A chilly April marked a continued cool-down in the local real estate market from last year’s red-hot highs.
The number of residential properties sold via the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors dropped nearly 20 per cent compared to April 2016, to 616 transactions.
The average sale price of all residential properties was down 6.6 per cent year-over-year to $478,578, while the median sale price dropped 7.4 per cent to $440,000.
The decline in transactions brings the market more in line with historical averages for the month of April, association president Tony Schmidt said. Last year’s total of 765 sales in April was record-breaking; this year’s tally is slightly higher than the average for the month of April.
“There was quite an anomaly there for a while, and I think this should bring some confidence back,” Schmidt said.
And prices are still showing healthy increases compared to just two years ago, when the April average was $366,563 and the median price was $340,500.
Overall inventories remain low, with 993 active residential listings on the association’s multiple listing system at the end of April — 78.6 per cent more than last April, but still far below the 10-year average of 1,637.
Schmidt noted that 71 per cent of the sales last month were for less than $500,000, but fewer than half of the homes currently listed by the association are in that price range.
“That under $500,000 market is definitely a very competitive price point, for sure,” Schmidt said. “They’re garnering the most attention, the most activity when they hit.”
The federal government’s new mortgage stress test rules are driving demand for lower-priced homes and making it more difficult for current owners to upsize, he believes.
The condominium sector was the only housing category that saw an increase in sales over last April; sales were up nearly 13 per cent. Sales of detached homes fell more than 30 per cent, semi-detached homes dropped 22.5 per cent, and freehold townhomes were down 13 per cent.
The average sale price for a detached home was $569,159, down about four per cent year-over-year; average condo prices jumped 10 per cent to $296,958. Total sales volume rose 13.7 per cent over March numbers, representing a traditional increase in activity heading into spring.
In Toronto, the April sales volume dropped 32 per cent compared to last year, while the average price was down by 12.4 per cent to $804,584.