Buying or selling your home is likely to be one of, if not the, largest financial transaction of your life. Naturally, hiring a real estate agent to facilitate the process can spare you from headaches, but there are still some things that you can do on your own to inform yourself and prepare for the big move. The Internet is an amazing tool for homebuyers and sellers, but looking at the physical world is still the primary source for making good real estate decisions. I’m going to share 4 tips for researching and understanding the Calgary housing market.
1) Learn about the specific neighborhood you’re moving to
Location, location, location. This means so much when it comes to real estate. It can determine whether your property will appreciate or depreciate in value and is a huge factor in the quality of life for you and your family. Calgary has over 200 neighbourhoods, and each one has distinct properties that can fluctuate from year to year. This is one of the reasons I recommend using a REALTOR® – you don’t have the time to keep up with these changes, but that’s our job! Nevertheless, the Internet is fast, however, you can tell whether a neighborhood is on the up or down just by taking a drive through the neighbourhood and making some observations!
Pay attention to the surroundings and ask yourself a few of questions like:
- Are there a lot of new houses going up in the area?
- Is work being done to improve the local infrastructure? (e.g. new road construction, new schools, a new hospital, etc.)
- Is there easy access to a commercial shopping district?
Factors like these can greatly affect the initial price of a home and the price years down the road.
2) Check out the pricing in neighbouring communities
Try to familiarize yourself with the housing prices and market trends in the adjacent neighbourhoods.
REALTORS® have the upper hand because of our ability to access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database. We can easily identify the average price of a home in a particular neighbourhood and compare it to adjacent neighbourhoods or the entire region. Doing so enables both home sellers and buyers to have the most up-to-date information regarding Calgary’s ever-changing housing market.
3) Pay attention to the news!
Real estate is one of Canada’s largest industries. Consequently, major news outlets report on it quite often. Be sure to frequent your local newspaper’s business section on a regular basis to keep up with the trends and fluctuations in Calgary’s real estate market. Here are some of my favourite sources:
- Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) News
- CREB Now
- The Globe and Mail: Real Estate Beat
- The Calgary Herald – Real Estate
- Calgary Real Estate Review
- Parkbench.com – The Online Neighbourhood Newspaper
4) Buyers, sellers, or transitional market?
Just like the stock market is bullish or bearish, the real estate market can favour buyers, sellers, or be in a transitional phase. It’s important to find out the current state of the market because it affects your outcome.
When home sellers are enjoying the benefits that are associated with a high number of buyers, they are likely to be fielding offers from multiple interested buyers and there’s a strong likelihood that their home will sell for over asking price.
When supply (sellers) exceeds demand (buyers), it’s the opposite. Sellers have to be willing to sell their house for less, and buyers might be able to strike a great deal!
Now, real estate markets are prone to change and the transition between a buyers and sellers market has been coined as a transitional market. During this period of change, buyers and sellers ought to avoid any toe dipping. Sellers listing their home with no intention of actually selling it hurt the market for everyone by sparking the hopes of buyers with their false inventory. The market will follow its natural course but buyers and sellers alike can still do something on their part to help ease the transition.
For any more information regarding the Calgary real market, you can get in touch with me directly. I’ll let you know all you need to know about the current state of the market and help you plan your next move. I love this stuff, so just ask!