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Is Now a Good Time to Buy?

It's that time of year again. The weather is warming up, the Maple Leafs are booking their tee times (sorry Leafs' fans), and 'For Sale' signs are popping up on front lawns across the city. Yep, the Real Estate season is in full swing. It's about this time every year that thousands of Torontonians ask themselves, is now a good time to buy? Would I be better off renting?

In recent years, the debate has been split between what I call the 'boosters' and the 'bubblers'. The boosters can always find a reason why it is a good time to buy (Market is going up? Buy now while you still can! Market is going down? Great time for a bargain!) On the other side, the bubblers can always find something to support their belief that the market is overvalued and is about to crash.

Boosters generally tend to be people who directly benefit from a growing real estate market - Realtors (guilty), mortgage brokers, developers, city councilors, etc. Bubblers tend to be people who do not own any real estate. So who's right? My answer probably won't wow you: it depends.

It depends because deciding whether or not to buy a home isn't a decision that should be made simply by answering the question, is the market going up or going down? There are countless other factors that need to be considered and each person's individual situation is different. But is there a bubble? Maybe, but I doubt it.

The New York Times tackled the rent vs. buy debate in a recent article. The author concludes that in many markets in the U.S. right now, you'd be better off to rent than to buy. The problem with extrapolating this conclusion to Toronto, is that we have not experienced the slump that many markets in the U.S. have, which is what the entire article is based on. As I said before, the Toronto market is still insane.

Still not sure if buying makes sense for you? Try using this great rent vs. buy calculator that accompanied the NYT article.

Photo by William Self from the blogTO Flickr pool.


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