Real estate: Dealing in a buyers' market

The single biggest investment for most Canadians is the purchase of a home. So, home owners were understandably worried when the Canadian Real Estate Association recently reported that average Canadian resale house prices fell by 10 per cent year-over-year in October.

On the other hand, the end of the boom would appear to be good news for prospective purchasers after six consecutive years of price increases.

It's a buyers' market - but are the buyers buying? Unit sales fell 27 per cent from October, 2007. The economic downturn and a loss of consumer confidence has many Canadians putting major purchases on hold.

Don Lawby, president of Century 21 Canada, has been in the real estate business for more than 30 years and is no stranger to the ups and downs of the market. Like most in the real estate business, he describes himself as an optimist.

Be wary of averages - they are skewed by high-end real estate being taken off the market which, in turn, reduces the average resale price numbers - Mr. Lawby advises both sellers and buyers. Prices are not universally down for all types of housing, says Mr. Lawby, who has just returned to his home in Vancouver after a cross-country tour. However, he adds, the "the market is slow."

A Regina native, Mr. Lawby is President of Century 21 Canada LP and Century 21 Asia Pacific.

Mr. Lawby started his career with Century 21 system in 1976 as a trainer and sales associate at a Century 21 office in British Columbia. In 1979, he joined the Century 21 head office staff as a training consultant and quickly moved through the managerial positions of marketing director, divisional vice-president, senior vice-president, executive vice-president to his now current position.

Mr. Lawby has been president of Century 21 Canada LP since 1988. He is currently on the board of directors of Century 21 Canada LP and Uniglobe Travel (USA) LLC. Mr. Lawby was also the representative for all International Master Franchisors of Century 21 Real Estate Corp. for 1998 and 1999 and is a founding member of the Industry Leaders Group which represents the largest real estate organizations in Canada. Recently Mr. Lawby became president of Century 21 Asia Pacific.

Source: Globe & Mail

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