Ontario Real Estate: A Look at the Booming Quinte Area Market

Similar to many Ontario real estate markets, Quinte experienced a slowdown in the spring months. The market fluctuated alongside the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, which earlier in the year were at an all-time high. Yet, as governments gain control and enforce public health measures, people have been successfully adjusting to the new normal.

Just a short drive from the large urban hubs of Toronto and Ottawa, the Quinte area is a rapidly growing, dynamic suburban market located on Quinte Bay, the gateway to the beautiful Trent-Severn Waterway. Real estate agents in Quinte have been able to continue supporting activity by using technology such as virtual open houses and e-signatures to keep the market moving. Below we explore some of the dominant trends that surfaced over the past year within the booming Quinte housing market and share what we expect to see in 2021.

Smaller Ontario Real Estate Markets Offer Appealing Suburban Lifestyle

The small-town boom has been evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fears and anxieties have increased for those living in crowded urban cities such as Toronto. Condo living typically means shared spaces such as elevators, lobbies and fitness facilities. A trend that has emerged as a result of the pandemic is the desire for more private space – something readily available in suburban and rural areas.

With remote work being widely adopted as a precaution against spread of the virus, people are no longer required to live in close proximity to city centres. People have been moving to areas like Quinte, since they don’t have to factor office commute time into their home-buying decision.

Another benefit of these more remote regions is that the spacious floor plans can accommodate home offices and spaces where children can co-exist with working parents without stepping on their toes. For those who missed out on greenspace during the lockdown, areas like Quinte offer larger lots with backyards and front yards, along with plenty of neighbourhood parks where families can keep their kids and dogs occupied while social distancing.

Areas like Quinte are also becoming more connected to urban areas. Back in September, Quinte announced that it is investing $1.2 million for transit expansion, which will be a key part of expanding service from Quinte West to Belleville. The area is developing and may soon provide more of the amenities seen in larger urban areas. Developments like these are only increasing demand within these more remote communities, as relocating city dwellers no longer have to sacrifice access to urban amenities such as shopping, dining and entertainment hubs.

Home Prices in Quinte

Despite uncertainties related to the pandemic, home prices have risen in Quinte compared to 2019. The month of October showed significant increases for residential sales year-over-over. Year-to-date sales figures also showed an increase.

In the month of October, the average sale price of a residential home in Quinte was $488,542. In October 2019, the average sale price was $378,965 which highlights a 28.9-per-cent increase year-over-year.

Home Sales in Quinte

Meanwhile, in October of this year residential unit sales totalled 395 transactions. This is up significantly from the 270 sales in 2019, once again demonstrating a sizeable increase of 46.3 per cent. This points to strong demand in the Quinte market, as interest in fringe cities grows.

Just how competitive is the Quinte housing market? According to the Quinte Real Estate Board, total active listings continue to be a challenge, with inventory down 50 per cent year-over-year. Some may be delaying listing their home for sale due to unpredictability or the fear of having people enter their space. In October, new listings for all property types decreased 9.4 per cent year-over-year.

Low Interest Rates

The Bank of Canada lowered interest rates to 0.25 per cent earlier this year, in order to bolster the economy. This has allowed even more homebuyers who may have been previously sidelined to enter the market. The cost of borrowing is now lower than ever, allowing buyers to purchase larger homes with more of the amenities. For those looking to purchase a home in areas like Quinte, lower interest rates mean their money goes further than in expensive urban markets such as Toronto. This could also be a contributor to why the Quinte area is seeing increased real estate activity.

The Quinte, Ontario real estate market is booming despite the coronavirus pandemic. As the lustre of urban city centres dissipates, people are making the move to suburban regions to get access to spacious homes and green space. As a result, the current Quinte market is reflecting these shifting preferences.

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