Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Collingwood Municipal Utility Services recently issued a "Construction Newsletter" summarizing the reconstruction of First Street from Minnesota through High Streets. In preparation of the forthcoming roadwork which will start later this summer (pending budget approval), utility companies including COLLUS, Bell and Rogers have commenced relocating their respective services hence the large trench in front of the LCBO. Trenching will be required along both the north and south sides of First Street for cable and wiring installations with other work including the removal and or relocation of utility poles etc.
With First Street essentially performing the role of a Provincial highway (#26) through town, this work is long overdue and when completed will be a welcomed relief to both motorists and pedestrians alike. According to the town's newsletter, every attempt will be made to minimize traffic disruptions and access to both businesses and residences alike, but they are bound to happen and everyone is urged to exercise both caution and patience during this period of construction.
Hopefully this reconstruction work will incorporate some of the suggestions brought forth in the Vision 20/20 document of a few years ago, suggestions that were intended not only to improve traffic flow but to also enhance the First Street landscape. As a community whose economy is increasingly tied to tourism and that of being an attractive and desirable place for persons to retire, it is imperative that a positve image and impact is made on both visitors as well as those just passing through on their way elsewhere.
If you wish to obtain a copy of the town's construction newsletter, please feel free to email me.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Like the cranes that once towered over the shipyards property, another "pinnacle" of the area's industrial history in poised to come down. The smokestack at Kaufman Furniture is about all that remains of this once proud manufacturing entity that produced world renown high quality residential and commercial furniture.
Changes in both the domestic and global economy have changed the manufacturing landscape everywhere not only economically, but physically as this picture depicts. Domestic North American manufacturers typcially engaged in what was often referred to as "smokestack" industries such as the production of steel, paper, rubber and other commodity products have fallen victim to lower wage based economies like China and India. This shift in highly labour intensive commodity manufacturing is forcing Canada and other higher wage based countries to refocus and re-deploy their workforces in industries where technical and intellectual expertise supercedes basic "gruntwork" relative the the wages being paid.
With the odd exception, the area's economy has yet to benefit significantly from the shift to knowledge and technology based industries. We have no Research In Motion, Sandvine or Redline Communications all three of which are not located in a major city yet are amongst the 50 fastest-growing Canadian technology companies . Perhaps it's time we did? Perhaps the toppling of the Kaufman smokestack will symbolize the rebirth of industry in Collingwood. An industry not of flying sparks from a shipbuilder's welding torch or sawdust from a cabinet maker's saw, but an industry that will leverage the intellectual knowledge and technical expertise of today's employment pool. Or will the smokestack be replaced by the neon signs of retail outlets like Giant Tiger, Future Shop or that of another venue such as a convention centre?
The demolition of the Kaufman plant including the landmark smokestack signifies more than just the elimination of a building. As in many cities and town's across North America it symbolizes the changing landscape of today's economy and unlike Cheech and Chong's movie "Up In Smoke," this story-line is not very funny.
Listing activity for the first quarter saw 1,271 area properties come onto the market as compared to 1,253 during the same period last year. Expired listings however jumped 22.1% over the first quarter of 2007 totaling 177 properties. This statistic reflects that many properties are still being priced unrealistically above their true "market value" resulting in the property not selling and the listing expiring.
As in the prior year, we are continuing to see considerable strength at the upper end of the market with sales above $350,000 up 29.8% year-to-date. In other upper-end segments of the market, sales for the first quarter are as follows:
- Sales over $350,000 up 28.6% to 27 units
- $500,000 to $799,999 up 53.8% to 20 units
- $800,000 to $999,999 down 66.7% to 1 unit
- Sales over $1 million up 20% to 6 units
These sales of higher priced properties are continuing to exert upward pressure on the "average" residential price in our area which now stands at $290,362.
For further details on first quarter sales, listing and pricing activity throughout our area, my quarterly newsletter will be available shortly on my website at http://www.propertycollingwood.com/ or email me for your advance copy now.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
In February, seasonally adjusted MLS® sales activity across Canada edged downwards 6.4% while sales in March declined 18.7%. This decrease in March was the largest year-to-year monthly decline in sales since January 1998. The main contributor to this decreased sales activity is due in part to weaker sales in Toronto which represents about 25% of the major markets across the country. Sales in Toronto peaked in late 2007 prior to Toronto’s “municipal” land transfer tax kicking in, a tax that has added a significant cost to the purchase of a home. Further the heavy snowfall in Toronto this winter made both listing and showing properties very difficult.
