Next year, 2015 is just one month away and with the holiday season soon upon us, in offices across the land, the amount of work done will quickly slow and then pretty much stop for a week. Real estate is no different.
One of the great things about real estate is that everyone likes to talk about it. Almost everyone has a real estate question or a real estate story, or both.
I like to talk and I like to talk about real estate. Now that it is December and the rate of home sales and listings will quickly slow and then cease for a week or two, I’ll have a chance to get to the mall and shops in UpTown Waterloo, out for a drink with friends and maybe even a holiday party or two.
I’ll bump into people I know. I can almost guarantee that if I go somewhere around the region, anywhere around the region, out to dinner, to the mall, walking around Schnider’s Flats, I will run into someone I know.
People I know from my old life in the newspaper business will want to know how I’m doing in real estate.
Other’s will want to know how the market is or what’s going to happen to interest rates. Some will tell me about a house that sold on their street and want to know what it sold for.
I love talking about real estate. I have to be ready.
Q: How’s real estate?
I’m into my eight year now. It is hard to believe; I’ve never worked a job as long as I have been a realtor. I love it of course. You have to. It is not really a job, but a lifestyle. It is a profession that requires a lot of work, a lot of knowledge and a lot of time to get good at. The first five years are tough.
Back when I lived in Taiwan, I learned to read and write and speak Mandarin Chinese. It has a very flat learning curve. Every morning, my university teacher would start the day by dictating 15 Chinese characters. The students would do their best to write them down. It was the best part of the day. I studied Chinese for more than two years and slowly the characters, the radicals, the homophones, and the stroke order started to make sense. And then one day, it all clicked into place. One day, I hit critical mass, the fog lifted and I became an egg. (Someone who is white on the outside and Chinese on the inside is referred to as an egg. Someone who is Chinese on the outside and white on the inside is a banana.)
A: It’s good. I had a very busy year.
Q:How much do you think my house is worth?
That question is harder to answer than you think. Real estate, first of all, and unique. A three bedroom, side split in Stanley Park will have a much different price than a three bedroom two storey in Clair Hills.
A: Probably more than you think.
Q:How’s the market?
We had a very busy real estate market in 2014. We got off to a slow start with the late spring, but more than made up for it in the late summer and early fall. October was the busiest since 2009 and sold prices were up by more than 7% in both September and October over the previous year.
A: The market is great for home sellers and tough for home buyers.
Q: Are interest rates going to go up?
They have been low for so long, historically low, they have to go up. Canada’s inflation rate is rising, the government only has so many tools at it’s disposal to control the economy. One of those is controlling the supply of money and thus controlling interest rates.
A: Yes. We just don’t know when.
Q: Does Canada have a real estate bubble?
The economy is very complex. We are part of a global economy. Employment, interests rates, immigration, world politics and most everything else influences our housing market. The Canadian economy is heavily dependant on the housing market. In fact, Canada’s largest industry is Real Estate. Real estate is the industry that most contributed to the economic growth in Canada since 2000. Real estate also surpassed manufacturing in 2008 as Canada’s largest industry.
A: Yes, but it isn’t going to pop and prices are not going to fall by 20%. It is too important to our economy for the government to let that happen.
What’s going to happen in 2015?
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation does not think resale home prices in Canada’s major cities are about to drop anytime soon. For the rest of 2014, as well as 2015 and 2016 price predictions are for growth almost entirely across the board; every city but Fredericton will see home prices rise.
Furthermore, Toronto, an influencer for house prices in Kitchener Waterloo is predicted to continue as they have with high price growth year over year.
A: Business as usual