SAULT STE. MARIE -- With housing sales and prices soaring in Sault Ste. Marie, the local real estate board isn't fearing a big crash, like other larger markets might be.

According to the Sault Real Estate Board, February saw sales increase by more than 65 per cent this year in comparison to 2020, while the average price of a home rose more than $40,000 to $218,000.

"This is a normal time for us to see an inflation in home sales for the spring market, however, there are exceptions," said Tracey Rutkauskas, president of the board. "In regards to the three-bedroom brick bungalows, those homes are selling for, even like $50,000 more than asking. The other houses that are sitting on the market, they are going pretty fast, too, in terms of multiple bids."

Rutkauskas said there aren't as many concerns when it comes to a real estate bubble bursting in the Sault as there is across other Canadian markets.

Quite sustainable

In fact, she said the current market is quite sustainable.

"We are under-evaluated across all of the province when it comes to our home prices," she said. "We have a lot of catching up to do."

One area where she said there is some concern is in rental investment properties. Marc Beaudette, a realtor at Century 21, agrees.

"Our rental rate is actually on par with the rest of the province," he said. "So an investor in Toronto who is saying I can get a duplex for $600,000 and I can get $2,500 a month in rent, they can look at the Sault and say well, I can get that same duplex for $2,000 in rent, but pay $200,000 for the home."

Beaudette said that concern has already started to become a reality, as properties in the south continue to become more unaffordable.

"A lot of savvy investors in the south have caught on to the way our market is," he said. "By doing that and coming here, it's driving that price up."