Though prices have now dropped a consecutive eight months in a row, October and November 2022 both saw decreases markedly tamer than the several months prior. Of note, only 335 housing units changed hands last month. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Evan Buhler
With the Bank of Canada’s quixotic journey to bring inflation back down into its arbitrary target range continuing to create uncertainty among potential buyers, as well as make borrowing far more difficult for the country’s middle-class, local housing prices once again dipped downward last month.
Between October and November 2022, the local Housing Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark fell by 1.7 per cent from $653,500 to $642,600. The decrease represented the eighth consecutive month-over-month price-dip.
While the 1.7 per cent decrease was slightly more than October’s 1.3 per decrease, the reduction was again noticeably tamer than previous drops seen throughout the summer months.
In September, the HPI fell by 3.7 per cent, the two months before that it dropped by 4.1 and 4.9 per cent, respectively.
Niagara Association of Realtors (NAR) president Jim Brown said November’s numbers, in combination with October’s figures, appear to demonstrate the local market is stabilizing.
“The stats for the Niagara Region continue to trend towards a stable market,” said Brown. “The average price decreased slightly and more inventory is available, month over month.”
All but one municipality in the NAR service area experienced a month-over-month price drop in November.
In Niagara’s largest municipality, St. Catharines, the HPI benchmark fell by a mere 0.7 per cent from $582,100 in October to $577,900. The month prior it fell by 2.2. The month before that it fell by 3.7.
In Niagara Falls, where prices consistently and most closely approximate the average HPI across the region at large month after month, prices dropped 1.9 per cent from $640,000 to $627,600.
After experiencing virtually no change in October, in Niagara’s two most affordable markets of Welland and Port Colborne/Wainfleet prices fell by 4.2 and 2.5 per cent, respectively.
The region’s least affordable place to purchase property, Niagara-on-the-Lake, was the only municipality in the NAR service area that saw its HPI increase on a month-over-month basis in November, ticking up slightly by 0.1 per cent to $1,077,900. The town of 20,000 remains the only locality in Niagara with an HPI above $1 million.
After effectively flatlining the month before last, prices in Pelham/Fonthill, Niagara’s second least affordable market, dropped significantly in October. The HPI in the area went from $851,400 to $816,000, representing a decrease of 4.1 per cent. Similarly, in West Lincoln prices fell 4.2 per cent to $769,500.
Lincoln saw almost no change in price, while Fort Erie and Thorold each experienced modest drops of 1.9 per cent 2.5 per cent.
A mere 335 housing units changed hands last month, compared to 410 in October and 669 in November 2021.
The average number of days houses remained on the market between October and November went down slightly from 44 to 43. The number of new listings was 885, down from 1,085 in October.
Calculated using a sophisticated statistical model that considers a home’s quantitative and qualitative features, HPI provides a more stable price indicator than average prices, as it tracks changes to ‘middle-of-the-range’ or ‘typical’ homes and excludes extreme high-end and low-end properties.
The HPI composite benchmark property for Niagara is currently a 1,276 square foot single detached home between 51 to 99 years old with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, forced air, natural gas and on municipal sewers.
The Niagara Association of Realtors service area excludes Grimsby and certain parts of West Lincoln. Those locations are included in statistics provided by the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington.