With apologies to poor Garth Turner, he remains the Greater Fool because so far, my 2013 predictions for our local real estate market are proving to be correct. Whew. (I know, boasting always gets me in trouble.) Well, I’m not sure I’m being fair to him entirely. While on the one hand he has been predicting a serious market crash for, I don’t know, eons now, some of our other local bloggers are positively gushing about how amazing the market is here. I have to call them on that too. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
As I say almost every month, we have micro markets. You cannot compare a new home subdivision in Collingwood to a waterfront home in Meaford or to a condo in the Town of Blue Mountains. You cannot say prices are up or down because, we only report average sale prices so, a few high end or a few low end sales can throw the numbers off very quickly. There are simply too many variables in our marketplace to make such broad statements and then assume they apply to every segment of the market.
In the first half of 2013, we are seeing that the number of sales in Wasaga Beach is up 38% this month compared to June 2012 yet, the Town of Blue Mountains is down 53%. How can we make a general statement about market conditions in the area with such a divergence? Year to date, sales in Wasaga Beach are actually on par with last year. What this means is that June was a very good month in Wasaga Beach. In the Town of Blue Mountains, year-to-date sales are actually up over last year so despite the first blush of low sales, all it means is that June was a slow month in that one area that month. See what I mean about general statements? Whoa, we need to be careful.
In general, we are finding that waterfront and riverfront sales of both homes and condos are indeed slower this year and that is likely due to the record low water levels we are experiencing. This represents an excellent opportunity for buyers and there are some great offerings now available. We are finding that sales of lower end, older condos are also flat while newer product or higher end units are seeing good activity in most areas. We are also seeing a reduction in the supply of homes coming on the market for the 5th month in a row now and this combined with some increased sales activity is putting upward pressure on prices in single family homes in particular. The subdivision resale activity for example is very strong and prices have been climbing quickly in many of these areas.
This chart provides a general overview of activity in the full region.
Here is a snapshot of the six major markets in the Georgian Triangle including Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Town of the Blue Mountains, Clearview, Grey Highlands and Meaford.
In the more urban communities of Collingwood and Wasaga Beach, it is fair to say that we are seeing a strong market with stable conditions and a declining inventory of supply against a growing demand. If you are a buyer, having your REALTOR® do a data based, opinion of value on a property you are considering for purchase is critical as it is for sellers who are establishing a fair list price. Sellers need to be sure to price appropriately to be in the game and homes need to be well presented to the market.
So, it’s not a recession and it’s not a boom. It’s a stable market headed towards better conditions in most areas but not all. As interest rates have started to creep upwards, we may see some softening but I’m not betting on that yet and wouldn’t be surprised if they creep back down later this year. Here in the Georgian Triangle, we are very fortunate to have strong fundamentals in place that allow our market to prosper with good prospects for the foreseeable future in most areas.