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Let's reflect on 2023, which is now officially in the books. The major highlights were the buzz about interest rates going up and home prices going down. Let's break it down.


Despite all the chatter about interest rates, the actual increase in the Bank of Canada's key lending rate was only 0.75%. Most of the 2.5% increase from the market's peak in 2022 took place in 2022. Interestingly, towards the end of 2023, many lenders started lowering their fixed mortgage rates. I've even heard of lenders offering sub-5% interest rates on 5-year fixed mortgages for prime borrowers.


As for home prices, they hit their highest point in February or March of 2022 and then took a noticeable dip of around 20-25%, depending on the property type and location. The news throughout 2023 made it sound like the market was still on a downward spiral. However, here in the Brantford Region, our sale prices stayed pretty stable throughout the year. In January 2023, the median was $650,000, and the average was $674,989. By December 2023, the median was $660,000, and the average rose to $755,207. It's a different story from what the headlines might suggest.

 

Observing the market daily, it's easy to notice some properties taking longer to sell, making it seem like the overall market is struggling. ⏳ The average days on the market in the Brantford Region is currently 30, which might not be the most promising trend, but it's still much lower than the pre-2021 norm. Back in 2009, when I started selling real estate, the average days on market was around 90.

One key observation from my team and me is the importance of good marketing and experience. When properties didn't sell as quickly, some complained about the costs of keeping homes on the market. In response, we doubled down on providing what we believe is the best marketing and exposure for our clients. Negotiations are back in play, and our experience has proven invaluable in helping our clients navigate the market successfully.

 

Looking ahead to 2024, I don't have a crystal ball , but I do believe it'll be a year of growth for the market after a year of uncertainty and stagnant prices. In 2023, we closed the year with homes selling for 97.8% of their asking price within 30 days, averaging $755,207 – overall, a good year. Despite the usual quiet in December, our team closed several deals, indicating strong interest from buyers and pleasantly surprised sellers.

There's talk of the Bank of Canada reducing its key interest rate in 2024, possibly starting as early as April. Economists are predicting a 0.75% decrease to 4.25% by the end of the year through three 25% reductions. This will attract more buyers to the market, although some might be tired of hearing Realtors saying “now is the right time to buy”… Still, I believe we'll look back at the beginning of 2024 and think those were pretty decent prices. As interest rates drop, more buyers, especially investors who have struggled to make numbers work on investments, will return to the market. This influx will ultimately push prices up, with estimates ranging from 5-10% by the end of the year.


Real Estate as it should be… In 2022, we established the River Realty Team with a vision to assemble a group of like-minded professionals dedicated to delivering the absolute best for our clients. Whether you're buying, selling, or leasing, we bring a wealth of experience to guide you through every step. Our commitment to pushing marketing boundaries and exploring innovative styles ensures increased visibility for your properties.

One of the things that sets us apart is our unwavering dedication to continuous improvement. Through weekly team meetings, we engage in training, meticulously dissect market data, and physically view newly available properties. This proactive approach allows us to stay sharp and knowledgeable about the current market trends, ensuring that our clients benefit from the most up-to-date insights.

By consistently challenging and educating ourselves on negotiation styles and tactics, we maintain a leadership position in the real estate industry. Our insights extend far beyond our newsletter, offering a depth of knowledge that sets us apart.

Your network seamlessly integrates with ours – if you or anyone you know is contemplating a move, let's establish a connection! Reach out today, and together, let's transform your real estate aspirations into triumphant achievements.

I can’t wait to show you some of the stuff we have in store for 2024!

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We find ourselves within the traditional fall market, and I've been fielding inquiries from many of my clients regarding the duration of this active market phase. Typically, we experience an active real estate market through late November or early December. However, adverse weather conditions or, worse, higher interest rates could potentially bring this period to a premature close. Fortunately, the Bank of Canada opted not to raise interest rates during their September 4th announcement, allowing the market to maintain a stable pace.

The next announcement is scheduled for October 25th, and as is customary, opinions within the industry and among homeowners are divided on what to expect. A decrease in rates appears highly unlikely, which is why there is a sense of hope in that direction. More realistically, we are likely to either witness an increase or the maintenance of the current key interest rate. 

Are the alarm bells ringing causing concern? According to the CEO of the world's largest bank, JPMorgan, we might be in one of the most perilous periods the world has witnessed in decades. This apprehension stems from "extremely high government debt levels" and the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. It's essential to recognize that changes in the real estate market can originate from various sources, and while local factors like population growth and interest rates play a significant role, global developments also reverberate locally.

