Canadians are in the midst of re-positioning themselves, literally moving to change their location for safety and the security of a better financial position. The compounding stresses of stay at home orders, essential only travel, limited outdoor activity, and the rising cost of food and violent crime has made people keenly aware of their current position.
So what is your position? Do you feel safe and content in your home and community? How much food is in the pantry? How much money is coming in? How much debt are you carrying? Are you confident that you will be able to achieve your long term estate goals?
Your best position, has you living a healthy, active, financially maintainable lifestyle, in a location where you have personal freedoms, access to amenities and green space.
Sanctuary and future well-being have emerged as the paramount considerations when choosing a place to call home. Having a location to live that we feel relaxed and secure, away from the crime and burgeoning poverty of high density urban centers. The constant vigilance of masked outings, shopping in large crowded essential stores and trying to enjoy outdoors trails and spaces where you can’t get away from other people has just become too much for many urban residents.
So, how quickly can you access the equity in your home with a closed sale, and relocate rural into a smaller manageable mortgage while retaining a cash positive position after paying off all your debt?
It sounds like a lot of rushed planning and work, but this bug out, get safe and debt free strategy for future security is a large part of the residential segment that is moving the market to new volume and median price records. With continually rising home prices and low interest rates many owners have the equity in their urban homes to make that life change a reality.
Of course Canadians are doing it at a less panicked and more orderly pace than our neighbours to the south, who are fleeing large cities like Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles in droves as streets turn into tent city homeless camps and violent crime and rioting have made the streets unsafe. In September 2020 there were an estimated 66,000 people living on the streets of Los Angeles alone, and recent videos show even more dire conditions.
Pandemic job losses forced many to make an immediate move in 2020, and now in 2021 people just want to move, or want to own an escape property. Many wonder what the future will hold if they don’t make some big changes now while prices are high and the interest rates are at all time lows. With prices rising some people are seeing their long term plans dashed, as they are literally priced out of the regions in the province that they planned to retire in. This is pushing people to look at and consider even more rural and remote locations for the medium sized acreages they want to own.
Finding the correct location to live, work and play that ensures you can be in a position to survive whatever the future may bring can be a challenge. Young families, middle-age couples and retirees are all facing similar challenges in regards to their long term housing and financial goals. 2020 taught us that destabilization of an individuals’ position can happen quickly and without warning. A wake up call to many that they have been living beyond their means.
If your current income can’t support your housing and living costs, or you could see it being a problem in the future, a move that will put you in a more comfortable position financially may be your best option. Downsizing to a smaller, more affordable home will help you avoid more debt and can reduce financial stress in your life. Canadians have been warned for years that their debt loads are too high, and pandemic hardships, business closures, job losses and curtailments have given some little to no choice but to use mortgage deferrals and live on their credit and stimulus benefits. Having little to no savings, living paycheck to paycheck and using loans and credit cards to have it all in the yard, but knowing the bank really owns it all for many more years to come is not a great position.
In order to live the lifestyle they want without the risks associated with a heavy debt load, people are making the decision to access the equity in their home as a means to downsize and ruralize to live a more secure debt free lifestyle. Where and how, we live, work, play, travel, communicate and consume has been forever changed, there is no going back. Have you just started a family and are hoping to raise your children in a rural community with a small population and natural open spaces? or are you near retirement and it’s time to build that lakefront cabin and fish and explore til you’re old and grey? Working professionals who will be in a permanent home office now need more functional inside and private green space that doesn’t involve a commute.
It doesn’t matter why you are selling your current home, what does matter is that you know where it is you are going once you have an accepted offer. Suburban and rural homes with acreage have become the hottest ticket in BC. According to the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB), 279 sales closed, 60 more than at the same point in 2019 and the highest total in 16 years. The value of those sales exceeded $165.6 million. Only 446 properties were listed at the end of December, compared to 700 at the same time last year. With low supply and high demand, prices continued to rise and realtors saw bidding wars. Similar gains in single family houses and townhomes were seen in Agassiz, Harrison and Hope. Sales of vacant residential lots also jumped. Twenty sold in December compared to just five in December, 2019.
Possession dates are being set for quick turn over, and you need to be ready! That means you should already be working with a licensed qualified realtor to identify your next purchase in this very competitive market. Many interior sellers are currently accepting contingency offers, subject to the purchaser selling their own home within a set period of time. This can be a good strategy to submit a continent offer, if you have located your next home before you actually close on your own sale.
Low inventory means that all listings are getting more viewings, more consideration and offers and you want to be in the best position to secure your future home and the location that will ensure you and your family will be able to live the best lifestyle possible.
Freddy & Linda Marks, 3A®Group RE/MAX Nyda Realty