Doomsday? No Way!!

THE VIEW FROM OAK PARK
The Official Krisztina Blogsite

On the front page of The Globe & Mail recently was a headline: “Spring brings sales thaw as brokers see new signs of life in housing market (Hints of recovery as volume of existing home sales up 7 per cent in March)” Month after month, housing activity continues to demonstrate that market fundamentals in Canada are different than those of the housing market recession under way in the United States. Inevitably some markets will be softer than others, but Oakville is proving to be quite resilient.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) provides a monthly overview of the housing market in Canada. They compile statistics of properties sold through MLS and tracks market trends for prices and properties sold. The average selling price of a home in Canada is still trending upwards, although volume sold is down. In February 2009, CREA declared that home activity is expected to decline in 2009 before rebounding in 2010. National MLS sales activity declined 17.1% in 2008 and sales activity is forecast to fall an additional 16.9% in 2009. This would be Canada’s lowest level since 2000. (Note – BC, AB and ON lead the decline.) The CREA then expects home sales to rebound by 9.9% in 2010.

We are caught in a cycle where consumer confidence has been eroded because of job losses. The essential selling ingredients in today’s market are: realistic pricing, marketing and preparation – the holy trinity of real estate, which I consider to be my best strengths. Supply will take time to adjust to lower demand, but sellers unwilling to accept offers below their expectations will remove their home from the market. Fewer active listings reduces buyer choice and, in time, puts a floor under prices.

The plus for us? Buyers are drawn in as Bank of Canada cuts interest rates. (And word is, another cut is on the way.) This allows improved affordability in most markets, especially from first time home buyers.

Despite the doom and gloom, there are multiple offers on some properties. My home sales movement has remained on the upswing and I am as busy as ever. My keys to maintaining sales in this tougher economy – consummate professionalism, looking at the big picture before I put a house on the market (back to the holy trinity – pricing, marketing and preparation) and always, of course, working my butt off!!!

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