New Report Details Significant Price Growth In Key Recreational Property Markets

Royal LePage’s Winter Recreational Property Report, released on November 28, discovered widespread disparity in the year-over-year price variation experienced by Canada’s most popular winter recreational property markets.
In comparing median price growth between October 1 and September 30 in 2018 and 2019, the report found that the most consistent price growth occurred in the eastern half of Canada, with properties in Ontario and Quebec generally outperforming their western counterparts.
Unsurprisingly, expensive properties in Whistler, British Columbia, and Canmore, Alberta, suffered at the hands of each province’s decreased demand for high-ticket homes. The median price of single-family homes in Whistler dropped 13.8 percent in a year; those in Canmore lost only 2 percent of their value. Property values in Kimberley, B.C., decreased by 16.8 per cent.
It wasn’t, however, all bad news in B.C. Detached properties in Invermere saw their prices increase 10.4%, while those of condo properties in all three B.C. destinations increased by a minimum of five percent.
Prices for single-family homes in Collingwood and Blue Mountain, Ontario’s two winter hotspots, grew by 8.3 and 4.0 percent, respectively. Detached properties in Collingwood, where the median price is $525,000, remain far less expensive than those in Blue Mountain, which has a median price of $780,000, but condos are, on average, about $15,000 cheaper in Blue Mountain.
Rick Crouch of Royal LePage Locations North predicts sales in the region will be brisk this winter, as the early snowfall experienced by Blue Mountain and nearby Horseshoe inspire more people to buy.
Of the dozen communities studied in Quebec, six experienced positive price growth in the single-family segment of the market. Of those that did not, only small communities such as Sutton and Cantley saw prices decrease by more than 2.2 percent.    
Some of the biggest gains were witnessed in Mont-Tremblant, where median prices increased by as much as 37.3 percent for detached properties and 37.8 percent for condos.
“Inventory is very low in Mont-Tremblant. When a new property enters the market, buyers line up and offers flood in,” said Paul Dalbec, manager at Mont-Tremblant Real Estate, in a comment included in the report.
Home values shot up by 12.5 percent in both Orford (east of Montreal) and Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury (north of Quebec City), as well, with condo prices in the latter rising by an impressive 18.8 percent. 

How The Portrait Of a First-Time Homebuyer Has Changed Since The Stress Test

The mortgage stress test, extended to uninsured mortgages in January 2018, has generated a diversity of opinions. Its proponents argue that the stress test has introduced financial discipline while not hurting prospective homebuyers. The discontents believe that the stress test has eroded the affordability of first-time homebuyers, some of whom have been forced to rent for more extended periods.

The recently released CMHC mortgage consumer survey helps unpack the arguments on the impact of the stress test. The CMHC surveyed 1,385 homebuyers across Canada who had undertaken a mortgage transaction in the past 18 months. This implies that some respondents reported on their mortgage-related experience from 2018.

An exciting feature of the survey is the distinction between first-time homebuyers, who constituted 47 per cent of the sample, and the repeat buyers representing the other 53 per cent.

The majority of the first-time homebuyers were 25 to 34 years old, compared to just 17 per cent of the repeat buyers. Also, singles accounted for almost one in four first-time homebuyers compared to one in 10 repeat buyers. Interestingly, 61 per cent of the respondents were female, suggesting an increase in home purchasing by women.

The homebuyers’ top concerns in 2019 were housing affordability, housing size and proximity to public transit. These concerns coincided with housing prices declining across Canada in 2018 as prices remained lower than the peak prices reached in either 2016 or 2017.

Many industry observers credited the stress test for the decline in prices and the erosion of housing affordability because homebuyers had to qualify at a mortgage rate approximately two percentage points higher than the contracted rate. The 2019 survey, though, presents a positive impression of the stress test among homebuyers.

The survey reported that 65 per cent of the buyers believed the stress test would “keep more Canadians from taking on a mortgage they can’t afford.” However, one in five homebuyers acquired a dwelling that did not meet their needs.

An interesting picture emerges when one compares the share of first-time homebuyers respondents in 2018 and 2019. The 2018 survey, completed in April 2018, interviewed 4,000 respondents who had undertaken a mortgage transaction in the past 12 months. This implies that most respondents in the 2018 survey would have reported on their homebuying experience before the stress test’s reach was broadened in January 2018.

