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Cost of a new-build home surges more locally than in any other market in Canada except one

Since December 2016, the price tag attached to a new-build home in Waterloo Region has shot up nearly 60 per cent
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Almost home on Equestrian Way in Cambridge.

The cost of buying a new-build home in Waterloo Region has climbed faster over the last half-decade than in just about any other market in the country.

According to Statistics Canada, the price tag attached to a new home in this region has risen nearly 60 per cent since December 2016, more than double the provincial and national averages and second only to Ottawa.

Much of the increase has been chalked-up to population growth but experts also say the COVID-19 pandemic has also played a significant factor with some in the GTA looking elsewhere for a bigger home and more property.

"They really don't have that back yard whereas a lot of our developments, even if they were town-homes, they did have a piece of land attached to it," said Megan Bell, President of the Waterloo Region Association of Realtors.

"And what we've seen in previous years -- and we're continuing to see -- is the development of new communities that have a nice mix of what people are looking for," Bell said. "And I think that's been very attractive to buyers and one of the reasons they have come to the area."

Along with that added demand, Bell said limited supply has also played a part in pushing prices higher.

"In terms of supply, we've been one of the tightest housing markets for a few years now," she said. "In new construction as well as our re-sale, we've really never had the number of homes needed to meet that buyer demand."

As for her advice to first-time home buyers with a move-in-ready forever-home at the top of their wish list, Bell said they may need to lower their expectations.

"Don't wait until you think you have the money saved up for that perfect home," said Bell. "Get on the property ladder, get in the market and kind of go up with the market while you're still saving."

"The end goal might be a single detached home backing onto green space but maybe we have to start in a condominium, start small and then build your equity from there."