Every month there's a whole new batch of statistics on the volume and prices of new and resale home sales, with figures broken down both locally and nationally. Honestly, it's a lot of numbers to decipher, and homeowners can't help but wonder what it all means for them.
Thankfully, there's some solid advice on deciphering those numbers in a White Paper from Century 21 Canada President Don Lawby, titled Real Estate Statistics 101: What every Canadian homeowner should know about home price statistics.
Basically, Lawby says those headline-grabbing national numbers, while they may be indicators of the market as a whole, don't reflect a whole lot on the actual value of your home.
Because these figures are usually based on averages over large markets "such averages are pretty much irrelevant to what's really happening in specific neighbourhoods."
For example, the White Paper explains that the TREB reported $395,609 as the average home price in May, but this price has "little relevance" to prices in neighbourhoods and communities. Prices ranged from $1.53 million between St. Clair Ave. and Bloor St. east of Bayview to $709,000 in a rural area east of Newmarket and $255,000 in Oshawa.
So, for homeowners looking to ascertain the real value of their home, he recommends they look to recent sales of similar houses in their neighbourhood, or their prospective 'hood. He says, "The most relevant housing market is the one that is closest to where you live today or want to live tomorrow."
Lawby also suggests that homeowners look to home price surveys from a variety of sources, including different real estate organizations and economists.
Additionally, if you are in the market, he reminds readers that only listing prices (not selling prices) are available on the MLS, so he recommends asking a realtor to show you recent stats for comparable homes in the neighbourhood to help you get an accurate view of your home's worth.