With the end of July, we find ourselves smack in the middle of summer and sliding into the second half of the year. At this point in the season, when the beaches and campgrounds are full; the inns, restaurants and shops are busy; and Prince Edward County (“the County”) generally is teaming with residents, visitors and tourists; it should be easier to get a read on the health of the local economy and the real estate market in particular.
 
While many variables are inevitably at play, it is possible to say that the market is not revealing any startling surprises or noticeable shifts as compared to last year. Rather, generally speaking both sales and listings are falling slightly short of last year’s numbers but average sale prices are holding up nicely and have been showing a positive trajectory year over year from the beginning of the year, a sign of confidence in the market and consistent demand for County properties.
 
 
Specifically for July, the Enhanced Statistics Statistical Query Report prepared by the Quinte & District Association of REALTORS® (“the Quinte Board”) recorded 62 property sales across the County, which is actually 15% fewer than the 73 which were recorded as sold in July 2014. As indicated in earlier reports, the smaller sampling of properties and cross section of sales in the County inevitably exaggerates any statistical swings in sales and thus should not be taken out of context. For perspective purposes, year to date property sales amounted to 330 at month ’s end, 14 fewer and 4% less than last year at this time when the Quinte Board reported a total of 344 properties sold in the County. Sales across the broader territory served by the Quinte Board, including Belleville, Trenton, Brighton, Madoc, and others reveal quite a balanced picture for July with 349 properties sold in July, 8 fewer than last year but given the broader area covered and larger numbers, only a 2% decline. Year to date sales figures for the Quinte Board generally however, show a 16% gain over last year with 2131 properties sold in total so far compared to 1841 last year. As indicated in earlier reports, this area covers a broader range of communities with different demographics, characteristics, and market forces at play, going some way in explaining the differing market performances.
 
New listings in the County are down 16% year over year with only 148 new properties coming onto the market compared to 177 last July. This brings the year to date total to 1068 properties thus far, 27 shy or 2% fewer than last year at this time, prompting the market to tighten somewhat with active listings falling 2% year over year at the time these statistics were published, with 727 properties available this year compared to 744 last year at this time. Listings across the entire Board were down as well , 13% fewer than last year with 702 properties coming onto the market in July compared to 807 the year previous. Year to date figures are remarkably close with only a 1% gain with the numbers coming in at 5117 this year compared to 5065 in 2014.
Those properties that did sell took on average 85 days to sell which was 27% longer than last year at this time when the properties that were recorded sold in July, 2014 took on average 67 days to sell.
 
Finally, and as indicated, the average sale price of properties that sold in the County posted another healthy year over year gain, coming in at $302,674, 11% higher than the average sale price recorded for property sales in the County last July which was $273,648. While property prices in the area have been steadily rising, it does not undercut the competitive price advantage which the area holds over many comparable areas, highlighting the ongoing and significant value inherent in most properties in this signature area.
 
Despite some economic instability and ongoing debate as to whether the Canadian economy is in a slump or on the brink of recovery, and what labels should be used to best describe current conditions, the real estate market across Southern Ontario has performed remarkably well. The lower interest rates have no doubt provided a boost to the market, and show no signs of going up any time soon. Moreover, the lower Canadian dollar can’t hurt either and will highlight the value of properties in the area. Moving forward, the forecast continues to look positive for real estate in the County, with a reasonable expectation of ongoing market stability as the second half of the year unfolds.
 
 

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

 

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