The downtown area of Kingston follows a slightly different path than real estate trends in the rest of the city. It can be a little more unpredictable, but never boring. Here's a closer look at last year's sales activity:South of Princess, East of Sir John A
Investors’ fingerprints are all over the statistics here. And it’s been a ride lately. Prices were on a tear for two years, averaging 10 per cent a year. Student rentals were bringing more than $100,000 per bedroom. But 2012 corrected that excess, when average prices rose barely over one per cent. The usual late-winter high season for investor activity was unusually frenzied, with many student rentals selling for well above asking. But then ominously, a few deals failed because mortgage appraisers flagged some purchases as overvalued – a clear signal to investors to get a grip.
Investor ardour may also have cooled in response to perceived uncertainties and changes in the student market. At the same time as a number of large purpose-built private student residences have appeared, with possibly more in the pipe, there has also been growing neighborhood blowback over small- and mid-sized conversions. The student/resident divide is deepening as the size of the downtown student occupation increases year by year. Some longtime residents have chosen to leave, feeling out of place in the changing character of the neighborhood. And not even the establishment “faculty” streets such as Kensington with its grassy boulevard, have escaped rental-market pressures.
These affordable, vibrant, eclectic neighborhoods are close to all the downtown has to offer, with a somewhat more balanced mix of renters and owners than south of Princess. Buyers can’t by shy about investing in and maintaining older homes, but the payoff is in the location.
The 2010-11 period brought good prices, averaging increases of nine per cent per year, and that apparently convinced some owners to take profit. Last year, area listings increased by fully a third (100 more homes than last year), and all that competition for buyers slowed appreciation to two per cent.
The real estate market works like the stock market. You don’t make money thinking like everyone else.