Oshawa better than some, but upgrading from condo to house “unattainable” in most GTA cities

Published July 6, 2023 at 4:43 pm

In a market defined by chronically increasing interest rates and steady demand, the idea that condo owners can comfortably one-up their residence to buy a house is unlikely, though apartment owners in Durham Region have it much better than those in other GTA communities.

In Oshawa, where the local median household income is just above $82,000 it would take more than four years’ worth of income to make up the difference between the average price for condos – $526,000 – and housing prices, currently averaging $874,758; a 66 per cent difference.

It’s a bit easier in Whitby and Ajax, where the average income is $112,258 and $111,179, respectively. Houses in both communities are above $1.05 million while average condo prices are $609,000 (Whitby) and $582,100 (Ajax), a difference of $456,706 in Whitby and $475,382 in Ajax.

Nationally, houses are nearly 40 per cent more expensive than condos and Toronto real estate company Point2 analyzed the benchmark price for condos and house units, as well as the local median household income to determine the cities where upsizing from a condo to a house is easier to achieve.

The results, according to the report, paint a bleak picture for those looking to move up in Canada’s largest cities. Going from condo to house has never been an easy feat and data supports that it has become even tougher in recent years. With both apartments and houses doubling in price in the last decade, the upsizing trend has been riding the wave of skyrocketing costs and many would-be buyers are left in limbo as the housing affordability rug is pulled out from under their feet.

Relative to some other GTA communities, Durham condo owners have a far less onerous path to house ownership, however. Oakville and Richmond Hill – both with more than $900,000 in price difference between house and condo – trail only Vancouver nationally. Upsizing feels particularly unattainable in Vancouver, where houses are more than $1.2 million more expensive than a condo: closing the price gap here would mean putting aside one’s entire income for almost 16 years.

Although less grim, upsizing in Toronto is out of reach as well: the nearly $762,000 price difference between a condo and a house is the equivalent of more than nine years’ worth of income.

Of the 14 cities where upsizing comes somewhat easier, seven are in Québec, making the province the best bet for going from an apartment to a single-family home. Alternatively, for those looking to upsize in Ontario, their best chances are in Windsor and Kingston, where the difference is still more than $115,000.

With files from Alexandra Ciuntu, Point2.

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