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Spring thaw coming for Durham real estate market

Following provincial regulations to slow the real estate market in Ontario, things are starting to get back to normal, says the president of the Durham Regional Association of Realtors.

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Durham’s real estate market is starting to regain some sense of normalcy after a year that is easily described as a roller coaster ride.

In March of this year, the Durham Region Association of Realtors (DRAR) recorded 846 residential transactions, a 30 per cent drop over the madness that was the Durham real estate market in March 2017 that saw 1,349 transactions. The average selling price of a home in Durham also dropped by 12 per cent from this time last year to $598,412 in March.

And while the numbers may be down, in large part due to the changes implemented by the Ontario government to calm the frenzied real estate market in April 2017, thing are slowly starting to trend upward.

“We’re in a more normal market, for sure, and we’ve been trending that way,” says Dennis Roberts, the DRAR president. “We’re getting a little bit stronger as the spring gets closer.”

This strength comes from the fact that while the region has seen an increase in the housing inventory, homes are not staying on the market for that long, an average of 18 days in March, compared to 30 days in January.

It’s a “spring thaw” Roberts says, and he expects that as the warm weather rolls in, things will only continue to trend upward for those looking to put their homes on the market.

“We need a few days of nice warm weather to get people out and start buying again,” he says. “As a home seller, we’re going in the right direction.”

Things should continue to go in that direction as well, Roberts says, barring any unforeseen circumstances, now is a good time for those considering putting their house on the market.

“I think now is a good time to consider it,” he says. “Assuming there are no anomolies in the future, assuming the government doesn’t interfere again.”

In April last year, the province put in a number of measures directed at calming the real-estate marketplace including a new 15 per cent foreign-buyers tax, and measures to encourage the construction of rental housing. The multi-part plan worked perhaps too well, Roberts says.

“Those are the things that really put a damper on the market, and that’s what they were designed for,” he says.

However, as things start to drift back into more comfortable territory, Roberts foresees April and May, typically the busiest time of year for real estate, to continue to trend upwards and be “significantly busier” than the start of the year.