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Homes above $1 million versus under $600,000: what property is more difficult to buy?

Lindsay Smithlindsay

By Lindsay Smith/Columnist

I have always had a curious mind and love exploring why people do what they do when it comes to real estate. I also love to use my expertise and experience in real estate to determine where people drive our property market. Honestly, I have a good grounding of where we are, and some inkling of where we are heading, let’s look at a snapshot of activity from two years ago to February 2020. (pre-COVID)

I did some research on how the luxury market sold over the past week and explored what is now considered the lower price segment of the market, under $600,000. As I have done, week after week, my head is still shaking.

Let’s discuss the $1 million-plus market in Oshawa. First, to gain some context, let’s jump back to the same week two years ago (Feb. 1-8, 2019). During this week, we had only one property sell for over $1 million. The sellers tried twice to sell in 2018 dropping their price $235,000, finally selling in 2019. Skip to last week – Oshawa had 13 properties sell for over $1 million. Not only that, 12 sold for dramatically above asking. Currently, there are 20 properties in Oshawa for sale over $1 million.

Now let’s look at the other end of the spectrum. There are currently 38 properties for sale in Oshawa below $600,000. In the past week, five properties have been sold under $600,000. Skip back to the same week in 2019 and we saw seven sales below this price.

This snapshot shows that it is more difficult to buy a home with a million in your pocket than it is to buy in the $600,000 range. This is a fascinating structural change. Oshawa was built up around a factory, and over time many of the older homes fit more into the value range of a middle-class family. Currently we are seeing a shift to luxury homes outselling homes that would be more fitting with Oshawa’s history.

The average detached home in Oshawa is currently $832,000, which may shock some locals who reminisce about lower prices, however many people are flocking here with our low price point compared to other GTA towns. One of the “almost here and we can’t wait” selling points of Oshawa is the GO-Train coming to our downtown core. I was on a zoom town hall with Metrolinx and Lindsay Park, the local MP cheerleading the plan, and I left feeling very excited.

The GO-Train station being built at the Knob Hill Farms building will create a similar change that it caused when stations were built to the west and the north. Development follows transit, and this will drive (no pun intended) buyers to Oshawa looking for housing – both rental and ownership. What I can see this doing is to drive the prices higher than we have ever seen them. I wondered out loud with a client last week about the average home in Oshawa being over $1 million. My client was shocked and we laughed about my “joke.” I truly feel that within a couple of years I will be penning articles about homes selling below $830,000 being as rare as homes selling south of $600,000.

When you look at how train stations affect housing values, a couple of examples will highlight how far Oshawa can climb to have some parity with other “train stop” locations.

Aurora: Average Detached Home $1,700,000.

Stouffville: $1,400,000

Richmond Hill: $1,740,000

Vaughn: $1,677,000

If you are a buyer looking for a home in Oshawa, the $600 to 900,000 range seems to be the one where you have the most selection. I have shared in the past how my crystal ball is not overly accurate, however, I think that if you are planning on buying a home locally in the next few years, do it soon. At this point most people cannot out-save the market increases in value.

If you have any questions on the above information, or If you can see a real estate emergency on the horizon, I can be reached at