Fort Erie homes among cheapest, from NIAGAR this WEEK

Alison Bell, Published on Dec 28, 2007

FORT ERIE -- Century 21 Canada has named Fort Erie as one of the most affordable places in Ontario to purchase a starter home, but it's important to look at the study in the right perspective, says a local broker.

Eugene Pilato of Century 21 Today Realty Ltd. Said how the national group gathered the information is key to understanding the outcome. He said Century 21 Canada asked 120 offices to provide them a typical home in three different areas of their jurisdiction. In Fort Erie, Pilato said homes in the south area of town are generally the cheapest.

The study reports a 1,157-square-foot home can be purchased for less than $100,000, or about $83 per square foot.

"You have to look at it in perspective -- all they were looking for is for what is the lowest entry cost in any three areas. You can find houses that are cheap in many other areas of the region and province," said Pilato. "For a typical entry level home, it looks like Fort Erie is a good price, but first-time homeowners are all over the map. Some of them will buy in a higher price range."

Pilato said from his experience, most people who move to Fort Erie are looking to retire. Many of them come from Toronto.

"If buyers are looking for value Fort Erie provides that," said Pilato.

Fort Erie's average price for a home at the end of October was $183,500. Compared to last year, that's a 4.5 per cent increase. An average home in Niagara Falls is $193,080, St. Catharines is $198,700 and Welland is $153,200. The regional average is $208,224, with Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fonthill driving up the average.

"The market is good here -- there has been an increase in value in Fort Erie."

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