For years, Canadian financial institutions have bombarded us with confusing reports about the so-called housing bubble. It’s going to burst; it’s not going to burst. Markets will cool slightly; markets will plunge 25 per cent. In Toronto alone, no can seem to agree why the condo market is so hot, or even that it is hot.
But one thing is certain: housing in and around St. John’s is at a premium, and there’s little sign things are going to change any time soon.
A few decades ago, nighttime drivers approaching Kenmount Hill from the west could see only a ribbon of lights along Topsail Road. Now, Paradise and Mount Pearl have crept up over the hill to close the gap with St. John’s.
In fact, as The Telegram reported last month, one planned subdivision will straddle the boundary between Paradise’s Elizabeth Park and the capital city.
Of the 250 homes in the preliminary plan, 170 would be in St. John’s.
In July, the Royal LePage House Price Survey and Market Forecast Survey showed increases in detached bungalows, two-storey houses and condominiums in St. John’s.
In fact, condominiums have been selling while still under construction — a first for the capital.
“This was unheard of in St. John’s,” said Royal LePage spokesman Glenn Larkin.
House prices here are still lower than the national average, but the Royal LePage survey shows how St. John’s is bucking the trend.
The price of a two-storey home in St. John’s is $368,025, cheaper than the national average of $408,423, but the growth rate is 9.3 per compared to a 4.7 per cent national growth rate.
This all reflects a burgeoning economy, of course, but the news is not so good if you’re a low-income earner or student looking for a place to live.
In fact, a large majority of citizens have major concerns about the local real estate market.
A new comprehensive survey of St. John’s and area residents found only 11 per cent of respondents felt the region offered sufficient affordable housing. By contrast, 21 per cent gave housing a mere five out of 10.
The MQO Research survey, conducted exclusively for The Telegram and the St. John’s Board of Trade, is accurate to within five per cent, 19 times out of 20.
The Telegram is examining the results of the MQO survey this week in a survey called MetroView.
In today’s edition, reporters Barb Sweet, Bonnie Belec and Daniel MacEachern delve a little deeper into housing issues on the Northeast Avalon.