2019 Market Snapshot – First Quarter
Q1 2019 IN REVIEW
We continue to focus where we specialize – residential single-family homes and condos in the WESTERN DISTRICT of Southern Georgian Bay, in particular The Blue Mountains, Collingwood and the areas of Clearview near Collingwood and Blue. And, we continue to suffer from a lack of inventory, and thus we should continue to see elevated prices. However, the stat’s seem to show that the elevated prices ARE negotiable and are taking a bit longer to sell.
Specifics are below but Western District condos sold at about 97.2% of their asking price and averaged 64 days to sell (DOM), a change from Q1 2018’s 98.6% ratio and 45 DOM. The average sale price was $406,100, up from Q1 2018’s $348,107. Months of inventory was just under 6 (defined as the measure of how fast all existing homes on the market would last assuming a) no more listings are added, and b) the rate at which homes sell is constant as per the average of the last 12 months of sales), a slightly slower rate of sales than Q1 2018’s 4 months of inventory. Single family homes sold at approx. 97.9% of their asking price and averaged about 58 days to sell, very little change from Q1 2018. The average sale price was $705,839, up a bit from Q1 2018’s $680,572. Months of inventory was just under 7, slightly slower than the 5.6 months of Q1 2018. The majority of sales were in the $500,000 to $700,000 range but 21 sold over $1M, and 2 sold over $2M.
Arguably, the most relevant issue of Q1 to real estate is the new Federal Budget.
The following commentary contains excerpts from other authors, thanks to Tim Ward of The Mortgage Centre, Murtaza Haider & Stephen Moranis in the Mar 28 National Post, and Mark Weisleder of Real Estate Lawyers.ca.
As of Sept 1/19, CMHC (Fed Gov’t) will be offering first-time homebuyers no-interest equity mortgages of 5% for a resale home and up to 10% for a new home from a builder.
For example, if a borrower purchases a $400,000 home with 5% down and a 5% CMHC shared equity mortgage ($20,000), the size of the borrower’s insured mortgage would be reduced from $380,000 to $360,000, helping to lower the borrower’s monthly mortgage bill. This would make it easier for Canadians to buy homes they can afford.
Qualifications/Restrictions: total household income less than $120,000, home purchase up to $505,000. No ongoing monthly payments are required. The buyer would repay the incentive, for example, at resale. One can assume if that resale nets a profit, part of said profit will have to be shared with the Government. This should also mean that if one loses money on that resale, the government (meaning the taxpayer) would share in the loss. We’ll see.
In the U.K., shared equity mortgages led to people buying bigger houses, not taking on less debt. Whether or not the Liberal budget proposal to implement shared equity mortgages(SEMs) will improve housing affordability for first-time homebuyers has been the subject of some debate since the budget was released.
A similar initiative by the U.K. government invested 10 billion pounds in the first 5 years of its launch in 2013. Matteo Benetton of Haas School of Business, U of California, concluded that the households used SEM “to buy more expensive properties, and not to reduce their mortgage debt and house price risk exposure.”
While the SEM maturity was set at 25 years, it could be terminated earlier by the sale of the house, prepayment, or default. If the borrower defaulted, the government had the right to foreclose.
The researchers found that without SEM, the households would have either bought smaller, less expensive homes or they would have opted to rent. Of interest is that most of the eligible borrowers in the U.K. (61%) did not take advantage of the SEM. The authors believe that the borrowers were mindful of the future house price appreciation and were reluctant to share the expected capital gains with the government.
The lesson here is that the SEM contributed to higher prices and facilitated the purchase of even bigger homes by first-time homebuyers. At the same time, the majority of those who could benefit from the scheme decided not to.
The authors’ opinion is that improving affordability in Canada’s most expensive housing markets will take more than SEMs. What’s needed are aggressive plans that incent homebuilders and developers to produce more housing of diverse types to offset the increase in housing demand. Such changes will require cutting the red tape that delays approvals, and streamlining levies and development charges to help build vibrant and sustainable communities.
Other cautionary articles in business.financialpost.com include: Shared equity mortgages are no cure-all for housing affordability woes, Trudeau’s new housing measures could end up crushing sales in an already depressed market, and Housing affordability is getting worse even though prices are falling.
Also in this Budget is the RRSP Homebuyer withdrawal limit increased to $35,000 per person, $70,000 per couple, repayable over 15 years, to your own RRSP. Money must be in your RRSP account at least 90 days before it can be withdrawn, an important consideration for a closing date!
Highs, Lows and Specifics
- The high sale was a downtown home at Maple & Third for $1,250,000.
- The low sale was an 865 SF 2 bdrm, 1 bath condo in Cranberry for $227,000.
- Condos: Q1 2019 (vs Q1 2018): 72 listed, 40 sold (141 listed, 36 sold); avg DOM 62 (28); avg sale to list price – 96.9% (98.7%); avg sale price $444,575 ($355,893) – up approx. 25%.
- Single Family Homes: Q1 2019 (vs Q1 2018): 135 listed, 67 sold (195 listed, 50 sold); avg DOM 44 (40); avg sale to list price – 98% (98.3%); avg sale price $563,027 ($502,896) – up approx. 12%.
THE BLUE MOUNTAINS
- The high sale was a stunning home on 36 acres near the Georgian Bay Golf Club for $2,950,000.
- The low sales were all under $200,000, 8 condo-hotel units in the Village at Blue.
- Condos: Q1 2019 (vs Q1 2018): 86 listed, 28 sold (176 listed, 38 sold); avg DOM 68 (60); avg sale to list price –96.3% (98.2%); avg sale price $341,532 ($338,171) – up about 1%.
- Single Family Homes: Q1 2019 (vs Q1 2018): 80 listed, 49 sold (347 listed, 45 sold); avg DOM 44 (57); avg sale to list price – 97.7% (97.6%); avg sale price $948,420 ($869,025) – up 9%.
CLEARVIEW (Nottawa and Nottawasaga districts)
- The high sale was a 2015 built home on 2 acres just west of Nottawa for $1,750,000.
- The low sale was a 900 SF house in Nottawa village for $251,000.
- Single Family Homes: Q1 2019 (vs Q1 2018): 62 listed, 31 sold (391 listed, 87 sold); avg DOM 87 (55); avg sale to list price –
- 97.7% (97.8%); avg sale price $645,955 ($495,263) – up approx. 30%.
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