Updated: Jul 21
The Niagara Association of Realtors (NAR) put out a recent real estate market update that has confirmed what we already knew. Houses are in high demand and selling for a lot of money even compared to last year when we thought things were crazy.
Here are some of the highlights.
Residential home sales activity recorded through the MLS® system totalled 473 units in December 2021, compared to 558 units in December 2020.
In December, the NAR listed 403 residential properties compared to 393 in December 2020.The average days it took to sell a home in December 2021 was 22 days, compared to 30 days in December 2020.
The median sale price rose 27.2% on a year-over-year basis to $757,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021. This was a new record for single detached homes in the St. Catharines area.
A direct quote:
"2021 not only met our expectations, it surpassed them with record after record along the way. The question then becomes; will the housing market in 2022 continue at the same pace or is there a possibility of a cooling-off and a downturn?"
They go on to say that the often reported media description of Niagara housing being a bubble that is doomed to pop as "nothing could be farther from reality."
They list 3 reasons to be optimistic that 2022 will be another exceptional year
Interest Rates are projected to stay low – one of the biggest influences for this year’s booming real estate market was the record-low mortgage rates. Most economic projections suggest that by Q2 and Q3 we will see interest rates rise but they will remain historically low. The projected increase by year-end 2022 ranges between 3.30 to 3.37 percent and while this will alter the buying power especially of the entry level Buyer, the Government’s Stress Test of 5.25% ensures that Buyers especially first-time Buyers, will not over-extend themselves. Something to keep in mind here is that for investors, there could be coming policy changes. A few ideas that have been floated are restricting the uses of HELOCs, increasing down-payment requirements and increasing capital gains tax. What happens here still remains to be seen.
Nationally Home Sales are projected to Decelerate by 8.6% - the pace of the market will be tempered by supply, higher prices, and higher interest rates nationally but because Niagara Region continues to be attractive to GTA centric buyers there is reason to believe that Niagara may “buck the trend” and that the number of sales will exceed 2021’s record-breaking pace. The ripple effect coming from the GTA should not be under estimated. People are having a hard time buying in Toronto proper and the suburbs and are looking to communities that can support their standard of living and still be within the golden horseshoe. As transit projects continue to develop, the Niagara region is prime for growth.
Home Prices will continue to appreciate - a simple case of supply and demand; increased Buyer demand and low inventory means increased prices nationally. Prices are projected to increase by 7.5 to 7.8 percent with the Niagara Region likely trending higher at 10%.
The number of months of listing inventory has only slipped below 2 months four times in history. Two of those times were in 2021 and with the high demand, it should not be a surprise that prices rose by more than 34% when compared to 2020. While the expectation is that we will not experience the same extreme in 2022, the same conditions which created the 2021 acceleration will not be any different just because the calendar year has changed. COVID has delayed plans for many homeowners looking to move to the next stage of their lives. Market seasonality has been thrown out of the window and recent surveys suggest that there are a significant number of people preparing to enter the market this winter and we may see more new listings through Q1 than at any other time in 2022. Sales are forecasted to moderate somewhat in 2022 because of tight supply, higher prices, and higher interest rates potentially heralding a return to a pre-pandemic pace.
The stress test rate will also be re-evaluated this year. If the percentage is increased, it could cause a significant impact on a buyer’s borrowing ability. Yet another unknown is which of the housing promises made during the recent Federal election will become policy and how those enacted will impact our market.
They go on to say that "there will likely be a lot of speculation about the well-being of the market and what might happen in the next while; but assuming the market indicators and the crystal ball are correct, 2022 is going to be another busy year in Niagara Region."
Jonathan Beam is a real estate investor in the Niagara region who is passionate about helping you achieve financial freedom through real estate. He works with new and experienced investors to formulate a plan that fits your specific situation and provides market guidance and consultation on the best places and strategies to pursue within the Niagara Region. Book a free, half hour no obligation consultation to see how he can help you to achieve your goals. His travels are available at www.realestateandrepeat.com
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