HOME SALES, PRICES CLIMB IN FEBRUARY

594 homes exchanged hands last month via the MLS® System of the London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR), marking a 33.2% increase in sales activity over February 2023. The number of newly listed properties rose from 873 in January to 1,024 in February, showing a 31.8% increase over a year ago.

“While the number of home sales remained on par with LSTAR’s 10-year-average for February, the number of newly listed properties soared to new heights, reaching its second highest value for that month,” said 2024 LSTAR Chair Kathy Amess. “Many of the Sellers who chose to adopt a ‘wait-and-see’ approach in the last months of 2023 were encouraged by the fact that the Bank of Canada decided once again not to increase its benchmark rates,” she explained.

Out of the 594 residential properties sold in February in LSTAR’s jurisdiction, 417 were single-family homes, 104 were townhouses, and 54 – apartments. The average price for a single-family home in LSTAR’s jurisdiction surged from $605,785 in the first month of the year to $682,780 last month, while that of a townhouse climbed only slightly – from $504,304 in January to $507,229 in February. The average price of an apartment from the London-St. Thomas region increased from $319,210 in January to $382,496 last month. “In addition, the average prices for single-family homes and apartments saw slight year-over-year increases, rising by 1.7% and 3.9% respectively,” Amess emphasized.  “However, when compared to February 2023, the average price of a townhouse remained virtually unchanged,” she added.

Housing supply plummeted from 3.3 months of inventory in January to 2.7 months in February.

“LSTAR’s sales-to-new listings ratio settled at 58% last month. This is something that we like to see because indicates a fairly balanced real estate market, which benefits all the parties involved,” Amess said.

The overall average home price of LSTAR saw a month-over-month uptick – from $605,785 in January to $617,790 last month – but was 0.2% lower than in February 2023. However, the Composite MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Benchmark Price posted month-over-month and year-over-year gains – of 2.5%, and 1.7% respectively – climbing to $587,400.

The table below displays an analysis of February’s average and MLS® HPI Benchmark Prices in LSTAR’s main regions.

Area

February 2024 MLS® HPI Benchmark Price

February 2024 Average Price

Central Elgin $618,600 $695,790
London East $483,300 $497,204
London North $682,900 $704,356
London South $584,500 $611,351
Middlesex Centre $805,400 $911,067
St. Thomas $531,500 $599,212
Strathroy-Caradoc $743,000 $659,157
LSTAR $587,400 $617,790

In analyzing February’s figures, it is necessary to make a clear distinction between average prices and MLS® benchmark prices. The latter shows us what a ‘typical home’ from a specific area looks like for the local buyers and what housing attributes these buyers value the most. In contrast, the average sales price is calculated by summing all home sale prices and dividing that total by the number of homes sold.

Because average prices can experience high fluctuations from one month to the next, due to only a few outliers from the sales activity mix, the HPI benchmark price is a more reliable tool for tracking trends over time,” Amess stated.

The following table displays February’s benchmark prices for all housing types within LSTAR’s jurisdiction and shows how they compare with those recorded in the previous month and three months ago.

MLS® Home price Index Benchmark Prices

Benchmark Type February 2024 Change Over January 2024 Change Over
November 2023
LSTAR Composite $587,400 ↑2.5% ↑1.7%
LSTAR Single-Family $634,000 ↑2.3% ↑2.2%
LSTAR One Storey $573,900 ↑2.0% ↑1.4%
LSTAR Two Storey $678,500 ↑2.5% ↑2.8%
LSTAR Townhouse $474,200 ↑0.3% ↓2.1%
LSTAR Apartment $386,300 ↑9.9% ↑2.9%

“When compared to the prices recorded in other provincial and national centres, homes within the LSTAR jurisdiction appear relatively affordable, positioning our region as an attractive housing market,” Amess said. The chart below shows the most recent HPI benchmark prices, as provided by CREA.