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It’s been a rollercoaster ride for those working in the volatile real estate market during the past few years. But for anyone contemplating buying or selling a home, the new chair of the London St. Thomas Association of Realtors, Kathy Amess, shares some advice on what she calls “a fairly  balanced market.”

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Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: “I’ve been a full-time realtor since January of 1993. I opened Blue Forest Realty in December of 2014 and I have 85 realtors in the office.”

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Q: What is the state of the real estate market, with interest rates being the highest they have been in the last few years?

A: “I think there is this misconception that rates are high and I think that’s because we had such artificially low rates for a few years. People are stuck in this narrative. The rates go up a quarter of a point (and), this is no slam on the news media, but they will say rates soar by quarter of a per cent. The rates are actually lower (than they have been historically). I think a lot of people got used to those artificially low rates.”

Q: What are we going to see a year from now?

A: “There are signs interest rates are going to come down . . . but my crystal ball is broken. I don’t really know. I think we have a fairly balanced market, which is good for both buyers and sellers. It just maybe looks different than  . . .  the COVID years when the market was crazy. It looks different than the rest of real estate history. I think it’s a good time for buyers and for sellers, it’s just been in a different place than it’s been for the last few years.”

Q: What is your advice for people buying or selling a home right now?

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A: “Everyone has different reasons for buying or selling, so it depends on that. If you’re a buyer, though, you need to get into the market to reap the benefits of home ownership. If you sit around and always wait for something to happen . . . it’s not so easy to find the perfect time to (buy a house). I don’t remember who said this: ‘The perfect time to buy real estate was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’ It’s true.”

Q: What about the young adults who can’t afford home ownership?

A: “There’s no question houses are less affordable than they were, but I also think not in all cases. There are instances where maybe people need to adjust their expectations. You can’t buy your parents’ house as your first house. There are ways to offset some expenses, purchase something with a friend or relatives. Or you buy a property that needs work and you’re going to do the work yourself over time and build equity in it that way. People are less interested in doing that than they used to be.”

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