The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic may be subsiding, but the virus outbreak has forever changed things in Canada and the rest of the world. The COVID-19 public health crisis ignited a new normal that has impacted consumer behaviour, industrial practices and public policy. For this generation, there is no going back. For some, it will create new opportunities. For others, it might be difficult to adapt to these changing landscapes. Of all the major Canadian sectors, it is real estate was prepared for many of the new trends that dominated society in our coronavirus -conscious world, whether it is leveraging technology or utilizing digital tools. This capacity to quickly pivot and adapt, has helped the GTA housing market and national real estate as a whole, withstand the impact of the pandemic.

Many housing markets across the province experienced temporary setbacks at the height of the pandemic. However, in the months that followed, the GTA housing market is thriving. Among them is Markham, an attractive community that has grown and evolved considerably in recent years. But could Markham withstand the financial pressures of coronavirus – from job loss to inflation – over the next 12 to 18 months?

Markham is Canada’s 16th largest city for a reason. Not only are its housing fundamentals strong, but York Region’s most populous municipality maintains a diverse array of appealing attributes. Let’s take a snapshot of this GTA housing market, to explore the present trends and the future outlook.

GTA Housing Market: Markham Real Estate Snapshot

While most Canadian real estate markets experienced their downturn when the country went into lockdown, Markham experienced a decline earlier on. It was not until February when the Markham housing market showed signs of rebounding. Since prices were already lower than the year-over-year average, at the height of the pandemic, real estate prices here only endured a modest drop.

In the aftermath of COVID-19, the city has been gaining momentum at a surprising rate! In June, the average price was $1,086,502, up from $1,083,884 in May. Home prices surged 22.5% year-over-year.

One of the key drivers of rising prices has been the shrinking housing inventory since August 2019. But this has started to reverse, with supply beginning to grow. In June, there were 790 new listings and more than 400 homes sold. At the onset of the virus outbreak, sales plummeted 50% YoY, but they have since recuperated, rebounding 35% in June.

Rental properties have headed in the opposite direction since the coronavirus. According to the most recent data from May, average rents have fallen at an annualized rate of 7.5% to $2,167. Experts are forecasting that this will change in the coming months as the province continues to reopen and more people return to the workforce. Despite fewer people moving, early indicators do suggest that tenants are beginning to look at listings online and making inquiries into properties.

Overall, industry observers think the biggest threat to Markham’s booming housing market might be rising unemployment. The jobless rate stands at eight per cent, which is slightly higher than the Toronto figure. Although the Bank of Canada (BoC) recently warned that the road to recovery will be “prolonged and bumpy,” the economy is beginning to recover as economies start to do business again.

A Primer on Markham Real Estate

Markham has always been a welcoming place for people looking to escape the hustle bustle of big city living or for newcomers in the country who are looking to plant roots. It is a unique city that blends the old and the new, from picturesque and charming neighbourhoods to modern amenities. Its many cultural centres, restaurants and post-secondary institutions are an indicator of why Markham is one of the most appealing municipalities in for GTA real estate.

Although the trends suggest more people are coming to Markham, the number of housing starts have failed to keep up with the population. This explains why prices are accelerating, faster than the rate of recovery across other municipal markets.

Like its regional neighbours, Markham will greatly benefit from historically low interest rates that will make borrowing cheaper and readily available. Homebuyers who were in the market to purchase a house or a condo will save some money in this environment.

As Realtors continue to adapt to the changing landscape, and buyers and sellers shimmy back into the local market, Markham is primed to continue on this upward trajectory over the next few months of our hot Canadian summer.