First, Happy New Year. Hopefully 2011 will kind and gentle to you. My year has started off with some lucky luck. It would appear that my predictions for 2010 were pretty well bang on. Yay!
Here we are with a whole new year ahead and the best way to make sense of it is to look back. I’ve done some number crunching and charting based on data from the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board MLS® system for our review. First a reminder; statistics can be deceiving as extreme highs or lows quickly shift average values and relatively small sampling sizes mislead us however, they are an indicator worth examining to get a general sense of where the market is at.
Below is a chart summarizing sales activity and prices in the 6 key market areas of the Georgian Triangle. This year, I decided to add in a couple of variables to show you how data quickly changes when these are applied. In one scenario, I’ve shown you the overall average, single family home sale price for a community. Note, this is an average, not a median price. Our real estate board only captures the average price data. Secondly, I’ve shown you how the figures change when values below $100,000 or over $1,000,000 are taken out of the equation. Thirdly, I’ve shown you what happens when we only look at properties under ½ an acre in size which often are more concentrated in-town versus rural.
Here is another telling chart which shows you the number of sales in the Georgian Triangle over-all in various price bands this year compared to last.
You can see that the number of sales of properties priced below $250,000 has declined whereas every single price band over than has increased. I would suggest this is a reflection of reduced supply and higher property values as opposed to pure demand.
The most active price ranges were from $150,000 to $300,000 representing 52% of all sales.
Almost 10% of total sales were priced over $500,000 which we would refer to the upper tier in our market. The number of properties sold in this category increased by almost 45% over the previous year reflecting the trend we saw in urban centres where high-priced properties continued to sell through-out the year.
As of December 31st, there were 1592 active listing on the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board MLS® system – almost exactly the same as 2009.
While the total number of listings and sales were higher at the end of 2010 then they were in 2009, most of these increases occurred between January- May. In every month since then, the number of sales each month dropped below 2009 levels. While sales levels have slowed, prices have not declined. Speaking of prices, we cannot say for sure how values have changed over the last year because averages do not tell us that answer. If I look at properties sold a year ago, I would say the values are relatively the same. There are pockets where we’ve seen increases however, on average, prices do not seem to have increased in a significant sense and neither have they declined.
At the end of the year, the sales-to-listing ration (number of sales divided by the number of listings) was at 31.45% and just slightly below 2009 levels. This means that roughly 1 in 3 properties sells. (Don’t panic. In boom times, the ration rarely rises above 52%). Either way, there is some balance in the market giving buyers more time and choices while sellers need to be competitive in order to realize a sale.
So what can we expect for 2011? My guess is that it will mirror 2010 in almost every regard with continued stability favouring buyers somewhat, very small price increases and no big shocks or changes. There is continued strength in the high-end market, we see continued interest from investors wanting to buy in our area and, we are seeing more and more newer Canadians who have immigrated in the last decade now discovering the beautiful area we call home here in Southern Georgian Bay. I am however, watching the price of oil and the strong value of our dollar with some concern. Our recovery is tenuous. There is a need to increase interest rates and a misstep by the Bank of Canada in this area could trigger a decline in sales levels. So far, they’ve walked the perfect line it seems and if that continues, together with continued recovery in other North American markets, we should expect a stable year ahead.
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