Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Annual MLS® Dollar Sales Up 34% Year-To-Date

  Area real estate sales reached a new high in 2016 when for the first time, MLS® sales across Southern Georgian Bay broke the $1 billion barrier setting the stage for record sales again in 2017.  Attaining this however was seemingly in jeopardy stemming from the fact that new listings coming to market on the MLS® system of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® have been well below what is needed to satisfy the seemingly insatiable demand for area real estate.  Despite the fact that new MLS® listings are down 16% to the end of May,  MLS® dollar sales  thus far in 2017 are running 34% ahead of 2016 with year-to-date sales to the end of May totalling $519.3 million.  In essence year-to-date sales are at 52% of last year and we are less than 42% into the year so another $1 billion plus year would appear to be in the offing.
 
  The shortage of listing inventory is however impacting unit sales.  MLS® unit sales to the end of May total 1,139 properties, an increase of 6% from one year ago when 1,070 sales were reported.  The disparity between MLS® dollar sales being up 34% while MLS® unit sales are only up 6% stems from two reasons. 

  First, sales at the upper end of the market are running well ahead of 2016.  Single family home sales between $500,000 and $800,000 are up 63% to the end of May with 221 sales reported compared to 136 in 2016.  Sales between $800,000 and $1 million total 49 properties an increase of 75% over last year.  Lastly, MLS® sales above the $1 million mark are up an astounding 146% to the end of May with 59 sales reported in 2017 versus just 24 sales in the first five months of last year.  As one would expect, these significant increases in the sale of upper end properties are having a profound affect on driving MLS® dollar sales  at a time when MLS® unit sales are increasing only marginally.  This increase in the upper price ranges of the market is also having a impact on the "average" single family home price in the area which is why changes in "average" prices can be so misleading.  As of the end of May, the 12-month year-to-date average MLS® single family home price for our area has increased almost 35% in large part due to the substantial increases we are experiencing at the upper end of the market.  
 
  Another key issue driving the increase in MLS® dollar sales this year are the prices being paid across our region.  Multiple offers, once somewhat of a rarity in this market have now become quite commonplace.  When a listed property receives multiple offers, the final sale price is all but guaranteed to be at the full list price or in many cases higher.  A small condo listed for sale earlier this year in Collingwood attracted 17 offers and sold for $202,000 versus the listed price of $169,000.  Similarly, a single family home sold for $517,500, 29% over the $399,900 asking price.   Typically the average sale-to-list price ratio for properties sold through the local MLS® system has been about 95%.  This has now increased to 97%+ stemming from the  strong prices that sellers have been able to get in the current market.

   Year-to-date sales across the region vary greatly from municipality to municipality.  Total single family home sales are actually down 4% overall to the end of May.   Single family home sales in the Blue Mountains however are up 38% while in Grey Highlands, single family home sales are up a more modest 14% followed by Meaford  showing a 6% increase in home sales.  All other area municipalities however are posting decreases in year-to-date single family home sale activity.  Sales in Collingwood are down 9%, single family home sales in Wasaga Beach are down 14% followed by Clearview Township with 12% decrease year over year.  Keep in mind these numbers do not reflect new home sales made by developers which typically do not go through the MLS® system.  Many new home developments in the area are experiencing strong sales activity thus picking up the resale market slack where shortages in MLS® listings are leaving buyers no choice but to buy new.

  Total MLS® condo sales are up a modest 8% year-to-date with 233 units sold compared to 216 last year.  Meanwhile, MLS® vacant land sales have surged ahead 69% this year with 210 sales reported through the end of May compared to 124 one year ago.   For many buyers in this area the ability to build exactly what they want is attractive but the lack of available housing listed for sale on the local MLS® system is obviously having some impact here as well.


   As we head into the final seven months of 2017 we are already seeing a shift in the market.  While the demand for area properties remains strong, the frequency of multiple offers with sale prices well over asking and the hyper activity that we have experienced in the first five months of 2017 appears to be waning.  This may only be temporary but the real estate market in the Barrie area and the GTA is undergoing the same transition which in turn will impact market activity here.  This may not be a bad thing leading to a more balanced and sustainable market long term.   






Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Saving The Nottawasaga Lighthouse

  Last year I was asked if I would let my name stand for the Board of Directors of the Nottawasaga Lighthouse Preservation Society (NLPS) and as someone who likes to give back to the community, I heartily agreed.  At the NLPS Annual general meeting in June I was both elected to the Board and subsequently asked if I would act as Chair for the group which I further agreed to.  My great grandfather was a lighthouse keeper at South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island so I suppose its in my blood.


