Niagara real estate market bouncing back compared to other parts of Canada


As multiple real estate markets across the country deal with a lack of housing inventory, Niagara region’s numbers are looking good, leaning towards a buyer’s market, according to real estate officials.

The report from online real estate firm Zoocasa looked at the hottest buyers’ and sellers’ markets of spring 2023 across Canada, concluding despite the country having the lowest available housing inventory across all markets — 1.8 months of available inventory — some markets are tilting closer to a buyer’s market with more inventory than potential home buyers.

Niagara topped the list as one of the best markets in Canada with a sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR) of 42 per cent, an almost 50 per cent drop year-over-year from 2022, showing the region as a balanced market.

To be considered a buyer’s market, according to the report, the SNLR would have to be below 40 per cent, meaning more listings than buyers, denoting more options and ability to haggle conditions such as closing price.

Amy Layton, president of Niagara Association of Realtors, agreed stating Niagara is in a balanced market, where it benefits buyers and sellers to negotiate to come to terms on the sale of real estate.

“We’re headed into a balanced market, looking at sales, at this point, I’m looking at it month-over-month, this time last year, we started to change about May and June,” she said.

“We’re still seeing quite a gap because that craziness and much inflated prices happening at the beginning of the year.”

Layton said listings between March and April fell by about 70 listings, which includes all housing types.

She said despite some parts of the country seeing the lowest available market inventory of almost two months, Niagara is seeing more than double with 4.4 months of inventory.

“That just means if no more houses went on the market at all, it would take 4.4 months to sell what’s there right now,” she said.

“This time last year, it was a lot lower than at the beginning of 2022. We had a point where we had less than a month of inventory, which is tight.”

Layton is optimistic for buyers in a balanced market, because she said it allows for buyers to have more negotiations and sellers need to take buyers’ concerns into consideration more.

“Buyers have an opportunity to have conditions again in a balanced market,” she said.

“They can go in and make an offer with a condition of financing, home inspection, maybe having their lawyer look things over and that’s what we want.”

She said when it was a seller’s market, it was more like a competition for buyers.

“It gets to be like a game. Like, ‘I won, I was the highest bidder, I won,’ and if the house doesn’t appraise then we have a problem,” she said.

She explained if someone bid on a house for $810,000 and it was appraised for $50,000 less, the buyer must come up with the difference.

“The buyer will need to come up with the $60,000 difference or the seller needs to lower the price, if it turns out they’re getting a mortgage, which some people go in with cash, when they’re needing a mortgage, so, (that’s why) we like a balanced market,” she said.

“Everybody has the opportunity to put their best foot forward and have their conditions met, as it’s fairer and squarer.

“We’ve got a good strong market here in Niagara and the good thing is with everything else changing, it’s important to look at new listings and sales, that tells you the most, more than price,” she said.


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