Thursday, January 10, 2019

New Government Qualifications For Drone Use

  Over the past couple of years, drone of all sizes have become an increasingly popular new devise with consumers and some of you may have received one for Christmas.  While they are fun to fly and depending on the model are capable of taking amazing photos and videos, they do come with some inherent risks.  For the past year or more the federal government has been working on new requirements pertaining to the use of  drones.  Yesterday, (January 9, 2019) Transport Canada issued a news release announcing what the new regulations entail.

  I have owned and flown a drone for over two years and have logged dozens of flying hours including during a trip my wife and I made around New Zealand as reflected on the adjoining photo.  In the right hands they are relatively easy to fly.  Like anything else however they are not foolproof and require a degree of common sense, skill, adequate, through preparation and you need to know the rules. 

  Transport Canada as well as other governing  bodies elsewhere defines and treats drones for what they are, they are an aircraft.  In order to enhance my flying skills and knowledge I completed 20 hours of ground school just like I would for a pilot's license.  Topics including flight plans and preparation, safety, maintenance and other relevant topics to flying an airplane.  For several years I have had a Restricted Operators Certificate (ROC) for the VHF radio in my boat, through this ground school course I also obtained an aeronautical ROC.

  I was one of the first real estate practitioners in our area to use aerial photography for real estate marketing.  I use the tern "aerial" because at the time small consumer type drone did not exist.  The photographer I used was licensed and insured.  He flew what was essentially a radio controlled helicopter with a Sony digital camera mounted underneath and it took some great shots see attached).  To this point I have not used my own personal drone in my real estate practice as essentially it is illegal without having a licence and the required amount of liability insurance.  Now that the new rules have been established, I will follow though and obtain all of the needed registration and insurance etc needed in order to be fully compliant with the new regulations and to fly safely.  Before every flight I ensure that my drone battery is fully charged and that my take off point has been recorded into the GPS system of my drone.  Why?  If my drone and controller were to loose radio contact with each other, my drone will automatically fly back to the take off point where I can then land.  My drone will not even take off when I am in close proximity to any airport or aerodrome.  The system simply shuts down as a safety precaution.

  I see a lot of real estate marketing that is using drone photography and I am willing to bet many of aerial or drone photos are being taken by unlicensed and or non-insured operators.  If a drone crashes or otherwise hits a person, car or your neighbour's house, the drone operator better have some good liability insurance coverage.  If you are listing your home for sale and your listing REALTOR® includes drone photos in their marketing efforts then I highly suggest you ask "is the drone operator licensed and insured?"

  Drones can be a a lot of fun but by no means should they be treated as a toy.  By taking the necessary precautions and using common sense I have never been even remotely close to a crash or had my drone fly off never to be seen again.  It's just not worth the risk from a liability standpoint nor would I enjoy having a two thousand dollar piece of equipment lost as the result of carelessness.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

November 2018 - Southern Georgian Bay Real Estate Synopsis

  Sales results for the southern Georgian Bay real estate market are now out for the month of November and show a slight increase in dollar volume for the month versus at the end of November 2017 but with that is a continuation of weaker unit sales that we have seen throughout most of 2018.

  Sales reported through the MLS® system of  the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® for November reflect a modest 2% gain in dollar sales revenue for the month totalling $75.3 million versus $73.9 million in November 2017.  At the same time, MLS® unit sales in November of 134 properties shows a 12% decline from the same month last year when 153 sales were reported.  Ironically the number of new listings coming to market in November increased 8% with 183 properties coming onto the market compared to 170 new listings in the same month last year.  Nonetheless this increase in available inventory coming onto the market as we approach the holiday season is no doubt "to little to late" to bolster overall the sales shortfall for 2018.

  After two years of back-to-back annual MLS® sales in 2016 and 2017 that surpassed $1 billion for the first time in each of those years, sales volume for 2018 is going to come in below the level we saw in 2017.  Year-to-date MLS® dollar sales to the end of November totals $880.2 million, a decrease of 14% from $1.025 billion in MLS® listings sold during the first 11 months of 2017.  These year-to-date results for 2018 are also below the results we had in 2016 both in terms of dollars and the number of properties sold.  With the holiday season being a priority for many, December is traditionally a slow month for real estate sales and listing activity.  Monthly sales in December are typically below $50 million, this would suggest total annual MLS® sales across our market for 2018 will be in the $925 +/- million range.

 MLS® Single family home and condo unit sales are both running at a similar pace and are well below the number of properties sold through the first 11 months of 2017.  Year-to-date single family home sales total 1,352 units down 18% from 1,656 sold in the same period last year.  At the same time condo sales of 414 units are also down 18% from last year when 503 units we sold.  In both cases it is important to point out that new home and condo sales made by developers are not included in these MLS® statistics some of which would account for the softer sales of MLS® resale properties this year.  Vacant residential land sales are well below the number sold in 2017 primarily due to a lack of available lots listed for sale.

  Sales in most price segments of our market are lower than 2017.  Two exceptions to this is the $800,000 to $1 million range where year-to-date sales of 91 properties are up by 4 sales from one year ago.  In addition, sales over $2 million are also up modestly with 14 sales reported in 2018 compared to 11 in 2017.  As per the accompanying chart every other segment of the market is running at a pace below last year.  In conjunction with this, every municipality in our region has seen a decline in the number of MLS® single family home sales this year with decreased unit sales running 13% to 22% below the number of homes sold through MLS® in 2017.

