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2009 Real Estate Market Report for Collingwood, Blue Mountain and Area

What a year 2009 was in the real estate market. It was somewhat like driving in a snowstorm trying to sense the road ahead and having to make adjustments with each new gust.

First, a quick explanation about the data to follow. The Georgian Triangle area traditionally includes Collingwood, Blue Mountain, Wasaga Beach, Clearview, Grey Highlands and Meaford.  The data collected by our Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board MLS® however, captures a wider area that includes towns on the edges of our typical trading area. As I know most of you are focused on the traditional six communities, the statistics used in this report include only those areas and, only reflect data collected in our MLS® system.

We started the year about 10 months into what has been called the worst recession of the last 100 years. Starting in March 2008, unit sales month over month were consistently below the record levels set in 2007.  The trend continued until June of 2009 when almost miraculously, the market turned sharply upward and continued to gain momentum through the balance of the year.  Here are the highlights:

SALES
• The number of properties sold in the first quarter was down from Q1 2008 by 13.6% compared to a drop of 27% nationally and just over 20% in the GTA. (Note:  I reported in February that very early signs of a recovery were emerging.)
• In Q2, sales were down 3.9% compared to the previous year showing the first signs of some hope returning to the market. (Note:  Yours truly did report in April that IT WAS TIME TO BUY)
• June was the first time in 16 months that the number of sales for the month exceeded the previous year.  The real estate recession was over.
• In the third quarter, sales were up 14% of Q3 2008 but still down 11% over 2007.
• In the final quarter of 2009, the number of sales were up a remarkable 78.6% over the same period in 2008.  They were just 7.5% below the record levels set in 2007.

LISTINGS
• New listings more or less followed normal seasonal trends having peaks in May and September with some moderating in the summer months as I think some people were just giving up on it being a good time to sell unless really necessary.
• There were 1593 active listings (all types) on the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board MLS® (all areas) at years’ end.

SALE-TO-LISTING RATIO
• The sales to listing ratio is firmly into the Buyer’s market zone.  This ratio is measured by dividing the number of properties sold by the number listed.  A ratio of under 40% suggests a Buyers market, 40-50% is a more balanced market and over 50% is typically considered to be a Sellers market. Q1 had a ratio in the teens to low 20’s.  It rose into the mid 20s in the spring.  By June, the ratio climbed into the 30-25% range where it remained for the balance of the year.
• At years end, Collingwood’s sale to listing ratio hit 40% (balanced) with Meaford and Wasaga Beach close behind at 38% each.  The Blue Mountains had the lowest year end ratio at 31%.

CONDOMINIUMS
• There were 325 condos sold in the six main areas in 2009.  That was up 21.8% over 2008 and within 6% of 2007 levels.
• The average sale price of condominiums rose 3.4% over 2008 and 6% over 2007.
• There are currently only 252 active condominium listings on the market.

PRICES
•  Okay, it’s not fair to put that heading.  Real estate prices are a big topic all on their own so I’ve written a separate post on these.
• Phooey on Macleans magazine who suggested last April that real estate prices could drop by as much as 20%.  Boy, were they WRONG.  So was Garth Turner. 

Here is a graphic representation of the market over the last three years that shows the patter of recession and recovery:

So, what happened?
I really had the sense in the fall and winter of 07/08 that the recovery would be swift in the real estate market because so many of the potential property Buyers I was working with said exactly the same thing… “We’re think we’ll wait until the spring or summer to buy.”  Although they were in a position to buy, people were nervous as to where real estate prices were heading.  I believed that once the good news started appearing, that Buyers would come back into the market quickly and as it turns out, that is exactly what they did. As I said in a post last January, the recession wouldn’t last forever and the gloom was over-stated.

For those of you who’ve followed my market updates all year long, you knew all this.  For those of you who didn’t, I’m rather proud to let you know that every prediction and analysis I made turned out to be correct.  I hope you’ll join me in following the excitement as it unfolds in 2010.  Predictions are coming soon…

Marg Scheben-Edey is a Broker with RE/MAX four seasons realty limited, Brokerage in beautiful Collingwood, ON. With three decades of experience, Marg is a leader in the local real estate marketplace and is ready to help guide both Buyers and Sellers in achieving their real estate goals. Email Marg

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Marg Scheben-Edey

Real Estate Broker
Market Value Appraiser - Residential
Accredited Green Broker™
(designated by the National Association of Green Agents & Brokers)

RE/MAX four seasons
realty limited, Brokerage
Each Office Independently Owned & Operated
67 First Street, Collingwood L9Y 1A2

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