There’s a growing housing divergence between East and West in Canada

By: Jessica Mach on July 16, 2019

An imbalance has started to emerge between Western and Eastern Canada, and Vancouver’s waning housing market is definitely helping to tip the scales.

Demand for housing in major cities across British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan are paling in comparison to the demand in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, according to a recent report released Monday by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), which shows an imbalance across both home prices and sales.

The average price of a home in the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA) was $982,200 in June, down 9.64% compared to the same month last year. Prices also fell in Calgary by 4.03%, to an average home price of $416,400, as well as Edmonton (down 3.34% to $319,500), Regina (-3.92% to $266,500) and Saskatoon (-1.22% to $288,900).

In comparison, the average price of a home in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) grew by 3.79% year-over-year, to $786,600 in June. Ottawa saw a bigger jump of 8.34% to an average price of $420,200, while both Montreal and Moncton saw gains as well (6.73% to $363,800 and 1.11% to $183,000, respectively).

Sales are following a similar pattern, with gains in Ontario and Quebec being offset by a “diverse mix of markets,” including the GVA and Calgary.

There were outliers to this new west-east divide, though. Prices in Victoria are still growing despite the slowdown in Vancouver, logging an average home price of $686,600 (up 0.41% year-over-year).

And out east, sales were down in both Halifax-Dartmouth and Newfoundland and Labrador, said CREA, which did not provide exact numbers.

Still, the trend is clear.

“There's a growing divergence in Canadian housing market trends between Eastern and Western Canada,” said Gregory Klump, CREA's chief economist.

“While sales activity in Canada's three westernmost provinces appears to have stopped deteriorating, it will be some time before supply and demand there becomes better balanced and the outlook for home prices improves.”