September 30, 2023

Is shopping for a house simpler or more durable than it was 30 years in the past? That debate – and the reply – varies relying on the historic elements thought of and your personal monetary place and way of life desire. 

We discover how occasions have modified by taking a look at costs, demographics, mortgage charges, and home sort and placement.

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Then: An extended hunch

Going into the Nineteen Nineties, Canada’s housing market appeared strong, however then the economic system slid and costs stagnated for a lot of the decade. In Toronto, prices peaked at $254,197 in 1989 and didn’t attain that degree once more for greater than 12 years.

Statistics from the Canadian Actual Property Affiliation present that the nationwide common value was $142,091 in 1990 and $154,768 by 1997 – an 8% increase that, in line with Monetary Put up columnist Garry Marr, is “paltry by as we speak’s requirements.”  Even two years later, in 1999, the nationwide common value was nonetheless simply $158,000.

Now: Costs proceed to regulate to the post-pandemic market

The present housing panorama remains to be in a interval of restoration after staggering value good points throughout the pandemic adopted by fast rate of interest development that restricted shopping for energy. The nationwide common value for a house offered in December 2022 was $626,316, which is a 12% drop from December 2021’s common residence value of $711,579. One of many overriding themes of 2022 was the shortage of stock obtainable for potential consumers.

Nonetheless, there have been some areas which have skilled month-to-month good points in costs. Saint John’s common value elevated by 6.5% to $284,899. Calgary’s value additionally grew by  2.7% to $518,341.

Though it’s true individuals are making extra money than previously, incomes haven’t stored tempo with costs. A latest report exhibits that there are solely 5 main cities in Canada that present housing that’s inexpensive for households with a single median earnings earner. 


Then: Fewer first-time residence consumers

A key consider Canada’s final main housing market disaster – which set the Nineteen Nineties up for stagnation – was the unusually low number of people within the 25-34 age group. The dearth of younger individuals meant fewer first-time residence consumers to drive the market ahead.

Now: First-time consumers and buyers dominate the market

By comparability, there are a lot of extra individuals at the moment within the 25-34 age group ready on the sidelines for costs to drop additional to afford to buy their first properties. As rates of interest have made housing much less inexpensive in Canada, many buyers that had the funds to scoop up properties even with the upper charges have been fairly energetic in Canadian markets.

Mortgage Charges

Then: Excessive mortgage charges

At the start of the Nineteen Nineties, the curiosity on a 5-year fastened mortgage fee – the preferred fee in Canada – was about 14%. Charges regularly declined however jumped over the ten% mark in 1995 till completely dropping, thanks partly to new Bank of Canada policies.

Now: Decrease mortgage charges

Over the previous decade, rates of interest on mortgages have been at historic lows, hovering between the 2-5% vary on common, which is lower than half what they have been 20 years in the past. This substantial distinction has made shopping for a house a extra enticing and possible choice.

Whereas the Financial institution of Canada (BoC) has been steadily elevating rates of interest the previous yr, compared to 30 years in the past, as we speak’s charges are nonetheless extremely aggressive.

Home Kind & Location

Then: Suburban enlargement

Information from the 2001 Census recommend the vast majority of dwellings constructed within the Nineteen Nineties have been constructed in “peripheral neighbourhoods” – metropolitan suburbs with low inhabitants density. Housing begins lagged within the first few years of the last decade, however then the development of single-detached homes elevated till the early 2000s, making up the majority of building initiatives.   

Now: Rental growth

The inflow of first time residence consumers and their desire for an city way of life is accelerating apartment growth. Of the a whole bunch of high-rise buildings beneath building, the overwhelming majority are condos – and the sq. footage is getting smaller.

These searching for inexpensive indifferent household properties should look additional afield. That’s why the Larger Toronto and Larger Vancouver areas proceed to sprawl, and commutes are getting longer.


There’s no query the housing setting and tendencies of as we speak have modified drastically because the Nineteen Nineties – for higher and for worse. Solely time will inform what the long run market brings, however it’s all the time good to know a little bit of historical past for context and perceive the totally different contributing elements.

Revealed: October 6, 2014
Final up to date: February 17, 2023