Assessing Kingston’s Real Estate Market

housing market, residential properties for sale, Kingston, OntarioJust over two years ago, my wife and I entered the terrifying and wonderful world of home ownership.  To be honest, I am still amazed that we, and the bank, own this place.  While we searched high and low for a house that we could call home, in the end, it came down to dumb luck.  One of those ‘right place at the right time’ stories you hear about but seldom experience for yourself.  This past weekend, we decided to check out some open houses in our neighbourhood, partly to scope out a few prospects for our friends, and otherwise to evaluate the potential of  purchasing rental property.  After numerous rounds of taking off and putting on our shoes, I couldn’t help but notice a trend of poor quality and inflated prices in and around downtown.  This got me thinking about what it would be like for us to go through the process as prospective first time home buyers in today’s market.  Accordingly, this week’s poll asks:

[poll id=”24″]

In one of the last homes we visited, the extremely candid host advised that over the past few weeks, he has witnessed houses going for as little as 65 percent of the asking price. While that may indicate a buyers market, he also pointed out that a lot of properties were sold before the summer’s fire sale, prior to the return of renting students, and the implementation of HST.  That is to say that supply is somewhat down at the moment, which savvy sellers are using to their advantage to decline low ball offers.  Whatever the market is doing, I would love to hear from prospective home buyers, as well as any readers who are employed in the local real estate biz.  In addition, what neighbourhoods are being sought after the most by first timers?  Where are the deals in the Limestone City?  How does Kingston compare to other cities in terms of value and quality?

Special thanks to Mr. Tea for today’s accompanying photo.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

7 thoughts on “Assessing Kingston’s Real Estate Market

    • Thanks Chris. I've always been wary of these sort of stats, as they are easily misinterpreted. The report indicates that home sales are down 9 percent, average prices down 4 percent and overall value of sales are down 12 percent. While lower prices may seem like great news for prospective buyers, one slow month for sales is hardly anything to get excited about. Further, our poll kind of contradicts the stats as slightly more people are currently of the opinion that the power lies with the seller. If you take a look at the consumer confidence numbers, they indicate that "more households said it was a bad time to buy a big-ticket item". So perhaps prices will tumble a bit more before they get better? I guess we'll have to wait to see the figures for September. Any predictions?

  • My wife and I will be in our second home for 9 years in December and I can't imagine trying to find an affordable first one. Our agent has been keeping us up to date with a twice-yearly newsletter and prices in the Bayridge area have done nothing but go up. Honestly, I can't understand how it's being sustained, either.

    We're looking to move to the country in the spring. Anyone looking for a big bungalow in the West end? ;-)

  • i've rented NoP for a year and have been casually house hunting for nearly as long, and it seems like downtown mid-level-earners like me are just about to get priced out of the market. ktown's certainly not as pricey as other cities i've lived in, but it's getting pretty close.

  • Unless you buy a fixer upper in a neighbourhood that is less than desirable, you can kiss your dream house goodbye. Too many schemers are playing the flip-it game, and others are buying up junkers just to rent to students. I don’t understand how Kingston can sustain these prices. If you do some comparative shopping in bedroom communities around the city, it’s amazing what $200K will buy you. In Kingston, you can’t even live in a cookie cutter home in one of the boring new subdivisions for that price. The market has to tank before the working poor can afford to buy here.

  • My SO and I just purchased a home in the easternmost portion of the "west-end". I think we got a fair price for what we purchased, compared to what homes are going for in south-western ontario and the gta. My sister recently bought a rowhouse in K-W for not much less than we paid for a fully detached home.

  • We own in the downtown area. We bought eleven years ago at an estate sale. We're moving further out. One thing to keep in mind when buying here is that Kingston has the highest property taxes for a city this size in all of Ontario. My taxes are now higher than my mortgage. Living further out in a "cookie cutter" may not seem as great as a leafy neighborhood close to everything but, remember ALL the costs involved. And in my neighborhood prices have continued to go up. I don't know since Kingston also has a very low vacancy rate if I'd take any "down turn" too seriously. I've been approached by total strangers in this area needing housing close the hospital, Queen's or the public schools here wanting to buy my home. Believe me it's not one of the higher end houses in this area either.

    It's been great living here but, the cost of living in Kingston IS very high. My sister in law lives in Cabbage town Toronto in a totally renovated charming stone town home on an adorable street. She paid half a million for it…AND her property taxes are lower than mine on a house that cost a fraction of that to buy here.

    Kingston is pricing the lower and middle class right out of the "city" center and this has been going on for some time. Our council member is well aware of the issue. People at the provincial level are aware of this issue in Kingston though are not very quick doing anything about it. There is nothing in Kingston to justify such ridiculously high tax rates. Comparing to Toronto again, they have a subway, access to the best hospitals in the country and far, far more services than we do.

    It's not just first time home buyers. People who have been here a long time are being priced out of their own homes. Two other people on my street sold to developers due to tax rates here. The city centre is now for the wealthy and student renters.

    I love Kingston but, there is no economic value for a middle income family to living in the core or within the city limits any longer. We're looking anywhere outside those city limits. And funnily enough the woman who first gave us the loan to buy this home has done the same thing, so has the real estate agent who used to own the house next to mine. Think long and hard about the costs of living in that "dream" neighborhood here before you buy. You might want to take that money you will save in taxes living further out and put it into other savings.

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