Ottawa, ON, October 15, 2020 – Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales set another record in September 2020.


  • National home sales rose 0.9% on a month-over-month (m-o-m) basis in September.
  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was up 45.6% year-over-year (y-o-y).
  • The number of newly listed properties fell back by 10.2% from August to September.
  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 1.3% m-o-m and was up 10.3% y-o-y.
  • The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average sale price posted a 17.5% y-o-y gain in September.

Home sales recorded over Canadian MLS® Systems edged up a further 0.9% between August and September, raising them to yet another new all-time monthly record.

The small change from August to September had under its surface a mixed bag of results with about 60% of local markets seeing gains. Increases in Ottawa, Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Calgary and Hamilton-Burlington sales were mostly offset by declines in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Montreal; although, activity in the two largest Canadian markets is still historically very strong.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity posted a 45.6% y-o-y gain in September. It was a new record for the month of September by a margin of some 20,000 transactions, the equivalent of a normal month of September with an entire month of December tacked on. Sales activity was up in almost all Canadian housing markets compared to September 2019.

So far this year, some 402,578 homes have traded hands over Canadian MLS® Systems, up 5.8% from the first nine months of 2019.

“Many Canadian housing markets are continuing to see historically strong levels of activity as we enter into the fall market of this very strange year,” stated Costa Poulopoulos, Chair of CREA. “Along with historic supply shortages in a number of regions, fierce competition among buyers has been putting upward pressure on home prices. Much of that was pent-up demand from the spring that came forward as our economies opened back up over the summer. With second wave worries growing, we will remain vigilant in adhering to government and health officials’ directives to keep our clients safe. Now as always, REALTORS® remain the best source for information and guidance when negotiating the sale or purchase of a home,” continued Poulopoulos.

“This is starting to sound like a broken record (about records being broken), but Canadian home sales and prices set records once again in September amid record-tight overall market conditions, as they did in July and August,” said Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist. “Reasons have been cited for this – pent-up demand from the lockdowns, Government support to date, ultra-low interest rates, and the composition of job losses to name a few. I would also remind everyone that sales were almost setting records and markets were almost this tight back in February so we were already close to where things are now, as far away from Goldilocks territory as we had ever been before,” added Cathcart. “But I think another wildcard factor to consider, which has no historical precedent, is the value of one’s home during this time. Home has been our workplace, our kids’ schools, the gym, the park and more. Personal space is more important than ever.”

The number of newly listed homes fell back by 10.2% in September, reversing the surge to record levels seen in August. New supply was down in two-thirds of local markets, led by declines in and around Vancouver and the GTA.

With sales edging up in September and new supply dropping back, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 77.2% — the highest in almost 20 years and the third-highest monthly level on record for the measure.

Based on a comparison of sales-to-new listings ratio with long-term averages, about a third of all local markets were in balanced market territory, measured as being within one standard deviation of their long-term average. The other two-thirds of markets were above long-term norms, in many cases well above.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between sales and the supply of listings. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were just 2.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of September 2020 – the lowest reading on record for this measure. At the local market level, a number of Ontario markets are now into weeks of inventory rather than months. Much of the province of Ontario is close to or under one month of inventory.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose by 1.3% m-o-m in September 2020.

CREA is pleased to welcome a large number of Ontario markets to the MLS® HPI this month. The list includes Bancroft and Area, Brantford Region, Cambridge, Grey Bruce Owen Sound, Huron Perth, Kawartha Lakes, Kitchener-Waterloo, the Lakelands (Muskoka-Haliburton-Orillia-Parry Sound), London & St. Thomas, Mississauga, North Bay, Northumberland Hills, Peterborough and the Kawarthas, Quinte & District, Simcoe & District, Southern Georgian Bay, Tillsonburg District and Woodstock-Ingersoll.

Of the 39 markets now tracked by the index, all but two were up between August and September.

The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up 10.3% on a y-o-y basis in September – the biggest gain since August 2017.

The largest y-o-y gains in the 22-23% range were recorded in Bancroft and Area, Quinte & District, Ottawa and Woodstock-Ingersoll.

This was followed by y-o-y price gains in the range of 15-20% in Barrie, Hamilton, Niagara, Guelph, Brantford, Cambridge, Grey Bruce-Owen Sound, Huron Perth, the Lakelands, London & St. Thomas, North Bay, Simcoe & District, Southern Georgian Bay, Tillsonburg District and Montreal.

