windsor home prices

Home prices in this Ontario city have nearly doubled since the pandemic hit

Imagine buying your own detached house — a big one with multiple bedrooms, a backyard and possible a nice lakefront view — for less than $400,000? And then selling it only twelve months later for nearly double the price?

It's a tale as old as the COVID-19 pandemic for people in small towns all over Ontario, where city-dwellers have flocked over the past two years in search of cheaper houses with more space than their tiny downtown condos.

While awesome for sellers, this phenomenon has dealt a huge blow to the plans of young homebuyers, many of whom were relying upon the dream of buying an affordable home in a smaller city upon "settling down."

The Windsor area has long been a low-key hotbed for these types of folks — the ones who knew about it, anyway — attracting Torontonians long before COVID hit with its real estate prices, warmer-than-you'd-expect weather, and quick access to the U.S. border.

Today, two years after the onset of the COVID crisis, that market looks unbelievably different.

windsor real estate

This chart, released in January of 2022, depicts the explosive growth of home prices in Windsor, Ontario, over the past few years. Image via the Canadian Real Estate Association.

The average price of all homes sold across the City of Windsor in February of 2020 was $386,285, according to the Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors.

In February of 2022, that same figure was $704,112, representing an increase in average home prices of roughly 82 per cent. Year-over-year, the same data set shows an increase of about 45 per cent (up from an average price of $486,461 in Feb. 2021).

"The Windsor housing market has been an impressive specimen to watch throughout the coronavirus pandemic," reads a new report on the city and its real estate scene from RE/MAX. "For years, Windsor real estate had been in a rough patch, with a stagnating economy, high unemployment and many young people abandoning the border town for the glitz and glamour of Toronto."

Lol at the glitz and glamour of Toronto.

"Since the early days of the COVID-19 public health crisis, when a substantial number of families and young professionals ditched life in major urban centres in favour of small towns and rural communities, the Windsor housing market has been booming without any signs of slowing down," the report continues.

"Considering the hot start to 2022, conditions are still skewed in favour of sellers. In other words, Windsor is still a boomtown on the housing front."

windsor real estate

Average Windsor housing prices month-over-month and year-over-year. Image via The Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors.

With interest rates expected to rise, it's unclear if Windsor (or any other Ontario, market for that matter) will be able to sustain its meteoric growth. According to RE/MAX, this will likely depend on interprovincial migration rates.

"The Windsor economy is not indicative of current housing conditions. For example, the unemployment rate rose 1.2 per cent in January, to 8.2 per cent, which is slightly below the peak of 8.6 per cent reached in May," reads the report.

"Like other places in the Canadian real estate market, Windsor prices were driven up by out-of-town homebuyers who, with their urban-earned equity, pushed up local housing prices."

Those who got into the market early on in the pandemic might be sitting pretty on their real estate gains, but it might be too late for others to follow suit and earn equity at quite the same rate.

"First-time homebuyers and families have been increasingly finding themselves priced out of the broader Canadian real estate market. From coast to coast, rising prices are sidelining Canadians, who are unable to achieve the dream of home ownership," reads the RE/MAX report.

"Windsor is no different."

Lead photo by

Hermes Rivera 

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