THIS IS A REALLY ODD REAL ESTATE MARKET

I’ve not seen a real estate market in Kingston like this one. Seven times in the last three weeks Cheri and I have found ourselves in multiple offer situations, where more than one offer was presented on the same day on a property. In other years that’s about a year’s worth of competitive bidding for me. Just yesterday, clients drove up from Toronto to compete with two others on a downtown condominium priced higher than unit any had ever achieved in that building. Despite offering above the asking price they drove home empty-handed and mighty frustrated a few hours later. Why weren’t they afforded the opportunity to improve their offer, they quite reasonably wondered. I felt much the same way and likely wasn’t much fun to be around. My family disappeared upstairs early.

 

It’s been odd out there, to say the least. Last month there were some 22% fewer listings on the market than at the same time last year. For the first time in a long while in these parts it’s been a seller’s market. Ordinary houses selling for extraordinary prices. And whereas I’ll usually have a dozen or so listings by now, and about the same number of active buyers, this year I have only a half-dozen listings and twenty or so buyers.

 

I still hold that that missing inventory will appear any day now. Cheri and I have at least five or six new listings coming in the next couple of weeks (watch these pages!) and a few buyers with offers in place. So there are signs of a more balanced business in the offing. And I’m okay with that, in fact I can’t wait. All these bidding wars might make a few lucky sellers happy, but they make for anxious and sometimes over-eager buyers. And I worry that if these same buyers try to move again in the next couple of years they may find it hard to recover their outlay; the prices they paid will be seen as outliers, and not a part of the local market’s natural evolution.

 

*

 

I got up far too early to write these few sentences, which is another way of saying I’m losing some sleep here. Not that I mind sitting in the kitchen when it’s quiet and the light is still sort of watery, and then making some coffee, then listening at low volume to some early Roxy Music; there’s nothing much wrong with that sort of morning. I’m a lucky guy. And even the low-grade anxiety can feel in the body like a mild excitement I suppose, if I squint a bit and consider it the right way. But I'll be even happier when a more normal order is restored.

 
 
 
 
 
*The image is a detail from one of Lucian's photos. Follow him on Instagram at lucian_eats_photos. He's good.

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