Prices were up in the 10-15% range compared to last September in the GTA, Oakville-Milton, Kawartha Lakes, Kitchener-Waterloo, Mississauga, Northumberland Hills, Peterborough and the Kawarthas, and Greater Moncton.

Meanwhile, y-o-y price gains were around 5% in Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan Valley, Regina, Saskatoon and Quebec City. Gains were about half that in Victoria and elsewhere on Vancouver Island, as well and in St. John’s, and prices were more or less flat y-o-y in Calgary and Edmonton.

The MLS® HPI provides the best way to gauge price trends because averages are strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average home price set another record in September 2020, topping the $600,000 mark for the first time ever at more than $604,000. This was up 17.5% from the same month last year.

The national average price is heavily influenced by sales in Greater Vancouver and the GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations cuts around $125,000 from the national average price.

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national sales information from MLS® Systems from the previous month.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

MLS® Systems are co-operative marketing systems used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry associations, representing more than 130,000 REALTORS® working through 90 real estate boards and associations.

Further information can be found at

For the original article, see: The CREA website at 


Whether your children are in elementary school, secondary school, or university, one thing is for sure, there will be homework. Your child’s learning environment can have a significant impact on the quality of their study time and academic success. A space that’s dull, filled with clutter, uncomfortable, and too noisy just won’t do. Here’s how you can set your child up for success by creating a functional space, study nook, or homework zone that can help increase productivity, information retention,and has minimal distractions.

Find the right location

Location, location! Do not underestimate the importance of the location of your child’s study space. Look for a space in your home that’s quiet, private, and free of potential distractions. A spare or unused room would be an excellent place to start, but if you’re like most homeowners, space often comes at a premium. Think creatively as you walk through your home. Do you have a closet that could be converted into a homework station? Is there room for an extra desk in your personal home office? Can you find a quiet corner in your living room, library, dining room, or basement? It’s all about getting creative with the space you have and making it work for your child.

Regardless of the location, consistency is key in making the study nook effective. Don’t let your child move about the house, doing homework at the kitchen table one night and reading on the couch the next. Creating a routine and habit of sitting at the homework station will help build an association with that space, so when your child sits down, they know it’s time for business!

The key elements of an effective study space

Any space can be instantly transformed into a comfortable place to study with just a few essentials: a desk, chair, lighting, and storage.

  1. Desk: A desk is the foundation of any workspace. Ensuring it’s the right size for your child will encourage them to stay put and be comfortable. You want the top of the desk to sit somewhere between your child’s waist and lower ribcage when they are seated, allowing elbows to comfortably sit on top, minimizing hunching and slouching. Attention should also be paid to the size of the top. It needs to be big enough to accommodate textbooks, notebooks, tablet/laptop, and accessories, while not being so large it will just gather clutter.
  2. Chair: If you’ve ever sat in an uncomfortable chair you know how hard it is to focus on anything else. A good, high-quality chair will not only help your child concentrate on the task at hand, but also alleviate and reduce problems that can affect other parts of the body, like the neck, back, wrists, and hands. Use an adjustable chair or one that’s made specifically to be paired with your chosen desk.
  3. Lighting: While natural light is ideal, it’s not always feasible if the study space is located in a basement, closet, or corner. Ensure the workspace has at least two sources of light, including ambient lighting (ceiling lights) and task lighting (a desk lamp). The level of lighting is also a factor to consider; too bright and it can cause headaches, too low and it can cause eye strain.
  4. Storage: Mess and clutter can be a real distraction for your child, pulling their focus from their work and slowing their productivity. Reduce the disruption by storing all study essentials out of sight or away from their desk. Bookshelves are key for storing books and binders, while desk drawers or cabinets can hold paper, pens, scissors, and such. Just keep in mind, all tools should be within reach, so they’re not constantly asking you for help retrieving items.

Study supplies

Look at your child’s syllabus or supply list from school and stock their space with the necessary and age-appropriate supplies they need to complete their studies. Ensure they have a variety of paper including plain, lined, and construction, writing utensils such as pens, pencils, erasers, markers, and crayons, as well as other miscellaneous items like rulers, staplers, sharpeners, a calculator, scissors, and sticky-notes. A large whiteboard calendar is a great investment as it allows your child to track homework assignments, tests, reminders, or class events. It also helps you see at a glance what the month ahead holds. Lastly, if your child has trouble concentrating, concentration tools can also be helpful. Consider including a fidget spinner, squishy/stress ball, or silly putty for them to hold while they work.

