While St. John’s housing prices continue to rise, Moneysense magazine says the city is still home to some of the best real estate deals in the country.
In an article in the magazine’s June
edition, Moneysense places St. John’s ninth out of 35 major markets across Canada.
“Its biggest resource is the ocean, which now provides Newfoundland with an offshore oil industry attracting scores of newcomers in search of work,” reads the St. John’s entry, which also noted the city’s economic growth of 5.8 per cent last year and the emergence of the province’s mining sector. “Although house prices have gone up by almost 36 per cent over the past four years, the average house still goes for just $255,000.”
The article ranked the locations in three categories: value (reasonableness of prices), momentum (how hot the market is) and economy (local prosperity). St. John’s earned a B, an A and a B-minus respectively, for an overall mark of B-plus. Moncton, N.B., tops the list with an overall A ranking.
Kathy Butler, a real estate agent with Remax in St. John’s, said she thought the magazine’s ranking was a fair assessment of the city housing market.
“With the way Newfoundland is going, with the oil industry — because we’ve got one of the most valuable commodities in the world, we’re looking at such a migration of people (to Newfoundland),” she said.
“With the way Newfoundland is going, with the oil industry — because we’ve got one of the most valuable commodities in the world, we’re looking at such a migration of people (to Newfoundland)." - Kathy Butler
“A lot of people are staying here, and our younger generation’s being educated here, because of our university, and we’re drawing so many people here because of our real-estate market itself. We’ve got some of the lowest-priced houses in the country, and we are comparable to Moncton and Halifax in some areas, but because of our diverse economy, the Lower Churchill, and because of the oil and gas, and with Long Harbour, we’re attracting so much more. We’re a very wealthy province, as well.”
Butler said the diversity in the economy spills into the housing market, which is seeing stronger showings in condos now, too.
“Our condo market, that’s becoming very viable because of the price range condos are in, and condos are also being used for lease for the oil and gas industry,” she said. “There’s so much diversity here with our real estate, because rental vacancies are low, which is driving rental rates. They’re exorbitant right now. I was in a house the other day, $800 a month, I wouldn’t put my dog into. So for the condo market, you can get $3,000 a month for a condo because of the oil and gas near the downtown sector.”
As for rising rents and housing costs, though, Butler notes they’re still much more reasonable than larger cities.