"A house is just like any other product you buy. Prices will go up and down and price is negotiable."
That's the opinion of Marc Jankowski who responded to my request for readers to share their views on the real estate market.
He and his fiancée are each living with their parents while they wait for house prices to drop further. With so many people waiting on the sidelines, sellers will have no choice but to lower their prices, he figures.
"It's time to come back to earth."
I received buckets of insightful responses to my call for stories and, scrolling through the comments and e-mails, it's clear that plenty of people agree with Marc.
But for every person who is crunching the numbers, there is an equally vociferous correspondent who believes buying a home is a decision based on so much more than money.
"In our hearts we would love to own," says another reader who has put plans to buy on hold. "There is an intrinsic appeal to becoming a property owner."
If we put the "money and emotions don't mix" camp at one end of the spectrum and those who crave the "whole white picket fence experience", as one reader so succinctly put it, at the other, it seems there's an awfully big crowd bunched in the middle.
That's where we would also find Kathleen Rea and Jeff Moskad, whom I briefly introduced in my previous post.
For them, Kathleen says, the decision to buy a semi-detached house in Toronto's west end was only partially based on money. They knew they could do it financially.
"What life do we want to have?" was the question they pondered.
As I've reported, the seller in question was my husband, so I'm not pretending to be objective in this - I'm sharing a personal story as a way for us all to get to know each other.
And Kathleen and Jeff, being tremendously good sports, agreed to talk to me about their decision to buy.
When they bought in October, the stock market meltdown was already under way and they knew the uncertainty was only likely to get worse.
"If we weren't thinking with our hearts, we would have waited 6 months," Kathleen says.
Kathleen is a dance choreographer with and a former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada.
She is acutely aware of the ways human bodies move through space. She immediately responded to the open sightlines and sinuous lines in the house.
"There are so many curved spaces," she says. "That type of flow - because I'm so movement oriented - was very important."
A lot of factors went into their decision: They are newlyweds, so they wanted a fresh place of their own. They think they'd like to have kids and that's not a life choice that can be put on hold indefinitely. So, after looking at about 20 properties, they bought one that they say ideally suited them.
"We want to be in this house for the next 30 or 40 years," she says. "And we wanted a character house. Six months from now, we might not have as much choice."
So, as befitting a choreographer, Kathleen wants to keep the momentum going.
As a reporter I tend to rely on statistics to inform readers about what is happening in the real estate market. But those statistics are made up of an aggregate of human experience and going beyond the numbers can be illuminating.
In the midst of so much economic turmoil, people are posing all kinds of great questions: Sellers wonder if they should rush to market now or fix up their houses first? Buyers ask if it is better to buy and take advantage of low interest rates available today, or wait to see if prices fall? If sellers put off listing in a soft market now will their equity evaporate?
Lots more stories to come.
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