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Area home sale listings soaring, outstripping demand: realtor

While Lakelands Association of Realtors' president called it 'puzzling' he said a bit more time could see demand catching up to the record number of listings in the region
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A record number of new home sale listings hit the market last month, but demand hasn’t quite made the same leaps. 

“It’s a bit puzzling as to why demand did not respond in kind as it normally does,” said Matthew Lidbetter, president of the Lakelands Association of Realtors, in a news release. 

However, he said things may change over the next couple of months. 

“It’s possible buyers have temporarily put their purchasing decisions on hold until back-to-school and work season is upon us and one more Bank of Canada rate announcement is released,” said Lidbetter in the news release. 

According to information recorded by the MLS system for the region, there were 417 non-waterfront homes and sold in August 2023, which is up by 16.5 per cent compared to August 2022. 

The dollar value for sales is also up with August sales totalling  $311.4 million for the Lakelands region last month, a gain of 22.6 per cent from the same month in 2022. Waterfront sales in August 2023 amounted to $117 million. 

There were 142 waterfront homes sold in the Lakelands region in August 2023, which is an increase of three sales compared to August 2022. 

The Lakelands region includes seven major geographical areas: parts of Severn and Georgian Bay Townships, Wasaga Beach, Clearview Township, Collingwood, The Blue Mountains, portions of Meaford and Grey Highlands, Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay, Tiny, Parry Sound, Muskoka, Halibirton, Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes, Huntsville, and Lake of Bays. 

Year-to-date, the Lakelands association reports 3,100 non-waterfront homes sold, and 798 waterfront homes sold, which is a decrease of 8.6 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively for each category compared to 2022. 

Non-waterfront home sales are about 26-27 per cent below the five- and 10-year averages for the region, and waterfront sales are 36-39 per cent below five- and 10-year averages. 

"Sales of non-waterfront residential properties moved up in August while sales of waterfront homes were little changed, although demand for both types remained well below historical norms for this time of year," said Lidbetter in the news release.

In Lakelands Central, which includes Midland, Orillia, Oro-Medonte, Penetanguishene, Ramara, Springwater, Tay and Tiny, there were 191 non-waterfront homes sold in August 2023, which is up 20 per cent compared to last year. There were 20 waterfront homes sold in the central area of the region, which is down from 26 sold last August. 

The median sale price for non-waterfront sales in the central area of the region was $675,000, up by 6.3 per cent compared to last August, and the waterfront median at $892,500 million was about the same last month as it was last year.

For the whole region, median price for non-waterfront home sales was $687,000 and for waterfront it was $995,000. 

According to the realtors’ association, the home price index is a more accurate price trend indicator than median price, because it considers other factors to come up with a benchmark price for the area. 

In the Lakelands, the overall home price index benchmark price was $714,000 in August, which is about 3.2 per cent lower compared to last August. 

Broken down further, the benchmark price for a single-family home in Lakelands region was $743,700, for a townhouse/row unit it was $577,100, and for an apartment it was $474,700. 

Nationally, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported a 4.1 per cent drop in home sales in August compared to July. 

Part of the decline was led by Ontario communities, notably Ottawa, Hamilton-Burlington as well as London and St. Thomas.

"August was the first full month of housing data following the Bank of Canada’s July rate hike, so a dip in activity was expected,” Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s senior economist, said in a release.

“The demand is obviously still there, and it will be back, but as the housing affordability crisis re-emerges as a top policy issue, for now, the slowdown on the buyer side should help keep a lid on prices.”

CREA said the aggregate composite home index rose 0.4% nationally on a month-over-month basis in August 2023.

That is “ … only about half as large as the July gain, which was only about half as large as the gains recorded in April, May, and June,” the release said. “This levelling off of prices is in line with slowing sales and a rebound in listings.”

While most of the country has seen solid price growth, Ontario is a “mixed bag,” with some of Canada’s biggest increases, but also biggest declines, depending on the region.

- With files from Patrick Cain