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Barrie’s real estate market: slight cooling, holding its own

Prices remain high, less craziness, an uptick in inventory, says Barrie REALTOR® Peggy Hill
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Peggy Hill (submitted photo)

The real estate market is in constant flux, but the pace of change seems to be accelerating. The news can hardly keep up; by the time word has filtered down to consumers, information is often already out of date.

To get a handle on the latest goings-on, Village Media’s Content Studio spoke with REALTOR® Peggy Hill, of RE/MAX Hallmark Peggy Hill Group Realty in Barrie. We talked about the current state of the market, what effect the latest stress test has had, and who is being hit the hardest. 

Real estate, especially over this past year, is definitely not for the faint of heart. How would you describe the state of the real estate market right now in Barrie?

I would say right now we’re in a bit of a cooling period, we’re just kind of holding our own. You don’t see as many multiple offers anymore. People are still getting incredible prices, the prices are holding, you just don’t see the craziness that we saw when there was less inventory in February. 

How has the market changed in recent months? What are some of the reasons?

We’ve got new stress tests and I really thought they’d have a bigger effect on people than they’ve had. We didn’t see what we would normally see when there’s a new stress test coming out, we didn’t see the influx of crazy buyers before the stress test came in. That makes me wonder whether buyers are just a little bit tired or if the stress tests weren’t as effective as they had hoped they’d be. They only really affect people that were shopping at the very top end of their budget.

Who would you say has been hardest hit by the current conditions we’re experiencing? Is it first-time buyers? Purchasers in general?

It has been a very challenging market for first-time buyers, but I think what has been most challenging about this market has been the effect on renters. A lot of investors have been cashing in on their investments, leaving a lot of people displaced. During the emergency stay-at-home order there were no evictions happening—they’re back on now. Now that we’re out of that period, there’s a lot of tenants who can’t find anywhere to live because their landlord has decided to sell. 
I can see both sides of that: I understand that for a landlord it’s an investment and they’re going to cash out at the optimal time, that totally makes sense. But in the same breath, what are these people supposed to do? Where are they supposed to go?

What are your predictions for the next few months, as lockdown restrictions finally begin to lift in Ontario?

What happened to us last year when we came out of lockdown was we got quite busy, obviously. Typically the summer is a quieter time in real estate, it’s not our crazy time. I think what happened last year was we had a really strong market all summer long and I imagine we’ll see the same thing repeat this year.

Do you have any words of wisdom for buyers and sellers who are trying to navigate the current market?

I think people need a plan and they need to know how much they can afford. They can’t get stuck in a fight and get caught up in the craziness of what can happen in this market. If you want a property and you have a budget in mind, if it goes for more then you just have to let it go. I find a lot of people are getting sucked into the excitement, into the craziness of bidding wars, but I think if you have a plan in place and you know what you’re willing to pay for something, then you’ve just got to keep a cooler head. 

Even for sellers it’s a very confusing time right now, because their neighbours may have sold for $60,000 more in February than what they’re going to get now. The reality of the real estate market is that it is ever-changing. A month right now feels like a year, even just a few months ago was a different time. We used to price homes by what has sold; right now, you can’t do that. You basically price them to be competitive in the market that you’re in. 

Unfortunately, I find the news is a little bit lagging as far as what’s actually happening in the real estate market. It was hotter in February, it truly was. It’s the law of supply and demand and that’s all that real estate runs by. 

As a real estate agent, how are you feeling about the second half of the year? Are you optimistic? Is there anything you’re looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to everyone being vaccinated and having a little bit of normal back in our lives. It’s been very difficult, and it will be nice to be able to go back to having open houses and to be face-to-face with consumers more than we’ve been able to. 

Any parting advice?

You have to make sure you speak to a professional when you’re navigating through crazy times and make sure that you get all the information. That’s what we try to do: arm our clients with all the information so they can make their own decisions. I don’t like making decisions for people, I just like to make sure that they have all the data; that way I can empower them to make their own decisions. You’ve got to keep a cool head, for sure.

RE/MAX Hallmark Peggy Hill Group Realty were recently recognized as the number one RE/MAX team (residential & commercial)in Canada and are the recipients of RE/MAX Special Awards 2020, RE/MAX Top Team Leaders, Canada – Residential/Commercial overall . 

For more information, visit RE/MAX Hallmark Peggy Hill Group Realty or call 705-739-4455.