As we approach the final month of the year, we are approaching the best time to buy real estate. Why?
Typically, the most active real estate market is in the Spring – the period from March to May. The second most active period is the Fall – September to November. These two periods would be the best time for Sellers to offer their homes for sale as there is the greatest number of active buyers in the market, and hence, the largest number of transactions. The slowest market however happens now – from late November to early February partly because of the colder weather and partly due to all the Holidays surrounding this time of year. A Buyer therefore has the best chance, and the least competition during these months on getting their ideal property and at the lowest price.
The housing market overall in Canada has continued its heady gains especially compared to other markets around the world. The major Canadian cities of Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal all posted both higher sales year over year as well as price gains – and most of these gains are in the double digits. This is a welcomed change from late 2012 to early 2013 when markets has softened and some were predicting a market correction. Much of this growth is tied to consumer confidence and the continued low interest rate environment and many believe that rates will continue to remain at their low levels for some time to come. Mortgage qualification has tightened in some cases over the past year or so but generally remains favourable. In Toronto for example, Canada’s largest city, the city’s average selling price was $539,058, up by more than 7 per cent from $502,127 a year earlier.
A Buyer has the best chance, and the least competition during (November to February) on getting their ideal property and at the lowest price
The rental market also is quite robust with a good selection of both older and newer rental stock. Vacancies across the board are typically under 5% for the major cities. And with the low interest rates, people prefer to buy rather than rent. The vacancy rate is higher than one would expect given all the real estate activity for the simple reason that many properties being bought by investors, and hence offered up for rent. This is especially true in the downtown city centres of the largest cities where condo development continues at a very steady pace to meet the demand by both first time buyers as well as people sizing down from larger homes.
Edward Frezza, BSc, MBA is a real estate broker with Re/Max Professionals in Toronto. He started with commercial real estate in 1989, and since 2004 has focused on residential real estate in the Greater Toronto Area. His interest in multi-family rental real estate and new home construction led to creating his own real estate investment portfolio. His depth of knowledge and experience has him sought out by home buyers/sellers and investors alike. Edward is passionate about helping people achieve security for themselves and their family though home ownership. This passion has also led him to teaching real estate courses through the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for the last 4 years.