The Barrie area spring real estate market is different from last year's yet again.
April and May are traditionally the busiest months of the year for new listings and buyer activity. This year is busier to date than last year which was also slower at this point than the previous year. Last years market got off to a late start where as this year, the buyers started out early.
This year the demand for housing dramatically increased in February at record levels in a month when traditionally most Realtors have yet to see their own shadows. March and April so far has seen demand out pacing the supply of homes in the region, this activity is coming mainly from investors and first time buyers.
The continuation of low interest rates along with national headlines indicating that those rates are not likely to last too long into the future has generated increased urgency among those who are ready to enter into home ownership for the first time.
Interest in Barrie as a financially viable place to live had lost some popularity with GTA residents in recent years when gas prices hit, then continued past the one dollar a litre mark.
A more significant contributor to that decline came when Barrie literally started to run out of residential development lands beginning around 2007. For years local housing developers kept the weekend Toronto newspapers filled with large tempting ads offering the promise of lifestyle change and new homes in all price ranges. The beck and call of those ads had hundreds of people headed to the area each weekend for much of the decade.
I spent an afternoon this week in meetings with Toronto area Realtors, listening to their stories about the real estate market they are experiencing. The GTA real estate market is increasingly at the mercy of investors from around the globe. Homes in Toronto are selling for tens of thousands of dollars over the list prices with most listings experiencing multiple offers and bidding wars in the first few days on the market and through "bully offers" arriving before a home is even listed on the MLS. In some cases the final sale prices are over $100,000 beyond the asking price!
With the average price of a townhouse set $200,000 higher in Toronto than in Barrie, the prospect of home ownership is now completely out
of reach for most would be first time Toronto buyers and the dream of home ownership for many families has become an impossible one to attain without stepping outside of the frenzy to more stable and fiscally rational communities. The average home price in the GTA is now double that of Barrie Ontario. The price of gas to make the commute from Barrie to Toronto and back during the week now pales in comparison.
If you know of anyone who is planning on purchasing or selling property in the Barrie area this year, have them give me a call. I would like to discuss their plans and the key areas for investment with those looking to buy in the area, Those who are planning to sell stand to benefit financially from a carefully laid out marketing plan that gives consideration to what I have discussed here. There are a number of actions a seller can take that will set their home apart and insure them top dollar on their sale.