It need hardly be said again that 2020 was a year unlike all others.  Expectations being defied and norms being cast aside were common threads which seemed to run through each aspect of the year, since our lives changed dramatically last spring with the onset of an ongoing emergency in our province, country, and the entire world.

 Every industry was forced to scramble to adjust, with certain sectors being hit harder than others.  Those of us who work in the real estate field must recognize that we remain fortunate in the grand scheme – being deemed an essential service by the Government of Ontario enabled us to continue to conduct our necessary work in helping individuals and families to find a place to live.  At Chestnut Park West, we have been committed to this duty to our clients throughout the trials of 2020, all while recognizing our simultaneous obligation to adapt our business tools and practices to keep our clients, staff and agents safe.

 In keeping with the theme of defying expectations, the Waterloo-Wellington market surged in 2020, despite an initial sputter of uncertainty in March and April.  The remaining months of last year, without exception, saw large increases in average sale prices across all property types, record numbers of sales, and ever-lower average days spent on market.  These are all tell-tale indications of heavily seller-friendly market, as available inventory struggled to meet the demand from the many thousands of people and families who are looking to settle in our part of Southwestern Ontario.  Through it all, our brokerage leveraged remote technologies such as virtual tours, digital signature platforms and remote meeting software responsibly and efficiently to manage an unprecedented surge in business.

 2020 was also a special year for Chestnut Park West, as we expanded into the Guelph-Wellington market with the opening of our Downtown Guelph location this past January.  At the time of this writing, we’re celebrating exactly one year in business for our Douglas Street location – a year in which we made significant inroads against all odds and under the extremely difficult circumstances of the ongoing pandemic.  All this is owed completely to the dedication and professionalism of our representatives there.  Guelph and its immediate surroundings will play a key role in the Southwestern Ontario real estate market for decades to come, owing to its strategic location along the GTA – Kitchener-Waterloo – London corridor, and was just named the number one place to invest in the entire country by MoneySense Magazine!

 Now, I’d like to look ahead to what I see developing in our local market through the first few months of this new year and into the Spring and Summer.  As I’ve already mentioned, through the first weeks of January we have witnessed unprecedentedly low levels of available resale supply.  In my nearly 15 years as a Realtor in Kitchener-Waterloo, I have never seen our market quite this starved for inventory.  This continues a dominant trend from 2020 – there are simply more people seeking to move to Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph than there are those who want to pull their stakes up and move away.  This imbalance in supply versus demand is being spearheaded by a surge of buyers from the GTA, specifically Mississauga and Brampton.

 Under these conditions, what few homes are coming to market are immediately attracting the attention of an ever-increasing pool of buyers and their agents from all over Southern Ontario.  A home will typically be on the market for one week or less, with over 75 showings and more than a dozen offers by the time the dust settles.  Final, firm sale prices of more than $100,000 over asking are the norm now.  Furthermore, I don’t anticipate this dynamic changing in at least the first half of 2021 – until our inventory can be built back up, the market will continue to be hot and extremely favourable to sellers.  Even though the spring selling season is typically when we see a flood of new listings to help replenish supply, the current feeding frenzy is without precedent, and I don’t see incoming inventory being anywhere near enough to re-establish balance.

 As a result of these forces, I’m confident in forecasting an additional rise in average sale prices in the neighbourhood of 10% by the time the fall market rolls around. 

 As Broker of Record here at Chestnut Park West, I could not be any prouder of how our team has fulfilled our duties and obligations in the face of the many challenges 2020 presented.  It is a rare honour to be able to work each day alongside the calibre of professionals our brokerage fields.  To not only have survived this past year, but to have in fact grown substantially as a business over the past 12 months, is a testament to the ability of our Realtors and to the strength of the Chestnut Park West brand in our communities.

 So, from all of us – thank you to our clients, family and friends.  We wouldn’t be here without your trust and support, and we all look forward to serving you throughout 2021 and for many years beyond.

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