“So what are your client’s expectations for this property?” the agent asked me.

I was taken aback.

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He was not asking me how much of the asking price they were hoping to achieve, a normal and always expected question from a buyer’s agent. He was asking me how much over the asking price they were expecting.

“Well,” I replied, not really sure what to say without tipping my client’s hand or offending him, “we feel that our asking price is in keeping with other comparables that have recently sold in the area.”

There! That should keep him quiet for awhile.

He laughed and said he understood. I wasn’t sure that I even did. For the first time in the more than two decades that I have been involved in real estate, asking prices are a mere starting point. A starting point with an upward trajectory.

How did that happen?

How did our beautiful little community of Barrie, Ont., our cosy city by the bay, become such a hot commodity that any house on the market is being snapped up by insatiable buyers without so much as a financing clause?

And our lovely City of Barrie is not alone. Smaller communities everywhere, outside of the Greater Toronto Area and especially the City of Toronto itself, are being besieged, if you will, with people who want to get the heck out of Dodge!

And that dreaded acronym, FOMO, a.k.a. fear of missing out, seems to be to blame.

People want more space. I get it. They don’t want to be living in a cramped condo or house in a highly populated area with a pandemic order to stay at home. They can now work from home as most companies have gone to great lengths to allow their employees to do just that. Thank goodness for Wi-Fi and 5G networks and fibre optics.

A greater question is, who is buying all those Toronto and area properties that are allowing those buyers to move further afield?

A question for another time perhaps.  It will be interesting to find out.  When we have all the data, of course.

But back to the here and now. In Barrie. It all boils down to supply and demand. The age-old economics lesson of lack of supply and a big demand sometimes equals bidding wars and offer frenzies that see asking prices fall away to well below the ultimate accepted offer.

So another agent can put a Sold Over Asking! sign on their property.

A good day for the sellers, for sure.  Providing they have somewhere to go. And for the buyers, they may be just as happy as they have secured a piece of prime residential real estate, no matter what it cost them.

For it will surely appreciate too, right?

In the meantime, as we watch this historic event in the evolution of real estate, we can only hold our collective breaths and hope for the best. Hope that our sellers will find another place to go or to bide their time until prices settle down again if they ever do. Hope that our buyers are happy with their new-found piece of property in a new town with a new area code and new schools for their kids.

And we should try to remember to breathe.

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