The number of properties for sale continued to reach new lows in December across Canada’s largest housing markets, causing home prices to remain at or near their all-time highs.

Average prices in Greater Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa ended 2021 between 18% and 24% higher than a year earlier. Meanwhile, home sales in Toronto and Vancouver were up 28% and 42%, respectively, as new listings and inventory levels continued to decline.

“The number one story in Canadian housing remains the relentless decline in inventory in virtually every metro across the country. We’re now below 100,000 listings (seasonally adjusted),” wrote analyst Ben Rabidoux in his monthly Edge Realty Analytics report. He estimates that’s the lowest level of for-sale inventory in 30 years.

“We set a new record low for months of inventory at a mere 1.75 in November,” he added, noting this remains the best predictor of house price trends six months ahead. “It looks very likely at this point that we’ll see prices squeeze right through the spring.”

Here’s a look at the December and year-end statistics from some of the country’s largest regional real estate boards:

Greater Toronto Area

Total 2021 Sales: 121,000 (+28% year-over-year)
December Sales:
6,031

  • -15.7% (YoY)
  • -33% Month-over-month (MoM)

Average Price: $1,157,849

New Listings: 5,174

“Tight market conditions prevailed throughout the GTA and broader Greater Golden Horseshoe in 2021, with a lack of inventory noted across all home types. The result was intense competition between buyers, pushing selling prices up by double digits year-over-year. Looking forward, the only sustainable way to moderate price growth will be to bring on more supply,” said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer. “History has shown that demand-side policies, such as additional taxation on principal residences, foreign buyers, and small-scale investors, have not been sustainable long-term solutions to housing affordability or supply constraints.”

Source: Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB)

Greater Vancouver Area

Total 2021 Sales: 43,999 (+42% YoY)
December Sales: 1,945

*Sales were 33.4% above the 10-year December sales average.

MLS Home Price Index for all property types: $1,230,200

New Listings: 1,945

“We begin 2022 with just over 5,000 homes for sale across the region. This is the lowest level we’ve seen in more than 30 years,” said REBGV economist Keith Stewart. “With demand at record levels, residents shouldn’t expect home price growth to relent until there’s a more adequate supply of housing available to purchase.”

Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV)

Montreal Census Metropolitan Area

Total 2021 Sales: 54,439 (-2% YoY)
December Sales: 3,675

Median Price (single-family detached): $525,000

Average Price (condo): $379,995

New Listings: 2,585

“Transactional activity was strong during the month of December, although experiencing a 19% drop in sales compared to the same period last year. This downturn is consistent with a marked decrease in new listings, which is always more significant in December,” said Charles Brant, QPAREB’s director of market analysis. “Buyers are trying to take advantage of very low mortgage rates before the announced increases take effect in 2022. Consequently, the ongoing marked market imbalance in favour of sellers continues to result in a sharp rise in prices on the outskirts of the Island of Montreal, all property categories combined.”

Source: Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB)

Calgary

Total 2021 Sales: 27,686 (+72% YoY)
December Sales: 1,737

Benchmark Price (all housing types): $451,567

New Listings: 1,230

“Concerns over inflation and rising lending rates likely created more urgency with buyers over the past few months,” said CREB Chief Economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However, as is the case in many other cities, the supply has not kept pace with the demand, causing strong price growth.”

Source: Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB)

Ottawa

Total 2021 Sales: 20,302 (-7% YoY)
December Sales: 862

Average Price (single-family detached): $709,980

New Listings: 600

“December’s resale market performed as it typically does with a marked decrease in sales from November as families turned their attention towards the holiday break,” said Ottawa Real Estate Board President Debra Wright. “Unfortunately for homebuyers, [the market will remain] a seller’s market for quite some time until our inventory issues are remedied.”

Source: Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB)

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