The real estate market outlook is much brighter these days after seeing a historically poor run of form.
According to a recent report by Royal Lepage president and CEO Phil Soper, Canada went through a 12-month housing slowdown, the longest in recent history.
Huge jumps in selling prices during the pandemic – with increases of over 50 percent between 2020 and 2022 – were followed by declines of between 10 and 15 percent from spring 2022 to 2023. Inflation, interest rate hikes, and general economic uncertainty led to buyers keeping their money close to home.
However, a more balanced market is coming forth following the slow-down explains Bob Clarke, owner of Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Clarke Muskoka Realty.
“We have started to see inflation coming down, interest rates have paused, and because there is at least some certainty in terms of interest rates those that have money are back out shopping again,” Bob says.
The Soper report showed that sales dropped considerably in 2022 from the peak in 2021. Year over year through February 2023, listings sat for an average of 4.1 months, with a 58 percent sales-to-new-listings ratio.
Soper’s report initially predicted a 3 to 4 percent reduction in pricing with more activity on the market, however shortly after that report came out, Royal Lepage revised their outlook to predict an increase in pricing.
“There has been enough activity to optimistically adjust the forecast,” explains Bob. “We’re now seeing more sales due to the lack of inventory.”
Buyers continue to shop but are being selective in the process. Even properties with multiple offers have buyers visiting for a walkthrough, putting conditions on the offer including home inspections, and offer prices more in line with the asking price.
Over 25 percent of Canadians who put their home purchase plans on hold over the last year have indicated they will resume their property search this spring.
After the long stall, Royal LePage Lakes of Muskoka Clarke Muskoka Realty has witnessed increased activity month over month into the spring – particularly in the recreational waterfront market.
Movement began in early March when properties started selling in the under $1.5 million segment. That was followed by increased movement in the under $2 million range, then in the $3 and $4 million range. Eventually a property listed for over $9 million sold in less than a week.
Severn team grows
The Clarke real estate team is welcoming a new member this spring at the Port Severn office. The office covers Georgian Bay Township, Tay Township, Orillia, Severn Township, Ramara, and Simcoe County.
Sales representative Suzanne Knight will be covering Orillia and parts of Simcoe County up to Severn Bridge. She joins sales representatives Jeffrey Braun and Bob Emmett in that region.
“Suzanne will make a fantastic addition to the team, and we’re excited she is joining us.”
Great first year
The Port Severn office is celebrating a successful first year: they brokered over $31 million in real estate transactions, with 28 properties listed and sold. They also represented buyers on 18 properties, which amounted to $19 million in sales. On 32 percent of their listings, they represented both the buyer and the seller.
The team was particularly successful on Six Mile Lake, reaching the highwater mark for sales in the area.
“We sold the most on Six Mile in the past year and reached the highest price point at well over $3 million,” says Bob. “I’m very happy with the results we’ve seen.”
TEXT CHRIS OCCHIUZZI | PHOTOS CANADADOCKS