A common debate around softball diamonds and backyard barbeques this summer has been the price of houses across Waterloo Region and southwestern Ontario. Actually this discussion is not new – it has been prevalent for many months.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors monitors local residential sales and compiles reports on monthly activities. In June of this year 658 properties were sold, an increase of nearly nine percent over last year. The average sale price also increased by around nine percent to $534,000. We are in a seller’s market and have been for an exceptionally long period of time.
Another significant trend is the rising price of houses across rural southwestern Ontario. One popular reason for the surge in small town purchases is the cost of the Kitchener, Guelph, Waterloo and London markets driving many younger and first time buyers away from urban areas. A downside for many of these customers is longer daily commutes, however as more people seek this option, the prices go in only one direction.
For many generations, homeowners in the above noted urban centres and also the Greater Toronto Area would find the purchase of rural homes for retirement to be a sound business investment. The difference in the prices could provide a similar residence and lower living expenses.
A real estate broker in Huron County recently told me that a comparable house in Goderich to London or Waterloo could now require another mortgage – not something many people leaving the workforce are seeking.
Waterloo Region and southwestern Ontario remain highly desirable locations to live and work. A decade ago, as the regional economy experienced severe challenges from the closures of manufacturing facilities like Goodrich and Martinrea (Budd), we all had concerns for the future, an attitude that was prevalent throughout the 519 area code.
The residential housing market in Ontario is shaped by a number of factors, however the major driver is simply people looking to settle in the community of their choice. Waterloo Region has been a highly resilient area and we are now back stronger than ever.