Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ve probably taken notice of how hot the St. Catharines real estate market has been lately. It’s been absolutely crazy here — in all my years of experience in the industry, I’ve never seen anything like it. The guys who have been around for decades are saying this is the hottest market they’ve seen in 20 years! So what the heck is going on here?!
Lack of inventory in the St. Catharines real estate market
For starters, there is some serious misalignment when it comes to supply and demand. According to the CMHC, the St. Catharines-Niagara area has fallen victim to a housing start decrease. In October 2015, CMHC reported that we could expect housing starts to fall to 1,490 and then keep falling to 1,430 in 2017. And with fewer housing starts comes a higher demand for existing homes, which really explains why the market is one for the sellers.
The value of Niagara versus Toronto
I’ve talked about the value of living in Niagara over Toronto before. The numbers have spoken (it’s not just my Niagara pride talking here): compared to Toronto, and even Burlington and Hamilton, Niagara gives you great bang for your buck (If you want to know more, check out this past blog for more details about how much further your money goes in Niagara).
Calling all out-of-towners!
So, with that in mind, out-of-towners are coming in droves. With our great schools, brand new hospital and amazing lifestyle offerings our great region has to offer, I can’t say I blame them. Add in the flexibility people now have with work schedules to make commuting a bit easier, and some people not having to travel in to their Toronto office as often at all, Niagara is a great place to call home.
And let’s not forget about those retirees! I know, St. Catharines has always had a reputation of being a favourite for retirees to buy, sell and settle here. But, it’s getting even more popular! With comparatively low housing prices, the appeal is easy to understand. But think of the amenities too — when you’re looking to bask in the retirement lifestyle, we pretty much have it all: golf, dining, wineries, shopping…you name it, we’ve got it.
My two cents
With this market, it is all about cash in confidence. And Niagara has certainly got its mojo going on!
We’re seeing $80 million coming into Niagara from Toronto, and it is no wonder that the suburban communities of the GTA are starting to see the economic spin off from those looking to leave town for a more affordable lifestyle. In fact, 40% of my website traffic is from GTA dwellers looking to move to Niagara. And by having video on our listings and the 3-D Matterport Camera and its amazing showcase capabilities, those out-of-towners are experiencing the beauty of Niagara homes even easier.
I truly believe that Niagara, and St Catharines in particular, has been undervalued for far too long. Our quality of lifestyle is second to none and people are now realizing it. Right now, Grimsby homes are being valued 30% higher than St. Catharines, but I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next few years we bridge the gap to being equal in value!