By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
After an almost Wild West-like atmosphere in the housing market last year, Dennis Roberts believes things are beginning to get back to normal.
Roberts, president of the Durham Region Association of Realtors (DRAR), says the market is “much more controlled and balanced” than it was in 2017.
“This is the way that’s better for both sides, buyers and sellers,” he notes.
DRAR reported 470 residential transactions in January 2017, a slight decrease from the previous month.
The average selling price in January was $578,645, an increase from December, but down $30,000, or roughly four per cent, from the previous year.
Looking ahead, Roberts sees selling prices rebounding throughout 2018 as “buyers become more comfortable.”
The number of houses on the market increased from 711 in December to 954 in January, a jump of 30 per cent.
Roberts says this is another indicator of a balanced market, as a year ago sellers may have been less likely to list their home because they were unsure if they could find a replacement.
According to Roberts, there is currently a much larger inventory of homes available for potential buyers.
On Jan. 1, new mortgage eligibility laws, referred to as ‘stress test’ rules by Roberts, came into effect in Ontario.
“The new ‘stress test’ rules require that borrowers qualify for mortgages at interest rates two per cent higher [than current rates] in order to still afford their monthly payments should interest rates increase,” Roberts says. “This was expected to moderate demand by qualifying loans more firmly, which has lowered the amount buyers can finance.”
Roberts told The Oshawa Express he believes these new rules are needed as it may help some buyers to reign in their expectations.
In the short-term, he feels the new rules will make buyers take a closer look at pricing trends but in the long run it won’t have a huge impact.
“There will be a number of buyers getting out of the pool, although in Durham Region it’s more of an ocean,” he quipped.
Overall, Roberts sees the market continuing to stay strong locally.
“Our strong local economy and expected population growth will result in sustained household growth in Durham Region.”