Do you feel like you’re caught in a Catch 22?
I wouldn’t be surprised – the current Ottawa real estate market is causing uncertainty for many.
We’re seeing an unusual set of circumstances: sales continue to be robust, thanks to generally affordable pricing and strong employment levels, while the inventory of homes available remains low, even though we’ve entered what’s traditionally the most popular season for selling and buying.
For the month of April, for instance, the Ottawa Real Estate Board reported 2,032 residential properties sold through the board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) System, compared with 1,788 in April 2017, an increase of 13.6 per cent. And the five-year average for April sales is 1,704.
That has pushed Ottawa into a seller’s market, prompting instances of multiple offers in particularly hot neighbourhoods. While the situation here is nowhere near as exaggerated as the Toronto market, we’re seeing a bit of an echo.
Now, all that might be great for those who want to sell, except for that Catch 22 I mentioned: many buyers are unable to purchase a home due to the lack of inventory and the multiple offer situations. So, if you buy before selling, you could run the risk of owning two homes. Just as bad, if you sell first, you could end up homeless.
What to do?
To increase your chances of finding your next home, first get your team in place:
* Talk to your financial experts so you know your financial plan and pre-qualification levels.
* Work with a realtor. They have access to “Coming soon” and “Exclusive listings” that are not yet launched on MLS.
* Have ready your contacts for a home inspector, an insurance broker, a lawyer, etc.
Then, be flexible. Some buyers may need to consider renting while they wait for more inventory to be available. Keep in mind though that reasonably priced rentals could be limited.
Some buyers may need to consider condo ownership. This is an option that can later result in a great long-term investment.
Eventually, the market will stabilize and sellers who have been holding back will list their home either because their family has grown, they’ve become empty nesters, or perhaps they need to relocate.
But, will you wait or will you take a chance?