Southern Georgian Bay real estate market red hot

By Gisele Winton Sarvis, Special to Postmedia Network

Kevin Woolham

Kevin Woolham

Home sales set a new record for 2015 in the Southern Georgian Bay region, tipping the market from balanced to a sellers market.

Some 3,157 residential properties changed hands last year, the first time the annual figure has ever topped the 3,000 mark.

"Overall, consumer confidence is strong and I suspect 2016 will be another strong year and we will continue to see strength in the market," said Kevin Woolham, president of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of Realtors (SGBAR).

"As with many other parts of the province, record levels of demand are draining listings off the market far faster than new supply can replenish them, and with more buyers chasing fewer listings you get the kinds of price gains we saw in 2015," Woolham added.

The market in the area spanning the shores of south Georgian Bay - from Meaford and Grey Highlands through Collingwood, Wasaga Beach and extending through the Towns of Midland and Penetanguishene to Georgian Bay Township - has been consistently increasing since 2012, Woolham said.

But whereas it was a buyers market in 2012, the market became balanced between buyers and sellers and is edging into a sellers market for 2016, he explained.

Waterfront homes and homes close to ski hills are in strong demand and well into the sellers market area already because of lack of availability, Woolham explained.

However, overall inventory of available homes reached an all-time low last year, said Woolham.

Driving the strength of the market is the continuation of low interest rates.

"There is talk of interest rates staying where they are and I predict we will see consistent growth, but not dramatically changing from where are at, said Woolham, a realtor with Century 21 Millennium Inc.

The average selling price in the whole area is $342,674.

The highest priced homes are in the Town of the Blue Mountains which has an average selling price of $620,000. At the end of the third quarter sales registered at more than $46 million total there.

Highest demand is for houses in the affordable range of $200,000 to $350,000.

"Any product you find in that area is the most desirable," he said.

Sales in the western district (Wasaga Beach and west) numbered 2,099, up 7.1% from 2014.

Wasaga Beach did very well last year registering more than 568 sales.

"That market really came alive and had the most significant growth," he said.

Collingwood registered 360 sales, up from 342 in 2014.

Homes sales in the eastern district (Tiny and Springwater townships and east) came in 19.3% ahead of 2014, with 1,058 sales.

Overall supply of homes on the market remains at a decade low, according to a January press release from the SGBAR. There were 918 listings at the end of December, down almost 40% from the previous year.

Also noteworthy is the total sales for December was $51.7M, the first December to register more than $50 million.

Inventory is especially low for homes priced under $350,000, said Woolham and are in high demand both from young families and from seniors downsizing.

"We will be seeing growth in new homes because there is a void in the $250,000 to $350,000 range and it's the most active. Those are the areas that home builders are really targeting," said Woolham.

Lastly, while records are being broken, there is a lot of variability between homes, neighbourhoods and different municipalities and people wanting to know the value of their home or what's going on in their neighbourhood should consult their local realtor, Woolham said. 

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