I’m going to admit right off the bat that I’ve been watching a lot of episodes of the TV show Mad Men lately.
Whenever I watch a lot of a particular show or read a particular book series, it tends to influence how I view the world for a brief period of time. When I watched the Sopranos, I thought every guy in a badly fitting suit was a mobster. After reading most of the Philip Marlowe detective stories by Raymond Chandler, I started wise-cracking and seriously considered buying a fedora.
Due to the number of Mad Men episodes I’ve been watching, I thought about installing a bar in my office and again started researching buying a fedora. The characters seem to spend a lot of time at cocktail parties and events, drinking hard liquor and making wry observations.
On the off chance you do the same, I thought I would give you a great little piece of insight into the real estate market you can drop into the next conversation you encounter on this topic.
Here it is.
It isn’t that there aren’t many homes for sale now – it’s that there are too many people wanting to buy.
When people start sputtering, setting down their drinks to argue and someone starts to tell you how they or their friend have been looking for months and keep getting outbid and there are so few homes on the market, reference this chart.
In March, 2016 there were just over 10,000 homes sold in the GTA. That’s more than there were a year ago, which is more than there were the year before that, which was more than the year BEFORE that. Three years ago there were less than 8,000 homes sold in March in the GTA. Last month, there were about 2,000 more homes sold, which is about 20% more houses actually available and being bought.
The issue isn’t that there are fewer homes than before, that no one is selling and everyone is staying put.
The issue is that due to low mortgage rates, home ownership is more affordable to more people. Put simply, the number of buyers has risen faster than the number of properties available for sale. Which pushes up prices, which makes buyers feel they are missing the boat, which makes them up their budget, which makes prices rise.
So, the next time the topic of real estate comes up and someone starts talking about how there just aren’t many homes for sale, tell them that every month in the last three years has seen more homes sold than the previous year. It isn’t there aren’t many homes for sale – it’s that there are too many people wanting to buy.
At that point I would suggest you make a triumphant exit. If anyone is hounding you for more details, give them my card and tell them to give me call. I’d love to be responsible for what comes next.
There is no substitute for fire.
With very few exceptions, I’ve never had a buyer who made a fireplace one of their must-haves in their hunt for a new home. That being said, I’ve never had a buyer who didn’t react positively to a fireplace in a home that we viewed.
While fireplaces may not be something that buyers think of when they consider their next home, rest assured that homes with fireplaces are immediately more memorable and appealing. The focal point of a fire seems to give most of us an easy way of deciding on furniture layout and buyers envision relaxing times on a cold Canadian winter night with friends and family.
The majority of higher end renovated or new build homes include fireplaces for just this reason. If you are renovating your home, consider spending some money on sprucing up or installing a fireplace.