Toronto is no longer the reining condo market king, as nearby Oshawa has surpassed Canada's largest city as the hottest market for condos in the GTA.
Amid the pandemic, it's been made clear that relocating to the suburbs has grown in popularity, though, it's more common to hear the ongoing narrative focus on GTA cities like Mississauga, Brampton, and Vaughan.
While these cities have seen notable growth over the past year, their appreciation rates don't come close to what's happening in Oshawa -- Durham Region's largest municipality.
According to a new report from Strata, Oshawa has already seen its condo values rise by 48% in the past 12 months, with values expected to hit 50% appreciation levels this week.
To put that in perspective, Mississauga values are up 6%, while Brampton and Vaughan are sitting at 11% and 5%, respectively.
When it comes to condo transactions, Oshawa’s total sales in February were up 48% compared to the same time last year, while the average condo sale price is also on track to break the half-a-million mark.
With the average condo price now sitting at $483,000, it works out to about $540 per-square-foot. In comparison, Toronto condos are currently averaging $676,837, according to the latest TRREB data.
In Oshawa, condos tend to have more spacious layouts, compared to those in Toronto, and while high-rises do exist, low-rises and condominium townhomes are abundant.
Strata's report comes on the heels of Oshawa being named one of the leading cities in Canada for population growth by Statistics Canada after a 2.1% growth rate in 2020.
“Given today’s migrational trends, it’s not surprising to see Oshawa, and Durham Region as a whole, outpace the rest of the GTA. Whitby, for example, may not be as hot as Oshawa. But it, too, is seeing an increase of 20% in property values over the past year,” says Robert Van Rhijn, Broker of Record at Strata.ca.
Van Rhijn added that Ontario’s ‘motor city’ has spent years in an auto industry slump. though he believes the pandemic has allowed Oshawa to rebrand itself as a liveable city -- one that’s perfect for families and young professionals who can now afford to work from home.
“Oshawa is no longer that sleepy bedroom community you once knew. I used to hear a lot of Toronto homebuyers swear they’d never go past Pickering. But with today’s remote working options, I’m seeing more clients push their geographic boundaries and wonder what’s further east,” adds Van Rhijn.
"When thinking about a condo, many homebuyers think about a vertical building, but in the Durham Region we have a variety of amazing low-rise, condominium townhomes to choose from, and for many first time home buyers looking to move away from their current living situation, and into more space, these are great opportunities," said Jafrey.
Jafrey explained that the condo market in the region has been heavily underappreciated for several years and noted that it's great to see that level of the market see the recognition it deserves, as it holds great potential for many growing families looking for more space, whilst on a budget.
"Although prices for these condominiums have risen over 48% in the last year, they are still some of the most affordable housing options around the Greater Toronto Area as the average price is just below $500,000," added Jafrey.
Given that Oshawa's condo prices are well below the current GTA average of $642,346, the city remains an attractive option for those looking for more affordable condos outside of large city centres.