At the midpoint of the summer season, it is clear that the trend towards market stabilization that began earlier in the year is taking root. Based on the statistics made available by the Quinte & District Association of REALTORS® Inc (“the Quinte Board”) through its Matrix data platform, the fundamentals of a healthy and sustainable real estate market for the wards that make up Prince Edward County (“the County”) appear to be in place. The stranglehold on supply appears to be easing with new listings and inventory being up on a year over year basis, providing buyers with a greater range of properties to choose from. And while as mentioned in our last report, the basis of comparison on a year over year basis as we move into the second half of the year, is the more sane and moderate conditions that prevailed following the earlier overheated frenzy which had gripped the County and much of the rest of southern Ontario in the spring of 2017, buyers appear to be taking advantage of the greater choice of properties available with both sales and average sale price reflecting positive upticks.
Specifically, and for the second month in a row, sales were up marginally year over year, tracking last month’s comparative performance with two more properties selling over the year previous (57 vs. 55 in July 2017) representing a 3.5% increase. Year to date sales, however, continue to lag behind last year’s performance coming in 24% behind last year at this time with a total of 320 properties changing hands thus far compared to 421 by the end of July in 2017.
As indicated, new listings were up in July with 155 properties coming onto the market compared to 118 last year, constituting an increase of over 31%. These latest numbers contribute to a year to date total of 857 new listings, which is 28 more than last year at this time and amounts to a 3% increase.
With the increase of new supply surpassing that of sales, inventory too, is up by over 38% with the Quinte Board reporting 572 active listing at month’s end compared to 414 one year ago. There is no question that the pace of sales has slowed since the frenzied days of the first half of 2017, but demand remains strong and steady despite tighter lending conditions which have introduced an element of, deliberation, prudence, and in some cases caution amongst buyers, all of which has had a diminishing impact on the sense of urgency that was so pervasive over a year ago. It is not surprising therefore that properties are taking longer to sell. The average days on market for July was 66 days compared to 34 last year at this time. All of this has had the effect of restoring rationality, a degree of calm and measure to the market, contributing to a greater sense of sustainability for the long term. Sellers expectations too are having a moderating effect on sales with many unwilling to compromise on selling price, holding out for that prize number firmly implanted in their head by headier times.
The effect of all of these forces combine to keep the average sale price on its upward trajectory with buyers still stepping up to the plate, but sellers demanding near top dollar for their properties. Sales that are taking place, therefore, are fetching prices that continue to push new barriers for prices in the County. In fact, the average sale price for the County came in at $452,493, over 18% higher than last July when it was recorded at $382,553.
Broader economic conditions continue to look comparatively strong looking forward, with positive numbers being generated on a variety of fronts, despite ongoing uncertainty with respect to trade, and financing becoming both more challenging and expensive. Taken as a whole, however, prospects continue to look good for a healthy and stable real estate market for the County as we move further into the latter half of the year.
Richard Stewart Vice President & Legal Counsel