Real estate market ‘incredibly robust’
With most of Ontario now into Stage 3 of the province’s plan to re-open the economy, real estate open houses are once again permitted, but that does not mean a return to business-as-usual, according to Mike Scholte, President of the South Georgian Bay Association of Realtors (SGBAR).
Scholte says local realtors are working hard to make the process safe for buyers and sellers, which means much greater focus on virtual technologies and “hands-in-pockets” showings.
People still need to buy and sell, according to Scholte, but the process has become much more deliberate, with less window shopping. Realtors are working hard to qualify buyers in advance and potential buyers are signing health disclosures before touring homes.
New statistics from the SGBAR point to a very healthy local market with last month being the second strongest June on record. The MLS system recorded 494 residential sales, up 42 per cent from June 2019. Year-to-date results show a slight decline, down 3.2 per cent from the previous year for the entire Southern Georgian Bay area. In the western region, which includes Clearview, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach, June sales were up 53.6 per cent from 2019, while the number of units sold year-to-date was down 7.9 per cent compared to the first six months of 2019.
Dollar volume of all residential transactions in June 2020 was $302.4 million, up nearly 70 per cent from June 2019. This is the largest dollar volume of homes sold in Southern Georgian Bay for any month on record, although much of the increase can be attributed to pent up demand from a spring market which was basically put on hold due to uncertainty around COVID-19.
While there has been some increase in the number of homes offered for sale, supply remains fairly tight. Months of inventory, which is the number of months it would take to sell available homes at the current rate of sales activity, currently sit at just over two months, compared to the long-run average of 6.1 months for this time of year.
Suzanne Lawrence, of Royal LePage Town and Country Real Estate in Creemore, describes the local market as “incredibly robust.”
Lawrence says she is seeing particular interest in recreational properties and “weekender” second homes, as well as a significant number of potential buyers who are accelerating their plans for retirement or simply looking to relocate and weather the pandemic in our area.
Purchasers are relying on virtual tours and Facebook open houses to narrow their search and physically visiting roughly half the number of houses they might have seen pre-pandemic. While some sellers are nervous about allowing strangers into their homes, Lawrence says she is not aware of any cases where they have refused to allow visits once being assured that all reasonable precautions are being taken.
Lawrence says, in terms of real estate, Creemore is a blue chip stock with strong demand from the Toronto recreational market and a healthy full time market. After all the uncertainty of the past few months, people are more appreciative than ever of the village lifestyle.