Those of us who work in the local real estate industry are reflecting back upon a year that gave us an incredibly emotional ride. Nothing could have prepared us for the complete lack of consumer confidence that kept the temperature of the local real estate market in the deep freeze well into the 2nd quarter of the year.
In Welland, 1st quarter MLS residential sales dropped to 131 units compared to the 189 recorded during the same period in 2008, representing a 31% decline.
As spring began to peak above the bleak horizon it became clear that a showdown was developing between local home sellers and home buyers. While Buyers kept doing the rounds scouting for bargain basement pricing Sellers held firm anticipating improved market conditions or simply took their homes off the market and waited for the storm to pass.
By April it was becoming increasingly evident that although there were fewer sales happening average price levels were holding steady and beginning to rebound. As of the end of June, year- to-date unit sales in Welland were 26% below 2009 levels yet the 12 month average price of $170, 417 had risen 1.2% above the 2008 year end figure of $168,700.
During the third quarter resale housing activity in Welland climbed 7.9% above the level recorded during the third quarter of 2008 with a total of 219 unit sales in 2009 compared to 203 during the previous period. Welland market results exceeded the Niagara regional average of a 5.6 % increase in third quarter activity and mirrored the same positive trends that were being reported nationally.
The speed and magnitude of the rebound in sales activity during the second and third quarter prompted the Canadian Real Estate Association to substantially increased its May 2009 forecasted number of annual transactions from the 14.7 per cent decline that it had originally projected based on poor 1st quarter results.
The year finished off with a bang as the upward trend in resale market activity continued into the final months of 2009 with quarterly unit sales in the Rose City up 22% over 2008 4th quarter results. Final year end tallies: Total Unit Sales 703 (-6.5%); 12 Month Average Sale Price: $175,703 (+4.1%). Overall, I call that a soft, comfortable landing.