The Last Affordable Housing Market Near the GTA, and the Greenbelt Fiasco Continues

This week’s top real estate stories.

By  Jared Lindzon | 2 minute read

Aug 11

Wahi's Week in Real Estate

Every Friday, Wahi brings you the most important real estate stories from the past week.

Premier Caught Red Handed Dishing Out the Green   

That sketchy thing many Ontarians suspected Premier Doug Ford was doing with the Greenbelt — namely releasing pieces of protected lands to his buddies in the development industry — was officially confirmed this week. A 95-page report by the province’s auditor general found that the premier and his housing minister gave preferential treatment to certain developers as they selectively removed 3,000 hectares of land — worth an estimated $8.3 billion — from its protected status. According to the scathing report, published Wednesday morning, the province did not consider the agricultural, environmental, or financial impacts of the controversial decision.

“It says a lot about a housing market when the average selling price declines by nearly $100,000, and nobody really notices.”

The Last Affordable Housing Market Near the GTA?

A picturesque lakeside town just two hours from downtown Toronto is being called a “homebuyers dream” in an otherwise nightmarish regional market. Innisfil boasts a median house price of under $600,000 — nearly half the GTA average — and a surplus of housing supply. That’s because a pandemic boom in remote work led to a rapid increase in new home construction, but when employers forced workers back to the office, Innisfil was left with more homes than buyers. As a result, the small town on the shores of Lake Simcoe stands out as one of the region’s most affordable housing markets.

Toronto’s Underground Housing Market Surfaces   

Torontonians have been shouting about secretive “whisper” listings, which kind of defeats the whole point. A recent article published in Streets of Toronto exposed a community of off-market buyers and sellers, which grew larger as the market became more competitive. The underground community gives buyers early access to properties and lets sellers test the market or offload property without a public listing. The whisper market, however, may soon become  more of a whimper, as a new “Duty of Cooperation” policy from the CREA will require public MLS®E listings for all properties within three days of any public marketing in 2024. 

Toronto Home Prices Drop by Six Figures; Nobody Notices  

It says a lot about a housing market when the average selling price declines by nearly $100,000, and nobody really notices. According to the latest Toronto Regional Real Estate Board report, the average GTA home sold for about $1.141 million this year, compared to $1.239 million at this point last year. Though it certainly doesn’t feel like homes got that much more affordable, there have been notable declines in new condo and luxury property prices. It’s also worth noting that interest rates were still very low at the start of 2022, especially compared to the same period in 2023.   

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Young Canadians Refuse to Give Up on Homeownership   

Many Canadians have given up on owning a piece of property in this country, but there are at least “tens of thousands” who are keeping the dream alive. That’s how many opened a First Home Savings Account with RBC since the new account type was offered to prospective future homeowners in April. The bank, which is only the second in Canada to offer FHSAs, says more than a quarter have already contributed the annual allotment of $8,000. Over half of those accounts were opened by Canadians aged 25 to 34, and another 18% by 18- to 24-year-olds.   

Jared Lindzon

Wahi Writer

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