What's Happening in the Housing Market?

As we transition into the "spring market" many buyers are looking for answers to their questions regarding our market.  Many media outlets prophesied doom and gloom and painted pictures of bubbles bursting throughout 2012 but, since it now appears clear that we're experiencing a soft landing, we're reading stories of confusion.  If I received my market information from the news, I too would believe that Toronto is filled with real estate agents who are just shrugging their shoulders and scratching their heads as they wonder what will happen next.

While none of us own a magic crystal ball, to me, this spring doesn't look too unlike other years.  Perhaps buyers are a little wearier but, as a recent Globe and Mail article points out, there are still homes selling for over asking in multiple offers.  Some condos and overpriced houses are sitting on the market but a recent Toronto Life article reminds us "Realtors are reporting bidding wars for the first time in several months with the interest mostly focused on larger and older condo units, and homes in desirable neighbourhoods with limited housing inventory like the Beach."

Basically, if you are priced reasonably and have something fairly unique that people want, 2013 (at least the beginning) will look similar to 2012.  And what if you don't?  Hire a good agent and price it fairly.  Torontonians (and I'm going to extend this to the burbs) who own homes need to accept that the fast sales and bully offers we noticed last year are very unusual.  If you can sell the average home in 28 days for a good price, that is still an indication of a good seller's market.  We need to adjust our expectations.  Buyers also need to ask their agent what they can honestly afford as we are still seeing some prices which appear artificially low since the seller is unaware that the expectation of crazy bids may not be quite as realistic.

Overall, it usually takes a few months after a shift in the market for buyers and sellers to catch up.  This means a few months for many sellers to begin pricing their homes properly and a few months for buyers to realise the market isn't crashing and decide to actually take the plunge and make an offer.  I think we can look forward to a stable year.

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