Despite the cold temperatures, the grey skies and otherwise inhospitable weather, the robust real estate market in Prince Edward County (“The County”) shows no sign of abating in the first month of 2017. Rather the trends that were established in 2016 appear to be gathering momentum as we move into the new year, setting the stage for another season of strong demand, limited property supply, and thus a continuation of very tight market conditions. Indeed with the release of the Quinte and District Association of REALTORS® (“the Quinte Board”)’s numbers for January in its Enhanced Statistics Statistical Query Report for the wards that make up the County, it is safe to say that unless there is a significant increase in new listings, and property owners sitting on the fence decide to list their properties for sale, buyers will continue to be frustrated with limited choice and fierce competition for those properties which become available. This will inevitably have an upward pressure on average prices for County real estate, and as indicated, Quinte Board statistics confirm that this is exactly how things are playing out thus far in 2017.
As indicated in earlier reports, the smaller sampling of properties that comprise the County real estate market inevitably results in some statistical volatility given the particular make up and cross section of transactions at any given point, however, given the unique and special nature of the area and its characteristics, the reported real estate numbers for the County still give a reasonable indication of trends and market conditions prevailing in the area.
The Quinte Board reports that 30 properties sold in the County in January. That represents a remarkable 43% increase over last year’s numbers which came in at 21 sales in January 2016. This activity occurred despite the fact that new listings were down 17% with only 90 properties coming onto the market compared to 108 last year at this time. As stated, strong demand mixed with limited new supply means tighter inventory, and that is reflected by the significant reduction in active listings available on the market compared to the year previous, specifically a 23% drop with 247 properties available compared to 321 last year at this time.
Not surprisingly, properties also sold somewhat faster than they did last year with the average days on market moving down from 66 to 64. and prices did in fact go up with the average recorded sale price increasing 17% year over year coming in at $282,777 in contrast to one year ago when it was calculated to be $241,330.
As also mentioned in earlier reports, while almost an island in geographical terms, the County is not one for the purposes of real estate market trends. Tight market conditions are being experienced across the entire Quinte Board with new listings down 9% in January while sales are up by 11% and total dollar volume is showing a 21% increase over last year’s numbers at this time. These statistical trends are being experienced in most real estate markets across Southern Ontario, and are likely to persist well into the foreseeable future with increasing reports of tight urban markets and surging prices, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area, pushing the limits of affordability and therefore buyers further afield to satellite markets and neighbouring communities to locate and secure affordable housing. Technology, and in some cases growing and increasingly creative work/live commuting options are having an impact on the areas being considered by Buyers, and this is likely one of the factors having an impact on demand in the County real estate market.
While there is some tightening in qualification and lending approval requirements, rates remain low and economic conditions continue to be relatively stable supported by positive regional employment reports. In addition, demographic forecasts call for ongoing strong immigration trends for Southern Ontario well into the foreseeable future, all of which should bode well for continuing growth for the County real estate market.
Prepared by:Richard Stewart Vice President & Legal Counsel