By Lindsay Smith/Columnist
Looking into a new year it is easy to be blinded by the newness, like a shiny new toy. When I think of the natural cycles of when properties sell, it reminds me of my youth: driving way too fast in my family’s car and seeing the road ahead with a slowdown as we climbed the first hill, then speeding down for miles and miles only to slow as we hit the next hill and again feeling like my stomach was in my throat as we drop down again. This is similar to a “normal” real estate year. We enter the year slow, and in February the market starts to heat up and we have a huge surge that tends to slow as June approaches. Then there’s a quiet time before things start spiking in September once the kids get back to school.
One thing 2020 taught the world is that “normal” is a word we may find in a dictionary, like one of those old words that have little meaning in current vocabulary.
We are starting the year off with the lowest inventory I have ever seen. Along with low inventory, we have buyers aggressively snapping up homes when they hit the market. Here is a metric that might help to illustrate how wonky things are:
Total amount of homes for sale in Oshawa, Whitby and Clarington – 148
2016 Census report; total number of private occupied dwellings in Oshawa, Whitby and Clarington – 217,000
Over the holiday, I listened to a very interesting interview with a money manager and he focused on how the adage, “location, location, location” may currently be in a process of being redefined. Toronto has always been the crowning jewel of Ontario. It has been the place to live, retire and play. With the changes in work/ life balance, the surrounding areas are becoming more desirable than large cities. We are seeing a shift in buyers who would be happy living in a condo downtown, now venturing out to Durham Region. Can you blame them? Our values appear to be a bargain to the buyers (locals seem to whine about how expensive homes are becoming and the people from other areas see us as being very undervalued.) We have amazing amenities, access to wilderness, and a slower pace of life.
I was at my new favourite fish monger in Pickering, (www.lobsterbaron.ca) waiting in line for my new year’s order and chatted with the man behind me. His story was he lived within a walking distance to St. Lawrence Market and recently bought his first home in Whitby. He has not lived in Durham Region for long and relayed all of the amazing places to buy high end meats, poultry, and of course lobster. What we take for granted, people looking to relocate see as reasons to settle down.
I have no predictions for 2021, other than the vision I fully believe that Durham Region is one of the best places to live in Ontario, and as the sold signs show, others feel the same way.
I am looking forward to watching the year unfold and I have a good feeling that when we sip champagne on New Years Eve, it will be a good bottle with all of the amazing things that are about to happen to each and every one of us.
Happy New Year all.
If you have thoughts on the above message or if you see a real estate emergency on the horizon, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.