Happy birthday LRT
It seems like longer than this, but the LRT just celebrated its fourth birthday. Although the memories associated with the construction process are not positive, the project’s success is now unquestionable.
The planning for the LRT began in 2002 but received approval only in 2011. The construction phase lasted for five years and commenced in the summer of 2014. During this period, Uptown Waterloo and parts of downtown Kitchener experienced extensive disruptions and had to undergo significant changes.
Since its launch, approximately 13 million people have utilized the ION system. On an average weekday, the system receives around 100,000 passengers, with over 20,000 of them regularly riding on the ION.
Canada’s housing spring market rebound. Average home prices up
Canada’s housing market experienced a significant rebound in the spring, surprising observers and potentially worrying the Bank of Canada. Home sales rose 5.1% in May compared to April, marking the fourth consecutive monthly increase and pushing activity 1.4% higher than the previous year, the first year-over-year sales increase in nearly two years. The gains were observed nationwide, with notable increases in British Columbia and Ontario, where sales rose by 23% and 22%, respectively. Hotspots like Vancouver and Toronto saw sales surges of 35% and 32%, respectively.
Additionally, housing prices rose for the second consecutive month. The national composite MLS Home Price Index, which had previously fallen by 15% from its peak in February 2022, increased by 4.1% in the past two months. The 2.1% rise in May was in line with the average monthly increase seen during the market boom. Various cities experienced sharp price increases, including Cambridge, Northumberland Hills, Sudbury, Kitchener-Waterloo, Kawartha Lakes, and Greater Toronto in Ontario, as well as the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Winnipeg in the Prairies, and Halifax in the provinces east of Ontario.
The housing market’s turnaround can be attributed primarily to interest rates. The market began rebounding in March when the Bank of Canada halted its rate-hike campaign, signaling that the worst of the rate hikes might be over. However, the Bank surprised the market by raising rates by another 25 basis points to 4.75% in the current month, which is expected to affect the real estate recovery. Economists predict that this rate hike will dampen market psychology and reduce recent activity. Commercial banks’ prime rate reached a 22-year high of 6.95%, and rising bond yields are pushing up shorter-term fixed mortgage rates.
Experts, including RBC, believe that the current strength in the housing market is unlikely to be sustained throughout the year. They expect a gradual recovery of prices and sales until the Bank of Canada starts cutting rates in 2024. However, given the surprising vigor of the market so far, there is a possibility of continued strong performance in the future.
Kitchener-Waterloo one of four areas in Ontario with higher than average home prices
It seems that home sales and prices in Canada have been on an upward trend in 2023, following a turbulent year in 2022. The national average home price reached $754,700 in May 2023, which is the highest it has been since July 2022.
Zoocasa, a real estate analysis firm, conducted a study on average home prices in 23 regional markets across Canada using data from the Canadian Real Estate Association. According to their analysis, they determined the most affordable housing markets in the country.
Average home prices
In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), the average home price was $1,164,400 in May 2023. This represents an 8.8 percent increase since January 2023. It’s worth noting that the GTA is known for having higher housing prices compared to many other regions in Canada.
Additionally, three other regions in Ontario had average home prices higher than the national average. These regions include Hamilton-Burlington with an average price of $877,100, Guelph & District with an average price of $843,300, and Kitchener-Waterloo with an average price of $777,500.
These figures provide an overview of the housing market in Canada and the specific regions mentioned in terms of average home prices. It’s important to keep in mind that real estate markets can be dynamic and subject to various factors, so these numbers may change over time.