That's probably the question REALTORS are asked most often in social gatherings and when people walk into our offices. Given the economic climate and all of the doom and gloom in the media, I expect that I may be asked that even more often this spring.
So, how is the market? Before I give you any statistics, I need to talk about our local real estate board.
MUSKOKA AND HALIBURTON ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (Referred to as the Board)
The Muskoka and Haliburton Real Estate Board encompasses the Districts of Haliburton Highlands, Huntsville, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes, Almaguin Highlands, and Lake of Bays. There are 970 members in this Board, including administrative personnel and inter-board agents. There are 111 companies including their affiliates and branch offices registered in the board. The geographical area covered by this Board is enormous and the demographics extremely diverse. Therefore, all statistics presented must be interpreted in light of these factors, which impact averages significantly. Wherever possible, I will provide statistics associated specifically with Haliburton Highlands.
Results provided by the Muskoka and Haliburton Association of REALTORS® (the Board) for the month of January 2009 indicate that there was a 47% drop in the dollar volume of total sales in January over 2008 for the entire Board. January 2009 sales volume totalled $12,028,800 while January 2008 totalled $22,853,250. The total number of listings in the month is approximately the same as last year, however, the number of expired listings is up 18%.
- This category includes both non waterfront and waterfront homes. Board statistics show that while the number of listings in Haliburton (HH) are somewhat comparable to Almaguin Highlands and Bracebridge, the number of sales was significantly less. There was only 1 home sold in Haliburton in January. It sold for $150,000. While the average sale price in January appears to be significantly lower than the previous 12 months, these averages will increase as more non waterfront and waterfront homes are sold during the summer. (The average price of a waterfront home being significantly higher than non-waterfront).
- COTTAGE/RECREATIONAL WATERFRONT
- As at January 1, 2009 there were 64 properties listed and at the end of the month, 67 listings for waterfront cottages in Haliburton Highlands. Only 1 sale took place, a waterfront cottage at the north end of Kushog lake. This property was originally listed for $374,900 in May 2007, reduced to $299,999 and then to $275,000. It sold in January for $267,000.
It's early yet to cast any long term predictions about the market, although what we can say is that we have seen the shift to a buyer's market since last fall. What this means is that buyers have more properties from which to choose, and that means the average time to sell will be longer as people take their time to look at everything out there. Yes, it is a great time to buy real estate, and if your property shows well and is well priced, it is also a great time to sell.
Stay tuned - there have already been 4 houses sold in February and an executive type waterfront home!