Buyers are returning to Canada’s housing market and will likely drive home prices higher by the end of this year, according to new data from real estate franchiser Royal LePage on Thursday. 
The national aggregate home price is forecast to rise by 4.5 per cent year-over-year to $791,170 in the fourth quarter of 2023 as demand continues to compete with limited housing supply, Royal LePage said. 
While the average price of a home in Canada in the first quarter of the year fell 9.2 per cent to $778,300 from the same period a year earlier, those prices rose 2.8 per cent from the prior quarter following the Bank of Canada’s first interest rate pause, it added. 
“We have turned the corner and the housing economy is growing again; none too soon for many buyers, who have been waiting patiently for prices to bottom out,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive officer of Royal LePage, in a statement. 
Soper added that many buyers who paused their home search until they saw how prices and interest rates would land have now resumed their hunt. 
“Unfortunately, the challenge they must now deal with is a severe shortage of homes for sale,” he said. 
The findings revealed that of those Canadians who paused their search for a home last year, 26 per cent said they plan to return this spring and another 36 per cent said they would return once the BoC held rates for several consecutive months.
Wednesday marked the second straight period that the Canada's central bank held the key overnight rate steady at 4.50 per cent. 
“This was the signal that so many Canadians were waiting for. The Bank of Canada’s rate hold was the green light that stability is returning to the market, and it has had a swift and significant impact on buyer demand,” Soper said.