A house in Ontario’s Kitchener-Waterloo region is the subject of growing banter on Twitter.
There’s nothing overly special about the relatively modest, detached, cookie-cutter home itself; it’s the house's recent selling price that’s giving Twitter users something to passionately tweet about.
The four bedroom, four-bathroom home -- located at 395 Bamberg Crescent in Waterloo -- was originally listed for $799,900.
It sold for $1,225,500.
While such a price tag for a detached single-family home may not sound shocking to anyone who’s attempted to search for a home in Toronto’s increasingly unattainable market, this is Waterloo we’re talking about -- a region historically known for its relatively affordable housing stock.
“Please tell me this had amazing designer finishes, pool and hot tub, and landscaped deep lot,” wrote one Twitter user.
Nope. The home is pretty basic. In fact, it doesn’t even have a back deck or a fence between a neighbouring backyard. That’s not to say it isn’t a perfectly decent family home… but it’s sort of like purchasing a pair of basic plastic sunglasses (you know, the type they give out at weddings) for the price of a pair of Tom Fords. Both protect your eyes; one adds quality and craftsmanship to the equation and therefore might be worthy of a price tag that makes a bigger dent on the wallet.
It wasn't long ago when $1M could get you a sprawling, top-quality home that exuded editorial-worthy design and finishes in Kitchener-Waterloo. But those were clearly the glory days (don't shoot the messenger).
The reality that no first-time homebuyer wants to hear is that the average price of a detached home in the Kitchener-Waterloo region has climbed to $1,021,353 as of December 2021, according to figures released yesterday. This represents a 34.7% increase from December 2020 and an increase of 3.4% compared to November 2021. Yikes.
On a year-to-date basis, the average sale price for all residential properties (condo, townhome, semi-detached, and detached) in the Kitchener-Waterloo area increased 25.8% to $770,596 compared to 2020.
There are multiple factors contributing to these prices, which are inevitably keeping countless would-be first-time homebuyers out of the market. At the core, is a relentless lack of supply. According to the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors (KWAR), the home’s price tag is symptomatic of the fact that Waterloo Region is one of the tightest markets in Canada.
There is unprecedented interest in buyers migrating to the region from elsewhere which has them selling there and purchasing here, according to KWAR. When buyers sell in one market and purchase in another, it creates a deficit to the housing inventory in the second market -- something that is currently playing out in the region.
With immigration projected at 400,000 for 2022, and much of that invariably targeted at major metropolitan areas, the KWAR doesn't see this trend or rather, the demand, ending anytime soon, says the organization.
“Home sales in 2021 have absolutely smashed last year’s record by more than 1,000 units,” says KWAR’s president, Megan Bell in a January 5 press release. “While this is a good time to sell your home, it remains a tremendously difficult market for buyers. Affordability for all types of housing within our community continues to be a concern which we expect to continue throughout 2022.”
Waterloo’s current housing reality isn’t that unique, however.
The Bamberg Crescent home’s price tag is just another example of how unattainable homes have become throughout Ontario -- leaving virtually no corner of the province untouched. It’s crystal clear that Ontario is in a housing deficit.
Whereas those priced out of the Toronto housing market may have turned their eyes to smaller cities like Waterloo in the past, now prospective homeowners are having to look beyond provincial borders to find a house to call their own. That, of course, creates affordability issues for local populations, perpetuating a defeating cycle in the process.
But that's a topic for another day. In the meantime, if you want in to the Kitchener-Waterloo region, the time to act is probably
now years ago.