Niagara housing prices rise for first time in a year

The local monthly HPI benchmark price increased more than two percentage points in March, following several months of deceleration in decreases. In January and February, prices effectively flatlined, decreasing a mere 0.4 and 0.25 per cent. Photo credit: Bloomberg/Cole Burston


For the first time in exactly one year, local housing prices in Niagara went up on a month-over-month basis last month. 

Between February and March 2023, the Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price rose 2.2 per cent from $627,500 to $641,600.

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.

“As we still see larger decreases in overall MLS HPI composite benchmark price year over year, it’s time to focus on month over month as we begin to recover,” said Amy Layton, president of the Niagara Association of Realtors (NAR). 

“This is the second month in a row that the Niagara Region has seen an increase in sales and new listings, as well as a modest price increase overall. Q1 of 2023 has shown us buyers are out there and prices are holding their own.”

After jumping nearly 50 per cent the month previous, the number of sales increased a sizeable 25 per cent from 449 in February to 560 in March. 

The number of new listings also jumped from 817 to 1,046. 

In terms of specific monthly price changes across the NAR market area, prices increased everywhere outside of Lincoln, where the HPI dipped a nominal 1.1 per cent. 

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Thorold, and West Lincoln all saw minor increases of less than one percentage point.

Niagara’s most affordable areas of Port Colborne/Wainfleet, Fort Erie, and Welland all experienced the largest month-over-month increases, with prices rising 6.9, 6.8, and 4.3 per cent, respectively. The HPI benchmark in the three local areas for March ranged from $515,800 to $552,200. 

Pelham also saw a notable monthly increase, with its HPI rising 3.7 per cent from $813,400 in February to $843,700 in March. 

Prices in the region’s largest municipality, St. Catharines, ticked up 2.5 per cent, while the HPI in Niagara Falls – where prices consistently most closely approximate Niagara at-large month after month – rose 1.9 per cent to $633,700. 

Although still significantly greater than a year ago, the average number of days a property sat on the market dropped from 48 days in February to 41 in March – a 15-point decrease. 

The HPI composite benchmark property for Niagara is currently a 1,259 square foot single detached home between 51 to 99 years old on municipal sewers with three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, forced air, and natural gas. 

The NAR service area excludes Grimsby and certain parts of West Lincoln, which are included in statistics provided by the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington. 

The Bank of Canada increased borrowing rates eight times between March 2022 and January 2023, bringing the policy interest rate up from 0.25 to 4.5 per cent. Last month, the country’s central bank held its rate for the first time in the past year.


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