Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring is here ... at least market-wise.

There have been a couple of nice days (Gord even launched the golf season on Thursday, April 2 !). But now the forecast has more of a March look than April. Oh well.

In real estate, the "Spring" market is, by a big margin, the most active time of the year. Some think Realtors tend to exaggerations: like "the Beach" is anything south of the 401! But seriously, the "Spring" market can start as early as January and continue into the early summer.

January activity was happening in the peak market years. In any year the beginning of the Spring market is a little weather dependent ... when do people feel like coming out of hibernation? A few years ago, I swear people were still digesting their New Year turkey dinner and they were out looking for something to buy. For whatever reasons, the sellers were a little slower off the mark. Bizarre multiple-offer situations ensued.

Then came 2008. The economy to the south began its slide. Toronto put in a land transfer tax with a Dec 31 (2007) kick-in. And it snowed non-stop for about two months nonstop. The 2008 Spring Market happened, but not until March.

Our own and the world's economic troubles caught up to the Toronto area real estate market toward the end of 2008 (starting about September), so the odds on an unnaturally quiet 2009 Spring market were pretty good. Especially after a pretty quiet January and February.

However, things have begun to pop in March. Don't get me wrong ... this is definitely NOT 2007. Prices have slipped, homes are sitting longer, and so on. But there are signs of life throughout.

The move-up buyers may not have fully bought in that lower prices and cheap financing are offering great opportunities. [The opportunities are real, but it takes some confidence in one's own future stability to go for it]

First time and mid-range buyers, though, are on the move. The $400,000 home is again a hot ticket. There have been numerous multi-offer sales and pretty decent volume.

I will end the post before doing something foolish like predicting the rest of the spring market.

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