5 booming housing markets that aren’t Vancouver or Toronto

Average home prices grew faster in this sourthern Ontario region in May than they did in either Vancouver or Toronto. Canadian Press

The average home price for all of Canada last month skipped 8.1 per cent higher compared to a year ago. But that healthy gain, as always, masks deeply divided regional stories below the surface.

Hit mute on the noise created by bidding wars in Toronto and Vancouver and the picture is more subdued, with the national average up just 2.4 per cent year-on-year in May, to $344,988 (compared to the skewed average of $450,886 when sales data from those two cities are priced in).

The oil shock has knocked back several markets throughout the Prairies by a few steps, experts say. “But many markets outside those hard-hit by the slide in oil prices are in fine or improving shape,” Robert Kavcic, a housing economist at Bank of Montreal, said.

Here’s a look at five residential real estate markets that posted healthy gains last month that are not named Vancouver or Toronto:

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Windsor-Essex, Ontario

May increase: 12.2 per cent
Average price: $205,695

Fast becoming a destination for retiring baby boomers looking to sell pricier homes in the Greater Toronto Area to help fund their retirement plans, experts say. Canadian Press

Hamilton, Ontario

May increase: 10.1 per cent
Average price: $447,019

Benefiting from prospective home buyers turned away by higher prices closer to the Toronto area, the region is tightly linked to Toronto via highways and transit systems (though there’s many critics who say those links need more investment). Canadian Press

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Fraser Valley, B.C.

May increase: 7.2 per centAverage price: $574,557Much like the Hamilton-Burlington region in Ontario, the Fraser Valley is thriving as house hunters seek out more affordable housing compared to the towering valuations they’re confronting around Vancouver. Getty Images

Victoria, B.C.

May increase: 6.3 per centAverage price: $527,770While price gains hummed in the British Columbia capital last month, the growth is straining already stretched affordability in the area – a general trend across many B.C. markets. Getty Images

Thunder Bay, Ontario

May increase: 5.4 per centAverage price: $224,860Quietly asserting itself as a college town and home to resource workers, it was named the best value for your buck by personal finance magazine MoneySense in March. Courtesy, city

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