For 2008 the Canadian Real Estate Association is forecasting a shortfall in sales to last year’s record levels. In March seasonally adjusted sales for the quarter declined by 7.1 % as compared to the last quarter of 2007. Further the number of new MLS® listings climbed during the first quarter by a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.8% over the last quarter of 2007 which marks the highest quarterly level ever recorded. Notwithstanding a decrease in sales with a sharpm increase in new listings, the average residential price increased nationally by 4% to $329,383. Locally, market activity throughout the Georgian Triangle in the first quarter displayed considerably more strength than many markets across the country and I will detail these in my next posting.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
With over 30 years of progressive business positions behind me both in Canada and the U.S., I have learned a great deal about what it takes to lead and build a successful business. The one prerequisite however that stands out in my mind more than anything is the need for the utmost in integrity in all your business activities. As previously stated, competition is a very good thing for consumers. Not only does it provide consumers with a variety of pricing alternatives to choose from when making a purchase, it fosters an environment where companies strive to continually develop new products and or services or to re-design existing ones all in the name of capturing their fair share of the market. In all cases, it is ultimately this type of competitive market positioning that creates a win-win for consumers.
In an effort to capture business, some companies find it necessary to berate or belittle their competition. Doing so seldon benefits the party making the defamatory statements and it certainly shows a lack of respect to a fellow competitior hence a lacking in the detractor's own integrity. The unfortunate fact here is that these tactics can result in detracting from the image of the entire industry or profession where such initiatives are employed.
A relative new entrant on to the real estate scene which specializes in assisting home owners sell their own properties seems to feel the need to employ such tactics. Their radio and online media refers to traditional REALTORS® as "some Joe Schmo agent."
I for one resent being referred to as "Joe Schmo." I am a trained real estate professional. My credentials include that of being a "Broker" and "Market Value Appraiser" (MVA) Residential. These credentials must not only be earned through rigorous education and exams, they must be maintained on a 2 year renewal cycle via taking continuous education courses all of which assist me in providing to my clients the best service possible. Further, as professional REALTORS® our day-to-day activities are governed by the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act which is provincial law. These requirements would hardly suggest that REALTORS® should be referred to as "Schmos."
The real estate profession has come a long way in increasing both consumer awareness and confidence. Still, public surveys place REALTORS® well down the list of professions in terms of trustworthiness and professionalism. Companies in the business of selling such a valuable commodity as homes would do well to revise their marketing efforts eliminating the use of terms such as "Joe Schmo." A home represents most consumer's greatest asset. As such, this is no place to use such derogatory vocabulary when dealing with the sale of such a significant consumer owned asset. The reality is, slighting a fellow competitor only serves to lessen the image of all all parties engaged in the great profession we call real estate.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
popular consumer real estate website in Canada. In an effort to improve the Internet experience of today's real estate consumer, http://www.mls.ca/ is about to be launched under an entirely new format.
Effective May 28th, http://www.mls.ca/ will be found under the new domain name, www.REALTOR.ca. More than just a new name, the site has been re-designed and is intended to provide Canadian real estate consumers with an easier property search function along with other useful real estate related infomration that will assist them with their property buying and selling needs.
The name REALTOR.ca better reflects the overall service and value that we in the real estate profession bring to todays's consumers, both online and in person. The re-branded and re-designed site is intended to further the awareness and information that REALTORS® provide consumers when contemplating a real estate transaction. Amongst the many enhancements included with the new site is a "quick search" form located on the home page thus allowing you to readily search for the property type and location you are looking for. Also featured on the new site is interactive mapping using Microsoft's "Virtual Earth" integrated mapping software which will show the approximate locations of the properties you have downloaded in your search. Additional features will include related information about Canadian real estate news and more, all intended to better inform consumers thus demonstrating the value that REALTORS® bring to each and every real estate transaction.
Once the new site is launched, visitors to www.MLS.ca will instantly be re-directed to the new site. Watch for future postings on my blog once we get closer to the May 28th launch date for the new site.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4
Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230
- Rick Crouch
- 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.