Design to inspire

Just because this space is dedicated to learning doesn’t mean it needs to be sterile and boring– after all, it’s a place you want your child to feel inspired and productive. Consider letting your child pick out a few personal items to decorate the space–posters, family photos, and wall decals are a good place to start. Take a trip to the dollar or craft store and let them select colourful dividers, patterned file folders, and fun containers for their pencils, crayons, and other miscellaneous items. Some small faux plants can also add warmth and liveliness to the space. A few personal touches and your child will feel at ease and ready to study in their space.

Tips for children who are doing virtual learning

Given the current situation around COVID-19, some parents are opting for virtual learning, meaning their child’s study nook or space will be occupied all day, every day. Here are a few additional tips for children who are going the virtual route.

  1. Do your best to eliminate distractions: If the study area is in a shared space (like a dining room or living room) consider investing in a simple room divider that can help compartmentalize the space; a good investment if you’re planning to stick to virtual learning for the foreseeable future.
  2. Be aware of your background: In most virtual learning scenarios, the use of a webcam will be required. Be aware of what is visible behind your child when attending class. You don’t want it to be too distracting, inappropriate, or embarrassing.
  3. Establish a routine and stick to it: Once your child has their syllabus, help them make a study schedule and fill in any key dates on their calendar or whiteboard. Teach them to reference the calendar and schedule at the start of the day so they’re prepared. Getting into a routine will increase the chances of success.
  4. Don’t forget about nutrition and movement breaks: Encourage your child to get up and fully leave their space for breaks. This will continue to reinforce the fact the space is for schoolwork only.

Setting up a dedicated space for your child to study and learn will ensure their success for the school year ahead, and it’s not as hard or complicated as you might think.


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You probably already know it’s important to stay on track when renovating your home – getting multiple bids and references for reputable contractors and researching everything in advance helps you make smart design and construction choices. However, many homeowners get swept up, up and away the moment a wall comes down or the flooring is pulled up. You see, that’s when a sneaky little thing called scope creep rears its ugly head, threatening to toss your budget and your schedule straight out the window. 

It goes something like this: “Hmm, while we’re at it, shouldn’t we also convert the attic into a gaming room and wire the whole house for a potential home theatre system?” Or, “Hey, I know we planned to match the new hardwood floor to our existing one, but while we’re at it, let’s rip everything out and lay new flooring.”

Before you add things to your contractor’s list, consider this: Changing your mind mid-way through a project has consequences, and last-minute decisions are often the wrong ones. These moves can add lengthy delays that annoy your neighbours, too. We spoke with two REALTORS® who are also general contractors about how you can stick with your plans (and your budget) without sacrificing the beautiful home you want.

Understand the big picture

Good contractors will take the time to walk you through your project’s timeline and workflow, says Matthew Watson, a REALTOR® and contractor with Real Estate and Rejuvenate in Calgary. That includes understanding how every new request during the project triggers changes in the schedule and the budget.

“When you have a contractor you trust, they’ll lay out all the options in detail, and leave it up to you,” explains Watson.

Figure out your must-haves vs. your wish-we-could-haves

Before anyone swings a sledgehammer, your contractor can help you prioritize the project components, says Ali Shakeri, a chartered real estate broker with Ramier Realty and president of Eco-Nature Construction in Montreal

“I’ve seen ‘while we’re at it’ getting homeowners into a lot of trouble; small projects get turned into huge ones,” says Shakeri, who recommends thinking about how long you plan to stay in your home and tabulating your needs based on that principle.

“I always separate their list into ‘must-haves’ or ‘nice-to-haves’, with an estimate next to each item.”

Once you can see how far your budget will go, it’s easier to make smart decisions. 

Know the difference between a tweak and an overhaul

It’s one thing to swap out a bathroom faucet or add in a skylight if you’re already re-doing your roof. It’s quite another to request a two-story bay window, as Watson’s client recently did.

“If you have $70,000, I could absolutely throw in that bay window,” he told them.

“First, we’d have to bring in a structural engineer, then we’d have to redo your plans. By the time we open up the structural walls, re-support and tie that into your roof, we’re redoing your roof and exterior walls, plus insulation. Then, your flooring won’t match.”

