KITCHENER -- The City of Guelph is planning for its population to explode over the next 30 years, and staff are trying to figure out where all those people will go.

City council discussed the residential intensification at a council workshop on Monday, noting that the province had proposed a larger population amendment to its growth plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe area.

The plan, called A Place to Grow and released last year, now calls for Guelph to plan for a minimum population of 203,000 by 2051. It also calls for the city to plan to have 116,000 jobs by then.

The growth seems to be matching the plan. The real estate market has been hot in Guelph, information on the Canadian Real Estate Association's website shows.

Through September, the Guelph and District Association of Realtors (GDAR) said that there were 419 units sold in Guelph last month, a 43.8 per cent increase compared to the year before.

The city has seen 3,528 units sold through the first nine months of the year. Despite COVID-19 restrictions that saw the real estate market all but dry up earlier this year, sales are down just 2.2 per cent on a year-to-date basis compared to the same time last year.

"September was another record setting month for MLS® home sales in Guelph," said GDAR President Matthew Bennett-Monty in a post the CREA website.

"New listings posted the second-best September on record. The central story continues to be, higher than expected demand combined with low overall supply are driving the average price to a new high yet again, crossing the $750K mark for the first time in history."

The CREA said Guelph had the fourth highest year-over-year price growth in Canada in August.

The benchmark price for the area rose some 16.1 per cent in September 2020 compared to the same month the year before.

The total value of all properties sold last month was $412.3 million, an increase of a whopping 72.5 per cent compared to September 2019.

On Monday, council began brainstorming new places to intensify the city's growth, looking for opportunities to make housing more dense.

Officials also discussed maximum building heights in different areas of the city, and the amount of housing that should be accommodated in each area.