Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the housing market in Kenora has become oversaturated, causing some difficulties for first-time home buyers.

Tyler Tomashowski has faced some of those difficulties, as it took him a few years to find and purchase his first-ever home. Through his house-hunting process, he said the biggest struggle was the competitiveness between buyers.

“There’s just so many buyers looking at the same house,” says Tomashowski. “Before 2020 you could pick and choose what house you wanted to put an offer in because there was just a handful of houses that were on the market that fit the criteria you were looking for.”

“Fast forward today and you see multiple offers on the same house because the same pool of buyers is only competing for the same house,” adds Tomashowski.

Tomashowski started his house hunting journey back in 2019, where it took several offers and him looking at even more houses before an offer was accepted on the house he’s currently closing on.

“Sure it was deflating getting a call from your Realtor that you didn’t get it, but she was a great cheerleader and just made me more motivated to move forward.”

He is recommending that anyone looking to buy their first house, use a Realtor as he said it was the best decision he made throughout his whole process.

“Using an agent is so key I think for buyers, especially first-time home buyers like me, they understand the steps you have to take. And just having someone in your corner fighting for what you want is very important, especially today.”

Due to a significant increase in housing demand and a limited supply, he believes that the Kenora market will continue to be as competitive or more into the summer.

“Until we get more houses built and more places for people to live we will see the prices of housing rise.”

Tomashowski believes the increased demand for housing stems from more people wanting to leave their bigger centres, to move into more rural communities due to COVID-19. Additionally, COVID-19 forced more people to work from home, therefore causing a bigger demand for housing.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian banks have lowered interest rates to as low as 1.75 per cent, which allowed many to enter the housing market.

Though the Kenora market is competitive, Tomashowski doesn’t think it’s expensive, he believes it's actually the opposite.

“If you zoom out and look at all of Canada, Kenora is still very cheap to live. Winnipeg’s average home price is $401,000. The average house right now in Canada is $796,000.”

The average price in Kenora in 2022 for an entry-level two or three-bedroom family home is between $275,000-and $300,000.

In April the Canadian Real Estate Association said a March report showed that the average price in Ontario was a record-high $1,052,252, an increase of 22 per cent from March of 2021.

The more comprehensive year-to-date average price was $1,052,139, a sizable gain of 25.7% from the first two months of 2021.