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Ajax Housing Market, The Ultimate Guide

What is the Ajax Housing Market Doing and Do I Want to be Part of it?

The Ajax housing market is, like all southern Ontario housing markets, a wild ride. Eye watering prices are the norm. However, there’s a slight but not negligible price break in Ajax relative to similar suburbs of Toronto. The Town could present real value to home seekers.

Ajax Market Pricing Comparisons

Comparing prices in Mississauga and Durham Region (Ajax’s region), in November of 2023, we see that the average residential property transactions in Durham were 16% lower in value.

Mississauga: $1,043,100, Durham region: $876,615

It was similar in November of 2022:

Mississauga: $1,058,200, Durham region: $881,938

Source: The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)

In a more “apples to apples” head to head, we could compare Ajax to a couple of its neighbours:

  Drive Time to Toronto, Minutes Average Detached 3 bedroom House Sale Price in December, 2023
Mississauga 45 $1,200,000
Markham 45 $1,400,000
Richmond Hill 38 $1,400,000
Ajax 75 $836,000
Pickering 60 $999,000
Whitby 82.5 $969,000

Source: https://www.zolo.ca/ajax-real-estate/trends

Ajax housing presents a golden opportunity from a budgetary perspective for some home hunters. This guide delves into the specifics of the Ajax housing market, offering insights and practical information for both potential buyers and sellers.

Is Ajax a Good Place to Buy a House?

It is an affordable option with potential for growth. There is a stark gap between average home prices in the town versus similarly distanced suburbs around Toronto. There is also a solid difference between its all time highs and its current average home price. That gives us some idea as to where prices are likely to go when prices begin to rise again.

The town is a great place to consider for the purposes of raising a family or settling down otherwise. It is probably not a great option for younger adults looking to for a great night out or exploring their cultural interests. Museums and galleries are few and far between. So too are bars crowded with hotties.

Local facts for your perusal:

  • Seniors make up about 13% of the population
  • Those aged 19 and under: 25%
  • Total private dwellings in the Ajax Housing Market: 39.490
  • Percentage of those dwellings that are host to more than one person (family homes): 90.7%
  • Percentage of households that are multigenerational: 9.2%
  • Population density per square kilometer: 1,900.6
  • Town’s size in square kilometers: 66.64
  • The population grew 5.8% between the 2016 and 2021 national census
  • Percentage of income earning population 15 years and older in 2020 earning a gross income of over $150,000: 3.3%
  • 96% of resident’s mother tongue is English
  • Percentage of workers who leave for work before 8am: 47%, before 7am: 25%

Demographics: Diverse Population

The town is known for its diverse demographic profile, a melting pot that contributes to its vibrant real estate scene. The average house price was around $976,477 as of December 2023, reflecting the area’s appeal to a wide range of buyers, from first-time homeowners to families looking for more space‚Äč‚Äč.

Source: StatsCan https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2021/dp-pd/prof/index.cfm?Lang=E

Population

135,000 (estimated since last census was 2021)

Immigrant Status and Period of Immigration

Population breakdown, courtesy of Statistics Canada’s 2021 Census

Immigration makeup

Places of Birth for the Immigrant Population

Source: Statistics Canada 2021 Census

Ajax Housing Market Places of birth for immigrants

Ajax Housing Inventory Breakdown

Housing types and households by number of residents per unit in the Ajax Housing Market.

Source: Statistics Canada 2021 Census

Dwelling details for Ajax

Housing Breakdown by Period of Construction

Ajax Housing Market Dwelling construction date summary

Source: Statistics Canada 2021 Census

We compiled a simple to read list of quick Ajax demographic facts here:

Neighborhoods of the Ajax Housing Market

Ajax comprises several unique neighborhoods, each offering distinct housing opportunities. In December 2023, Northwest Ajax reported an average house price of $1,174,440, while Northeast Ajax saw an average of $1,018,682, indicating active markets in these areas‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč. The diversity in housing options, including single-family homes and condos, caters to different lifestyles and budgets‚Äč‚Äč.

Shopping Highlights: Retail Therapy in Ajax

The shopping landscape in Ajax adds to its appeal. Proximity to shopping districts is a significant factor for buyers, with areas near shopping centers being highly sought after. This demand influences property trends, making properties in these areas particularly desirable.

Ajax is very much a middle class suburb when it comes to shopping. There are no Louis Viton boutiques or anything 

Take your pick, these brands highlight the options:

  • Costco with gas station
  • HomeSense
  • Real Canadian Superstore
  • Sobey’s
  • Longo’s
  • Gap and Banana Republic Factory stores
  • Walmart
  • Winners
  • Giant Tiger
  • Marshall’s
  • Guess
  • Garage
  • Laura
  • Canadian Tire
  • All manner of dollar stores and more

To the east, big spenders can hit up the Oshawa Centre whose renovations over the past few years have paid off. Or you can go west a bit and find the smoking hulk/condo construction mecca surrounding what’s left of the Pickering Town Centre.

