As reported at the end of last month, we saw the number of MLS® listings for the month of April drop for the first time compared to the year before and that trend continued in May with 554 new listings or, 6.2% fewer new listings when compared to May 2008. The number of sales for the month was only down by 8% or, 15 units compared to the same month last year. The sales-to-listings ratio was up slightly over last year but down from April ’09 at 30.32%.
Looking strictly at year-to-date (YTD) figures for the first four months of 2009, the average residential sale price was down 2.9% compared to the same period as last year however, this is not an indication of actual values. For example, we’ve had three significant sales over the one million dollar mark in May which quickly impacts averages.
Looking at individual areas is always interesting. For example, we’ve seen 45.8% fewer number of sales in Meaford, 35.2% less in Wasaga Beach and 35.2% fewer in Clearview while the Blue Mountains is down 21.4% and Collingwood is down 11.3% all compared to one year ago. All of these do however show improvement over the first four months of this year. 12 month average sale prices were down in all areas except for Collingwood where it actually rose again for the second month in a row by 1.2%.
Looking at the statistics for May alone, we saw continued strength return to the condominium market with an increased number of sales. In both condominiums and single family homes, we’ve seen a number of competing offers or sales at full price with many of these in typically lower priced homes.
As has been the case for many months now, the majority of sales activity has taken place on properties priced below $300,000 with the $200-250,000 price band being the most active. Notably, there were 3 sales over the $1 million dollar in May and another 7 sales between $500,000 and $800,000. This may suggest that we are seeing the first signs of renewed interest or confidence in the upper-tier market.
For the first time in a long while, we are hearing our buyers say that they feel now is the time to buy and that they feel prices have bottomed out. More than anything though, I think the historic low interest rates are having a significant impact. With variable rates just above 2% and fixed rates below 3.8%, there is rarely been a better time to buy. Low rates, reduced prices and less competition in the marketplace in certain areas all add up to obvious opportunity. If prices declined further 9and we’re talking small percentages here from what we’ve seen), any interest rate increase would wipe out that difference in a hurry.
I’m interested to know what you think. Is the economy improving? Is now the time to buy?
(All statistical information obtained from the MLS® statistics provided by the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board.)