The Kingston real estate market has been generally kinder to buyers than sellers so far this year, as prices level off and the number of properties on the market rises.
By the numbers, greater Kingston real estate still hangs on to balanced market status, but has hit a calmer trough, to put it in Lake Ontario terms.
Thirty-nine per cent of listed properties have sold as 2013 reaches the midway point, compared to the 47 to 50 per cent of listings sold by the end of June in the three previous years.*
Buyers currently have lots to choose from and they’re picking the best. There were almost 400 more residential listings on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as of the end of last month, compared to the same time last year - a 23 per cent increase.
For the seller, this means taking a more competitive attitude and making careful marketing decisions, such as avoiding a hail-Mary debut price and maybe taking advantage of a staging package.
The average house price for the urban areas of Kingston south of 401 nudged slightly lower to $294,000 (down from $298,000 last year). Sales are down by almost 12 per cent compared to the first six months of 2012 (a better than average year), and down just over four per cent compared to 2011. CMHC has forecast the average home price in the Kingston area to inch up just 1.2 per cent this year, and 1.6 per cent in 2014.
There was also a pull back in June in sales of homes over $400,000, as compared to June 2012. Meanwhile, sales of homes in the $320K-$400K range actually jumped last month by 66 per cent. It appears that people who might have purchased over the $400K level last year, have become more conservative in what they spend on a home. Maybe $400,000 is the new $500,000?
The performance of the condo sale market in Kingston has been uneven in the past six months, varying considerably from area to area. Listings are up substantially in the central and mid-town neighborhoods, making it harder to compete and putting downward pressure on most prices.
But the prime downtown condo market has still seen a 25 per cent hike in the average price so far this year as buyers select the best properties from a much larger listing pool than last year. Average price for a downtown condo currently sits at just over $450,000.
Sales at the Barrett Court condos in Kingston East are down somewhat, yet average prices (based on five sales, compared to the average 7-8), have jumped 24 per cent to $312,000. Listings have risen substantially, but it appears again that buyers have cherry-picked the better properties.
In some areas, sales are up but with so many listings to choose from, buyers are driving prices down.
For further information on the market in your neighborhood of interest, please read the Second Quarter Neighborhood Reports blog. If you still want more intel on an area, please contact me. (There is so much more!)
* Definition of a buyers market is less than 35 per cent of listings sold. A sellers market is more than 55 per cent of listings sold. Everything in between is a balanced market.