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The housing market may be cooling but does that really help?

Follow the real estate trends in 2022 on Prince Edward Island.

PEI REAL ESTATE PRICES REACH UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS

Here in PEI we have been going through an unprecedented increase in housing prices. Not that many years ago we had a buyer’s market and homes could be bought as low as $50,000 in some cases. Those $50K homes are now running closer to $200K.

We have actually seen bidding wars, offers are presented without conditions and don’t even look at real estate unless you have a letter from your lender. There are just more buyers than there are sellers. It is a totally unbalanced market.

INTEREST RATES & NEW BUILDS AFFECT PEI REAL ESTATE PRICES

There are two factors that might have an effect on prices and availability in PEI. The first is that interest rates are beginning to climb to combat inflation and the second is that there is finally some new building going on here.

The question is “are these enough?”. Are you likely to see a sufficient reduction in house prices to make it possible for the first-time buyer to get in.

DOES THIS MEAN THAT PEI HOMES WILL BECOME MORE AFFORDABLE SOON?

Housing costs in PEI have gone up over 23% and this figure is higher in Charlottetown and Summerside. The average home in 2022 sold for $335,700 up from $271,300 in 2021. However this is still not even close to Toronto or Vancouver.

Home prices across the country peaked in January and February this year and while in PEI it may not be correct to say pricing is down, it isn’t going up at the same rate. If the interest continues an upward momentum as forecast, then pricing might drop a bit.

Will this mean you will be able to buy a home. Perhaps not. If the only reason that home prices drop is that interest rate hikes are cooling the market then the issue is going to be increased monthly payments caused by interest.

So can you afford these new increased mortgage payments? Perhaps a better question would be, will banks qualify you for the increased payment while even on a lower priced home. Further can you pass the government imposed “stress test” ie being able to qualify at a still higher interest rate to simulate what might happen. Further as inflation increases exponentially, gas, food, debt service and more, the average household budget is already stretched to the breaking point.

SO HOW COULD THE PEI REAL ESTATE PRICING CRISIS BE SOLVED?

So although the market is predicted to cool – before first-time buyers can jump in to the market it might need to freeze. A 30% fall in prices would only bring the market back to where it was in 2020.

Really the only way to effectively fight the high cost of housing would be a building boom. During 2020 & 2021 in the midst of COVID the lumber industry was shutdown and there was a scarcity of building supplies. This discouraged building and contributed to the current situation. Although there are more construction supplies available now and prices reduced considerably, there still seems to be a scarcity of available skilled labour.

I am pleased to see that there have been more construction starts recently. We really need a push, perhaps with government help, to build more housing. I am talking something similar to the US in the 50’s. Only by increasing the supply in face of increasing demand will prices begin to stabilize. Not get cheap – but stabilize to a point where more people will be able to purchase.

IN CONCLUSION

The next year will be interesting indeed. Inflation is rising, interest rates are rising, what will home prices do? Stay Tuned and read the Island Real Estate Book for current information about the PEI real estate market.

Ron Barrett - Century21 Northumberland - PEI Realtor

RON BARRETT

I am Ron Barrett, co-owner and broker at Century21 Northumberland Realty. I and my team of 30+ professional real estate agents would be pleased to help you with all your Prince Edward Island real estate needs. I can be reached at 902.888.7238 or ron@century21pei.com

In today’s economic landscape, characterized by high market prices and elevated interest rates, the prevailing belief might be that the younger generations in Canada, particularly those categorized as Gen Z or Millennials, are shying away from the prospect of homeownership. However, this narrative doesn’t entirely align with the reality, especially when looking at the PEI real estate market. Despite these financial barriers, a significant number of young Canadians remain eager to embark on the journey of buying a home, with many setting their sights on the picturesque landscapes and vibrant communities of Prince Edward Island (PEI).

Spanning across two distinct age groups, Millennials and Gen Z represent a broad demographic spectrum. Millennials, now aged in their late 20s to early 40s, and Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012, together, comprise a formidable segment of the Canadian population. With over 6.7 million Canadians classified as Gen Z, their economic impact and potential as future homeowners is undeniable. This is particularly true in the PEI real estate market, where the unique charm and appeal of the island are drawing in younger buyers from across Canada looking for both value and quality of life.

Despite the challenges posed by the current economic climate, including a higher cost of living and inflation rates, the desire for homeownership remains strong. Insights from REALTOR.ca for the last quarter of 2023 indicated that a majority of its users, specifically 55.4%, were aged between 18 and 44 years, many of whom are actively exploring PEI real estate opportunities. This interest is further underscored by findings from a 2022 Royal Lepage Demographic survey, which revealed that 60% of Millennials not yet homeowners believe they will be in the future, with 51% aiming to purchase within the next five years. Moreover, a report from the Bank of Montreal suggests that 68% of Canadians are biding their time, waiting for interest rates to decline before entering the market, a strategy that could be particularly wise.

The optimism and determination to own a home vary across regions, with attitudes towards the feasibility of this goal differing from one area to another. However, the PEI real estate market offers a beacon of hope for many, with relatively more accessiblibility compared to urban centers in other provinces. This has made PEI a particularly attractive option for Millennials and Gen Z buyers looking for both affordability and a high quality of life.

The paths to homeownership are as diverse as the individuals pursuing them, with many young buyers adopting innovative strategies to navigate the real estate market. It’s clear that there’s a growing interest in condominiums among first-time homebuyers, driven by a more deliberate approach in a market that has become more buyer-friendly post-pandemic. PEI realtors also highlight the financial savvy of younger buyers, many of whom opt for minimal down payments and leverage first-time homebuyer incentives to make their dreams a reality.

Renting, too, has emerged as a strategic step toward eventual homeownership, with many in the Gen Z cohort seeing it as a necessary stage in their journey. This trend is particularly notable in PEI, where although the real estate rental market is tight with low vacancy rates renting can still serve as a stepping stone for young individuals aiming to save for their future homes. PEI realtors observe that an increasing number of their clients are opting for rental arrangements, often with roommates or siblings, as a way to manage living costs while planning for homeownership.

Furthermore, the shift towards remote work has expanded the geographic considerations of potential homebuyers, making PEI real estate even more appealing. The island’s beauty, coupled with its more affordable market, has attracted buyers from far and wide, with some willing to move from bustling city centers to embrace the peace and community spirit of PEI.

The aspiration to establish a solid financial foundation and secure a place in the real estate market remains a common thread among younger Canadians. PEI realtors and the PEI real estate market play a pivotal role in turning these aspirations into reality, offering guidance, insights, and opportunities tailored to the needs and dreams of younger buyers. Despite the financial challenges of today, the commitment to homeownership is unwavering, with many young individuals viewing the current market conditions as a temporary hurdle rather than an insurmountable barrier.

For those considering the leap into homeownership, consulting with a Century21 realtor can provide invaluable insights into the current market trends, personalized advice, and a clear understanding of financial readiness. The expertise of Century21 realtors in navigating the local market can empower prospective buyers to make informed decisions, ensuring that their journey towards owning a home on Prince Edward Island is both strategic and successful.

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