Local real estate market still hot

By Susan Gamble, Brantford Expositor

The first two months of 2017 continued the hot trend in real estate sales locally.

So far this year, the average price of a Brantford/Brant County home is $377,321, a number that's up 21.7 per cent over last year at this point. That amount jumped 38 per cent from the average price two years ago and almost 90 per cent from 10 years back.

"Sales activity in February came in just eight sales below the all-time record for the month from a decade ago," says Shelly Gracey, president of the Brantford Regional Real Estate Association. "Activity remains historically strong."

But what's missing, says the association, is sellers introducing new listings to the mix and the high number of active listings buyers once enjoyed seeing on the market.

The 194 new listings in February stand at about 30 per cent less than the numbers the association saw five and 10 years ago.

"Competition among buyers continues to heat up, leading to prices that are more than 20 per cent higher than they were a year ago," says Gracey.

The overall supply of homes and properties is running at record lows, according to association statistics.

There were just 168 active residential listings left on the association's multiple listing system at the end of February, which is down 45 per cent from this point last year.

The group calculates how long it would take to sell the inventory on the books at the current rate of sales activity and found the end of February had the lowest level of inventory on record for this time of year - about .9 months worth of listings.

With more and more buyers looking further afield than the expensive Greater Toronto Area market, competition for Brantford and Brant housing is increasing. Combined with the low supply of homes, it means a well-priced house can get multiple offers to purchase and, in some cases, can be sold before it can officially be put on the market.

The same competitive market means houses are sometimes selling for far more than the list price and buyers are feeling pushed to make offers that have no conditions - usually meant to protect them in some way - attached.

With the city's low unemployment rate, more people are working and more people are looking to move to the area, says the association.

Housing starts have stalled in the city and the county.

In the first two months of the year, only one single-detached house was issued a permit by Brantford and three were permitted by the county.

The Brantford Regional Real Estate Association covers the city, Paris and the villages of Burford, Mount Pleasant, Oakland, Scotland and St. George.