How's the market in March 2021
Hi everyone, this is Winnie with the St. John's Life Real Estate Team of Re/Max. Welcome to another episode of "How's the Market?" So this past month of February there has been a lot that happened, or should I say a lot that didn't happen in the metro St. John's area. So, how's the market?
As usual, stats first. In the entire month of February, there had only been 147 closings, which is 5.2% LESS than the same time last year, and it's the FIRST month since Covid that there have been fewer sales. The average time to sell a house has now also gone up to 100 days, 11 more days than the same time last year. Price-wise it's up to about $295,575, 9.8% more than the same time last year. The downward trend in sales is the first since the pandemic, given all the factors that there has been, it's probably too early to say whether this is the start of a new trend or if it's a temporary reaction to the recent events. Let's look at some factors that are affecting our market.
As you're aware, we had a relatively smooth ride with Covid since last May but it's been broken by the second wave of positive cases, which started the second week of February. During this month I am very fortunate to have all my closings completed but what I'm hearing from colleagues is that there have been delays in closing due to the lockdown. Most law firms are still operating with electronic signature measures, but there have been delays from home inspectors not being able to meet face-to-face, and some sellers and buyers not wanting to move during the lockdown, legitimately so with concerns over getting infected. Real estate is considered an essential service and we have been allowed to continue to operate with safety measures but most of my buyers are voluntarily choosing to postpone their house hunting during this time of lockdown. Bidding wars are still happening mostly from out-of-town buyers who are less hesitant to view as they are viewing virtually anyways.
With interest rates. Fixed rates seem to have gone about a quarter point in the last few weeks. The latest 5-year fixed mortgage rates seem to be around 1.8% for insured and 2.25% for uninsured, but if you are open to a variable rate I've had clients who were able to secure a 5-year variable at 1.29% insured since the hike. Over all the interest rates are still really low rate but the recent hike may bring a downward force onto the market.
So onto the economy. Again I'm not an economist but there are just economic factors I personally think could affect the market. On employment, statistics Canada is showing that there have been 3100 fewer full-time positions in the province in January, offset by an increase of 400 more part-time positions, overall there are still 2700 fewer jobs. The Keystone Project does seem to be dead. So far in the month of February there hasn't to be much new stimulus to our employment market.
It probably also doesn't help that the anticipated economic recovery report and our provincial election are both delayed. I think some buyers might be holding their breath to see where the future holds before investing in real estate.
Both the federal and provincial government seems to be putting more working into bringing new immigrants in.
On February 13, the federal government sent out applications to all applicants in their Canadian Experience Class pool, which has a total of 27000 applicants. It was a bit of a shocker to a lot of the immigration consultants as this is the first time they have admitted so many applicants, many of which may not have ever been admitted before based on the points system that has been in place. On the upside, it brings further stress on housing prices in other major cities, which could potentially encourage people and businesses to consider a move to affordable cities like ours. On the other hand, if the bar to immigration is lowered for the country, it could make our provincial nominee program less attractive. The province is now aiming to triple immigration numbers by 2026. Personally, I think it would take the province creating stronger environments for start up businesses to bring immigrants to here vs the popular immirgants destinations.
So that's it for our video update on the St. John's Real Estate Market of February 2021. We are also creating a new series of neighbourhood introductions in hopes to give you more insight of what each neighbourhood in the metro St. John's area offers. So if you're interested in learning more or keeping up to date on the St. John's real estate market, please do follow us on our FB page at stjohnslifenl or subscribe to our channel. And if we can help you with anything on real estate, whether you're curious about the value of your home before doing a reno or looking to get pre-approved, or trying to decide whether investing in real estate is for you, we can. Leave us a message below or give us a quick call at 709.631.4663. See you next time!