IS THE HOUSING MARKET COOLING OFF?

It’s a common assumption when a market starts to cool that the worst-case scenario is imminent. But instead, let’s take a moment to revisit what the previous market was like from a buyer’s point of view.

The action was fast and furious with homes being listed and then sold, often in a matter of hours. Buyers struggled to understand prices as houses sold for far over asking in multiple offers. Many buyers could not get into the market quickly enough without risking whiplash; frightened of overpaying for a home they weren’t 100% happy with or in the exact neighbourhood that they desired. This game of musical chairs can be exciting to observe, but it was never going to be a sustainable situation when such a significant purchase is involved. Often more time is required with a buyer in a market like the one we just experienced, and the final purchase doesn’t always bring the level of satisfaction our agents like to deliver.

While the housing market here has undoubtedly ‘cooled’ since that time, the volume of turnover in the market remains steady, and prices have stabilized to the point that it’s no longer necessary for buyers to go into an offer situation blind, over-asking, and without the safeguard of appropriate conditions.

Nonetheless, Waterloo Region remains a going concern. The average price of homes here continues to increase over last year at this time, confirming that real estate is still an excellent long-term investment. Neighbourhoods continue to see a healthy increase in value year over year, and that makes for happy buyers and long-term clients.

The total number of sales is down, but only slightly. The same goes for the average duration of an active listing before it sells. With new regulations, increases in interest rates and changes to mortgage rules in the form of stress tests, the market ‘righting’ itself was a foregone conclusion. Looking around Waterloo Region, I feel the same sense of confidence that so many investors do. 

Lastly, single-family homes don’t tell the entire story. Condominium sales are up as are attached homes. Young professionals are still purchasing their starter homes in Waterloo Region but are being drawn closer to the core and all that it has to offer with transit, shops, parks and cultural events. Walkability is key for aging buyers too. They are downsizing and enjoying compact spaces with fewer responsibilities.

To sum things up, the housing market here in Waterloo Region is in no danger of a significant downturn. It is stabilizing and changing, but the numbers don’t lie. We are still in a thriving and dynamic region with no end in sight for growth and economic prosperity. Real estate remains a safe harbour for investing confidently in the future of our region. 

Finally, as is the case with all major and potentially life-altering decisions, trusting a professional should be the first step. If you’re seriously considering making a move or investing in the next little while, I’d encourage you as always to reach out with your questions. Save the DIY for something a little less risky!

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