Ask for do-or-die deadlines

Let’s say you can’t decide on paint colours. That’s OK, as long as you’re aware the painters have been booked for a specific time slot, says Watson. 

“Most major projects subcontract some work, so your contractor should have the foresight to explain when your painters are coming in and that you can only change your mind until such-and-such a date,” he says. 

Missing that window can push tradespeople off your project, because they’ll move on to something else, delaying your schedule.

Keep your contingency for unexpected problems, not last-minute add-ons

Some homeowners figure since their renovation budget includes money set aside for problems that crop up during the construction phase, those funds can instead be used for extras. For example, one homeowner asked Watson for a screened-in porch. After all, the existing remodel was going smoothly, so why not add this seemingly simple thing?

“His existing balcony was 10-feet off the ground, and his railing wasn’t to code. By law, as soon as I touch that railing, I have to bring everything up to the current building code, otherwise it’s not safe, and I’m liable,” explains Watson. 

We get it: It’s sometimes challenging to avoid the temptation of adding on more projects during your remodel when so much is going on around you. That’s why working with your REALTOR® and a certified contractor right from the beginning can help your renovations run smoothly, with less stress and fewer unexpected expenses. Trust their experience and advice, and you’ll end up with a lovely home and not added surprises.



While design trends come and go, there’s one item we can be sure won’t be making an appearance in our living rooms again: the tube TV. While the big and bulky televisions of our childhoods have been replaced with more minimal options, that flatscreen TV can still be an eyesore in your home. That’s why we’re sharing six creative ways to stylishly hide your TV. 

Would you guess there’s a flatscreen hiding behind that stylish map and console setup? To achieve this look, Karen Rollman sourced a pull down map (try searching for pull down art) to transform her TV room into a stylish living space. The result is clean, stylish and functional. 

If your TV is above a fireplace mantle, another option is to lean a mirror, framed picture (or both) on the wall in front of your TV for a layered look that hides your TV. The fireplace mantle is a focal point in your room, and its visual esthetic is lessened by having the television front and centre; hiding it behind a stylish mirror or piece of art is a great way to improve the look of your space.  

Splurge on the ultimate flatscreen 

While this option isn’t cheap, it’s worth considering if a new flat screen is in the budget. Doubling as a TV and a piece of art, televisions like Samsung’s The Frame and LG’s OLED models can display digital artwork when not being used for watching news or Netflix. Similar to a framed picture, these television models mount completely flat against the wall, hiding eyesores like brackets and other hardware. Depending on size, the cost ranges from about $1,400 to $4,000.

Make your TV part of a gallery wall 

Instead of drawing attention away from your TV, this option embraces your flatscreen as part of the main focal point in a room. To build a gallery wall around your TV, The Crafted Life recommends using tape to outline your TV and console before moving it out of the way. Next, lay out your artwork on the floor (use a piece of paper, cardboard or tape outline to represent the TV) and play around with how different colours and frame sizes fit together. When you’re happy with the layout, use tape to outline where each picture will go on the wall before hanging your pieces. 

Paint the TV wall a darker colour 

Clean and neutral walls are in style, but hanging a big, black TV in the centre of your white wall is sure to be an eyesore. To help draw attention away from your TV, consider painting an accent wall in a darker colour that won’t contrast as much with your television. Without the need for any hardware or holes in the wall, this is a budget-friendly option for renters looking for a quick fix.  

Opt for no TV with a screen and projector

If your TV is mainly reserved for movie nights or sporting events, consider opting for a screen and projector instead of a traditional television. With this option, you can quickly set up a big screen TV experience that can be packed away when it’s not being used. Screens and projectors are available in a range of options depending on your budget and the size of your room. Whether you install a retractable screen or opt for a freestanding screen, this option offers an easy way to turn any room into a multifunctional entertainment space.

Hide it behind barn doors 

Hide your TV and transform the look of your room by installing sliding barn doors. Big box retailers like Home Depot or Lowes offer sliding barn doors complete with hardware and hanging instructions in a range of colours and costs. For a true rustic or vintage look, try searching your local online marketplaces (Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace) for used barn doors that will fit your space.

Although a must-have item in most homes, your television doesn’t have to be an eyesore. With a little bit of creativity and a DIY attitude you can hide away your TV and transform your room into a multifunctional space that doesn’t compromise on style.


