The air is sweet and the sun is shining on smiling happy faces. This change in scenery can only mean one thing – Spring is here! With the turn of the season comes the start of the Spring real estate market. The Spring market is full of energy and movement, there is a renewed longing for a fresh start.

As the page turns to 2017 there is great interest in the release of the 2016 Statistics Canada population results. There is no doubt that the Toronto market remains a force to be reckoned with however, the real estate market may experience some changes this year with the redistribution of population. The busy urban centres are not dominating the population increases as they have in the past. The surrounding areas are becoming more and more popular due to increased amenities, great schools and more affordable housing prices. 

For 2016, Toronto reported a 6.2% population increase. As a stand alone number this is positive and a significant jump. However, for the first time, when we consider the GTA as a whole we see that other regions are catching up to the Toronto core. In the West, Oakville is on par with Toronto with a reported 6.2% increase in population and in the East, Oshawa was ahead of the curve reporting a 6.6% increase. In a broader search we see that the same is true in the West coast with Victoria showing a slightly higher increase over Vancouver. 

Stepping back to review the 5 year growth charts, Toronto proper is showing signs of slowing down with a 9.2% increase from 2006-2011 compared to 6.2% growth from 2011-2016. Upon further investigation it is discovered that the population is not simply disappearing but rather spreading out across the GTA into areas such as Milton, Burlington, Oakville and Hamilton. 

What does all of this mean for the GTA housing market? 

The good news is that the GTA housing market is still red hot. The market activity now extends beyond the Toronto boarders to include the GTA as a whole. The Toronto Real Estate Board has reported that Toronto sales have seen a 0.8% growth in the beginning months of 2017 making January the 12th consecutive month to experience increased housing prices. Oakville is in step also experiencing a 0.8% growth in the price of homes with the average price in January 2017 coming in at $1.1 million. With the expansion of transit systems and services offered the city of Hamilton has become a destination for families looking for alternatives to the Toronto bidding wars. To that end Hamilton is currently leading the pack with the increases in housing prices reported at 1.1% for early 2017. 

The population distribution allows for lucrative market conditions throughout the entire GTA. The demand for properties remains the same, it is the size of the footprint that has changed. If this trend continues purchasing within the GTA remains a solid investment in 2017.

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