Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region


What’s going on in the Kitchener-Waterloo region housing market?

Kitchener-Waterloo has been feeling the effects of the economy. There have been layoffs, or talks of layoffs in several industries, and many people are feeling very anxious. This anxiety has impacted the real estate, housing and building industries; slowing housing starts (the construction of new buildings) to slightly lower levels and decreasing housing unit sales. Buyers are finding a wide range of units to choose from and increased bargaining ability as the market remains in their favor. Sellers are finding their home is sitting slightly longer than usual on the market before being sold. Overall, conditions are still relatively comfortable, though perhaps not entirely optimistic for the next couple of years.

 

There were 269 units sold in Kitchener-Waterloo region in February. The number of single family-detached homes sold in February was 27.5% lower than February of last year. The number of all residential units sold in February was down 27.2% from February of last year. Even with this lower number of sales from last year, the total number of sales was up nearly 26.7% from January 2009 and up 28% from December 2008; with the warming weather likely to only bring increasing sales. There were 53% fewer multi-family units sold in February from last year, up from January 33% and up 60% from December. Farmland and vacant land sales increased across the board.

 

Year to date sales are down for all units by 28.6% from 779 units sold by the end of February in 2008 to only 556 units sold so far in 2009. 91% of unit sales were in resale homes, with 9% in new home sales. The majority of these sales happened in single family detached residential units.

 

30% of these residential sales were priced under $200,000, and 78% of all the residential sales were priced under $300,000. There have been no sales over $750,000 so far this year.  The average sale price for residential properties was $244,419, down slightly from last year’s average of $254,564.

 

West Kitchener had the highest volume of sales last month with 130 sales, followed by West Waterloo with 73 sales. Waterloo East had the lowest number of sales with only 41 sales. In Cambridge, properties are moving the most in Hespeler, and least in North Galt.

 

Now is a great time for buyers. Interest rates are relatively low and as homes stay longer on the market, more bargaining becomes possible. Property values are still likely to increase over the long term (ie. More than 5 years).

 

If you are a (first time) home buyer, now’s the time to talk to a mortgage broker or banker to see if you can qualify for a mortgage and to take advantage of favorable interest rates.

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