The conventional wisdom has been that if you want to save on housing, you would leave the big city and move to small towns and rural communities where you can potentially find a single-family home within your budget. This traditional concept has been pushed aside with recent shifts in the Canadian real estate market. With more young families and professionals fleeing the major urban centres in favour of less-dense municipalities, many smaller communities have enjoyed exceptional growth throughout the pandemic-era housing boom. Over the last three years, more people have been looking for houses for sale in Brantford.

Whether this trend is sustainable or not is the big question right now, with many offices in large urban centres reopening their doors and reinstating in-person work, impacting demand levels in smaller communities. In addition, while rising interest rates have affected sales activity, they have not resulted in substantial price declines in the Brantford real estate market.

Still, the situation unfolding across Canada is undoubtedly fascinating to monitor, considering that prices continue to remain well above pre-pandemic levels in a rising-rate climate.

What You Need to Know About the Brantford Housing Market

As of late, it looks like Brantford is joining other Canadian real estate markets with renewed activity for houses for sale in Brantford, although the numbers are below historical averages. Right now, this might not be worrisome, but the future of the city’s housing industry could be concerning (more on that later).

According to the Brantford Regional Real Estate Association (BRREA), residential property sales surged by nearly 14 per cent year-over-year in August, totalling 175 units. But they were 17.5 per cent below the five-year average and more than 15 per cent below the 10-year average for this time of the year. In the first eight months of 2023, home sales have plunged 12.2 per cent year-over-year, totalling a little more than 1,400 units.

So far, price growth for houses for sale in Brantford has not been as strong as it has been in recent years.

Association data show that the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI), which is considered a more reliable measurement than average or median price gauges, slumped six per cent compared to August 2022, sliding to $667,600. The average price of homes sold in August 2023 edged up just 2.6 per cent to $710,753.

On a year-to-date basis, which industry observers say is quite comprehensive, the average price of houses for sale in Brantford declined close to 15 per cent to $713,447.

Based on the benchmark measurement, here is a breakdown of the growth performance of the different categories of houses for sale in Brantford at the end of the summer season:

  • Single-Family Homes: -5.3 per cent to $689,000
  • Townhouse: -9.3 per cent to $601,200
  • Apartment: -17 per cent to $367,400

Association statistics reveal that supply levels for houses for sale in Brantford were mixed in the Sudbury real estate market in August. New residential listings were unchanged at 329 units, which were 8.5 per cent above the five-year average and nearly 18 per cent above the ten-year average for the month of August. Active residential listings jumped more than five per cent to 466 units, a number that was 27.5 per cent above the five-year average and close to 18 per cent above the ten-year average.

The number of months of inventory was above the long-run average of two months for this time of the year, coming in at 2.7, although this was slightly down from 2.9 months at the end of August last year. This data point is important for market observers since it indicates the number of months it would take to exhaust current housing stocks at the present level of sales activity.

In August, new housing construction activity has come to a screeching halt in the Brantford real estate market, meaning that there might be fewer houses for sale in Brantford in the coming years. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), housing starts collapsed 94 per cent year-over-year to 14, down from 247 the same time a year ago. Moreover, in the first eight months of 2023, housing starts totalled 540 units, down from nearly 1,200 in the same span a year ago.

Affordability Crisis in Brantford?

Is housing affordability still an issue in Canada? Yes, and these concerns have made their way to the Brantford housing market.

In a 2022 housing affordability report by the Urban Reform Institute, Brantford was listed as one of the cities to experience “severely unaffordable housing.” In other words, houses for sale in Brantford were becoming out of reach for many households trying to achieve the dream of homeownership.

The overall study found that Canada had a median multiple ranking of 6.0, up from 4.4 before the coronavirus pandemic. Anything above 5.1 is defined as “severely unaffordable.”

“Severely unaffordable housing has spread from Vancouver to smaller markets, as Metro Vancouver has shed domestic migration to smaller markets in British Columbia, such as Chilliwack, the Fraser Valley, and Kelowna and markets on Vancouver Island,” the study stated. “Severely unaffordable housing has spread to smaller markets in Ontario, such as Kitchener-Waterloo, Brantford, London and Guelph, as residents of Metro Toronto seek lower costs of living.”

Many real estate experts assert that having more houses for sale in Brantford is the primary solution to rising prices in the municipality. However, with certain markets more regulated than others, industry observers warn that this could be difficult to achieve. Until then, the number of affordable housing markets in Canada is shrinking, the study found, alluding to the Edmonton and Calgary real estate markets.