In March, about 4.7 million Canadians had work from home jobs, says Statistics Canada. Those who lived in Guelph and were used to commuting to Toronto suddenly found the highways empty.
But how has the pandemic shaped home trends in Guelph?
Home trends: Guelph homes with pools, hot tubs or home offices
Having a home office is not new. Many companies have had somewhat flexible work situations for as long as the laptop has been around.
However, since the pandemic many people must work from home. Companies have realized that they can do it effectively. Is it for everyone? Definitely not. But if you’re shopping for a new home, it’s now a valid consideration.
But what else does this mean for those who want to buy a house in Guelph?
Have we started to see home buying trends as a result of this pandemic?
“Residents of Toronto are moving to Guelph. Especially those in condos who were held back from the Ontario Governments Phase 2 and 3. They have been working from home for months. As a result, they realize that their money goes a lot farther since they don’t need to be downtown anymore” says Ryan.
There are some clear home trends with buyers who were searching Guelph homes on MLS.
“People are calling after searching on relator.ca to ask us if we have homes with pools. Or hot tubs. That didn’t happen a year ago. Basically, anything related to spending more time at home is in huge demand”, says Waller. Guelph homes with pools, Guelph homes with offices, South Guelph homes and East Guelph homes are all in demand. In particular Guelph townhomes and semis were popular.
Another home trend: leaving the GTA
It seems as if there is a mass exodus from the GTA in all directions. The key: as long as you’re close enough that you can go into the office as required. Employees may be happy to “drive until they qualify” to outer suburbs or smaller communities, As a result, this drives up prices in the Guelph housing market as well as many others.
With mortgage rates at historic lows, many home buyers in Guelph are qualifying for more. Multiple offers on homes in Guelph are causing many buyers to become frustrated.
“Certain price brackets are more aggressive than others”, Waller says. If you talk to Guelph real estate agents about buyers in the $500K- $700K range, they’ll tell you. It’s not unusual at times in July and August to have more than 10 offers on homes. “We even had a listing at $1.2M recently that had 6 offers in the first 72hrs”. Beth and Ryan, who write for GuelphToday, published an article in August that was widely shared on social media.
“The shock is likely taking an enormous toll on the next cohort of first-time homebuyers. Their ability to save for a down payment has been impaired,” says a report by RBC Economics.
But not everyone is buying in Guelph.
Some are selling in Guelph and moving. They’ve decided to move to areas that have cheaper housing. This is a massive trickle down effect known as “down pricing”. Down pricing means selling your home, buying something cheaper and pocketing the difference. GTA buyers are doing it in Guelph and Guelph sellers are doing it in cheaper markets.
But no one is predicting a total collapse of the market. In Toronto, research found that home-buying intentions have remained “quite stable”. This suggests that there is pent-up demand. Many people will be looking to buy a home once the recovery begins.
How long will it continue? “As long as there is more demand than supply” says Waller. “Guelph has been struggling to get more than 3 weeks supply of homes for some time now. Anything less than 2 months is still a strong sellers market”.
You can contact Beth and Ryan Waller, realtors in Guelph and they’ll help you!