Latest Update 5/1/2020 - scroll to the bottom of this post
Durham Region's real estate market is anything but normal due to the health crisis that has affected virtually all aspects of life. While sales volume has significantly dropped since the mid-point of March, the local market is in surprisingly good condition overall.
Inventory has not picked up substantially, as new listings continue to hit the market at a pace close to sales, thereby keeping prices relatively in line with February levels. There are segments that have changed, and I will expand on those later on in this article.
With COVID-19 protocols in place, there are no longer open houses, and in-person showings are being discouraged. That doesn't change the fact that some people still need to buy and sell homes - for many reasons.
Real estate brokerages (and supporting services) continue to operate, with most offices closed to the public, and business being conducted using technology instead of in-person where possible.
Prices in Durham increased by 8.5% since March 2019 and dropped 0.2% since February. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board's (TRREB) overall market posted a 14.5% annual increase (-0.8% monthly).
Average prices for all of TRREB were 902,680 as shown in the above chart (red line). The price point has dipped in March, as the effects of COVID-19 begin to show in the sales figures.
The latest market statistics show the average Durham property at $656,211 - down from last month's 657,788 by $1,577 (-0.2%).
Active listings in Durham Region were 1229 in March. That is a 29.6% decrease from last year and a 18.6% increase from February. The annual drop in active listings represents a significant tightening of the market. Currently, there are only 1.8 months of inventory, increasing buyer competition and could help to drive prices higher at a moderate pace.
When the COVID-19 situation eases, expect listings (and sales) to rise sharply, as pent-up demand creates a surge in activity.
The overall TRREB market had a 31.5% decrease in active listings from last year.
Sales volume in Durham Region increased 31.2% from last year with 1101 units sold versus 839 last March (TRREB +11.5%). It was up from February by 23.7%. (TRREB +10.4%).
Normally, we would be seeing a sharp rise in volume this time of year, as the spring market emerges, and this was the case for the first half of March. Things have tapered off substantially since then.
The time a property takes to sell is called DOM or days on market. It was 13 in March, showing a very strong pace to sales. This figure has remained strong, even with the affects of COVID-19.
Another indicator of demand is sale price compared to list price. It was 102% in Durham in March, again showing very high levels of buyer demand, as the average property sold for more than list price.
These factors combined are a good barometer for sellers, as it shows that not only is current inventory moving at a rapid pace, but it is also selling at a price that is very close to or over asking.
Prices By Home Style
What are homes selling for in Durham Region Cities?
Oshawa showed a decrease in prices from February (-1.2%) but increased annually (+14.8%). Sales volume was up from 2019 (+35.3% annual change) and monthly (+6.4%).
Whitby's sales volume increased from February (+31.1%) and was up strongly from last year (+36.1). Prices were up (+0.5%) from February and (+10.6%) annually.
Clarington's sales volume increased (+31.6%) monthly, and was also up (+33.3%) annually. Prices were down (-1.7%) monthly and rose annually (+11.5%).
In Ajax, volume was up (+28.2%) annually and (+25.4%) monthly. Prices increased (+10.9%) annually in Ajax and monthly (+0.3%).
Pickering increased in volume monthly (+59.6%) and was up (+31.5%) year-over-year. It had increases in price (+1.7%) annually and was down (-2.9%) monthly.
Latest Market Update - May 1/2020
Even with the changes driven by COVID-19, the market remains tight in Durham Region, with selling prices near or above list price in several communities.
Inventory has been rising - now at 2.6 months for the region, with those areas in south Durham at the lowest levels.
Given that many transactions happen on the weekend, we also will see some fluctuation as more new listings hit the market on weekdays and more sales happen on the weekends.
Thus far in April, prices averaged 611,287 in Durham Region, with the average property selling at 98.9% of list price (SP/LP). South Durham areas showed the highest ratios.
It is rather unusual to see average price dropping while the market is still selling at virtually list price on average.
My take on the situation is that lower price bands (those under 800,000) are making up the vast majority of sales right now. Higher priced homes are not moving nearly as fast (53 units, 26.1 DOM, 96.8% SP/LP), likely as families looking for higher-priced detached homes are waiting things out. Many of the ones that are at the lower end of the price curve are still selling at more than list (413 units, 18.1 DOM, 99.4% SP/LP), indicating that there still is a large demand out there.
Days on market (DOM) averaged 19.0 days, with south Durham showing lower numbers (16.2 days).
Inventory levels are running higher based on this month's sales statistics, indicative of the slowdown in activity due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. While inventory is rising sales are also happening at a pace which makes the increase very gradual.
Pace of sales was at 16.6 units per day for this period, which is well below the month of March (35.5), or last April (35.6).
Buyers will still find multiple offer scenarios very common right now, at least in south Durham communities and lower price points. They are highly advised to get prepared - have their mortgage preapproval ready before looking at homes, and be prepared to view homes via photos and virtual tours as soon as they reach the market. Speak with your agent to discuss the process to move forward while being respectful of COVID-19 physical distancing and spread avoidance protocols.
Sellers may want to hold off until the coronavirus situation improves, or to work with their agent to minimize showings and exposure to risk from COVID-19. Many brokerages are now using tools to enable showings virtually, via video call, as well as conducting client meetings and signings remotely, using digital tools.
If you are interested in seeing values for an area not shown or are interested in other figures, please comment below or contact me. As always, give me a call anytime if you would like to discuss further without any obligation.
Broker, REALTOR®, RE/MAX Impact Realty
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Member, Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB).
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