How to Deal with Real Estate Uncertainty

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It has been over three years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet the ripple effects of inflation, rising rates, and economic uncertainty have continued to shape the real estate industry in Canada. In times like these, it can be difficult to predict with accuracy where the Canadian housing market will go next, especially when trying to determine how to invest in individual properties. Whether you are a prospective home buyer, or looking to sell, our guide aims to equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to navigate these turbulent economic waters, and set you up for success.

Understanding Real Estate Uncertainty: A Guide for Homeowners and Investors

Put simply, real estate uncertainty refers to the lack of predictability or clarity regarding future conditions, trends, or events that can impact the Canadian real estate market. This uncertainty can manifest in various ways, including fluctuations in property values, changes in interest rates, shifts in supply and demand, economic volatility, and regulatory changes.

Since real estate uncertainty ebbs and flows over time, the best way to understand the current state of the market is by first understanding the underlying causes of change:

  • Economic Factors: Economic indicators, such as GDP growth, employment rates, and inflation, can influence the real estate market. Economic forecasts and trends can often be examined to gauge the implied impact on the real estate market.
  • Market Data: Historical and current market data for your specific location and property type may reveal patterns and potential areas of uncertainty.
  • Interest Rates: Changes in interest rates, set by central banks, can have a significant impact on mortgage rates and affordability for buyers. Central bank policies and interest rate forecasts are great sources of information in this regard.
  • Regulatory Changes: Regulatory changes at the local, state, or national level may affect real estate transactions. This can include zoning laws, tax policies, rent control, and building regulations.
  • Supply and Demand: The balance between housing supply and demand can greatly impact property values and rental income. New construction projects, population growth, and demographic shifts in your area can all have an impact.
  • Global and Geopolitical Events: Events on the global stage, such as economic crises, political instability, or health pandemics (like COVID-19), can have ripple effects on the real estate market. Monitor news and geopolitical developments that could impact the economy and, subsequently, real estate.
  • Market Sentiment: Public perception and sentiment about the real estate market can also influence its dynamics. Pay attention to media coverage, surveys, and opinions of industry experts to gauge sentiment.

How to Safeguard Your Investments in Times of Real Estate Uncertainty

Given the unpredictable nature of the 2023 Canadian housing market, you may be wondering how to safeguard your investments from potential losses. Luckily, there are a few simple strategies you can implement to hedge your investments against market risks.

The first, and most important, strategy is to act under the premise that knowledge is the number one tool at your disposal. The more research you conduct, the better prepared you’ll be to make decisions as the market changes around your investment. It is a good idea to stay informed about local and national real estate trends, economic indicators, and market forecasts. You should aim to understand the factors that influence the real estate market in your area, such as job growth, population changes, and infrastructure development.

Another popular strategy is to diversify your investment portfolio. Choosing the best property to invest in can sometimes be a gamble. The price of a single commercial property can vary greatly based on the specifics of the build, neighbourhood, local politics, and more. It is also very difficult to predict the rate at which you can attract prospective renters, or the prices they might be willing to pay. If you are hesitant about putting all your eggs into one basket, you can consider splitting up your investment between real estate (tangible assets) and other investment types (stocks, bonds, index funds, etc.). If you want to invest strictly in real estate assets, you can diversify across asset type (e.g. commercial retail vs. commercial residential), geography, financing plan, or more.

Regardless of your personal asset management strategy, it is crucial to have a contingency plan. If your investment’s potential returns hinge on your ability to secure a consistent stream of renters, what do you do if no one wants to rent anymore? If your commercial investment is a retail store, what do you do if the value of your property suddenly drops? Having pre-prepared answers to these questions can sometimes mean the difference between profit and heavy loss.

Tips for Thriving Amidst Uncertain Times

Now that we have covered the basics, here are some last few tips to help you along on your path to success:

  • Create an action plan: determine your investment goals ahead of time. What ROI (return on investment) are you looking for? In what timeframe? What will you do if things go wrong? Having a tangible set of criteria to inform your decision-making process can be extremely helpful in keeping you focused and preventing emotionally-driven decisions from diverting your path.
  • Stay Flexible: whether you are buying or selling your property, be prepared to have to adapt quickly to the changing tides of the market. Whether it’s negotiating on sale price or changing your mind about when to buy/sell, be prepared to stay on your feet.
  • Consult the experts: while navigating real estate uncertainty can be daunting, the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Here at Clover Mortgage, our expert team of brokers can create a personalized financial plan for you and connect you with the best terms, lowest rates, and perfect lender for you. Contact us today to get started with a free consultation.

FAQ

Will house prices go down in 2023 Canada?

Given the unexpected rate hikes that were seen in both Canada and the US this year, it is clear that the battle against inflation is not yet won. Given the turbulent economic context of the larger market, it is unlikely that we will see significant drops in home prices. In fact, most equity researchers predict that the first rate-cut will not occur until April 2024. By then, hopefully inflation will have cooled, and home prices will have stagnated.

What is the future of real estate in Canada?

Predicting the future of real estate in Canada, like any market, involves some degree of uncertainty. Several factors influence the real estate market, and they can change over time, in ways we might not yet be able to predict. However, factors such as the continuing threat of wildfires, the overcrowding (and increasing cost of living) of urban centres, and the lack of progress in solving the affordable housing crisis all point towards a need for nation-wide systematic reform in the real estate market.

Steven Tulman
Written By Steven Tulman
“Making the process of getting a mortgage an easy and enjoyable experience for every Clover Mortgage client!”