Traditionally the advent of September ushers in the end of the more relaxed and laid back pace of summer and marks the return to the hustle and bustle associated with back to school and workaday schedules and activity. The gorgeous weather and long hot sunny days experienced all season long in the Georgian Triangle would suggest an even more pronounced pause than usual, but the latest statistics released by the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® (“GTAR”) indicate that buyers did not check out and did not stay glued to their deck chairs and water mattresses. Rather, based upon the number of property sales recorded, buyers appeared to be ready to invest in the Georgian Triangle real estate market and take advantage of all of the benefits which the area offers.
The performance of the property market in August built upon the momentum of July and outstripped sales recorded for August of last year by 17%. Specifically 200 properties changed hands in August compared to 171 in August 2011 and 199 in August 2010, bringing the year to date figure to 1362 sales, 10% ahead of the pace set last year by this time when only 1234 properties had sold. Incidentally, so far 2012 figures for the Georgian Triangle real estate market also moderately surpass those of two years ago when 1344 properties had sold by this time. Dollar volume sales are even more impressive, besting last year’s numbers by 25% for the month of August and 9% better on a year to date basis, reflecting the fact that sales in the area either exceeded or equalled those of the year previous in every price category above $500,000.
Listings, however, are down 5% year over year with 542 new properties coming onto the market as compared to 569 in August of last year. Year to date the total number of new listings remains 4% ahead of last year at this time with a total of 4787 new listings coming onto the market as compared to 4602 by this time in 2011. The total number of active listings recorded as being on the MLS® system as of GTAR’s end of month report was 2620, up 4% from one year ago when 2515 active listings were recorded.
Pricing continues to be an interesting story, highlighting the fact that while buyers are prepared to invest in the Georgian Triangle, they continue to drive a hard bargain and sellers cannot expect to command price tags that are out of synch with a spotty recovery and ongoing broader economic uncertainty. August prices are consistent with the moderate softening that has been observed over several of the last few months with average sale price for residential single family properties for the month of August coming in at $328,423 marginally lower than August of last year’s $329,882. Measured over a twelve month period prices declined less than one percent, but the average residential sale price year to date of $314,389 is almost 3% lower than $323,070 recorded last year at this time.
Commentators generally continue to call for a moderating real estate market as we move into the fall and into the first part of next year, and this trend does appear to be playing out in several of the major urban markets. Affordability, debt levels, tighter lending rules, and global economic instability all appear to be part of this equation, but comparatively speaking the Canadian real estate market continues to be remarkably solid and stable with the Georgian Triangle proving to be no exception to this. Indeed the consensus continues to be that while the performance of the real estate market may prove to be somewhat lacklustre over the next few quarters, there is little indication of a major correction, and as mentioned in earlier reports, the Georgian Triangle would appear to be well positioned in this regard as it has not experienced some of the same significant price spikes felt in some of the more overheated urban markets.
Prepared by: Richard Stewart, VP and Legal Counsel
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