Welcome to Southern Georgian Bay Carriage Trade Properties

The southern Georgian Bay region is renowned for its natural beauty, the Niagara Escarpment, crystal clear blue water, the world’s longest freshwater beach and unparalleled recreational amenities from boating to private ski clubs and world class golf courses. The regions has been recognized as one of Canada’s premier four season recreational playgrounds offering the coveted lifestyle sought by many luxury home buyers seeking the relaxed sophistication reflected in the ultimate recreational property or full time retirement residence.

Real estate Broker Rick Crouch with Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage) represents discriminating buyers and sellers in their quest to buy or sell the area's premium properties in Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, the Blue Mountains, Grey Highlands and Clearview.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Southern Georgian Bay Luxury Home & Condo Sales Soften in 2018

  As previously covered in my regular real estate blog, year-to-date real estate sales across southern Georgian Bay in 2018 are running well below what we experienced in both 2016 and 2017 and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the upper price segments of the market.

  Once again to clarify what constituents the upper price segments of our market, we consider anything over $750,000 to be the luxury home and or condo segment of our market as typically this represents approximately the upper 10% of unit sales through the MLS® system of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS®.

  MLS® sales over $750,000 for the first 10 months of 2018 total $206.3 million compared to $229.3 million in the same period last year.  That represents a 10% decrease in dollar sales year over year.  Similarly, MLS® unit sales of 189 properties priced $750,000 and higher this year are down 12% from the same time in 2017. 

  The two price segments that are impacted the most are those properties priced between $850,000 to $999,999 and those in the $1.5 to $2 million category where year-to-date unit sales are down 10% and 42% respectively from the first 10 months of 2017.  Two areas that are not reflecting this slowdown in market activity are Collingwood and the Blue Mountains.  MLS® sales above $750,000 in Collingwood are running at the same pace as in 2017 with 44 sales reported through the end of October.  Sales above $750,000 in the Blue Mountains are actually ahead by two units with 88 sales in 2018 versus 86 last year.  The demand for luxury properties in the Blue Mountains remains the highest in our area with most affluent buyers preferring a property that is in close proximity to the area's private ski and golf clubs.  Of the 189 upper end sales reported through the first 10 months of  2018, 46.6% are in the Blue Mountains and this area is also home to the highest average sale value an average year-to-date price of $1.190 million compared to the Township of Clearview which has an average sale price of $1.145 million or roughly 4% less.  Average upper end sale prices in the remaining area municipalities are as follows: Collingwood $1.013 million, Grey Highlands $1.003 million, Wasaga Beach $958,000 and the Municipality of Meaford $927,000.

  It is no surprise that with the highest percentage of upper end sales in the area located in the Blue Mountains, that municipality has the highest average sale price $1.190 million for properties over $750,000. Cleaview Township is a close second at $1.146 million while

  The upper end of our market is one area where the inventory of available properties for sale is not in short supply as is the case overall.  As of this post there are 184 properties listed for sale over $750,000.  Based on the current rate of sales this represents almost 10 months of inventory which is a significant amount when the overall average days-on-market for sold properties is running 47 days.  Inventory levels are particularly high above the $1.5 million threshold (see chart).  October year-to-date there have been 22 sales above $1.5 million.  With 67 active listings and MLS® sales running at just over 2 units per month, there is in excess of 30 months worth of inventory above $1.5 million to be absorbed and I do not see this happening any time soon.

  So what does all this mean to potential buyers and sellers of luxury home and condominiums in our area moving forward?  First I am not a pessimist nor is the information herein to be taken as being negative.  As a licensed real estate Broker for the past 18 years I have always studied the data available to us.  That information is key to helping us provide my real estate clients with the information they need to make qualified and informed decisions.  Starting in May 2017, the local real estate market here in southern Georgian Bay and elsewhere has clearly shifted.  With the odd exception, gone are the crazy bidding wars resulting in over inflated sale prices.  Total MLS® sales dollar volume and unit sales in our area for 2018 will finish 15% to 20%  below the levels we experienced in prior years.  Canada Mortgage and Housing forecasts weaker sales across Canada through 2019 and 2020 in addition to fewer new home starts.  In my opinion this will create a more balanced market for both sellers and buyers. 