Amenities and Things to Do

Deer Creek

Hosting multiple good quality golf courses and event venue, Deer Creek is a long standing resident of the community. If you are pretending to be a Durham region go getter you might invite a business associate to golf at Deer Creek.

Ajax Downs

Ajax Downs hosts live quarter horse racing and a slots facility making it the town’s first casino. They also have O.T.B. which you won’t care about unless you already know what O.T.B. stands for and if you do, then you’ve already stopped reading and are on your way to Ajax.

Pickering Casino Resort

How many Canadian towns of 100,000 people can lay claim to two casinos? Well, officially Ajax can’t either because the Pickering Casino is in Pickering, but it is on the literal border. So, Ajax residents are also welcome. It has a theatre hosting the kind of acts who play casinos which can be fun or at least nostalgic.

Pickering Village

Unlike the nearby Pickering Casino, Pickering Village is actually in Ajax. Don’t get us started. Fun fact: Pickering High School is located in Pickering Village which is located, again, in Ajax. A quaint little area, Pickering Village is worth a walk around. You might consider the neighbourhood in and around it because of its proximity to Pickering, the 401, shopping, and being on the western border, it might save you a few minutes of commuting time. Time is precious, so if you’re looking at homes, consider it.

Riocan Durham Annex

With an Under Armor, Costco, Chapters, Walmart, Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Roots, etc. Like it or not, you will be spending time at the Riocan. It is a sprawling complex with a good amounts of parking and a good variety of stores. Who said there’s nothing to do in the burbs?

More in the Town and Nearby

Lots of golf courses, museums, community centers, hockey arenas, colleges and universities including Durham College, Trent University Oshawa, Ontario Tech Oshawa, and more.

What is the Restaurant Scene Like?

Not fantastic is the truth. Ajax hosts familiar names like The Keg, Kelsey’s, Il Fornello, Applebee’s, Jolibee, Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, Marble Slab Creamery, all manner of popular fast food joints, and Makimono for sushi. You will find Thai food, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Indian, Korean, and more. But it is not a mecca and it doesn’t have the kind of urban feel or buzz that some cities are lucky to have.

Geography: The Natural Allure of Ajax

Live on the coast of Lake Ontario, live next to farmland, back onto a ravine, overlook a lakeside park, tree-lined boulevards, or on a cozy family-oriented cul-de-sac. Ajax’s geographical features contribute to its real estate attractiveness. From scenic landscapes to well-planned urban areas, Ajax offers a blend of natural beauty and modern conveniences. This unique combination is a driving factor in the steady growth of the Ajax housing market‚Äč.

A group of people strolling beside a stream in the forest in Ajax.

Biking, walking, hiking, running, skateboarding, scootering – there’s lots of room for all in Ajax.

Trails

Duffin’s Creek, Carruthers’s Creek, Miller’s Creek, etc. There are over 100km of trails ranging from waterfront trails along the coast of Lake Ontario to hiking through Greenwood conservation area to the North. Varied terrain in and around various parks and conservation areas demonstrates the town’s commitment to the natural habitat.

Parks

With more than 90 playgrounds, conservation areas, shelters, skateboard parks, playing fields, and splash pads, Ajax is read to host families and outdoor fitness freaks. In addition, three well outfitted community centres boasting pools, skate parks, libraries, etc. are distributed throughout the town.

The highlight is the waterfront which according to the township is: A 70-hectare, 7 km stretch of publicly owned and maintained lands.

School Information: Educational Opportunities in Ajax

The presence of quality educational institutions in Ajax bolsters home prices. Families often prioritize schooling when choosing a home, making areas with reputable schools highly coveted. This preference is reflected in the area’s housing trends, with homes in such localities witnessing robust demand. With over 30 public and Catholic schools at both the primary and secondary levels, your family won’t be short of educational options.

There are no public universities in Ajax.

A group of people walking in front of a school in Ajax, known for its housing market.

Commuting Options: Navigating Ajax

Efficient transportation options in Ajax enhance its livability and, by extension, its housing market. The ease of commuting, whether by public transport or road networks, adds to the appeal of living in Ajax, making it an attractive option for professionals working in or near the Greater Toronto Area. The GO train will get you to Toronto in about 49 minutes at a pay per use daily fare of $10.20 each way. The commute by car is about 45km on the road or 35km on the train.

Like all GTA-adjacent areas, the driving in Ajax gets worse every year. In particular, the 401 in both directions is a train wreck. Optimistically, you could drive to downtown Toronto in 33 minutes. But that’s without traffic. Somebody in civil planning did a serious number to Ajax as the 401’s express and collector lanes merge on the border of neighbouring Pickering and the west side of Ajax which exacerbates the volume concern.

