As we enter the starting days of the 2010 decade I once again find myself contemplating the incredible difference a year can make. Last year’s trepidation and lack of consumer confidence have been replaced by a resounding spirit of resiliency.
During the opening months of 2009 a deep freeze descended upon Pelham and extended into our local real estate market. Sales activity continued to retract as 1st quarter MLS unit sales results dropped 32.5% below 2008 levels.
The market situation that developed was an elaborate game of cat and mouse with Buyers waiting for the Sellers to offer them the bait of price reductions while Sellers held firm anticipating improved market conditions. Many homeowners simply took their properties off the market and waited for the storm to pass.
By April, the early Spring thaw in Pelham brought with it tentative signs of improvement in the local market. Although there were fewer sales happening, the 1st Quarter 12 month average sale price of $296,804 had actually edged up slightly over the 2008 year end result of $295,179. It was the first time since the 2007 year end that the quarterly average price in Pelham had not declined suggesting that housing prices had finally stabilized.
Resale housing sales results in Pelham began to steadily improve throughout the 2nd quarter and during the month of July, 22 homes were sold, representing a 29% increase over 2008 levels and only 1 unit short of the record of 23 sales recorded in July during the 2007 peak market year.
Total year to date sales in Pelham began to surpass 2008 levels during the month of August with the September year-to-date figure of 171 units representing a 9.6% increase over the total of 156 recorded in 2008. In comparison, third quarter resale housing across the Niagara region increased by an average of 5.6% while year-to-date unit sales lagged 7.6% behind 2008 figures.
By the close of the year residential resale home sales in Pelham had increased 18% over the total volume of units sold in 2008 - the highest percentage improvement achieved in the Niagara Region. During 2009 there were 5083 unit sales recorded in Niagara –just 1.3% shy of the 2008 total of 5131. Across the peninsula there is a feeling of cautious optimism combined with a collective sigh of relief.