  In many segments of the market, reduced levels of inventory have also created a slowdown in sales activity during 2018.  Since September there has been an uptick in new MLS® listing activity but on a year-to-date basis new MLS® listings which total 3,031 properties are still 5% below the number of new listings that came to market in 2017.  Again when you take an in-depth look at the year-to-date MLS® statistics there are always exceptions to the overall results.  In terms of inventory, our market currently has an abundance of properties listed for sale priced $750,000 and above.  As of this article we have just over 14 months of available inventory for sale priced above $750,000 so there are plenty of options for buyers in this price range and some good value to be had.

  Overall, 2018 has brought about a much more balanced market.  The frenzied bidding wars we experienced in 2016 and early 2017 have sharply diminished leading to much more favourable and less stressful market conditions for sellers and buyers alike and we are not alone.  Real estate activity in the Greater Toronto Area has also slowed as it also has in large urban centres such as Oakville, Guelph, Cambridge, Kitchener/Waterloo, London and elsewhere.  These are all strong feeder markets for southern Georgian Bay real estate.  A cooling off of market conditions in our region and elsewhere was bound to happen some of which is driven by increased mortgage interest rates and tighter lending rules.

  The demand for southern Georgian Bay real estate has not diminished.  Whether it is for retirement or recreational use, people still favour the varied four season lifestyle afforded  by property ownership in this area and this is not a trend that is likely to disappear anytime soon. 

  As we head into 2019, sales activity will ramp back up as it always does heading into the spring.  How much the market rebounds in 2019 over what we have experienced in 2018 is any one's guess.  There has never been a better time to consult a local REALTOR®,  one with extensive knowledge of this area and current market conditions to assist you with your real estate buying and or selling goals and objectives.  Contact me and I would be delighted to provide any of my followers with a no obligation consultation of your particular buying and or selling needs. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

October 2018 Market Report, Final Comments

  As stated in my post dated November 11th and titled "Area Real Estate Sales Continue to Remain Soft in 2018" I pushed the notion that paying attention to statistical data is a key element in helping our valued real estate clients make informed decisions.  As November draws to a close and the monthly results are known, I suspect we will have some better insight into what the next couple of years will bring, in the meantime let's take one final look at what has happened in the first 10 months of 2018.

  Year-to-date MLS unit sales are running 19% behind 2017 and this decrease is equally shared in both the single family home and condominium segments of the market.  Through the end of October we have seen 1,256 single family home sales, a decrease of 18.6% from last year.  Condominium sales year-to-date for the first 10 months of 2018 total 375 units and similarly to home there too are down 18.8%. 

  Meanwhile, vacant land sales are down over 65% this year with 100 units sold compared to 293 sales in the first 10 months of 2017.  While the overall inventory of properties available to purchase remains below last year, nowhere is this more evident than with vacant lots.  The glut of lots for sale from a couple of years ago are gone and no newly created lots/subdivisions have come on stream to replenish those lots that have sold and now have homes under construction.

  The obvious question after reviewing the softer MLS sales data for many real estate market across Canada is, what is the cause and how will this downturn in real estate sales impact us moving forward in 2019, 2020 and beyond? 

  First, we all need to acknowledge that Canada's real estate market is somewhat unique to other parts of the globe.  Given the market strength that Canadian real estate has demonstrated for many years, we are viewed by many countries as having a fascination with real estate and or home ownership regardless of the cost or overall economic climate.  In most markets across the country, real estate values have tripled between 2000 to 2017 far out pacing the increase in annual incomes during the same period. Yes our market did slow down after the collapse of the U.S. real estate market through 2007 to 2009 but not nearly to the extent of our neighbours to the south.  Real estate activity in Ontario started to rebound strongly in early 2010 the year in which the province implemented the harmonized sales tax (HST).  Many in the province had the impression that home purchases under the new HST tax structure were going to be HST taxable and they rushed to buy.  In some circumstances HST can apply to the purchase of a new home and in even a resale but that is more of an exception than the rule.

  There is no question that low interest mortgages in recent years have helped to fuel the housing craze we have experienced.  Multiple offers, with properties often selling for over their highly inflated list prices became the norm.  Low interest mortgage have allowed buyers to spend more on a home they perhaps intended.  Sooner or later that craze had to end, interest rates would rise as they have and other economic drivers would come into play all of which would impact the real estate market and other segments of the economy.  This week's announcement by General Motors Canada is a good example.  Some couples with both the husband and wife working may now be faced with raising a family and paying down debt as a one versus two income family and it's not just the auto industry that will create this, the oil and gas industry currently faces its own set of problems. While situations such as this is not a pleasant scenarios it is reality and it will no doubt have an impact on real estate and other aspects of our economy in the months or years ahead. 

  Only time will tell, November's market statistics will be out shortly.  Stay tuned and follow my blog for ongoing market reports and other information that I will post to help you make information decisions about you specific real estate needs and or goals.  For details on the luxury home and condominium market in our area see my Carriage Trade Homes blog.


Contact Me

Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4


Direct: 705-443-1037

Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230


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Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.