Ajax has been growing rapidly along with the rest of the east side of Toronto (and everywhere else), and all of that traffic has to go somewhere. Traffic is bad on the 401 seven days a week and at all hours. If that sounds like a uniquely Ajaxian problem, it isn’t; it is just the reality in the GTA and all around it.

The 407 is an Option, Albeit an Expensive One

You can hop on the 407 from Ajax to commute west, but keep in mind that east of Toronto the 407 is really up there. It moves south as you go west of the city but for those in the east, it can be a trek to get up to the 407 which can limit its utility. And of course, then there’s the expense of using the 407…

As of June 2023, the average selling price in the Durham Region, which includes Ajax, was around $961,852. The market has shown resilience and recovery, especially after peaking at over $1,200,000 in early 2022‚Äč‚Äč. This trend underscores Ajax’s stability in the housing market and its potential for future growth. The average house price in Ajax is generally just below those in Pickering and Whitby.

Just like the stock market, previous highs and lows are important indicators of future price movement possibilities. A recent high of 1.2 million dollars and a current average price of only $967,000, plus neighbouring cities and towns of similar size and distance from Toronto currently in the 1.2 million to 1.4 million dollar range, means that Ajax could provide for an interesting opportunity.

Ajax and Ontario Real Estate Market 2023, 2024, 2025 and Beyond, the CMHC Prediction for 2030

Looking ahead, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) forecasts continued growth in the property market by 2030. The town, with its robust market trends and growing appeal, is expected to be at the forefront of this positive trajectory.

While trying our hardest to avoid getting on a soapbox, we believe that the Ontario and GTA markets have a tremendous amount of pent up demand that high interest rates through 2022 and 2023 has created.

So, by all accounts, home price trends in the Ajax area are going to continue to rise over time. Stats indicate an average house price that is well below those in neighbouring towns and cities. Our point is this: Ontario’s housing shortage is well documented. That’s how townhomes in suburbs north of Toronto go for over $1.2 million dollars. Ajax’s proximity to Toronto and those other suburbs with high prices bodes well for Ajax’s potential. At some point, we believe that the prices will catch up to those of its neighbours.

Is Being Within Commuting Range of Toronto a Town’s Golden Ticket?

In short, yes. Over one million immigrants have joined Canada’s population in 2023 alone. There was a housing shortage prior to that flood. And a significant portion of Canadian immigrants always settle in and around Toronto. The Ajax real estate market cannot help but be buoyed by Toronto’s housing shortage. A home in Ajax remains a relative bargain compared to its neighbours.

Budget-friendly condos: the town’s lower than regional average condo prices in early 2024 means it is possible to purchase a two bedroom unit for $600,000. Home prices are relatively discounted as well. Ajax housing is predominantly traditional detached homes, but the few condos could work for you.

Our Thesis, Rates Rule

Our thesis is that as soon as rates turn, you will see a rush into the market, which will cause prices to rise. Lots of people are in bad living situations that they had hoped were temporary but have gone on too long due to high mortgage rates.

When those rates drop, we think you will see a lot of thirty somethings who have been living with in-laws and parents run to their real estate agents. Imagine sharing a bathroom and kitchen with your mother-in-law, for years. There are many factors influencing the market, but the most basic economic principles of supply and demand are in play here and cannot be ignored. People have to live somewhere and they’re not making more land, so prices will go up. If not today, then soon.

There are also psychological factors in play. Nobody wanted to pay a million dollars for a townhouse in the suburbs. But after watching the market run away from them for years, buyers have begun to accept the new normal. They see friends and family and colleagues buying properties at current prices and a resignation sets in. “Houses in the suburbs cost over a million dollars. Yes, that’s normal. I’ll take one.”

With the average house price in Ajax sitting at over 20% below its recent peak, there could be a nice fit for bargain hunters.

What About the Downsides?

  1. There’s bad traffic in the Ajax Housing Market, but of course, it is unavoidable in the Toronto area.
  2. Municipal transit is awful. Suburban buses are usually a joke, and Ajax’s are no different.
  3. Nightlife. Crickets.
  4. Property taxes in the burbs are usually nearly double to those in Toronto.
  5. The GO train is your lifeblood, but getting in and out at rush hour is brutal.
  6. This one is kind of subjective, but it is something to consider. The prevailing wind in Ajax is from the west. Just west of the town is a large nuclear power plant in Pickering. If you have environmental safety concerns about nuclear power, this may be a deal killer for you.
  7. The average house price in Ajax is classically depressed relative to cities nearby. The market penalizes the town for some reason. If you can figure out why and it doesn’t bother you…