March’s real estate sales were just as energetic as February’s, with average home prices rising to $758,802 and average condo prices to $437,041. You may remember that average home and condo sale prices in February were $717,914 and $407,671 respectively, so the new numbers represent fairly significant increases month-over-month. 

While the real estate industry is a key contributor to Canada’s GDP, and a strong, active market is part of a healthy economy, runaway housing prices are cause for concern. A rise in interest rates would have a cooling effect, but the Bank of Canada has indicated it expects to keep its key interest rate steady until 2023, to help the country’s economy recover from the pandemic. 

However, buyers who are preparing to purchase should be aware of a proposed change by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) which would increase the mortgage stress test level ( 4.79 per cent to 5.25 percent effective June 1, 2021. This, too, would have a cooling effect.

An increase in the number of properties being offered for sale would also help balance out the market, giving buyers more choice. We may not see this happen until a large percentage of the population has been vaccinated and the transmission of the variants of concern has slowed. 

If you’d like to talk mortgages or financing, and wish to be connected to an expert, please let me know. I work with several smart and trustworthy mortgage professionals and I’m happy to refer one or several names to you. 

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