Barrie’s housing market is on track to become the hottest in the country.

A new study by Moody’s Analytics predicts Barrie will soon become the top performing housing market in Canada. The study suggests housing prices in Barrie will go up by 8 per cent every year over the next five years.

“The real estate market in Barrie is, if you take the last year or so, it's historically unprecedented. We've never seen this kind of increase year after year,” says Mike Douglas, president of the Barrie and District Association of Realtors.

New mortgage regulations curb how much buyers can borrow and interest rates are expected to eventually go up. That could push more Toronto buyers north.

Mayor Jeff Lehman says that will make finding affordable housing even more difficult.

“We have some of the highest rent in the country. It’s very, very difficult for people with modest income to find some place to live in Barrie.”

The city is already trying to tackle the problem. The idea is to create an environment where more affordable rental properties can be built.

“That's everything from allowing more second suits in the city. That was allowed about a year ago. We've seen a number of people create apartments in their homes, to changing our planning policy to help encourage the construction of rental housing.”

While the market growth is a positive, Lehman believes a wide variety of housing is necessary for a thriving community.