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These Regions Offer Some of Ontario's Most Affordable Real Estate – Toronto Storeys

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While we love Toronto and the GTA, sky-high prices have left many looking outside of the centre of the universe to find a new home. Thankfully, there’s more affordability in the province’s real estate market than Toronto-area prices show.


If purchasing a shed near Trinity Bellwoods for $1.8 million doesn’t appeal to you, trust that first: you’re not alone, and second: you have options. While the city’s rental market is making a case for tenants, average home prices are expected to continue to rise; for many homebuyers, lands beyond the GTA beckon.

According to a new report from RE/MAX, there are six notable regions across Ontario currently offering friendlier average home prices than what you’ll see in and around Toronto.

READ: Muskoka Waterfront Property Sales Set All-Time Record in July

En masse, the province’s real estate market is bouncing back from COVID-19-related dips, but the chance to snag a spot that’s kind to your wallet hasn’t yet passed. You just need to know where to look.

Six That Aren’t The 6ix

Below are six of Ontario’s most affordable real estate markets right now, according to RE/MAX. Home prices are set based on CREA’s June 2020 year-to-date average price.

6. Barrie

  • Average Home Price: $570,612
  • Annual Income Required for Purchase: $73,654

5. Peterborough

  • Average Home Price:$505,998
  • Annual Income Required for Purchase: $69,072

4. Niagara

  • Average Home Price: $493,007
  • Annual Income Required for Purchase: $66,317

3. Windsor

  • Average Home Price: $383,521
  • Annual Income Required for Purchase: $52,192

2. Sudbury

  • Average Home Price: $297,938
  • Annual Income Required for Purchase: $33,749

1. North Bay

  • Average Home Price: $286,114
  • Annual Income Required for Purchase:: $39,893

Diving Deeper

Peterborough, Ont

According to the 2020 RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report, 75% of Canada’s largest cities are undervalued. With that in mind, RE/MAX’s report says first-time buyers, families, and newcomers can find a region that’s affordable for them — all that’s needed is “a little bit of due diligence.”

The range of what you’ll pay and where you’ll pay for it varies. For example, if you’re hoping to stay close-ish to the city, you might seek something on the higher end of the affordability spectrum, in a place like Barrie, Peterborough, or Niagara.

Century 21’s Cole Murray, based in Peterborough, says that where that region is concerned, he sees potential for a continued growth trajectory over the next couple years. The pandemic was a driver in increased interest in Peterborough property, but overflow from the Toronto-Durham region is a consistent reality, he said.

“Once we find that the Toronto listing markets go down and get very competitive, their agents start to fan out and come to our area. They’re the ones in multiple offers that give X amount of dollars over a local buyer.”

According to Murray, the competitiveness of the markets in Toronto and Durham take time — a couple months, generally — to reach Peterborough. But it does arrive, as the agents are fanning out, bringing more buyers north and east. And so, as the real estate market in the GTA continues to bounce back and prices are projected to keep rising, Murray expects to see phone calls regarding purchases in Peterborough’s future. Particularly if people continue to be able to work from home.

“The houses are a little bigger, the yards are probably a little bigger. On water-frontage, one of the first questions asked is: ‘What’s the internet speed?’”

The promise of growth, and potentially higher prices, lingers in a place like Peterborough: more affordable than Toronto, relatively remote, but still close enough to the city that day trips are in the stars. But if you’re looking for a significant change in price, you’re going to need to accept a significant change in location.

“Windsor is one of Ontario’s best-kept secrets,” RE/MAX says, and it’s far enough away from the city’s impact that a large property can be purchased for the price of a two-bedroom apartment in Toronto. Reportedly popular among young couples, the housing market wasn’t severely impacted by the pandemic. With the income required to handle a buy sitting at just over $52k, the city is undoubtedly accessible for those beginning their careers, and the benefit of crossing the border with ease lingers in the (COVID-free) distance.