 Perhaps the bigger question will be what happens with interest rates.  Mortgage lending rules have crept up as have interest rates and this has clearly put the brakes on some buyers ability or willingness to purchase property at this time.  Clearly the buyers of homes and condos priced above $1 million have already taken this stand reflecting fewer sales in our local market for 2018 coupled with a sharp increase in inventory.  Luxury home sales in Toronto are down 35% this year and what happens in the GTA always impacts our market here as well.

 In keeping with this trend three high end property sales examples come to mind:

Property 1 - Listed originally at $3.65 million the price was reduced to $2.95 million and sold for $2.65 million, a full $1 million (27%) below the original asking price after 293 days on market.

Property 2 - Listed at $4.2 million with several price adjustments (up and down) it sold for $3.25 million, $950,000 (23%) below asking after 1,057 days on market.

Property 3 - Listed at $989,000, the price was reduced under power of sale and sold for $851,000, $138,000 (14%) below asking 181 days on market.

  These examples illustrate that there are still some good values to be had by waiting.  Don't get caught up in the frenzy of multiple offers, waiting to make an offer on the right property at the right time can pay off, as they say "patience is a virtue."

  Click on each chart to enlarge or click Southern Georgian Bay Carriage Trade Homes to download or view a full copy of my latest luxury home marketing report. 

  In my next post I will speak further to the importance of sellers pricing their home or condo correctly to sell and what buyers need to be a ware of when purchasing.  In the meantime for further information or questions on any real estate related topics please feel free to Contact Me.   


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Royal LePAGE Canada Luxury Property Market Report

Royal LePAGE Canada has just released their report on the luxury home and condominium market across Canada.  Below is what they have reported for the country overall with an emphasis on the Greater Toronto Area, a market that plays a direct role on what happens in our local market here on southern Georgian Bay.

