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.