As the 2021 Real Estate market comes to a close, it is clear the pandemic has had a hand in changing the markets and how we do business as realtors.

I wrote last year at this time about the exodus I was experiencing with my clients leaving the downtown area for access to larger homes and more outdoor space in rural areas and the smaller centers outside of Toronto. That trend carried on throughout 2021. I have kept in touch out of curiosity that their decision to leave the culture of city life may have been more of a challenge than they anticipated. It turns out almost everyone has settled into their new communities well.

There have been comments about missing neighbours and friends, but they have added to friendships by becoming involved locally and in some cases adding to the community with their small business and services. This change has pushed up the housing values of rural real estate and small cities around the GTA.

While buyers struggle to get a foothold in an increasingly expensive market, many have taken advantage of the opportunity to work remotely and plan to do so permanently. This has provided the opportunity to stretch their buying dollars and live away from the area where their employer is located. In some cases, they have moved to other provinces where the buying dollar is significantly higher.

Single family housing demand has traditionally seen the highest price increases in the market and this increase in value year over year is influencing our first-time buyers, young buyers and those easing out of large family homes, to purchase higher density housing such as condominiums, row housing and semi-detached housing.

I see 2022 as being another year of restricted inventory in the extended housing market, which will continue to pressure the price of housing over all sectors, upward. If those high prices and a continuation of low interest rates encourage the purchase of high-density housing types, then clearly condo, row houses and semi-detached housing will be in high demand as well as the coveted single family home.

Markets will continue to grow as immigration to Canada increases over the next several years and as employment demands in Canada due to the pandemic entice those coming from abroad. Many will wish to live in the smaller cities and towns, keeping those markets active with higher prices as well.

Canada is still considered one of the best countries in the world for foreign investment in real estate, this will continue put pressure on our markets, particularly in Toronto, although there is much investment right now in the smaller centers where developers and builders are seeking opportunities for those who do not wish to compete for the high prices of property in the city of Toronto.

Real Estate will remain a good long-term investment despite the challenges of getting a foot in the door.

Kimberley Ezeard

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