MLS® sales reported by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® to the end of February totalled $93.0 million, down 25% from the $124.4 million in properties sold during the first two months of 2017 and 10% below the same period in 2016. A total of 202 properties have sold though the local MLS® system this year, down 20% from the 254 properties sold in the first two months of last year and 29% below the 285 sales in the same period of 2016.
While demand for area properties in 2017 remained strong and is expected to continue in 2018, sales activity suffered last year primarily resulting from inadequate inventory levels. Year-to-date MLS® new listings total 396 properties which represents a 4% increase over the first two months of 2017. While admittedly this is not a significant increase it is encouraging to see more inventory coming to market as we head into the spring market when buyer demand starts to increase. Another important aspect to the real estate market in 2018 will be increased mortgage rates as well as stricter rules for borrowing. Tighter lending rules that came into affect earlier this year are sure to impact market conditions overall in 2018 especially for first time buyers. This will no doubt include what buyers are willing to pay as well as what mortgage amounts lenders are prepared to extend to their clients. Sellers need to be conscious of these potential pitfalls when shopping for a home or condominium and this is where we as REALTORS® can be of significant value. Current market conditions are not what they were twelve or fourteen months ago and for property owners serious abut selling, now is not the time to be over-pricing your property beyond its respective market value. Doing so will certainly impact what a buyer is willing to pay and more importantly, the amount of money their lender may be willing to extend them in the form of a mortgage. Look for more on this topic in my upcoming posts.
The brightest spot in the local real estate market last year was in upper end home sales. During 2017 we experienced a very strong demand for homes priced from $500,000 and higher. Upper end MLS® home sales in our area between $500,000 and $1 million last year totalled 571 units, an increase of 32% over 2016. The same could be said for sales between $1 and $2 million last year where sales were up s whopping 65%. Thus far 2018 has been a much different story. Unit MLS® sales between $500,000 and $799,999 are down 28% while sales from $800,000 to $999,999 are 20% below the same time last year. Sales in the $1 to $2 million price range are down 33% year-to-date. Lastly there have been no sales this year over $2 million whereas in the first two months of 2017 there were three.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of 2018 plays out. As both a Broker and a Market Value Appraiser I watch this data very carefully in order to advise both my buyer and seller clients as to their best options in this ever changing market. For a no obligation consultation as to your specific real estate needs and or goals, please do not hesitate to Contact Me. For more details on the luxury home market in our area please see my Southern Georgian Bay Carriage Trade Homes blog.