Will Balance Return to Real Estate Markets?

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the summer of 2017 delivered the first year-over-year decline in home prices in four years. And this may be a sign of balance returning to housing markets across Canada.

As reported by CREA, the across-the-country decline was only 0.3 per cent, but many believe this downward trend will continue at least into the new year. According to CREA, home sales declined in two-thirds of the Canadian market, including Calgary, Halifax and Ottawa, and the Greater Toronto Area.

As CREA chief economist Gregory Klump says: “Sales may be starting to bottom out amid stabilizing housing market sentiment. Time will tell whether that’s indeed the case…”

The national news magazine Maclean’s believes that prices will also fall, especially in the single, detached-home market. And, to the relief of many, Maclean’s suggests the days of bidding wars are most likely behind us.

Market watchers attributed the drop in home sales that initially affected Vancouver, and was still impacting Toronto this fall, to recent measures imposed by both provinces designed to cool overheated housing markets.

Also this fall, the Bank of Canada increased the interest rate for the second time in two months – which had the immediate effect of raising mortgage rates. Expectations are that rates will continue to rise. As well, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is considering again tightening credit regulations. But industry pushback may put this on hold.

What are buyers and sellers across the country to do? With the usual slowdown in the housing market in fall and winter combined with uncertainty on many fronts, both may be inclined to take a wait-and-see attitude.

Or they may adopt the position of cautious optimism espoused by some experts, who are anticipating calmer, more balanced housing markets across the country with more choice for buyers and sufficient profit for sellers.

After all the instability, this may be news to take action on.

Downsizing Happens at All Ages Now: Here’s How to Ace It

Downsizing is often associated with empty nesters and retirees, but as it turns out, more and more homeowners of all ages-including millennials-are looking for smaller residential footprints.

Currently, more than 40 per cent of Canadian millennials rent, and many say they prefer it. But those who are buying are lining up for small condos that will allow them to live in urban centres at affordable prices.

Downsizing dilemmas

Getting rid of belongings that won’t fit in your smaller space is challenging. The upside-of particular interest to millennials-is the opportunity to dump old inherited pieces for trendy modern furniture.

Measure your new home before moving day, and decide what to take before you start packing. If there’s a too-big item that you can’t bear to part with, store it. But not at mom and dad’s, say experts; they may be downsizing soon themselves.

Emotional attachment can make it hard to decide what you should throw out. Ask a straight-talking friend or family member to help with an unbiased second opinion on tough decisions-like whether your bookcase or king-sized bed is way too big for your new digs.

Once you’ve rounded up everything you won’t be taking, have a garage sale. You’ll feel less guilty about parting with so much, and you can make a surprising amount of money to help with moving expenses.

Trying to dispose of all the items you can’t sell can be overwhelming. Hiring a pickup service for junk removal or to take to a charity can be well worth the expense.