Prices in major real estate markets across Canada appear to have bottomed out last month as affordability issues persist, according to a report from RBC Economics.

Robert Hogue, an assistant chief economist at RBC Economics, said in a report Friday that spring was appearing to be a low point for estate markets across the country, but data from last month “pretty much sealed the deal.” 

“Early results from real estate boards gave strong indications local markets turned a corner last month. In most cases, activity ramped up significantly (from depressed levels in March) and prices ticked higher,” Hogue said in the report. 

Price gains were the sharpest in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, followed by Montreal, he said.

Affordability will continue to be a significant issue, Hogue said, which will initially hinder a recovery. 

Going forward, Hogue said two major factors will impact the market.

On the supply side, historically low inventory levels could be driven slightly higher as new units hit the market from sellers previously discouraged by a down market. 

On the demand side, Hogue said “the end of price corrections” could incentivize homebuyers attempting to time the market. 

“Both factors would sustain or even extend April’s gains,” he said.


Canada’s largest housing market gained momentum in April as seasonally adjusted resales increased by 27 per cent from the previous month, according to Hogue. 

“Demand-supply conditions tightened for a fifth-straight month and now look as firm as they were before the market’s downturn,” he said, adding this spurred a recovery in prices.

Looking ahead, Hogue said market conditions will be largely dictated by sellers and the effect their return to the market would have on inventories.

“Our view is that a growing number of them [sellers] will indeed list their home for sale now that property values have turned a corner. And this should keep any price appreciation relatively contained,” he said. 


Last month, Hogue said Montreal’s real estate market was brought out of a “deep slumber” by warmer weather and a pause in interest rate increases from the Bank of Canada. 

In April, resales rose 12 per cent from the previous month, according to Hogue.

“Spring—but more so the growing perception the market is bottoming—also reinvigorated sellers but the energy was more subdued on that side of the equation,” he said. 

“Resulting fiercer competition for each property available contributed to end the year-long price slide.” 

In the near future, Hogue said tight supply and demand conditions are likely to drive prices slightly higher. 


Real estate transactions in Vancouver were marked by higher activity last month, Hogue said, as buyers re-entered the market likely believing that “the correction has run its course.”

Outsized increases to the demand side of the market brought prices higher, according to Hogue. 

“Tighter demand-supply conditions will likely keep prices on an upward trajectory in the period ahead,” he said.  

“But we continue to believe that extremely poor affordability will significantly limit the speed at which they will rise.”


Seasonally adjusted resales in Calgary’s housing market rebounded by 28 per cent in April compared to the previous month, Hogue said.

April’s increase in resales marked the end of a downturn in the Calgary housing market, “if there ever really was one,” Hogue said. Additionally, he said prices were slightly higher during that time period. 

“The thing is that the [Calgary] market remained impressively robust over the past year despite the sharp drop in activity,” Hogue said. 

Going forward he said prices are likely to increase. This is because following three months of tightening conditions, it is now a seller's market.