LSTAR sees London-St. Thomas 2023 housing market ‘balancing off’ after ‘modest year’

A sale sign stands outside a home in Wyndmoor, Pa., Wednesday, June 22, 2022. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

While “a quiet December wrapped up a modest year for home sales” in 2022 for the London-St. Thomas region, officials are wondering what the forecast will be for the real estate market in the new year.

On Thursday, the London and St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) released December figures showing the lowest number of home sales in the last decade.

Read more: LSTAR wraps 2022 with 2nd-lowest number of home sales in the past decade

According to LSTAR, 2022 also saw the second-lowest number of home sales since 2012.

Adam Miller, 2023 president of LSTAR, described 2022 as “one of the most interesting years in real estate.”

“We had January [and] February still part of the craziness and probably two of the hottest months we’ve ever seen in real estate,” he said.
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“Then shortly thereafter, the cooling off period started and I think a lot of us thought, ‘OK, this seems normal, we’ve been thinking about having a correction in the market.’ But it was a little steeper and a little faster than what we expected.”

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Now, heading full steam ahead into 2023, Miller said that the status of the market is “balancing off.”

“Our lows are getting back to normal for this area [and] we’re seeing some buyers and sellers starting to understand where the market is,” he said.
“We’ve had a couple of months where it’s been consistent, smaller decreases, but [we’re heading] back to sort of the more conservative market that the London-St. Thomas is used to seeing.
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Given the unpredictability of the housing market, Miller said that providing an accurate outlook for what this year will bring is one of the “most difficult” questions to answer.

“I think what we’re looking at is the outside forces pushing into our market with the Bank of Canada really being the hard thing,” he said. “Economics is pointing to no more increases in inflation rate, but we’ll probably be looking at a couple more [and] I think if that happens, our market will cool.”

Even though the future of the market is not set in stone for 2023, Miller said that “it’s always a great time to buy” in the city.

“London has got a lot of great things going,” he said. “We’re a community that is quickly growing and projected to be one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada. With a great university and great college, I think if you’re looking to buy it’s still a fantastic investment.”

Miller said that in comparison to other parts of Ontario, London’s housing market is, at times, underpriced.

“Even when the trends were ramping up, we were still one of the most affordable communities across Canada, and still one of the most affordable communities in southwestern Ontario,” he said.

Read more: LSTAR reports lowest number of home sales in the past decade, effect on young homebuyers

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According to LSTAR’s report, the overall average price of a home sat at $724,583 in the London region.

Looking back at the chain of events brought forward due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller said that “we’re sort of been caught up in what happened to the market in 2020 and 2021,” but “that will never happen again.”

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“That was sort of the Sharknado of real estate,” he said. “No one saw it coming when it happened, no one believed it was happening, but we’re never going to see numbers like that again.”

He advises prospective sellers to look closely at recent market trends, and that “the numbers that your neighbour got a year ago, you’re not going to get.”

“If you’re ready for it, a lot of things that sold 2018 and 2019 are going to sell in 2023,” Miller said. “So, if you sort of delete those two crazy years, you’re probably going to have a great return. Just not those fantastic returns that we saw.”


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