Good news is coming down the pipeline for those wanting to buy a home in Barrie: the real estate market is finally stabilizing.
A recent study by Century 21 Canada found that the price per square foot (PPSF) of a detached house in Barrie is $283. According to the study, the most expensive area in Canada was downtown Vancouver with a PPSF of $1,345. The least expensive was Moncton, New Brunswick at $101.
“It has been an unpredictable year in Ontario housing prices, with the price per square foot rising and falling from community-to-community and even suburb-to-suburb,” said Brian Rushton, executive vice president of Century 21 Canada.
The nationwide study revealed that the PPSF of downtown Toronto rose more than 10 per cent in the last year and continues to top Ontario home prices, while prices rose and fell turbulently in suburbs and other communities in the province.
Ron O’Neil, a realtor with Century 21 in Barrie, sees a trend toward home prices levelling off across the county.
“Since Jan. 1, when the new stress test rules have been put in place, the benchmark price of a detached home has basically stabilized,” says O’Neil.
The new mortgage stress test rules, in place federally since Jan. 1, require that mortgage lenders now have to qualify all conventional mortgages using the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate. Buyers will need to qualify not only for the rate negotiated as part of their mortgage contract, but also at their current rate plus two per cent, or the bank's average five-year posted rate, whichever is higher.
“Outside of the metropolitan areas, we step away from the square footage numbers and talk more about your average detached home,” says O’Neil. “What we’re seeing right now... as compared to last year, this year is edging down at about one per cent.”
In October, the average detached family home in Barrie sold for about $486,900.
“Definitely, it’s a good time to buy,” says O’Neil. “This is a great time to get into the Barrie market.”
O’Neil notes here has been an increase in prices of townhouses and row houses, with prices edging up 2.3 per cent over the previous year.
“Real estate right now is very regional. The closer you get to Toronto, the home prices go up dramatically,” says O’Neil.
In Simcoe County, home prices are going up in Innisfil, Alcona and Bradford. Further north in Orillia and Midland, home prices plummet to about $100,000 less for a detached home, says O’Neil.
“It’s reflective of the proximity to Toronto.”
Looking forward, O’Neil sees the market staying stable.
“The reason being, when you put the stress test rules in place, it curbs the speculators from coming into the market and creating a market frenzy,” he says. “We don’t foresee any trends coming forward within the next year.”
The annual survey of data on the price per square foot (PPSF) of properties gathers and compares sales data from its franchises across Canada from Jan. 1 to June 30 of each year. This year’s survey looks back 20 years in some markets to 1998 prices, as well as comparing 2017 prices with this year’s results.
The PPSF of a condo in downtown Toronto rose to $903 from $819 last year, making Toronto Canada’s second most expensive city for homes after Metro Vancouver.
Meanwhile, the PPSF for a detached house in Markham and Richmond Hill each fell 24 per cent to $379 and $445 respectively, while condos in Peterborough rose to $255. House prices in Ottawa and Guelph were more stable, rising 4.65 per cent to $225 and 4.5 per cent to $397, respectively.