The Northern Ontario real estate market has been one of the primary beneficiaries in the Ontario housing sector over the last year. As more people flee the major urban centres and families attempt to plant new roots in communities promising more space in and outside of their homes, Northern Ontario has witnessed a significant population influx. But now that the coronavirus pandemic appears to be lifting, can this area of Ontario’s real estate market maintain the momentum?

Perhaps the best way to determine if the region is anticipating additional growth is to see how companies are responding. CBC News recently reported that the Northern Ontario commercial real estate market is “frozen” as businesses adopt a wait-and-see approach on the work-from-home trend. With the third wave of the COVID-19 public health crisis winding down across the country, will offices reel workers back in, and abandon remote working environments? There are a lot of variables up in the air at this point.

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 take a look at some of the most affordable Northern Ontario real estate markets today:

Hunting for Affordable Housing? Check out these Northern Ontario Real Estate Markets!

#1 Sudbury

The Sudbury Real Estate Board recently reported that residential sales jumped 177.8 per cent in April, totalling 325 units. This represents a new sales record for the month of April, and marks the fourth-highest sales for any month in Sudbury’s history. It’s also notable that this figure is 53.2 per cent above the five-year average, and 51.2 per cent above the 10-year average.

The average price of homes sold in April climbed 50.9 per cent to $398,698. Or, when assessed by year-to-date averages, home prices gained 34.2 per cent in the first four months of 2021, rising to $382,770.

Like many markets nation-wide, Sudbury is experiencing a supply issue, with the number of months of inventory sitting at 0.9 months at the end of April. This is down from the 4.1 months at the same time a year ago, and below the long-run average of 4.9 months for this time of the year.

New listings spiked 173.2 per cent year-over-year to 448, while active residential listings fell 39.9 per cent to their lowest level in more than 30 years.

#2 North Bay

If you ever want to get a good bang for your loonie, the North Bay real estate market might be the best place. According to the North Bay Real Estate Board, residential sales skyrocketed 233.3 per cent to 190 units, a new sales record for the month of April. Home sales were 56.3 per cent above the five-year average and 55.2 per cent above the 10-year average.

Home prices soared higher over April, but average property prices remain far more affordable than many other municipalities and communities in the Southern Ontario real estate market these days. North Bay’s MLS® Home Price Index (HPI), which is considered a more accurate measurement than average or median measurements, jumped 46.5 per cent year-over-year for a single-family home to $325,500. Average prices, meanwhile, increased 45.4 per cent to $383,852.

North Bay is also struggling to meet demand with sits current supply levels. The number of new listings advanced 346.9 per cent from the same time a year ago to 219, while active residential listings slumped 33.2 per cent to their lowest levels in more than three decades.

The months of inventory totalled 0.7 at the end of April, down from 3.4 months in April 2020. This is also below the long-run average of 4.5 months for the month.

#3 Thunder Bay

The Thunder Bay housing market has witnessed a resurgence, reporting the best numbers in a decade. According to the Thunder Bay Real Estate Board, sales of single-detached properties increased 171.4 per cent to 114 units, the best performance in more than 10 years. In the first four months of 2021, single-detached transactions have jumped 78.4 per cent.

The gains in home prices have been sizeable, but when you see the dollar figure, you will be shocked when compared to the rest of the province. In April, the median sale price for single-detached homes jumped 16.8 per cent to $289,000. Or, as another gauge of the Thunder Bay real estate market, the year-to-date median price rose 23.6 per cent to $280,500.

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 was 14, down from 24.5 days in April 2020.

#4 Haliburton

According to the Lakelands Association of REALTORS, the Haliburton real estate market recorded a 237.5 per cent year-over-year increase in residential sales in April, totalling 27. Prices soared to kick off the second quarter of 2021, but they were still in a reasonable, rising at an annualized rate of 77.4 per cent to $510,000.

#5 Parry Sound

Is Parry Sound the most affordable jurisdiction in the Ontario real estate market today? In April, residential sales advanced 366.7 per cent year-over-year to 14. The median price for a non-waterfront property surged 69.3 per cent year-over-year to $491,000.

Northern Ontario Real Estate in 2021 and Beyond

Industry leaders have urged Queen’s Park to invest more in Northern Ontario, which could cool the red-hot housing market by adding more inventory in these areas. However, until the province agrees to spend more in this region, municipalities will be footing the bill to keep the momentum going. 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. The tax situation might still be a hindrance to some. Still, affordability may be far more critical for out-of-town buyers attempting to achieve the Canadian dream of home ownership.