Real Estate for Newbies

Everyone knows a real estate professional. Whether agent, broker, property manager, superintendent, builder, landlord (or landlady), many enterprising women and men work with land and all the stuff we pile atop it. Even with less than 6 degrees of separation, we all know one.

Maybe you are one. Maybe you’re looking to sell your home or business, or buy a new one. If so, you keep your finger on the pulse of the neighbourhood, your ear to the ground, and your eyes on the horizon. You talk with friends, acquaintances and other real estate professionals. You read the papers—the community ones, the national ones, the trade publications. You’re firmly entrenched in this bildung-based industry, and you’re looking for the next hot lead.

Doesn’t sound like you? Maybe you’re a student with a smattering of knowledge about this competitive and challenging industry. Maybe you own ten apartment buildings at 21. Most likely, though, you’ve given some thought to owning a piece of Earth to call your own, but never dared venture into such foreign territory. You rent or live with the folks. But if you’ve been following the Trumps and Kiyosakis and Proctors and other real estate ‘gurus’, or if you’ve talked with friends who have made it in the industry, you must have wondered if you, too, might attempt to make your modest mark on the real estate map.

It’s feasible. It’s do-able. You have the youth and the vigour, the street smarts and the cool school intellect. And if you’re smart with your money and can talk the talk and walk the walk, the whole thing becomes that much more realizable.

But ultimately, it all boils down to the nitty-gritty, devilish details. It’s a numbers game. So let’s bone up on the statistics and see what the papers say about the real estate market this week. And, as is often the case with this kind of asset, the information comes in retroactively.

In March, the average price for a Toronto home was $504,117, reflecting a 10.5% year-over-year spike; compare this with the national average—$369,677. Contrasted with the rest of Canada, our little city is doing pretty well for itself.

Overall, between the months of February 2012 to March 2012, the nation posted a very robust 2.5% increase in the sale of homes while at the same time recording a 0.5% decrease in the prices of homes changing hands. Both are positive indications of vigorous economic activity, trends unseen since April of 2010, and bearers of good tidings, to be sure. After Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton were the runner-up cities providing the greatest share of the boost to a recessive, recovering economy.

On the other end of the country, Vancouver’s home sales experienced a minor slowdown: though the average home sale price dropped by 3.1% (to an ample $761,742), accounting for seasonal fluctuations means that the same Feb.-Mar. 2012 period actually saw an 11% decrease in the average home price.

Clear as mud? Thought not. For future real estate-ers, this kind of info is like a drink of water or a piece of bread. Eat up, because you’re just getting started.

Word Count: 545; Arbitrage Magazine

April 22, 2012:

editor writer


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