TORONTO, May 10, 2018 – Canada’s spring luxury real estate market is well underway in Canada’s largest cities. While sales in Greater Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are significantly down in the first four months of the year, luxury home prices have remained relatively resilient, according to Royal LePage.
Overall, sales activity declined in Greater Vancouver and the GTA luxury real estate market as both sellers and buyers adjusted to federal and provincial measures affecting both domestic and foreign buyers. The introduction of the new mortgage stress test implemented by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) at the beginning of 2018 created market turmoil as buyers moved to the sidelines in order to gauge the impact on luxury home prices, similar to what was witnessed in the overall residential resale market. More significantly, in British Columbia, the 2018 provincial budget included policies targeting foreign and domestic buyers who do not pay tax in the province, as well as a tax increase for all homes over $3-million through increases to the property transfer and school tax. Similarly, the non-resident property tax included in Ontario’s 16-Point Fair Housing Plan dampened price expectations for the GTA region.
“Home prices in Canada’s luxury real estate market have remained remarkably resilient when you consider the economic headwinds that serial government interventions have created,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “The resilience of home values reflects the strong aspirations of luxury buyers to reside and work in cities that are consistently ranked among the most desirable on the planet.”
During the first four months of 2018, price appreciation of a luxury condominium in Greater Vancouver and the GTA outpaced that of a luxury detached home, with median condominium prices rising by 7.0 per cent and 10.4 per cent year-over-year, respectively. For the same period, the median price of a luxury condominium in the Greater Montreal Area and Ottawa rose by 3.9 per cent and 4.0 per cent, respectively, while Calgary posted the only decline, decreasing 6.1 per cent.
The Greater Montreal Area posted the largest year-over-year price gain in the detached luxury home segment, increasing 9.1 per cent to $1,569,515 in the first four months of the year. During the same period, detached luxury homes in Ottawa (6.3%) and Greater Vancouver (5.2%) also saw prices rise, while home values in Calgary (0.6%) and the Greater Toronto Area (-0.2%) remained flat.
“Somewhat unusual in historical terms, and reflecting an important demographic shift happening across North America, appreciation in the luxury condominium market is outpacing the traditional target for large value residential property investment, the detached house,” said Soper. “Baby Boomers are finally exiting their large family homes, and luxury condos, with their low maintenance lifestyles, are the favoured destination.
“Contrary to popular belief, wealthy homebuyers are price sensitive too. They didn’t reach the point in their lives where they have the capacity to acquire high-value real estate without being financially astute,” concluded Soper. “Luxury condominiums represent value in today’s market.”
Spring 2019 Forecast
The momentum behind luxury condominium price growth is forecast to continue through the year and into the 2019 spring market in all cities surveyed, with the exception of Calgary. When broken out by region, the median price of a luxury condominium in the GTA is forecast to post the largest price gain, rising 8.0 per cent to $1,847,194 in the first four months of 2019 when compared to the same period in 2018. Over the same timeframe, luxury condominiums in both Ottawa and the Greater Montreal Area are forecast to increase 3.0 per cent. Calgary is the only city surveyed that is expected to see the median price of a luxury condominium dip in spring 2019 when compared to 2018, decreasing 4.0 per cent year-over-year.
Detached luxury home prices in Greater Vancouver are forecast to decline in the first four months of 2019, decreasing 3.0 per cent year-over-year to $5,619,153, while properties in this segment in the GTA are estimated to remain flat (0.0%) over the same period. The Greater Montreal Area and Ottawa are both forecast to increase 5.0 per cent year-over-year, and detached luxury homes in Calgary are expected to rise 2.0 per cent during the same period. 
Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
GTA luxury home price appreciation falls flat after the introduction of Ontario’s 16-Point Fair Housing Plan and OSFI’s most recent mortgage stress test, while luxury condos make largest price gain of any region studied 
The median price of a luxury detached home in the Greater Toronto Area remained relatively unchanged (-0.2%) at $3,522,117 in the first four months of 2018, while the median price of a luxury condominium increased 10.4 per cent year-over-year to $1,710,365 during the same period.
On April 20th, 2017, the Ontario government introduced a 15 per cent non-resident tax on home prices in the Golden Horseshoe as part of the province’s 16-Point Fair Housing Plan. Leading up to the announcement, the median price of a luxury detached home in the first four months of 2017 was $3,527,882, a 23 per cent increase over the same period in 2016, while luxury condos appreciated 8 per cent to $1,549,864.
“When examining the second half of 2017, it is clear that the province’s measures have impacted price appreciation in the Greater Toronto Area’s luxury home market,” said Soper. “The new OSFI mortgage stress test introduced in January, in addition to dampening sales, has also put further downward pressure on detached luxury home prices.”
During the first quarter of 2018, luxury detached home sales decreased 67.9 per sent year-over-year. However the decline was significantly more modest when compared to the same period in 2016 (-18.1%). In the first quarter of 2018, luxury condominium sales decreased 28.2 per cent year-over-year compared to the same period in 2017, while almost twice as high (90.6%) compared the same period in 2016.
The region’s high quality of life for families, a result of good schools and excellent healthcare, is expected to continue to drive foreign buyer interest in the detached luxury home segment once the real estate market adjusts to government measures, and consumer confidence improves.
“Foreign buyers looking at luxury properties in the Greater Toronto Area can often prioritize lifestyle over finances but they also have the privilege of flexibility, allowing them time to watch the market,” said Elli Davis, sales representative, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. “The draw for many foreign buyers is our excellent quality of life. While some may choose to sit on the sidelines to gauge the market, the desire to relocate here is still strong.”
While luxury home price appreciation stalled, demand for luxury condominiums remained strong largely driven by established homeowners.
“The selection of luxury condominiums has greatly increased over the years and we are seeing more retirees selling their luxury homes to buy condos with great amenities and little upkeep. Condominiums are also easy properties to manage when you want to spend more time travelling,” added Davis.
When looking ahead to the 2019 spring market, the median price of a luxury condominium in the Greater Toronto Area is forecast to increase 8.0 per cent year-over-year to $1,874,194, while the median price of a luxury detached home is forecast to remain flat (0.0%) at $3,523,378 when examining the first four months of the year.
“Our longer term forecast for the Greater Toronto Area real estate market, including the luxury market, is for healthy price appreciation. The region has experienced significant inventory shortages for many years, has a robust economy and an international reputation as a great place to live and work,” concluded Davis.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Upper End Luxury Home & Condo Sales Hit Record Levels in 2017

