London

Despite a deadly virus, 2020 closes as London's second-best year in real estate

Realtors in the London region recorded their second-best year on record despite a shutdown that put their industry out of action for much of the traditionally busy spring season.

Like everything else in life, the coronavirus also shattered many real estate norms

Even with a pandemic that saw the industry shut down over the traditionally busy spring season, realtors in the London region recorded their second best year on record. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

Despite a turbulent year marked by a deadly pandemic that brought unrivaled turmoil and confusion to many aspects of life and the economy – realtors in the London, Ont., area recorded their second-best year on record for 2020. 

Even with a strict government shutdown that temporarily crippled the industry in its traditionally busy spring season, nearly 10,000 homes were bought and sold in the region, making 2020 the second only to 2017 in terms of total sales. 

As with many aspects of life, the coronavirus also shattered norms in the housing industry, prompting buyers to seek out more space in a world where kitchens and basements had to become makeshift offices. 

Realtors reported that not only were people fleeing larger cities, such as Toronto, for smaller urban areas, such as London or St. Thomas, they would sometimes buy a home sight unseen, touring them only through the lens of a real estate agent's smartphone before shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Except for a complete shutdown between March and April, the year saw homes bought and sold at a frenzied pace and last month's figures were no exception. 

In December, the London St Thomas Real Estate Association reported 596 homes were sold, the highest number ever recorded in the month. 

It pushed the price of an average home across the region to $555,324, far above what analysts predicted was possible for the entire year. 

Despite the average cost of a home rising above the half million dollar mark, a home in the London area remains more affordable than the Canadian average, which is $603,344.

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