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To find where home prices have risen fastest in Canada so far this year, you’d have to drive about an hour north of Toronto proper, a new report suggests.

Richmond Hill, a suburban township in York Region, has outpaced all local markets across the country with home prices soaring 31.5 per cent annually in the first quarter of the year, according to the latest Royal LePage House Price Survey, published this week.

The aggregate price, an average of median values for different types of homes, in Richmond Hill was $1,209,741. That dwarfs Toronto’s $763,875 aggregate, which itself still represented a blistering increase of 17 per cent from a year ago.

Royal LePage chalk up Richmond Hill’s ascent to a immigration and foreign investment, two factors that put pressure on supply there.

Oshawa, a city in the Durham Region roughly an hour east of Toronto, had an aggregate price of $500,105, surging 28.2 per cent from a year ago accounting for the second-fastest growth rate in the GTA.

Durham’s relative affordability compared to Toronto has been a draw for homebuyers, according to Royal LePage. It’s easy to see why when Scarborough, part of Toronto but tracked separately, was considered “one of the most affordable areas outside of the downtown core” yet had an aggregate price of $625,487, up 17.3 per cent year-over-year.

With the GTA’s suburban regions only getting hotter — and the entire area’s aggregate growing 20 per cent on a year-over-year basis, now hitting $759,241 — home shoppers are casting a much wider net in their search for listings in their price range, Royal LePage observes.

“As affordability across the GTA continues to erode, many homebuyers have increasingly begun to search for property elsewhere in southern Ontario where market factors are more favourable,” says Dianne Usher, senior vice president of Johnston and Daniel, a Royal LePage division.

In Hamilton, a city on the GTA’s border, the aggregate home price was $457,452, up 17.4 per cent from a year ago, suggesting strong demand for the cheaper alternative.

“The fact remains that many of these regions are not built to support large volumes of demand, causing market conditions in these areas to quickly intensify,” Usher adds in the statement.

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