Housing Sales In London And Area Back To Normal In January After Year-Ago Surge

  • 02/7/18
  • |          London

After back-to-back record breaking years, the London area real estate market got off to a sluggish start in 2018.

The London St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) said 400 homes were sold in January, down 28.8 per cent from the same month last year.

Jeff Nethercott, the new LSTAR president said sales last month were still close to the long-term average, noting that January 2017 set a record for monthly sales.

“When you take a look at the last 10 years, these results are right in line with the activity we expect in January,” said Nethercott.

Nethercott said the brutally cold weather early in the month likely deterred some buyers.

He said tighter mortgage regulations ordered by the federal ­government also kicked in on Jan. 1.

The rules require mortgage applicants to pass a “stress test” to ensure they could meet payments if interest rates rise.

“In the coming months, it’ll be interesting to see what impact this may have on monthly sales activity, here, in our local communities and throughout Canada,” he said,

Another factor dampening the number of total sales was a limited number of homes on the market. There were 623 new listings last month, down 31.8 per cent from last January. The total number of homes listed was 1,020 active listings, down 27.7 per cent from this time last year.

John DeBlock, a veteran realtor with Remax Centre Realty said there are still plenty of interested buyers, some with mortgage approvals obtained before the new rules kicked in.

“There’s still a lot of properties being sold with multiple offers, but there just isn’t that many listings. We have to get the product,” said DeBlock.

DeBlock said Toronto buyers have not disappeared and the new mortgage rules have increased their interest in regional markets.

“They used to qualify for $1 million and now they only qualify for $750,000 and they can’t find anything for that in Toronto,” said DeBlock.

The homes that did sell in January continued to fetch a good price.

The average sales price in the overall region was $333,424, up 9.8 per cent over last year.

By area, London East saw the sharpest increase over the past year with an average price of $294,348 up 32.1 per cent.

In London North, average home sales price was $397,075, up 6.2 per cent.

In London South, the average price of $351,167, up 11.5 per cent from last January.

In St. Thomas, the average price was $247,135, up 19.7 per cent over last January.

Last year, LSTAR realtors sold a record 11,293 homes. That’s up eight per cent from 2016, the first year sales topped 10,000.

But most of the push came early in the yeas with records set in the first six months, partly due to an influx of buyers from the Toronto area. When the Toronto area market slumped later in the year, the London market settle down near to normal.

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