As predicted in our last report, things are definitely heating up in Prince Edward County (“the County”)! Not only have we finally experienced our first few sunny days of summer-like weather after what felt like an endless deep freeze, but the warmer temperatures are accompanied by an awakening of the real estate market, and properties of all kinds are starting to fly off the shelf.
 
Property sales across the broader Quinte & District Association of REALTORS® Inc. (“the Quinte Board”) have been strong throughout the first quarter of 2015, but April marks the first month in which the County has caught up with the robust property market that is being experienced across both the Quinte Board as well as Southern Ontario, generally. In fact April is also the first month this year in which the number of County real estate sales have surpassed those for the same month last year. The primary reason for both this drag on sales to date and the current expression of pent up demand built up over the preceding months can likely be attributed to the harsher than usual weather which has a disproportionate impact upon a more seasonally dependant market like the County.
 
 
According to the Enhanced Statistics Statistical Query Report for the County prepared by the Quinte Board, 56 properties were sold in April, 30% more than in April 2014 when only 43 properties were sold. This is remarkably consistent with sales activity across the Quinte Board which shows a 29% bump up in monthly sales year over year with 375 properties changing hands in April 2015 compared to 290 in the same month last year. In the County, year to date sales trail last year’s numbers only marginally now with 138 sales being reported thus far in 2015 compared to 142 last year at this time, a decline of only 3%. On the other hand, sales across the Quinte Board year to date amount to 933, 21% more than last year at this time when only 772 were reported sold. Total dollar volume across the Quinte Board has increased even more than unit sales both on a monthly as well as a year to date year over year basis with 34% and 25% increases, respectively. These numbers are consistent with the generally bullish conditions being experienced in neighbouring market places served by this Brokerage including Toronto, Muskoka and the Southern Georgian Bay areas.
 
Listings across the County, however are down somewhat with 201 new properties coming onto the market in April, 4 fewer and 2% less than last year when 205 new listings came out. Year to date comparisons, however, reveal a 4% gain in listings with a total of 593 and counting this year compared to 569 last year at this time. This increase in listings is directly mirrored in an identical 4% boost to property inventory in the County. The Enhanced Statistics Statistical Query Report shows 656 active listings at the end of April when the report was produced compared to 631 last year at this time.
 
A robust sales pace has brought the average days on market for properties sold in April in the County from 102 in April 2014 to 84 this past month. This amounts to an almost 17.5% reduction in the amount of time it took to sell the particular cross section of properties sold. Finally, and not surprisingly given what is happening and the strength of the market in both the County as well as much of Southern Ontario , the average sale price of properties sold in the County rose by 13.5% based on a comparison of average sale price last April ($268,782) and April 2015 ($305,173).
 
As the saying goes, spring has definitely sprung, from both a weather as well as real estate activity perspective. With hot selling conditions abounding in neighbouring and complementary markets there is little reason to think that the County will be left out in this regard. Lending conditions remain historically favourable for buyers, and economic prospects continue to look cautiously positive both domestically as well as south of the border. Barring any unforeseen disruptive events, most commentators, including the Bank of Canada downplay the likelihood of either a significant correction in, or derailing of the market. There is good reason therefore for buyers and sellers to be optimistic about real estate opportunities in the County this summer which continue to reflect excellent value and comparative affordability.
 

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

 

(Image provided by http://www.bpimaging.com/)  

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