Is Brantford the next big Ontario housing market? The numbers indicate that the southwestern Ontario town has been as one of the strongest real estate markets in the province for both homebuyers and owners.
Families who are selling their residential properties are scoring big in Brantford. But the families who are scooping up these available detached homes are saving as much as $1 million simply by buying outside of North America’s fourth-largest and one of the most-expensive cities: Toronto.
Over the past year, one of the biggest drivers of Brantford’s booming real estate market has been out-of-town buyers. But, as the economy reopens and businesses send workers back to the office, can Brantford maintain the momentum heading into next year?
Before that question is answered, let’s take a look at how well the Brantford real estate market is faring this fall season.
Price Tags are Soaring in the Brantford Ontario Housing Market!
According to the Brantford Regional Real Estate Association, residential sales fell 19.4 per cent year-over-year in August, totalling 228 units. In the first eight months of 2021, home sales have advanced 21.5 per cent from the same time a year ago to a little more than 2,000 units.
Historically, Brantford home sales were 9.7 per cent above the decade average for the month of August.
The huge story coming out of Brantford is, unsurprisingly, property prices. Despite demand subsiding in this Ontario housing market, the composite benchmark price soared at an annualized rate of 35.4 per cent in August to $648,300. The three main property types enjoyed stellar growth year-over-year:
- Single-Family Homes: +35% to $666,700
- Townhouse / Row Units: +39.7% to $469,700
- Apartments: +37.2% to $384,300.
Now, here are two other critical statistics: the average price of homes sold across the Brantford housing market in August gained 24 per cent to nearly $751,000, and the year-to-date average price increased 32.7 per cent to $709,406.
“Sales activity was down substantially from last year’s record-breaking pace, but that was to be expected as demand has moderated from the rebound. What’s amazing is that despite this moderation home sales were virtually tied with the second-best August on record, missing the mark by just one sale,” said Ray Petro, President of the Brantford Regional Real Estate Association, in a news release. “New listings were also down from the same time last year but not to as severe of an extent as has been the case in other Southern Ontario markets. This means that overall supply levels aren’t on the decline at the moment, but are still resting at record lows.”
According to the association, the number of new listings plunged 22.2 per cent from the same time a year ago, totalling 259 new residential listings. In addition, active residential listings tumbled 37.2 per cent to 167 units.
Moreover, new listings were 1.4 per cent below the ten-year average in August, while active listings were 63.8 per cent below the decade average for the same month.
Months of inventory, which is the number of months it would take to exhaust current supplies at the present level of sales activity, clocked in at 0.7 by the end of August. This is below the long-run average of 2.4 months for this time of the year.
The latest housing construction data suggest that new properties are coming online. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), housing starts rose to 290 in August, up from 202 a year ago. Year-to-date, housing starts have topped 750, compared to 705 in the first eight months of 2020.
What May Lie Ahead for the Brantford Housing Market?
During the coronavirus pandemic, many urban dwellers across Ontario left the glitz and glamour of the big city and settled down in the suburbs, small towns and rural communities. Many households even moved into cabins on the waterfront in the province’s gorgeous cottage country. But this left housing experts questioning: what happens when workplaces reopen once the COVID-19 public health crisis subsides?
Now that Toronto, Hamilton and other major urban centres across Canada are returning to some semblance of post-pandemic normalcy, what new trends can we expect to emerge in these local real estate markets? A considerable number of workers who either do not have the advantage of working from home or whose businesses are turning on the overhead fluorescent lighting again, might be second-guessing their decision to move further from the urban hubs. In other words, it may not be realistic to commute from Brantford to Toronto – and back – as part of their routine.
Does this explain why demand is easing in housing markets like Brantford? As one RE/MAX broker told CTV News in September: “My guess is some people are going to choose to go back [to the cities] when COVID is over and some will decide this is the life for them.”