The Kitchener-Waterloo Housing Market saw significant growth in 2016. The average residential sale price rose approximately 10 per cent to $382,697 up from $348,220 in 2015. Many residential listings received multiple offers, with pre-emptive or bully offers being a common occurrence.
Attracting Out-of-Towners – Greater Toronto Area buyers continue to drive demand in Kitchener-Waterloo as they seek out affordable housing options along the GO Train line. Waterloo’s economy and consumer confidence were boosted in 2016 due to substantial growth in its tech sector as the low Canadian dollar encouraged increased investment from American tech companies.
Outlying Towns Heating Up- New Hamburg and Baden, located on the outskirts of Kitchener, are becoming increasingly popular with move-up buyers and retirees. For young families, the areas offer good schools and nice properties at affordable prices, while retirees are attracted to the adult retirement villages, which feature bungalow-style homes, amenities and activities.
First-Time Buyers- First-time buyers are a key driver of the Kitchener-Waterloo market. Young couples looking to enter the market typically prefer low maintenance condo properties that provide easy access to the downtown core.
Condo market – Condo sales were up in 2016 between January and October to 1,358, compared to 1,029 properties sold during the same period in 2015. Due to a surplus of condo inventory near Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, it’s expected that some of the housing initially intended for student rentals may eventually shift to wider availability residential rental units.
Source: REMAX 2017 HousingMarketOutlookReport
With the new mortgage rules and home prices rising faster than ever in Kitchener-Waterloo and beyond, first-time home buyers are feeling the pinch. With the risk of being priced out of the market, there is the additional challenge of not only carrying a larger mortgage but also coming up with the minimum 5% deposit, or ideally 20% deposit that would exclude the need for CMHC mortgage insurance fees in most cases.
But recent studies show that rising prices won’t stop buyers who are determined to start building equity as soon as they are able. In fact, half of Canadians aged 18 to 34 own homes and rent out a room or basement to help cover housing costs.
While it may be an inconvenient to share your home, getting closer to being mortgage free, and having the extra income generation may be worth the temporary sacrifice. According to a study based on 2000 participants, 12 per cent of Canadian homeowners currently rent or plan to rent out part of their home, with that amount rising to 20 per cent for 18- to 34-year-old homeowners.
Yesterday afternoon Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced an increase to the land transfer tax (LTT) rebate for first-time buyers. The rebate is being doubled from $2,000 to $4,000. The announcement came as part of Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement and is specifically aimed to help first-time buyers enter the housing market. Buyers can start claiming the rebate effective January 1, 2017.
Although home prices continue to rise, every little bit helps to allow buyers a chance to get into the market and begin to build equity and wealth. With the new change, first-time home buyers who are permanent residents will not pay land transfer tax on the first $368,000. In many cases in Kitchener-Waterloo and area, the rebate will translate to these buyers not paying land transfer tax on the purchase of their first home at all.