All indications point to another solid real estate year for both buyers and sellers, says our columnist.


By now it’s settled in — the belief that we truly are in the midst of a very healthy real estate market. Just how healthy, however, still may shock you.

Consider that residential home values have increased, on average, 264 per cent since the mid-’80s. That’s a rise from roughly $72,000 to $277,000, according to a recent real estate study conducted by Re/Max (the brokerage I work with).

Also consider that while the normal rate of increase per year is routinely touted as five per cent annual appreciation, the actual appreciation rate has been closer to double-digit increases — and into the double-digits over the past 10 years. Even the comparatively poorer markets have seen above average increases, around six per cent annually. Amongst the most active regions have been Barrie, St. Catherines, Hamilton and Ottawa, in addition to Toronto.

The most important thing to understand is where this increase comes from. Greater economic diversity, population increase and strong immigration are contributing factors, all of which are good factors in the sense they promote actual market strength rather than unstable sharp rises.

So where do we stand in 2007? Well, this January went into the books as the best January on record, ever, with an increase of 13 per cent from January ‘06 and up six per cent from January ‘02, which was the previous record. All indications point to another solid real estate year for both buyers and sellers.

Even today many of my friends and clients ask me when prices will go down, is now a good time to buy, is it better to wait until spring, and so on. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best time to buy is when you’re ready. In other words, when you’re financially and logically capable of investing the time and money it takes to make a wise real estate decision.

The market is strong and will remain strong. The real question is how long you need to take, for your own personal reasons, to jump in and take advantage.

That’s not to say you have nothing to gain by jumping in sooner rather than later — the person who invested in Bill Gates’ project 20 years ago has gained significantly more than one who finally jumped on the wagon five years ago.

The point is to consider your own situation, and not the market’s, when deciding when to buy or sell.

For help or any questions feel free to e-mail Amit at Happy hunting!

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