Buying a home is a significant financial milestone for many Canadians; owning a property doesn’t just shelter them but is usually the largest asset in their portfolio. With gains outpacing most money markets, a homeowner’s equity can provide capital for anything from home renovations to retirement planning.
Amid the onslaught of the global pandemic, home has become so much more than a place to live. For many, where we live has become our office, school, gym and restaurant. It is where we have sheltered to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in hopes of keeping ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe.
The pandemic has made homeownership more crucial than ever; it has driven new trends in home buying. More buyers are looking to upsize their homes and look to markets where it is most affordable. As well, the ability to work from home has untethered many from living near business centres and has offered buyers the flexibility to relocate to markets they may not have previously considered.
Bancroft has received top billing in MoneySense’s 2021 edition of Where to Buy Real Estate, with a score of 4.54 out of 5 stars. Known for its proximity to Algonquin Provincial Park and prime Ontario cottage country, Bancroft has long been a vacation locale for those looking to escape the pace of city life. With the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting increase in remote work, however, the town offers attractive incentives for those looking to make it a permanent destination.
While it may have small-town charm to burn, Bancroft is actually an economic powerhouse with a skilled local workforce, thriving downtown core and all the amenities of a larger city such as a vibrant retail and dining scene, art and theatre, schools and healthcare. It is conveniently located between Toronto and Ottawa.
Bancroft is known as the Mineral Capital of Canada and hosts the annual Rockhound Gemboree, the nation’s largest gem show which draws thousands of tourists. The town pulls in 150,000 visitors each year; combined with a regional population of 60,000, it is the retail and service centre for the North Hastings Region.
According to Bancroft’s economic development committee, the town has enjoyed a 28% increase in job creation since 2001, almost double that of Ontario’s average. Zoocasa’s Average Price Index for all Bancroft properties was $292,733 in 2020, 47% below the national average of $557,269 and literally hundreds of thousands of dollars less than Ottawa or Toronto. In recent years, homeowners in the area have enjoyed an excellent return on their investment; this index has increased 78% over the last three years, translating to a cash increase of $128,533.
Impact of COVID-19
As in the rest of Ontario, local real estate demand froze as the lockdown mandate took hold in March 2021 but the slowdown was short-lived. As more people could work from home and as restrictions were lifted in cottage country sooner than in big cities, an exodus of urban transplants made their way to the area as early as May 2020.
The Canadian Real Estate Association reports the average price for Bancroft hit $576,177 in March 2021 – an 86.6% increase from the previous year. Listings bounced back as 64.7% more homes came to market, though overall inventory reveals just how competitive the marketplace has become, with just 0.7 months of housing stock – the lowest in three decades. According to buyer demand, this metric refers to the number of months it would take to sell off all available homes on the market entirely. As the supply and demand gap continues to deepen in the region, home values are expected to continue to rise in the foreseeable future.
Let us know in the comment section whether you are looking to purchase your new home in the area too.