If you've been waiting for the right time to invest in Toronto real estate or, perhaps, purchase your first home (or your fiftieth,) 2009 may be your best time to move forward with those plans. The combination of lower home prices, larger selection, and lower mortgage rates, makes the present a good time to consider making that move to home ownership.
Prospective home buyers should not let this time period of a "Buyer's Market" slip by them. With steady income, good credit, and money for a down payment, home buyers should move ahead while the market is still in their favor. One thing that is historically true about real estate and the economy, is its comparison to a giant pendulum. Once it swings far to one side, it cannot maintain that position indefinitely before it begins its swing back again to the other side. Toronto saw that swing from a seller's market as recently as July 2008, into neutral in August and September, and swinging up into a buyer's market beginning in October 2008. This is the first true buyer's market this century. But beware, this is not a permanent situation. Home sales are lower, now, not because of sub-prime mortgage rates from banks and loan companies or over building that floods the marketplace with too many new homes, but because of low consumer confidence. Unfortunately, many homes are on the market because the owners have hit upon hard financial times and simply cannot afford to continue paying the mortgages they took on during the previous seller's market time. This puts the buyer in "the catbird seat," able to select from a variety of homes, expect sellers to be more willing to negotiate for lower sales prices, and expect homes to be in better condition than in seller's market periods.
Another important motivation for the home buyer is that, due to unfavorable economic times, banks are lowering their mortgage loan rates. This will not last forever, however. As the economy improves (and thank goodness, it always does,) banks will once again raise loan rates in order to stave off inflation. It's best to lock into the lower interest rates while you can.
For prospective buyers concerned they are buying homes that are decreasing in value, it's important to realize that when you are ready to sell (an average of 5-7 years for most homeowners,) home values will most certainly have appreciated in value once again and you will see a profit based on your wise choice to buy during this buyer's market. The old adage, "buy low, sell high," isn't just about the stock market, it's about the housing market, as well.
And, remember, if you need someplace to live after your rental lease has ended and before you've found your dream home, staying in one of Toronto's extended stay suites, corporate housing, or short term furnished apartments, makes for a convenient home base and transition point. Happy hunting!