March 27, 2008
Spring is here! Well, almost…. In the real estate world, now that we are past March Break and Easter the ‘Spring Market’ is upon us. You will soon notice a surge in the number of ‘For Sale’ signs around town – and weekend Open Houses will be packed with snoopers and buyers. If you are planning to sell this season, start prepping your home. If you are planning to buy, now is a good time to review your financing options, and make sure that I have the up-to-date specs for your automatic listing search. Things move fast at this time of year, so it’s best to be prepared!
What’s happening so far?
Volume down, prices up
The volume of houses for sale in the GTA has been down over the first couple of months in 2008. However, prices are up over last year by 6% in Janurary, 4% in February and 5% so far in March. These increases are consistent both with the past few years, and with recent forecasts for ’08.
The winter months are always slower, in part due to the weather. Near-record snowfall this winter has definitely been a factor. Warmer, sunnier weather will certainly make it easier to cruise open houses! With the seasonal increase in listings we’ll soon see an increase in sales volume. Expect prices to increase in the 5% year-over-year range for the next few months. (Note: that is a GTA average; some neighbourhoods will see a slightly lower increase, some may see a much bigger increase.)
It’s also important to note that supply in Canadian cities is still relatively tight – that’s why prices continue to rise. This is the opposite of what has happened in the States. There, listing volume spiked, causing the market to ‘tip over’. I’m not aware of any major Canadian city that has an excess of supply. At this point, we are miles away from the sort of market conditions they are experiencing. With continuing economic strength and low interest rates, our real estate markets should have another year of solid gains.
They mean more to us now than ever before
More than a third of my new business last year came through referrals, up from 20% in ’06. My business plan has always been to work hard for my clients to build respect and friendships that will generate a lifeline of referrals to family and friends. It looks like that is really starting to bear fruit, and I want to thank everybody who has complimented me with a referral. The time I save by NOT having to prospect for new business is time better spent serving the needs of referral clients. I am looking forward to another year of increasing referral business, and building with those clients the same kind of relationships that I have with so many of you. Thank you!