The Northern Ontario real estate market has been one of the primary beneficiaries in the Ontario housing sector over the last year. Northern Ontario has witnessed a significant population influx as more people flee the major urban centres and families attempt to plant new roots in communities promising more space in and outside their homes. But now that the coronavirus pandemic has lifted, can this area of Ontario’s real estate market maintain the momentum?
With improved internet connectivity, remote work has become more feasible in many areas of Northern Ontario. Residents set up home offices or designated workspaces, ensuring a quiet and productive environment. They invest in technology, such as reliable internet connections and video conferencing tools, to facilitate seamless communication with colleagues and clients. The natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities in Northern Ontario also allow residents to balance work with outdoor activities, promoting well-being and work-life balance. These combine to make Northern Ontario an attractive area for remote workers.
Still, even as municipalities invest in the economy, infrastructure, and broadband Internet to keep the new residents happy – and to potentially invite more households to the area – the future remains foggy. But amid this uncertainty, one thing remains true about the Northern Ontario real estate market: it is notably more affordable than many other destinations within the Ontario housing market.
Let’s look at some of the most affordable Northern Ontario real estate markets today:
The Sudbury Real Estate Board recently reported that residential sales decreased 29.5 per cent in April, totalling 184 units. This is 18.9 per cent below the five-year average and 14.9 per cent below the 10-year average for April.
The average price of homes sold in April fell slightly to $429,100, down by 7.8 per cent compared to April 2022. Or, when assessed by year-to-date averages, home prices fell 9.1 per cent in the first four months of 2023 to $460,012.
Like many markets nationwide, Sudbury is experiencing a supply issue, with the number of months of inventory sitting at 1.9 months at the end of April. This is up slightly from the 1.4 months at the same time a year ago but still below the long-run average of 4.9 months for this time of the year.
New listings saw a significant reduction of 39.6 per cent year-over-year to 235, while active residential listings saw only a modest decline of 1.1 per cent year-over-year to 354. Active listings have not been this low for April in over three decades.
If you ever want to get a good bang for your buck, the North Bay real estate market might be the best place. According to the North Bay Real Estate Board, residential sales fell sharply to 81 units in April 2023. Home sales were 30.4 per cent below the five-year average and 30 per cent below the 10-year average for April.
Average property prices are falling and remain far more affordable than many other municipalities and communities in the Southern Ontario real estate market. North Bay’s MLS® Home Price Index (HPI), which is considered a more accurate measurement than average or median measurements, fell by 14.4 per cent year-over-year for a single-family home to $407,000. Average prices, meanwhile, decreased by 19.2 per cent to $426,475.
North Bay is also struggling to meet demand with its current supply levels. The number of new listings fell sharply by 27 per cent from the same time a year ago to 108, but active residential listings saw a substantial increase of 31.2 per cent from the end of April 2022 to 122 units.
The months of inventory totalled 1.5 at the end of April, up from 0.8 months in April last year. This is also below the long-run average of 3.7 months for the month.
The Thunder Bay housing market has witnessed a resurgence, reporting the best numbers in a decade, and now is stabilizing. According to the Thunder Bay Real Estate Board, sales of single-detached properties decreased by 30.4 per cent to 55 units. In the first four months of 2023, single-detached transactions fell by 19.7 per cent.
In April, the median sale price for single-detached homes decreased modestly by 5.7 per cent to $345,000. Or, as another gauge of the Thunder Bay real estate market, the year-to-date median price decreased by 9.7 per cent to $311,450.
But homebuyers may be catching on to the incredible deals on Thunder Bay properties, as single-detached properties are being snatched up at a staggering pace. The median number of days on the market is 15, up from 10 days recorded in April 2022.
According to the Lakelands Association of REALTORS, the Haliburton real estate market recorded a sharp year-over-year decrease in residential sales in April, totalling 6 in March 2023. Prices fell to $435,650 to kick off the second quarter of 2023.
Is Parry Sound the most affordable jurisdiction in the Ontario real estate market today? In April, residential sales advanced 38.5 per cent month-over-month to 36. The median price for a non-waterfront property rose 10.4 per cent month-over-month to $699,768.
Northern Ontario Real Estate in 2023 and Beyond
Although high interest rates have cooled the real estate market, Northern Ontario has maintained affordable housing prices that have drawn homebuyers from metropolitan areas and other parts of Canada. Northern Ontario is taking advantage of the wave of new homebuyers, investing in much-needed improvements to infrastructure, including expansion of public transportation routes and enhanced internet options. Still, affordability may be far more critical for out-of-town buyers attempting to achieve the Canadian dream of home ownership. As current prices and rates keep homeownership out of reach, especially for first-time buyers across Canada, Northern Ontario remains an affordable area to purchase real estate.