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With real estate too, fortune favours the prepared

Blog by Robert Matthews | March 25th, 2021

It’s still early in the year yet we've seen an incredibly active real estate market throughout Metro Vancouver in just this first couple of months. It's a classic demand/supply imbalance. After the initial pandemic shock last spring, demand for single-family homes in particular quickly grew over the summer and fall. The origin of this demand was more emotional rather than financial but was aided and abetted by cheap credit (despite government-induced "stress tests") and relatively healthy savings account balances. At the same time, those who owned homes were reluctant to list for fear of being unable to find or afford a suitable replacement. A bit of a vicious cycle – buyers keen to get into homes; homeowners reluctant to give up what they've got. As a result, too much demand chasing too little supply. This situation continues into 2021.

Over the summer and fall we saw demand for condos dip a bit, with most of the activity on the single-family home front. However, over the past couple of months demand for condos – and therefore prices – have in general picked up. Whether as an owner of a condo, townhouse, or detached home, potential sellers continue to have some concerns about finding a suitable next home, given the lack of supply and heightened prices. In these types of markets, I work with my selling clients to negotiate an extra-long completion, allowing them more time than typical to buy their next home.

The robust market activity we've seen over the past six months has by no means been limited to Metro Vancouver, or other large urban centres. Unlike some previous price run-ups, this one has affected any number and size of towns and cities across the country. From Vancouver Island to the Maritimes, many smaller centres have seen unprecedented price rises. At least a portion of this run-up is due to homeowners decamping the larger urban centres for smaller towns. I personally have had more clients move completely away from Metro Vancouver in the past year than ever before. These sellers then become the strong buyers for their next potential home. They've freed up their Metro Vancouver gains, and have much more buying power in a smaller, less expensive city or town. A classic double-edged sword, however. These towns then start to see their prices increase, straining affordability for those moving within that particular market, as well as future buyers from elsewhere.

The current Metro Vancouver market can be tricky for those who've sold and are planning to move up; really for any buyer! This can be a frustrating and even demoralizing time. However, a number of strategies are available to minimize this stress and enhance your ability to "win" when it comes to buying in a multiple offer situation. As a listing Realtor, I often see offers presented to my sellers by buyers (through their Realtor) who are quite clearly not prepared, who haven't taken the few extra efforts to enhance their ability to win. These "winning" extra efforts vary by property type and other factors and are often specific to the particular home and the sellers of that home. The buyers themselves need to undertake some of these extra efforts; just as importantly, other additional efforts can and should be made by the Realtor representing them. When we work together to buy your next home, we'll certainly spend a lot of time preparing to win! Fortune favours the prepared! Suffice to say, there is a heck of a lot more to do than simply writing an offer.

For those getting ready to sell soon this year....I know it's hard to imagine these days, but some properties do have "fatal flaws" that may prevent a timely sale from happening. An unrealistic asking price is the most likely factor. With prices rising quickly, we see a tendency to shoot for the moon with the asking price. But this is usually not the path to the highest actual sales price. Price the home too high and few buyers if any will be interested. Price it within reason, based on a thorough comparative analysis, and let a Realtor such as me run with my proven programs, and you'll have strong activity and all going well an auction-like sale with multiple buyers. The value of your home will be set after properly marketing it with enough time for full exposure, resulting in multiple buyers making their best bid for it, knowing they're competing with others. Frequently in this type of market we'll see offers above the asking price. And a sale run this way puts you in the driver's seat. In this market you've a better chance of receiving a condition-free or minimal-condition offer, and we may even be able to negotiate an extra long completion, allowing you more time than typical to find your next home. As stated earlier, all property types in many areas are currently in an extremely strong demand, but extremely limited supply situation. This will not last forever. If you’re thinking of making a move, the conditions right now could hardly be better for selling.

When can we expect a change? Will spring and summer see a better demand/supply balance? Will mortgage rates increase substantially enough to cool demand? Will the provincial or federal government step in with other measures to cool the housing market? Well, one thing the past year has shown us is the futility of predictions, particularly for the short-term housing market. Whatever the specifics of your real estate situation, I'm here to help you in the market of the day, every step of the way.

Referrals always appreciated
Given that a home sale or buy is often the largest financial transaction most people will be involved with, it's in their best interest to work with a long-experienced, seen-it-all Realtor such as me! Know someone thinking of selling, or buying? Do please consider connecting us. Referrals are a large part of my business, and I do appreciate any and all referrals. I work throughout the Metro Vancouver area. Selling a home in North Van? Or a townhouse in Burnaby? A Kitsilano condo? Looking for an investment condo in Port Coquitlam, or Langley? I'm standing by to assist!