What’s next: A Reflection on 2023 and a look ahead to 2024
2023 Summary for the GTA
Home sales were down in 2023 buyers who stuck it out through higher interest rates in 2023 benefited from more choice and more negotiating power which resulted in paying lower prices when compared to 2023.
Home Sales saw a 12.1 per cent dip compared to 2022.
Average sold prices across home types in 2023 saw a 5.4 per cent decline compared to 2022 bringing average sold price down to $1,126,604.
Outlook for 2024
There is little consensus on the future of the real estate market in 2024. Aside from the fact that most experts expect some relief in the Bank of Canada’s Policy rate which should help with borrowing costs for homeowners and would-be buyers. Experts are divided on exactly when, how many and how big an impact interest rate cuts will have.
The main factors affecting real estate forecasts in 2024.
When and how much will the BoC reduce its policy rate in 2024? (2024 BoC announcement schedule)
Will changes in variable and fixed rate mortgages be enough to bring buyers back?
How will homeowners up for renewal deal with rising financing costs?
2 Potential Outcomes and Everything in Between
A Return to a Sellers Market
If interest rates do come down in 2024 we will see more buyers enter the market. The question is, how many rate cuts could we see and how low could rates go? In March of 2023 a mere pause at 4.5% sent us back into a brief Sellers Market. If that happens again buyers who stay on the fence will regret it. It’s unlikely that we see the kind of pandemic sales we saw but it remains possible that the combination of high immigration, rising rent costs and lower interest rates increases competition for homes in 2024.
A Balanced Market
An environment with modestly lower interest rates could yield a continuation of the current balanced market. This is especially true if inventory remains at 3-4 months worth. Sellers looking to downsize, move up or relocate may be more likely to move when interest rates drop and sellers who are renewing mortgages at a cost that may be too high might decide to sell. This would bring more homes on the market and offset any increases in demand. This seems like the safe bet and most likely outcome to us.
For the Doom Scrollers
The other possibility is for those who love bad news. According to RateHub.ca 80% of all mortgages that were outstanding as of March 2022 will come up for renewal in 2024. That means those borrowers will be renewing at a much higher rate. Per Statistics Canada, mortgage interest payments have soared by nearly 90% since March 2022. Some are forecasting a high volume of distressed sales which if enough homes come on the market without buyers continue to put downward pressure on home prices throughout 2024. This inventory of course would have to outpace demand from new buyers entering the market as interest rates come down. Another factor of note is that for 2024 alone this pool only represents 14% of all mortgages in Canada which relative to the total number of homeowners is very small and Canada’s mortgage stress test will have buffered some of the risk for many of these homeowners.
Our Point of View
For our part the most likely scenario is a balanced market where the push/pull effect of higher interest rates pushing some buyers off and some sellers in while immigration and a slow reduction in interest rates bolster demand could offset one another enough to balance the market in 2024.
That said if interest rates become too attractive and more buyers enter the market we could see competition for homes pick-up in 2024.
What do you think will happen in 2024?