Hafez Realty News

Canada’s Housing Market Remains at Moderate Degree of Vulnerability

Weakening housing market fundamentals and an increase in average overvaluation estimates in the second quarter of 2020 have led to Canada’s housing market retaining a moderate degree of vulnerability. This analysis is according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Housing Market Assessment (HMA) released today.


Results are based on data as of the end of June 2020 (annual rental apartment vacancy rates are from October 2019) and market intelligence up to the end of August 2020. This national report provides the housing market assessment at the national level and detailed results for 15 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs).


The last HMA was released in February, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic led to significant and rapid changes in the economy. Due to the swift evolution of the situation and unprecedented level of uncertainty, the HMA was suspended until relevant and timely data were available again.


To ensure timely information, the overvaluation framework in this edition relies on preliminary estimates of some fundamental drivers of the housing market in the second quarter of 2020. Final calculations and ratings for overvaluation will be presented in the next HMA as finalized data for these fundamental drivers becomes available. The attached backgrounder also provides additional information.


While the HMA framework still focuses on the same key factors in assessing the degree of housing market vulnerability (overheating, price acceleration, overvaluation and overbuilding), there exists a wider range of housing market vulnerabilities in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. The HMA nonetheless remains useful to keep the pulse of housing markets in Canada and to continue monitoring potential imbalances.


Highlights:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all regions of the country.
  • Prior to the second quarter of 2020, Vancouver and Toronto were experiencing a general unwinding of housing market imbalances.
  • Vancouver and Toronto saw an increase in observed house prices in the second quarter of 2020 despite the COVID-19 driven decline in their estimated fundamental house prices. This has led to an increase in average overvaluation estimates in both housing markets.
  • The OttawaMoncton, and Halifax housing markets are all now assessed at an overall moderate degree of vulnerability.
  • OttawaMontréalMoncton, and Halifax entered the second quarter of 2020 with emerging imbalances in their respective housing markets.
  • Observed house prices in all four CMAs had been growing prior to the onset of COVID-19 and continued growing in the second quarter, despite the general weakness in housing market fundamentals.
  • This has led to the detection of moderate evidence of overvaluation in Moncton and Halifax while a sustained increase in the rate of house price growth has led to the signaling of price acceleration in Ottawa and Montréal.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and downward pressure on oil prices further aggravated Edmonton and Calgary’s recent economic challenges.
  • House prices in these Prairie centres fell in the second quarter of 2020. The rate of decline is below what can be explained by housing market fundamentals alone. This has led to an increase in average overvaluation estimates in both housing markets between the first and second quarters of 2020.
  • Evidence of overbuilding that was first detected in 2015 is still present in both markets.


Comparisons between the February 2020 and September 2020 reports
 OverheatingPrice AccelerationOvervaluation*OverbuildingOverall Assessment
  Feb. 2020Sept. 2020Feb. 2020Sept. 2020Feb. 2020Sept. 2020Feb. 2020Sept. 2020Feb. 2020Sept. 2020
Canada Low Low Low Low Moderate Moderate Low Low Moderate Moderate
Victoria Low Low Moderate Low Moderate Moderate Low Low High Moderate
Vancouver Low Low Low Low Moderate Low Low Low Moderate Moderate
Edmonton Low Low Low Low Low Low Moderate Moderate Low Low
Calgary Low Low Low Low Low Low Moderate Moderate Low Low
Saskatoon Low Low Low Low Low Low Low Low Low Low
Regina Low Low Low Low Low Low High Moderate Moderate Low
Winnipeg Low Low Low Low Low Low Moderate Moderate Low Low
Hamilton Moderate Moderate Moderate Low Low Low Low Low Moderate Moderate
Toronto Moderate Low Moderate Low Low Low Low Low Moderate Moderate
Ottawa Low Moderate Low Moderate Low Low Low Low Low Moderate
Montréal Moderate Moderate Low Moderate Low Low Low Low Low Low
Québec Low Moderate Low Low Low Low Low Low Low Low
Moncton Moderate Moderate Low Low Low Moderate Low Low Low Moderate
Halifax Low Low Low Low Low Moderate Low Low Low Moderate
St. John’s Low Low Low Low Low Low Moderate Low Low Low
Degree of vulnerability
  Low   Moderate   High

*The September 2020 overvaluation ratings are based on prliminary stimates.


CMHC issues the HMA on a quarterly basis to provide Canadians with expert and impartial insight and analysis, based on the best data available in Canada. The report provides a comprehensive view of housing market vulnerabilities and identifies imbalances. The HMA is not intended to identify long-term challenges related to housing affordability.


Provided by: CMHC

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