The Windsor Star had some great news today! If you've been sitting on the fence, waiting for a great time to sell... the time has come!
Being on the comeback trail, rather than in retreat from an overheated housing market, has its moments. Last month was one for Windsor and Essex County.
The region saw the strongest improvement in year-over-year sales in April of 26 major markets tracked by The Canadian Real Estate Association.
While home sales across the country dropped 3.1 per cent compared to April 2012 to 47,997, in Windsor-Essex they rose 20.6 per cent to 522, according to statistics released by the association Wednesday. The next best performer was bustling Calgary, where sales increased 10.4 per cent to 3,003. Toronto saw a 5.4 per cent drop to 9,811 and in London and St. Thomas sales fell 3.7 per cent to 876.
The number of sales in Windsor-Essex was higher in April than in 10 of the other markets.
The dollar volume of local sales went up 20.2 per cent, compared to a 1.8 per cent drop nationally. They fell 3.6 per cent in Toronto and 3.3 per cent in London and St. Thomas, while Calgary saw an increase of 14.3 per cent.
“There were only three cities in the country that have seen home sales manage to increase from year-ago levels for the first four months of the year, and they are Calgary, Edmonton and Windsor,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. “Needless to say, which one of these doesn’t belong? It’s understandable why Edmonton and Calgary are still doing well.
“I think it does show that the Windsor market is making a moderate comeback.”
Porter, whose wife is a Windsor native, was in the city last month speaking to bank clients and taking the pulse of the local economy.
“If the auto sector continues to recover and manufacturing generally is helped by a rebounding U.S. economy, then I think the Windsor market will continue to fare relatively well versus the rest of the country,” he said Wednesday when contacted at his Toronto office. “Windsor is coming back from very low levels, so it can forge a bit of different path from what we’re seeing in the rest of the country.”
Home prices in Windsor and Essex County are still well below the average for the country, something the region’s real estate agents are promoting to market the area as an affordable community for retirees and those who can make their careers here despite the still high unemployment rate, which stood at 9.2 per cent last month.
The average price of homes sold in April was $174,396, compared to $380,588 for Canada’s 26 major markets as a whole, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. In Calgary, it was $429,717. It was $526,335 in Toronto and $249,952 in London and St. Thomas. The only region where the average price of homes sold was cheaper than Windsor-Essex was Trois Rivieres at $164,106.
“We’re really getting the word out that you’ve got a lot of purchasing power here,” said Kim Gazo, president of the Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors.
Lower interest rates for mortgages have helped, she said. “Also, the unemployment rate is down, consumers are more confident and the weather.”
“We’re finally getting there. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Gazo, who sells a lot of new townhomes for Remo Valente Real Estate.
“I noticed at the beginning of the year it was a little bit slower, but when April hit all the retirees came back from Florida and people started getting back in the purchasing frame of mind…. The phones have been ringing.”