(Contributed Photo/Freddy Marks)

REAL ESTATE: Transformative lifestyle choices spur 2020 land rush

Real estate columnist Freddy Marks discusses long-lasting effects on real estate due to COVID-19

For many decades, we have been told to live a healthy active lifestyle to live a longer happier life. Above all other factors, it is our location, where we live, that dictates the kind of lifestyle we have. Where we reside influences our daily behaviour, our interactions, what we consume, where and how we work and what leisure activities we take part in.

Ask yourself, do you wake and have a coffee on the lake view sundeck before heading inside to your home office when you are ready to begin your day? or are you up early to commute in traffic to a professional office or occupation on a strict schedule that you have no control over?

The time spent in isolation during the legislated lockdowns brought with it a clarity about how we really wanted to be living our lives. The fundamental things that bring us peace, joy and fulfillment are not what we believed them to be. Life’s simple pleasures became just that – simple, and the most basic of them all freedom; the independence and flexibility to spend our time as we really want, and to live life to its fullest despite our new conditions.

RELATED: REAL ESTATE: Your House Has Become More Than Just Home Base

Where we call home, just became of paramount importance. This shift in societal perspective has sparked a “2020 land rush,”a mass generational quest for a change in lifestyle.

Even before the threat of Coronavirus, we were living with blockades, civil unrest, a national unity crisis, a forestry workers crisis,an oil and gas sector crisis, and the growing problem of inflation costs leading to high household debt. 2020 rang in with the Covid19 outbreak, economic upheaval, job losses, lockdowns, widespread uncertainty and product shortages. British Columbians have been living with uncertainty for over two years, and even when the threat of viral infection becomes a secondary consideration, fundamentally what we have lived through has changed us.

All this movement shows us that British Columbians are making transformative choices to better their future and the future of their families during these uncertain times. July’s red hot sales numbers in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and across the country are the result. The Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board posted July Sales up 32.7 per cent with 352 units sold and new listings were up 11.2 per cent. The Canadian Real Estate Board posted national records for home sales that haven’t been seen in over 40 years. Record sales in the Lower Mainland have created a ripple effect making its way north east across B.C., and August’s new listings and sales will ride this wave north into September’s political and economic uncertainty.

Fuelling the market surge is The Bank of Canada’s new benchmark five-year mortgage rate of 4.79 per cent, and three-year rate of 3.75 per cent. The BOC has indicated that rates will be kept low until at least 2023 in an attempt to help stabilize our battered economy and foster growth.These motivating rates, combined with adjusted B-20 Stress testing ratios have qualified a whole new segment of buyers who into the already burgeoning market.

RELATED: REAL ESTATE: Rural Land inquiries stimulate market movement amid lockdown

This unprecedented mass perspective shift is being seen across all generations from Boomers and GenXers taking decisive action to achieve what they really want to be doing for the remaining few chapters of their lives, to Millenials and GenZ’s who have the majority of their working lives ahead of them and need to find the right place to move forward with a planned or unplanned COVID career change.

Many youth can longer expect their parents who lost a huge portion of retirement income in the stock market crash to take on the debt of post secondary education. Nor can our youth take that debt on themselves with uncertainty in our economy and changing jobs market. Jet setting around the globe for a few years in search of adventure is unaffordable and unsafe in our new norm. Those young adults who would be applying for travel work visas are now making long term commitments first to a safe location to live, and hundreds of thousands have decided that living with their parents will be a permanent ongoing arrangement so that everyone can be safe and make steps to rebuild their life plans.

Families are turning to homesteading 21st century style in rural locations, trying their hands at farming, gardening and sustainable living, on a property that will also raise their food and be a home school for their children. Residents who now have the flexibility to work from home permanently have realized that they can live a more rural lifestyle and still keep the urban pay check that kept them in the city to begin with, and they are seeking acreages and privacy. The province’s retired or soon to be retirees are taking stock of what is left of their investments and equity and making decisions about how to remain solvent and independent for as long as possible to avoid needing to live in long term care or seniors residences that have become more like prisons for residents who are being kept safe but away from family contact.

This new perspective has many realizing that in order to achieve their lifestyle goals, they must change their location. To a place that brings contentment to their daily routine and ensures that their time is spent in ways that bring satisfaction and security no matter what life’s challenges will bring.

There has never been a better time to take action and make your next move count towards achieve the lifestyle you have always wanted. If you are currently searching for a new home or property, remember to always perform careful due diligence and work with a qualified realtor.

Freddy Marks, together with his daughter Linda Marks, runs Agassiz’s 3A Group Sutton Showcase Realty. He has been a Realtor in Canada and Germany for more than 30 years, and currently lives in Harrison Hot Springs.

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