Based on the statistics released by the Quinte & District Association of REALTORS® (“the Quinte Board”), the pace of the real estate market in Prince Edward County (“the County”) in May is to some extent a reflection the late, grey, cold and relentlessly wet spring that we have experienced thus far. With these conditions, both buyers and sellers appear to have been discouraged from entering into the market with any particular robustness or enthusiasm. While buyers continue to face challenges including stringent qualification requirements for financing, compounded by debt servicing and generally rising prices, the County continues to be an attractive and affordable destination for property investors. Perhaps with the prospect of warmer temperatures and a little sunshine, greater energy will also return to the County real estate market.

 

 

As a start, significantly fewer new listings came onto the market in the County in May compared to the same month last year. In fact, the number of new listings fell by almost 20% year over year with only 134 properties being listed compared with 167 the year previous. Notably, only 7 more properties were listed in May than in April of this year. Year to date, new listings are down 10% (370 thus far compared to 411 by this time in 2018).

 

Consistent with that, sales too were down by a little over 23% with 50 properties changing hands in May compared to 65 one year ago, which brings the total number of sales in the wards that comprise the County this year to 130, which is 16% less than the 154 sales recorded at this point, the year previous.

 

Following a consistent, significant and extended period in which prices have surged upwards, they continue to remain relatively stable. At month’s end, the Quinte Board calculated the average sale price of properties sold in the County at $457,502 which is only 4% lower than in May 2018 when it came in at $477,606. The median price of properties sold, however, continued to rise reflecting the upward shift in the midpoint of the market, from $390,000 last May to $440,000 one year later, marking an increase of almost 13%.

 

With buyers facing more stringent conditions for financing , as well as the generally calmer pace of the market, it is not surprising that properties took on average 29 days longer to sell than they did last year, specifically 66 days as compared to 37 the year previous. That constitutes a percentage increase of over 78%. One contributing factor may be that there is more inventory to choose from than there was last year. At month’s end, the Quinte Board calculated that there were 574 properties available for sale versus the 499 that were reported to be on the market at the end of May 2018.

 

As mentioned, while weather is a variable every year, this winter and spring have proven to be particularly and uncharacteristically severe and miserable. This has played out across the County and much of Southern Ontario for that matter, in the form of lower temperatures, overcast skies, saturated fields and flooded waterfronts, compromising many of the activities traditionally associated with life in the County. While economic conditions for the most part remain relatively positive despite ongoing uncertainty on the trade front, the natural and meteorological ones have not been conducive to spurring real estate market players into action. As mentioned, however, watch for greater activity as buyers and sellers likely return to the market in greater numbers as temperatures rise and the sun finally starts to show itself. That mixed with little likelihood of any increase in interest rates on the immediate horizon should combine to provide some incentive to those who have been sitting back and waiting on the side lines.

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