“If you were asked one of the best things about living in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma, what comes to mind first? For me, it is nature that is accessible from our doorsteps. It’s the great lakes on our own properties or a short drive away. It’s the many inland lakes, the trails to walk and ski. We are blessed with this in our area,” says Jean Morrison, owner of Superior Property Management, SPMGroup.
“We have always had these benefits, so why are we seeing an increase in value now? Well, I have a theory on that,” says Morrison.
Prior to the pandemic, notes Morrison, “Compared to the Seller’s market we are in now, homes sold for basically what they were listed for.”
The pandemic hit real estate professionals similar to many other industries. Agents braced themselves for the unknown. The spring market came to a halt but only lasted about two months before interest from people in large city centres began to rise. As people began working from home, the Sault Ste. Marie area “really started to get on their radar.”
“People looked at how we were handling the pandemic as a community, how we had the ability to get outdoors freely. We weren’t sitting in circles someone had drawn on the ground at a park. The vast majority of people were able to get outside and feel safe in a world that suddenly did not,” says Morrison.
The housing market has changed in the Soo
The 2019 average residential sale price was roughly $180,000, says Morrison. According to CREA, the average price of homes sold in February 2022 was a record $327,195, up sharply by 49% from February 2021.”
In contrast, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s average price is just over 1.3 Million.” If you factor this into the scenario, our real estate is still a bargain. If you sell your home in the GTA and buy in our market, you are getting a property for a fraction of what you sold for.”
This is a major factor in why the bidding wars are causing real estate in the Sault Ste. Marie area to rise, says Morrison. “Even if a home is listed at $369,900, for example, and sells for $520,000, the Buyer who may have just sold in the GTA for $2M, still has enough to pay their debts, own a beautiful home in Sault Ste. Marie with money in the bank. That dream is not achievable for many people in our larger Ontario cities. But it is here.”
Active listings decreased by 41.3% since February 2021, according to CREA
The current market has very low inventory. “This greatly affects the price which almost always sells over asking. As real estate professionals, we use data from MLS to arrive at a list price, but with a rapidly changing market, this has become difficult. What we price it at with our Sellers has somehow become merely a starting point.”
Both local Buyers and Sellers are benefiting, discovering equity that they never imagined, states Morrison. “I know it can be discouraging. Selling high and being in a bidding war to buy something else may seem like a challenging prospect, however, it is doable!”
“The world has changed drastically and values have changed,” says Morrison. “With our population obviously growing and our culture changing, we are seeing so many new businesses, such as restaurants appear. This diversity will continue to attract more people to our beautiful area.”
People have come to realize even more that balance is important, adds Morrison, “Life can shift without notice and if you have an opportunity to take in what nature has to offer, keep your family safe and have space to thrive, well Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma have it all.”
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