October 7, 2019

25% of Newmarket listings are VACANT

Running my monthly stats and I came across a few listings listed as vacant which made me curious to see what the current number of homes listed as ‘vacant’ was and compare that to the number of active listings in Newmarket. 

I did a similar search in February 2019 when I was preparing the 2018 annual stats, when 33% of the active listings were listed as being vacant. 84 of the 253 active listings were listed as not being occupied.

I was stunned to see the numbers again this month as I had thought the market may had changed a bit. As of 1pm on October 7, 2019, there is 76 listings showings an occupancy of ‘vacant’ out of the current stock of 304 active listings, meaning that 25% of the current active listings are vacant. 

While it is encouraging to see the number down from 33% in February, it’s still a little concerning how hight the number is… which assumes that all vacant homes are actually listed as being vacant (which sometimes is not the case). Now, the rental market is pretty strong, so one might think that the owners are not too pressed, but when you look at the stats for the vacant homes, it starts to paint a better picture about the state of a market segment that is not moving so well. 

Of the 76 listings, the TREB Communities (how the Toronto Real Estate Board Splits up Newmarket into local areas) with the highest concentration is: 

  • Stonehaven-Wyndam: 15
  • Glenway Estates: 13
  • Woodland Hills: 12
  • Central Newmarket: 9
  • Bristol-London: 7
  • Gorham-College Manor: 7
  • Summer Hill Estates: 6
  • Huron Heights-Leslie Valley: 4
  • Armitage: 3

I’m not overly surprised to see that the Stonhaven-Wyndam Village, Glenway Estates & The Woodland Hills TREB communities with high levels of vacant homes, as there is a lot of NEW HOMES in these 3 areas which were likely built as a speculative investment. There is also a few listed by the builders in these areas. 

More stats on current stock of vacant homes: 

  • Median List Price: $763,950
  • Median Original List Price: $786,495
  • Lowest Priced Home: 2-bedroom condo townhome on Main Street S, listed for $339,000
  • Highest Priced Home: 4500sqft 5-bedroom NEW home in Glenway Estates, listed for $1,708,888
    • another interesting stat on this property is that it has been listed twice since August 5, and on the second time being listed (31 days after the first listing hit) it came to the market @ $1,399,000 and was going to review offers 7 days later in an attempt to get multiple offers for an over the asking sale price… Nothing acceptable must have been presented so they raised the price by over $300,000 (22% of the $1.399m ask). 

What does this all mean???
Its really hard to say, but as the inventory levels start to come down, pricing new listings has become so important, as new listings are competing with vacant homes, which in theory are more motivated to sell, that people who have to sell, will make sure they price it right from the beginning. 

In the last 30 days, there have been 141 reported sales, of which only 25 of those, or 17% were listed as vacant. This is a pretty good indication that there is a higher percentage of homes selling that are not vacant based on the stats above which shows that currently 25% of the inventory is vacant. 

What annoys me is that there is a large number of vacant homes that were purchased (in most cases) as a flip with no intention to actually call the property home. This is a housing unit that was not purchased by someone who wanted to call that house home, but rather wanted to profit from it (not in all cases of course). With a housing crisis on the horizon as younger buyers are not able to afford to buy into the market, I worry we could see vulnerabilities in the housing market if the investor owned trend continues, especially in the new communities where there is a shrinking sense of ‘pride of ownership’ and a deterioration of the ’sense of community’ which was part of what makes Newmaket a wonderful place to live.  

Posted by dtoombs at 6:36 AM

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