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Average home price in London-St. Thomas surpasses $700K in December: LSTAR

FILE PHOTO. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

The average sale price for a home in the London and St. Thomas real estate market surpassed $700,000 for the first time ever in December, capping a second year of COVID-19 pandemic sales that local realtors described as a record one for condos and apartments.

In its final monthly assessment of 2021, the London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) said the average price of a home in the region hit $707,219 in December, a roughly 27 per cent increase compared to December 2020, and a 63 per cent jump from 2019.

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Middlesex Centre, comprised of Arva, Delaware, Ilderton, Komoka and other small communities, made the top spot when it came to the area with the highest average price in December at $1,058,299, followed by London North at $867,374 and Central Elgin at $778,490.

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The MLS Home Price Index benchmark price for the region rose 37.5 per cent from the previous December to $657,600, which LSTAR said is a more accurate figure for the average home price as it “reflects the value of a ‘typical home’ as perceived by buyers from certain areas based on various housing attributes.'”

Middlesex Centre’s benchmark price clocked in at $977,300 for December, higher than that recorded the previous month in Hamilton-Burlington, Victoria, B.C., Kitchener-Waterloo, the Niagara Region, and Ottawa, according to figures from CREA.

London North and Central Elgin’s benchmark prices for December stood at $776,400 and $692,100, respectively.

LSTAR said December 2021 was the second-best December on record for residential transactions, with 530 taking place.

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Despite the rising cost of housing, for the year overall, LSTAR said nearly 11,000 homes were sold in the London-St. Thomas market in 2021, an increase of 17 per cent over 2020, and 22 per cent compared to 2019.

“2021 proved to be a very strong year for us, with the overall number of home sales approaching the 11,000 mark,” said Jack Lane, LSTAR’s president, in a statement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced numerous people to work from home for most of this year, continued to fuel our local housing market, bringing the inventory levels to historic lows and pushing the home prices up.”

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LSTAR said 8,125 single-family homes were sold in 2021, along with 1,364 condo townhouses and 1,009 apartments.

There were at least 12,800 new listings over the course of the year, a 12.6 per cent increase compared to 2020; however, the listings that were posted were quickly snatched up. Listings were on the market for a median of seven days, down from eight in 2020 and 11 in 2019. Five years ago, the median was 22 days.

At the end of 2021, only 554 active listings were available in the region, compared with 1,009 at the end of 2020, LSTAR figures show.

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Housing supply remains an issue in the region. The region had an average of 0.6 months’ worth of housing inventory available through 2021, compared with 1.3 months in 2020 and 1.7 in 2019.

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Despite the average sale price jump, LSTAR said the local real estate market remains “relatively affordable” compared with the MLS benchmark prices seen in other major urban centres in Ontario and Canada.

Greater Vancouver’s benchmark price stood at just over $1.2 million in November, compared with $1.17 million in the GTA, $1.14 million in B.C.’s Fraser Valley, and $969,600 in Hamilton-Burlington.

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