Real estate activity across the Southern Georgian Bay area in the 3rd quarter continued to show a substantial gain in terms of dollar volume over 2018. MLS® sales during the 3rd quarter totalled $346.7 million, an increase of $95.1 million or 38% from the first nine months of 2018.
MLS® sale in July were up 52% over July 2018 but dipped to a more modest 22% gain in August over the prior year. Sales then rebounded strongly up 40% in September with total sales for the month of $115.5 million compared to $82.4 million in September of last year to end the quarter. Year-to-date MLS® sales through the end of September reported by the Southern Georgina Bay Association of REALTORS total $853.2 million, an increase of $140.1 million or 20% over the first three quarters of 2018. While this increase is impressive, this increase is not universal across all segments or areas of our market.
While MLS® dollar volume in the 3rd quarter of 2019 was up 38%, MLS® units sales increased just 26% over the 3rd quarter of 2018. This increase in unit sales during the quarter has resulted in an MLS® year-to-date unit sale increase of a modest 9% compared to the overall MLS® dollar volume increase of 20%. As in prior months, dollar volume is being driven by increased sales activity at the upper end of the market especially in the $1.5 to $1.999 million category. Year-to-date sales in this price range total 24 units compared to just 8 sales last year, an increase of 200%. Sales between $1 and $1,5 million are up 29% with 63 sales reported this year compared to 49 properties sold one year ago, Sales between $500,000 to $799,999 and $800,000 to $999,999 are up 32% and 38% respectively. Sales above the $2 million threshold are flat to 2018 with 9 sales reported in the first nine months of both 2018 and 2019.
Sales under the $500,000 mark is where we are seeing much weaker sales. In some cases this stems from lack of inventory but the reality is as prices have risen in recent years, fewer and fewer properties are available to purchase priced below $300,000. The attached chart chart reflects sales activity in units across the various price segments of our market.
Following insufficient listing activity to support buyer demand during the 2016 to 2018 time period, we have seen a modest increase in MLS® listing activity during 2019. The number of new listings that came to market in September reflected a 5% increases over September 2018. New MLS® listings for the 3rd quarter totalled 923 properties which was only 2% more than the number of new MLS® listings coming to market in the 3rd quarter of 2018.
Year-to-date new MLS® listing activity isn’t much higher with 2,654 new listings this year reflecting a mere 3% increase year-over-year. Once again, the MLS® sales and listing data reported herein does not for the most part include the sale of new homes and condominiums made by developers outside of the MLS® system.
MLS® single family home sales for 2019 total 1,219 properties, and increase of 119 homes or 11% from one year ago. MLS® condominium sales of 340 units reflects a unit sale increase of 46 properties or 16%. For many buyers, condominiums represent a more affordable if not more desirable lifestyle for either full time retirement or weekend recreational use. Vacant land sales in 2019 are down 37 sales or -22% from one year ago primarily due to a lack of lots available to purchase and I do not see this changing any time some.
From a municipal activity standpoint, Collingwood is showing the greatest increase in MLS® single family home sales this year with 309 sales reported in 2019 compared to just 223 last year, an increase of 38%. Single family home sales have increased in other municipalities as follows: Blue Mountains 17%, Grey Highlands 14% and Clearview Township 10% whereas single family home sales in Meaford and Wasaga Beach are down 6% and 2% respectively.
While the average MLS® year-to-date sale price is up 10% this year, that is not to say that prices overall are continuing to rise at the same rate as what we experienced in the prior years particularly 2016 through 2018. Much of this year’s average sale price increase is driven by the above mentioned increase in sales of higher priced homes from $800,000 upwards to $2 million.
Pricing your home and ore other property appropriately to current market values is more important now than in prior years and I stress that point enough. As I draft this post, there have been 48 price reductions entered into our MLS® system in the past seven days, with approximately 30% of these reductions for ski season rental properties. The remaining two-thirds are for properties that are listed for sale and have yet to attract a buyer.
As we head into the final three months of 2019 sales should remain strong through October and the first half of November, after which we will see the traditional slowdown in market activity as the holiday season approaches.
If you are contemplating selling or buying Collingwood and area real estate now or in 2020, please feel free to contact me for a no obligation consultation as to how I can assist you in making the appropriate decision for your specific needs and or goals.