Home prices won’t recover from COVID for at least 2 years, CMHC says

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TORONTO — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. expects a prolonged period of weak real estate prices because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a return to pre-recession pricing more than two years away.

The estimate by senior officials of the Crown corporation came with the release of its annual financial report.

CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said the current best-case would be a return to pre-recession housing prices in late 2022.

Other officials said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn will be bigger than the worst-case scenarios forecast in January.

Chief executive Evan Siddall said CMHC is revising its estimates.

He says preliminary figures indicate that about one in 10 Canadian home owners have deferred mortgage payments, with a higher rate in parts of the country that rely heavily on the oil and gas industry.

Siddall says federal emergency legislation will ensure the agency has the financial resources it requires to perform its functions which, for the first time, includes assisting small businesses through a rent-assistance program announced last month.

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