During a recent medical appointment after the initial greeting, my doctor stated, “boy the real estate market sure has changed.”

Most consumers are well aware that real estate activity today, is not what it was in 2020, 2021 and at the start of 2022.  A quick look around shows that “For Sale” signs are staying up much longer absent of a SOLD sticker and when a property does sell there is for the most part no boasting “Sold Over Asking.”  For those that follow MLS® listings on websites such as www.realtor.ca, it is very apparent that properties are remaining “unsold” much longer and repeat online visits by consumers to listings that they viewed previously often reflect new reduced prices in an effort to attract a willing Buyer(s).

Since early September, there has been a steady flow of price reductions being posted on the MLS® System of the Lakelands Association of REALTORS® for properties listed for sale in the southern Georgian Bay area.  For over two years, price reductions for homes and other properties listed for sale had been virtually absent.  Why?  Given the strength of the market, Sellers did not have to adjust their list prices downward as homes were selling quickly, for their full asking price and in many cases, well over.  Overall market conditions started to change back in March and monthly MLS® sales in our area since that time have been running 40% to 50% below the same months in 2021, both in terms of dollars volume and the number of properties sold.

In early September I started to track the number of price reductions that were being posted weekly on the MLS® System for properties listed for sale in the six major municipalities around the bottom of Georgian Bay: Clearview Township, Collingwood, Grey Highlands, Municipality of Meaford, Blue Mountains and Wasaga Beach.  The chart below shows the number of price reductions weekly in these six municipalities over the past 14 weeks which now total 606.  As of the date of this post, there are 738 active listings for sale on the MLS® System in those municipalities, last year at this time there were just 277.

Some listings during this 14 week period have sold and some no doubt sold the result of Sellers sharpening their pencils and reducing their asking prices in order to secure a sale.  Some listings were sold “conditionally” only to be placed back on the market as their sales did not firm up.  When a property’s conditional sale fails to become firm there are any number of reasons as to why, perhaps it was over the Buyer(s) getting financing or an unfavorable home inspection and I will talk to that in future post.  At the end of the day we all know that real estate, like any business is cyclical in nature with ups and downs.  Some Sellers, intent or in need of selling and knowing full well the market has shifted, have responded accordingly by adjusting their prices while others have not.

There is an old saying, “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”  As homeowners we all have a certain emotional attachment to our home, condominium, cottage or other property.   As such, we and often unknowingly so put an emotional “value” on our property(s) that may in fact only exist in our minds and not in the mind of a Buyer(s) or a bank appraiser etc.  As a real estate Broker for over 20 years and having earned my Market Value Appraiser (MVA) designation, one of the first things I learned was that our primary role as real estate professionals is to remove the “emotional” aspect that both Sellers and Buyers have when it comes to real estate.  Essentially it’s a business transaction and while it is often based on needs and or wants, it is a purchase that requires decisions to be based on facts not on emotional whims or what may be happening in the market as a whole.

Adjusting an asking price to help facilitate a property’s sale does not rest solely on the shoulders of Sellers.  We as REALTOR(s)® must play a key role in assisting Sellers in the process of getting their home, condominium or other property sold the most important of which is establishing the appropriate price.  As real estate professionals we are or should be the market “experts.”  We are the ones with access to market data that is not readily available to consumers including information such as: MLS® dollar and unit sales, sold prices, median sale prices, list-to-sale price ratios, days-on-market and more.  It’s not only a matter of knowing this information but more importantly, it’s sharing this information in a meaningful way to both Sellers and Buyers, in order to help them make informed decisions in achieving their real estate needs, goals and or objectives.

As stated above, some Sellers have grasped and understand the market has shifted and the fact that sales activity and prices have changed, while some Sellers clearly haven’t.  Perhaps their listing salesperson just hasn’t provided them with the statistical information I’ve mentioned above.  In any business whether informed consumers are your best clients both selling and buying.

