By Tom Albrecht | Jan 14, 2018 | Buyers
You may also be wondering, “where are all the listings?!”.
Let’s say you’re ready to retire, so you’re thinking of selling. The likeliest thought you might be having is “is now a good time to sell?”. Not compared to the past, but compared to the future. What should you do to maximize your return and minimize your stress?
In this short blog, I’ll try to give as much info as possible to help you. The interpretations of any MLS® data used are my own and don’t reflect the opinions of the Fort McMurray Real Estate Board or its members. There is plenty of my opinion in here, but the data we are using is super accurate....
I’ll show you what I mean...
When we’re studying the market, we regularly study the same area: urban Fort McMurray. In the table below, we see that the total number of all property types (less vacant lots) listed on the Fort McMurray MLS® has fallen:
[caption id="attachment_28160" align="aligncenter" width="611"] Inventory of Homes listed on the Fort McMurray MLS® (Urban Areas) [/caption]
This is a natural process: Demand was reduced by approximately 50% as a result of the oil market slump, which caused prices to slip over time, and so supply has reacted by bringing fewer homes to the market (owners now find it relatively harder/less desirable to sell). In turn, the outlook for prices becomes less negative as the gap between supply and demand is closing.
What does this mean for you as a buyer? Well, this year you might already be finding that you have less choice.
If you are looking for a handyman special, you’re still probably having a really easy time, because of those 517 listings, a lot of them are fixer-uppers (close to 20% are foreclosures or court sales). But if you are looking for a real gem, especially in the lower price ranges, you may be starting to struggle.
In general, you may feel less relaxed generally when looking for homes as you would have in recent years as there is the same (or greater) volume of buyers to compete with, but for fewer listings. Let’s say you’re thinking of selling your home. When’s best? Well, a lot of that depends on your view of the future and your view of the oil market, interest rates, employment, etc. But there are a few things we know:
Generally, if you have a quality product, especially one in a non-luxury price range, with proper placement, we will be able to generate a significant amount of interest for you due to the accuracy of our pricing and our powerful marketing. Even during the darkest times of the last 3 years, we didn’t struggle to sell homes, so now we get to leverage that marketing power in a different way: Careful, premium pricing.
This spring, there’s reason to get to the market early, as we know there are hungry buyers out there already. We are still in a buyer’s market (prices falling slightly), so there’s possibly still some added incentive there, too. It’s hard to say though, as prices tend to rise in balanced markets in the spring months. The best answer is “it depends on what you have”, so it’s a good idea to request tailored advice from one of our specialist listing agents.
Here’s a chart:
[caption id="attachment_28162" align="aligncenter" width="842"] Chart: New MLS® Listings in Urban Fort McMurray (Not Including Lots)[/caption]
As you can see, in the last quarter of each year, the market tends to produce very few listings, but from January to July, our market typically produces at least 150 new listings a month. Buyers can rest assured that there will be fresh inventory this year, so one of the messages is “don’t panic”. Just be aware that if we transition from a buyer’s market to a balanced market, then you’re just going to want to tweak your strategy a bit.
Our buyer’s agents are highly trained in working with you from consultation to key-release to find and secure the best properties for the best possible prices. Through their wit and experience, they have access to homes not currently listed on the MLS®.
Another thing to remember is that we just went through Q4, which typically is when we see a lot of expiries. Many of these homes will now be re-listed with more accurate pricing:
[caption id="attachment_28161" align="aligncenter" width="842"] Chart: Expired MLS® Listings in Urban Fort McMurray (Not Including Lots)[/caption]
Regarding the time of year (and this message is especially directed at potential home buyers): Even during the winters of the bust (2014, 2015, 2016), we struggled to find quality inventory. More and more good homes are being listed every day. So far, for example, we have seen 57 non-lot listings come to market in the urban area we study. For example, our team is listing 5-10 homes over the next two weeks, and they’re nice places. So it’s not so much where are all the listings, as when will they appear. Listings come to market:
i) In the first two quarters. ii) When prices incentivize people to list.
In light of b), I think it’s a good idea to end on a cautionary note for potential home sellers. We do know a lot of potential sellers who, if market prices were any higher, would list their homes for sale. It’s a reminder that this correction has been extremely painful for homeowners and serious for the town. After large corrections like this, the market that often comes after a buyer’s market, is a balanced market. Only time will tell though and there is so much we don’t know.
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1 For the purpose of this blog: Urban Fort McMurray is defined as Abasand, Beacon Hill, Dickinsfield, Downtown, Eagle Ridge, Grayling Terrace, Gregoire Park, Henning Ridge, Parsons North, Prairie Creek, Stonecreek, Thickwood, Timberlea, Waterways and Wood Buffalo