Windsor real estate breaking records, realtors say

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Windsor Star/Maggie Parkhill

Windsor real estate is booming as the population grows and the unemployment rate dips, according to local realtors.

“2016 was a record year for the local housing market, and that strong momentum looks set to continue into 2017,” Kim Gazo, president of the Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors, wrote in a recent report.

According to the report, new listings in Windsor rose by 8.2 per cent in January, but active listings are at a record low.

“There’s more buyers in the market than there has been,” says Richard Benneian, a broker for 35 years at Deerbrook Realty Inc. “First-time buyers are getting into the marketplace at a greater pace, and more people moving back to Windsor.”

This means that the price of the average home in Windsor has also gone up.

“The demand is more than the supply, so prices are going up substantially,” Benneian said. The average price of a home as of last month is $213,526 — up 4.1 per cent from January of last year.

Even though housing prices have gone up, Windsor is still one of the most affordable cities to live in Canada.

“First-time buyers can afford to buy here. In other city centres of comparable size or bigger, they can’t really get into the market because things are $400,000 or more to start,” Benneian said. “Here, you can get into a nice house in the $200,000 range.”

This trend comes as Windsor’s unemployment rate drops to 5.1 per cent, and its population grows by 3.1 per cent.

“Windsor is the place to be,” Benneian says. “We’ve got all the attractions of a major city without the cost of a major city and without the congestion of a major city.

“You’ve got everything either right in Windsor or just across the border in Detroit.”

Benneian says a lot the growth across the border is also a contributing factor.

“Windsor enjoys all the benefit of the growth in Detroit, too,” he says. “A lot of people who I sell to here work in Michigan.”

The region’s growth landed Windsor on Huffington Post Canada’s recent list of the “five best cities to live in where houses are under $400K.”

Mayor Drew Dilkens tweeted out a link to the Huffington Post article earlier this week, writing, “Others are noticing our great City!”

In a phone interview, Dilkens said he’s pleased that people are coming back to the region.

“You’ll move to a place if you can find employment, but the other thing that you look for is affordability and quality of life,” Dilkens said. “I think we’ve found the right mix to attract people back to the city of Windsor.”