Following a lacklustre first quarter, the Barrie Real Estate Market rebounded in April and returned to growth patterns of previous periods, including the setting of some new record volume months, never before experienced. The total year end unit volume resulted in an increase of more than 6¼% over the prior year. This increase mirrored results experienced throughout most regions of Canada and demonstrated the strength of the Real Estate Industry in comparison to other sectors of the economy which continued to suffer the effects of the world wide economic downturn.
It also proved once again, that the negative media coverage which extended during the fall of 2008 and into the first quarter of 2009, did not dampen the basic desire of many Canadians to continue to search out and purchase homes suited to their needs and lifestyle requirements, in spite of the press and other negative influences.
While volume increased, new listings decreased by about 7% from the 2008 levels to 9,120 units. Average residential values remained constant through the course of the year at approximately $264,000.00, and homes listed for sale took 60 days on average to sell, or about 5 days longer than in 2008.
Approximately 55% of the total unit 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. These statistics are consistent with those experienced during the entire year of 2008; a pattern consistent with the generally level average sales prices experienced during both years.
Forward Predictions for the Barrie Area Market:
As we move into this new decade, the monthly unit volume in 2010 will continue to equal or exceed the prior year values, and prices will increase marginally. 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.
The introduction in Ontario of the Harmonized Sales Tax will result in additional closing costs to both buyers and sellers. It is estimated that this increase will amount to about $1,500.00 to the average home sale in the Barrie area. While this increase should and cannot be considered an insignificant amount, it is like all taxes… “A Fact of Life”…and over time, will simply become part of the pricing equation for both buyers and sellers. This increase represents less than a half of one percent, and pales in comparison to the general market price increases which we have experienced over the past ten years (about 5.7% per year). However, for those who are planning on making a move this year, taking action prior to about the beginning of May is probably wise. This will allow for the lapsed time between the negotiating of the agreement and the date of closing, which must be before July 1st … the effective date of the new tax.
First time buyers will continue to play an important role in fuelling the growth of the local market. As a result, there is a dependence on the continuation of low mortgage interest rates. Rates continue to reside 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 resulting multi-level chain of ownership changes. In addition, this move up phenomenon has the effect of strengthening market values in both the short and long terms.