Durham Region experienced a super-charged real estate market in January, which flowed from a booming fourth quarter in 2020. As a result, the area is on track to see an early spring market.

In January, what’s typically a quiet month for home buyer activity, the Durham Region -- which spans Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Scugog, Uxbridge, and Whitby -- reported 651 residential transactions, an 11% increase from the same time last year, while the number of new listings last month reached 945, a significant 51% increase from December 2020.

Detached homes accounted for the majority of the sales, with 422 transactions and an average price of $988,372.

The average selling price for all home types -- which includes detached, semi-detached, condo/townhouses, condo apartments, link, and attached row -- was $876,133 in January, a 13% increase from the same time last month, with homes spending an average of 12 days on the market.

The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for a single-family detached home in Durham Region reached $786,900 -- a 24.4% year-over-year increase.

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“Durham Region continues to experience a significant influx of buyers in our market. With a 51% increase of new listings month-over-month we can anticipate an early spring market,” said Durham Region Association of Realtors President Michael Watson.

“As we experience this increase of interest in our housing market, it is important to note that supply is needed to keep up with the trend of population growth in our region,” added Watson.

Last month's activity was bolstered by Oshawa, which led the region with the most sales in January with 202 transactions and an average selling price of $731,880. This comes after Oshawa was named one of the leading cities in Canada for population growth by Statistics Canada, seeing a 2.1% growth rate in 2020.

Rising prices for existing homes in the Greater Toronto Area will increasingly drive more buyers to consider other options, particularly in suburban and rural areas where properties are cheaper than in the cities, including Durham, which continues to offer more space and relative affordability.

Zain Jafrey, a real estate agent with Re/Max Impact, told Toronto Storeys the region remains to be more affordable when compared to other regions in the GTA, where the average selling price reached $967,885 in January — a 15.5% increase from the same month last year.

As a result, Jafrey says buyers looking for more space, or looking to enter the real estate market, tend to find better opportunities in Durham when compared to York Region, Peel or even Halton.

And while new listings were up 51% in January, Jafrey said he still saw demand heavily outweigh supply.

"My team and I were personally in several situations with clients where there were 40+ offers and the property sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking," said Jafrey.

As people continue to work from home, there is a growing desire for houses with more space and outdoor amenities. As such, Watson noted that DRAR is seeing a shift in families moving from cities to rural areas and small towns. Given that Durham has a wide variety of housing options, it remains an ideal location for individuals and families leaving the GTA.

With the interest rates at record lows, strong supply, and the return to the office remaining unclear now might be a prime time for buyers to consider relocating to Durham's housing market before the busy spring season arrives.

Real Estate News