Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Thinking Of The Future

  As a real estate Broker for over 17 years I know from experience that it is not often we handle a real estate transaction for ourselves.  Normally we work on behalf of our valued Seller and or Buyer clients so it is fun when we get to engage in some real estate business on behalf of ourselves.

  Earlier this year I sold my own house in Collingwood and moved to the Thornbury/Clarksburg area.  This move was part of a grander plan that my spouse and I came up with thinking about the future in terms of where and what we would like to doing in five or ten years.  I love my work in real estate serving my clients and I see myself working for many more years.  Nonetheless we are all getting older and it is never too early to think about the future and the possibility for me of working in a different real estate market than southern Georgian Bay.

  Those that know me are aware that I have a passion for and a deep connection with Manitoulin Island.  My brother and I jointly own a cottage property there which we have had for 45 years.  Our mother was born and raised on Manitoulin, we have family there as well as a lifetime of memories from our many summers spent there.  My two children aged 28 and 30 also share the same enthusiasm and love for Manitoulin and its unique lifestyle.  My daughter, son-in-law and 11 month old granddaughter Ivy just spent time there with us during their three week visit from home which is the island of Maui, Hawaii.  As my daughter always says, "Dad, Manitoulin is still my favourite island, it's a very special place."

  As of today my spouse and I own an additional piece of Manitoulin Island.  In addition to the cottage property I already own and have enjoyed, we purchased a 1.5 acre waterfront lot on one of the inland lake, Lake Manitou.  Besides being a lovely treed, private property on which to potentially build our dream home for the future, it has the added distinction of being located on the largest lake (40 square miles) on the largest freshwater island in the world.  Very cool!

  Although there is no home currently on the property, the driveway and hydro is already installed and there is an excellent building site with a view of the lake.  In addition there is a recently built garage perfect for storing my 30 boat trailer this winter plus a variety of other vehicles etc.  Two additional spaces under roof on each side of the garage can easily be enclosed providing over 1,500 square feet of garage space, a shop or for other storage uses.  It's the garage I was always going to built, now I don't have to.

  Dreams do come true but it doesn't just happen.  It takes vision, hard work and the support of a loving partner that shares your passion for similar things in life and is not afraid to work for them.  I am in trouble as she is already going through home plans.  It looks like I will be working for a few years yet and that in my books is just fine.

  If you have dreams as well that involve real estate be it an in town, rural or waterfront property, I would be delighted to share my experience to help you in achieving whatever goals and or dreams you may have.  The southern Georgian Bay market offers a variety of options whether it is for full or past time use

Contact me and I would be happy to have a no obligation consultation as to where you would like to be further down the road of life.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Southern Georgian Bay Real Estate Sales Shows a Slight Upturn in August

  Real estate market activity across southern Georgian Bay in August showed a slight improvement in dollar volume over the same month last year raising the question after seven prior months of weaker sales than the same time in 2017, will this upward trend continue?

  MLS® sales reported by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® for the month of  August totalled $88.8 million, an increase of $4.5 million or 5% over August 2017.  This was the first month in 2018 when MLS® dollar sales exceeded the same month of last year.  Despite the modest upturn in dollar sales during August, year-to-date MLS® dollar and unit sales both remain at significantly lower levels that the first eight months of 2017.  Year-to-date MLS® dollar sales of $630.1 million represents and 18% decrease from last year while unit sales of 1,287 properties are 21% lower than the 1,626 MLS® units sold in the first eight months of 2017.  Mid way through 2017 overall real estate activity in most market across Canada began to slow and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) which is a major feeder market for property demand in southern Georgian Bay is no exception.  Slower sales in the GTA, as we all Guelph, Kitchener/Waterloo and London combined with tighter lending rules have all served to reduce the frenetic sales pace we experienced in our market during 2016 and 2017.  This is not necessarily a bad thing as slower sales, the reduction in multiple offers with highly inflated sale prices lends to a more balanced market favouring sellers and buyers equally.

  The change to softer MLS® sales across our region from 2017 is consistent in every municipality that make our market.  Overall year-to-date MLS® unit sales are down from 20% to 34% and are broken down as follows: Collingwood -20%, Municipality of Meaford and Wasaga Beach are both 25% below last year, Clearview -28%, while the Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands are down 32% and 34% respectively.  As with sales activity by municipality, decreased sales are reflected in every price segment of our market with a particular emphasis on the upper end market from $1 million and up.  Sales between $1 and $1.5 million are 20% below 2017 with 41 sales this year compared to 51 in 2017.  Sales in the $1.5 to $2 million range are down 61% from last year with just 7 sales this year versus 18 sales last year.

