By Leslie Sanders
The North Bay real estate market is having trouble keeping up with demand. Buyers are purchasing houses faster than agents can list them.
Mid-range houses priced between $100,000 to $159,000 are selling to first-time buyers at incredibly fast rates, according to industry officials. The average mid-range house stays on the market for a mere 15 to 20 days, says Dave Demarco, past-president of the North Bay and District Real Estate Board. In the 1990s houses in the same range would stay listed for 90 to 120 days.
“Sales have been pretty good this year,” Demarco says. “First-time buyers seem to be looking for a mid-range house that they don’t have to do much to.
“Although, we’re having a problem finding those kinds of houses. There weren’t many houses built in the ‘90s and those that were (built) are not for sale.”
The market seems to be setting a trend; second-time buyers are upgrading to the $150,000 to $180,000 range, whereas homeowners from the $200,000 and over range seem to be downgrading.
“This trend is putting a lot of pressure on the middle market,” Demarco says.
Week-to-week selling is discouraging agents from telling out-of-town clients about available mid-range houses, because the houses are selling so quickly, he adds.
Demarco attributes the fast-paced market to the unbeatable interest and mortgage rates.
“Second-time buyers seem to want a bigger house than their first, mainly because their families are growing,” Demarco says.
“A two-storey, four-bedroom home with a couple of bathrooms and a finished rec room seems to be popular criteria.”
The airport hill area of North Bay is an increasingly popular location to buy a house. It is considered the elite housing district, mostly inhabited by executives, he says.
“Houses in the airport hill area can range from about $150,000 for a bungalow to $500,000 for one of the top homes,” Demarco says.
Since the 1990s the selling price of a house has increased by almost $10,000.
“North Bay has a diversified economy,” Demarco says. “We really aren’t dependent on one major employer to keep our economy afloat. The area even seems to bounce back from layoffs.”
“December is usually a dead month, with hardly any sales, but this December the market was hot,” he says.
The North Bay real estate market continues to turn over houses at a rate that surpasses those of previous years. The selling price of a house has even increased despite a turbulent year for the world’s economy, he adds.