The COVID-19 public health crisis has produced several unique trends in the GTA housing market over the last few months. Families from the city are moving to the suburbs, sales activity and real estate prices are setting records, and borrowing costs are at historic lows. Affordability has always been an important subject in the housing market – in the GTA and elsewhere – for the last decade.

Earlier this year, the 2020 RE/MAX Housing Affordability Report ranked Oshawa in ninth place when it came to housing affordability. Although Oshawa prices have risen in recent years, it is still an affordable destination for GTA homebuyers, whether it is in Lakeview or Vanier. Despite enduring some economic hardships over the past few year, particularly with the COVID-19 shockwave, Oshawa continues to offer homebuyers an enticing variety of neighbourhoods with great prices.

It has been several months since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so has anything changed in the Oshawa real estate market? The key performance indicators suggest that the town is striking a balance between affordability and growth, which is an opportunity for both buyers and sellers.

GTA Housing Market: Oshawa Real Estate Snapshot

The Oshawa real estate market is booming from last year, despite the coronavirus pandemic weighing on the regional and national economy. But pent-up demand and significantly low interest rates have contributed to the city’s resurgence. Can this momentum be sustained? So far, the data suggests it can.

In August, residential sales increased 44.8 per cent from the same time a year ago as sellers returned to the market. The average price for a home advanced 18.56 per cent to $613,000, up from $517,000 in August 2019. Overall, you can expect to pay around $670,000 for a detached home, $582,000 for a townhouse, and $350,000 for a condominium in Oshawa. The average number of days on the market was 11, with 235 active listings.

Right now, there is an imbalance in the Oshawa housing market as fewer homes are coming to the marketplace. For example, in June 2019, there were 461 homes available for sale. A year later, there were around 200. The smaller number of homes being put up for sale could potentially prompt bidding wars for these properties. This explains why many homes are selling for the full asking price, or over asking.

Homebuyers can expect to see the upward trajectory continue for the rest of 2020, considering the rebound in the broader Canadian real estate sector.

In an exciting turn of events, the Oshawa rental market is outpacing other cities. While Toronto is experiencing a considerable decline in rents, nearby municipalities, including Oshawa, are heading in the opposite direction. One of the reasons is the swelling demand, particularly from tenants who are migrating from Toronto. The influx of new rental inventories from a couple of years ago also contributed to the high quantity of one- or two-bedroom units available.

Put simply, Oshawa is firmly positioned as both a surging buying and renting market.

What Does Fall Look Like for the Oshawa Market?

With interest rates expected to stay low for the foreseeable future, more homebuyers will have access to some of the lowest mortgage rates on record. The Bank of Canada (BoC) recently reduced its five-year mortgage rate to below five per cent, and many financial institutions continue to provide competitive borrowing rates. When you factor in pent-up demand, Oshawa and other housing markets are on track for impressive gains for the remainder of the year. Oshawa remains an appealing place to relocate to, considering its expanding public transit service, and an economic development initiative aimed at diversifying the market and benefitting residents across all types of industries.

The broader Durham Region housing market is poised to see a 14-per-cent increase in average residential prices for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021, according to the RE/MAX Fall Market Outlook Report. In addition to rural areas and cottage properties attracting buyers in this market, the regional municipality is home to a growing university (Ontario Tech University), the Hwy. 407 expansion and new state-of-the-art amenities.

The RE/MAX report also revealed some noteworthy insights into consumer preference, which translate well for the Oshawa housing market:

  • 48% of Canadians want to live closer to green spaces.
  • 48% believe it is important to live in a community close to clinics and hospitals.
  • 44% want a home with more outdoor space and personal amenities.
  • 33% would like more square footage in their properties.

Oshawa, and other comparable rural and suburban communities, have been known to possess these attributes. Now that the pandemic has modified homebuyers’ wants and needs, Oshawa could be a premier destination for those who are fleeing the crowded urban hubs in search of more space to roam with updated amenities.