And finally, for those craving a truly rural environment and a much more affordable selection of housing options, North Bay awaits. Greater infrastructure investment, improved land development, and lower taxation combine to make more northern regions of the province increasingly alluring in recent times. This, combined with deeply affordable home prices — $286,114, on average — means real estate sales are expected to keep climbing through the rest of 2020.  If you take the leap now, you could be calling a place your own in time to plant a spring vegetable garden.

Making the Move

North Bay
North Bay, Ontario

The pandemic has had varied impacts on city-dwellers. While some have been reassured in their love for urban living through easy access to food and beverage delivery services, strong senses of community connection, and the shining light of normalcy’s return glowing in the distance, others have realized during lockdown that Toronto’s not their dream.

If you fall into the latter camp, don’t wait to embrace your truth. The city’s average home prices are expected to keep climbing, and just outside Toronto proper, Durham is looking ahead to even higher projected jumps. It’s possible the ripple effect of the GTA’s growing prices will reach the above more accessibly-priced regions, but for now, there’s still time. The province is vast, living options varied, and, to those fed up with condo prices, adventure calls. Ontario is “yours to discover,” after all.

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Vancouver real estate: early September numbers show steep drop in sales from August highs – The Georgia Straight

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Home sales in the city of Vancouver are dropping big time.

This is based on tracking by real-estate site fisherly.com as of late morning Friday (September 25).

Compared to record highs in August, early numbers for September show a steep decline in transactions.

In August, a total of 490 condo units sold in Vancouver.

As of this posting September 25, fisherly.com recorded 202 condo sales so far this month.

Last month, 212 detached homes changed owners.

September sales so far show 114 freestanding houses sold in the city.

As for townhouses, 99 sold in August.

As of September 25, only 49 townhouses have been purchased.

Vancouver home sales peaked in August, following a steady recovery that started in May.

Transactions crashed in April during the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns.

RBC Economics previously issued a report noting that pent-up demand for homes drove real estate sales in the country this summer.

However, according to the bank’s report, this demand is largely spent, and that the market’s momentum is expected to decelerate in the fall.

The Canadian Real Estate Association has forecast that after its highs and lows, 2020 may likely end up as a “fairly middling year overall”.

It remains to be seen whether the Vancouver market will stage a late September rally to boost numbers.

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Real Estate Roundup 9.25.20 – Real Estate Daily Beat

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Real Estate Roundup

Office news 

  • SL Green and Jacob Chetrit have resolved their dispute over the broken contract for the Daily News Building. (TRD)
  • Global pricing and demand for office space will take almost five years to recover from the damage wrought by the pandemic, according to a report by Cushman. Vacancies worldwide are expected to peak at 15.6% in 2022, with about 95.8 million SF of space emptying over the next two years. That’s more than during the 2008 financial crisis, when tenants abandoned 85 million square feet of offices. (Bloomberg)
  • Barclays is set to ramp up staff numbers in New York next month, asking a fresh contingent of employees to be “primarily office-based”, as the UK lender prepares to U-turn on its plans to bring more people to its Canary Wharf headquarters. (FinancialNews)
  • Mizuho Financial Group plans to trim office space in New York and London in anticipation that some staff will keep working from home even when the coronavirus pandemic is over. (Bloomberg)
  • When Everybody’s Working At Home And The Magic Is Gone. (NPR)

Retail 

  • Brookfield Properties and Namdar Realty are separately requesting they be allowed to give up their J.C. Penney-anchored malls to special servicers to avoid loan foreclosure. The action is known as a “deed-in-lieu.” Mall owners most likely to default are those with CMBS debt. Such loans are difficult to restructure because of covenants bondholders have with servicers. (TRD)

Leasing 

  • Spring Education Group has signed a 20-year lease for 34,500 SF at Albanese Development’s 556 West 22nd Street. The group’s BASIS Independent Schools will occupy the entire three-story building to serve students in grades 6 through 12. (TRD)