There are always those that simply will not listen to facts, we’ve all dealt with them at some point in our lives.  There are those Sellers that have listed their property for sale stubbornly clinging to an inflated asking price which may be driven by the emotional value I mentioned above.  Some are no doubt still hopeful of getting multiple offers or they are waiting to attract an ill informed Buyer(s) willing to overpay as their neighbour did nine months ago.  In reality, both of these circumstances are now in short supply and that is not likely to change anytime soon.

If you are a homeowner whose house has been on the market for a while and it has failed to sell, the first thing you need to review with your listing REALTOR(s)® is the price.  We’ve all heard the term “cash is king.”  In essence while the wording may be different, a  similar value mindset applies to real estate.  In 2020, 2021 and for the first two months of 2022 when Buyers were lining up to buy a home taking advantage of record low interest rates, pricing and value didn’t matter.  Today, thanks to rising mortgage rates, inflation and a looming recession, pricing a property that reflects fair and or current market value has never been more important not only for Sellers but for Buyers and to mortgage lenders as well.  In recent months I have heard a multitude of stories where sales fell apart as a result of bank appraisals coming in one hundred, two hundred, three hundred thousand and more below what the Buyer(s) had agreed to pay.  With a slower market in terms of sales and when Sellers are reducing their prices, no one including banks want to end up owning a house where the mortgage outstanding is higher than what the property is worth.

Whether it’s an emotional attachment or not, many homeowners have an inflated opinion as to what their property is worth and that has never been more apparent than today.  When monthly sales are running 40% to 50% below the same month a year ago and with price reductions in the past 14 weeks totaling over 600 properties when there are slightly more than 700 properties listed on the local MLS® System, pricing has never been more important.  This is clearly a time where it may be appropriate to change the term “cash is king” to “price is king.”

To illustrate the above points here are a couple of examples of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® System.  To protect the Sellers I will refer to them as Property A and Property B.

  • Property A  was listed at $2.399 million.  It has gone through 6 price reductions wherein the current listing was cancelled and the property was relisted at a new price.  At one point the property was conditionally sold, the sale did not firm up and the property was back on the market at a new price of $1.399 million, $1 million or just over 41% below the original price of $2.399 million.  As of this post, the property has been on the market 264 days and having failed to sell it is also listed for lease.


  • Property B was originally listed at $949,000.  It has also gone through 4 price reductions and similar to Property A above one listing was cancelled and it was relisted at a new price.  The property is currently listed at $849,999, down $99,001 or 10% from the original  price, the home has been on the market 128 days yet remains unsold.

Both of these examples illustrate in real estate terminology a situation where the Sellers are “chasing the market down” and that is not an enviable position to be in.  Further, all of the information I have shared herein is readily available on the MLS® System.  Any REALTOR® worthy of a consumer’s business and trust whether they are selling or buying need to know and must be willing to share this information

Few people, including myself are surprised that the real estate market here in Canada has shifted the way it has.  For over two years when the market was at a level unlike anything we have ever seen, many people were saying. “this cannot last.”  Many of us knew that it was only a matter of time when the real estate market would return to a sense of normalcy and it has.

What perhaps is surprising to some is the speed at which the market has changed.  The reality is, at the end of 2021 we reached the pinnacle of consumer exuberance and spending when it came to real estate.  As with anything, there was a finite number of Buyers willing and able to overpay.  Once that pool of Buyers was drained combined with higher mortgage rates and an uncertain economic future, the robust market we had been experiencing had no way to go but down.

Real estate is still a worthy investment provided it is acquired at the right time for the right reason and at the right price.  Thankfully those days have returned and as a real estate professional I look forward to serving both Sellers and Buyers in the year ahead.  In my next post I am going to discuss why price is not just the most important aspect of selling your home, it’s usually the only thing that often determines your selling success.

As always do not hesitate to Contact Me if you have any comments or questions about your specific real estate needs and or goals in 2023.  Having owned a number of homes and as well as a summer cottage, I am always willing to share my knowledge and experience with you.