____ Posted Thursday January 11, 2018 ____
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Housing

Home Prices in Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge See Double-Digit Growth in Fourth Quarter of 2017

Low inventory and growing population drive price appreciation

The aggregate price of a home in the Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge region rose 24.6 per cent year-over-year to $490,271 in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the Royal LePage House Price Survey1 released yesterday.

When broken out by housing type, the report showed significant year-over-year growth in prices across all housing types reported in the Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge region. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the median price of a standard two-storey home, bungalow and condominium increased 25.1 per cent, 24.9 per cent and 12.6 per cent year-over-year to $519,970, $448,855 and $286,868, respectively.

"The seller's market in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge continued to be strong through the final months of 2017, which is a trend we fully expect to carry over into the new year," said Keith Church, broker of record, Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty. "We saw a major upswing in home prices up to April 2017 due to low inventory, which has since adjusted and resulted in a slight slowdown in the latter months of the year. However, we are consistent with seasonal norms and expect to see activity increase again soon due to our excellent affordability and quality of life.

"The migration of buyers from the Greater Toronto Area has stemmed somewhat, but most of our buyers are now coming from the ever-growing local population," added Church. "With aggregate home prices coming in just under $500,000, favourable interest rates and regional growth of 15,000 people annually, we expect to see continued robust activity in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge real estate on the horizon."

Nationally, Canada's residential real estate market saw strong, but slowing year-over-year price growth in the fourth quarter of 2017. The Royal LePage National House Price Composite, compiled from proprietary property data in 53 of the nation's largest real estate markets, showed that the price of a home in Canada increased 10.8 per cent year-over-year to $626,042 over the three-month period. When broken out by housing type, the median price of a two-storey home rose 11.1 per cent year-over-year to $741,924, and the median price of a bungalow climbed 7.1 per cent to $522,963. During the same period, the median price of a condominium appreciated faster than any other housing type studied, rising 14.3 per cent to $420,823 on a year-over-year basis.

"To prospective homeowners in our largest cities, condominiums represent the last bastion of affordability," said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. "This is especially true for first-time buyers whose purchasing power has been reduced by tightening mortgage regulations."

In line with Royal LePage's previous Market Survey Forecast, Royal LePage predicts that the price of a home in Canada will increase 4.9 per cent by the end of 2018. Looking ahead, the company anticipates that the new OSFI stress test will slow the housing market in the first half of 2018, as buyers adjust their expectations and many market participants take a "wait and see" approach.

"The unsustainably high rates of home price appreciation witnessed in recent years in B.C. and Ontario were dangerous to the stability of not only the housing market, but to the broader economy itself," continued Soper. "Policy measures like the OSFI stress test will quell runaway housing inflation to an extent. However, we do foresee an upswing in demand in the latter portion of the year, as prospective buyers adjust to the new realities. To put it another way, the demand is still there."




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