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Burk’s Falls area housing market red hot

In many cases, a home is selling for twice the assessed value
20210606 burk's fall armour town office cu turl
Burk's Falls Armour town office

Burk's Falls has only been collecting data on the local housing market since 2013 and over that period, on average, 28 homes changed hands each year.

 But the numbers have spiked since the pandemic began two years ago with 40 homes selling in 2020 and 42 in 2021.

 Administrative assistant Camille Barr told council in May last year, nine homes sold. The buying spree dropped a little during June and July and no homes sold in August.

 Barr also had a revealing number for council over the kind of prices houses were fetching in relation to the assessed value of the homes.

 “It's clear that assessment prices versus sale prices are quite disproportionate,'' Barr said.

 “Homes are selling significantly more than what the assessed value is.”

 In fact, in many cases, a home is selling for twice the assessed value.

 On average the selling price for homes during 2021 ranged from $358,000 to $400,000.

 Homes would typically sell within one to two weeks of being listed. Many listings routinely got multiple offers and bungalows remained popular among home buyers.

 The real estate agents also told Barr that “homes that would have been difficult to sell in the past were selling quite easily.”

 Barr's report states people were selling their homes in the city at high prices, buying for less in Burk's Falls and using the profit from their sale to upgrade their new property.

 Real estate agents said new residents were coming in from Barrie, Toronto, London, Niagara, Windsor and Stoney Creek. Some others came in from other rural areas because they were looking for a lifestyle change.

 Barr's report reveals families in their 30s and 40s were looking to relocate to Burk's Falls because home prices in the Almaguin community were still considerably lower than property values in Muskoka.

 But it's not just families making the move.

 The real estate agents ran into home buyers who are of all ages.

 This includes single people, couples and workers looking at early retirement.

 With so many homes selling last year, this resulted in a lack of listings which “created a supply and demand challenge,” since people were still looking to buy in Burk's Falls, Barr said.

 The other challenge is because of how quickly prices jumped, one agent said this has made it difficult for first-time home buyers to get into their own home.

 A conundrum some people have run into is the rental market.

 One agent said few properties are available for rent and those that are command high prices, making the leasing option unaffordable for some people.

 The result is people who fail at buying a home can't find anything to rent and those who do pay such a high rent it becomes a challenge to be able to save for a down payment on a home in the future.

 As for what 2022 holds, one agent told Barr to expect the number of sales to slow down this year. There's a consensus among agents that despite the slowdown, selling prices will remain at their inflated rates.

 Barr says since the municipality began keeping records in 2013, 51 per cent of single family dwellings have changed hands.

 If one starts the changeover in ownership with 2018, Barr says 32 per cent of single family homes have changed ownership in just the last four years.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.