What a difference a month and several degrees make! With most signs of the seemingly endless winter gone, the real estate market in the Georgian Triangle has finally started to bloom across all property types and price categories. Despite the fact that inventory remains tight, more listings are coming onto the market and sales are taking place in greater numbers. The May MLS® Statistic Report released by theSouthern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® (“SGBAR”) for the Georgian Triangle marks the first time this year in which more properties have changed hands than in the same period the year previous. Despite mixed economic signals both domestically and south of the border, buyers appear to be exhibiting a degree of bullishness with respect to their willingness to move forward with property purchases in the Georgian Triangle. This would appear to be buoyed, at least in part, by the ongoing conducive lending conditions and relative stability and dependability of the property market in the area.
More specifically, the number of reported sales in the Georgian Triangle for the month of May either matches or exceeds those recorded for the same period last year in every price category but two, namely the $400,000- 499,999 and $600,000-699,999 price ranges. Much like the previous month, the higher priced properties appear to be showing the greatest gains over last year. In total, 236 sales were recorded across the Georgian Triangle, an 11% increase over the 213 sales recorded in May 2013 and even more than the year previous when 202 were recorded. Year to date, the numbers still trail those for last year given the weaker performance of the market throughout the deep freeze experienced for most of the first part of 2014. Total sales thus far remain 5% behind last year at this time with 785 properties sold compared to 830 last year. Total dollar volume however, is tracking what is happening on the ground and in the marketplace because May’s performance exceeded that of last year’s by 14%, and year to date figures exceed those from last year by 2% at this point, despite the fact that unit sales are 5% behind, further reflecting the relative strength of the higher end market.
Last month, new supply started to trickle back onto the market with a small increase in property listings. That trend has continued this month with a surge of new property coming onto the market, 13% more than last year to be precise. This figure is based on 785 new listings being brought out onto the Georgian Triangle MLS® system in May compared to 692 the same month last year. Given the scarcity of new product thus far in 2014 however, year to date numbers of new listings continue to trail last year’s experience by approximately 3% with 2870 properties coming onto the market thus far compared to 2959 last year. And given the strong sales pace, inventory remains tight with only 2388 active listings being reported on the MLS® system at the time that SGBAR’s report was created, 60.000000ewer than last year when 2544 active listings were reported.
Not surprisingly, tight inventory and robust sales contribute to higher prices, particularly when much of the strength in the market is being experienced in the higher end. The average residential sale price year to date at the end of May came in at $359,338, a 7.7% increase over last year when it was recorded at $333,934. Price differentials for the month of May for single family residential properties came in about the same (a 7.3% increase – $365,756 compared to $340,947 last year). Spread over a twelve month period however, the year over year increase is less significant coming in at 3.7%, reflecting the fact that the surge in pricing is a more recent phenomenon, marking a departure from the more stable price patterns to which the Georgian Triangle had become more accustomed.
All indications suggest more of the same moving forward into the warmer months and heady days of summer. No significant storm clouds appear to be brewing on the horizon to derail current market trends. The economy is best described as being in gradual recovery mode, and while there may finally be initial signs of strengthening inflation, there is still very little talk of interest rates going anywhere within the foreseeable future. So here’s to a long awaited summer and a sunny forecast for the market in the months ahead!

Prepared by: Richard Stewart, Vice-President and Legal Counsel at Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage


(Image provided by http://forsalecollingwood.com/)

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