Over the last few days I have had many conversations with both buyers and sellers asking me how the coronavirus will affect Muskoka real estate. This is a very difficult subject to advise people on as I am neither an epidemiologist nor fortune teller. All I can do is listen to both property owners and those hoping to become property owners, ponder the constant news feeds and try and add some perspective.
Keep in mind that this disease is not just numbers. It’s real people that are sick, it’s real people that are dying and its real families that are affected.
By dollar value, cottage purchases far outweigh homes in Muskoka and therefore carry more weight when pondering the overall market. The main concerns I’ve been hearing include the stability of the financial markets and timing.
On the positive side, interest rates are coming down quickly and sub 3% mortgages are very attractive. Countering that is the fact every time people look at their invest balances they seem to be rapidly going in the wrong direction. 1000 point DOW swings do not a content investor make. Add to that the fact that more and more economists seem to be signalling a recession is on the horizon and it makes for folks start to think twice before dropping big bucks on real estate.
The same concerns for buyers come into play for sellers. Recession fears quickly trigger a desire to lower debt and liquidate unnecessary assets both of which can point to the cottage. On top of that the possibility of the pool of foreign buyers drying up and it can be very unsettling. The challenge, without question here, is the timing. Should the coronavirus start to gain the upper hand, there could be a cascade of new listings which in turn would put considerable negative pressure on prices. On the other hand, if the situation improves it may be business as usual and prices may hold up.
My take on things
Here’s my thoughts, put absolutely no weight in them whatsoever.
- I think there’s a chill coming over the market very shortly.
- If you’re selling, consider doing it sooner than later.
- Price very realistically. No one wants to catch a falling knife.
- The situation is very fluid, prepare to be flexible
- Cottages & Vacant Land will be the most venerable to a market drop
- Inventory numbers should rise quickly – be picky
- Think like a Vulcan – take emotion out of the equation
- Talk to your financial advisor before hand
- For goodness sakes, wash you hands….