Spring Into Action!

We have transitioned from winter to late spring overnight, and the real estate market has taken off with the weather.

If you have been telling yourself that you are waiting for the spring market to buy or sell your home, the time is upon you. It seems like overnight, as the weather changed, the urge to move has struck.

The local market has held steady since the cooling off that happened late last summer. We are seeing some competition for well priced homes, and also in certain price ranges, but so far, none of the craziness we experienced last year.

If you are considering selling, now is a great time to put your home on the market. There are buyers out there, prequalified for their financing, looking for the right home. Buyers are educated as to market value, and generally know what they are looking for. With the help of your real estate professional, you can present your home in its most desirable fashion, and maximize your sale price.

If you are considering buying, this year you should have an opportunity to look for the right home, and have a chance to think and make sure you are ready to buy. There are more homes available to view, and often time for you to look at all that catch your attention before making your offer. Your real estate professional can help you arrange your financing pre-approval, and also help you determine what is most important to you in your new home. They can advise you on value, and negotiate a fair purchase price on your behalf.

The time for waiting for Spring is over! If this is your year to move, be sure to call one of our real estate professionals, and let them make your move smooth and easy!

The Rollercoaster Ride of 2017…

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2017… a year to remember or a year to try and forget?

If you bought or sold a home in 2017,  you are no doubt looking back and asking yourself if you made the right timing decision.  If you were buying or selling  a home for you and your family, rest easy, yes you did…

Real estate is one investment that you are assured that if you buy for the long term, you have made a good investment.  Historically, real estate has held its value and increased in spite of it being a buyers’ or sellers’ market when you buy.

If you attempted to buy a home in 2017, and are still looking, relax.  The market is becoming a more balanced one, and more and more homes are coming on the market.  All indications are that it should be a robust spring market, with more homes coming on the market.  Prices are not expected to show the wild increases we saw in 2017’s spring and summer markets.

If you held off selling in 2017 because you were concerned whether you would be able to find a home to buy for your family, now is the time to speak to your REALTOR® and start planning for your move in 2018.  The increased number of homes expected to come on the market in the spring, should provide you with the confidence to plan your sale and purchase of  a new home.

Many home owners say they are waiting for the spring market.  Keep in mind, the spring market is not April… traditionally, the spring market in the Hamilton/Burlington area starts in early March. That said, the spring market has started as early as the first week of January some years, when there have been lots of buyers ready to make a purchase.

If you are looking for some advice you can rely on, please call one of our real estate professionals.  At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals, we believe a well informed buyer or seller is the happiest client.  Our sales professionals are ready to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.  And remember, we offer the Ultimate Service Guarantee!  If we are not providing the service we promise, you can terminate your buying or selling agreement.

Are You As Confused As The Rest Of Us?

Yes it’s a great time to sell your house… No, don’t sell now, prices are going up!

It seems every time you read an article in the media, you get a different story regarding how the real estate market is performing. The most important thing to remember when you are reading these articles is that real estate is LOCAL. Most articles provide information based upon Canada wide data, which does not reflect what concerns home buyers and sellers have about their own situation.

Some parts of the country are experiencing a decrease in prices and activity in the real estate market, whereas other areas, such as the Hamilton/Burlington area are experiencing a strong market, with stable activity and prices.

Government intervention has influenced the local markets this year. Policy changes such as the foreign buyer’s tax, and changing the mortgage rules for individuals trying to qualify for mortgages has made home buying a challenge for many. Further changes have been proposed for mortgage qualification that may affect still more buyers.

If regulations remove buyers from the market, it will have a levelling affect on home prices, as buyers leave the market. Also, as interest rates rise, the number of qualified buyers looking for homes will also decrease.

As for prices going up, I think most are in agreement that prices are levelling off, and competition for home purchases is happening far less frequently than it did earlier this year.

If you are planning to move, now is a good time to place your home on the market. The Fall is traditionally a strong market, lasting through to late November. The most buyers will be in the market prior to any further government intervention, and prior to any further mortgage rate increases.

Be sure to consult with a real estate professional prior to placing your home for sale. They can provide you with valuable information to help you receive the most money for your home, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle.

Our professionals as Coldwell Banker Community Professionals are always ready, and very able to help you out. Call one today!

Is the Real Estate Market Changing?

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“GTA home sales plunge as much as 61 per cent”.

Headlines like the one above might lead you to believe the market has crashed and home values have plummeted. Nothing could be further from the truth.

2017 has seen a very overheated market during the first 5 months. The lack of homes for sale in the Hamilton and the surrounding GTA markets has pushed up prices and created a very competitive marketplace. The competition has led to multiple offers, generating sale prices well above the asking price for homes. This made it very challenging for homeowners and REALTORS® to determine the market value of homes.

As the market has eased in the last few weeks, buyers are finding they are not always in competition to buy a home, and have the luxury of being able to include conditions in their offers whether it be for financing, home inspection, or anything else. The market has also made it possible for REALTORS® to actually negotiate for their buyers and sellers.

The change in the market has also caused REALTORS® to have a closer look at how they are pricing and marketing homes. If you have been trying to buy a home, the one line that you hate to see in a listing is “no offers until…”, as you know you will likely be having to compete to buy the home. While there is still competition in the market, we are no longer seeing the huge numbers of offers, not the selling prices well above the asking price. In fact, we see some sellers who have opted to wait until a set date to view offers not receiving the competition they had hoped for. In some instances, these sellers are relisting their property at a higher price, and removing the time frame for offers.

As the market changes, both buyers and sellers will need to revise their approaches. The buyers are gaining the opportunity to take some time to make sure the home they are buying is the right fit for them, and to satisfy themselves regarding any conditions they need to meet.
On the other hand, the sellers are discovering that they may not obtain the unbelievably high price for their home that the neighbour did just a couple weeks ago. Also, it may take more than a week to list, market and sell their home.

