Gone are the good old days in the Limestone City, back about five years, when listing a house for sale meant at least a 60 per cent chance of finding a buyer. In 2014, the odds slid to 42 per cent.
With increasing numbers of older people selling their homes, plus inflated pricing out of synch with a slowing market, listing numbers have risen 18 per cent in the past two years, (28 per cent in the past three years),. Meanwhile, sales have fallen by 13 per cent in the past two years.
For the first time in several years, the average property price in Kingston did not budge. The single-family residential market showed some resilience, up 1.5 per cent in 2014.
There is much on offer for buyers however, and mortgage rates are reliably low. In the winter months buyers are especially in charge, and some sellers get unnerved when a property they over priced last spring fails to sell.
They become much more willing to negotiate. Winter buyers get deals!
THE MICRO MARKETS
Kingston East (neighborhoods flanking Highway 15) – One of the most reliably steady micro-markets in the city, due to regular military turnover. Ready buyers for good homes. Lower sales this year due to fewer postings, but prices up a respectable 2.5 per cent in a tough year.
Kingston East (neighborhoods flanking Highway 2)
The many upscale properties in this river frontage area are not faring well in this downscale market. Average sale price is down over 20 per cent – a sign that buyers favor the more moderately priced offerings.
The average list price of a house in this area is almost $600,000. The average listing price of sold homes was $377,000.
Queen’s area – south of Johnson is more likely than most to see some price deflation. And it’s already started, with a six per cent drop last year. Prior to that, the investors and parent owners driving the market in this area had earned a heady 10 per cent average annual price increase in each of the preceding three years.
But this near-campus neighborhood on the cusp of change as four new large purpose-built student apartment buildings have taken shape along, or close to, the redeveloping Williamsville stretch of Princess between Division and Bath. Two more condo towers will follow. These projects represent hundreds of new units, and will lighten rental demand on the older single-family homes accommodating students near campus.
With less investor-driven pricing, more price drops can be expected. And some of these rentals may become affordable enough to be converted back to single family.
DOWNTOWN-NORTH-CENTRAL neighborhoods such as Rideau Heights, Marker’s Acres, Kingscourt, Inner Harbour, Williamsville, and Strathcona Park all experienced minor price dips. The only uptick was Polson Park-Calvin Park-Mowat Woods-Portsmouth Harbour area with a healthy five per cent price gain.
WEST KINGSTON neighborhoods either lost or gained only marginally. The appealing water-close southwest neighborhoods south of Bath Road were the bright spot with a six per cent jump in average prices despite an increase in listings.
North of Princess, and west of Sydenham Rd. sees a huge swath of active construction all the way to Westbrook. New builds buoyed up the price points here and supported a five per cent increase in 2014. The jewel of these new neighborhoods is, not surprisingly, also the most central - flanking Crossfield Ave., between Sydenham Rd., and Centennial. It has architecturally pleasing homes along the planted boulevards leading to the well-appointed six-acre Bert Meunier park. Walk to Chapters, Farm Boy, Costco. This is one of the best areas for resale.
And where is the largest sales price increase found?
Believe ir or not, it's the Islands – Howe, Wolfe, Amherst and the Thousand Islands. After prices dropped a whopping 30 per cent in the previous two years (and I hope some lucky buyers were reading my blog then), the figures finally bottomed out, and the bargain hunters came calling, pushing the average price up 20 per cent to $374,000 in 2014.
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