Sunday, October 25, 2009

October Real Estate Sales Surge!

With 0ne week still remaining in the month, October real estate sales have already far surpassed those of October 2008.
Month-to-date sales through to October 25th total $41.3 million and given the current rate of activity may well pass the $51 million mark by month-end. Back in October of 2008 we were in the early stages of a significant economic slowdown and real estate sales across the country were falling substantially in all major markets. Georgian Triangle real estate sales in October of last year totalled just $26.8 million hence we are already $14.5 million or 54% of last year's volume for the same month.
Back in March, year-to-date sales for the first quarter in our area were down 40% in terms of units and 47% in dollars. Subsequent months have seen a reversal of fortune as beginning in April we saw this trend begin to turn. Unit sales in June, July and August were up 16%, 27% and 30% respectively. As noted in my 3rd Quarter Real Estate Newsletter I predicted that by year-end, total area sales for 2009 would surpass those of 2008. Given the current rate of activity this month, year-to-date sales by the end of October may very well exceed year-to-date sales for the same period last year.
With a high level of consumer confidence, low interest rates and a substantial inventory of property for buyers to choose from, the remaining months of 2009 should see continued strength in our market as we head into 2010.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How Many Bedrooms Does Your Home Have?

With more and more real estate information now available to consumers online either through individual REALTOR® websites or via , the accuracy of listing information with respect to any given property is becoming increasingly important and often frustrating.
As licensed REALTORS® we are required to carry errors and omissions insurance and we are in fact responsible for not only the accuracy of our work reading Agreements of Purchase and Sale but also with the listing of properties as well. For example, the Alliance for Canadian Real Estate Education (ACRE) has specific guidelines to follow with respect to measuring the square footage of a home in order to ensure there is no misrepresentation.
One of the more contentious issues of late is with respect to the number of bedrooms a home may have. A room without a closet is not technically a bedroom. More importantly a room in a basement without a window does not constitute a bedroom. Building code requirements stipulate specific window sizes for basement bedrooms so as to allow adequate space for a person to escape through in the event of a fire etc.
The correct format relative to accurately portraying bedrooms in a real estate listing is as follows. If a home has 3 bedrooms above grade and 1 in the basement then the listing should read 3+1 bedrooms not 4 bedrooms. A house with 2 bedrooms up and 2 down would be 2+2 bedrooms etc. To this point in time, does not have the ability to differentiate bedrooms in this manner. Consequently a home with 1 bedroom on the main floor and 2 in the basement would appear online as a 1 bedroom home. Understandably this infuriates the seller. Later in November, the Canadian Real Estate Association will be implementing programming changes to that will correct this shortcoming.
In the meantime if you were thinking of selling you home, how many "legitimate" bedrooms does it have?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Royal LePage - Canada's Leading Real Estate Voice

As a real estate Broker affiliated with Royal LePage, I am afforded a great many marketing and other tools that helps me service my valued clients as a better REALTOR®. Royal LePage is the most frequently quoted authority on residential real estate in Canada. Our numerous reports including the Survey of Canadian Hose Prices, the Recreational Property Report, First-Time Homebuyers Report and others are all valuable tools that help us, help you be a better informed real estate consumer.
A recent article in the Vancouver Sun entitled "Rebound in house prices doesn't point to boom" quoted Phil Sopher of Royal LePage as saying "increase in sales activity and firming of house prices are the product of a normal market correction and not the beginning of another aggressive expansionary cycle.'' Mr. Sopher further went on to say that "Once housing supply returns to normal levels, we believe the economy will support low pricing growth into 2010."
We are certainly seeing this throughout the Georgian Triangle. Sales have recovered in recent months and as I stated in a prior posting, we fully anticipate that real estate activity in our area during 2009 will surpass 2008. Pricing has by and large remained stable with price reductions coming primarily on those properties that were grossly overpriced to start with now being reduced or are being taken off the market altogether. Significant price increases should not pose a threat as there is still an ample selection of both new and resale housing inventory for buyers to choose from and their willingness to "over-pay" is virtually non-existent.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bank of Canada May Have to Raise Interest Rates

Amid rapidly increasing prices in real estate in some markets and with some stocks, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney may have to reconsider his stance on maintaining low interest rates as a means to keep the economy moving out of the current recession. This according to an article in today's Globe and Mail.
As I have previously stated, one of the by-products stemming from a slowdown in real estate activity is the creation of a pent-up demand for housing once consumer confidence returns. The increased demand often sparks a run-up in pricing and that is already becoming evident in some markets. Clients here in the Collingwood area whose home we have recently sold and are moving back to the GTA, recently lost out on the purchase of a home for which there were 8 competing offers. Ultimately the house sold above the listed price. The Bank of Canada's stance is that surging housing prices will cool down once pent-up demand dissipates as those who were too afraid to buy homes during the peak of the recession now move forward with making their purchases.
The Central Bank's position had been to maintain low interest rates until 2011 however some other countries ie: Australia have moved to increase interest rates as a means to keep inflation in check. This is a situation which will no doubt be watched closely in the coming weeks and should consumers detect an upward movement in rates, this too will perhaps spur greater real estate activity and subsequently higher prices. More to follow....

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Georgian Triangle 3rd Quarter Real Estate Sales Jump 22%!

With signs that Canada is slowly moving out of the current economic recession, consumer confidence has risen sharply bolstering the sale of big ticket items including real estate. Overall, the national housing market has roared back surprising virtually everyone and the local real estate market is no exception.
Area real estate sales in the 3rd quarter as reported through the MLS® system of the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board were 22% better than the 3rd quarter of 2008. Residential unit sales were up 27% and 30% in July and August respectively while September posted an 8% gain. It was during the 3rd quarter of last year that real estate sales began to significantly decline as consumers took a wait-and-see attitude with respect to the economic outlook before making any commitments with respect to their plans regarding real estate. Low mortgage rates have continued to help fuel the housing market and the Bank of Canada has committed to holding rates until early 2010 so buyers need not feel that times is running out.
Gregory Klump the Chief Economist for the Canadian Real Estate Association was in Collingwood lately giving local REALTORS® and update of the national housing market with emphasis on our area in particular. With the ongoing strength in consumer confidence and low interest rates, the outlook for strong sales in both the 4th quarter of 2009 and first half of 2010 looks very promising and I fully anticipate that real estate sales in our area for 2009 will surpass the $438 million in area property sales that we saw in 2008. For a complete summary of real estate activity throughout our area please read my 3rd Quarter Georgian Triangle Real Estate Newsletter.

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Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

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