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Durham real estate takes a dip

"Noise" created around Ontari's Fair Housing Plan may have made home buyers a little more cautious in recent months

The Durham Region housing market has seen a 32 per cent drop in the amount of real estate transactions compared to the same period in 2016.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

It may be too soon to call it a trend, but the real-estate market in Durham Region has taken a move back toward a somewhat normal level as the region saw a 32 per cent drop in the number of residential transactions compared to the same time last year.

Specifically, the Durham Region Association of Realtors (DRAR) reported 997 residential transactions in June. In the same token, the number of new listings in Durham also decreased month-to-month as listings dropped from a total of 3,217 in May to 2,639 in June.

For Roger Bouma, DRAR president, the drop in numbers is slight shift from the hot market in recent years that has seen the real-estate and housing prices in Durham Region and across the GTA increase steadily.

“It probably means we’re returning to somewhat of a balanced market, at least for the time,” Bouma says. “My guess is it’s a bit of an adjustment from the highs we were experiencing.”

However, Bouma says the numbers should be looked at with perspective. Even though the average selling price in Durham has also decreased over the last month, dropping six per cent from $652,963 in May to just over $615,000 in June, the price is still higher than it was at the start of the year and 13 per cent higher than June 2016.

In May, the province of Ontario introduced the Ontario Fair Housing Plan in an effort to bring prices down. The plan came with a series of changes including a new tax on foreign buyers, more flexibility for municipalities to use property tax tools to push development and expanded rent controls. Bouma says he has “very little doubt” that the noise around the announcement made buyers a little more cautious.

Now entering what is typically the quieter summer months for real estate, Bouma was hesitant to speculate on what the coming months could bring, as the last few years have been far from normal.

“We haven’t had a typical market to compare to for a number of years,” he said, adding that those looking to buy or sell their homes shouldn’t be too worried about the numbers.

“At the end of the day, I still think real estate if a good investment in the GTA.”