“We’re having to lay our cards on the table and up our level of services to keep commissions at or around five per cent because commission-free sites and even the Competition Act has impacted things, especially in our market where the average home is $155,000 on average, so the commissions will be smaller anyway,” Jamie Winkler, the president of the Chatham-Kent Association of Realtors, told REP.
With demand beginning to catch up to supply, according to Winkler, and price appreciation running ahead of inflation for the fourth consecutive year, the market has tightened; residential listings were down 15.8 per cent year-over-year in July.
According to the latest stats from the Chatham-Kent Association of Realtors, 142 units were sold in July 2015, rising 18.3 per cent on a year-over-year basis. What’s more, on a year-to-date basis, home sales until the end of July numbered 750 units, running 9.2 per cent ahead of the same seven-month period in 2014. This was the highest level since 2008.
“While it’s still not an all-out sellers’ market, the balance of demand and supply has tightened, and price growth is running ahead of inflation for the fourth consecutive year as a result,” Winkler said.
With less supply and more demand for people looking for homes in Chatham, Winkler and other agents are bolstering their services to draw potential buyers and sellers who feel that the average price doesn’t justify the use of a Realtor.
Social media, a new advertising strategy and patience with buyers are becoming the keys for agents such as Winkler who are vying for business.
Commission-free sites are forcing agents in Southwest Ontario to get creative and up the ante, as more are using the sites to sell their own home, according to an industry vet.