Ontario House Buyers Abandon Toronto, Head to Smaller Cities to Get More Value for their Money

Toronto’s house buyers are gradually beginning to appreciate the value of more affordable houses in surrounding Toronto towns. Three years ago, you could buy a house in London, Ont., for $234,000. Today, it will cost you $364,000, says a report on thestar.com

“I call it the Toronto migration” said real estate broker John DeBlock. “It’s not only from Toronto, though. Toronto people have gone to Kitchener. Kitchener people have come to London.”

The report says that even though the housing euphoria left Toronto last year, the towns surrounding Toronto are still experiencing some of it, it is predicted that it could linger for another year.

Windsor realtorshave said that they experience bidding wars on most of their listings. There is massive migration by retirees and first time buyers who are headed to smaller Ontario cities to get more for the money spent on housing.

Retirees, move-up and first-time buyers are looking to get more for their housing dollars by migrating to smaller Ontario markets. Technology and strong provincial employment are helping. Towns like Belleville, Niagara, Kitchener and Cambridge have all experienced amazing growth in the second quarter of the year, the report says, citing a research from Royal LePage.

“Does it really matter where you live anymore? Technology has increased the mobility of people. They don’t have to live in the community they work in,” said DeBlock, whose business, he claims, is made up of about 40 per cent Toronto area clients.

Realtors in Toronto reported a 2%  year-over-year price gain in June, meanwhile the London-St. Thomas Association of Realtors reported a whopping 10.5 per cent year-over-year growth in London — a 33 per cent increase over June 2016.

DeBlockfurther explains that the Toronto migration has also increased the value of waterfront property in once-overlooked communities such as Sarnia, Kingsville and Goderich.

A good number of retirees, sparse listings and a surge of investment means 60 to 70 per cent of sales attract multiple offers says Daniel Hofgartner, president of the Windsor-Essex County.“The average price two-and-a-half to three years ago was $180,000 and now it’s $289,000,” he said. “That will buy a three-bedroom ranch with one-and-a-half baths and a single-car garage.”

Toronto’s waterfront areas have previously been marketed mainly to retirees, but these days it appearsdwellers have realised the area’s lower prices and milder climate and its closeness to the entertainment at Windsor’s casino and neighbouring Detroit’s attractions, including arts, restaurants, pro sports teams and an international airport.

“We never saw the 30 percent increases that Toronto saw. We saw the 10 to 15 per cent increases, which for Windsor is huge,” said Hofgartner. “Windsor, in the past 20 years, has generally only seen the rate of inflation, if that.”

“Say you buy a little house for $160,000 or $180,000. You can rent it out for $1,500 a month. That’s good return on your investment. A Toronto home is four times the amount, and you don’t get four times the rent,” he said.