In the Brantford and Brant County region, the real estate market in 2023 has exhibited a relatively steady trajectory, with a more standard increase in the early spring, maintaining stability throughout the summer months. In September 2023, the median selling price for a detached home in the area hit $700,000 precisely, marking a $15,000 increment from the previous month. September 2022 appears to have marked the low point following the peak in March of that same year. Currently, the median sale price is $70,000 higher than in September 2022 but remains $202,000 lower than the March 2022 peak, where the average detached home sold for $902,000 in our region.

Overall, it's my belief that our local market will remain relatively stable in the upcoming months. Those most adversely affected are likely to be individuals who purchased homes near the market peak, especially if they need to sell in the current market conditions. Additionally, those who acquired new construction homes early in 2022 and were banking on those prices remaining high may encounter challenges closing if they have not sold their home already. The rise in interest rates has diminished the purchasing power of buyers, necessitating a decline in prices. A mere 25 basis point increase translates to around a $15 monthly payment increase for every $100,000 borrowed. Although this may not seem drastic individually, it can accumulate, potentially pushing buyers already stretching their budgets out of the market.

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Similar to most holidays, simplicity is often the key when it comes to selling your home during Halloween. Opt for understated decor such as pumpkins, mums, and subtle autumn scents to enhance the seasonal ambiance and create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Try to minimize the presence of ghosts and goblins.

During the fall season, it becomes even more crucial to have your blinds open and all lights turned on. As the days grow shorter and the weather gets drizzly, maintaining a well-lit interior is essential. While a pleasant aroma can be appealing, it's advisable to use it sparingly, as overpowering scents may raise concerns among potential buyers about masking underlying issues. Consider using a crock pot to fill the home with the comforting aroma of an autumn chili.

For exterior decorations, a few tasteful fall embellishments can work wonders. However, ensure that pathways and stairs remain clear and easily accessible. Keep these areas free from leaves, and tend to the garden to prepare it for the end of the season.

Amidst the changing leaves and cooling weather, it's vital to prepare your home for the autumn season. Here are some valuable maintenance suggestions:

  1. Clearing Gutters: Remove leaves and debris from your gutters to prevent blockages and potential water damage.
  2. HVAC Inspection: Arrange a professional assessment of your heating system to ensure it's in peak working condition for the colder months.
  3. Draft Check: Seal any gaps or cracks in doors and windows to enhance energy efficiency.
  4. Lawn Maintenance: Rake leaves, aerate your lawn, and apply fertilizer to encourage healthy grass growth.
  5. Outdoor Tidy-Up: Store outdoor furniture and ready your garden for winter.
  6. Safety Review: Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries as needed.

By following these steps, you'll safeguard your home and uphold its value throughout the fall and winter seasons

 
 
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We are thrilled to share more exciting news with you all. Our team has launched a brand new suite of technology tools to better serve you, and we can't wait for you to check them out!

Our team website is now fully functional, and it's packed with the latest listings, market information, and our team blog. But that's not all! We are also launching our brand new podcast/vlog called "Real Talk w/ the River Realty Team" very soon. You can stream it on our YouTube channel and Facebook page, and we'll also be posting smaller clips on Instagram and Tik Tok. And if you're always on the go, don't worry, we've got you covered! Our podcast will be available in a traditional format so you can tune in during your daily commute or whenever you have some downtime.

We promise to bring you quick, informative, and entertaining insights into the market, along with a few laughs along the way. We can't wait to share this exciting new project with you, and we hope you love it as much as we do!

And that's not all! We've even onboarded a Client Care Specialist to help us provide the highest standard of service to all of our clients. We take pride in delivering the best possible experience for you, and we rely heavily on referrals to help grow our business. So if you know anyone who could benefit from our exceptional service, please put us in touch. We'd love to help them find their dream home or sell their property quickly and efficiently.

Thanks for being a part of the River Realty Team family, and we can't wait to continue serving you with our new suite of technology tools!

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Tax Tip!
Hey First Time home owners from 2022‼️ Did you know there's a tax credit just for you? The FTHB (First Time Home Buyers) tax credit allows you to claim $10,000 on your taxes for a return of $1,500

Make sure to let your accountant know you bought your first home last year, or if filling out your taxes with a program be sure to click "yes" when asked if you bought your first home in 2022

Pro Tip: Even if you owned a home in the past you still may qualify for this credit... If in the previous 4 years you haven't owned a home this now may apply!
 
If you want more information contact the River Realty Team. Real estate as it should be... 
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