Make the move for their own home beyond the GTA


After graduating from Queen’s University, Mandy Yazdan and Tim Liu scrambled for five years to save a down payment for their first home. Both lived with their parents – Yazdan in Oshawa, Liu in Richmond Hill – suspended their vacations, reduced their outings, and Yazdan drove an older vehicle.

When they started looking for a home in Durham Region a year ago, they faced stiff competition and bidding wars to resell homes in the price range up to 730 $ 000.

So they turned to Cobourg, a historic seaside town 30 minutes east of Oshawa, and found success. The couple recently moved into their new 2,100 square foot, four bedroom home built by New Amherst Homes that can accommodate them working from home and a future family.

“I used to visit Cobourg Beach when I was younger and have always been in love with the city and its charm,” Yazdan says. “I like the city center. It’s so different to be in town. The shops are owned by the locals and we are getting to know them.

“We love hiking and the outdoors. Nature is so accessible here that it made the decision to leave the GTA easier, ”says Yazdan.

They estimate they have paid at least $ 300,000 less than for a similar house in Durham Region and have earned substantial equity since their purchase in February 2021. Yazdan and Liu both work in the financial industry; she works remotely and although he has to travel to his downtown Toronto office a few days a week, he says it will be easier once VIA resumes his full train schedule

“We feel lucky to have a house we can grow in and how great it is to invest in this growing city,” said Liu.

Even before the pandemic affected ways of living and working, thousands of buyers – many with children under the age of five – were looking for homes beyond the 416/905 to meet their budgets and needs. , according to a Smart Prosperity Institute research paper for the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, “Baby Needs a New Home”. Mike Collins-Williams, CEO of the West End Home Builders’ Association and licensed professional planner, says Ontario’s housing market has become a game of musical chairs with more people seeking less housing. for example, residents of Hamilton move to Brantford and as prices rise there, buyers from Brantford move further afield.

Collins-Williams says developers have been looking for land outside of Toronto for some time. While local builders have been active in their own markets, large developers and builders see the opportunity in smaller communities.

“If you don’t grow in one area, it shows up in another,” says Collins-Williams. “Ontario is growing very quickly and no community is an island.

Examples include the development projects of Tribute Communities in Cobourg, Mattamy Homes in Bracebridge, Fernbrook Homes in Paris and Wasaga. The demand is creating problems for some small municipalities, says Collins-Williams, because they had not anticipated the rapid growth or the infrastructure planned to manage it.

Cheryl Shindruk, executive vice president of land use planning for Geranium Corp. and former president of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), said the response was “overwhelming” in 2021 to the launch of 342 homes in the first phase of Midhurst Valley, a geranium development in Midhurst, a community of 3,000 residents just north of Barrie.

Midhurst Valley, a planned development just north of Barrie by Geranium Homes, has sold the first phase of 342 single-family and townhouses after a fall 2020 launch.

“Everything that came out was bought and there was definitely a local market, as well as those in the GTA,” she says. “Building communities on the fringes of the GTA has always happened, but it’s now improved due to the pandemic. There is the realization: “I can live longer because I am not in the office full time. “

Shindruk says low-rise housing has not kept up with demand and this is also causing people to go further to get it. “In the early 2000s, if you were looking for a single or semi-detached home, there were 20,000 to choose from in the GTA. Now it’s 1,500.

Geranium acquired the Midhurst site in the mid-2000s. “We saw the potential need, even then, for a community that offered a range of ground-related housing,” says Shindruk. “There is substantial job growth in Barrie and South Simcoe County, which is rich in recreation and well served by transportation. There is a full range of amenities for families. This is what attracted us to the region.

Just east of the GTA, Cobourg has forecast an expected growth of 50% over the next two decades from its current population of 19,400. The city has been popular with empty nesters leaving the GTA, but now attracts young professionals and families. Tribute Communities’ first townhouse launch on its Cobourg Trails site has sold out, and its single-family homes are selling well, starting at $ 900,000.

Marshall Homes, a mid-size builder active in Ajax and Pickering, launched Cobie in fall 2021, offering 123 townhouses, including three-story, two-story and stacked units, at prices 25% lower. to those in Pickering. Prices start in the $ 500,000 range and the site is 80 percent sold.

Cobie, a 123 townhouse project in Cobourg, has had buyers primarily from the GTA hungry for affordable prices.

“Cobourg is a great city and has it all,” says Craig Marshall, president of Marshall Homes. “There is a beautiful waterfront, a hospital, big box stores, a charming town center and good restaurants.” Cobie is close to the freeway. 401 and a community center with two NHL-sized hockey rinks, grocery stores, restaurants and seven minutes from the city’s famous Victoria Beach. Marshall says that while some empty nesters have bought, the majority are younger buyers from the GTA.

Interiors are designed with a contemporary twist at Cobie, a new townhouse project in Cobourg by Marshall Homes.

Correction, January 12, 2022: This story has been updated to include the correct spelling of Mandy Yazdan’s name.

Outward growth

According to “Baby Needs a New Home,” a Smart Prosperity Institute research paper commissioned by the Ontario Home Builders Association, 60,000 people left the city of Toronto and the region of Peel for other parts of the province between July. 2019 and July 2020. primarily parents with children under the age of five, who have driven until they qualify for family-friendly housing that meets their needs in communities across southern Ontario.

Cities like Oshawa, Peterborough, Belleville, Barrie and Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo are among the most dynamic. While the fastest growing counties border Toronto and Peel – like Durham, Simcoe and Halton – Oxford, Brant, Gray, Haldimand-Norfolk have also been hot.

With 2.27 million more people expected to move to Ontario over the next 10 years, the province will need one million more homes. The Smart Prosperity Institute report predicts that 910,000 will be needed due to the formation of new households, 65,000 will be needed to fill current supply gaps and 25,000 will provide a cushion for further unanticipated population growth.


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