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October Sales: Tired of Waiting

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Just as we wrote that September saw no Westmount sales over $2 million, buyers were negotiating transactions on no less than four houses at prices reaching between $2 and just over $3 million, the latter for one of Westmount’s newest houses. Volume has returned to normal, as well, with 14 sales of which all but four were under $1 million. The buyers, it appears, grew tired of waiting and worrying about the future.

Sellers, too, who had lowered their asking prices three and even four times already, grew tired of waiting and finally accepted what agents call “realistic” offers, ballooning the days-on-market to an average 278 days, the longest average monthly waiting time since March of 2000, when there were very few listings and vendors were holding out for higher prices. This time, it becomes apparent that there are plenty of buyers but it has taken some time to convince vendors to lower their sights. Among the 14 sales, only three were listed for less than 100 days, and in fact those three were quickly snapped up in 16, 22 and 27 days, respectively. Five had been on the market more than a year — one for more than two years, according to our records — and two more for more than 200 days.

This affected the price-to-valuation ratio only slightly, in fact, with the average markup 28 percent, down only slightly from September and just about equal to the cumulative average for the year so far. This is compared to the 2011 valuations; the new ones come into force only in January and quite a few of the current sales will register lower than the new tax assessments.

Only two condominium sales were negotiated in October, one a duplex-type condo and the other an apartment; three other sales were co-ops, two in Westmount Square and the other in a duplex. So far this year condo sales volume is off substantially from 2012, but average markups are almost exactly the same as last year.

October was busy in adjacent-Westmount areas, with six sales overall including three sales on Marlowe and Vendôme Avenues. So far this year markups are lower than last year in virtually every district of adjacent-Westmount, in varying degrees by district.

Very little new product came on the market last month, helping the vendors who are still waiting. Volume dropped to 149 of which 62 are over $2 million, compared to 165 and 66 as the respective figures for September. Overall it is safe to say the prices are at about the same level they have been for the past two years, but it may take longer than usual to get that price.

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