Following a series of successive months of unit sales volume which had been lower than the prior year, the months of April and May, 2009 equalled those same months in 2008, and the months of June, July, August and September surpassed 2008 levels by 12%. The month of June was also the largest June on record in the history of the Barrie and District Association of REALTORS®.
The Canadian Real Estate Association reports that the same trend has been experienced on a national basis, with September results bringing forward an impressive 17% increase over 2008 results, and the three months combined showing an increase of 15%.
September 30th, 2009 Market Results-Barrie and Area:
While the unit volume of the first nine months of 2009 is below 2008 levels for the same period by about 2.3%, this decline is all attributable to the results of the first quarter. During the period from April through September, unit volume in 2009 has exceeded the same period last year by about 6.6%, for a year to date total volume of 3,392 units, and the month of September 2009 exceeded the prior year by 7.4%. In spite of the pressure on unit volume by a market that has been portrayed by some as a “buyer’s market”, prices have remained relatively strong. At the end of September, 2009, average residential prices were running at approximately $264,000 versus a prior year value at the same point and a year end value of the same$264,000. While the spring months are typically the leaders during any year (see graphs on the Market Statistics Page of our website, www.BarrieHomeSearch.com, activity levels at all major brokerages are on the positive side of the ledger, and REALTORS® are generally expressing positive outlooks about the market and their personal futures. A further indication of this positive environment is the fact that there has not been any decrease in the number of members of the Barrie and District Association of REALTORS®; a phenomenon which typically occurs when the real estate market is in decline.
Approximately 55% of the total sales volume in the Barrie market occurred in the range from $200,000 to $300,000, with the balance spread over price points on either side of this range, and these statistics are consistent with those experienced during the entire year of 2008.
The number of active residential listings in September 2009 fell once again to 1,830 properties, which is about 18% below September 2008 levels. This is the fourth consecutive double digit decline in as many months, in the number of active listings, effectively tightening the level of choice which a buyer will encounter, while assisting in the stabilizing of average prices. This represents approximately 4.3 months of inventory.
My Forward Predictions for the Barrie Area Market:
As we move through the balance of the year, the unit volume will continue to equal or exceed the prior year values, and prices will remain at about the same approximate values as we are currently experiencing. Properties which are priced reasonably and present themselves well, will sell better than those which are simply relying on low prices to attract a buyer. Recreational and Specialty Properties will continue to be in demand, since they have a limited supply, but will take longer to sell and/or will be sold at values lower than previously. The introduction of the GO Service to Barrie, the general affordability of the Barrie area, and the imposition of a double land transfer tax system in the Greater Toronto Market will continue to fuel unit growth in the entire area in the short and longer term.
First time buyers are the wild card in the speed at which the market will start to accelerate into higher gear, with increased demand resulting in stronger price levels. Mortgage rates are at the lowest levels in decades allowing more and more of this group to qualify for financing. Their influence on the market is significant since they create the initial impetus for move-up buyers to sell and then re-buy with a multi-level chain of ownership changes being the result.
The City of Barrie has been designated by the Province of Ontario as a Growth Centre, and Buyers coming to the area can still expect to find a wide range of housing options at affordable prices With average prices at least $175,000 below comparable metropolitan Toronto values, buyers from the greater metro area will find a refreshing negotiating environment where reasonable offers are entertained by Sellers, multiple offers are the exception, and local REALTORS® work “around the clock” to bring the Agreement together.
The availability of rental housing has improved, but with mortgage interest rates at record low levels, and 95% financing available, the option to buy makes economic sense for everyone.
For further detailed information, contact Gary Grant or Candi Grant, Sales Representative, CENTURY 21 B.J. Roth Realty Ltd., Brokerage (705) 721-9111, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the web site at www.BarrieHomeSearch.Com.