Two Tales of a City
One look at December's sales statistics and you can clearly see a huge change from a year ago. December 2008 had us waist deep in the global recession and while banks and automakers were being bailed-out south of the border our local real estate market was pretty much non-existent. Total sales for the month had trickled to an all-time low and while Stephane Dion enjoyed a cup of coffee as the Federal Liberal leader the average days on market for MLS listings slowed to a snail's pace and the amount of active listings for sale began to pile up. Was the market transitioning into the first buyers market that we had seen in more than a decade? It certainly looked that way.
Fast forward to December 2009 and things couldn't be more different. MLS sales are up 63% from last year, the average time on market is 35 days and an incredible 26% of MLS sales in December sold for full price or more. That's what I call a recovery! Symptomatic of this turnaround however is the fact that our inventory of active listings in Guelph is now at a record low of 177 homes as of January 1st. More homes for us Realtors to sell would definitely make this economic recovery complete.
Although 2009 sure had its ups and downs, the year-at-a-glance statistics tell a surprisingly different story. The year-end stats for 2009 are almost a carbon copy of the numbers for 2008! Total sales, identical! Average days on market, sold % of list price, average list and sale prices virtually identical! How could this be? 2008 was a typical year for Guelph with a typically predictable strong real estate market. 2009 was a dog's breakfast! It started with a global recession and a potential buyers market. It was a little flat in the middle as the world mourned Michael Jackson's demise and then just as we were all discovering that Tiger Woods was human after all, the big finish, a spectacular recovery! Statistically speaking, 2009 turned out to be exactly like its predecessor just with a lot more drama mixed in to make things more interesting. It's almost as if we all woke up after a bad dream on New Years Day repeating "there's no place like home", only to find ourselves back where we started.
Going forward, I believe the 2010 real estate market is poised to be very active both locally and across the country. Renewed confidence will have buyers and sellers who stayed put over the last year and a half mostly because of fear, ready to make a move.
I expect the first half of the year to be especially hectic due to consumers wanting to avoid the Harmonized Sales Tax that is due to take affect in July. Fasten your seatbelts friends another wild and wonderful year of real estate awaits!
Happy New Year and have a healthy and prosperous 2010!