Usually my quarterly reports revolve around statistical information, but the market is too darn quiet right now, with everyone hiding from the cold.
The real story is in the bigger picture, the overall slowdown in the market in Ontario (save for over-heated markets like Toronto). There is nothing wrong with a little pull back, especially if you’re trying to afford a first home, or trying to step up. Kingston still has an enviably balanced market – fair to both sellers and buyers.
But the city has gotten used to average yearly price appreciation of four to five per cent, and even higher in some neighborhoods.
Last year, average price appreciation dropped to three per cent. Several neighborhoods didn’t even make it to two per cent. Cost of inflation is still low but add that in, and home values for many owners are just treading water.
This situation is not supposed to change any time soon. So if you’re thinking of buying a home mainly as a long-term investment, do your homework. There are many compelling reasons to buy a home, but as an investment vehicle at the moment, it may not be the best choice.
To increase the value of your home in these times, talk to your favorite Realtor. They can tell you what renovations would bring you the best return. And keep up with updating and renovations. Plant that hedge now and get it growing. We don’t always know when we might have to sell. And if you're planning on selling, factor in the slower rate of appreciation when setting a price. You'll end up farther ahead!
And keep in mind that slower price appreciation doesn’t necessarily mean fewer sales. Real estate is a cyclical business. Sales were off slightly last year, but that may well mean that people who passed up buying last year, are ready now. The open houses have been surprisingly busy!