Overview: A Spectacular – And Very Unique – Sales Year
In last month’s Report we mused, first, about whether December would be another record-breaking sales month, thus achieving a perfect twelve monthly records for 2015; and second, whether the Georgian Triangle’s MLS sales volume would top $800,000,000 for the year.
Well, it’s seriously thumbs up on both counts. December’s sales, at $46,685,516, were up no less than 28.6% over last December’s previous record of $36,306,059, thereby completing the perfect dozen. And as Graph 1 shows, 2015’s sales volume hit $804,882,436, up 20.8% over 2014’s previous record of $666,340,488, and up 38.3% from 2013. These numbers are all the more impressive given that 2015’s total listings of 4347 were down 15.3% from 2014’s 5129, and down 15.5% from 2013’s 5146. Hmmm . . . way less listings, but way more sales.
Very atypical indeed, and yet characteristic of market patterns that we drew attention to for all of 2015, but more on that in a moment. Suffice to say that 2015 was The Year Of The Seller, and that the demand for listings still greatly exceeds the supply in the Georgian Triangle.
The Market In Detail
As Table 1 shows, 2015’s record-breaking dollar figures are reflected in the unit sales total which, at 2386, was up 14.7% over 2014’s sales of 2080. As well, 2015’s gains were in all price brackets, and exceptional in the $300K-to-$499K (up 34.2%), $500K-to-$799K (up 31.1%) and $1.5M+ (up 33.3%) ranges. Moreover, the $300K-$1.5M+ range was up a staggering 37.6% overall.
Moving now to the month-to-month sales volume and unit details, Graphs 2 and 3 show that 2015’s record pace exceeded 2014’s previous record pace every month.
So What Made The 2015 Georgian Triangle Market So Unique?
. . . basically, the following combination of very unusual – and in some cases, unprecedented –market metrics which we repeatedly noted throughout our 2015 Reports:
- Despite 2015’s sales volume being up 8% and sales units up 14.7% over 2014, there were 782 – or 15.2% – less new listings on the market.
- 2015’s sales-to-listings ratio was an unheard-of 9% (with 3 months above 70% and 4 more months above 60%), way above the year-in-year-out 30%-40% (Graph 4).
- In 2015, 2386 listings sold and 1687 listings expired, a sales-to-expired-listings ratio of 4% which, according to Locations North’s long-time agents is unprecedented. In fact, they say that not since the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement was passed in 1988 have more homes sold in any year than expired. A more usual sales-to-expireds ratio was 2014’s 86.1%, where 2080 listings sold and 2415 listings expired (Graphs 5 and 6).
- Alhough precise numbers are not available, there were more multiple and overprice offer situations in 2015 than any other year that our long-time agents can recall.
- If you look at 2015’s monthly sales increases over 2014, they generally declined from March’s increase of 46% to December’s increase of 18%. Usually a slowing market means an over-supply of listings and over-pricing. However, this wasn’t the case in 2015 given that there were 782 or 2 less homes on the market than 2014. This led many Locations North agents to conclude that sales slowed for a totally topsy-turvy reason that no one had ever seen before: there was actually an under-supply of listings on the market, such that if there had been more listings there would have been more sales!The Takeaway?
The 2015 Georgian Triangle real estate market was over-the-top robust and very unusual (in that it broke a few long-standing rules as well as lots of sales records). Further, for many long-time market watchers the 2015 market was also quite puzzling in that: sales were record-breaking all year, so buyers were definitely buying; average sale prices were up nicely; the demand for new listings was higher than high; there were multiple offers and over-price offers aplenty; despite the white-hot sellers’ market, there was actually less competition than usual between sellers; and yet . . . far fewer people were putting their homes up for sale(?)
These points seem to add up to two things: increasingly, people want to live in this incredibly beautiful area, and those of us who live here are generally very happy where we are.
So what’s on tap for 2016? As usual, the oracles are hedging, but it seems safe to say that what we saw in 2015 – as well as in 2014 and 2013, which were also banner sales years – is part of a broader demographic that is bringing more and more people to the area. And all things being equal, we can probably expect more of the same this year. If so, that means 2016 will continue to be a great time to be a home seller – and also a home buyer – in the Georgian Triangle. J
A Few More Numbers To Fill In The Picture
As they did throughout 2015, December’s main market metrics translated directly the details of Single-Family Home Sales (Graph 7), and Sales by Property Type (Graph 8).
Regarding single-family homes, 2015’s unit sales were up 11.1% from 2014. All communities were up except Clearview (down 3.5%) and Grey Highlands (down 14.2%), while high-volume Wasaga Beach (up 29.9%) was responsible for most of the overall gains.
Lastly, 2015’s condo sales were up 6.1% over 2014’s, while vacant land sales were up 29.4%.
Again, as to whether the record sales numbers of 2015 will continue into 2016 as more and more people discover and take advantage of the Georgian Triangle’s four-season lifestyle and great value, we’ll have to see. Please stay tuned as we will regularly provide Georgian Triangle Market Reports in order to help you make better-informed real estate decisions.