These are general overviews of how Kingston's various areas are performing at the mid-year mark. For a more overall summary of the Kingston real estate market to date, please read the Reality Bites blog post. If you need further information, there is lots more and I'm always happy to answer questions.
In neighborhoods flanking Highway 15 east of the Cataraqui River, a respectable 50 per cent of listings have sold, with a three per cent increase in prices over last year. East-enders got used to price appreciation in the range of 5-6 per cent annually in the previous three years, and last year it was a sellers’ market at almost 60 per cent of listings sold.
But this year, a three per cent rise in average prices looks pretty good. Many parts of Kingston haven’t been able to manage it so far.
However, sales in the neighborhoods flanking Highway 2, many of them high-end, have taken a tumble so far this year, as more buyers pass up higher-priced offerings.
The nine per cent jump in average prices in the prime Queen’s area south of Princess Street, may look like good news, but it’s actually recovering from a slump last year when average prices barely budged. With half of listings sold at June end, this market area is in balance.
The overheated, investor-fuelled resale markets of recent years might be greatly curtailed going forward, as several large new, purpose-built multi-unit student buildings are poised to set the standard for off-campus student accommodation.
There are some neighborhoods that have so much going for them, that demand is always reliable. The Williamsville-Inner Harbour-Kingscourt area is one – it has great location, walkability and amenities, plus affordability. But the area is catching on, and its average selling price of $231,000 so far this year, is a new high for the area. Prices have managed a three per cent increase in this slower year, and it’s edging into a sellers’ market at 55 per cent of listings sold.
There is also steady demand for the 60s-era midtown neighborhoods such as Polson Park, Calvin Park, Strathcona Park, and Mowat Woods. This area had a great sellers market last year so this year may seem quiet by comparison but it still managed average appreciation of over two per cent, and that’s better than most of west Kingston.
Strathcona Park is an anomaly this year. It always posts good sales levels, partly due a tradition of limited offerings. But this year, for some reason, listings have doubled. Sales are way down from last year but buyers have cherry picked the very best, and still pushed the average price up almost 10 per cent. This a wonderful, stable central neighborhood.
Nothing speaks like money and north Kingston is bargain territory with the city’s lowest average price for a single-family home hovering around $200,000. Buyers here are budget-conscious and prices hold, but rise slowly. Still, demand here is as steady as a lake breeze. It consistently has one of the highest sales-to-listing ratios in the city. It has been a sellers market here for close to two years.
Current and future development plans also bode well for home values in this area, with large new retail, grocery and entertainment complexes, plus the city’s planned community renewal plan for Rideau Heights.
Most of this side of the city saw a flattening of resale prices, with less than one per cent appreciation in residential re-sales. Sales of new homes are also down, and some builders have reduced prices and upped incentives as sales slip, particularly for properties over $400,000.
The only exception to this leveling off, are the pleasant neighborhoods south of Taylor-Kidd Drive, which, at $280,000, have an average house price $30,000 less than neighborhoods north of Taylor-Kidd. This area managed a 2.5 per cent price appreciation.
Housing stock on the north side tends to run a little larger, and buyers pay a premium here to be close to preferred schools. But it’s the higher-priced homes that are taking a hit in this market.
This is a well-loved corner of Kingston and there always seem to be buyers for good, well-priced properties.
In this tighter market, the average price here has not budged but sales numbers have kept up, and the neighborhood has achieved sellers’ market status with more than 60 per cent of listings sold.
Probably the most dramatic shift in land fortunes has been out on the St. Lawrence islands, (Amherst, Wolfe, Howe and the smaller islands off Gananoque). Island listings are up 60 per cent over this time last year and sale prices have dropped 10 per cent, compared to end of June 2012. Last year overall, average island prices fell 18 per cent.
Two factors are likely behind this downturn. American owners and buyers have long been a presence on the islands, but the financial hit to the U.S., has likely convinced many to sell property and avoid buying. Two years of low water levels and the promise of more, due to climate change, probably hasn't helped either, (although water levels this year are good due to generous rainfall).
If you still have questions or want more insight into a particular area, please contact me. Always happy to help!