  One bright spot in market activity this year is the sale of condominiums.  MLS® condo sales through the end of August total 291 units compared to 233 this time last year, an increase of 25%.  For many buyers condominiums are a less expensive alternative with less upkeep than a single family home.  By comparison, MLS® single family home sales are down 22% with 996 sales reported this year versus 1,273 sales during the same period last year. Lastly, vacant land sales are greatly reduced from one year ago largely due to a lack of inventory.  Year-to-date vacant land MLS® sales total 82 properties compared to 234 sale in the first eight months of 2017.  Please keep in mind the statistics provided herein do not include sales made by builders and or developers that do not go through the local MLS® system but are made directly by the builders/developers own sales staff.

  Tighter lending rules combined with an ongoing shortage of inventory listed for sale have both contributed to the current slowdown in MLS® sales activity we have experienced in 2018.  While properties listed for sale have increased somewhat this year, new listing activity is still 7% below the level of last year.  Conversely, expired listing activity has increased significantly this year with the number of  expired listings up 46% to the end of August.  While sale activity has softened, some sellers are still asking above market value for their properties hoping to attract a willing buyer.  Weaker market activity nationwide combined with tighter lending rules do not support multiple offers and over zealous buyers to the same degree as they did early last year.   

  As always, consumers need to adapt to changing market conditions and whether you are buying or selling, working with a knowledgeable REALTOR® can work to your advantage in meeting your real estate investment goals.  For a no obligation discussion about the current market and or your specific real estate objectives please feel free to Contact me. 

A Piece Of Colliingwood Maritime History Is About To Sink

  It is unfortunate that we as Canadians have taken such a laissez-faire position to saving and preserving items that offer a glimpse of our past and represent a historic value that cannot be replaced once lost.

  The master plan for the redevelopment of Collingwood's harbour front is no doubt years away from being fully implemented and completed but hopefully amongst its many features it will serve to recognize and celebrate the Town's shipbuilding and maritime past. 

  The S.S. Norisle pictured here was built in Collingwood in 1946 and served as a passenger and car ferry between Tobermory at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island up to 1974 when its replacement the Chi Cheemaun (also built in Collingwood) went into service.  Up to its retirement, the Norisle was the last steam powered passenger ship on the Great Lakes. The ship was subsequently sold by the province to the Township of Assiginack on Manitoulin Island for $1 (one dollar) and towed to the town of Manitowaning where it has remained ever since.  The ship went through a number of uses including that of a restaurant and later a museum but has sat idle for many years deteriorating.  I took these drone shorts of the ship earlier this summer. 

  My mother was born on Manitoulin, I have spent every summer there since I was an infant and my brother and I have a cottage property a short distance from the ferry dock that we have owned for 45 years.  In my late teens for a summer job I worked on the ferry dock at South Baymouth parking cars, then tying up the Norisle and it's sister ship the Norgoma when they arrived.  I also drove cars on and off the ferries which in itself was a challenge especially on the Norisle as it involved taking cars down an elevator into a dark lower hold.  There was no turning around to back up, you watched and followed the directions of the 1ST or 2ND Mate as he pointed and moved his finger as to how and where to steer.  It was a great experience.

  In recent years the Norisle has been at the centre of a lawsuit between the Township of Assiginack and the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society.  The Society was hoping to purchase the ship and restore it so as to offer cruises such as the Seqwun does on the Muskoka lakes.  While doable that in itself is a large and expensive undertaking given the ship is 72 years old and today's safety requirements are much more stringent.

  News was released yesterday that the Township and Norisle Steamship Society have reached an agreement resolving their dispute.  The ship is being sold to a group in Tobermory (Tobermory Maritime Association) that will acquire the ship and subsequently sink it as a scuba diving site.   It's too bad that something more appropriate could not have been decided for the fate of this piece of Collingwood history.  While 5,000 or 6,000 scuba diving enthusiasts visit Tobermory annually, that number is minuscule (Collingwood gets more than that on one weekend to see Elvis impersonators) compared to the number of visitors the ship could attract as a permanent, moored fixture here in Collingwood or elsewhere. 

  This is another piece of Canadian history and Collingwood heritage that will be lost which is too bad.  That is why many of us are working diligently via the Nottawasaga Lighthpouse Preservation Society of which I am the current Chair to acquire and restore the Nottawasaga lighthouse off Collingwood.  More of that in future posts.

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.