How Have Canada-Wide Prices Appreciated Since The Pandemic?

Market Statistics

6 minute read

November 1, 2021

Shall I spoil the surprise, or do you want me to save it?

This is, after all, the Toronto Realty Blog.  So in the context of appreciation rates in selected Canadian cities, I’m sure the readers would want to know where the City of Toronto stacks up.

In September, we discussed the whopping 18.3%, year-over-year increase in average home price in Toronto, from $960,613 in September of 2020 to $1,136,280 in September of 2021.

Whether you’re looking at average home price, home price index, or some other statistic of choice, just about every year-over-year comparison in terms of price, in every city in the country, is going to show appreciation.

But which areas have appreciated the most?

To answer that question, we have to look at the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)’s “Home Price Index” or HPI.  You can play around with the historical data on the website HERE.

Here’s how CREA explains HPI:

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) is the most advanced and accurate tool to gauge home price levels and trends. It consists of a set of software tools configured to provide time-related indices on residential markets of participating real estate boards in Canada.

The HPI is not the average home price.


1) Bancroft & Area: 89.4%

I’m going to admit that I wasn’t one-hundred percent certain where Bancroft even was.

For a moment, I thought it was in British Columbia.  Just being honest.

If you look for Bancroft on a map, it’s literally plotted in the middle of Ontario.  It’s just floating up there, south of Algonquin Park, not really near anything.

Maynooth, Coe Hill, Gilmour, and Gunter.

Weslemkoon, Apsley, Torey Hill, and Wilberforce.

Did you ever think that you’d be sitting here in the fall of 2021 talking about how the Home Price Index in Bancroft and the surrounding area is up 89.4% in seventeen months?

March, 2020: $256,200
September 2021: $485,200

2) North Bay: 58.3%

What do I know about North Bay?

For one, my wife’s grandparents are from North Bay.

Two, it’s always on the highway distance signs when I’m heading up north, but thankfully not that far north.  I always think, in my head, “Thank God I’m not going to North Bay!”

Well, a lot of people are going to North Bay, it seems.  Enough to drive the Home Price Index up by 58.3% since the start of the pandemic.

March, 2020: $216,800
September, 2021: $343,300

3) Tillsonburg District: 57.2%

The town of Tillsonburg had 15,872 residents according to the 2016 census.

2016?  Is that the best we can do?

I think it would actually be cheaper to count the number of residents in Tillsonburg, by hand, than to conduct another census.

Also, the town is apparently named after this scary ghost:

That’s George Tillson, and that’s apparently the best photo we have of him.

He looks like the ghost of Santa Claus.

He looks like the next-door neighbour in Home Alone.

He looks like Abraham Lincoln’s bald older brother.

He looks like Colonel Sanders with a small, black dolphin stuck in his beard.

Can you tell I watched Hot Tub Time Machine 2 last night?

March, 2020: $349,700
September, 2021: $549,900

4) Lakelands: 54.6%

I only bid on one cottage with a client this year.

The property was listed exclusively but they were cooperating with agents.

It was on the market for two full weeks before their “offer date.”

There were three offers in the end.

And the seller turned all three down!

He terminated the listing, said he would bring it to MLS and the “open market” in search of “better bids,” but never did.

I wonder what his plan is?

If you’re surprised at all to see “Lakelands, Ontario” at #4 on this list, just consider how hot the market in cottage country was when the pandemic began and everybody wanted that “place out of the city” to escape to…

March, 2020: $398,800
September, 2021: $616,600

5) Brantford: 54.5%

Brantford & Bradford: how in the world do you keep them straight?

Throw Brampton in there, and it’s a new Ontarian’s worst nightmare.

Growing up as a child of the 1980’s, I know Brantford solely as the birthplace of Wayne Gretzky.

Now, here’s something you did not know, nor did I, until just now: as of July 2021, Brantford has the third-highest murder rate among large municipalities in Canada behind only Winnipeg and Regina.  Actually, I just looked into it and this statistic is per capita, so the three victims in Brantford in 2021 thus far have helped to push this statistic up the list.  What an odd tangent for me to run off on, right?

March, 2020: $429,900
September, 2021: $664,000

6) Woodstock Ingersoll: 54.2%

Woodstock is just west of Brantford, so this should come as no surprise, given Brantford is #5 on the list.

I suppose my question for both areas is: do people who move here work from home, or do they commute to Toronto, Mississauga, or Hamilton for work?

Assuming that a person moved to Woodstock, I have to wonder why, and where from?  What’s their occupation?  Where do they see themselves in five years?  I understand that not anybody can, or wants, to live in Toronto.  But as you’ve likely noticed in this list so far, a lot of these areas where home prices are increasing 50’ish percent since the pandemic began, aren’t really “destinations.”

March, 2020: $387,000
September, 2021: $596,800

7) Quinte & District: 53.8%

If you look at Google Maps’ definition of “Quinte,” it’s just on the outside of Belleville.  The red line is literally drawn on the border of Belleville.

I will be completely honest and say that I have yet to determine, with certainty if the “& District” refers to Belleville, and/or other areas surrounding Trenton.

I was in Trenton in the summer, since we rented a place in Prince Edward County and drove to Trenton for groceries, booze, and ice cream.  It didn’t really seem like a place that one would move to.  In fact, the only person I know who grew up in Trenton has nothing positive to say about it, and said that as a child, everybody she knew wanted to grow up and move out of there.  It was like every kid from a small town in Texas, hoping to either be the high school quarterback, or the one dating him, so they could run to a big city college!

