Market Analysis for March, 2019

The spring market appears to be off to a good start, despite the fact that new listings are down by 8% compared to last year (from 2094 to 1928 as of the time of writing).

Sales are up by almost 2% (from 1111 to 1132, also as of writing), and the sales-to-listings ratio has climbed to just over 60%, making it a seller’s market with upward pressure on house prices.

This is not surprising given that we have only about 900 homes actively for sale on the market. However, should we see the number of listings increase in the coming months, the situation could change rapidly.

At the moment, I do not believe anybody can predict which way the market will go. The predictions from the housing gurus are very positive, but I have my doubts. Builders don’t want to lose the momentum they had from 2016-2018.

In my view, there is a bit of a rumbling when some of the builders are offering higher incentives to real estate agents and lower entry deposits for buyers, plus extra upgrades. At the very least, these moves signal concern by builders that the market may sag.

In the meantime, there is no question that current market prices are far above the levels that would be justified by inflation. The average price for apartments has risen from $365,400 at the end of 2018 to $389,900 at the time of writing, a rise of almost 7% in just two months.

Condo townhouses have dropped almost 1% (from $472,000 to $468,500). Freehold townhouses have gained 2.6% (from $603,000 to $618,600).

Semi-detached homes have gained almost 2% (from $635,300 to $647,000). But, not surprisingly, detached homes have dropped about 0.5% (from $815,200 down to $811,500).

This mix of increases and decreases reflects the uncertainty of the current market. The fact that apartments are seeing the strongest gains suggests that buyers are still leery of high prices.

Want to know more about the state of the market? Just ask me, I'll be happy to help.

--Peter

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