After a harsh winter which saw 1st quarter MLS® unit real estate activity in our area decline 13% from one year ago, sales during April started to rebound yet still remained below the level of April 2013. Monthly residential unit sales recorded through the MLS® system of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® came in 7% below April 2013 with 196 sales reported in April of this year compared to one year ago. At the same time, the number of new listings that came onto the market in April increased 2% from the prior year. This was also in sharp contrast to March when we saw the number of new listings plunge 24% from March of 2013. Coincidentally, MLS® dollar sales in April actually rose by 7% coming in at $61.2 million compared to $57.0 million in April 2013. April of this year saw 27 sales above $500,000 whereas in April 2013 there were just 17. This was a significant contributor to the increased dollar sales while unit sales decreased.
Year-to-date MLS® sales now total 549 units, down 11% from the 617 properties sold in the first four months of 2013 while MLS® dollar volume for the year of $173.7 million is 2% below the same period last year.
To the end of April, we have seen an 8% decrease in the number of new MLS® listings that have come onto the market. This combined with an 11% reduction in the number of expired MLS® listings has resulted in less available inventory relative to sales serving to create a more balance market overall.
The municipalities of Meaford and Grey Highlands continue to exhibit a strong demand with year-to-date sales up 36% and 30% respectively. All other area Municipalities are seeing decreases in year-to-date MLS® sales activity ranging anywhere from 7% to 37% below the first four months of 2013.
The single family home segment of the market is where the brunt of the year-to-date sales shortfall resides. To the end of April, there have been 348 single family homes sold which represents 12% fewer sales in 2014 versus the same period last year. Condominium sales on the other hand have remained relatively consistent with last year with 105 sales year-to-date, just 2 less than in 2013.
As is typically the case, the arrival of spring brings with it a revival of real estate sales activity. The sluggish MLS® sales activity that we have experienced in the first four months of 2014 may prove to be nothing more than a weather related slowdown in the demand for area real estate creating a pent-up demand that we may see fulfilled in the next several months.