Were you planning on buying real estate any time soon? House prices in Canada could go down on average across the country because of COVID-19 if the virus continues to stick around. However, the price drop won't be too drastic.
There are two different scenarios in play.
If the measures put in place to fight COVID-19 like stay-at-home restrictions are eased soon, the aggregate house price is expected to end the year with a 1% increase to $653,800.
However, it's a different situation when strict restrictions stay in place for a while.
If those measures continue through the summer, aggregate prices are expected to go down by 3% to $627,900.
That's because of the negative economic impact the virus has.
"The impact of COVID-19 on the Canadian economy has been swift and violent, with layoffs driving high levels of unemployment across the country," said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage, in a news release.
He also noted that because a lot of young and part-time workers are the ones losing work, the impact on the housing market won't be huge because those groups are less likely to buy or sell real estate.
In December 2019, Royal LePage had forecasted that the aggregate price in Canada would increase by 3.2% by the end of 2020.
Now that's all changed.
Soper said that even the way listings are sold could change because of the virus.
"As we ease out of strict stay-at-home regimens, sales volumes will return; traditional home sales practices will not," he noted. "The popular 'open house' gathering of buyers on a spring afternoon is gone, and it won't be coming back any time soon."
The news release explains that high demand and low inventory have spurred on rising home prices in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal.
In the Greater Toronto Area, if the pandemic situation continues through the summer, there could be a 0.5% decrease in the aggregate home price to $844,200.
In Montreal and the surrounding area, there could be a 3.5% decrease to $421,400.
For Vancouver, the decrease could be 2.5% which drops the aggregate home price to $1,054,400.
For the nation's capital, the aggregate price is expected to stay flat at $494,100 if the pandemic continues through the summer.
Soper said that if the spread of the virus is slowed and people can get back to work, the market could "roar back to life" with transactions delayed, not entirely eliminated.
Back in January, Fort McMurray, Alberta was named the most affordable housing market in the world by an affordability survey.
On the other end of the spectrum, in 2019, the median property price in Toronto rose by almost as much as people earn in a year.