It's been a wild ride for Canada's housing market throughout the pandemic. After COVID brought the economy to a standstill just over a year ago, homebuyers were crippled with uncertainty, with many stepping to the sidelines as they put their home-buying plans on hold.
Fast forward to today, home prices are at an all-time high and showing no signs of cooling, inventory is at a record low, and relentless demand keeps the bidding wars going. To say that Canada's housing market is intimidating right now is an understatement.
However, despite these factors, Canadian buyers are still very driven to buy, but their hopes of actually finding a home are plummeting, according to a new homebuyer sentiment survey from Point2Homes.
According to the survey, 38% of respondents say they are "very determined to buy" in 2021 compared to just 12% in 2020. But despite survey respondents’ determination, the hope to have a new home soon is fading, with the share of people who aspire to buy in the next six months dropping from 31% last year to just 14% this year.
Subsequently, the survey found that the share of home seekers who haven’t considered a time frame for buying has risen from 27% to a whopping 44%.
As for what's causing uncertainty among Canadian homebuyers, the survey revealed that respondents are primarily concerned with the lack of housing options, with 17% saying they're worried about having enough properties to choose from, compared to 13% last year.
Although low housing supply was the main concern of survey respondents, many were worried about the rapidly rising prices as well. More than half (52%) noticed an increase in prices in their area of interest, and 53% stated that they couldn’t keep up with the fast-changing price tags.
When it comes to buying a home in the future, survey respondents want the buying process to return to pre-pandemic practices. Interest in pictures and online tours lost ground (falling from 57% last year to 29% this year) and interest in going to in-person viewings and open house events increased to 10% from 4% last year.
All of this to say, the dream of homeownership in Canada is still alive and well for many Canadians, although it may feel like it's getting more unattainable by the day -- whether in-person or virtually.
However, given that the new change’s to the mortgage stress test have kicked in, it's now slightly harder to qualify for a home loan. The recent changes will help reduce the pool of qualified borrowers, which could further help cool the housing market and make the dream of owning a home easier for some... but don't hold your breath.