Sales Down. Prices Down. Inventory Up & Down?
Finally the numbers are in. TREB took a lot longer than usual to release the final sales numbers for the month of December, maybe because they were so painful to look at they had to double check them several times, hoping they would magically improve themselves. 🙂 Here are all the gory details.
Compared to December 2007:
- In C01 (downtown west), condo sales are down 49%, average prices are down 10%, and inventory is up 76%. The number of sales as a percentage of active listings was 14% versus 48% last year.
- In C08 (downtown east), condo sales are down 45%, average prices are down 10%, and inventory is up a staggering 180%. The number of sales as a percentage of active listings was 20% versus 101% last year (not a typo-Q4 2007 was absolutely crazy!).
So if we just stopped there the numbers would be very similar to what was reported for the month of November, but there is something else very significant happening which will likely not be reported on much in the news media. Check this out:
Compared to November 2008 (last month):
- In C01, condo inventory has decreased by 26%Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â (843 listings in November vs. 667 in December)
- In C08, condo inventory has decreased by 29%Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â (359 listings in November vs. 254 in December)
Let me preface this by saying that it is normal for inventory to drop between the months of November to December as it is well known that December is not the best month to be a seller. However, this could be a sign of what many are fearing:
Sellers are holding off en masse to re-list their properties in the spring. Some believe that the market will be flooded with listings this spring and that will be when it really ‘hits the fan’. Time will tell.
So what do the latest numbers mean to you?
- For Buyers – Prices are down, but not everywhere. Median prices have not changed all that much. Shop for bargains now but understand that there is no rush as Spring could bring surplus inventory.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
- For SellersÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â – If you couldn’t sell your condo in the fall and are planning on relisting this spring, you might want to speed up the process and go to market now to try to avoid the rush to the gate.
- For InvestorsÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â – Stick to the fundamentals. Look for properties that have been on the market the longest and offer the chance at positive cash flows.
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