By Sherry MacLeod
Managing Broker of Cape Breton Realty
As we reflect on the housing market of 2023, across the country, it is evident that the year was defined by unpredictability, with a surge in sales and a decline in listings and prices compared to the previous year. Looking ahead to 2024, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) anticipates sustained market activity in the first quarter and into the spring, driven by factors such as interest rates, increased demand, and limited inventory.
The housing market’s unpredictability in 2023 serves as a backdrop to the persisting housing crisis in Canada, characterized by severe inventory shortages and affordability challenges. This crisis demands immediate attention and action from all levels of government. The high demand for housing, expected to grow with increasing immigration, coupled with limited inventory, underlines the urgent need for collaborative measures and policies to foster a more affordable and accessible housing market for all Canadians.
In order to address the housing shortage, it is crucial for governments to acknowledge and act upon the pressing need for increased housing supply in every city, town, and neighborhood across the country. This necessitates visionary thinking and solutions, which may include reforming municipal zoning laws to allow for a greater diversity of housing, expanding capacity for laneway developments, and leveraging available land to drive housing supply in a manner that does not compromise climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.
Research conducted by Re/Max Canada in 2023 revealed that over 65% of Canadians view resolving the affordability and housing supply crisis as a top priority for governments nationwide, with 41% emphasizing the importance of removing zoning and development red tape as a critical measure to improve housing supply. It is imperative for governments to take decisive action and eliminate bureaucratic barriers to building and development, encouraging the construction of residential properties and infrastructure in all towns, cities, and rural parts of Canada.
In 2024, it is essential for stakeholders to prioritize the implementation of initiatives aimed at expanding housing supply and enhancing affordability while maintaining a careful balance with environmental considerations. By leveraging available resources and adopting innovative approaches, Canada can take significant strides towards addressing the housing shortage and creating a more equitable housing landscape for all its citizens.