As summer winds down, and with the first hints of fall beginning to make an appearace in Prince Edward County (“the County”), real estate market conditions show no sign of slowing down or shifting into any semblance of seasonal hibernation. The County in many ways is at its best in autumn with the agricultural harvest, fall colours, and the “vendange” for the wineries. This is not lost on most buyers, and with strong domestic economic fundamentals in place and related statistics being reported, most signs point to the continuation of strong demand and the consequent robust market that we have been experiencing over the last several months moving forward into the last part of the year, which is consistent with the recent pace and trend of real estate across most of Southern Ontario.

 

 

According to the numbers made available by the Quinte & District Association of REALTORS® (“the Quinte Board”) for the County real estate market for the month of August, the number of property sales recorded in the wards that make up the County continued to show positive gains on a year over year basis. Specifically, 66 properties were reported sold in August compared to 59 the year previous, marking an almost 12% gain. Last month’s figures bring total property sales in the County for 2019 up to 322, down 4% from last year when 335 properties were reported sold by this time. It is noteworthy, however, that the recent recovery in sales has closed the negative differential which had built up as a result of the slower market experienced in the first part of the year.

 

Buyers should be encouraged by the growth in the number of new listings last month with 148 properties coming onto the market, an increase of almost 28% over the 116 new listings reported in August 2018. Year to date numbers, however, still lag last year’s figures slightly with total figures thus far coming in at 803, 11 fewer than last year at this time. Further to this, overall inventory at month’s end was up by over 11% year over year with the Quinte Board reporting 610 properties available for sale compared to 548 last year, giving Buyers moderately more choice when searching for properties.

 

Having said that, strong demand and tenacious sellers driving hard bargains continue to push the average sale price of properties in the County ever higher. The Quinte Board calculated the average sale price of properties sold in the County in August to be $534,370 racking up another significant year over year price increase of over 21% based on last August’s reported average sale price of $441,177. Similarly, the recorded median sale price, representing the midpoint in the market of properties sold rose over 16%, going from $399,000 in August 2018 to $463,750 last month.

 

Needless to say, with prices continuing their relentless march upwards, buyers are having to stretch ever further to secure a property and the financing necessary to complete the transaction which seems to be adding to the time it takes for the average price to sell, with average days on market continuing to noticeably exceed the pace of last year, taking on average 89 days to sell compared to 50 one year ago. This means that properties that sell are on the market, on average, 78% longer.

 

As indicated, the forecast for the County real estate market for the remainder of the year continues to be a positive one. While high prices and debt load servicing continue to pose affordability challenges for many buyers, the prospect of further increases in the cost of financing has diminished significantly, with many expecting lower rates reflecting trends abroad including persistent trade and political unrest. Despite strong economic conditions locally, this may be a harbinger of some instability to come, as neither Ontario or Canada are immune from such influences. This could have somewhat of a tempering effect on the otherwise bullish outlook for the real estate market in the County, but is unlikely to significantly detract from the ongoing attractiveness and desirability of investment in the area.

 

PREPARED BY:

Richard Stewart, Vice President & Legal Counsel

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