Here we are in November and year ago we were looking at a housing market correction (translation: prices dropping, low sales volumes). Who would have thought that we would now be seeing a market that had bounced back and is now testing previous highs, both in the number of sales and in benchmark prices. The summer of 2009 surprised many analysts and market-watchers with both its resiliency and fervour, and clients have asked what will happen in the fall and winter.
As I have said before I don’t have a crystal ball (no one does). But traditionally, the winter season has resulted in a slow-down in the market as families buckle down for the school year, weather patterns make buyer tours less pleasant, and holiday planning begins. Because there are fewer buyers, some sellers will decide that they can wait until these buyers return, which results in less supply to offset the drop in demand.
However, statistics show that house prices tend to be lower in the winter than in the summer which is why home price stats are seasonally adjusted. People who sell in the winter are more likely to be ready to sell and realistic rather than curious and unmotivated. Also, because there are fewer buyers, true negotiations between buyers and sellers are more likely to occur in place of auction-type multiple offer situations. And yes we have seen multiple offers this year – quite a few in the hotter areas like Kitsilano or North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley.
Vancouver might be in for an interesting time in the next few months. We have the winter Olympics ahead and I suspect that this is going to throw our normal pattern off. The time during the Olympics is likely to be quiet. So my guess is that the market will be busier before and after the games. A new Olympic sport – listing your home!