The market seems to be moving at warp speeds these days. Just when you think you have a handle on the most recent changes—surprise!—they change again.
We asked REALTOR® Christine Lovatt about how it is that the market can change so fast and what, if anything, clients can do to cope.
We’ve all seen recently how quickly the market can change. Suddenly there are 20 houses listed in one day, instead of just three or four. All of the homeowners that have been waiting until spring to list, suddenly do and their properties appear on the market all at once. More inventory affects prices because there is now more for buyers to choose from. The Days on Market will change from just a couple to 15 or more.
We’ve also seen how the market changes with world events. “People want to wait to see what will happen, for the outcomes of events,” says Lovatt. During election years, for example, she has noticed less activity in the market.
In January and February of this year there was very little inventory available. When a house came onto the market Lovatt would have ten showings or more in a few days, have an offer date and the home would be sold that day in multiple offers. It was the definition of a hot sellers’ market.
Already at the beginning of March, though, there has been a shift.
More listings are coming onto the market. Offer dates are still being used but sometimes that date comes and goes with no offers received. Buyers now have more inventory to choose from and they don’t want to compete, so they wait to see if they can get a better price. It marks a quick shift from the way things have been through most of the pandemic, to be sure.
Whether the amount of inventory available increases this year remains to be seen. “Sellers are hesitant to put their house on the market because many can’t afford to move into a house they want for a price they can afford,” says the agent. “People are worried about gas prices and the war in Ukraine, so that may also affect the market.”
Lovatt has been watching and taking note of changes in pricing in specific areas. In Alliston, for instance, the average sale price in January was $1,029,000 and it dropped to $825,500 in February. In Barrie, however, the average sale price in January was $935,635, which went up to $965,233 the following month. It has been one of the most challenging times to price a home! That is why it is so important to use a REALTOR® that knows your market.
Right now clients seem to have one worry above all others. “The biggest concern by far is ‘Where do we go?’ They are happy to sell in this market, but unable to buy what they want at a price that is affordable. And of course our young buyers have been priced out of the local market,” she says.
So how should clients handle such a volatile market? What is the best approach?
Says Lovatt, “Many of our clients are waiting to see what is going to happen in the next few months. But for those who really have to make a move, they need to rely more on their REALTOR® to help them sell for the most possible and also to help them purchase something that works for them.” Also, a REALTOR® may be able to introduce you to choices you didn’t know existed.