As the market changes, it is important to have a professional REALTOR® in your corner, helping you make the right choice and negotiating the best possible price for you. If you are thinking about buying or selling, be sure to call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professional representatives. They will be able to help you in making the decisions that are right for you!

Is it Time to Break Out the Crystal Ball?

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Experts are starting to talk more and more about a housing bubble.

The most common questions I have heard lately are “Will prices drop if the bubble bursts?” and “Should I wait to buy? If prices drop I don’t want to lose money”

These are both valid questions, and the first one especially is hard to answer. A crystal ball would be a very helpful REALTOR® tool right now. There is much talk recently about the Ontario government introducing measures to cool the real estate market. One suggestion has been to introduce a foreign investor tax similar to what B.C. introduced last year. Since the introduction of the tax, the Vancouver market initially showed a drop, but has returned to a ‘normal’ growth rate. The success of such a measure is dependant upon there being foreign investors in the market. This is true of the Toronto market, but perhaps not as important in the markets surrounding the GTA, such as Hamilton. There have been other suggestions that would have varied affects on the market, but in general the outcome of any measure is a total unknown. Government intervention can often have unintended consequences.

The second question really has two answers, depending on why you are buying property. If you are an investor as opposed to a family looking for a new home, the answers might vary.

As an investor, you will make a buying decision based on the expected return from the property you buy, whether through rental income, or capital growth. In a market as heated as the Hamilton/Burlington area is right now, there is not a large inventory of investment properties that are currently providing a high return on investment due to the large initial payment and the servicing of the mortgage debt. Even if an investor bought with cash i.e. no mortgage, the return on the investment would be limited. If buying for capital growth, it is difficult to predict how much, if at all, the market will continue to increase. With year over year growth currently in the area of 30%, investors are questioning just how likely it is that such growth can be sustained, and if it cannot be sustained, how much potential is there for a drop in real estate values.

As a family (or individual) looking to buy a home, now may very well be a good time to buy. If you are buying a family home, you are generally not looking to sell in the next few years. Real estate over the long term has proven to be a very good investment. Even if the market does cool, and prices drop, history has shown us that the prices will recover, just not in a one or two year timeframe. Also, if prices drop and you decide it is time to move up, the more expensive home will be more affordable assuming it suffered the same percentage drop in value as your less expensive home.

Also, if you are planning to buy a family home, and there is not a cooling of the market, each month you wait increases the cost of homeownership, or reduces the number of homes that are available in your price range.

If you have questions whether you should be acting now or waiting, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals representatives. They will be glad to sit down with you and discuss your particular situation and needs.

How Long Should You Wait?

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What is the price of procrastination currently in real estate?

The real estate market right now is difficult for buyers. The lack of properties to select from, and the competition to buy what is available is making some people think they should just wait until the market is better.

In real estate, waiting can be good for you or bad for you, depending on how different variables change. For example, the interest rate in the United States has started to edge up, and history would tell us that Canada will soon follow the example south of the border. The rate was just increased .25% in the U.S. It may not seem like much, but first, it is a sign that rates are going to increase to some extent, and also, we may not see historically low rates again for some time.

The .25% rate increase on a $250,000 mortgage could mean a difference of $31.84 per month. An increase of 1% could mean a difference of $130.11 per month. Over the term of a mortgage, the increase in payments tend to add up significantly.

If home prices continue to increase at the rate they have over the past year (close to 30% gain in one year), many buyers will be priced out of the market, as incomes are not increasing at a rate that would enable people to meet the extra costs. For example, a $400,000 home in today’s market could be $520,000 in one year’s time, assuming another 30% gain. Today, if you were putting down 10% ($40,000), the $360,000 mortgage would have a monthly payment of approximately $1650.00. The same house with a 30% increase would have a monthly mortgage payment of approximately $2150.00 per month, and the 10% downpayment would be $52,000. Same home, one year later (assuming mortgage rates don’t change). As you can see, the same home can cost you a larger downpayment, and in this example, $500 per month more in a mortgage payment.

If you are ready to buy, and have been waiting for the right time, maybe you should quit waiting!

Call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals representatives and see if now is the right time for you! They will help you look at all the possibilities to ensure you make the right decision.

Welcome Spring!

The calendar says Spring is here, even if the weather doesn’t.

Traditionally Spring is the time of year when new real estate listings flood the market, and everyone gets busy. The market this year has been going at a record breaking pace, but in spite of that, I hope that home owners will get excited by spring, and decide to put their homes on the market.

We have been experiencing an unprecedented shortage of homes for the number of buyers looking. Many feel the only way to correct the shortage is to have the government intervene, enacting more laws and restrictions.

These actions in the past year seem to have hurt the very buyers they were trying to help. New mortgage rules have made it more difficult for first time buyers to obtain a mortgage, only adding to the problem of soaring prices, and making it harder for them to save for the downpayment necessary.

There is talk of the government placing a foreign investor tax on those buying in the Toronto market, to help ease the inventory shortage, but those in the market say it’s not foreign investors causing the problem.

Many experts says that the only way out of the housing shortage is for more new homes to be built, in recognition of a slow down in new home construction last year.

Perhaps the seemingly easiest solution is for us all to get on with life. Many home owners I speak to are waiting. Waiting to see if prices go up. Waiting to see if more homes will come on the market for them to select from. Waiting to see if interest rates are going up. All these events are likely going to happen… the unknown is just how soon. If everyone who has been considering moving put their home on the market, perhaps our greatest issue would be solved – lack of properties to buy.

If you would like to find out if now is the right time for you to make a move, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals reps. They will be glad to help you make the right decision.