Rampant housing affordability and supply issues have left the majority of Canadians feeling uncertain about the prospect of buying or selling a home.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents to a RE/MAX Canada-commissioned Leger survey indicated that they have at least one concern related to buying or selling their home in 2023.
The greatest sources of stress were deemed to be the rising cost of living and inflation (34%) and a lack of affordable housing (25%). Another 25% worried that the rising cost of rent would impact their ability to save for and eventually purchase a home.
The survey is part of RE/MAX Canada's 2023 Industry Trends Report, which examines how key economic and transaction trends will impact buyers and sellers, the real estate industry, and the broader economy over the coming year.
Addressing the affordability and supply crisis should be a top priority for governments across Canada -- a sentiment shared by 66% of those surveyed -- while 41% believe that removing zoning and development red tape is a "key measure" to alleviating the issue.
"The potential wide-spread impacts of our housing crisis can be mitigated, but challenges need to be tackled in a coordinated, strategic effort by all levels of government," said Christopher Alexander, President of RE/MAX Canada.
"I encourage visionary thinking and solutions that may include reforming municipal zoning laws to allow for a greater diversity of housing; expanding capacity for laneway developments; and using available land to drive housing supply in a manner that doesn’t compromise climate adaption and mitigation efforts."
Sixty-six percent of respondents indicated that protecting the environment would factor into their future real estate transactions. RE/MAX Canada noted that the Government of Ontario's plans to develop the Greenbelt have been a "particularly contentious topic."
Locally, the Greater Toronto Area is expected to see residential sale and rental prices rise, due in part to increased immigration and the rising cost of living, unless more inventory hits the market. A similar trend will play out in Vancouver, compounded by move-over buyers, and in Edmonton, as Canadians head for the dwindling faction of affordable cities across the country.
"Our severe lack of supply in every town, community, and city across the country seeps into almost every facet of the lives of Canadians," said Elton Ash, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX Canada.
"Not only are their housing options being impacted, but a tighter housing market may compromise job prospects, among other things, placing even greater urgency on governments and housing industry experts to address Canada’s affordability crisis."
On an industry level, Alexander said the changing market could result in some "major shifts" in how realtors run their business, and cautioned that the economic slowdown may result in some consolidation of brokerages.
Beyond buyers, sellers, and realtors, the effects of affordability and supply challenges are felt on a much grander scale -- according to Statistics Canada, the Real Estate and Rental and Leasing (RERL) sector contributes more than $266B annually to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).