Now is the time to invest in Port City property

Real estate The average price for a new home in Saint John in May 2009 was $188,500, a level not seen since the 1980s

Real estate prices in Saint John are the highest they've ever been, and that's leading many realtors to say now is the best time to invest in property in the city.

                                        

Saint John is being fueled by economic projects going on throughout the city and it doesn't look like it'll slow anytime in the near future. ‘Things are looking pretty good,' says Gregory Klump, chief economist with the Canadian Real Estate Association.  

Housing prices throughout New Brunswick are already red hot, having climbed nine per cent from May 2008 to May of this year. Home sales in Saint John rose to the highest level on record last month, according to the Saint John Real Estate Board.

The average price for a new home in Saint John in May 2009 was $188,500, a level not seen since record keeping began in the 1980s.

"There's a lot of positive factors economically that are serving to support the real estate market, and a lot of positive developments in the near future as well," said Gregory Klump, chief economist with the Canadian Real Estate Association. "Things are looking pretty good."

Statistics from the New Brunswick Real Estate Association show the provincial average for a new home in New Brunswick in May 2009 was $166,672.

A relatively positive economic outlook compared to the rest of the country is driving up the price of home sales province-wide. Saint John saw a 12 per cent year-over-year increase, while Fredericton saw a 4.6 per cent jump and prices in Moncton climbed 5 per cent. Northern New Brunswick housing prices witnessed a sharp increase of 23 per cent year-over year.

Dwayne Hayes, president of the New Brunswick Real Estate Association, said in an earlier interview that the prices reflect renewed confidence in the province's housing market and economy.

"The first time home buyers don't have as many issues but someone who had to sell their house and then buy a bigger house, probably waited through November, December, January and February and then realized things look pretty good in New Brunswick," he said. "The average price is holding or increasing, mortgage prices are pretty great."

But other factors are driving housing prices up in the province as well.

"You've also got some positive demographic factors," said Klump. "You've got a continuing strong international immigration. As well, the net outflow of people to other provinces has diminished to the point where it's almost disappeared."

Saint John is being fueled by economic projects going on throughout the city said Klump, and it doesn't look like it'll slow anytime in the near future.

The city's real estate market is seeing more first time home buyers purchasing homes than last year, according Klump. He said that on the flip side, buyers of more expensive homes were more cautious this year than in 2008.

Peter Pappas, director for the Saint John Real Estate Board, said that there were still starter homes in areas like Champlain Heights and Forest Hills could still go for $140,000 to $150,000, though increasing prices could lock some potential buyers out of the market.

He identified the valley region outside Saint John, which is centered in the cities of Quispamsis and Rothesay, as an area where housing growth is red hot. As a whole however, Pappas said the housing market was healthy throughout the Saint John region.

"There's no question that real estate in Saint John is a good investment," he said.

Published Friday June 26th, 2009 - Telegraph Journal