Saturday, August 30, 2008

No Horsing Around!

A recent newsletter circulating throughout the area reports that “Cedar Run,” better known as The Thornbury Horse Park is progressing favourably and that a significant amount of development work has thus far been completed.
Peter Lush the principal stakeholder in the project reports that “a group of highly talented and experienced individuals” has been assembled “to support our efforts to create a great Park.” Located near the junction of Grey Road 2 and Clark Street (aka the Clarksburg Sideroad) this facility will consist of a world-class equestrian facility, residential condominiums and other club amenities with Georgian Bay, Blue Mountain and the Beaver Valley as a backdrop. Work that is scheduled to be completed this year includes the construction of jumps, the building of a fourth pond, further establishment of grass in the competition areas and the completion of trails throughout the grounds etc.
Cedar Run is being billed as Canada’s first world-class multidisciplinary equestrian facility offering something for both equestrian enthusiasts and the general public alike. Once completed, the facility will host a variety of equestrian competitions and will have the potential to accommodate up to 1,700 horses at a time. Facilities/activities such as this are having a tremendous impact on diversifying the area’s recreational amenities making the Georgian Triangle area an increasingly desirable location for people of all interests to come. I wish the organizers of this bold venture every success with this exciting initiative.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Zebra Mussels

In recent years, a significant amount of focus has been directed on the declining water levels in parts of the Great Lakes including Georgian Bay. The joint International commission looking into the matter was recently in Collingwood and other communities bordering the Great Lakes providing the public with an update as to their findings and ongoing studies.
Not so long ago, zebra mussels captured much of the news headlines pertaining to the Great Lakes whereas now they are all but forgotten in the media but are still very much in existence. We are fortunate in southern Georgian Bay where their advancement seems to have slowed somewhat. Some feel the low water levels may have actually helped curtail their growth locally, while further to the north end of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron they continue to flourish. We are fortunate to have so many sandy beaches in the area as smooth, rock free lake bottoms do not present an ideal environment for the mussels to establish themselves. Zebra Mussels prefer underwater rocks which can typically be encrusted with dozens of them. As a waterfront property owner on Manitoulin Island (Lake Huron) we continue to see large populations of this pesky mollusk. More surprisingly however are the growing piles of zebra mussel shells that are washing up onto shorelines. This summer while boating I discovered several piles of what looked like at a distance to be a white, fine crushed gravel only to have closer inspection reveal that it was zebra mussel shells one to two feet deep (see photo.) The magnitude of these empty shells reinforces just how prolifically this foreign invader has entered the Great Lakes system and established themselves by the millions.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The End of Telemarketers?

Like many businesses, the real estate profession continues to be impacted on a variety of fronts thus creating the need to look at alternate ways in terms of how we as REALTORS® conduct ourselves in the day-to-day activities of marketing and selling properties. Technology, changing consumer/economic trends and government legislation, have all contributed in recent years to alter the role of REALTORS® and way in which the real estate profession operates.
Coming this fall is the “National Do-Not-Call List. Commencing September 30, 2008 consumers will have an effective new tool with which to wage war against the dreaded forces of telemarketers. With this new legislation, telemarketers will not be permitted to call any consumer(s) whose number is listed on the national Do-Not-Call List (DNCL). Real estate brokers and salespersons ie: REALTORS® making unsolicited telephone contact are deemed as being “telemarketers” within the meaning of this legislation. This does not however preclude a REALTOR® from contacting consumers via other means such as direct mail. If a consumer, including “for sale by owners” places their telephone number on the DNCL then REALTORS® are not permitted to telephone or fax those persons. The main exceptions to this rule are calls to consumers who have given consent to be contacted. The Privacy Act already made it illegal for REALTORS® to contact the owners of properties for which the listing had expired and listing documents were subsequently changed to allow consumers to give their written consent to such contact. Further, the DNCL does not affect calls to a consumer with whom the REALTOR® has an existing business relationship nor does it pertain to calls made to a business telephone number.
REALTORS® are consumers as well and we too fall victim to the dinner hour calls by telemarketers selling all manner of goods and or services. The Do-Not-Call List is long overdue and like many of the other legislative changes that have impacted our profession in recent years is just one more requirement that will continue to change the face of organized real estate.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

July 2008 Real Estate Sales Soften

The months of July and August can often be somewhat unpredictable in terms of real estate sales and this year has thus far proven to be no exception. After posting abnormally strong sales in July 2007, this year July sales reflected a 31% decrease in revenue over the same month last year. MLS® sales throughout the Georgian Triangle totalled $42.7 million last month compared to $61.9 million in July 2007. A total of 173 residential units sold during the month versus 231 sales in July of last year which reflects a 25% decrease.
The hardest hit municipality was Wasaga Beach which saw the number of residential sales drop 54% from 52 sales in July 2007 to just 24 this past month. Sales results in other area municipalities for the month of July compared to July last year are as follows: Clearview -26%, Collingwood -15%, Town Blue Mountains -16%, Municipality of Meaford +18%, Grey Highlands -45%.
Area wide sales year-to-date are down 12% both in terms of units and dollars. Listing activity for the year has increased with the number of new residential MLS® listings in 2008 up 9%. Buyers currently have a abundance of MLS® listed properties available to choose from and with prices remaining stable, now is a good time to buy. For a complete synopsis of area real estate activity for the first 6 months of 2008, see my 2nd quarter Georgian Triangle Real Estate Newsletter

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Water Level Update

I spent this past week at my cottage on Manitoulin Island and was pleasantly surprised upon my arrival to see that since the last week of June, the water level on Lake Huron/Georgian Bay had risen significantly. After dipping near record low levels this past January, water levels in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay have rebounded thanks in part to last winter's heavy snowfall combined with an abundance of spring rain. Environment Canada reports that Lake Huron and Georgian Bay water levels are up 20 centimetres or 8 inches over July 2007. At the same time however Lake Huron is still 33 centimetres or 13 inches below its long term average. For those that were living in our area in the late 1980's, we are still 5 feet below those record setting levels. Last year saw Lake Superior's water level drop drastically last fall to its lowest level since 1926. This in turn affects the outflow of water to replenish Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Lake Superior as well has seen its water level return this year to near normal levels.
A five-year study is currently underway being conducted by the International Joint Commission that oversees the regulation of the Great Lakes. As previously reported in an earlier posting, the deepening of the St. Clair River both via dredging and erosion has been identified as one problem area that needs to be potentially addressed in order to stem the increased outflow of water from Lake Huron. Addtional information with respect to these issues can be obtained from the Georgian Bay Association.

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