Initial numbers from the Toronto Real Estate Board show that overall sales were 11% lower this February than in February of 2007. Condo sales were also off by by 8%. Already the naysayers - read bank economists - are saying the market has turned!

But people in the market every day are seeing something quite different. The real estate market changes when there is a surplus of listings versus buyers. Buying and selling property is not date sensitive. What we mean by that is: people don't have to do something on a specific date. When it snows, people just stay home rather than go out and look at properties. And we have had record snows!

Anyone remember SARS five years ago? Buyers were talking about wearing masks and people and properties owned by those from the Far East were to be avoided. For two months markets were slow because of the hysteria - not because of any economic reasons. And then it was behind us and real estate markets resumed their upward climb.

Again today, the economic factors have not changed. We can tell you that there are still lots of buyers - more than the supply of good listings. And the fundamentals remain in place - job growth, income growth, and now lower interest rates. Those factors tell us that the market this Spring - when it arrives - will again be strong - lots of sales and rising prices!

If you want to be smart - beat the market. Start the buying process now - before others get into the market. If you have a property to sell act now and have the market to yourself. And for buyers, making an offer now will improve your chances of avoiding the dreaded 'multiple offer' scenario.

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