February 24, 2010
THE CANADIAN PRESS WITH FILES FROM RECORD STAFF
MISSISSAUGA – The housing market in Kitchener and Waterloo is one of the tightest in the country, says real estate giant Re/Max.
House listings in Kitchener and Waterloo were down 33 per cent in January compared to a year earlier, Re/Max said. There were 884 active listings at the end of January, down from 1,323 a year earlier.
Re/Max said that there was an unusually strong amount of activity in January, traditionally a slow month for the industry, in most of the 16 major markets the sales organization tracked.
The uptick was felt in 87.5 per cent of the markets surveyed, while the average home price appreciated 81 per cent of the markets, it found in a survey.
Home buyers have entered the market amid expectations of higher interest rates and tighter lending, as well as the introduction of Harmonized Sales Tax in British Columbia and Ontario, Re/Max said today.
“Affordability is the catalyst for the vast majority of purchasers in today’s housing market,” Elton Ash, executive vice-president of Re/Max in Western Canada, said in a news release.
“While home ownership is still within reach in many major centres, levels are slipping. There is a growing sense, on both sides of the fence, that the time to act is now.”
The shortage of listings is making things tough for many homebuyers, Re/Max said.
“The level of frustration is growing, as pent-up demand builds,” said Michael Polzler, the company’s executive vice-president for the Ontario-Atlantic region. “For every successful offer, there are those that will walk away empty-handed.”
Re/Max said Toronto is affected the most by the tight supply, with a 41 per cent decline in active home listings. Both Ottawa and Victoria are off about 30 per cent, the survey said.
Other areas of the country were less impacted, with Saskatoon down 37 per cent, while Calgary and Edmonton were both off 26 per cent.