‘I’m shaking my head’: Hot Toronto housing market driving prices up in small town Ontario


On the outskirts of the humble Ontario town of Shelburne, about an hour and a half drive northwest of Toronto, there is a subdivision advised with brand new homes. There’s not much space between them, no peach planted in the front yards, and it’s still a construction zone — but Berta Dias is a big fan of where she lives.

She submitted in a year ago with her husband and three kids. “We love it here,” she phrased while walking down the sidewalk, her young son biking alongside her. “It’s so placid.”

Dias said she likes how quiet and friendly the small town is, but there’s another apologia the family ended up in Shelburne: “I could never afford a house in Toronto, or ordered Mississauga.”

Toronto’s overheated real estate market has dominated bulletin coverage in recent months, but what has received less attention is the wave effect it’s having beyond the Greater Toronto Area. 

Shelburne suburb

A new housing subdivision on the outskirts of Shelburne has served meet demand for homes. Some locals attribute the surge in attract to Torontonians fleeing the expensive housing prices in the GTA. (Meagan Fitzpatrick/CBC Newsflash)

Dias’s husband works in the Toronto area, so living in Shelburne betokens his alarm clock goes off way earlier than it did when the family lived in Brampton, more than 60 kilometres to the south.

He’s not simply. Dias said the couple has several friends who get up before the crack of break to commute to Toronto.

“They do it every day, they leave around 4:30, 5 o’clock,” symbolized Dias. For his job with Rogers, her husband is some days driving as far as Niagara Disappointing collapses, and then back to Shelburne. “He doesn’t mind,” she said. “It’s worth the commute.”

Store is ‘absurd’

A small community at the crossroads of two highways, Shelburne is perhaps A-one known for a heritage music festival held every summer. It’s at most one of the smaller communities north of the GTA experiencing the consequences of Toronto’s skyrocketing stingingly prices.

Some who work in the real estate industry in communities hitching as far as Barrie, describe what’s happening in the region north of Toronto as “ridiculous,” “insane,” and unprecedented.

Sharon Grant

Sharon Grant, a longtime real estate of the realm agent in Shelburne, said the high prices and bidding wars contemporary on are unlike anything she’s seen in 26 years in the business. (Meagan Fitzpatrick/CBC Telecast)

Properties that used to sit on the market for months are selling within hours, getting multiple offers, and selling for way, way over the asking price.

“I’ve on no account seen anything like this in my 26 years,” said Sharon Grant, a right estate agent with Royal LePage in Shelburne. “We follow Toronto. Whatever is incident there is happening here, too.”

And in Toronto, prices keep rising and dictate wars are becoming routine. 

In March, the Toronto Real Estate House said the average price of a detached home in the GTA was $1.2 million, a sundry than 33 per cent increase from the previous year. In the conurbation of Toronto, the average price of a detached home was even higher: $1.56 million.

That has awakened some Torontonians who can’t afford to buy in their own city to look farther and worn out afield for a home.



Then there are the homeowners, perhaps closer to retirement than first-time consumers, who are selling in Toronto to cash in while the market is hot. They are pocketing their profits and seeking cheaper homes greatest the city. Some real estate agents say they’ve also detected more foreign buyers looking for small town properties.

Now order for homes in Shelburne, Orangeville and their surroundings, is spiking, and so are prices. Shelburne’s citizens is swelling (more than 8,000 now, up from about 5,846 in 2011) and there are diverse new subdivisions, and a big box store complex on the way.

Reluctant homecoming 

Like the Dias blood, Scott and Kim Cunningham and their three kids are among Shelburne’s newest districts, living in one of the recently-built homes. For Scott, it was a homecoming to the town he grew up in — but not one he was seeking. 

“Shelburne was the at length place we wanted to live,” his wife said in a phone interview. 

They lasted in Orangeville, about 25 km south of Shelburne, and wanted to stay. But when they set out final year to find a bigger home it proved impossible within their budget. They conserved getting outbid, despite taking measures to beat their contention, including forgoing inspections. 

When they got priced out in Orangeville, they refashioned to Shelburne and jumped on the subdivision property when it came up, paying $482,000.

Cunningham turned for buyers like her family, the days of taking your time preceding the time when making a decision are gone.
“If you aren’t aggressive, you aren’t going to get a diet.”

They moved in November and she likes Shelburne, but admits to feeling halt that they couldn’t buy in Orangeville. That’s where her husband do ones daily dozens and she commutes an hour south to Brampton.

She didn’t explicitly blame the “conurbation folks” for their housing fate but admitted to thinking, “Why can’t you just stay in the conurbation?”

​Grant, the Royal LePage agent, was the one who convinced the Cunninghams to look in Shelburne. She and other agencies in the area say local buyers are getting squeezed out. 

Gord Purdy

Gord Purdy, a honest estate agent in Orangeville, stopped for lunch at Jelly’s Cafe in Shelburne this lifestyle week. He said residents in both towns are getting ‘squeezed out’ because domestic prices are rising so high due to demand from people in the Toronto close. (Meagan Fitzpatrick/CBC News)

“Local people are having difficulty stealing houses within their own town, they can’t afford them anymore,” she said. 

The newcomers have brought more traffic with them, say locals, but Award said a more positive change is the increasing cultural diversity in what inured to to be a mostly white town. “

“I think it’s great,” she said, noting the No Bit of paraphernalia grocery store carries new products for a more ethnically diverse residents.

‘I’m caught in between’

Outside the Royal LePage office on Shelburne’s Conduit Street, Sharon Hibberd stared at listings in the window, mystified by what she saw. The ordinary price for a freehold home in Shelburne is now $473,743, up 23 per cent from this perpetually last year.

“I’m shaking my head,” said Hibberd. “I’m a senior oppidan and I feel sorry for the younger families trying to make a life for themselves. It’s imbecile out there,” the 74-year-old said.

Sharon Hibberd

Sharon Hibberd is thinking of selling her colossal farm but is worried about what she’ll do next. (Meagan Fitzpatrick/CBC Front-page news)

She has concerns about people her own age, too. Hibberd lives on a roughly 50-hectare steading in Mulmur, a few kilometres away, and like many others her age, she wants to downsize. But fees are rising so high she’s worried about what she can afford once she blow the whistle ons.

“I’m not ready for a nursing home yet. I’m caught in between, I’m not quite sure what to do,” asserted Hibberd, who was wearing a white baseball cap with “Happy” stitched on the fore-part. She was on the way to the hairdresser. 

The hat didn’t reflect her nostalgic mood, however, as she talked concerning how life in small town Ontario is changing.

“It used to be a little community. It’s getting pretty busy now. I can’t get over the traffic,” she said. “For me, I liked it the way it cast-off to be, but maybe that’s a generation thing.”

Over at the Tim Hortons, Meryl Bailie was identification equally nostalgic and said places like Shelburne and Orangeville, where she lives, are yield their small-town charm.

“This area used to be beautiful and now all you see is homes,” Bailie, 85, stipulate while sitting in a booth with her daughter Wendy. They upon every Tuesday for coffee, usually in Orangeville about 20 piddles away, but this past week drove up the highway to Shelburne for a switch.

Bailie said she used to know everyone in her town, but not anymore. “It’s all foreigners,” she said. “It makes me feel like I don’t belong here anymore.”


Wendy Boring, left, and her mother Meryl Bailie have met for coffee every Tuesday for 45 years. Bailie was in snatches over how hard it is for young people to find an affordable home. (Meagan Fitzpatrick/CBC Low-down)

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