It seems this pandemic has become the catalyst for many to re-evaluate their lives and consider what would make it most meaningful.
Turns out for many, it meant moving into less urban areas and seeking out a quieter life, says Peggy Hill, CEO and Broker of Record, RE/MAX Hallmark Peggy Hill Group Realty in Barrie, Ontario.
Hill says the housing market has not missed a beat, and currently, there’s a “raging seller’s market” keeping her and her team busy since April.
As life as we know it has changed, so have people’s housing needs
This aggressive seller’s market is the result of people wanting to remove themselves from busier, urban centres, says Hill. And while she and her team regularly serve Simcoe County, they’re continually receiving calls from people in the GTA including Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Mississauga and Brampton, wanting to sell and move north.
People want out of hotspots. And with COVID still active, many are re-evaluating their family’s wants and needs. As well, lifestyles have changed as people are working and staying at home more, so they want a house that has more space, somewhere closer to nature and that has a backyard and/or a pool.
“That was our number one hottest seller this year, homes with pools,” says Hill. “If you were selling a home with a pool this year you were getting double what you normally would get for the value of that pool,” adding that premiums of pools doubled.
Perhaps the biggest incentive, she explains, is the opportunity to sell for high amounts and upsize in a more desirable area. “Many sellers are getting record-breaking prices so they’re able to cash in in the south and get what they want up north.”
In turn, as more people move in, Hill says people who live in Simcoe County are moving out. “Our boundaries keep enlarging because our clients are pushing north to places like Ramara, Midland, Orillia, Penetanguishene and Tiny Township.”
It’s a seller’s market and a buyer’s market but for different reasons
While it’s a seller’s market, Hill says the buyer’s market is also active due to the current unprecedented interest rates, “The other phenomenon is low interest rates. They are under two per cent, and in the 20 years I’ve been in real estate we’ve never had rates that low."
That said, housing prices are always based on supply and demand and currently, the demand is high. Hill says there’s just not enough supply to keep up with the demand, and similarly, the rental market is also raging. Despite crazy prices, investors are still buying, rental properties are hard to come by, and the rents are sky-high.
“We’re finding that renters are now the same as homebuyers. They’re going into these rentals and they’re offering over list, offering months of rent upfront, they’re offering all kinds of incentives to get the landlords to look at their applications.”
Despite our current reality continue living a life of meaning
With the market, or the pandemic, showing no signs of slowing down, Hill says it’s important that people continue living their lives in a way that’s most meaningful to them. If that means selling and buying somewhere you feel your family will be happiest, she recommends doing so.
“COVID has not stopped the real estate market and I don’t want people to be afraid even as we continue into a second wave. At least this time we have what looks to be a roadmap of our way out of this. And we know what it takes to keep ourselves safe.”