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Home values continue to rise despite 23 per cent drop in sales over year

Although home sales in Durham Region were down 23 per cent in September from the previous year, house prices continue to rise, up 4.25 per cent from 2016. Condo sales in the region are up 16 per cent as well.

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Even with sales down almost 25 per cent from last September, house prices in the region continue to trend upwards.

The Durham Region Association of Realtors reported 835 residential transactions last month, down 23 per cent from September 2016, but association president Roger Bouma says the average house price in Durham Region was $578,666 in September, up 4.25 per cent from the previous year.

“With just the number of sales being down, we’ve returned to a more balanced market,” Bouma says.

Bouma, president of the DRAR, says it was only a matter of time before the rollercoaster ride the real estate market was experiencing evened out.

With house prices still very high across the board, Bouma says people are looking for more affordable options and it’s sending them eastbound.

“Durham Region still offers the best value in the GTA, and I think it has finally been recognized for earning its place in the region. The relative affordability has certainly been driving people east.”

Expansion of GO Transit services into Bowmanville and the 407 extension will greatly improve transportation in the east end of Durham and attract more home buyers and help property values as well, Bouma says.

“When you make it easier to move people and goods, it helps real estate values.”

Durham’s condo sector continues to boom, with sales up 16 per cent from last September and the average sale price rising to $365,397 from $314,839 reported in September 2016.

“It’s a lifestyle choice that is being made. People are looking to sell their larger, more expensive homes,” Bouma says. “We have some spillover from the very hot condo market in Toronto, but we also have our homegrown market.”

The current real estate environment could be more welcoming for residents who may have been dissuaded by the market’s aggressive nature over the past year.

“Folks who might have given up a year ago are coming back and enjoying the process because there won’t necessarily be 20 potential buyers looking at a house all at once,” Bouma says.

As for the future, Bouma says “he doesn’t have a crystal ball”, but he expects things will continue on as a more typical, balanced market.