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Blog by Josh & Dani Thomas | May 30th, 2018

WTF? (Where's the First Timers?)
The last few months have been extremely sluggish for Residential home sales in Calgary and Greater Calgary areas. No-duh. The Calgary Real Estate Boards states, "Calgary sales totaled 1,518 units in April, which is 20 per cent below last year and 25 per cent below long-term averages" (CREB.COM) But here is the interesting part that I have personally noticed. The higher end listings (over 600K) are getting a lot of calls and showings. Acreages that are over $500K are getting the most showings and also the most interest. Why is this? While there could be various reasons - this is really not the 'normal' pattern we have seen over our past 17 years of working in the real estate industry. Usually we see the First Time Buyers (First Timers) go shopping (everything always seems to start with these guys), then that releases the second time buyers to look for a bigger and better house and so on down the line. We are not experiencing this trend right now. First Timers are not out and about as we have seen in the past. Maybe the banks are freaking people out with the new rules? Maybe these Buyers are not feeling job security? Perhaps there are a lot of rentals right now that are reasonable? Or the weather was so bad all winter that everyone is camping? Whatever the reason - this spring FIRST TIMERS are AWOL. But that's where we have to wonder why the more 'wealthy' buyers are looking so actively at the higher priced places. What do they know that First Timers don't? Well, hello...it's a BUYER'S MARKET. The ones that have money or access to it KNOW the market is cyclic and that the housing prices are the lowest that they have been for many years. This notion might be found in a chapter out of "Rich Man, Poor Man"; if you want to be wealthy - then follow and practice what the wealthy do. Buy LOW - SELL HIGH. Seems easy enough - but the wealthy have something else that new buyers DON'T HAVE...and that is CONFIDENCE. We currently have about 15+ listings that range from 180K-895K. Guess which one I get calls on almost every day (and requests for showings?) - if you guessed the ones over 525K - then you would be right. Weird eh? Well I thought so until I really thought about it. I didn't make up the saying "the rich get richer" but I can kind of see why. It's time right now for First Timers to get cracking and buy. It just MAKES SENSE. Many of the homes out there (especially in smaller towns) are being sold near cost value. The opportunities are abundant and should prove quite profitable for the First Timers in the years to come because once Alberta fully recovers from this funk we have been in - prices are going to go up, up, up once again. Its a cycle - and the pedal is at it's lowest point. If you don't know what programs are out there for First Time Buyers - ask a Realtor, Mortgage Broker or (there I said it) Google it. I'm not a writer, nor a scholar and I don't much care for Stats. What I do have are great instincts and experience. If you are a First Timer - think sooner than later. When everyone else starts to gain confidence - THAT will be about the time the market (and that cycle pedal) swings UP again. First Timers might not be able to buy Boardwalk or Park Place right out the gate - but buying Baltic Avenue might be a great (first) strategic move. And so I ask again...WTF?