Is 2021 the right year to purchase a new home?

By: Eddie Harnick

Is 2021 the right year to purchase a new home?

Tags: home buying, home selling, buyers, sellers, market updates

2021 is expected to be another whirlwind year for the Durham Region real estate market. With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout underway, there’s optimism that low interest rates and a reopened economy will add more fuel to an already hot market. 
Today is a promising, yet uncertain time for home sellers and buyers. The opportunities to for low interest rates and rising home equity are clear, but buyers and sellers are hindered by virus fears, lockdown restrictions and intense competition in the market.
Are you planning on making a move, but aren’t sure how to navigate the already stressful process amid a global pandemic? Here are five answers to commonly asked questions about the state of the market and what it means for home buyers and sellers right now.

Is it safe to sell my home during the pandemic?
There are many ways to make the process safe for all those involved. Health experts recommend using digital tools such as virtual tours to reduce the number of in-person showings, mandating masks for all visitors, maintaining regular cleaning schedules, and opting for digital documents and signatures in lieu of physical ones.

Is the market too competitive? 
Inventory for single-family homes is low and prices are heating up accordingly. There are still plenty of opportunities for homeowners to upgrade and take advantage of favourable interest rates.

Could the pandemic still make the housing market more volatile?
A year into the ‘new normal,’ real estate is one of the bright spots in Canada’s economy. Economists anticipate home buying activity will stay at above-average levels throughout 2021, with interest rates remaining low and virus fears easing as more Canadians are vaccinated.
Surging home values have created favourable conditions for current homeowners seeking an upgrade. Accelerating price appreciation is allowing homeowners to build equity at a faster rate, while record-low interest rates are granting home buyers greater purchasing power.

Is it too risky to buy a new home before I sell my old one right now?
Homes are selling at breakneck speed due to ultra-low inventory levels, often attracting multiple offers. According to the Durham Region Association of Realtors (DRAR), detached homes in the Durham Region went under contract in an average of 14 days in January, compared to 33 days during the same period last year.
Spring is historically one of the busiest seasons for real estate, and more buyers are expected to enter the market as temperatures rise and COVID-19 cases fall. This could heighten competition further in the months to come, causing homes to sell at an even faster pace.

If I hold off, will my home sell for more money?
While there’s no crystal ball to predict the market’s future, the basic principles of supply and demand give us a sense of what’s to come. Changing lifestyle needs and low interest rates have caused a wave of home buyers to flood the market. But with fewer homeowners willing to list their properties due to the pandemic, supply is extremely limited.

As COVID-19 cases begin to fall, supply is expected to increase. Homeowners, motivated by home value gains and inoculation rates, will feel more confident listing their properties for sale. Timing the real estate market is generally considered a risky proposition but with the end of the pandemic (hopefully) on the horizon, waiting it out may result in lost profits.
There are plenty of reasons to want to make a move during the pandemic, whether remote work has you planning a move to the ‘burbs and craving additional space, or you’re looking to stick close to the downtown core with an epic view. Working with an experienced, qualified real estate professional will ensure that your home fetches the best price and can also guide you confidently through the process of purchasing your dream home in a competitive market.


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