After record sales of $571.6 million in 2007, real estate sales throughout the Georgian Triangle softened in the latter half of 2008. MLS® sales revenue reported through the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board for the year declined 23% to $437.8 million. Much of this decrease arose during the second half of the year when uncertainty about the economy began to set in resulting in prospective buyers putting their plans on "hold." Residential sales declined from 2,178 units sold in 2007 to 1,711 sold in 2008 a decrease of 21%. These results do not include the sales of new homes and condominiums sale made directly by developers and not sold through the local MLS® system. Numerous new home sites throughout the area had very strong sales during 2008 which when combined with the MLS® results, indicates that things are not as bad as some may perceive.
Through 2008 the number of new listings that came on to the market totaled 5,981 properties, an increase of 10% over the prior year. What continues to be a significant issue is the failure of sellers and their respective agents to correctly price properties to current "market" values. With 1,711 sales in 2008 and 5,981 new listings, it means that 1 out of every 3.5 listings sold. Expired listings for the year totaled 3,036 an increase of 24% over the number of expireds in 2007. For three consecutive years now, 2006 through 2008 more listings have expired than have sold despite strong market conditions!
Despite a softening in sales, we have yet to see any significant downward trend in pricing. "Average" resale home prices in the arera, a term often tossed about without proper qualification slipped 3.3% in 2008 to $279,513 down from the 2007 average of $288,949. The primary cause for this decrease stemmed from the fact that upper-end home sales dropped significantly in 2008. Sales above $500K declined 35% while sales above $800K were down 52%. With such shortfalls in high priced home sales, it is not hard to envision that the average price could have dropped much more. The average residential price in Collingwood actually went up last year, this was the only area municipality that reflected a gain. The bottom-line is, selling prices have not dropped significantly nor are they likely to. Tracking "average" prices is useful in establishing trends over time but do not accurately reflect pricing conditions across specific geographic markets, divergent neighbourhoods or property types ie: singlke family homes versus condos.
For further information regarding sales and pricing in 2007 versus 2008, please read my latest issue of Georgian Triangle Real Estate News for a complete summary of 2008 market activity throughout the area.