To buy or not to buy? That is the question. More properties to view, prices lightening a little but not as much as the media would like to see given the retrenchment of sales volume, and an overall lack of sense of urgency, seem to be the themes dominating the consciousness of buyers these days, much to the frustration of most sellers. One could argue that these characteristics could give rise to it being a great time to enter the market. Of course, there is the threat that the market will continue to soften, thus providing motivation to “hang on” for better deals.
So how do we make sense of this? If you are considering a sale, one key consideration is your timeline. In rare circumstances, properties sell over one weekend, but the new rule is to expect a three month sale cycle. It used to be widely accepted that properties were considered over-priced if a sale had not been consummated within three weeks of listing. This is no longer the truth. Buyers have more properties to view, and are taking more time making decisions, in some cases, booking second and third showings. Of course, pricing, marketing plan, and home presentation are also considered critical success factors.
If you are considering a purchase, again timelines are critical, but in terms of how long you plan on residing in your new home. Given the costs associated with moving, combined with the lack of clarity of where the market is headed, a prudent goal would be to find a new home that satisfies the next five years. This timeframe should buffer against any market fluctuations. Naturally, a strong negotiation, and perhaps the presentation of a lowball offer, is not out of the question in this market either.
Moving forward, the expectation is that 2012 is going to finish in much of the same temperament as we see today. The economists and prognosticators seem to be changing their stance a touch with 2013 forecasts, suggesting a stabilization, and in some cases, modest single digit appreciation.
If you or someone you know is contemplating entering the market as a buyer or seller, please call anytime. The best outcome is determined not by luck, but by well executed planning. I would be honoured to help.