First-time homebuyers in Saint John should continue to expect a competitive and more expensive housing market in 2022, according to realty predictions.
A new report by Royal Lepage says prices are rising in the city at rates far outpacing the national average, and will continue to rise. This is the same conclusion reached by the Saint John Real Estate Board.
Lincoln Thompson, the Royal Lepage spokesperson for New Brunswick, said residential home prices, including houses, condos and apartments, have grown 36 per cent between the last quarter of 2020 and the last quarter of 2021. The average home cost $190,700 in 2020, and rose to $260,000 in 2021.
"We are seeing significant growth last year and the year before as well," he said.
The report says only Kingston, Ont., has seen a bigger year-over-year percentage increase.
For the same period, national home prices rose by 17 per cent, to $779,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021
According to the Saint John Real Estate Board, 2021 home sales from St. Stephen to Sussex "obliterated" the annual record set in 2020 by 10 per cent.
In December 2021, six fewer homes were sold than in December 2020, but total money spent on homes was 10 per cent higher, the board said.
Board president Corey Breau said low inventory, an increase in buyers and high sale prices will continue.
"Prices are definitely going to rise," he said. "We're not sure how much they're going to rise, but the only thing that is going to stabilize the market is more inventory."
Breau said sellers are hesitant to list their houses in fear that they won't find anywhere affordable to go. People are also worried about having people in their home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If COVID cases fall, the latter could be less of a problem in 2022.
In December 2021, sales were 30 per cent above the five-year average and 65 per cent above the 10-year average for the month of December, the board said.
And about 21 per cent more homes were sold in 2021 compared to 2020.
In Saint John, prices have been lower compared to the rest of the country, Breau said, and the increase in prices is more of a "price correction."
Breau said first-time homebuyers should rely on professional real estate agents. And holding out for a decrease in prices may not pay off.
"You'll probably see prices stay the same or stabilize," he said. "I don't think they're going to come down too much."