Bidding wars are making a return, local real estate president says

This spring, the Sarnia-Lambton real estate market started to trend towards bidding wars.

Rob Longo, president of the Sarnia-Lambton Association of Realtors, said 217 new listings came to market last month, an increase of more than 7% compared to March 2022.

“As we’ve seen over the past few years, our typical seasonality really hasn’t had much of an impact, especially since the market has been busy,” Longo said. “Over the past three months, we’ve noticed that Sarnia seems to be bucking the trend in many other southwestern Ontario communities because we’re very busy and the market here is very strong.”

Just 122 homes sold in March, down more than 20% from the same month last year, and the median sales price so far this year is down more than 13%.

“What we’ve seen so far is that local prices seem to have settled down to a median of about $455,000,” he said. “That’s down slightly from last year. Most of what we’ve seen from other areas like London, Kitchener and Toronto, it’s a much bigger drop.”

Sarnia-Lambton had 326 active listings last month.

“When you look at the number of active listings, we’re up over 265% year-over-year [what was recorded during the first three months of] last year. However, it is clear that the past two years have been unusually low. As a result, we’re seeing a flood of new listings coming to market, and for buyers looking to get into the market, there’s a lot of options now,” Longo said.

On average, homes took 19 days to sell last month and sold for 98% of their asking price.

“Homes are starting to sell a little bit faster than we’ve seen,” he said. “Especially the second half of last year. Now, we’re seeing things sell pretty quickly, and interestingly, even in March, we’ve seen about a third of the homes sold at or above their asking prices. So we’re starting to see some of the bidding wars coming back into the market.”

Longo expects another surge in listings due to warmer weather.

“Everyone is out cleaning their yards, sprucing up the outside of their homes. Usually that’s when we do see a flood of new listings coming to the market, and I think we’ve definitely seen that trend this year,” Longo said.

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