The real estate slowdown arrived gently in stable Kingston in 2012, with average house prices rising only three per cent after a number of years of four to five per cent appreciation.
Here's a closer look at what's happening in central city neighborhoods:
Portsmouth, Calvin Park, Polson Park, Mowat Woods
This area is a perfect example of how average sale prices don’t tell much of anything, or tell the wrong story. Appreciation here was an apparently sluggish average of 2.5 per cent over the past three years. But these early 60s neighborhoods have a high percentage of long-term residents, and houses often come to the market in dated condition, which keeps prices down. But that obviously spells b-a-r-g-a-i-n for many reno-ready buyers , because what comes to market usually sells – a full 73 per cent of listings sold in 2012, the highest listed-to-sold ratio in the city, where the overall average is closer to 50 per cent.
These neighborhoods are central to everything. They will always be in demand by a variety of buyers, from singles, couples and families, to investors catering to the student market at St. Lawrence College and Queen’s west campus. The majority of rentals are south of Johnson St., and some streets are well over 50 per cent student rentals.
Strathcona Park, Hillendale, Balsam Grove, Grenville Park area
Turnover tends to be lower in these self-contained, pleasant close-to-everything neighborhoods. So sales are brisk, often exceeding 70 per cent of listings sold. And they sell faster than anywhere else in the city – an average 24 days on the market. But due to the age, condition and variety of homes in these 60s-70s era neighborhoods, average sale prices can be uneven – no appreciation in 2011 for example, and a healthy 6.7 per cent in 2012. Average home price in 2012 was $264,000.
Meadowbrook, Arbour Ridge, Cobblestone Ridge, Bexley Gate
Average prices in these newer neighborhoods flanking Centennial Drive south of Princess reliably appreciate 5-6 per cent per year (5.3 per cent in 2012), with brisk sales of around 70 per cent of listings (67 per cent in 2012), and one of the fastest selling at an average 28 days on the market. It is city central affordable. What’s not to like? Average sale price last year was $267,000.