Real Estate Market in a Stalemate

The January deep freeze that descended upon Pelham extended into our local real estate market as sales activity continued to retract. Unit sales for the month were stagnant with a total of 5 residential MLS sales recorded compared to 10 during January 2008. The average price of the residential sales for the month was $245,760 in comparison to the January 2008 figure of $284,601, representing a 13.6% decline in average sale price for the month.

Even with a 50% reduction in monthly unit sales the Pelham market fared marginally better than Welland in the percent decline in unit sales calculation. The January MLS residential unit sales for our neighbours to the south fell by 57% with 23 unit sales reported in comparison to the total of 53 units achieved in 2008. However, the monthly average residential sale price in Welland of $156,043 actually increased 1.6% from the January 2008 level of $153,608.

What’s going on? The market in Pelham is as frozen as the snow banks that line our streets and make the average buyer prefer to hibernate rather than speculate. Home sellers continue to recession watch hoping against hope that the current market conditions will melt away with the arrival of the long awaited spring market.

Of the five recorded sales in January, two represented rural properties with low end price points under $200,000. The other three were properties that had been on the market for 8 months or longer and the sale price levels achieved reflected an average 5-6% discount from the original list price.

The total days on market of the average listing is stretching longer -in Pelham the January 2009 sales had been on the market an average of 99 days versus 71 days for January 2008. In Welland, the comparative January figures were 94 days in 2009 and 58 days for 2008.

The market situation that is developing reads like an elaborate game of cat and mouse. The Buyers are waiting for the Sellers to offer the price reduction bait while the Sellers are reluctant to show their hand lest their sunny visions of spring will collapse like a house of cards. It’s a stalemate.

Categories: Real Estate Market Update

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