Sunday, May 31, 2009

Collingwood Can Learn From Other's Mistakes

When the shipyards closed in 1986, Collingwood was handed a tremendous opportunity to regain its waterfront and this was partially secured when plans were established with the Fram Building Group to construct The Shipyards, a residential housing project which included a proposed pedestrian walkway along the water.
As a native of Toronto it was unfortunate to see Toronto's waterfront ultimately offer such limited access to the public. The Gardiner Expressway has taken a lot of the blame for having created a barrier between Torontonians and Lake Ontario. The reality however is that a significant portion of Toronto's waterfront with the exception of Ontario Place and Queens Quay has become dominated by expensive high-rise condo projects. It is these and not the Gardiner that has created the barrier that prevents the public-at-large from accessing what should be the crown jewel of the city.
I lived in Chicago for four years during which time I always admired how that city had maintained abundant access to its waterfront with parks, marinas and venues such as the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium etc. As a frequent business traveler throughout the U.S., I visited about 45 out of the 50 states and saw first-hand what numerous U.S. communities had done to take advantage of their waterfront locations not to mention the preservation of their architectural heritage.
Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco for example is a major tourist destination with annual visitors numbering into the hundreds of thousands. The ability for people to access a waterfront, to sit at an outdoor cafĂ©, shop, even to just stroll around looking at the water, passing boats etc. has an almost hypnotic affect. Whatever the reason, people are naturally drawn to water and Collingwood has a tremendous opportunity to development this major attribute into both a cultural and economic phenomena.
This past week, Collingwood Council viewed a conceptual plan presented by its Leisure Services department to transform the waterfront area into a facility that would draw upon and service the needs of recreational boaters. The plan would call for increased boat dockage eventually totaling approximate 500 slips. There would also be a provision for amenities such as washroom and laundry facilities and a variety of other services. This plan should also however focus of pedestrians, giving both The Shipyards and other Collingwood residents as well as visitors to the area, ample opportunity and reason to visit what might ultimately be one of the main economic drivers to the area. We have at our doorstep one of the most remarkable and scenic bodies of fresh water in the world. Our waterfront represents a unique opportunity with limitless potential and I would urge our Council to explore the development of this valued asset. We may not have the warm year-round weather of a San Francisco, nonetheless we still have the makings of a great waterfront venue that can be used and enjoyed several months of the year. Ultimately it was the accessibility to the water that set the foundation for this community's future and that opportunity is before us once again. Let's not make the same mistake that Toronto and other cities and towns have done by isolating the public from one of the very features that makes our town the draw that it is.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our First Garage Sale A Great Success!

This past Saturday, over 100 Royal LePage offices across Canada held a Garage Sale in support of the Royal LePage Shelter foundation. Here in Collingwood, this event proved to be both a lot of work, a lot of fun and in the end was a very successful fundraiser for our first effort.
We raised over $1,650 with 100% of these proceeds going to support the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation which supports the needs of women and children that are the victims of family violence. Proceeds from our local event will go to support My Friend's House.
On behalf of those of us with Royal LePage Collingwood, I would like to thank the many clients, friends and the public-at large that supported our efforts with their donations of unwanted clothing and other items as well as for their purchases. In addition, a word of thanks goes out to Tim Hortons who provided free coffee and donuts, to Boston Pizza for their donation of pizza for our hard working volunteers and also to Burl's Creek Family Event Park for supplying tables for the sale.
This was truly a fun event for a great cause. Fundraising events such as this are a tremendous way for we as REALTORS® to give back to the very community(s) we make our livings from and the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment we receive is reward enough for all the hard work. Thanks again to all of you that participated in helping us make this day the success that it was.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Timing-The-Market Is Like Playing the Slots

