2020 was second-best year for home sales in London, Ont. region
(THE CANADIAN PRESS / Graeme Roy)
MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- Despite the pandemic, the London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) says 2020 was the second-best year on record for area home sales.
In addition, December was the best on record, with 596 home sales, capping a year that saw 9,976 homes change hands.
LSTAR President Blair Campbell said in a statement, "LSTAR realtors started the year with a bang and, contrary to the somber predictions sparked by the coronavirus restrictions, they ended it on the same note.”
The higher demand is believed to have been sparked by people spending much more time at home with family in 2020.
"Some of the trends that emerged saw a higher demand for moving to rural neighbourhoods, owning a house with more rooms for separate work and learning spaces, and having a good sized backyard with a pool. Because all of these might feel out of reach in the bigger cities, many Ontarians have decided to relocate in smaller urban areas, such as London and St. Thomas, thus contributing to the local market’s frenzy,” Campbell added.
With inventory already low, the demand pushed up home prices across the region, with increases in value from 20 to 30 per cent year over year. St. Thomas saw the biggest increase with a 30.3 per cent increase over Dec. 2019, pushing the benchmark price to $392,500.
The area with the highest benchmark price last month - reflecting the value of a typical home instead of the average price - was London North at $589,600, an increase of 20.8 per cent over the previous December.
The vast majority of the homes sold - 440 of the 596 - were single-family homes.
Still, LSTAR says despite the increases, homes in the region remain relatively affordable compared to other major centres.
“Even with all the market volatility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate remains a solid option for investors,” Campbell concluded.