Tuesday, December 5, 2017

In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb

  In like a lion out like a lamb is a phrase typically used to describe the transition from winter to spring however it also applies to this year's real estate market across southern Georgian Bay.

  On the heels of record MLS® sales in 2016 when sales volume for the year topped $1 billion, 2017 started off like a lion with record sales, multiple offers and sale prices that were often well over the asking prices of the sellers.  June brought with it a much tamer market with sales in June marking the first time in 40 months when sales for a given month failed to exceed that same month in the prior year.

  Following a relatively slow summer, sales momentum picked up in the fall but not at the same frantic pace that we experienced earlier in the year.  At one point I questioned whether we would top the $1 billion mark again this year but as of November we have.  While MLS® sales activity in November was down 15% from the same month last year to just over $84 million for the month, year-to-date sales now stands at $1.047 million for the year and we have one more month to go.  Again these results do not reflect the sale of new homes and condominiums made by developers which are typically done outside of the MLS® system.

  While MLS® sales dollars have already surprised 2016, clients and others I speak with are surprised to learn that MLS® unit sales are below last year's level.  Through the end of November, 2,279 MLS® sales have been reported, a decrease of 13%  or 344 properties from the first eleven months of 2016 when 2,623 MLS® sales had been completed. 

  MLS® dollar sales in 2017 are being driven by a very strong demand for high-end properties most notably in the $1 to $2 million range where year-to-date sales are up 77% with 106 sales reported this year compared to 60 last year.  We have seen similar results under $1 million as well with sales between $800,000 and $999,999 up 36% for the year.

  As has been the case for the past 12 to 18 months, MLS® listing inventory continues to lag.  As of this posting, MLS® listings for the year are down 11% from one year ago, coinciding with the 12% decrease in MLS® unit sales.  Single family homes sales are down 18% from one year ago.  The Blue Mountains has been the only municipality all year where single family home sales have surpassed last year's results but as of the end of November, that increase has shrunk to just one more sale compared to 2016.  All other area municipalities have and continue to track well below last year with the results being as follows:  Clearview -29%, Collingwood -17%, Grey Highlands -7% Municipality of Meaford -27% and Wasaga Beach -23% .  The lack of available housing inventory has played a key role in the unit sales decreases we have experienced throughout 2017.

  Area condo sales have also softened from earlier in the year.  To the end of November, MLS® condo sales total 503 units for the year compared to 514 last year, a modest decrease of 2%.  MLS® vacant land sales have remained robust in 2017 driven by the fact there has been ample inventory.  Vacant land sales for the year total 332 properties up 9% from the 304 sales reported in 2016.

  Heading into the holiday season, sales in December traditionally start to slow then ramp up again in January.  I predict that in 2018, we will continue to see a market whereby demand exceeds the supply, inventory levels will remain soft and pricing stable.  With changes to the mortgages rules coming in January and  with cooler heads now prevailing, we may not see the crazy pace of sales that we experienced in the first four or five months of 2017 but that's okay.  Speaking both as a consumer and a REALTOR®, excess is never a good thing when it comes to real estate,  Only time will tell what market conditions we will experience in 2018.  The demand for area properties is not expected to diminish, hopefully we will see an increase in housing inventory resulting in more balanced market conditions of everyone. 

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Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4


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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.