Latest Update 4/2/2020 - scroll to the bottom of this post
Durham Region's real estate market roared through February with the ferocity of a bear awoken early from hibernation. Demand for homes was strong with sales volume at much higher levels than last year and last month.
Inventory, however, was scarce making bidding wars the norm.
This is highly unusual, as prices normally follow a pattern of peaks in the spring season and lows in the winter months.
Prices in Durham increased by 13.3% since February 2019 and rose 0.3% since January. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board's (TRREB) overall market posted a 17.7% annual increase (+11.9% monthly).
Average prices for all of TRREB were 989,218 as shown in the above chart (red line). The price point is at a high for the past year, which normally doesn't happen until April or May.
The latest market statistics show the average Durham property at $657,788 - up from last month's 655,781 by $2,007 (+0.3%).
Active listings in Durham Region were 1036 in February. That is a 31.1% decrease from last year and a 14.5% increase from January. The annual drop in active listings represents a significant tightening of the market. Currently, there are only 1.9 months of inventory, increasing buyer competition and could help to drive prices higher at a moderate pace.
The overall TRREB market had a 30.8% decrease in active listings from last year.
Sales volume in Durham Region increased 52.1% from last year with 890 units sold versus 585 last February (TRREB +31.8%). It was up from January by 51.9%. (TRREB +54.5%). A slowdown is normally seen this time of year, as December through February are typically the lowest volume months, so we may see exceptional buying volume as we see an early jump to the spring rush.
The time a property takes to sell is called DOM or days on market. It was 17 in February, showing a very strong pace to sales for this time of year. This figure tends to increase after the spring market before dropping again in the fall and rising again in winter months.
Another indicator of demand is sale price compared to list price. It was 101% in Durham in February, 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 continued increases in prices from January (+5.1%) as well as annually (+19.0%). Sales volume was up massively from 2019 (+90.3% annual change) and monthly (+62.1%).
Detached homes had a 20.2% increase in average price annually.
Whitby's sales volume jumped from January (+49.1%) and was up strongly from last year (+59.4). Prices were up (+3.9%) from January and again very strong (+16.2%) annually.
Detached homes were up 15.0% annually.
Clarington's sales volume increased (+74.2%) monthly, and was also up (+40.9%) annually. Prices were up (+0.7%) monthly and annually (+13.4%).
Detached homes were up 14.6% annually.
In Ajax, volume was up (+32.7%) annually and (+65.4%) monthly. Prices increased (+12.3%) annually in Ajax and monthly (+2.6%).
Pickering increased in volume monthly (+30.9%) and was up (+29.0%) year-over-year. It had increases in price (+15.8%) annually and was down (-2.1%) monthly.
Townhomes (+13.3%) and condo apartments (+15.8%) saw substantial annual increases in price.
Latest Market Update - Apr 2/2020
The market remains tight in Durham Region, with selling prices at or above list price in a majority of communities.
Inventory has reached critical lows - now at just 1.2 months, with those areas in south Durham at the lowest levels. New listings are coming on the market at a pace similar to sales, keeping this level consistent over the first 30 days of March.
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.
Sales pace has also increased - to 36.3 units per day - a 35.3% annual increase and 26.5% monthly jump. The pace is slowing due to the COVID-19 situation (down to 20.3 units per day between the 24th and 30th). It has affected showing volumes, especially now that we no longer have open houses and in-person showings are being discouraged.
Days on Market (DOM), or the time it takes a listing to go from listed to being sold firm is also trending lower - now at just 13.4 days. For the last week it dropped to just 14.6 days - with Ajax, Whitby and Pickering showing very tight figures.
Prices are keeping steady - at over 657,000 in Durham Region. Last month, the average was 657,788. Normally we would expect prices to rise in line with the normal seasonal pattern as the spring market begins to emerge. The last week showed an average sale price of 620,000.
Buyers will still find multiple offer scenarios very common right now. 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.
The inventory shortage situation will likely disappear once the coronavirus situation is under control, and new listings flood the market to quench the demand - the opportunity to have multiple offers on the average listing may disappear.
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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