Most homebuyers (56 per cent) in the 2018 survey were first-time homebuyers, but their share fell to 47 per cent in the 2019 survey. Could it be that a decline of 16 per cent in the share of first-time homebuyers in the 2019 survey was partially due to the stress-test-induced erosion of housing affordability?

Other statistics reported in the survey are indicative of the higher affordability burdens even when housing prices had declined from the peak observed earlier.

Consider that 22 per cent of first-time homebuyers reported renting for more than ten years in the 2018 survey. Their share jumped to 31 per cent in 2019. Hence, a much larger share of first-time homebuyers, who had purchased homes in 2018-19, reported renting for more than ten years to save for a house.

Another indicator of a shift in the demographics is the share of first-time homebuyers who had rented with family and friends before buying. Interestingly, the family- and friends-assisted cohort of first-time homebuyers jumped from 28 per cent in 2018 to 44 per cent in 2019. Similarly, those first-time homebuyers who rented on their own before buying a house declined from 39 per cent in 2018 to 23 per cent in 2019.

At the same time, no fewer than 76 per cent of the respondents reported that the changes related to the stress test “had little or no impact on their decision to buy a home.” However, of the remaining 24 per cent (one in four homebuyers) affected by the stress test, some compromises were needed on the path to homeownership. Most cut back on other expenses (60 per cent), relied more on their savings (59 per cent) or bought a smaller home (52 per cent).

Whereas 47 per cent of homebuyers affected by the stress test purchased a smaller or less expensive home in 2018, a much larger share of 61 per cent reported the same in 2019.

The increase in household debt burdens, primarily because of mortgage-related debt, is also reflected in the survey. Compared to 2018, when 19 per cent of buyers reported their debt being higher than expected, the share increased to 23 per cent in 2019. Of those struggling with making regular mortgage payments, 73 per cent cited the credit card debt as the reason. The comparative stats further revealed that buyers with less than 20 per cent of the down payment increased in 2019 compared to 2018. Furthermore, the 2019 survey found a slight increase in the share of those “who didn’t have enough saved for a larger down payment.” CMHC’s 2019 survey of homebuying offers valuable insights on how homebuying has changed over the past few years. Though the survey periods do not permit a strict before-and-after comparison of homebuying concerning the stress test, still the indicators reported suggest that in 2019, FTHB accounted for fewer homebuyers, comprised of a larger share of those who rented for more extended periods, and their savings increasingly fell short to qualify for a mortgage.

 Article by: Financial Post

The Ultimate Winter Home Preparation Checklist

Fall is the perfect time to winterize your home. As much as we may not want to acknowledge it, the snow is headed our way and Old Man Winter will soon be knocking on doors. Is your home ready for the visit? This week we’re helping you get ready with the ultimate winter home preparation checklist! Give your home a little TLC before winter starts and you’ll reap the benefits all season long.


  • Trim any overgrown branches near the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
  • Clean your patio furniture and put it away or cover it with a heavy tarp to protect it from the elements. The same goes for any lawn equipment.
  • Clean out the gutters to prevent water damage to the roof and surrounding areas and make sure the gutters and downspouts are secure.
  • Clean any debris from your outdoor air conditioning unit and cover it with a protective tarp.
  • Clean out your planters and bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials inside.
  • Remove any attached hoses, drain them, and store them indoors to prevent damage.
  •  Wrap any outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage. Be sure to drain them first and then shut them off to protect against the pipes bursting.
  • Check your roof for any missing, loose, or damaged shingles. If you find any, be sure to have them replaced to prevent leaks.
  • Cut the grass and leaves so that the small cut up pieces will nourish the lawn over the winter.


  • Schedule an appointment for furnace maintenance to avoid any surprises. Having a furnace check-up done before the cold weather officially hits is a good way to avoid waiting for an appointment if your unit conks out on the coldest day of the year!
  • Clean your whole home humidifier and replace the evaporator pad.
  • Check that all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
  • Check doors and windows for air leaks. Caulk inside and outside or replace the weather-stripping if necessary to help stop warm air escaping.
  • Remove window air conditioning units and replace the window.
  • If your sump pump only runs occasionally, be sure to test it to ensure that it is in working order to avoid floods when the snow melts. Do this by pouring water down to make sure the pump turns on when it should.
  • Replace your furnace filter for maximum efficiency and improved air quality.

The changing weather in the winter can wreak havoc on your home if you’re not prepared, so follow this winter home preparation checklist to keep things in tip-top shape!

Article by: HomeBridge Canada Inc.