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Real estate trends for 2019

This coming year will see higher interest rates and real estate prices as well as the development of more imaginative home layouts accessorized with smart technology.

In the rapidly changing Canadian real estate landscape, new homeowners as well as the real estate industry are in for big changes this year, according to a study, titled Emerging Trends in Canadian Real Estate, released this past fall by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute.

Increasingly, residential living spaces are catering to diverse demands from homeowners. The growing number of self-employed individuals want homes that accommodate workspaces and home offices. Potential Airbnb hosts want open concept living spaces, common areas and smart security technology. This intersection of real estate and technology is a major trend, with homeowners wanting to control lighting and other household amenities from their mobile devices. As a result, builders are beginning to include smart building technologies in their structures.

Mortgages are also on the rise. The benchmark interest rate rose to 1.75 percent last October, following a 1.5 percent July hike by the Bank of Canada. More hikes will follow, predict policymakers, in order to keep the inflation rate close to a two percent target, Trading Economics reports.

Affordability will continue to drive mobility as well as lifestyle. The proportion of household income needed to service the costs of a single-family home grew to 53.5 percent in the first quarter of last year, with Vancouver hitting 119.3 percent. As a result, millennials are expected to abandon urban centres for the suburbs in search of affordable housing. Over the next five years, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver may see a loss of people to other areas within their respective provinces. ◊