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From staggeringly low sales numbers in the spring, to a breakneck summer recovery, Canada’s real estate market has felt like a roller coaster ride these last few months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to broader economic turmoil and uncertainty in the early days of the pandemic, Canada’s central bank cut its mortgage-market influencing key interest rate to the lowest level it says is possible. Many economists watching the central bank closely say these low rates will be here for a long time.

In August, the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark mortgage rate fell for the third time in 2020, decreasing from 4.94% in May down to 4.79%. Now, mortgage rates stand at their lowest point in recent history. For current and aspiring mortgage holders, the gradual drop is one of the latest changes that has expanded buying power and increased housing affordability.

“It’s a wonderful time to be a borrower and to either be a first-time home buyer and require a mortgage, or someone who currently has a mortgage or who’s mortgage is up for renewal,” says Justin Thouin, co-founder and CEO of “Both fixed and variable rates are as low as we can ever remember.”

Whether you’re looking to obtain your first mortgage, or make changes to your existing one because of these low rates, there’s a lot to unpack before you commit. Thouin, along with mortgage broker and owner of Platform Mortgage, Renée Stribbell, break down what Canada’s low mortgage rates mean for current and future homeowners.

What historically low rates mean for new home buyers

If you’re looking to purchase your first home, today’s low mortgage rates can add a valuable discount.

Thanks to the drop in the mortgage stress test qualifying rate—now 4.79%—buyer purchasing power has increased a little bit, by about $3,000 to $4,000 or so, Stribble explains. For a first-time home buyer, a few thousand dollars might not make a huge difference, but it can definitely help. However, Stribble says the real cost-savings lie in regular mortgage payments.

Stribble uses the example of a $400,000 mortgage with an amortization period of 25 years.

At a rate of 2.79%, monthly payments would have cost about $1,850. However, with a new rate of 1.84% before offered by some lenders, the same mortgage payment would drop to around $1,663, saving the homeowner about $187 per month with a less than one percentage point drop in rates.

Both Thouin and Stribble have noticed a drastic uptick in clients wanting to seize the opportunity to lock in lower rates—cheaper mortgages, pent-up demand from the spring and a fear of missing out are all contributing to the rush of home buyers during the pandemic.  

“There’s still reasonable prices and because the rates are so low, that same house on a monthly basis is costing them less money so people are absolutely taking advantage of it right now,” says Stribble.

Despite the benefits lower mortgage rates can provide in helping more Canadians get into the housing market, Thouin cautions buyers shouldn’t use these savings to take on more debt than they can afford. He says these low rates should be with us for some time, possibly for the next two to three years, so there’s no need to rush into making a home purchase.

“I don’t think that these low rates are enough of a game changer that everybody and their neighbour should be going and buying a home,” says Thouin. “In many cases, the best financial decision is to rent and to take some of your other money and put it into the market, into a tax-free savings account or an RRSP.”

What historically low rates mean for current mortgage holders

For those who are already settled into a mortgage, breaking your current term or changing mortgage providers completely for a lower rate may be a tempting proposition.

Thouin and Stribble say it may be worth having a conversation with your mortgage broker or bank to determine if a switch is right for you. Your mortgage professional can use calculators and rate comparables to decide if the penalties incurred by breaking your current mortgage agreement will be worth it in the long term, as well as provide information on your up-to-date mortgage balance.

“It’s worth the conversation,” says Stribble. “Will it be worth it to do? It’s really best to have that individual conversation with each person.”

Stribble explains there are a few key elements to consider when exploring the idea of leaving your mortgage term for a lower rate. For starters, breaking your mortgage comes with a penalty. If the penalty is significant, Stribble says you’ll want to make sure you have money set aside to pay that fee, as it’s not always factored into the mortgage. Occasionally, for clients who have renewed early, the payout penalty from the lender may be halved.

If you’re looking to swap lenders or renew early, Stribble also says there will be a qualification process, which will examine your credit, income and employment. If you decided to defer your mortgage payments because of COVID-19, your credit history should not be affected, explains Stribble, but lenders typically want to see the mortgage back on repayment.

“We’ve been noticing that both lenders want us to have it on repayment, so that can be a challenge,” says Stribble. “If you are waiting to go back to work because you were temporarily laid off with regards to COVID, then they’d want to see you back to work.” If you’re weighing your options on whether to move, refinance or start your first mortgage, remember the expert advice of a trusted REALTOR® can help to guide you through the process.


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