 As previous reported in my regular real estate blog titled "What A Difference A Year Makes" I reviewed the overall real estate market activity for the first two months of 2018 versus the same time last year.  Essentially we are seeing the same diminished sales activity in the upper end "luxury" segment of the market as we are seeing overall, 2018 is indeed getting off to a slow start.

  During 2017 the southern Georgian Bay region saw an unprecedented increase in the demand for and sales of higher end properties priced from $750,000 and up. We consider $750,000 as the base starting point for upper end property sales in this area as typically this represents the top 10% of the local MLS® market locally.

  Luxury home and condominium sales have been steadily increasing in recent years but 2017 brought forth exceptional results with total MLS® sales above $750,000 totalling 245 properties, an increase of 51% over 2016.  We are now four months into 2018 and the real estate market here in the southern Georgian Bay area and in many other areas including the Greater Toronto Area(GTA) has changed significantly from this time last year. See my blog post "What A Difference A Year Makes."  The market has clearly cooled off.  In the 1st Quarter of 2017 (January through March) upper tier home and condominium sales over $750,000 totalled 49 properties.  In the first three months of 2018 that number dropped by 8% with 45 sales above $750,000 reported through the MLS® system of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS®.

 The GTA is a major feeder market for us here in the southern Georgian Bay area.  This year has gotten off to a slower start in the GTA as well as in outlying markets such as Oakville, Burlington, Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo and London.  Condo sales in the GTA have remained relatively strong but single family home sales and especially those at the high end of the market are well down from this time last year.  Sales of homes price over $1 million are down 55% to 60% across the GTA and into Burlington, Oakville and Hamilton.  A recent report published by the Financial Post states that luxury home sales in Toronto have been "hit hardest."  Clearly the current market is not the same as it was this time last year.

At this point in time we can only speculate what the remainder of 2018 is going to bring.  I have been a full time REALTOR® for over fifteen years and I watch market activity and statistics closely.  I remain very confident about the demand for area properties in 2018 but at the same time, we can not ignore some key factors that will impact sales in 2018 including increases in mortgage lending rates, tighter lending rules overall and the foreign buyer's tax which has no doubt impacted sales in the Toronto (GTA) area. 

  For the most part housing inventory will probably remain low in 2018 with the exception of the upper end of the market.  As of this post there were 142 area properties listed for sale on the MLS® system of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® priced over $750,000.  Given the current rate of sales this year that represents close to 10 months of inventory.

  If you are serious about selling you home no matter what price range it is in,  pricing your property realistically this year will be key in attracting a worthy buyer.  In the first few months of 2017, multiple offers and selling prices were happening at a rate unlike any of us in the local real estate market had ever seen.  While we are continuing to see some properties in the lower price ranges attracting multiple offers with strong pricing, it's not to the same extent as this time last year.

  Has the market crashed?  No but it has changed and market conditions overall have slowed significantly from last year and ultimately this can be good for both sellers and buyers.  A strong, "balanced" market with adequate inventory and conditions that favour neither buyers and or sellers to a greater degree than the other is the ideal environment for all of us to be in when it comes to our real estates needs and goals.

  More on this in future posts.  In the meantime  please feel free to Contact Me  for a qualified and unbiased consultation regarding your real estate selling or buying needs and objectives.