As the world grew accustomed to the implications of COVID-19 and governments made rules and regulations to try to deal with the pandemic, real estate transactions continued to take place.

While there was an initial lull in most price points, housing types and areas in April 2020, since then we’ve seen unusually high levels of activity in real estate transactions.  While John F. Kennedy may have coined the phrase “A rising tide lifts all boats” to express the idea that a well performing economy benefits all, it turns out that not all boats are lifted equally.

We looked into what happened to average prices in the seven geographies that comprise the GTA to see what has taken place since March 2020.  Here’s some insights from that work.

The GTA average price went up $186,000 since the start of COVID.

Back in March 2020, the average price for a home (including freehold as well as condo properties) was $902,000.  Some 15 months later, as of June 2021, the average price is now $1,089,000.  That’s an increase of over 20% since the start of COVID, and about $186,000 on average.

Toronto was not, in fact, the big winner.

While we tend to assume that Toronto is the most expensive place to buy, and therefore that price increase makes that even more the case, we find it isn’t true when we check the data.

The average price in all of Toronto back in March 2020 was $989,000.  After 15 months of COVID, the average price of homes in Toronto is now $1,079,000.  That’s an increase of about $90,000, or 9.2% over the 15 months.

Peel beat the average but just barely.

The average price in Peel did a bit better than the GTA as a whole but it was more or less middle of the pack.

Back in March 2020, the average price in Peel was $839,000 and some 15 months later, we’re now at $1,041,000.  That’s an impressive increase but with a dollar increase of $201,000 and a percentage increase of 24%, it just squeaks in at a bit better than the GTA as a whole.  If you’re in Peel, you can still take comfort in the fact that your real estate market whomped Toronto!

York did pretty well if you look at dollars but less so on percentages.

We can look at price changes from both an actual dollar increase as well as in percentages.  When we do so, lower average price areas can show impressive gains in percentages that don’t translate to as impressive numbers in real dollars.  The reverse also holds true and with the highest average price in the GTA at the start of COVID, York couldn’t see the same huge percentage gains as some other areas.

In York, we saw the average price go from $1,038,000 to $1,241,000.  That’s over $200,000 in average price appreciation since the start of COVID, which is not too shabby!  On a percentage basis, the average price went up 19% over the past 15 months, which puts it at the second lowest percentage increase in the GTA, second only to Toronto’s 9% increase.

Halton was one of the top performing areas since COVID started.

It hasn’t been mentioned as much as other parts of the GTA in news stories, but Halton has been doing very well over the past 15 months.

Back in March 2020, the average price for a home in Halton was $933,000 and since then it has increased to $1,122,000.  That’s an increase of $289,000, or 31% since the start of COVID!  It isn’t enough to claim the top prize but Halton was the second highest gaining area in the GTA in terms of percentages and the third highest in terms of absolute dollars.

Dufferin beat Toronto but that’s about it.

Dufferin went into the start of COVID with the lowest average sale price in the GTA, around $615,000.  It ended with still having the lowest average sale price, now at around $798,000.

While it may be the most affordable place in the GTA on average, Dufferin residents can take comfort in the fact that they saw their average price go up 29% since the start of COVID.  That’s a lot more than Toronto’s 9% increase.  Even on an actual dollar basis, Dufferin went up $182,000 over the past 15 months, whereas Toronto went up $90,000.

Durham takes 2nd place.

There have been lots of stories in the media about Durham region and how much prices have risen since the start of COVID in cities like Oshawa, Pickering and Whitby.

When COVID began back in March 2020, the average price for a home in Durham was a reasonable $654,000.  Since then, the average price has gone up to $917,000, which is a real dollar increase of about $262,000!  In percentage terms, Durham went up 40% over the past 15 months, which is a massive increase in a short time, second only to one other part of the GTA.

Simcoe was where you wanted to be!

The big winner in the GTA from a real estate average price perspective was Simcoe.  With mostly smaller municipalities in the area, Simcoe started at the 2nd most affordable part of the GTA, with an average price back in March 2020 of $650,000.

Over the past 15 months, the average price in Simcoe went up by $335,00, which means a 51% increase in average price!  The new average price in Simcoe as of June 2021 is now just shy of $1M, at $986,000.  If you’ve been living northeast of Toronto over the past little while, you’ve likely done very well!

When we look at each of the municipalities in the GTA, it is quite surprising which places have done the best since the start of COVID.

Toronto has fared the worst on both an absolute dollar level as well as percentage basis, having seen the average price go up about $90,000 or 9% since the start of COVID. It seems likely that the high levels of condo apartments in the city contributed to that relatively small overall average increase.

Simcoe was the big winner from a real estate perspective, going up the most for both actual dollars as well as in percentages.  The average price in Simcoe went up a whopping $335,000 over the past 15 months, which works out to a staggering 51% increase since the start of COVID.

If you’re considering buying or selling, make sure you work with agents who understand what has changed since COVID impacted our lives.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!