major cities in the country,” said Mohamad Al-Hajj, owner of CENTURY 21 Immo-Plus in Montreal, in the survey’s report.
Four areas of Vancouver made up the top five ranks for the most expensive areas by PPSF nationwide. Condos located in downtown Vancouver posted a PPSF of $1,310, the second-priciest community on the national list. It was followed by Vancouver (West Side), Vancouver and West Vancouver, where the PPSF for detached properties in 2021 equated to $1,208, $975 and $971, respectively. Detached homes in Vancouver (East Side) and North Vancouver rounded out the top-10 national list, coming in ninth and tenth place, with PPSF levels of $877 and $794.
Downtown Toronto condos earned sixth place on the national list. While its costly PPSF of $956 places the neighbourhood high on the roster, the price of a condo per square foot actually dropped year-to-year by 7.45 percent, down from $1,033 in 2020.
Downtown Toronto was the only Ontario-based location to make Canada’s top-10 most expensive list, but meaningful price gains were still reported throughout the province. Owen Sound, Grey Bruce and London recorded soaring PPSF growth of 86.77 percent, 82.87 percent and 44.80 percent, posting prices of $312, $357 and $362 so far in 2021.
“Demand has been off the charts,” said Mike Seiler, owner of CENTURY 21 In-Studio Realty in Owen Sound, in the report. “Our clients are moving up from Toronto now that they can work from home. People are also realizing how much more space you can get once you get out of the metro area.”
Nabbing second and third place on Ontario’s provincial list, detached properties in Vaughan and Markham posted annual price gains of 11.75 percent and 14.96 percent, up to $612 and $557, respectively.