Rate cut welcomed by head of Sarnia real estate association

Rate cut welcomed by head of Sarnia real estate association

A recent interest rate cut by the Bank of Canada was a “step in the right direction,” says the head of the Sarnia-Lambton Association of Realtors.

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“I’m curious to see what kind of impact it has,” association president Jeremy Guerette said about last week’s decision to lower the bank’s key interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 4.75, the first cut since March 2020.

Through the early years of the pandemic, Sarnia experienced an extended seller’s market with rising prices and a limited supply of homes until rising inflation led the Bank of Canada to raise its interest rate.

Home sales cooled and slipped into a buyer’s market early this year for the first time in a decade as property listings outpaced the number of buyers, but it was short-lived and local home sales settled into slow and steady growth in more recent months.

Guerette said last week’s move by the Bank of Canada was “a step in the right direction” and “definitely will give buyers more confidence.”

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Jeremy Guerette. president of the Sarnia-Lambton Association of Realtors, is shown in this file photo. Photo by File photo /The Observer

There were 164 residential sales in May in the Sarnia area, following 163 in April and 132 in March.

May’s local residential real estate sales totaled $90.1 million.

“It was just a perfectly kind of balanced out market” and “a repeat of the month before,” Guerette said.

The local median sales price of $493,750 was down slightly and the 338 new listings in the market were an increase of about nine per cent, which was expected, “just coming into the full spring market,” he said.

“It gives buyers more options.”

The local market had 3.4 months of inventory on hand in May and the median number of days homes were listed before selling was 22, compared to 15 days in the same month in 2023.

“Possibly this month, we’ll see a little jump up in sales if buyers are in the market but haven’t found something yet,” Guerette said.

Residential sales totalled 633 so far this year, as of May.

“I would say ‘steady’ is probably the word for 2024,” he said.

“It has been a slow incline in prices” that has been manageable for the market and “sales have just kind of been keeping pace with listings.”

An increase in listings that began earlier in the year “kind of filled the shelf and now it has just stayed steady,” Guerette said.

“If we keep around that three-months’ worth of inventory and our average prices stays similar to what it is, that’s going to be a positive for everyone.”

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