Young Torontonians seeking affordability elsewhere in Southern Ontario

This trend is spurring a domino effect across the region’s housing markets, local brokers say

Young Torontonians seeking affordability elsewhere in Southern Ontario

Toronto millennials leaving their downtown condos in search of more space and greater affordability have had a significant impact in Southern Ontario markets like Hamilton, according to local brokers.

“It’s this domino effect where people are moving further and further out,” said Conrad Zurini, a Hamilton-based broker of record with RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc. “It’s this flight to affordability and greater value.”
These young buyers, who command a significant amount of purchasing power despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, are intent on getting more house for their money, Zurini said.

“People are looking for more space,” Zurini told The Financial Post. “A home has to be an office, maybe two offices, a classroom, a gym. These homes have become much more than they were before.”

Sales activity in the Toronto condo market shrunk by more than 50% annually in the second quarter, and pre-sales had an even greater 85% drop during the same time frame. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board attributed these major declines to the chilling effect of the coronavirus outbreak, which is showing no signs of stopping at the moment.

Conversely, the latest figures from the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington showed that the average sales time has fallen by 7.7 days annually, and new listings have increased by almost 12%. Average home prices have shot up by 21% in the interim, reaching $662,257 as of the end of the August.

According to Zurini, around 46% of current buyers in Hamilton come from other markets – and that this dynamism is itself pushing many of Hamilton’s home owners out to other markets. Zurini’s client base, who are mostly in their late 40s and early 50s, are taking the opportunity to upsize across the Niagara Region.

Danielle Grant of Ambitious Realty Advisors echoed these observations, saying that Hamilton’s millennials are being pushed out of their own market and are forced to seek more affordable options in Welland and St. Catharines.