With one month left to the 2018 Prince Edward County (“the County”) real estate season, both sales and new listings are down by virtually equal measures. It is noteworthy that this is in stark contrast to October where sales surpassed those from the year previous by over 36%. As discussed in previous market reports, this highlights the inevitable statistical volatility inherent in any market analysis of a geographical region as small and defined as the County. For instance, a microburst of activity in one month may have the effect of both depleting the number of desirable properties available on the market as well as absorbing some of the demand for the next. The reality is that any activity in a market such as the County, by definition, disproportionately affects the statistical outcomes, resulting in more violent swings in the numbers released by the Quinte & District Association of REALTORS® (“the Quinte Board”) on a month to month basis. The one unavoidable constant in the County real estate market, however, remains price, which continues its steady climb higher, inevitably affecting affordability, and impacting other market indicators in turn.
First, as suggested, the number of properties sold in the County in November fell from 42 last year to 24 this year. That amounts to more than a 42% drop and brings year to date numbers to 517, which is 17% behind last year’s figures at this time when a total of 626 properties were recorded as sold. New listings, however, are also down coming in at over 39% fewer than last November, with only 39 properties being listed compared to 64 last year. Because of an earlier boost to supply, year to date numbers remains marginally above where they were last year with 1180 new listings coming onto the market thus far compared to 1146 in 2017 at this point. Market conditions remain reasonably tight and are trending further in that direction with the number of active listings at months end falling from 501 to 432 from October to November, and the year over year positive differential declining from almost 53% to around 43% for those two months respectively.
Steady and committed demand for choice properties, combined with relatively tight market conditions and Sellers unwilling to part with their properties for less than their expected price continue to provide a firm floor to real estate in the County. Those properties that are selling, continue to do so at unprecedented price points. The average sale price recorded by the Quinte Board for the month of November was $461,058. That represents a whopping year over year increase of almost 47% when compared to November 2017 when the average sale price was reported as $314,446. Median sale prices tell a similar tale coming in at $385,000 compared to $286,000 one year ago, marking an almost 35% positive differential.
Generally speaking, it would appear that if buyers do not step up to the plate, or cannot secure financing to where they had hoped to meet sellers’ expectations, the properties simply will not sell. Tighter lending conditions and the consequential impact on affordability inevitably affects the pace at which properties sell, and may even push some prospective buyers to the sidelines. In other cases, however, it may simply shift buyers to lower-priced properties, thereby, however, increasing competition at that level, which has the further knock-on effect of pushing prices up for those more reasonable offerings.
Interestingly, the properties that did sell, took on average the exact same amount of time to sell this year as they did last, being 74 days.
Despite some signs of volatility in equity markets, reflecting ongoing concerns regarding trade and political uncertainty abroad, as well as weakness in domestic commodity markets and higher borrowing costs, most pundits and market watchers continue to be cautiously optimistic regarding the future stability of the real estate market across most of Southern Ontario. Comparatively speaking, it continues to be an attractive place for investment, from the perspective of both enjoyment and the prospect for return. Given its privileged position, pro le and location, the County is no exception.
Richard Stewart Vice President & Legal Counsel