One of Ontario’s cheapest real estate markets may not stay that way for long

Big city residents fleeing ever-rising home prices have flocked to markets in Northern Ontario, a trend aided by still-prevalent remote working conditions.

Some of the province’s most affordable housing markets, like Thunder Bay, have experienced a flood of former big-city inhabitants seeking cheaper homes, an urban exodus jumpstarting local economies but also raising existing residents’ concerns of being priced out of the market.

Housing markets are cooling nationwide following extreme interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada, but the two-year market frenzy in Thunder Bay may not be over just yet, according to an analysis of statistics out of the region reported by RE/MAX Canada.

The Thunder Bay Real Estate Board reported a year-over-year increase of over 11 percent for detached home sales in the city, marking a 2.1 percent increase over the five-year average for this period but also a four percent drop below the ten-year average.

Home prices in Thunder Bay appear to be climbing at an even faster pace than sales, with the median price of a single-detached home in the city up by 18.6 percent to $350K and the year-to-date median price up 19.4 percent. cent from 2021 to $345K.

RE/MAX says that evidence suggests “that the growth is sticky and it could be challenging for prices to come down.”

These conditions are in no way helped by the lack of new supply entering the Thunder Bay market. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s latest figures show there was not a single housing start in the city in April versus the dozen during the same period in 2021.

Locals may grumble about rising home prices, but experts at RE/MAX say the surge of urban investment in the region combined with the current provincial government’s interest in investing in its rural and smaller-town base provides a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” for places like Thunder Bay to get their long overdue glow up.

Even if Doug Ford doesn’t actually know the difference between Thunder Bay and North Bay.

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