Kingston’s hot housing market is proving challenging to buyers, and many are reporting having to purchase homes with no conditions to seal the deal.
According to the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association, the average price for a house in Kingston has set records for the last few months — hitting just under half a million dollars in September, a nearly 25 percent increase from the same month in 2019.
Real estate agents in the region say it’s supply and demand issue — there just aren’t enough homes available to keep up with buyers, pitting those in search for a home against each other to make the most attractive offer.
For some, that means buying a house with no conditions.
“There are always risks going in with no conditions,” said Callie Warren, a Kingston sales representative with Re/Max.
Depending on where the property is, conditions can range from financing and home inspection to checking the septic and wellwater.
Warren says right now, even buyers who offer much more than asking price are still not likely to get the home if another buyer has no conditions.
“When a seller looks at the offer (with no conditions), all they see is the price, a closing date, a deposit to hold the offer in place and that’s it,” Warren said.
She said financing is one of the main conditions that sellers are wary of, but home inspections have also been dropped in many instances.
Cameron Morrison, owner of Cozy Home Inspections, said his business has definitely taken a hit lately. He warns that buying a house without a home inspection could leave the buyers at a risk of serious work ahead.
“They need to know what’s involved, as far as the plumbing, the heating, the insulation in the house. With a home inspection you would have those answers. ”
Morrison said he’s seen his business drop about 20 per cent since this time last year.
Active listings for the Kingston region were at an all-time low for September.
Dave Pinnell Jr., president of Kingston and Area Real Estate Association, says the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the many factors that is hiking up home prices in the Kingston region.
“COVID has taught us is that we can work from anywhere. So we’re we are seeing people move from larger cities into our area where they can get a more cost-effective home,” Pinnell Jr. said.
He noted that although he has first-time homebuyers struggling to get into the market, he also has buyers in various price ranges that are struggling to purchase homes.
In some cases, Pinnell Jr. said houses are getting 15 or more offers.
But Pinnell Jr. said it’s not just the Kingston region seeing record-breaking house prices.
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, Canadian home sales climbed 0.9 per cent in September from August, raising them to a new all-time monthly record for the third month in a row.
The national real estate association said the largest price gains were in smaller Ontario cities and in the capital region of Ottawa, with further flung Toronto suburbs and Ontario cottage towns also showing very strong year-over-year gains.
Pinnell Jr. said currently, very low interest rates for mortgages are also encouraging people to buy when they might not have thought of buying before.
His advice to local buyers? Patience.
“I’d say that if you’re looking for a home, then just to keep with it.”
— With files from Reuters.