When you compare March 2019 to March 2018, the market statistics are just pretty much flat.
Sales are flat — 7,187 in March 2019 versus 7,188 in March 2018. (Yes, this year we saw one less house sell.)
New listings — not flat, but down, by 5.1%. We saw 13,966 new listings come to the market this year March versus last year.
Active listings — meaning how many houses are for sale — down 2.5%. But the total is still a big figure — 15,576 houses were actively being marketed last month versus a bit more last year.
The average price — flat, but slightly up. (Is it even fair to call this a flat market if the average price nudged up 0.5%?) We’re sitting an average price of $788,335.
Oh — it’s taking a day longer to sell a house, on average. Expect 21 days to get your property sold. But it will be slower in several market areas. And quicker if you’re still looking at hot Toronto neighbourhoods.
What does this all mean? And what do you do about it?
Government intervention. Stress tests. Mortgage offers. The federal budget. All of these have affected the market. The government wanted to put the brakes on ‘runaway house prices’ and sure, it looks like it did.
But when you look at market statistics, we’ve seen these numbers before. We’re talking about the years 2014 through to 2016. When it wasn’t uncommon for a house to sit on the market for a month or more before it got sold. When there were a lot of properties to choose from. When buyers took much longer to make a decision and jump into home ownership.
We’ve seen this market before. But if you’re buying or selling in this market, and even if you’re investing in this market, you need to know how to navigate it.
Sellers in areas where prices are trending down should be more competitive if you want your house to sell. You need to price ahead (yes… I said it… ahead) of the downward price movement to attract buyers.
Why? Let me give you an example. Last month, in Richmond Hill, a total of 800 properties were on the market.
How many of them sold?
192. That’s less than 1 out of every 4.
So the question to the sellers is this — do you want your house to be one of the four that sell? Or one of the three that doesn’t sell?
What’s common about the houses that do sell? They price not only to reflect market conditions — but they price competitively, usually below the current market values.
Buyers — sure, you could look at hundreds of houses in this market. And yes you could ‘wait and see’ if prices go down further. Or if mortgage deals pop up. Or if the government comes up with something clever to win your votes, errr, I mean empower you to afford a house.
But the ‘wait and see ’til prices go down’ has become a self fulfilling prophecy. In many markets, prices are still going down. Buyers are still waiting. Sellers are still pricing high.
Find a house you like, Make an offer on it. Even if you think it’s lower than what a seller would expect. As long as you’re happy with it. See if it’ll go through, rather than just waiting for the market in general to throw you an opportunity. Because when that time comes, and opportunities start to become plentiful, buyers will rush in droves to buy again. And that’s when it’s too late.