Located on the shores of Southern Georgian Bay, Collingwood is a thriving town that provides four seasons of adventure. It’s a popular choice for families and retirees looking to get outside while also experiencing a modern downtown with shops, restaurants and boutiques. Like many towns across Canada, Collingwood real estate has seen rising demand and record-low supply, resulting in soaring home prices. This price surge has made the transition from rental to ownership challenging.
The Town of Collingwood has recognized this issue, establishing an Affordable Housing Task Force. The task force provides Council recommendations on what the Town can do to make home ownership more accessible. With rents increasing more than five per cent since 2016 and 134 per cent since 1990, time will tell what impact the task force has on housing and development in Collingwood.
Until any proposed changes come into effect, there are municipal, provincial and federal programs to help assist with buying your first home. Before we explore those programs, let’s look at the state of the Collingwood real estate market.
Collingwood Real Estate Trends
Since the onset of the pandemic, the desire for easy access to natural amenities and activities has grown, causing many homeowners to leave the city and head for small towns, like Collingwood.
Collingwood is overflowing with outdoor fun. There is adventure year-round, from skiing and snowshoeing in the winter to boating and beach days in the summer. It is no surprise that the Town is expecting to welcome 10,000 new full-time and seasonal residents by 2031.
Walkability to stores, parks, trails and proximity to Georgian Bay, Blue Mountain, and other recreational amenities have always been popular. Still, they are increasingly so with the advent of a global pandemic. This trend, much like communities from coast-to-coast, has caused a massive supply crunch.
The lack of supply has contributed to record-high prices. According to March data from REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound, the average cost for single-family homes hit $607,000, up 27.9 per cent on a year-over-year basis. Townhouses, a popular option in newer developments in the Collingwood area, sold for an average of $488,800, up sharply by 40.4 per cent year-over-year. Overall, the average price of homes sold in March 2022 was $759,427, increasing by 17.4 per cent from March 2021. These rising prices are limiting options for first-time homebuyers looking to leave their rental unit behind.
On top of rising prices, interest rates are also going up. Discounted five-year mortgage rates have already begun to rise. Since the Bank of Canada announced its first-quarter point hike in early March, the cost of borrowing has been going up.
Help for First-time Homebuyers
Faced with low inventory, record housing prices, and an increase in the cost of borrowing, many first-time homebuyers are looking for support. While Collingwood is still developing a long-term strategy to help make home ownership and renting more accessible and affordable, existing programs offer some relief.
These programs aim to help renter households access homeownership while freeing up rental units, encouraging developers to build affordable housing, and fostering demand. Depending on where you live outside of Collingwood, there are multiple programs that you can access to help support your home-ownership journey.
If you are a renter and are looking for support, here are some programs worth exploring.
The Town of Blue Mountains: Down Payment Assistance Program
If you live outside of Collingwood in the Town of The Blue Mountains, there is a down payment assistance program that helps first-time homebuyers. The Town provides an interest-free loan of up to five per cent of the purchase price (up to $400,000). To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
- Applicants are first time home purchasers in The Town of The Blue Mountains
- Applicants do not have assets greater than $100,000
- Applicants have a maximum household income of $100,000
- Applicants will use the purchased home as their sole and principal residence
- Applicants qualify for a mortgage without a cosigner
Grey County: Affordable Home Ownership Program
Grey County offers multiple housing programs that provide loans and grants to support the building and repair of affordable housing. The Homeownership Program provides renters in Grey County with a loan of up to five per cent of the home’s purchase price to help support the down payment and purchase of a home. Applicants must be eligible for a mortgage without a cosigner and cannot exceed the maximum household income listed on the application.
As of May 2022, the funds in the program are exhausted, and they are not taking applications. Check in with Grey County to see if the program starts again or if there is another program that works for you.
Simcoe County: Affordable Homeownership Program
Just east of Collingwood is Simcoe County. Like Grey County, Simcoe offers an Affordable Homeownership Program. The program helps low-to-moderate income renter households. The County provides 10-per-cent down-payment assistance (to a maximum of $50,000) through a 20-year forgivable loan.
The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive
The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive offers five or 10 per cent of the home’s purchase price toward a down payment. Because you can put more toward your down payment, you can lower your mortgage carrying costs, making home ownership more affordable.
This program is a shared equity mortgage—the government shares in the upside and downside of the property value. You pay back the same percentage of the value of your home when you sell it or within a 25-year window.
Buying Collingwood Real Estate
We hope this loan and grant information helps. If you still have questions about how to buy a home, or you’re ready to start the process, tap into the knowledge and experience of a RE/MAX agent who will guide you through the process every step of the way.