The past year has seen record sales and record prices for resale homes throughout Southern Georgian Bay, but nowhere is the market hotter than in Collingwood. Drive around town and you will be hard pressed to find a "for sale" sign, and when a particular lawn does sprout a sign, a "sold" sticker follows quickly, often in a matter of days.
Itâ€™s no secret that Collingwood is a desirable location in which to own a home. The four-season recreational lifestyle, walkable downtown, and proximity to water and Blue Mountain have been attracting weekenders and retirees for years.
"Collingwood is considered a 'Primary Settlement Area' within the Province of Ontario," says Jen Scholte of Century 21 Millennium Brokerage. "This interest and awareness of Collingwood's vibrancy is supporting the real estate market throughout the greater Collingwood area." In October, Collingwood was also named the top community in Canada in which to start and grow a business by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business - the latest in a long line of "lists" that have recognized Collingwood as one of the country's best places to live, work and play.
But that's not the whole story. In short, Collingwood is no longer "just" a ski town or a retirement community - it is attracting a broad range of demographics with a variety of interests, and those who buy a home here tend to stay. As a result, the real estate market is booming, and there is no sign of a slowdown on the horizon.
"We hear it all the time - 'The bubble has to burst' But there is no indication for now that this will happen here," says Sherry Rioux of Clairwood Real Estate. "We have seen an influx of urbanites and retirees looking to improve their lifestyle and flee the larger centres to provide quality of life for their family in smaller resort areas. The beauty of our area is that we are within a short drive to larger centres, and even though our prices are escalating in the area, we are still very affordable compared to the GTA and surrounding areas. With Collingwood being named the number one area for small business development, we are bound to continue attracting residents, which should keep our real estate market steady."
As we head into 2017, those thinking of buying or selling a
home in Collingwood will be in for a wild ride unless they understand the
current market and how to navigate it successfully. With that in mind, On The
Bay asked a group of local realtors to put the Collingwood market into
perspective and provide some guidance. Following are their insights, tips and
suggestions to make todayâ€™s real estate market work for you.
Supply & Demand
With a growing number of retirees and young families looking for an active, four-season lifestyle, homes in Collingwood are always in relatively high demand. However, while it may seem like demand has skyrocketed over the past year, in reality demand has grown only marginally in 2016. What is really driving the market is supply (inventory of homes for sale), which has decreased. A seller's market means there are fewer homes for sale than there are interested buyers, so if supply is low, demand doesn't need to change much to create seller's market conditions.
"It is important to consider that demand hasn't really changed dramatically, but the lack of inventory has resulted in buyers having to step to the plate and make a decision as to whether this is the best time to buy, and they don't have much time to make the decision when they see a property that they like," says Chris Keleher, broker with Royal LePage Locations North.
With fewer homes on the market, competition for the remaining homes is fierce, and can even result in a multiple offer scenario. "This was a foreign concept in our local market just a few short months ago, but now is a regular occurrence," says Rioux. "We had heard of this frenzy in the Toronto and larger urban centers, but never experienced it locally; now we are seeing bidding wars, listings being put on market with specific time periods to accept offers, and prices paid to obtain a property that are sky high." In one example, a condo in Lighthouse Point recently sold for $58,000 over asking price.