What’s in Store for Canada’s Spring Housing Market? INFOGRAPHIC

The deep freeze has finally lifted and the first tentative signs of spring are starting to emerge – including buyers and sellers keen to make a move in the housing market. 

The end of March and beginning of April typically kick off the busiest season for Canadian real estate. As temperatures rise, so too do the number of weekend open houses, as sellers take advantage of improving weather to showcase their home’s best attributes. Buyers frustrated by a lack of choice over the winter now luxuriate in a number of listings, and may be motivated to close deals as summer – and the following school year – looms just a few short months away. The warmer months are also when buyers are most likely to find themselves competing in multiple offer situations, and sellers enjoy a price premium on their listings.

A Lingering Winter Market?

However, it remains to be seen if this year’s market will heat at the same pace, with national buying activity coming off one of the slowest Februarys in a decade. The latest numbers from the Canadian Real Estate Association reveal sales fell in three quarters of all markets, down 4.4% from the previous year, and 9.1% from January. Prices also slid 5.2% to a national average of $468,350.

The downturn has made its way to Canada’s largest markets, as a combination of the federal mortgage stress test and provincial policies and taxes have cooled market demand. Combined numbers for condos and houses for sale fell 33% in Vancouver last month, with prices down 6.1%. The fallout hasn’t been as sustained in the Greater Toronto Area– and many neighbourhoods within the 416 remain red hot – but activity is down 2.4% year over year for the region as a whole, with prices up a nominal 1.6% to $780,397. In both markets, it’s a starkly different picture from the 2017 spring peak, when sales and price growth shot up by double digits.

Will Canadians Make a Move This Spring?

So, with the winter doldrums in the rear mirror, are today’s buyers and sellers planning to make a move this season? To find out, Zoocasa conducted a poll of over 1,000 Canadians, inquiring about their plans for the spring market.

According to the findings, Canadians generally perceive spring to be the best time to sell a home, with 58% agreeing with that sentiment. However, slightly less than half – 42% – say it’s the best time to be in the market as a buyer.

In fact, a large number of respondents said they plan to renovate their home this season, with 29% of all surveyed indicating home improvements are in the works. A total of 11% said they want to buy their home, while 6% intend to sell. However, the majority plan to stay put, with 58% indicating they’d take no action in the upcoming spring market.

The desire to renovate was also most prevalent among respondents who identified as homeowners – a total of 39% indicated they’d start a home improvement project as warm weather commences, while just 8% plan to list their home for sale. An additional 70% indicated none of the above.

While a smaller portion of renters – 12% – plan to renovate, likely due to restrictions on customizing their units, they’re more likely to make a move this season, with 18% saying they will buy a home, or form a plan to do so.

Survey Highlights:

  • 58% of all respondents agree spring is the best time to sell a home
  • 42% of all respondents agree spring is the best time to buy a home
  • 29% of all respondents say they plan to renovate this spring
  • 11% of all respondents say they plan to buy a home this spring
  • 6% of all respondents say they plan to sell their home this spring

Of respondents who are homeowners:

  • 39% plan to renovate their home this spring
  • 8% plan to sell their home this spring
  • 6% plan to buy a home this spring
  • 52% indicated “None of the above”

Of respondents who are renters:

  • 12% plan to renovate their home this spring
  • 18% plan to buy a home this spring
  • 70% indicated “None of the above”


The findings are based on an online survey conducted by Zoocasa.com from March 1, 2019 to March 18, 2019 of 1,270 respondents who live in Canada. Although online polls are usually not assigned a margin of error, the estimated margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About Zoocasa

Zoocasa.com is a tech-driven brokerage that empowers Canadians to make more informed real estate decisions. Our proprietary home search tools and streamlined agent experience make buying and selling homes smarter, faster and more successful. Home buyers can browse real estate listings on the website or the free real estate iOS app.

For more information about this report or to set up a media interview, please email [email protected]

About Penelope Graham

Penelope Graham is the Managing Editor at Zoocasa, and has over a decade of experience covering real estate, mortgage, and personal finance topics. Her commentary on the housing market is frequently featured on both national and local media outlets including BNN Bloomberg, CBC, The Toronto Star, National Post, and The Huffington Post. When not keeping an eye on Toronto's hot housing market, she can be found brunching in one of the city's many vibrant neighbourhoods, travelling abroad, or in the dance studio.