Tech 

  • Although Zillow has long denied it wants to become a real estate brokerage, the changes to its iBuying program mean it is doing just that. Previously, Zillow worked with local real estate agents to complete both ends of the transaction, but now it will instead use its own employees who are licensed real estate agents. (MotleyFool)
  • Co-living firm Common has raised $50 million in new venture capital this month. Earlier this summer, competitor Juno Residential launched with $11 million in venture funding. (WSJ)

Other news

  • New York Community Bank and Signature were among the top five most-active lenders in New York in the first half of the year, and almost all of their portfolios are tied to the area. With retail and apartment vacancies rising and rents falling, and with the prospect of employers cutting their office space looming, the question is whether the hundreds of millions of dollars the banks have set aside for commercial-property loan losses will be enough. (Bloomberg)
  • Blackstone’s China Real Estate Head Tim Wang leaves after 10 years. (Bloomberg)
  • Blackstone Group closed on the largest real-estate debt fund ever. The private equity firm began raising money for the fund in the spring of 2019, and ultimately took in $8 billion. Fundraising got a boost after Covid-19, partly because interest rates fell, increasing the appeal of relatively high-yielding real estate debt. (WSJ)

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National Real Estate Deal Roundup 9.25.20 – Real Estate Daily Beat

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National Acquisitions Roundup

  • Amazon has acquired 550 Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City, Virginia from the Blackstone Group for $148.5 million. The tech giant plans to demolish the existing Marriott hotel and utilize the 1.5 acres of land as part of its second headquarters. With the deal, Amazon now owns the entire 11.6-acre PenPlace. The site was always part of the company’s HQ2 plans, but the hotel remained the last holdout, and it appeared the company would just build around it. (CO)
  • A consortium of South Korea’s Hana Alternative Asset Management has signed a contract to acquire a 38-story office tower in downtown Seattle for around $686 million. Skanska USA’s newly-constructed Qualtrics Tower spans 701,000 SF. Tenants include Qualtrics, Indeed, Dropbox, and co-working firm Spaces. (KI)
  • Invictus Real Estate Partners has purchased the remaining 90 percent stake in The Waypointe at 515 West Avenue in Norwalk, Connecticut from Carmel Partners. The two-building complex, which includes 56,000 SF of ground floor retail and restaurant space, opened in 2015. Its apartments are currently 93 percent occupied, while the retail space is 74 percent leased. The deal valued the asset at $157 million. (TRD)
  • As part of its ongoing industrial real estate expansion, PGIM Real Estate has acquired a 40 percent interest in a 5.4 million-square-foot, 12-complex industrial portfolio valued at $700.5 million. PGIM acquired the stake in the portfolio through a recapitalization of the interest in a JV with partner IAC Properties and a subsidiary of Perlmutter Investment Company. At that valuation, the deal works out to a 4.7 percent cap rate. The portfolio includes 30 industrial properties spread throughout the 12 complexes, which altogether are 97 percent leased. (CO)
  • July Residential and Firm Capital Apartment REIT have acquired North Pointe at 5735 29th Avenue in Hyattsville, Maryland from FCP for $37.5 million. The 19-building apartment community contains 234 units. (CO)

National Leasing Roundup

Office

  • Netflix has signed a 171,000-square-foot office lease in Burbank near major competitors like Warner Brothers and Walt Disney. Netflix’s new space is at 2300 West Empire Avenue near the 5 Freeway in Los Angeles County. Earlier this month, CEO Reed Hastings told WSJ that he expects employees back in the office once a coronavirus vaccine is available. (CO)

Industrial 

  • Logistics and storage firm Mega Lion has signed a 132,423-square-foot lease at 13021 Leffingwell Road in the Mid-Cities submarket of Los Angeles County. Golden Springs Development owns the property. Asking rent on the five year lease was reportedly $0.90 per SF, triple net. (CO)

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