Buyers today are getting a lot of mixed messages. The statistics from the Toronto Real Estate Board have been strong but a lot of the price increases have been driven by a shortage of listings meaning a lack of options for buyers. It is a tight market for Today’s Buyer at a time when mortgage rates are at their lowest in history, making it the best time to get a mortgage. There are also a lot of confusing statements coming from the Banks and the Government about the future of Real Estate and a Media that says: “The market is up; There is a bubble in Real Estate; There is no bubble in Real Estate; (and the other day) The market is a balloon, not a bubble.”
Here is what I think:…like our neighbors to the South, Canadians have a DREAM and that includes a home where they share family life. We have more stringent tax laws and mortgage laws than south of the border and the “Canadian Dream” has always included paying off your mortgage and not using your home as an ATM.
Since 1980 when I started selling houses the market has gone up and down a few times. To me it has been all about finding the right fit for a family and I have watched a lot of those families grow and enjoy a few properties as their repertoire of moments grew. Values have changed but the real value in Real Estate has not been financial, it has been lifestyle oriented. When did home ownership become more about the money and less about the family?
Granted, Toronto has changed and the market here has been one of the healthiest in North America. We are lucky but are we overpriced? Talk to someone from Manhattan, Chicago, San Francisco, Hong Kong or London and they will tell you no…
Buyers: make your decisions based on community, schools, street life, Kitchens and Family rooms, realizing that the market will go up and it will go down…just enjoy the ride in a home that fits your needs and makes you feel that you are living your “Canadian DREAM”.
Here is a link to an excellent recent article in the Economist. The article does deal with the economics of the marketplace but don’t give up the long term lifestyle dreams. My house goes up and down in value, but it is the center of great family memories are unable to monetize.