These are Ontario's most and least competitive real estate markets

Dec 10 2020, 11:33 am

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, the housing market has continued to heat up across Ontario.

A recent report by Zoocasa evaluated 35 real estate markets in Ontario by reviewing sales and new listings data for each region for the month of October.

Zoocasa used this data to determine the sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR) for the month –to get a sense of the demand and supply relationship in each area.

The findings show that 30 of the 35 markets exhibit strong sellers’ market conditions, meaning there was a high demand for a low number of listings, resulting in stiff competition for buyers.

This is up from 27 markets that exhibited sellers’ market conditions in October 2019. The remaining markets all exhibited balanced market conditions, and notably, each of these balanced markets is located within the GTA.

A sellers’ market is when the SNLR is over 60%, with a buyers market being below 40% and a balanced market being in the middle.

Top 10 real estate markets with the most competition: 

  1. St. Catherines: 112%
  2. Thunder Bay: 108%
  3. Niagara Falls: 105%
  4. Orangeville: 105%
  5. Sudbury: 100%
  6. Kitchener: 97%
  7. Barrie: 95%
  8. North Bay: 94%
  9. Guelph: 94%
  10. Sault Ste. Marie: 94%

 Top 10 real estate markets with the least competition: 

  1. Toronto: 45%
  2. Richmond Hill: 54%
  3. Mississauga: 57%
  4. Markham: 58%
  5. Vaughan: 59%
  6. Oakville: 69%
  7. Brampton: 72%
  8. Halton Hills: 78%
  9. Oshawa: 79%
  10. Newmarket: 80%

However, according to the report while Toronto showed an SNLR of 45% — meaning housing competition cooled since October 2019, when the SNLR was 66% — it’s important to note that these figures are influenced by the condo market activity.

Sales have declined for condos in the pandemic, while new listings increased by more than double, 109%, year-over-year.


According to Evelyn Anders, a Zoocasa agent in Toronto, competition remains fierce for freehold homes in particular as inventory continues to be low.

“Going into 2021, I expect more competition in the first quarter, as sellers that were able to wait on the sidelines or were undecided may begin to list their homes. Depending on its effectiveness, the COVID-19 vaccine is likely to have a ripple effect on housing market conditions, particularly in dense urban centers like Toronto, that may see demand re-emerge across all market segments,” said Anders in the report.

When looking outside of the GTA, all 16 housing markets exhibited strong sellers’ market conditions in October, with an SNLR of 80% or more.

Of these markets, 4 exhibited an SNLR of 100% or more, meaning that demand was much higher than new listings and buyers began to pick up inventory listed before October, facing stiff competition.


But Zoocasa notes that the market will remain competitive going into 2021, which may also increase prices.