For the third consecutive month the real estate statistics as reported by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® (SGBAR) are positive and getting stronger month over month as we move further into the 2015 calendar year.

 

Before exploring the numbers for March 2015 specific to SGBAR it is interesting to note some of the economic news and headlines that have captured the attention of the nation over the past month. As reported in the Toronto Star on March 25th Mr. Helmut Pastrick, chief economist with Central 1 Credit Unions, caught the attention of many when he stated that real estate prices in Toronto could soar another “17 percent by end of 2017” based solely on the continued increase in population and lack of supply being introduced to the market place. Mr. Pastrick, who has studied the Canadian housing market for 40 years further backed his theory emphasizing a strengthened provincial economy as a result of energy savings, weakened loonie and the continued growth of the US economy. In stark contrast Mr. Hilliard MacBeth, an Edmonton based financial planner continues to predict a “burst” within the Canadian housing market siting that affordability is the key and that any increases to wages continues to be outpaced by the rise in housing prices across the majority of the country.

 

Most recently, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz, was quoted on March 26th in a speech in London, England that he had his “fingers crossed” with regards to the rest of the year regarding the Canadian economy and further on March 30th, Mr. Poloz was widely questioned for his choice of words when he used the word “atrocious” in a reference to the effect that slumping oil prices were having on the Canadian economy as a whole. Although Mr. Poloz’s comments were not specific to real estate they do send a cautionary note with regards to the direction of the national economy as a whole.

 

Most recently, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz, was quoted on March 26th in a speech in London, England that he had his “fingers crossed” with regards to the rest of the year regarding the Canadian economy and further on March 30th, Mr. Poloz was widely questioned for his choice of words when he used the word “atrocious” in a reference to the effect that slumping oil prices were having on the Canadian economy as a whole. Although Mr. Poloz’s comments were not specific to real estate they do send a cautionary note with regards to the direction of the national economy as a whole.

 

Despite the variation of housing and economic market outlooks grabbing the headlines the local real estate story remains positive and is supported by the following statistics for March 2015.

 

As reported by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® (SGBAR), sales for the Western Region* for the month of March 2015 totalled 189 units, representing a 47% increase over the 129 unit sales reported for March 2014. Year-To-Date (YTD) the total sales for the same region were reported at 418 units. This represented a 31% increase over the 320 unit sales reported for the first three months of 2014. This is further illustrated when the sales figures are broken down by price point for the Western Region.

 

It is noteworthy that sales YTD for 2015 have outperformed sales for the first three months of 2014 for each of the enumerated price ranges.

The above statistics reflect price ranges across the region as a whole. However, the same positive picture is portrayed when you further breakout the YTD single-family sales by sub-district within the Western Region. Specifically, the Town of Collingwood, Clearview Township, Grey Highlands, Municipality of Meaford, The Blue Mountains and the Town of Wasaga Beach all reported double-digit percentage increases for the total number of sales for the first three months of 2015 as compared to 2014. In addition, within these same six sub-districts each reported a positive percentage increase in the 12 month average sale price YTD. The Town of Collingwood led the way with a 50% increase YTD with a total of 63 single-family unit sales as compared to 42 for the same time last year. Collingwood also realized a 9.4% increase in the 12 month average sale price YTD. Collingwood was followed by the Municipality of Meaford (38.9%), Clearview Township (37.5%), Wasaga Beach (36.8%), The Blue Mountains (36.7%) and Grey Highlands (12.5%) in terms of the percentage increase in YTD single-family unit sales. In contrast, Grey Highlands which had the smallest percentage increase in single-family unit sales YTD realized the only double-digit percentage increase in terms of the 12 month average price YTD with a whopping 36.9% increase. The second highest percentage increase was the Town of Collingwood at 9.4%, Clearview Township at 8.5%, Wasaga Beach at 6.3%, and The Blue Mountains at 1.8% and the Municipality of Meaford at 1.6%.

 

These significant sales numbers have translated into extremely positive dollar volume numbers for both Total Sales Dollar Volume (Month) and Total Sales Dollar Volume (YTD) as illustrated below.

 

For the first time in 2015 the month of March saw an increase in new listings when compared to the same time period one year ago. For the month of March there were 425 new listings representing a 16% increase over the 365 reported for the month of March 2014. This is in contrast to the 302 new listings for January 2015 as compared to 435 for January 2014 and 313 for February 2015 as compared to 377 for the month of February 2014. However, this is still far below the 503 new listings reported for March 2013. YTD listings continue to lag those reported for the same time period in 2014 and 2013. YTD for 2015 there have been a total of 1039 new listings as compared 1177 YTD for 2014 and 1338 YTD for 2013. At the end of March 2015 there were a total of 2276 active listings in the MLS® system for the Western Region.

 

Finally, when reviewing the Performance Record for the Western Region as provided by SGBAR, monthly sales to listings for March 2015 as a percentage was 44.47% as compared to 35.34% for March 2014. YTD sales to listings for 2015 was 40.23% versus 27.19% for 2014. To further support the strength of these numbers and the market as a whole when we look at the statistics for March 2011 YTD, March 2012 YTD and March 2013 YTD as a percentage of sales to listings they range from a low of 23.21% in 2011 to a high of 26.01% for 2013 well below the 40.23% recorded for March 2015 YTD.

 

Despite attention grabbing economic and real estate headlines elsewhere, the performance of our local real estate market for both the month of March and YTD is “positive and getting stronger.” This bodes well as we head toward what should be a very robust spring market. This statement is supported by the statistics highlighted above and the fact that the pillars of a healthy and stable real estate market remain in place for the Southern Georgian Bay marketplace

 

Prepared by: Keith Hull, Broker and Office Manager, Collingwood/Southern Georgian Bay & Richard Stewart, Vice-President & Legal Counsel at Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage

 

 

 (Image provided by http://georgian-bay-cottage.ca/)

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