As I have provided in my Monthly Market Reports and in prior blob posts, the real estate market has shifted in the Southern Georgian Bay area as well as in most markets across Canada.  No longer do we have the robust market conditions that we had through the COVID 19 pandemic.

While we have now had three months of consecutive growth (May, June, July) in MLS® sales both in terms of dollars and the number of properties sold, it is too early to say the market has rebounded and we will return to the level of sales we experienced in 2020 and 2021.  As covered in my my July Market Report, year-to-date (YTD) MLS® sales in 2023 are running well below 2022 with MLS® dollar and unit sales down 21% and 10% respectively.  At the same time, MLS® listing activity has increased with YTD listings up 9% from 2022.  In terms of inventory (the number of properties for sale), there are currently 27% more active listings on the MLS® System of the Lakelands Association of REALTORS® that there were at the end of July one year ago.  Lack of inventory at least in our market can no longer be touted as the cause of reduced MLS® sales.  With MLS® sales down and inventory up,  the big question to ask is: “What’s happening with home prices?”

NOTE: The information provided herein covers the following six municipalities around the Southern Georgian Bay region, Clearview Township, Collingwood, Grey Highlands, Municipality of Meaford, Blue Mountains and Wasaga Beach. 

The chart below shows a 5 year history for MLS® median residential sales prices in the municipalities mentioned  above.

The median residential sale price rose sharply during the COVID 19 pandemic.  Demand was high and with inventory low, multiple offers were a routine occurrence with Sellers getting well over their respective “asking” prices.   The chart below illustrates the MLS® List-To-Sale-Price ratios over the same 5 year period as the chart above.

Prior to the COVID 19 pandemic, the historic MLS® List-To-Sale-Price ratio across our market typically ran between 95% to 97% on an annualized basis.  Yes some properties sold on the MLS® System for upwards of 100% of their asking price but others sold in the low 90% range and even below and often after being on the market for a long period to time.

For the first 7 months of 2023 the MLS® median List-To-Sale-Price ratio stands at 96.9%.  Some price segments of the market are performing better than others but in terms of Sellers routinely selling their homes for well over the MLS® listed price, those days are for the most part over in our market.  The market overall has in terms of price, clearly retreated to the pre-pandemic level we saw prior to the arrival of the COVID 19 pandemic.

As with the various price price segments across the Southern Georgina Bay real estate market, some municipalities are performing better than others both in terms of MLS® sales and pricing.  The chart below shows the YTD MLS® median residential sale price in each of the 6 municipalities mentioned above through to the end of July 2023 versus 2022.  As you will note, the median residential price in each of the six municipalities is down with the exception of Clearview Township which surprisingly is posting a 5.3% increase to $1.103 million versus $1.048 million one year ago.  The median residential sale prices in the remaining five municipalities are as follows: Blue Mountains down 8.8%, Collingwood down 8.6%, Wasaga Beach down 7.8%, Municipality of Meaford down 3.9% while the YTD MLS® median residential price in Grey Highlands is down 1.8% from this time last year

With median MLS® residential sale price down in all but one municipality that being Clearview, it is not surprising that the MLS® List-To-Sale-Price ratio in each municipality declined from then they were last year as well.  Through to the end of the first 7 months of 2022, all six municipalities had a List-To-Sale-Price ratio from 99.4% to as high as 102.0%.  By comparison, those ratios have dropped and are not running from a low of 94.7% in Grey Highlands to a high of 97.7% in Clearview.

In my opinion, none of this information should be taken as “bad news.”  For over two years I was telling clients the dynamics we were seeing in most real estate markets across Canada was neither healthy nor was it sustainable over the long term.  While Sellers benefitted by obtaining abnormally high sale prices, it was often a stressful process for them to sell.  How do you comfortably review and address 10, 20, 30 or more offers simultaneously?

On the flip side, Buyers were at a great disadvantage in making or simply trying to make a home purchase, forced to bid in what was simply a blind auction process with sale prices well over asking and often with no opportunity to obtain a home inspection or mortgage approval prior to submitting an offer.  What we are seeing now is merely a return to a more balanced market where Sellers and Buyers are treated equally in a transaction that is often the largest purchase many will ever make.

Real estate has and always will be a great investment.  Whether you are selling, buying or both, today’s market dynamics allows you to do so with less stress, more confidence and with better knowledge than what was available to you a couple of years ago.  For those of us in the real estate profession, they has never been a more critical time for us to share the kind of information I have provided herein helping you to make informed decisions.

As a full time REALTOR® for over 20 years, I welcome times like these.  It provides me with  the opportunity to work with and help my valued clients in making informed decisions with respect to their real estate needs and or objectives both short and long term.