Over the last few decades, Canada’s big cities have held the highest appeal to hopeful homeowners, promising access to employment opportunities, amenities, and culture. This led to a population boom, and as a result, a steep hike in real estate prices within these urban centres and their suburbs. However, this trend has been flipped on its axis over the last year with many Canadians setting their sights on smaller cities and towns. The Guelph real estate market is one of those markets that has seen tremendous growth this past year.
While Canada has been dealing with the global pandemic, many Ontarians have been working from home for the better part of the last 14 months. This has led to many homeowners re-evaluating their needs in terms of living conditions. With parents and kids at home and sharing spaces amid work and school closures, families are now spending more time with one another (and at home!) than ever before. While convenience and proximity to work used to rank high on the importance scale, the criteria is now all about maximizing your living space. This has led to a wave of homebuyers trading in their big-city homes within the GTA, for larger homes outside the bubble, such as those offered by the Guelph real estate market.
Guelph, which already boasted a strong housing market before the pandemic, has now exploded and is showing few signs of slowing down, as it continues to shatter records month after month.
Guelph: The Hot Place to Live
Guelph is considered by many to be a smaller city – specifically by those who are used to densely populated communities such as Toronto and Peel Region. With only about 132,000 inhabitants and a downtown core full of historic stone buildings and century-old homes, Guelph has that small-town vibe that many people are now craving. As a bonus, not only is Guelph close to the GTA, just an hour drive from Toronto, but it is considered to be one of the most affordable cities in Ontario.
According to the latest market update from the Guelph & District Association of REALTORS®, for the first four months of 2021, the year-to-date average price in Guelph was $855,313 – an increase of 30.5% when compared to the same period in 2020. However, more accurate than an average price over a four-month period, the MLS Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for the area was $778,000 in April 2021. This benchmark is led mostly by the cost of single-family homes in the area, which had a benchmark of $809,100 in April 2021. This is a substantial jump of 30.6% compared to April 2020. Levelling out the benchmark prices for homes in the Guelph area are the prices for townhouse/row units, which also experienced a large gain in April 2020, but came in at a much lower average of $574,800.
Further backing the affordability of Guelph is the record-breaking home sales posted for the area. April 2021 saw the dollar value of all home sales break the previous record, while totalling $521.2 million, drastically climbing by 363.2% compared to the same time in 2020. Further adding to this record-breaking month, the number of homes sold through the MLS System of the Guelph and District Association of REALTORS® totalled 585 units. This signifies an astonishing climb of roughly 240% compared to one year ago! Sabrina Essery, president of the Guelph and District Association of REALTORS®, makes note of this record breaking month: “Home sales continued on a tear in April, reaching the highest level for this month on record and also posting the second highest level of any month in history just behind March 2021. On the supply side we’ve seen a sustained increase in the pace of new listings coming onto the market. This has slowed, but not stopped, the decline in overall supply levels. As a result, market conditions remain some of the tightest in history and increased competition among buyers for an ever-shrinking pool of available listings is driving benchmark price growth to around 30% on a year-over-year basis.”
The Guelph housing market continues to remain tight, even with double the number of new listings from one year ago currently being added to the market. With homes being picked up at an outstanding rate, at the end of April 2021, there was an estimated 0.7 months of inventory in Guelph. This means, if the current rate of buying remains steady, the number of homes on the market would be swept up in only 0.7 months. This is remarkably fast turnover for a housing market of this size.
What’s to Expect in the Guelph Real Estate Market?
As the spring roars forward, and we roll into the sticky summer months, it is expected that the Guelph real estate market will continue to heat up in tandem with the rising temperatures. With sales moving at record-breaking paces month-over-month, this trend is not expected to let up anytime soon. Sellers in the area can expect the market value of property to continue to creep upwards, and buyers can expect the market to remain competitive for much of 2021!