Well if there was any lingering doubt as to whether the same tight market conditions, imbalance in supply and demand, and chronic shortage of inventory confronting much of Southern Ontario are afflicting Prince Edward County (“the County”) in the same way, the latest statistics released by the Quinte and District Association of REALTORS® (“the Quinte Board”) will quickly dispel that. Both the numbers for the Quinte Board generally, as well as the Enhanced Statistics Statistical Query Report for the County in particular, confirm in no uncertain terms that in February, the real estate trends for the area are in lock step with those that have captured the attention of commentators and media across Southern Ontario for the last few months. The main qualifier, however, is that the County still enjoys a considerable competitive advantage when it comes to affordability when compared to related markets. This, however, may not continue if current conditions persist, because based on February’s numbers building on those from previous months, the County has been experiencing noticeable and significant price increases.
As a brief introduction, sales across the entire Quinte Board surged a remarkable 63% year over year with 335 sales recorded in February compared to 205 for the same month last year. Sales for the month in every price category from $220,000 up exceeded those in the same category the year previous, and all this in the face of new listings being down 19% year over year and 14% year to date. Total sales dollar volume increased at an even faster rate, almost double that of unit sales, namely an astounding 123% increase over total sales dollar volume for February of last year. This reflects both the particular surge in the higher end of the market as well as the general increase in average sale prices.
Turning specifically to the County, the trend is very much the same. Sales increased a whopping 83% over last February with 42 properties being recorded sold compared to only 23 over the same time in 2016. These bring the year to date figures to 72 sales for the first two months in 2017 compared to only 44 last year, marking a 64% increase. And again reflecting what is happening across the region and most of Southern Ontario, this bump in sales is happening despite the decrease and shortage of new listings which are down 6% with 81 new listings coming onto the market compared to 86 last year, contributing to the year to date 12% listing surfeit of a total of 171 new listings thus far compared to 194 last year.
As expected, fewer listings mixed with strong and growing demand leads to an inventory shortage, which is exactly what the statistics con rm. Active listings at month end were down by 25% with 257 recorded as being available while one year earlier 357 properties were available. Two other natural consequences tend to follow from such conditions, namely a reduction in the average number of days it takes for properties to sell, and an increase in the average sale price. Both reflect greater interest and demand in County properties. Once again the statistics bear this out. In February the average days on market for properties sold in the County was 71 which is a 40% drop from last year when it took 119 days on average for a property in the County to sell. And the average sale price for these properties increased an astonishing 52%, coming in at $432,214 compared to $284,988 at the same time last year.
Based on all market indicators these trends are unlikely to abate any time soon. The ongoing popularity and notoriety of the County combined with the increasing pressures exerted by forces at play in real estate markets across Southern Ontario, further stoked by a steady stream of people owing into the province will continue to fuel demand. Contributing factors include stable economic conditions and attractive borrowing rates. That mixed with dwindling property supply suggest that there is little reason to anticipate a change in fundamental market forces within the foreseeable future unless there is either unforeseen economic disruption on the one side, or a marked and significant increase in properties available for sale on the other.
Prepared by:Richard Stewart Vice President & Legal Counsel