Happy new year? I think so.
As someone who tends to look at the brighter side of life, I’m not so blindly optomistic that I deny the challenges the year ahead presents.
But I do have some predictions to share and some suggestions for the challenges.
When will the market bottom out?
Of course, this is everyone’s biggest question. Here’s the funny thing…by the time anyone has the information to call that the market has bottomed out, it’s already on the rise, and usually so are interest rates.
Not to mention the crowd behind you that’s also been waiting for it to bottom out. We need to stop thinking in these terms and instead look at value.
A big market correction has already happened and for the most part, sellers have adjusted to the current market. I think we may still see a few percentage points down in the coming months but mortgage rates may adjust the opposite way making it a wash in terms of the bottom line.
The value out there right now is great. I’ve had many buyers get great deals and encourage people to focus on overall value and finding the right home.
Right now we are seeing some great opportunities:
– Mortgage rates are very low – i.e. TD Canada Trust posted variable closed rate of 4.3% and open rate of 4.5%.
– There are still a lot of highly motivated sellers out there who have already bought.
– It costs less to trade up in a down-turning market than a upward moving one.
– Inventory is good, people are adjusting to today’s market and are open to negotaition.
These are good times if you are looking to get into a condo and/or new development. The oversupply and desperate developers are offering all kinds of incentives. Free parking, and evern free cars! But this is one area I would hold off on for a while to let their desperation set in a bit more.
The core GTA market should stay fairly stable with typical seasonality. I’m predicting some nice activity in the spring with some pent-up demand from buyers who have been holding their breath for the past few months. Personally I have been crazy busy with buyers as have some colleagues of mine so so we’re starting to see this.
Remember, financials are not the only reason why people buy and sell. Take me for example. I’m a sadistic person who loves to renovate over and over. Or there are clients who can now afford to get into the neighbourhoods they’ve always wanted to live in.
Relocations will also be up as companies shuffle the deck and our workforce travels for more opportunities. Whatever the reason, people are still motivated to move even in a shifting market.
A really great way to trade up to a bigger home or to one in a better neighbourhood is to look for one where you can rent out a portion of the home for a while. If you already have enough equity or funds to put your down payment on a higher value home this is a great way to step up and sometimes even reduce your monthly costs.
My wife and I did this many years ago. Our monthly costs were only slightly higher when we made the move from a 2 bedroom, 650 sq. ft. condo north of the Beach to a detached bungalow just steps from Queen St. with a basement rental. It was a great way for us to ‘trade up’ and get in the area we wanted.
Remember, a big correction has already happened and you can get amazing values combined with unbelievably low interest rates, not to mention good inventory. Don’t wait for the herd to drive prices back up again and compete for the home you want.
Current Home Owners
For current home owners, everything is relative. You may sell for less but you’ll also buy for less and the cost to move up to that home you’ve been dreaming of won’t cost as much.
Be patient and make sure you adjust to the market conditions. I know as well as anyone how frustrating it can be to have your house on the market for as long as it has been taking.
My daughter keeps wondering where all her christmas presents go when we have showings and my wife keeps telling me she is going on a cleaning strike for two months once the house sells.
We’ll all get a little better.
The interesting thing about good times is that it’s easy to stay in cruise control and still make progress maintaining the status quo.
In the real estate market, it meant that a lot of people jumped into the industry and were able to do a lot of business just by being order takers and sticking ‘for sale’ signs on your lawn. (Just watch how registrations drop and how many agents actually renew in the summer when fees are due.)
Now is when the good agents shine. Knowing and sharing market knowledge, providing value-add services, being strategic in everything you do, and investing time in life-long relationships. And the good ones will just get better.
This applies to every industry. For the most part, the cream rises to the top and a lot of people will work harder to stay there.
Overall it’s an opportunity for clients to get what they deserve and more. And an opportunity for all of us to get better ourselves.
My wife says I’m still not perfect yet so I guess I have some work to do myself 🙂
Cheers and all the best for 2009,