I would like to say a friendly hello to all of you on my initial Real Estate blog. We in Saint John are currently celebrating a resurgence in our market, certainly at the best it has been since 2008. The start of a comeback in our market began in 2016 and it has picked up and continued to build on that improvement. Many have asked the question, “Why? What is bringing the resurgence?”
As Realtors we cannot point to the usual explanations for these conditions – we have not seen an increase in employment or large projects to bring people to town. I have personally noticed a number of folks (particularly retirees) moving back to our area to enjoy the beauty and affordable lifestyle, as I and other agents in our office have sold homes recently to people returning from such places as British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario; they certainly appreciate our more affordable housing prices. First time buyer sales have also improved, and many baby boomers have made moves after holding off the last few years on decisions of when and where to move.
To give you an idea of the scale of the improvement to this point: by the end of July 2008, the best year we have ever had we had 1522 sales and total dollar volume of 228 million. In 2017 those number are 1367 sales and dollar volume of 228 million as well. That is a big improvement from our low of 1024 sales and dollar volume of 167 million in 2014 so hopefully it keeps going. The areas we are seeing the most improvement in are the Kennebecasis Valley and Uptown Saint John, most other areas are improving at a much slower pace.
It has taken a few years more for our market to recover than we had hoped; we certainly took a bigger hit than pretty much anywhere else in the country. This was due to the fact that our market was influenced by the proposed 2nd refinery and all of the energy hub talk. Once the recession hit, and with the cancellation of the 2nd refinery, we had to give the 25-30% increase in prices back, that our market had seen between 2005 and 2009. The increases had come from speculation of the boom we were supposed to see, so we had a bigger hole to dig ourselves out of than most. We are hopeful and optimistic this recovery will continue, as it is great for all of us!