New Home, Old Home – What’s Best for You?

Prospective home buyers looking at areas where new neighbourhoods are being developed have a decision to make that’s affected by price, availability, features, and style: Do I buy a new build or a resale property? Here are some thinking points when you’re considering which to buy:

New build

Purchasing a preconstruction house or condominium unit gives buyers a chance to personalize it to their needs and their style. The buyer can select layout, finishes, and fixtures. New homes also include the latest technology, which means lots of “smart” and “green” features.

The downsides? A new subdivision will likely still be a construction zone when owners move in, and there won’t be any mature trees or green space. Personality may be lacking, both outside and indoors; a resale home often has unique features that add warmth and style, whereas a new build may feel austere. And then there’s the waiting game. Particularly with new condos, buyers may have to wait for some time before the building is finally ready for occupation.

Resale home

A previously lived in home has two advantages that new builds find it hard to compete with: location and charm. The neighbourhood is likely more developed; there will be mature greenery, a sense of community and culture, and an absence of the dirt, dust, and noise that accompany a new-build site. A resale home may also have unique features that make it feel special for the right buyer, such as an amazing backyard, a fireplace, crown mouldings, or built-ins.

However, a resale home may also be dated and require costly repairs and renovations to make it suitable for a new owner. Because it wasn’t built with the latest materials and practices, it also may be less efficient.

New or old-both have their advantages. But make it all about you and your family, and your decision will be the right one.

Is Canada’s Housing Market Slowing Down? Stay Tuned

While media reports still centre on price wars and discouraged potential buyers, the national real estate story may have a new focus. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has expressed concern over several months that housing sales are dropping nationwide. Many wonder: Could the national resale housing market be slowing down?

Some are cautiously saying “yes.” Royal Bank of Canada Senior Economist Robert Hogue noted: “The long-awaited cooling of Canada’s housing market may be finally at hand; only time will tell. When you look at market conditions in Canada’s two hot markets, it is still very, very tight.”

Some signs: Interestingly, Vancouver’s market may now be partly responsible for the latest declining results. Vancouver’s hot real estate markets had been pushing up national results for some time. But the B.C. tax imposed in early summer on foreign buyers had an immediate impact: Sales fell 6.7 per cent in Vancouver in July. Meanwhile, Toronto’s market showed month-over-month declines for most of the summer.

Late reactions? Governments, meanwhile, have started to look for ways to control the housing market. For example, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI), Canada’s banking regulator, recently warned the country’s major financial institutions that it will be scrutinizing their loan books much more closely, and has instructed them to pay better attention to the finances of their mortgage customers.

One real estate watcher suggests that (with exceptions) the national housing market has already begun to slow-so no national interventions are needed. It remains to be seen.