Local home sales decreased more than 50% in April, as the COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing rules incurred by it slowed the momentum on what was shaping up to be another record year for LSTAR REALTORS®.
Last month, there were 469 home sales in the entire jurisdiction of the London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS®, down 55.4% from April 2019 and 54.8% less than in April 2010. The number of LSTAR's listings dropped to 738 in April, which represents a 50.3% decrease from a year ago and 56.8% from ten years ago.
"As anticipated, the volume of sales was one of the lowest for April since the Association started tracking data, back in 1978," said 2020 LSTAR President Blair Campbell. "However, when analyzing these figures, one has to take into account a few facts: at the beginning of April, the Government of Ontario prohibited open houses, many Sellers decided to postpone putting their properties on the market and many REALTORS® stopped trading in order to protect their families and their clients. Now, with the provincial Government planning to re-open the economy, we are expecting that, once that happens, the local markets will start to gradually recover," he added.
Compared to a year ago, the overall average home price saw an increase of 0.4%, rising to $423,143 in April. This average sales price includes all housing types - from single detached homes to high rise apartment condominiums. In the five major areas of LSTAR's region, average home sales price performed differently. The following table illustrates last month's average home prices by area and how they compare to the values recorded at the end of April 2019.
April 2020 Average Sale Price
Change over April 2019
|Elgin County||$390,009||↓ 4.1%|
|Middlesex County||$558,933||↑ 18.8%|
|St. Thomas||$367,566||↑ 3.1%|
"Looking at London's three main geographic areas, London South saw the highest number of home sales last month, while London North saw the biggest price gain compared to April 2019," Campbell said.
The average home price in London East was $353,009, up 3.7% from the same time last year, while in London North increased 4.6% over the same period to $530,499. In London South, which also includes data from the west of the City, the average home price was $428,479, down 1.6% over April 2019. St. Thomas saw an average price of $367,566, an increase of 3.1% from last April.
According to a report by the Canadian Real Estate Association, last month, in London, the median number of days that a home was on the market was 14 - up from 9 days in April 2019. In Elgin County, the median number of days spent by a home on the market was 18 - up from 16.5; in Middlesex County it was 16 - up from 15.5; in St. Thomas it was 14 days – up from 11; and in Strathroy was 8, down from 12 as compared to a year ago.
The following chart is based on data taken from the CREA National Price Map for March 2020 (the latest CREA statistics available). It provides a snapshot of how home prices in London and St. Thomas compare to some other major Ontario and Canadian centres.
According to a research report, a total of $67,425 in ancillary expenditures is generated by the average housing transaction in Ontario over a period of three years from the date of purchase.
"This means that our April home sales would bring more than $20 million back into the local economy throughout the next few years," Campbell said. "The business of real estate is one of the most important drivers of the economy. That is why we are trying hard to provide our Members with the knowledge and tools they need to continue trading in these most unusual circumstances," Campbell concluded.
 Economic Impacts of MLS® Systems Home Sales and Purchases in Canada and the Provinces, Altus Group Economic Consulting, 2017.
*Areas displaying MLS® Home Price Index benchmark prices; all other areas display average prices