House prices in Orillia are making the Sunshine City attractive to investors and homeowners, as shown in statistics gathered by a local realtors association.
Quarterly numbers from the Lakelands Association of Realtors (Orillia, Muskoka and Haliburton) show there has been a nearly 30% increase in average home (non-waterfront) prices in the first four months of 2017, compared to last year, going to $330,000 from $250,000.
“It’s all related to demand; it is up,” said Mike Stahls, broker at Royal LePage Real Quest Realty, Orillia, and president of the Lakelands association. “Even with more sales, we’re seeing (more of a) multiple-offer situations than a year ago. I guess the reason is there are more people looking to buy.”
In addition, the number of homes sold this quarter was 125 compared to 87 last year. As well, the average number of days a property was listed decreased by half to 21.
One reason, he said, is the difference in average home prices between Orillia and Barrie, where the average is closer to $600,000.
“If you’re living in Barrie and not commuting to Toronto for a high-paying job, it’s harder to buy into the market,” said Stahls. “We’re seeing more people cashing out of the city to retire. The only retirement money they have is in their homes. Up here, they can buy a $1.2-million home for $400,000. And that’s their retirement funds.”
A higher demand also leads to buyers making multiple offers on the same property, he said.
“We don’t have stats on how many and by how much,” said Stahls, “but I’ve seen some go 17 to 18% over-ask. We’ve seen some really dramatic ones in the tens of thousands over, but a lot that are less than that, too. It all depends on the product and the neighbourhood. The more offers on something, the more likely it is to go over.”
Adam Ross, sales representative with BJ Ross Realty Ltd. in Orillia, said he has seen houses that were $400,000 a few years ago being sold for $650,000 now. This increase helps bring investors to the city.
“Now we’re starting to see more restaurants and businesses are starting to transform,” he said. “I think the value is there. Locally, people are surprised at how expensive things are getting, but on a bigger scale, in a small town; it’s way less expensive to purchase property here.”
For investors, it’s a lot easier to get a rate of return when they’re not paying through the roof, said Mark Rousseau, broker at Re/Max Orillia.
What’s attracting home buyers to the area includes community features, such as accessibility to the Greater Toronto Area, proximity to lakes, the opening of new businesses, and higher education, he said.
“A big thing, too, is we have Georgian College and Lakehead University, and they do seem to keep expanding their programs, which means more students, which means more rentals are needed,” said Rousseau. “In the big picture, you come and you buy, or even if you are able to build a two-bedroom apartment to rent, you have a better chance of renting it than somewhere where there are a whole bunch already on the market.”
Year-over-year, the Real Estate Investors Network usually ranks Orillia among top places for investment properties, he said.
As well, this year, the publication Yellow Pages NextHome has listed Orillia among the top 10 places in Ontario for real-estate investment. The list comes from an examination of vacancy and rental rates for two-bedroom properties. Data on growth in population, employment and wages as well as insight from industry experts and commentary from local brokerages.
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[Originally posted in Orillia Packet and Times]