  A lot has happened in the ensuing nine months some of which I will share here, and it's all due to the efforts of what has to be the hardest working, most dedicated group of individuals on the Board of Directors as well as other volunteers engaged in fundraising etc. that I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

  Ten or twelve years ago when I was a Director of the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce, the late Jim Kilgour came to the Chamber with the idea of restoring the Nottawasaga Lighthouse.  At the time this seemed like an ambitious plan, little did we know back then just how large this undertaking actually is and not just from a monetary standpoint.  Multi-levels of the federal government are involved including the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Public Works both of which have been extremely supportive of our efforts.  The DFO who is tasked with disposing of dozens of lighthouses across Canada has called us "the most credible group we are working with," granting us permission to access the island last fall to undertake the shrink wrapping of the tower.  Despite a very uncooperative Mother Nature which necessitated wrapping of the tower not once but twice, the work was completed under the most adverse of conditions while I guiltily vacationed in New Zealand.  Special mention and thanks goes out to NLPS Vice-Chair Stephen Emo, Board Member Robert Square and to our Engineers Doug Harkbart and Erle Heintzman for persevering literally to the bitter end, completing the work on December 8th and remarkably under budget.  During the work we completed last fall, the government commissioned a structural assessment of the tower Stantec Engineering and despite the significant amount of exterior stone that has fallen off, the tower is structurally sound with no signs of leaning or other movement.

The current issue of On The Bay magazine features a letter I submitted thanking a number of local businesses who generously helped us throughout the wrapping process.  These include: Weatherall Dock and Dredge of Markdale, CRS Rentals Collingwood, Bill Brown Lumber Collingwood, SDM Construction of Woodbridge, Collingwood Home Hardware and the Town of Collingwood, Parks and Rec Department.


Since last year's Annual General Meeting our Treasurer Nancy Leno, sister of the late Jim Kilgour and NLPS secretary Pat Anstett have worked behind the scenes building a much improved accounting and membership management system along with better banking arrangements.  Last fall we launched a newsletter to keep our Members abreast of our activities and accomplishments and we trust they have found this informative.  For the most up-to-date and accurate recap of our activities, NLPS members and the public-at-large are encouraged to visit the  "Official" NLPS Facebook page.

  As with any project of this size, fundraising is a huge component of what needs to be done to accomplish the ultimate goal, first restoring the lighthouse and later rebuilding the lightkeeper's house which fell victim to a fire many years ago.  NLPS Fundraising Chair Gary Norman has and continues to work tirelessly on numerous initiatives aimed at building our financial reserves and creating awareness of our cause.  Throughout the past months we have received some noteworthy contributions from both private individuals and corporate donors.  Most recently we launched the sale of lighthouse prints, featuring the work of local artist Andrew Peycha.  Andrew's picture of the tower was commissioned by local Collingwood residents John and Carol Saunders who graciously loaned us their original to make 200 limited edition copies each one signed and numbered by the artist.  Prints are available for $125.00 with a framing package offered by Georgian Frame Gallery.

  Despite a blustery winter with a lot of severe winds,  the accompanying photo I recently shot with my drone shows that the wrapping of the tower completed last fall has stood up as expected.  The initially installed shrink wrap which fell victim to high winds last November was replaced with a heavier, reinforced tarpaulin material used by the trucking industry`and we anticipate it will readily stand up for two or three years while we raised the necessary funds to commence the restoration process.

  As of this posting, discussions are underway for the eventual transfer of ownership of the property from the government to NLPS.  Land Registry records which as a REALTOR® I have access to reflects the current owner as "Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada."  Prior to any transfer of ownership taking place, an environmental assessment of the tower lands and other steps need to be completed.  During the remainder of this year we hope to undertake a thorough cleaning of the interior, complete some additional wrapping of the exterior a start work on some shoreline improvements for a better docking arrangement at some future point in time.  None of this work will happen quickly but it will nonetheless be rewarding and will get us that much closer to realizing our ultimate goal.    

  We have seen an overwhelming level of support from the community all of whom are hoping to see our vision for the restoration of the lighthouse fulfilled. We have made numerous presentations to local community groups including probus clubs and others, sharing the history of the Nottawasaga Lighthouse and our vision for its future.  If you and your group would like to learn more and would like to arrange a speaking engagement please feel free to contact me by phone or email as shown at the bottom of this post. 

