According to the statistics released by the Quinte & District Association of REALTORS®, 2019 went out with a bang with impressive sales numbers, significant price gains and tight market conditions, leaving enthusiastic buyers in Prince Edward County (“the County”) with limited inventory to choose from. With a strong performance rounding out the end of the year, market conditions appear to have fully rebounded from any pullback and softening in the market that may have followed 2017. With ongoing strong demand, and generally positive economic indicators, the outlook for 2020 looks bullish and positive with the main challenges being affordability and lack of product.

 

 

As indicated, December racked up a remarkable number of sales, registering an increase in activity of almost 71% from last year. Specifically, 29 properties were recorded as changing hands in the wards that make up the County compared to only 17 the year previous. Based on a compilation of the sales recorded for each month in 2019, December’s numbers bring the year total to 497 which is 6 more or a 1% increase over last year’s figures which totaled 491 sales for the year.

 

Listings, on the other hand, were down 5% with only 56 new properties coming onto the market compared to 59 last year at this time, further contributing to tight market conditions. Because of an increase of listings, and greater availability earlier in the year, 2019 still closed out slightly ahead of last year with an increase of 6% in new properties listed compared to 2018. In total 1152 properties were listed this year and a total of 1085 were recorded as listed in 2018.

 

But with stronger sales counteracting the slightly greater supply, year-end inventory ended up remarkably close to last year’s with 384 properties available for sale, only 2 more than were available for sale last year at this time. The main story, however, continues to be that, with steady demand and plentiful buyers chasing limited supply, prices have been steadily increasing in the County, particularly in the latter half of the year, posing real challenges for property hunters looking for a bargain, or first time buyers considering the County as an attractive opportunity to get into the real estate market. With increasingly fewer exceptions on a monthly basis, property prices racked up significant gains year over year in 2019, ending up at an average sale price in December of $427,826 which is over 31% higher than it was in December 2018, when it was calculated to be only $325,077. When average sale prices calculated for each month in these market reports are tallied, and then averaged over the year, the average sale price for properties sold in the County in 2019 turns out to be $468,332 compared to $434,246 for 2018, marking an increase of 8% year over year.

 

As indicated, economic fundamentals, and conditions generally continue to look very favourable for another strong year in the County real estate market as we look forward to 2020. Demographic, employment and economic output trends and forecasts for Southern Ontario are generally very positive. Housing affordability and high household debt loads continue to be one of the most troubling challenges for government, banks and related economic institutions and regulators, but as indicated in earlier reports, despite significant price increases in property prices, County real estate continues to enjoy a significant competitive advantage over many comparable real estate markets in this regard. The County also benefits from being strategically located within relative proximity of major urban centres, economic engines and employment sources including, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, while still being able to preserve its inherently distinctive and attractive features of natural beauty and local charm and character, all of which contribute to a uniquely appealing quality of life.

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