Local Home Sales Plunge Amid Pandemic Fears

  • 05/5/20
  • |          Waterloo

Sales in Kitchener, Waterloo drop nearly 64 per cent in April compared to previous year

Home sales plummeted in Kitchener and Waterloo last month as pandemic concerns kept many buyers and sellers on the sidelines.

The Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors reported 227 residential sales in April, down nearly 64 per cent from April, 2019. It’s the lowest number of home sales the association has seen in a single month since December, 2008.

It’s also about a 61 per cent drop over March results. The market was off to a strong start in March until the midmonth declaration of a state of emergency in Ontario prompted the Ontario Real Estate Association to urge its members to stop all face-to-face business, including open houses and in-person showings.

“It goes without saying the current pandemic has had a major impact on the number of sales we would normally see in April,” association president Colleen Koehler said in a release. “With everyone doing their part to flatten the curve and doing their best to self-isolate, the buying and selling of homes have been greatly reduced.”

Technology including virtual tours, video meetings and electronic document signing has allowed transactions to continue when necessary, but most realtors continue to advise clients to wait if possible until the state of emergency is lifted.

Average prices continue to rise year-over-year, with a 7.3 per cent increase over April, 2019 to $568,738. However, that’s a slight decline of 2.6 per cent compared to the March average price; March saw a 15.3 per cent year-over-year increase. Detached homes sold for an April average of $657,042, also up 7.3 per cent year-over-year, but down 3.3 per cent compared to March.

The median price for all residential properties rose 7.1 per cent year-over-year to $525,000, while detached homes rose 6.3 per cent to a median of $605,000. April’s median prices were down approximately 3.6 per cent compared to March.

“We have witnessed some buyers expecting homes to sell at greatly reduced amounts, and frankly, that’s simply not the case,” Koehler said. “Home values have remained stable which we expect will continue.”

There were 417 new listings added in April, down about 55 per cent over last year, and far from the previous 10-year average of 937 April listings. A total of 571 properties were available at the end of the month, down more than 36 per cent compared to last year.

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