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House Price Index rose 26% in 2021, fastest pace on record

Average price hit $713,500

A for sale sign put up by On The Block Auctions, a real estate company that offers a transparent bidding process through online auctions.

The average price of a Canadian home that sold in December was $713,500.

Photo: (Dean Gariepy/CBC)

RCI

The Canadian Real Estate Association's House Price Index rose by 26.6 per cent in the 12 months up to December, the fastest annual pace of gain on record.

The group, which represents more than 100,000 realtors and tabulates sales data from homes that listed and sell via the Multiple Listings Service, said the supply of homes for sale at the end of the month hit an all-time low.

After pausing for a few weeks in the early days of the pandemic, Canada's housing market has been on an absolute tear for the past two years, as feverish demand from buyers wishing to take advantage of rock-bottom interest rates has drastically outpaced the supply of homes to buy.

That imbalance is a major factor contributing to higher prices, as buyers have to pay more and more to outbid others because of the lack of alternatives.

Various experts are suggesting that parts of the country are showing signs of being in a speculative bubble, and CREA says the biggest reason for runaway price increases is that there aren't enough homes being put up for sale.

There are currently fewer properties listed for sale in Canada than at any point on record, CREA's chief economist Shaun Cathcart said. So unfortunately, the housing affordability problem facing the country is likely to get worse before it gets better.

High prices not denting demand

CREA says the average price of a Canadian home that sold on MLS in December went for $713,500. That's actually down from the record high of more than $720,000 in November, but still well up on an annual basis.

The average price of a Canadian home that sold on MLS in December went for $713,500. That's actually down from the record high of more than $720,000 in November, but still well up on an annual basis.

The average price of a Canadian home that sold on MLS in December went for $713,500. That's actually down from the record high of more than $720,000 in November, but still well up on an annual basis.

Photo: CREA/CBC News

High prices don't seem to be slowing demand, however, as 2021 was the busiest year for home sales ever. Some 666,995 residential properties traded hands on MLS last year, smashing the previous annual record by 20 per cent.

An aggressive national push to build more homes is what will address the issue, but it will probably have to be a greater amount of building than anything we've ever undertaken, Cathcart said.

CBC News

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