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May Sales: Very Slow

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Westmount’s real estate market slowed to a crawl in May this year, recording only 10 sales in a month which is usually one of the busiest in the year, with an average of almost 19 transactions. Prices were very low, as well, with four less than $1 million and only two above $1.5 million, the highest just over $2 million. Still,the lowest price was $861,000 — the highest minimum price since January — and the average markup was 24 percent, about the same level it was in April. The adjusted average price is down only one or two percent from levels seen in the last several months.

At the same time we are seeing new houses coming on the market very late in the spring. MLS records show that at least 65 single-family dwellings have been listed since April 1 — not including those which sold right away. Of the 10 which sold in May, the average time on the market was 196 days, or 6 1/2 months, two were on the market for more than a year and only one sold in less than 45 days.

Our latest check of the MLS tables is 157 listings in Westmount, 62 of them (almost 40 percent) asking over $2 million, only 21 under $1 million. Whether some of the listings are only “fishing expeditions” is difficult to say, and certainly there are houses in Westmount that are worth well over $2 million, but the prospects of finding buyers at that level appear to be extremely thin. So far this year agents have reported 7 sales between $2 and $3 million, three more over $3 million and none over $4 million.

The condominium market was busy in May, as was the adjacent-Westmount market. Five condos ranging from $360,000 to $860,000 were sold, along with two co-op apartments and a flat in a triplex. There were almost as many sales in adjacent-Westmount districts, with two north of the city, two west of Westmount, one just east and three in the “Golden Square Mile” district, including two on Redpath Crescent. The various districts experienced five sales in each of February and March, nine in April and now eight in May.

The market can be expected to slow down even more as spring turns into summer, meaning sellers will have to become more realistic about their prices.

Posted by andy Posted in: Monthly Analysis No Comments » May 2013