Chatham-Kent real estate sales hit a record high in August yet vacancy rates hover around 2 per cent.
Who is snapping up the properties?
Are buyers from the GTA and Golden Horseshoe driving the municipality’s white-hot market?
Yes and no, says Mike Gibbons, president of the Chatham-Kent Association of Realtors.
A total of 160 homes changed hands last month, a 24 percent rise above August 2019.
The average price tag was $325,526. That’s up 27.3 percent over the same period last year.
In 2020 so far, the comprehensive year-to-date average for a home sale is $300,605.
According to data collected by the association, between 70-80 percent of the buyers in Chatham-Kent are local with the remainder coming from outside the municipality.
“The lack of supply and the great demand is driving prices up,” Gibbons says, adding migration from bigger urban centres is a contributing factor.
Currently, the average price of a house in Toronto is $1-million. In Kitchener-Waterloo it’s $639,814, and in St. Catharines is around $439,000.
The scenario has created a challenge for local residents who want to sell and downsize by buying a smaller home.
“They can’t due to jump in prices,” he says, adding “bidding wars” — normally considered to be a big city issue — have become common here.
Its difficult for the local buyers — accustomed to traditionally lower prices — to understand the change.
Gibbons says cheaper homes in the neighbourhood of the $150,000 range have become “unicorn properties.”
However, Gibbons says the hot real estate market isn’t unique to Chatham-Kent.
“This is happening across Southwestern Ontario,” he adds.
Where people buy homes is a “buyer’s choice” he explains, adding there’s no marked difference in demand within Chatham proper as compared to the municipality’s rural communities.
Pam Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Herald