While we are a determined and dedicated group that has accomplished a great deal, we need your help.  Volunteers are needed for a variety of functions including fundraising, membership promotion, marketing and other activities.  If you would like to learn more or to volunteer for what is proving to be a fun project please visit the NLPS website, and be sure to LIKE the Official NLPS Facebook page.  Please feel free to contact me at 705-443-1037 or via email chair@nlps.info to learn more. 






Monday, April 3, 2017

Area MLS® Real Estate Sales Up 41% in The First Quarter

  Following record sales which saw MLS® real estate sales across southern Georgian Bay break through the $1 billion barrier in 2016, demand for area properties in the first quarter of 2017 shows no signs of letting up notwithstanding there is an ongoing shortage of properties listed for sale.

  First quarter MLS® sales as reported by the Southern Georgian BayAssociation of REALTORS® totalled $246 million an increase of $71 million or 41% over the first quarter of 2016.  MLS® unit sales for the first quarter of 2017 saw 560 individual properties sold compared to 472 sales last year an increase of 19%.  Conversely, the number of new MLS® listings that have come to market year-to-date to the end of March totals 748, down 21% or 200 less than the 948 MLS® listed properties than came on the market in the first three months of 2016.  As we have stated for quite some time, the ongoing lack of inventory both locally as well as in many markets across Canada is the only real threat to residential property sales nationwide.
 
  Not all area municipalities are experiencing the same level of sales growth and some of this stems from the lack of inventory.  Year-to-date single family home sales are up a modest 7% to the end of March with 336 MLS® sales reported. Single family MLS® home sales in Collingwood are unchanged with 61 sales reported year-to-date while sales of 40 homes in Clearview Township is one less than a year ago.  Home sales in Wasaga Beach are down 11% with 109 sales this year compared to 122 in 2016.  Sales in other area municipalities are up as follows: Grey Highlands 20%, Municipality of Meaford 35% and the Blue Mountains 38%. MLS® condominium sales are up a modest 12% with 111 sales reported this year compared to 99 sales in the first quarter of last year.  As we have pointed out in the past, the above mentioned results are for MLS® sales only and do not include the sale of new homes and condominiums made by builders and developer several of whom are selling out their projects very quickly.

  Whereas single family home and condominium sales are experiencing modest growth, MLS® vacant land sales are up a whopping 159%.   A total of 96 sales have been reported through the end of March versus just 37 sales during the same period last year.  Over the past several years there has been a glut of vacant land inventory.  Whether its the absence of available houses and chalets listed for sale or just a matter of personal preference, buyers are quickly gobbling up building lots at a pace unlike anything we have seen in recent years and this is especially true in the Blue Mountains where 57 sales represents 59% of the vacant land sales in the region year-to-date.

  MLS® sales in total dollars continues to driven in large part to the sale of higher priced properties.  Sales between $350,000 to $499,999 are up 54% this year with a total of 157 sales reported.  In the $500,000 to $799,999 category sales total 96 units an increase of 85% while sales between $800,000 and $999,999 of 21 properties represents a 75% gain from one year ago.  Lastly, sales above the $1 million mark are up 115% with 28 sales reported this year compared to just 13 in the first quarter of 2016.   

  Over the past 18 to 24 months we have seen the real estate sales atmosphere very rapidly move from a Buyer's to a Seller's market.  Unlike in the GTA and typically a rarity in our market, multiple offers have become very commonplace with resulting sale prices often exceeding the seller's asking price.  A small 3 bedroom Collingwood townhouse condo garnered a record 17 offers and sold for $33,000 over the $169,000 asking price.  Similarly a single family home in the area recently had over a dozen offers and sold for more than 29% over the $400,000 list price.  Buyers and their sales representatives in this market need to act quickly with financing in place, a home inspection completed prior to offer submission and or waived altogether enabling them to go in with the cleanest offer possible.  Furthermore, Buyers must possess the willingness to put their absolute best foot forward in terms of price as with competing offers, there is seldom a second chance for negotiation.


  Whether or not we can sustain the level of MLS® sales activity in 2017 that saw last year remains to be seen.  While the demand for area real estate across southern Georgian Bay shows now signs of diminishing, what remains to be seen is whether there is a sufficient supply of properties listed for sale to satisfy what appears to be an insatiable demand for area real estate.    

  If you are uncertain as to how current market conditions are impacting your real estate plans either as a Buyer or Seller, please feel free to Contact Me for a no obligation confidential consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.    






Contact Me

Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4



Email:
rickcrouch@propertycollingwood.com



Direct: 705-443-1037



Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230




Website:
www.rickcrouch.realtor















My Profile

Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.