Rising home prices, continuing low interest rates among top predictions for 2021

Sunday, January 17, 2021   /   by Sergey Korostensky

Rising home prices, continuing low interest rates among top predictions for 2021

Calgary Herald

Trends that dominated the latter half of 2020 will continue to remain relevant for much of 2021 in the Calgary real estate market, a new report is forecasting.

RateHub.ca released its Top 5 predictions for real estate and mortgage markets in Canada earlier this month. Among those is that prices nationally will increase between four and seven per cent.

“However, Alberta is likely to lag behind the rest of the nation,” says James Laird, co-founder of RateHub.ca, an online marketplace for mortgages, credit cards and other debt products.

“In 2020, Alberta was fairly flat from value perspective, and we expect something similar should be expected in 2021.”

In Calgary, the benchmark price decreased by one per cent in 2020 over the previous year, based on Calgary Real Estate Board data.

Laird notes the city and other Alberta markets will likely fare about the same this year as the province’s economy not only deals with COVID-19, but also recovering oil prices.

“They (oil prices) have come up off their lows so that’s going to affect home prices positively, as well as the pandemic coming to an end,” he says, adding prices should gain momentum in the latter part of 2021.

Calgary realtor Jared Chamberlain agrees with the forecast that price growth will be challenged despite 2020 finishing with strong buyer demand.

“It comes down the mindset of purchasers,” says the broker/owner of Chamberlain Real Estate Group in Calgary.

He explains many buyers and sellers remain on the sidelines and could continue to do so until later in the year as vaccination ramps up.

What’s more, while he expects growing price appreciation for single-family homes, Chamberlain notes the condominiums market will likely continue to struggle.

In fact, lacklustre condo demand is another prediction from RateHub.ca.

“There are a few things that have really hurt condos,” says Laird. All of them, including reduced immigration, are related to the pandemic. Again, the market should improve later in 2021 as more people are vaccinated.

Other predictions bode well for markets across Canada, including Calgary.

Among them is the Bank of Canada keeping its overnight rate unchanged, which will help keep mortgage rates low.

One caveat is another prediction that fixed rates — based on bond yields more than the overnight rate — will rise moderately by year’s end. That doesn’t mean people should rush to buy if they prefer a fixed rate, Laird says. “The rate change would be modest so quite honestly there are bigger variables determining when you want to buy.”