Winter is approaching and with it the chill of weather and a typical slowing of market sales and movement. This year, however, looks a little different.  Typically, sales slow in October and November and pick up again in springtime.  In Vancouver and Toronto, most notably, sales plummeting with Toronto seeing 17% fewer sales this past October, leading industry experts to describe it as a hibernation.  “We’re only in November, but it appears many would-be home buyers have already gone into hibernation,” CREA president Larry Cerqua said in a press release. “October numbers also revealed some sellers may be shelving their plans until next spring.”

In general, two categories of buyers are stepping away from the market at this time: first time home buyers and investors, leaving opportunities for local buyers to upgrade or purchase in a more desirable location at a better price.

Sellers, accustomed to having the power dynamic in the housing market for the past year, are expecting similar sale prices for their properties that they would have commanded in the past 6 months to 2 years, resulting in more stagnant listings on the market. The dynamic allows buyers to exert more influence on price.  In Ontario, homes are selling on average for 97% of list price, a decline from pandemic pricing when homes sold often for tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars above asking price in Vancouver and Toronto.

Calgary is not following the sharp cooling trend seen in other areas of the country.  The region’s strong economy is seeing a boost as people are moving there to capitalize on its relatively hot economy and “low” housing costs.  Benchmark prices in that city rose over 9% in the last year to their highest prices on record.  Comparatively, this remains half of what the average home in Toronto costs.

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