The region's real estate market won't overheat in 2013, but it won't crash either, the new president of the Rideau-St. Lawrence Real Estate Board believes.
“I think we’re going to have a really steady and strong year,” Perth realtor Michelle Fournier told The Recorder and Times.
Fournier was recently sworn in for a one-year term as president of the real estate board, which represents 216 real estate professionals in a large area that includes the counties of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville and part of Dundas.
Her assessment comes after the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) predicted sales activity across Canada will be “less volatile” this year than it was in 2012, the result of the ongoing impact of new mortgage rules.
“The continuation of moderate economic, job, and income growth will temper the impact of recent mortgage rule changes, which are not expected to dampen activity much more than has already been felt until interest rates are expected to begin rising in late 2013,” CREA said in a press release.
Those new federal government lending rules, which make it harder for many first-time buyers to get a mortgage by eliminating 30-year amortizations, had an impact locally in 2012, said Fournier.
“We did see a small decrease in July ... but we still just forged forward,” she said.
There’s no reason to doubt that recovery will continue in 2013, Fournier believes.
“I don't think we're going to see a stellar year by any means, but I'm optimistic that we're going to see a steady year,” she said.
Mayor David Henderson said Fournier's expectation for the region mirrors a trend he has seen for a long time in Brockville.
While large urban real estate markets overheat and then experience sharp declines, Brockville lags behind these trends, but also avoids the peaks and valleys, he said.
“The good side of our market is that it’s consistent and stable,” said Henderson.
“It doesn’t soar with the other markets. The good side is it doesn’t tank with the other markets.”
Still, there could be an uptick in Brockville this year, since the Tall Ships Landing condominium tower is expected to open mid-year, adding 74 residential units to the mix, said Henderson.
He noted the city’s yearly average is about 60 units.
HOUSING SALES UP
The total number of closed sales across the Rideau-St. Lawrence Real Estate Board's territory in 2012 was 1,466, up from 1,384 in 2011.
The total dollar volume of those sales was $308,553,700 in 2012, up from $269,902,721 for 2011.
And the average house price for the regional board was approximately $210,473 in 2012.
(Source: Rideau-St. Lawrence Real Estate Board)