Real estate board president sees influx of new people in town

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Sarnia-Lambton’s real estate board president is seeing an influx of new people coming to town.

Rob Longo said U-Haul’s 2020 Canadian Growth Cities list, which ranked Sarnia 10th among cities people are moving into, couldn’t be more accurate.

“We as realtors have been seeing that trend a lot over the last year,” Longo said. “There are a lot of new people coming to town and seeing that report come out as Sarnia being number ten in all of Canada, really validated that for a lot of us.”

He said people coming from other cities experience tremendous savings in Sarnia-Lambton, and he has noticed more of a demographic mix.

“Sarnia’s average price now has crept up to just above $400,000, but if you compare to London, Kitchener, even Toronto, Toronto now is well over $1 million, Kitchener and London are going to be closing on $600,000 or slightly above that. We are still seeing retirees and people looking to downsize, for sure, but we’re also seeing a lot of younger people and younger families, even with school-aged children, which is a really nice mixture to see.”

Despite a drop in sales to start the year, rising house prices kept the total value of properties sold in Sarnia-Lambton on par with January 2020. Longo said sales were off 19 per cent and total listings down 12.5 per cent, but dollar volume of nearly $36.7 million was still comparable to a year ago.

“We are definitely trying to keep things restricted during the lockdown to essential sales only, obviously there’s a number of different reasons behind those, so we are trying to do that, and obviously there is some people that are holding off and waiting, which is why we’re seeing the reduction in the overall number of listings compared to January of last year.”

There were 90 sales last month compared to 111 in January 2020 and 154 properties were listed for sale, compared to 176 during the same month last year.