First, time for a big ol' disclaimer. The below are simply some observations and theories about the state of real estate in general and specifically, here in Niagara. Could we be wrong? Absolutely. Nevertheless, here they are. Our thoughts and (unproven) theories for what we may see in 2024.
The market will drag to start the year and slowly gain traction as the weather warms. Don’t expect any sudden market swings as we’ve seen in the past 7 years. It will more likely resemble a 2018 feet-dragging kind of market with an increase in the average sale price of 5% +/-. (...that's the most stressful prediction to make so we'll get that one out of the way. See above disclaimer).
The Adoption of AI will continue as agents use it to write ad copy and blogs. The debate between AI being a crutch or a tool for efficiency will also continue. Whether a blog passes the "did a human actually write this?" test will be up to you, the reader. It would be nice though to see some transparency on behalf of the rest of us who only ever write our own content.
Realtors who build a business based on actually and genuinely caring about their clients will continue to grow and win. The slash & burn, transactional, “who are you again?” agents will do fine but never reach the levels they envision. And as well, they’ll have far less fun than the rest of us.
The harsh reality is that many agents will struggle as the landscape gets increasingly more competitive. The lines between regions will continue to wash away as Niagara Realtors will find themselves competing with 80 - 90,000 agents from the Golden Horseshoe and GTA. Brokerage leadership and agent enrolment and grit will become more imporant than ever.
The TRESA (Trust in Real Estate Services Act) learning curve will continue. As part of that learning curve, some agents will attempt the open offer process which, in its current state, will prove to be a car crash and the clients involved will come out bruised.
The number of monthly sales will improve purely because 2023 will go down as one of the worst years for annual sales on record. In fact, most 2024 metrics will show improvement vs 2023 which will be nice because 2023 is going to lay some serious eggs when compared to 2022.
The number of annual sales in 2024 will be up 10-12% compared to 2023. The reason is equal parts 2024 market recovery combined with 2023 being such a terrible year for home sales.
Despite the efforts of TRESA, there will continue to be sellers who hire agents who bring the bare minimum to the table. Terrible phone photos, horrendous ad copy and poor communication will somehow still be deemed as acceptable. Buyers and sellers due diligence will prove more important.
The decline in the number of Realtors will not happen as many predict. In previous market swings (2008 for example), many predicted a 20 – 30% drop in agents. Again, that won’t happen. Second jobs and Realtors with pensions from other jobs will maintain numbers.
The decentralization of brokerages will continue as teams grow and pursue their own greater brand autonomy. Note the (non-compliant) For Sale signs where the brokerage is stuffed in the corner in size 10 font. It will be up to the courageous brokerages to require some form of larger scale brand consistency. TRESA should (in theory) help with this as well.
There will be a lot of agent-shuffling this year. Major market shifts, serious regulation changes and a lot of agents in the difficult 2 – 3 year range will cause many to pause, look around and make phone calls. The debate over the grass being greener will continue.
Social media will continue to paint a picture that is rarely reality. Glamour shots (yes, including the shiny dude in front of his shiny car), #1 posts, the humble brag and “look what I did” posts will far outweigh the supply of content that brings the public value and information that can help them better understand the real estate market.
The Bank of Canada will lower rates in 2024. When? According to our research, anytime between April and who knows. But, regardless of when, the impact on public sentiment and market confidence will be swift so hold onto your hat(s).
This post is 'in progress' so as new thoughts & theories arrive, we'll add them here. Stay tuned :)
Have something for us to add? Reach out and share your thoughts.
Best wishes to you & yours in 2024.
aka Patrick, Jim, Vicky & Kirsten.