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Beach market cools slightly with fall weather

Didn’t that beautiful summer fly by? And September and October...those months fell away like the acorns from our mighty oak trees. Have you noticed that the acorns are somewhat smaller this year?

Still, the nightly plop and ping of those falling acorns are an unmistakable sign that fall is upon us, and winter not too far behind. Did anyone else have a tough time digging out their fall jackets and long pants? After what had to be the most consistent supply of hot and rainless summer weather that Mother Nature dished up in a very long time, she just as abruptly turned her back on us, and gave everyone a quick dose of seasonable fall weather. Quite a reality check isn’t it? Yes, I think it wasn’t just the kids who returned to reality pretty fast this September. So, is this fall Beach real estate market also going to see a measure of some reality as well? I guess that depends what is deemed a realistic fall Beach real estate market in the first place.

The old mantra ‘what goes up, must come down’ is a well-worn phrase for the stock and real estate markets. And it’s so very true in its simplicity. But like everything in the world of our modern economy, it’s just never that easy to now pin down either the stock market or real estate with a simple phrase. There’s plenty of grist for the mill out there that could indicate the Beach real estate market will slow from its torrid pace of the last half decade. Yes, the summer market was somewhat slower than the last couple of years, and I think we can attribute that to the fact that the great weather made many buyers and sellers pause to soak it up. Many of the home sales this past summer were a mopping-up of the properties that had been left over from the latter half of the May and June inventories, with summer buyers having a restricted amount of product to actually choose from. If sellers hadn’t just removed their homes from the market, those homes that stayed on the market through the summer had their prices adjusted downward in varying degrees to move them. That was especially the case in the upper end of the Beach market. Many properties had been originally priced according to sales figures garnered from the height of the strong and swift Beach spring market of March, April, and early May, but showed to be somewhat out of step with the perceived softening in the market by the time an apprehensive August rolled around. That resistance to prices continuing to hurl upward at torrid paces caused some trepidation in pricing new listings in September and October, with some properties being brought to market at prices that seemed to be, at first glance, a nod to a new reality in the market. With this softer approach, Beach home buyers are still active, as we saw the late summer and early fall markets continue to show strength in sale prices, even if unit-sale totals were lower year-over-year. In instances where Beach homes received multiple bids, those resulting sale prices weren’t exactly over-the-top outrageous. There is definitely an air of ‘reasonable price adjustment’ in this fall market.

The fall Beach real estate market is traditionally a tough market to gauge at the outset, with pricing tendencies taking their cue from the activity in the later August and early September. With a nod to slightly increasing inventory, it appears that buyers may have more choices in homes, an aspect that is actually a good sign of a healthy market. And so far, the Beach market in September and October appears to be giving indications that although the market is still sturdy, sellers will see the need to recognize and accept the fact that they may have to ease off on their expectations – depending on their motivation, of course. Sellers should appreciate the fact that there is a newer balance in the market in all price ranges. Prices aren’t falling in the Beach, but the enthusiasm of buyers throwing money around is slightly suspect I think. New rules around mortgage terms introduced a few months ago are having an effect in all price ranges too.

It is worth noting though, that smart buyers should have the sense to understand that the Beach is a great neighbourhood, and will continue to be a sound location for real estate investment. Although some pundits foresee a weakening in the market, home prices in good locations within the Beach tend not to shift too drastically, and can just as easily see price increases in quick order. Buyers who recognize the value in a prospective property, one that fits many of their needs, find they made the right choice at the end of the day.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, the Beach fall market is usually a weekly market, with some weeks witnessing brisk sales, while in other weeks buyers sit back and take stock of the situation, waiting for new listings to come onboard to replenish the shelves. A note of caution for buyers here, as the reality of the fall market can be that they may resist a little too long to buy a home that works for them, and before they know it, they’ve missed an opportunity that they may very well regret. That may not necessarily mean in the price that they might have paid, but more often in the Beach, it’s the house and location that they later find out they missed, isn’t easily replaced. On the other side of the equation too, sellers need to be cognizant of what is a good offer and who’s a strong buyer for their house, and to act accordingly. This fall, it’s a two-way street in Beach real estate.

On another note, the cycle of new MPAC evaluations has once again come around for residential properties. Many Beach residential property owners will see hefty increases to their property assessments this time around due to the increase in market values. Some will be justified, others not as much. These assessments will be used in conjunction with new municipal mill rates to adjust your property taxes for the next four years. And as usual, there will be flyers sent to your homes by companies claiming to want to help reduce your assessments. Over the last decade, I’ve provided free advice to hundreds of Beach homeowners, helping them figure out if their tax assessments make sense. Once again, I’m more than happy and able to speak with you about your tax assessments. This advice is at no charge, as in the past. If you’re looking for advice regarding your new property assessment, please feel free to contact me. Send me an email at tneal@trebnet.com, or reach me at 416-690-5100.

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