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Prince Edward County’s red-hot real estate sales – despite, or because of, COVID-19

Homes for sale showing on realtor.ca Jan. 13 using filter of one bathroom comes up with 44 listings but also includes nine on the Bridge Street Picton development not yet built and 11 seasonal homes in Cherry Valley.

With the province entering its second pandemic state-of-emergency, red-hot home sales in Prince Edward County and region could continue – though inventory is the lowest in decades.

Sales of homes set a new annual record during 2020 despite the pandemic and reduced active listings. And as Prince Edward County’s market was also red-hot, a local realtor wonders how long it can last.

Treat Hull

“Despite COVID-19, or maybe because of it, the supercharged real estate market which began in the summer, continued right through December,” said Treat Hull, of Treat Hull & Associates Brokerage. “In a normal year, real estate in the County slows to a crawl as the holidays approach, but this year’s December sales were almost double what they were last year.”

Prince Edward County saw 44 sales in December 2020 compared to 23 in 2019. The average price was $864,995 compared to $456,172 in 2019.

But Hull adds the supply of existing homes for sale in the County remained at an all-time low in December with less than 50 listings available.

“Put differently, the number of homes available for sale at the end of December was down 75 per cent from a year earlier.”

Hull says that though raw numbers show the median price for homes sold in the County during December 2020 was up 55 per cent, he feels quarterly prices may provide a more valid measure.

“In this case, the fourth quarter median price was up 29 per cent from the same time in 2019.”

There were 211 homes sold in the region through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in December, representing a 39.7 per cent increase from 2019, said Don McColl, President of the Quinte and District Association of Realtors. “On an annual basis, home sales totaled a record 3,975 units over the course of 2020” – an increase of 13.9 per cent over 2019.

Hull is curious how long the trend can continue in the County.

County home sales in 2019 and 2020 documented by Treat Hull. See his website at treathull.ca for more comparisons.

“Since the summer, sales have been driven by a surge of buyers looking to escape Toronto. At this point it hard to say what 2021 will look like. Will the flood of Toronto buyers continue despite the lockdown? Or will the cumulative damage to the economy be so great that it undermines consumer confidence, cutting off the Toronto demand in the process? Both outcomes are plausible,” he said.

McColl says that moving forward in the region in 2021, the story continues to be the strength of demand combined with dwindling active listings.

“New listings have not been able to keep pace with the number of sales in five of the last six months,” said McDoll. “This has reduced the number of active listings to a level not seen in over three decades. These factors have driven upward price momentum and have created some of the tightest conditions our local market has ever seen.”

McColl notes the MLS Home Price Index says the benchmark price for single family homes rose 31.2 per cent to $412,700 on a year-over-year basis in December.

“By comparison the benchmark price for townhouse/row units was $405,800, increasing considerably by 42.3 per cent compared to a year earlier.”

The average price of homes sold in December 2020 was a record $546,053, a gain of 52.6 per cent over December 2019.

In the County, Hull notes that under normal market conditions, 10-20 per cent of homes sell for listing price or more.

“However, demonstrating once again that these are anything but normal times, 45 per cent of homes in the County sold at, or above, asking price during December 2020.

“This is the first time in history that average price has broken through the 500K level,” said McColl, of the region’s numbers. “The more comprehensive annual average price was $453,754, rising 23 per cent from all of 2019.”

 

 

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  1. ChrisW says:

    Houses near me are now selling over asking. One was $60K over.

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