There were 6,492 residential homes sold through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® in 2020, an increase of 9 per cent compared to 2019.
Compared to previous years, 2020’s annual sales were 5 per cent above the previous 5-year average, and 11.6 per cent above the previous 10-year average.
On a monthly basis, there were 42 per cent more home sales compared to last year, with 351 home sales in the month of December.
“December’s home sales were the highest on record for the month,” says Nicole Pohl, President of KWAR.
“This marks the sixth consecutive month of record home sales in Kitchener-Waterloo and helps propel 2020’s annual number of transactions over the 6,000-unit threshold for only the third time in our history.”
Total residential sales in December included 204 detached (up 46.7 per cent), and 63 condominium units (up 34 per cent) which includes any property regardless of style (i.e., semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.). Sales also included 20 semi-detached homes (down 9.1 per cent) and 64 freehold townhouses (up 68.4 per cent).
For 2020, total residential sales included 3,899 detached (up 8.1 per cent), and 804 condominium units (up 18.9 per cent) which includes any property regardless of style (i.e., semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.). Sales also included 450 semi-detached homes (up 6.8 per cent) and 1,346 freehold townhouses (up 7 per cent).
In December, the average sale price of all residential properties sold in 2020 increased by 14.4 per cent to $634,545 compared to 2019. Detached homes sold for an average price of $755,618 an increase of 11.9 per cent compared to 2019.
During this same period, the average sale price for an apartment-style condominium was $383,196 for an increase of 5.4 per cent. Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $514,760 (up 27.7 per cent) and $574,659 (up 20.2 per cent) respectively.
On a year-to-date basis, the average sale price of all residential properties sold in 2020 increased by 16.1 per cent to $612,521 compared to 2019. Detached homes sold for an average price of $719,203 an increase of 16.9 per cent compared to 2019.
During this same period, the average sale price for an apartment-style condominium was $391,698 for an increase of 13.7 per cent. Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $468,891 (up 14.6 per cent) and $520,753 (up 18.3 per cent) respectively.
The median price of all residential properties sold last year increased 17.3 per cent to $575,000 and the median price of a detached home during the same period increased 15.7 per cent to $660,000.
“Even well before the pandemic we had noted a trend of consumers migrating out of the GTA to our region,” says Pohl.
“As the pandemic heated up it only fueled this fire more as the very concept of what home means was shifting. With more people working from home, some permanently, space has become a greater concern than ever before. When you combine this with all the other great attributes of our region, it is no surprise this occurred.”
Like many other parts of Ontario, low inventory has become a defining factor of Waterloo Region’s housing market and the new normal. The number of months of inventory remained at just 1 month or less throughout most of 2020.
For historical context, the number of months inventory in Kitchener-Waterloo between 2011 and 2015 averaged 4. Between 2016 and 2020 it was a monthly average of 1.5 months. The number of months of inventory represents how long it would take to sell off current inventories at the current rate of sales.
The average number of days to sell in 2020 was 16 days, compared to 23 days in 2019 and a previous 5-year average of 27 days.
Dollar volume of all residential real estate sold last year increased 26.5 per cent to $3.9 billion compared with 2019.
While the majority of residential MLS® System activity is properties for sale, REALTORS® are increasingly representing landlords and tenants. Last year 848 residential leases occurred through KWAR’s MLS® System, which is an increase of 13.9 per cent compared to last year.
“Looking to the year ahead, we should expect more of the same” predicts Pohl. “Real estate continues to be one of the shining lights supporting the Ontario economy, so we do not expect to see any significant efforts to try to cool the market."
"Buyers should continue to expect stiff competition in Waterloo Region, and for sellers, there will continue to be a strong interest for all properties entering the market."
"Active markets are difficult markets, but the only way for a seller to ensure they are getting the full market value of their home is through the level playing field of the KWAR MLS® System. For buyers, they should ensure they are working with a local REALTOR® to assist with the speed and challenges of this market”