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Home prices rising per square foot, annual survey shows

Chilliwack, B.C., saw the biggest increase in the west, but it is a ‘seller’s market from Victoria to St. John’s’
Chilliwack’s Garrison Crossing community. | Diverse Properties

The fifth annual Price per Square Foot Survey, released August 11 from Century-21 Canada, shows that real estate continues to be a strong investment. While real estate is most often dependent on local market conditions, the past year has seen widespread increases in prices from coast to coast.

The annual study compared the price per square foot of properties sold between January 1 and June 30 this year, compared to the same period last year.

“Looking at the prices across Canada, there isn’t one region that hasn’t seen price growth in the past year,” said Brian Rushton, executive vice-president of Century 21 Canada. “It’s still a seller’s market from Victoria to St. John’s.”

Rushton said prices have moderated over the past couple of months, however.

 “This is typical of what we see through the summer months, but all signs are pointing to another busy fall as inventory across the country continues to be low with plenty of buyers waiting to make a move as soon as they can.”

British Columbia real estate is the most expensive in the country and remains so again this year. Vancouver West Side detached houses now sell for an average of $1,208 per square foot, up 20.3 per cent from a year ago, while Vancouver downtown condos average $1,308 per square foot, a near 10 per cent increase from 2020.

Prices in the outskirts of Greater Vancouver saw the largest increases in Western Canada, with Chilliwack prices up more than 40 per cent to $406 per square foot, Delta up 38 per cent to $570 per square foot and White Rock/South Surrey up 44 per cent to $625 per square foot, compared to the first half of 2020.

Kelowna also saw solid increases with prices up anywhere between 20 and 30 per cent, depending on what home type the consumer is choosing.

Prairie house prices have seen some growth, although they are the slowest-growing areas of the country. Many markets in Alberta saw decreases in previous surveys but are up anywhere from three to 15 per cent depending on the city and home type, the survey found. Saskatoon homes are up nearly 20 per cent to $314 per square foot, while condo prices remained flat. Regina properties only saw minor increases in prices. Winnipeg saw the biggest gains with homes up as much as 20 per cent to $293 per square foot for a house and $241 per square foot for a condo.

Even Yellowknife properties have seen an increase in prices. Both houses and duplexes have seen double digit increases while other house types have seen more subtle changes.

“This is the fifth consecutive year we have done this survey and while previous years showed that real estate is a local story, we have seen widespread increases across the country this year,” Rushton said.