But as a Torontonian, what am I going to say about Trenton?  That it’s an awesome place?  I have no frame of reference for that.  I don’t know what it’s like be struggling to make ends meet, and turn to a map of Ontario to try and find work and housing.  I suspect a lot of the buying in this area is speculative in nature, given the Bay of Quinte and the second homes that are up here, but I also think that people are moving anywhere in Ontario to escape surging prices.

March, 2020: $332,100
September, 2021: $510,900

8) Grey Bruce Owen Sound: 53.7%

Another recurring theme among the eight areas discussed so far is that many of them are on lakes and have cottage or vacation home potential.

Owen Sound isn’t a huge town.  There’s probably about 25,000 – 30,000 residents, if we take the 2016 census and round up a little.  But it’s on an inlet on Georgian Bay, only a little more than a two hour drive from Toronto, and I have to think that a lot of people choose to live here and work remotely, perhaps heading to Toronto a couple of days per week.

Maybe this is the best of both worlds?  Small-town, on the water, cottage life, cheap real estate, but close enough to Toronto if you need to get there.

This is also one of only two areas in our ten where the HPI increased every single month from March 2020 onward.  The other is next on our list…

March, 2020: $340,800
September, 2021: $523,900

9) Greater Moncton: 53.6%

I didn’t know anybody that lived in Moncton, up until a month ago.

Now, I know a lovely family who lives in Moncton, formerly of Toronto, who bought an incredible house out there way less than half of what they fetched for their house in Toronto.

Why not make the move, right?

People outside the real estate industry often ask me, “Who’s moving out of Toronto?  And why?”

The answer: people who don’t need to be here, and that IS why.

I can never move out of Toronto.  My work is here.  I can’t just transition this to the “Thunder Bay Realty Blog,” can I?  But every so often, I see the appeal of leaving.  I think we all have those days, or meet those people, and if you were to reach a certain age and a point in your life where nothing was tying you to the city, and you could move away and buy a mansion in cash and bank a whack of dough after selling your house here, you’d have to consider that, right?

Imagine you weren’t born in Toronto, but moved here for work.  You have no family here.  Few friends here.  You’ve started a family and now you’re looking to plant roots.  Your job is such that you can work anywhere.

What’s keeping you here?

That is what I often hear when clients leave the city.

Anyhoo, back to Moncton…

March, 2020: $187,100
September, 2021: $287,300

10) Kawartha Lakes: 53.5%

Last, but not least, we have yet another area that’s likely a mix of residential and second/vacation properties.

If you have a friend who’s cottage is on Sturgeon Lake, Balsam Lake, Four Mile Lake, or Cameron Lake, or Lake Scugog, they’re out in “Kawartha Lakes.”

So too is anybody living in Lindsay, Fenelon Falls, or Bobcaygeon.

Notice that the HPI in Kawartha Lakes ($620,700), Lakelands ($616,600), Woodstock/Ingersoll ($596,800), Tillsonburg ($549,900), Grey Bruce Own Sound ($523,900), and Quinte ($510,900), are all in a very similar price bracket.  The fact that these represent 6/10 on the Top-10 list is no coincidence.  This is clearly where most buyers in Ontario feel comfortable.

March, 2020: $404,300
September, 2021: $620,700



If any of the readers live in one of these areas, or better yet, has moved to one of these areas from a big city, please share your story!

Oh, and one more thing: of the 47 areas tracked by CREA, can anybody guess where “Greater Toronto” placed on the overall list?

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

Find Out More About David Read More Posts

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  1. Island Home Owner

    at 8:51 am

    If PEI was the 48th region, I bet it would be at least #8 on this list. And houses are cheaper here (outside of Charlottetown at least) and it is WAY nicer than the armpit of the Maritimes!

  2. Average Joe

    at 10:43 am

    My detached family home has appreciated by an astronomical amount in the past two years. On the flip side, my firm is starting to recall people back to the Canadian offices and recruiting newbies. I’ve never seen anything like this since I started working – we are losing all of our entry-level and key mid-level people and absolutely nobody wants to come into the Toronto office. A lot of people in the business more than 15 years are pretty ambivalent or want to go back, but anyone in the young family demographic and down is ghosting.

    Maybe once the city opens up and the bar and restaurants can staff up again people will come back for the night life and culture. At the moment, trying to sell anyone on living/commuting in the GTA who hasn’t already been here a long time is impossible in my industry.

    1. Izzy Bedibida

      at 10:51 am

      Good points. Especially when the cost of living is factored in for the young family demographic.

  3. GinaTO

    at 2:30 pm

    Big hello from Moncton! 🙂 Indeed, it’s job portability (husband) and continued frustrations about traffic and crowds for family activities that finally made us leave Toronto. And I am one of those “key mid-level people” at my job that Average Joe is mentioning. My office insists on having people come back at least two days a week, and not full-time telework… well, they are losing experienced people in the young family demographic like myself. There is a talent drain happening for workplaces that are not flexible enough.
    That said, we are very happy in Dieppe, New Brunswick!!

  4. One Art Please

    at 10:38 pm

    I bought a first property in Kawartha Lakes in March 2020 ( coincidentally before covid – i had been saving, couldnt afford in Toronto so decided to buy a cottage while continuing to live in Toronto. The most interesting thing is that Fenelon Falls, generally a small, very modest, working class village, is now getting its first really expensive condos/townhouses on Cameron Lake. Atv’s and snowmobiles are super popular out here and the trail goes right close, between the luxury builds and the lake. Itll be interesting to see if there are clashes between the locals, who generally live out there in order to have the freedom to live the way they like, with all the people who will be moving in on a totally different price bracket where the tiniest, cheapest units start at 725k up to close to 2mil.

Pick5 is a weekly series comparing and analyzing five residential properties based on price, style, location, and neighbourhood.

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