‘We haven’t seen anything like this before’: pandemic boosts Canadian real estate

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The Canadian real estate market is hot. And the heat is spreading far beyond big cities.

Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal Lepage, says the coronavirus pandemic is part of the reason.

“Real estate is one of those sectors that is actually seeing what I call a ‘COVID catalyst,’ maybe the three P’s of the pandemic: puppies, Peloton and property.”

Soper says home prices are up about 10 per cent this year — double the long-term average.

A new report from the real estate company shows “cottage country,” known as the recreational market, is especially hot.

To the end of September, year-over-year home prices in recreational property markets soared, driven by “Canadians’ ability to work remotely. ” The aggregate price of a single-family home in the recreational market rose 11.5 per cent to $453,046. The aggregate price of a waterfront property increased 13.5 per cent to $498,111.

Soper says there’s been a significant shift.

“You see people saying, ‘You know, my job can be done from anywhere, I’m making that decision. So potentially, I’m gonna relocate my family to where the cost of living is less, and the quality of life might be better for me.”

Soper says questions about a home’s internet are now a priority, and that more than half of new buyers are looking at recreational properties as full-time homes.