Last May, I wrote an opinion piece titled Time to buy? What the pandemic means for Vancouver’s real estate market where I explained that historically for every one per cent rise in unemployment there is a four per cent decrease in housing prices.
However, this is not what has happened during the last several months. Between February and August this year the unemployment rate doubled while the Canadian housing market hit all-time highs.
Homeowners who lost their jobs due to the pandemic were able to keep their homes thanks to various government income replacement programs and banks offering the option to defer mortgage payments. These initiatives bought struggling homeowners some time and allowed them to keep their homes off the market.
At the same time, interest rates dropped.