The Regina residential property market was somewhat in decline, but it has been making a recovery and what we see now are relatively normal levels of growth. This, then, is a time of hope for Regina’s homebuyers, and one might imagine that they would start to spend big, to ride the new wave of confidence in the city. We asked top local real estate agent Peter Fourlas to tell us what’s happening. Contrary to our prediction, it appears that the home buyers of Saskatchewan’s capital city may be sensible, responsible folk who are not overextending themselves. Peter also gives advice about how home buyers can make their agent work to ensure maximum chances of success. Please read on.
Tell us a few words about the role you are playing in the real estate field. What does your job as a real estate professional entail?
I am an active seller’s agent as well as an active buyer’s agent in my community. I also enjoy giving back and continually learning about the industry in which I work, so I am a director on the Board of the Association of Regina Realtors.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the fact that I am able to help people from all walks of life day in and day out! I love sales, negotiations and putting smiles on people’s faces!
What is the single most difficult part of a real estate professional’s job?
Trying to find a balance between home life and work life. It sucks to lose business due to obligations to your family or taking time off with your family.
How was business in 2016 compared to 2015?
My real estate business has been fantastic and constantly increasing from year to year; this year was no exception and hopefully 2017 will be the same!
Have you spotted any interesting market trends recently in Regina?
Properties owned by banks or insurers have been a more prominent market trend this last year.
A recent analysis we compiled shows that people in Saskatoon and Regina are keeping their searches in the $300,000 and $400,000 range. What can we expect in terms of prices and inventory in the last quarter of 2016?
Our inventory levels are quite low here in Regina. The lowest they have been in almost 3 years in fact. I think this makes plenty of sense and we can attribute this to the most recent mortgage changes.
What is the main challenge for the real estate industry at this time?
Specifically in the Prairie Provinces, I think the major hurdle is disassociating ourselves and our real estate markets from the major metropolitan real estate markets on the East and West Coasts. I think most REALTORS® would say that the latest rate “Stress Test” for qualifying for a mortgage would be a major issue.
In a few words, how would you describe the profile of the Regina home-buyer?
They don’t want to overextend themselves, most are financially stable and have good jobs. A lot of the buyers I deal with think 5-10 years down the road and if they aren’t when we meet, they usually are after a few meetings and after we look at a few homes.
Is there a trend that you have spotted in the Regina home-buyers preferences? Maybe interest in a particular area rose over the last months? Or maybe you noticed an increased preference for a particular property type?
The only trend this last few months is that homes that are priced well and that need the least amount of work are sold within a few weeks of listing rather than being on the market for 3-6 months.
Have you spotted any trends in the Millennials’ attitudes towards home ownership?
More Millennials are willing to live more comfortably within their means these days for the short term. “Short term pain for long term gain,” we can say!
Is there a particular aspect of the home buying process that clients struggle with/complain about?
I suppose wrapping their heads around having to pay the seller’s price in some cases, dependent on the property, is probably the major complaint by most buyers.
Is taking out a mortgage an option used also to buy luxury real estate in Regina?
Yes, with interest rates as low as they are, avoiding CMHC fees but mortgaging money is a solid plan for anyone who can do so.
Did you notice a preference for buying in the suburbs, and if so, what are the reasons for that?
Safety and a sense of community are the two major preferences for buyers such as these.
What’s the most important piece of advice for first-time home-buyers?
Ensure that your agent is doing all of their due diligence and make sure you are getting any inspections that your real estate professional is recommending.
How should buyers prepare for the home buying process? Any tips you’d like to share?
I always suggest that they begin by meeting a mortgage broker and also creating a monthly budget. I also recommend that they analyze the kind of lifestyle they want to live – this will allow us to determine the kind of home they want and the area they wish to be in or the kind of condo they want in a suitable area for their particular lifestyle.
Any other insights you’d like to share?
I think it is always important to make sure you interview more than just a single real estate professional when you are shopping for one. I also believe that in this high-tech day and age, you should also do an online search and find out how the real estate professional performs and how they utilize the technology available to us.
Peter Fourlas is Regina born and raised and has gained a wealth of business experience in the city. He is passionately committed to the idea of community, as you will probably discover if you visit his social media sites. Like all good agents he is happy to let his referrals and recommendations from satisfied clients promote his business. Peter Fourlas can be found at his website, and on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.