Based upon the statistics released by the Quinte & District Association of Realtors® (“the Quinte Board”), the pace of activity in the Prince Edward County (“the County”) real estate market slowed somewhat over the month of February. The potential reasons for this pause are twofold. First, the County was pounded by a series of particularly brutal storms over the last month which have made travel to and throughout the County challenging at best. Bluntly put, just about everything has been covered by a thick blanket of snow and coated by an intimidating sheet of ice, which has undoubtedly impeded the ability of potential buyers to get into and properly inspect the properties in which they may be interested. In addition to that, those actively involved in the market have been consistently frustrated by the shortage of good property stock, which has been further compounded by the limited number of new listings coming onto the market. Perhaps with the forecasted thaw, and impending spring conditions, sellers will be encouraged to put their properties on the market, and buyers will be able, and feel more inclined to venture out and see them.

 

 

 

Specifically, according to the Quinte Board, only 24 properties sold in the month of February across the wards that make up the County. That is over 35% fewer than sold the year previous when 37 properties were recorded as sold, and is 10 fewer than sold in January, 2019. Year to date, 58 properties have changed hands in the County, marking a 4% increase over the 56 sales logged last year by this time.

 

As indicated, however, the number of new listings are flat. Only 53 new properties came onto the market which is the same as the year previous when the market was already tight. Year to date new listings lag last year’s numbers by 15% with only 140 new properties being listed in total thus far in 2019 compared to 165 one year ago.

 

It is interesting to note that those properties that did sell in the County during the month of February, did so at a premium. The Quinte Board calculated the average sale price of properties this month at $502,953. This impressive benchmark exceeds last year’s figure ($392,059) by over $100,000 and marks a year over year increase of over 28%. As indicated in earlier reports, due to the smaller sample pool from which these figures are derived, real estate statistics for the County are subject to more volatile swings as they are inevitably more influenced by the particular cross-section of properties that sell at any particular time. Having said that, they still provide some insight into the trends and trajectory of the market, which in the case of price, has been a relentless surge upwards over the last few years. Consistent with this, the median sales price for the County came in at $512,000, which amounts to a whopping 60% year over year increase from $373,500 in February 2018.

 

Buyers did take longer to locate, settle on, and secure their properties of choice, as the average days on market for properties that sold in February went up from 68 to 99, which is an increase of almost 46%. This could be a factor of a number of things including: sellers being tenacious about their selling price and forcing buyers to deliberate longer before being able to confidently proceed with an offer; buyers taking longer to find exactly what they were looking for; or as stated, the particularly inclement weather confronting all players in the County real estate market in February.

 

And finally, while they may not necessarily reflect the properties or price points that buyers are interested in or looking for, there are in fact more properties on the market this year than last. At months end, 402 properties were listed for sale, while according to the Quinte Board, there were only 249 the year previous at that time.

 

The prospect of warming temperatures and the advent of spring should usher in new market conditions for the County. Hopefully, it will prompt sellers to list their properties for sale with the knowledge that the attributes of their property can be more favourably showcased, and the belief that buyers will be more inclined to venture out and appreciate them. Generally, market conditions seem to be stabilizing with a return to a more sustainable pace, but recent price trends suggest that, despite its ongoing relative competitive price advantage, the County is not immune from the affordability challenges now confronting many buyers grappling with higher debt loads, carrying costs, and the more stringent lending criteria imposed by the stress test.

 

Prepared By:
Richard Stewart, Vice President & Legal Counsel

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