With the number of properties sold uptown in the first six months of this year up 45% over that time last year, the real estate market in the uptown and south end is described as 'on fire' by a longtime local realtor.
Bob McVicar is co-owner of the local Sutton Group Aurora Realty and has been selling real estate for the past 12 years. He tells CHSJ News there's been just under $8-million worth of uptown real estate sold from January to June, compared to just under $5-million in that period of 2016.
"We're seeing lots of millenials who are choosing to begin their lives and their home ownership in urban areas, downtown, they're buying condos, they're renting apartments, they're buying houses.
We also have retiring boomers who have lived in the suburbs all of their lives, raised their families in the suburbs all of their lives but they're suddenly really interested in owning condos or even single family homes in uptown," says McVicar.
Historically, condos haven't caught on in Saint John but McVicar says that's suddenly changed.
"A third group that perhaps a lot of Saint Johners would hestitate to believe in — there's a significant number of professional people moving to Saint John from other cities to take high-paying, high quality jobs...these are high-earners and they're buying downtown condos."
Data obtained by CHSJ News courtesy of the Saint John Real Estate Board shows that listing to sales ratio in the uptown Saint John and south end area is on track to hit an at least-five year high at 27% as of June of 2017. That means 27% of the properties listed in the city core so far this year have been snapped up by buyers.
And it looks to be trending upward: it was at 18% in 2012, 14% in 2013, 15% in 2014, 16% in 2015 and 24% in 2016.
"Downtown, uptown Saint John is really as interesting a place, an urban place, a downtown place to live as any other place as Canada is right now and people are seeing that," says McVicar.
"There's a real vibe, you hear that every day that there's a real vibe in uptown Saint John and people want to be part of that."