- The Durham Region was ranked #1 for population growth, with continued growth forecast.
- Durham has the highest growth in Home sale prices in the GTA.
- Metrolink will be expanding it’s GO Transit network by adding 4 new stations in the region.
- The region has the most decorated GM plant in all of North America, one of Ontario’s largest network of hospitals, and Ontario’s largest tourist development in the past 10 years, Durham Live.
It’s an open secret that Durham has seen the most growth and development, not just in the GTA, but in all of Canada in the past few years. Once a sleepy outpost on the further fringes of Toronto, now it’s a significant centre for commerce, culture and community. Lifelong Group is developing our Community Redevelopment Fund(1), based across 5 different locations, all within the Durham Region.
Geographically, Durham is situated just east of the City of Toronto, with good rail and road transportation to the downtown core. Nestled between Lake Ontario, Lake Simcoe and Lake Scugog, Durham is the largest geographical jurisdiction in the GTA, with 4 times the size of Toronto; albeit with a population that is 4 times less! The population density is the lowest in the GTA too, half that of the next lowest, Halton. Hence why it’s understandable why the region has the most growth(2), since it has a lot of catching up to do!
Top 10 communities with the highest population growth rates in Canada(3):
- Oshawa (2.1%)
- Halifax (2%)
- Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge (2%)
- Kelowna (1.9%)
- Calgary (1.9%)
Oshawa leads the nation in growth rates in 2021, according to Statistics Canada, with projected growth in Durham set to jump from a current population of less than 700,000 to 1.3m in only 30 years, again the quickest in Canada.
HOUSING MARKET IN THE GTA
The price of housing has also grown at the quickest rate in the GTA, yet is still the most affordable, thus making it an ideal destination for those looking for more space and cheaper housing prices, while maintaining easy access to Toronto(4).
Expect to get a single detached family home in Durham for a similar price that you can expect to pay for a multi residential space or condo in the City of Toronto. Durham also compares favourably with the other regions too.
As a live example, let’s compare two similar properties in York, compared to Durham:
As you can see, even though you would pay $630,000 to purchase the condo in Markham, your monthly yield would be only $2,000. If we take 2.5% to be the interest rate, that would not even cover your mortgage payments of $2,258(5).
With townhouses, we can see the gap between the property price and monthly lease payment is even wider:
|Down payment (20%)
|Monthly mortgage payment
We’ve already seen how residential developments have sky-rocketed in Durham Region(6), but it’s also a hotbed of activity in new industrial and business developments. Amazon is building a 1 million sq ft site in Ajax, next door to H&M’s largest distribution centre in the GTA(7). In Pickering, Kubota has doubled the size of its HQ to 500,000 sq ft since moving from Markham(8). In the Eastern end, Lifelong Group is developing our first master planned community on the 39 acre former site of the famous Goodyear Tyre Factory in Bowmanville(9).
WORKFORCE AND DIVERSITY
The Durham Region is home to a highly skilled and specialized labour force. Known as an entrepreneur incubator, Durham leads Canada in fields including Future Energy, Health Tech, Digital Technology, Clean Tech, Next-Gen Mobility and Advanced Automation, with the world’s first small module reactor currently in development in Darlington(10). CBRE ranks it as one of the top markets for tech talent growth across North America(11).
Indeed, clean energy is at the forefront of what Durham does, with cutting edge research on alternative fuel sources, sustainable and hydrogen based. The region contains the strongest cluster of its kind in Canada(12).
It’s the only region that contains 2 of the Top 10 largest universities, ie Ontario Tech University and Durham College, with 25,000 students at our doorstep. Durham has the fastest rate of ethnic diversity too, with 5 out of every 7 people moving to the region, coming from immigrant backgrounds(13).
BUSINESS & NETWORKS
As well as being a haven to small businesses, Durham Region is home to some of the GTA’s largest companies:
The General Motors Oshawa Assembly Plant has been building world class vehicles in Oshawa since November 1953. With over 29 J.D. Power awards, it has a proven track record of great quality and customer satisfaction. In 2014, Oshawa was recognized as the most advanced facility in North America, building several models and options on the Flex Line while also running a consolidated line within one plant. GM employs over 23,000 local residents(14).
Durham Live will become the largest entertainment and tourism complex in Ontario after Niagara Falls(15). Anchored by a resort casino and 5-star hotel, this unique destination will also include a boutique hotel, convention centre, amphitheatre, restaurants, cinemas, indoor water park, performance venues, an office tower, and film studios. Set to be fully launched by 2025, this landmark project, located at the northwest corner of Church and Bayly Street in Pickering, will boast a dynamic mix of culture, nightlife and cuisine.
Lakeridge Health is one of Ontario’s largest community hospitals, serving the people of Durham Region and beyond(16).
Ontario Power Generation
Ontario Power Generation produces 40% of electricity Ontarians rely on every day(17). Its power is clean, reliable and costs about a third less than other generators. With operations that span the province from Cornwall to Kenora, OPG employs over 9,000 residents of Durham.
The largest GO Transit expansion in a generation is happening in Durham, with 4 new stations in Ontario, ending with the east terminus in Bowmanville(18), which is a 5 min walk to Lifelong’s new community in Downtown Bowmanville(19). The new DSBRT transit will ferry passengers from Scarborough Town Centre to Oshawa(20). These public transport projects will add to the recently completed 407 extension which helps reduce congestion while directly connecting commuters to Toronto.
Planned to open in 2026, Pickering Lands will also house Toronto’s new international airport(21). Originally designed for freight and cargo services, with 3 runways spread across 8,700 acres, it will look to handle it’s first passengers from 2030 onwards. Aviation enthusiasts will already be familiar with Oshawa airport, long popular with private planes and recreational users.
RECREATIONAL & ENTERTAINMENT
With 26 museums and art galleries, 551 parks, 53 golf courses, an internationally recognized film festival (DRIFF), and the largest network of nature trails with over 350km, Durham is popular with day-trippers from Toronto and the entire province. Due for completion by 2025, the Meadoway(22) is a joint renovation project by Durham Region and City of Toronto to connect the Lakeshore parkway system beyond Canada’s largest urban park, the Rouge National Park. There will be a focus on introducing amenities like community gardens, public art installations, and encompass more than 1,000 diverse species of flora and fauna.
Already 4th largest metropolitan area in North America, the GTA(23), it’s the 2nd quickest in terms of population increase, and at the heart of that is its Eastern anchor, Durham Region. With the lowest home prices, the largest business growth, and the fastest migrations patterns both within Ontario, there’s irrefutable evidence that Durham is the optimum place to invest in Canada. And that’s why Planulife is developing communities across the entire region, as part of our Community Development Fund.
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