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Housing market continues hot start to 2019

Sales up 16 per cent in February

House sales in Durham jumped almost 16 per cent in February (Oshawa Express file photo) 

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Durham Region’s housing market continued its hot start to 2019 in February.

The latest report from the Durham Region Association of Realtors (DRAR) shows there were 585 residential transactions in February, which is a 15.9 per cent increase on a month-over-month basis.

However, this was a decrease of 3.2 per cent compared to last year.

“The mandated stress test has forced potential buyers out of the market or to the sidelines as many struggle to qualify for the home type they want,” said DRAR president Tina Sorichetti.

There were 1,140 new listings in Durham in February, which is a 5.2 per cent decrease compared to February 2018, and also decreasing 3.5 per cent from the same time last month.

The average selling price for the month of February was $580,743, which is a slight increase over January, but a decrease of 1.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis.

DRAR supports Durham MPP Lindsey Park’s first private member’s bill, the Golden Girls Act, which aims to allow seniors access to innovative types of housing.

The bill seeks to clarify under the Planning Act that local municipalities cannot use by-law zoning powers to block certain types of housing.

Park told The Oshawa Express she was motivated to make the bill after meeting a group of senior women who have dubbed themselves “The Golden Girls of Port Perry.”

“They don’t want to keep living independently any longer, but didn’t see themselves living in a retirement residence, condo or apartment in the traditional way,” Park explained.

The group wants to renovate a home so they can live together, but Park says a past local council in Scugog tried to use zoning laws to block this.

Park says she wants to ensure the Planning Act is clear that this shouldn’t be done.

“With an aging population in Durham and a housing supply shortage, a new innovative approach to housing for seniors such as the one taken by the Golden Girls of Port Perry needs to be supported by all levels of government,” said Sorichetti.