WATERLOO REGION — The sizzling local real estate market shows no sign of cooling off just yet.
House sales keep surging forward, with 766 residential sales recorded in April through the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors’ multiple listing system in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Woolwich, Wellesley and Wilmot townships. That’s up from 729 sales in March, and an increase of more than 14 per cent from April, 2016.
The average sale price for all properties hit $512,656, a nearly 40 per cent year-over-year jump over the average price of $367,032 last April. The median price last month was $475,000.
The average price for a detached home is nearing the $600,000 mark; in April, detached homes sold for an average of $594,453, an increase of 40.1 per cent year-over-year, while semi-detached homes averaged $415,709, up nearly 48 per cent over last year.
Townhomes sold for an average of $377,531 last month, up about 39 per cent over last April, while apartment-style condos averaged $267,455, up about 18 per cent.
In Cambridge, the average price last month for a single family detached home was $539,135, an increase of nearly 32 per cent over last April. The Cambridge Association of Realtors reported 234 single family residential sales last month, up nearly 16 per cent over April, 2016.
“Not surprisingly, the current imbalance of supply and demand led to another very large year-over-year increase in the average sale price in the region,” Cambridge association president Jim Robinson said in a news release.
There are some signs of hope for beleaguered would-be buyers, though. The Kitchener-Waterloo association reported that 985 residential properties were listed last month, representing a 17.8 per cent increase over April, 2016. It’s also the first time in two years that the number of new listings coming onto the market in a single month has approached the 1,000 mark.
In March, 844 new listings were processed by the association.
“Homebuyers were out in full force again in April,” association president James Craig said in a news release. “The encouraging sign was that we actually saw more listings coming onto the market last month than we’ve seen in quite a while.”
But those listings aren’t lasting long. Homes are being snapped up in ten days, on average, down from 14 days in March and 33 days a year ago.
That’s leaving inventory levels quite low. At the end of April, there were just 652 residential listings on the market in the association’s coverage area — about half the 1,274 available listings at the end of April last year.
Last month, the Ontario government introduced a series of measures aimed at cooling the market and improving affordability, ranging from expanded rent control and a program to encourage new rental apartment construction, to a 15 per cent non-resident speculation tax on buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (including Waterloo Region) who are not citizens, permanent residents or Canadian corporations.
“It’s still too soon to say what kind of impact these changes will have on the market,” Craig said. “We don’t support expanding rent controls, or any new taxes — but I was pleased that the government will be creating a Home Ownership Task Force to provide ideas about getting more supply to market.”