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New Year Begins with Balanced Conditions

The Pelham real estate market finished the year off with a bang! With 18 single family unit sales in December compared to 10 in December 2009, sales for the month jumped 80%.

This surge was enough to offset the 4 per cent year to date dip reflected in our November results. Total sales in Pelham during 2010 reached 209 units – the exact same level as recorded in 2009.  How’s that for a balanced market?

Admittedly when we are working with such a limited sample size percentage results have a tendency to swing dramatically from month to month. When we review the larger market region of Niagara we are presented with an equally appealing snapshot of market activity.

According to the MLS statistics of the Niagara Association of REALTORS, there were 5,247 residential single family sales in Niagara in 2010 compared to 5,087 in 2009, representing an increase of 3.1%. Our neighbouring community of Welland also experienced an increase of 3% with sales of 726 units in 2010 up from 705 units in 2009.

The year ended stronger than was anticipated based on the weaker sales activity in the third quarter. In fact, it was just two months ago that the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) announced that it was revising its 2010 annual projection to predict an annual decline of 4.9 per cent over 2009 results.

This underlines the difficulties that economists are continuing to experience trying to read market conditions that have been teetering back and forth from quarter to quarter throughout the past two years.

One market statistic that has everyone smiling is the rising average price trend. According to the RE/MAX Housing Market Outlook 2011, examining trends and developments in 26 major centres across the country, found that virtually all areas were reporting an upswing in housing values, ranging from just under one per cent to 15 per cent this past year.

In Pelham our 12 month average price was $324,584 – 5.8% higher than the figure of $306,854 recorded in December 2009. The Niagara average currently stands at $225,234 up 4.5% from last year’s level.

The RE/MAX national report concludes that we should expect greater stability to characterize the markets in 2011, Canadian housing sales to mirror 2010 levels with average prices escalating three per cent by year-end 2011. Let’s hope they’re right.

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