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Homebuyers head to GTA west… but don't ignore the east

Homebuyers head to GTA west… but don’t ignore the east

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Homebuyers head to GTA west… but don’t ignore the east

It’s not exactly earth-shattering news, since we’ve been able to observe the trend for the last few years, but a new report from ReMax of Ontario-Atlantic Canada underlines just to what degree homebuyers are heading west.

West, as in Hamilton and Halton Region – Burlington, Oakville, Halton Hills and Milton.

In analyzing sales trends in nine Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) districts over the past five years, ReMax notes those areas captured 10.1 per cent of total market share in 2018, with a 2.3-per-cent increase over 2013.

The reasons are fairly obvious: The quest for homes at affordable prices. Indeed, this spillover effect has stimulated homebuying activity in most areas flanked by Toronto’s core and Hamilton. Burlington, in particular, soared between 2013 and 2018, with home sales almost doubling and average prices climbing 50 per cent to $769,142.

Builders of new homes also recognize the appetite for lowrise homes in the west.

But with such strong growth in Burlington, how long will this market remain an affordable option?

“The communities in the west will still be affordable compared to Toronto proper, but what we are going to see is a continued uptick in demand for more of the outlying communities like Brantford, Waterdown, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and even as far-reaching as London and Niagara,” Christopher Alexander, executive vice-president, ReMax of Ontario-Atlanti Canada, told HOMES Publishing. “What will really impact the growth of these markets, outside of availability and affordability, will be the underlying transit systems and investments in local economies, as people still have a need to be connected to the GTA core.”

But, Alexander also told HOMES Publishing, the window of opportunity to head west may be closing.

“As the west end of the GTA continues to see growth and price appreciation, a leveling effect will likely come into play (with the east region),” he says.

GTA east areas such as Durham Region may not have the same appeal as the west – currently. “The west end of the GTA has a greater diversity of communities that are attracting a diverse range of buyers. In the past 10 years, there has been significant focus on the growth and development of these regions, whereas historically, Durham has not traditionally been viewed in this same regard. With the boom in areas towards the east, like Prince Edward County, and the affordability leveling out, we will likely see the tide begin to turn.”

So, yes, prospective homebuyers, go west if you like, but also keep an eye on the east.


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GTA new home sales begin 2019 on a positive note

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GTA new home sales begin 2019 on a positive note

GTA new home sales

Sales of new homes in the GTA in January showed a moderate increase from last year, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) reports.

A total of 1,362 new homes were sold in January 2019, up 14 per cent from those sold in January of last year, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence.

Encouraging start

“I wouldn’t necessarily call this a strong start to the year,” David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO, told HOMES Publishing. “Yes, January is historically a slow month for new home sales, and we are encouraged by the modest improvement from January 2019 over 2018. However, low new home sales numbers continue to indicate that more needs to be done to make homeownership easier for new homebuyers.”

January’s sales of new single-family homes, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses (excluding stacked townhouses),with 420 single-family homes sold, were still low from a historical perspective, down 53 per cent from the 10-year average. Sales of new condominiums, including units in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units,were only five per cent lower than the 10-year average, with 942 units sold.

Brighter outlook

“This year is starting off on a positive note,” says Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “The improvement in new home sales over last January is consistent with our outlook for somewhat higher annual sales in the GTA this year, following the drop in 2018.”

Benchmark prices of new homes continued recent trends, with the benchmark price of single-family homes moderating slightly to $1.13 million in January from December 2018, down 8.1 per cent over the last 12 months. The condo benchmark price increased from last month to $803,638, up 12.5 per cent over the last 12 months.

With little new product coming into the housing market in January, remaining inventory decreased slightly from last month, to 15,530 units comprised of 10,364 condo units and 5,166 single-family homes. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.

Government needs to act

“It looks like the market is starting to return to typical levels after a particularly difficult year,” adds Wilkes. “With the spring budget coming up, we are calling on the federal government to take steps to make it easier for first-time home buyers to get into the housing market.”

Wilkes says the federal government should look at reintroducing the 30-year amortization periods for first-time buyers and adjusting the stress test, now that interest rates have risen.

“We must also continue to look at ways to increase supply,” he told HOMES. “We continue to call on municipal and provincial governments to remove barriers to bringing new housing and employment lands to market to meet the demand for much needed places to live and work across the GTA.”


January new home sales by municipality

Region Condominium units Single-family Total
2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017 2019 2018 2017
Durham 30 13 28 46 82 190 76 95 218
Halton 29 38 112 231 172 154 260 210 266
Peel 105 86 203 77 30 211 182 116 414
Toronto 724 605 982 5 8 36 729 613 1018
York 54 83 319 61 81 170 115 164 489
GTA 942 825 1,644 420 373 761 1,362 1,198 2,405

Source: Altus Group


GTA homebuyers continue to look west in search of affordability

Behind the numbers , A deeper look into the 2018 GTA housing market

2018 GTA new home sales drop to lowest mark in nearly 20 years

Three opportunities to positively impact housing in 2019


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