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Slow start to the year for real estate sales in London and St. Thomas

It was a stark contrasts to the record setting start of the year in 2017, that saw the best January numbers since LSTAR began tracking sales in 1978. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The London St. Thomas Real Estate Board (LSTAR) says it’s too early to tell if the slow start to the year is an indication of things to come.

It was a stark contrast to the record-setting start to the year in 2017, which saw the best January numbers since LSTAR began tracking sales in 1978.

LSTAR president Jeff Nethercott says because of the strong start last year, it makes this year’s numbers a bit deceiving.

“We are at the 10-year average for our region, and we saw much harsher winter conditions this year than we saw in January, that slows down the number of people looking to get their homes on the market.”

Nationally from December 2017 to January 2018, home sales fell 14.7 per cent. Sales in January were down just 2.4 per cent compared to the same month last year.

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According to a report from LSTAR, January saw 400 homes sold in London, down 28.8 per cent from the same month last year. In St. Thomas, 30 homes sold in January, which is 36.2 per cent less than last year.

Nethercott says a big reason for the slow month was the lack of listings, with just 1,020 active listings in London, down 27.7 per cent from the same month last year.

“We’re seeing inventory tighten up at this time of year,” Nethercott said. “When people don’t see homes on the market for them to purchase they can be hesitant to make their house available.”

Nethercott says with new mortgage regulations taking effect at the start of the year, they saw more people who would have bought in January move their purchase up to December. He says it’s too early to tell if those regulations will have a long-term impact on the market.

The average sale price for a home in the city is $333,000, while Nethercott says a two-storey detached homes remain the most popular among London buyers.

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