The most frequently asked question that those of us in real estate are faced with these days is what’s happening with prices? Despite the fact that real estate sales activity has diminished in recent months, the demand for area property hasn’t and it has been proven repeatedly that a depressed market is typically followed by sustained periods of robust real estate sales and increasing prices. This stems from the pent-up demand that has resulted from buyers having sat on the sidelines for weeks if not months as they try to “time the market.” Real estate sales have in fact has led us out of many an economic downturns and this will likely be the case this time as well.
If you are a buyer attempting to “time the market” you are no doubt holding off making a purchase with the belief that both prices and interest rates may or will drop. As such, you are not trying to “time” just one aspect of the market but two which makes the perfect timing of your purchase even more unattainable. Buying real estate should not be treated like the purchase of a stock, mutual fund or priming that one particular slot machine for the big pay-off. Real estate is typically purchased based on family and or lifestyle needs yet when we are in a market that has shifted towards a decline that very same purchase gets more driven based on price.
Prior to entering real estate I came from a corporate background much of which involved manufacturing. As the quest for improved quality became ever increasingly more important for virtually every business no matter what your product, the goal was to strive for “zero defects,” a virtually unattainable goal that meant to reduce your costs while improving customer satisfaction. For buyers, trying to time-the-market the market is a lot like the unattainable goal of “zero defects.” The only way in which you will ever know when prices have bottomed out is when they have already started to increase. By then you’ve missed the bottom and perhaps the chance to buy the perfect property for your family and lifestyle which is what the purchase should have been based on all along.
My prior goal with every buyer client is to find them the property they need and want in the price range they can afford. In addition to this I also Endeavour to ensure they obtain good value, a property that will be a good investment and one with good resale potential. Right now the market is filled excellent opportunities for buyers to obtain just that. The selection of MLS® listed properties has never been better. Prices are stable and interest rates for those requiring a mortgage are exceptional. Now is in fact the “perfect storm” for buyers and those waiting to “time-the-market” may well miss the opportunity of a lifetime.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Royal LePage National Garage Sale for Sheltor

May is Shelter month at Royal LePage. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation was founded with the primary goal of raising both money and awareness to help end family violence. On Saturday, May 23rd 2009, Royal LePage Collingwood will be one of the dozens of Royal LePage offices across Canada to host the “National Garage Sale for Shelter” in support of the Shelter Foundation.
Proceeds from the National Garage Sale for Shelter will help restore hope for more than 30,000 women and children. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to funding women’s shelters and violence prevention programs. Because all of the Foundation's administrative costs are underwritten by Royal LePage, 100% of all donations go directly to helping women and children across Canada each year. Royal LePage REALTORS® have raised more than $9 million to create safer homes and safer communities.
Mark Saturday May 23rd on your calendar and please plan to attend our Garage Sale being held from 7:00am to 11:00am at the Royal LePage Plaza, 330 First Street (corner of Cedar and 1st Streets) in Collingwood. If you have items that you wish to donate please call our office at 445-5520 to arrange drop or please feel free to Contact Me directly. 100% of all money raised through this event goes directly to help restore hope for woman and children in pour community.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Area Real Estate Sales Improving

Spring has brought with it increased activity in the real estate market throughout the Georgian Triangle. After a lengthy period of unprecedented market growth in virtually every month throughout the year, the general economic slowdown has brought with it market conditions that are more consistent with the seasonal ebb and flow of the past.
MLS® sales activity in April as reported through the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board were much stronger than in the prior three months of 2009 with sales totaling $43 million compared to monthly sales of $11 million, $19 million and $23 million in January, February and March respectively. Year-to-date sales for the year are still well below the same 4 months of 2008 at $98 million versus $152 million last year which reflects a decrease of 35.5%. Notwithstanding this drop in total dollar volume, sales each month in 2009 have been steadily trending upward as is evidenced via the accompanying graph. (Click on graph to enlarge)
A total of 398 units have sold thus far in 2009 as compared to 580 in the first 4 months of 2008, a decrease of 31.2%. What was encouraging to see in April was renewed activity at the upper in of the market. Residential sales in all price categories above $500,000 became extremely scarce in the latter half of 2008 when signs that an economic slowdown was eminent. A total of 11 MLS® sales above $500,000 were recorded in April as compared to 14 in April 2008. Most notably were two sales over $900,000 whereas there were none of this value in the same month last year.
The number of new listings that have come on the market in 2009 are down 4.8%. The number of expired listings year-to-date have increased substantially over last year (35.2%) as sellers, unable to get the lofty prices they had hoped have elected to take their property off the market pending more favourable market conditions.
The overall 12 month “average” residential MLS® sale price for our area stands at $273,449 which is a 4.1% drop from the 12 month average of $285,054 at this time last year. As I have stressed in the past, changes in “average” residential prices up or down should not be misconstrued as representing price appreciation or depreciation across the board. The mix of properties being sold in the various price ranges has a significant impact on the average price. As such, a more detailed look into the specific price range, neighbourhood or area that you may be considering selling or buying in needs to be made. Case in point, the average price in the Town of Collingwood has actually been increasing in recent months.
For further information into market conditions not contained herein or if you have a specific question you would like answered, please feel free to contact me without obligation rickcrouch@propertycollingwood.com.

Contact Me

Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4



Email:
rickcrouch@propertycollingwood.com



Direct: 705-443-1037



Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230




Website:
www.rickcrouch.realtor















My Profile

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.