The headlines are hard to avoid these days as the mainstream media rush to report December real estate sales in Canada at an all-time high. The Canadian Real Estate Association reports that the number of sales nationwide was up 7.7% in 2009 over 2008 and prices were up 5%, on average, versus a drop of 1% in 2008. As I've stressed before, markets are local and let's see how Kitchener-Waterloo fared.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Board reports 2009 residential sales in K-W totalled 5012 versus 4963 in 2008. As I studied the breakdown, I realized that sales reported under $50,000 had more than doubled to 118 which accounted for all of the 1% increase. These represent properties for rent that were leased through the MLS. A few other things stood out as I surveyed the results. Sales of new homes dropped by nearly 11%. Prices, like sales, were essentially flat. The median price of a single detached home in 2009 was a still affordable $272,500, up 1% over 2008.
So what do we make of all this? The glass is exactly half full. The outlook was uncertain at best at the beginning of 2009 and ended with stellar results. Low interest rates and government stimulus supported the local real estate market to offset the effect of a 10% unemployment rate in Waterloo Region. Kitchener-Waterloo has traditionally been a very conservative community. This risk-averse nature limits speculative activity in the local real estate market. It has allowed us to avoid the big, unsustainable price increases seen in other parts of the country.
My next post will look at what we can reasonably expect for the local residential real estate market in 2010.
As always, for sound advice on your real estate needs, call or email
Century 21 Home Realty inc. Brokerage