LACKIE: Uncertainty reigns supreme in the real estate market today

But it is the consumer driving the bus, not the media and certainly not the realtors

Article content

For the love of all things holy, can we please stop disparaging people for being “doom and gloom” about real estate at the moment?

Advertisements 2

Article content

This feels like it should be obvious — and it probably is — but it feels important to point out that dismissing any perspective that runs counter to a sunny narrative as spin by a media machine that runs on negativity and manipulation is objectively absurd at this point.

Article content

It was ridiculous back in the summer, it was still ridiculous in the fall, and it’s sublimely ridiculous now that winter has set in, both literally and figuratively.

Especially since the data has afterward confirmed exactly what the so-called “fear-mongers” were identifying.

I watched as those who called the peak last winter and described a subtle yet marked shift in the marketplace were met with eye rolls and told buyers they were simply tired.

Advertisements 3

Article content

When the summer was deadsville and articles described the low volume of transactions and declining sale prices, my social media feed was absolutely wall-to-wall with agents insisting that everything was fine and that the data was being cherrypicked; we were just seeing a to-be-expected slowdown reflecting on life after lockdown.

What might one make of the fact that we closed out 2022 with fewer transactions in the month of a December than we had in that first month of lockdown in April 2020? Would this reflect a market seized by the doom and gloom headlines or are we actually looking at what happens when unaffordability is no longer a conceptual but is, in fact, a cold, hard reality?

Advertisements 4

Article content

Can we collectively agree that this isn’t fake news designed to drive clicks or sell newspapers? Just like it wasn’t fake news and sensationalism last year when the prices were soaring week-over-week, month-over-month.

Did describing the exuberance likely give way to more exuberance? Sure. But did it produce a state of affairs that wouldn’t otherwise have existed? Of course not. This is not the same as the age-old debate of the chicken or the egg. The exuberance came from watching the momentum afforded by emergency stimulus and rock bottom rates. And now, so too, the pessimism.

Though I would also say that the pessimism isn’t universal, even if the sales volumes suggest it may be. To me it seems like uncertainty is the real force to be recognized with.

Advertisements 5

Article content

The reality is that everyone’s circumstances are different. There are some people who are going to feel comfortable transacting in this marketplace but are finding that there is simply nothing out there to look at.

There are some sellers out there who are struggling with the idea that today’s prices have fallen from the peak and want to hold out in hopes that they will rebound.

There are some for whom it makes complete sense to cash out or upsize or purchase investment properties. And there are still others who are taking a watch and waiting approach. All of which are reasonable positions.

But it is the consumer driving the bus, not the media and certainly not the realtors.


We apologize, but this video failed to load.

If real estate agents were so skilled and cunning as to be able to manipulate buyers and drive markets into a frenzy, wouldn’t we still be doing so now?

Advertisements 6

Article content

Well, some are certainly trying.

“Don’t miss your moment, this will be but a blip in 20 years,” some are posting on their social channels. But to what end? If people literally can no longer qualify for what they want to buy, let alone comfortably carry what they already own, no amount of boosting will rally them back up again.

Pessimistic take? Probably. But it’s the current reality as far as I can tell.

The time of irrational exuberance is now behind us. Will it be back? One can assume.

But it’s a safe bet that with rates as high as they are for as long as they’re likely to stay here, what happens in between will have little to do with external voices planting seeds and absolutely everything to do with the space people are able to carve out between the rock and the hard place.


Advertisements 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Similar Posts