I don’t often break my professional focus on these pages, but if you already know me well, then you’ll know that not much gets me more fired up than a Leafs winning streak!  While the residential resale market has been absolutely on fire over the past several weeks too (I’ll get into a little stats recap later on), I couldn’t help but be tempted to lead off by making mention of my favourite team.  And when Tom Brady goes ahead and wins a seventh Superbowl… well, now a bit of sports chatter off the top is downright irresistible.

Although I was growing up just outside of Ottawa when the Sens were dramatically re-launched as a franchise back in 1992, in my heart I’ve always been a fan of the blue and white.  I know a lot of you will be able to commiserate!  We came close in the 90’s on a number of occasions during the Gilmour era, and again in the early 2000’s while Sundin was at the helm – but making the playoffs only once in 11 years following the 2004 lockout was an incredibly frustrating time.

The tone changed with the acquisition of piles of young talent in recent years, with expectations running high for the likes of Matthews, Marner, Tavares and Nylander.  But disappointing performances in the postseason have turned the screws even more.  So, you can imagine how excited I am this year to be off to an 11-2-1 start and parked comfortably at the top of the division!  While the NHL looks a lot different this year due to circumstances nobody could have predicted, it’s great to be able dial in on the welcome and familiar distraction of hockey this winter.

Speaking of distractions, I’d be remiss to not give a nod to this past weekend’s Superbowl.  I’ve been a Tom Brady fan throughout his 20-year tenure with the Patriots (don’t bust my chops too hard – I’ve got to balance the Leafs fandom out somehow), and was sorry to see him go.  But what he’s been able to accomplish in Tampa Bay in terms of leading a completely different team to its first title in 18 years in his first season AND at the age of 43 is, for my money, the most impressive achievement of his entire career.  When you roll in the fact that he didn’t get preseason time to work with his offence before the season kicked off, the sheer magnitude of this year’s win becomes all the more apparent.  I don’t think too many of us would have wagered on Paddy Mahomes and the Chiefs failing to score a single touchdown!

To tie in matters of the unexpected, I’ll make one last pivot here to the reason you’re probably reading in the first place – an update on the Kitchener-Waterloo real estate market.  It’s hard to believe that we’re closing in on one year of having to deal with this pandemic, and if we head back to read the pessimistic projections that so many market ‘insiders’ were making last spring about where housing prices would be right now, it’s tough to believe we’re living on the same planet!  This past month saw an all-time record set for the average sale price of a detached home in Kitchener-Waterloo: $853,945.  For reference, that’s an increase year-over-year of more than 27 percent.  The average sale price of all types of properties, including condos, rocketed up to $695,582 – an increase of 23.9 percent over last January.

Overall activity in the housing market was up substantially, too.  351 homes sold in Kitchener-Waterloo last month, nearly 25 percent more than at the same time last year.  As you’ll know by now if you’ve been following the market, all this is coming as a result of the combination of very heavy consumer demand, mixed with an unprecedented lack of available inventory.  According to KWAR’s most recent media release:

“There were 432 new listings added to the MLS® System in KW and area last month, a decrease of 7.4 per cent compared to January of last year, and 37.6 per cent decrease compared to the previous ten-year average for January.”

Unless either: a) the government steps in to regulate these trends somehow, or: b) a flood of new inventory comes online soon, I see no sign of these pricing trends reversing significantly.  And the good news (if you’re considering selling) is that I don’t think either of these scenarios will happen anytime soon.  It’s a frustrating time for people who are in a position of needing to buy right now, but the sound advice of an industry professional has never been more valuable.  If you’re in a tight spot and need some advice, just reach out – I’m happy to help.  And go Leafs!

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