Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Royal LePage Garage Sale A Huge Success

Thanks to the quantity and quality of goods donated by our friends, clients and other supporters as well as dismal day weatherwise, Collingwood shoppers were out in full force last Saturday for our charity Garage Sale in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.
The benefactor of this event locally is My Friend's House and I am very pleased to report that we raised almost $3,000 for this worthy cause.  Shoppers enjoyed a good selection of merchandise including furniture, kitchenwares, books, toys, clothing and more.  Special thanks also goes to the owners of the Cranberry Mews shopping plaza for allowing us to use one of the empty units inwhich to hold the sale.
  Putting this one-day event together takes a lot of work from picking up donated items, sorting, pricing and lastly the final clean-up.  It is very gratifying to achieve the results we obtained knowing that the monies earned goes to such a worthy cause.  Again a special thanks to those that donated items for the sale, to my fellow REALTORS® at Royal LePage Collingwood and especially to those of you that came out and made a purchase.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Is It Time for Gas Price Regulation?

  I receive an online summary of the top stories in the Globe and Mail newspaper via email each morning and today's lead story is titled "The Central Canada gas price puzzle."  Those of us living in Ontario and Quebec have been hammered in recent days with inexplicably high gas prices while the rest of Canada remains relatively unchanged.
  Is it long overdue for the federal government to step in and exercise some control over the pricing practices of the oil companies?  I for one think perhaps it is.  The recent spike in gas prices comes at a time when the price for a barrel of oil is well below some of the highs we have seen in the past.  The recent surge in pricing is being blamed on speculation.  Speculation?  Whose?  Name one other consumer product whose price fluctuates not only day-to-day but often several times within one day?  And since when should Canadian consumers living in a country blessed with large surpluses of oil be gouged based on speculation?  Our federal consumer watchdogs have turned a blind eye to this for years.  With the summer holiday season soon upon, unjustifiable high gas prices can and will have a profound impact on portions of the economy especially tourism and that is bound to hit us here in the Georgian Triangle.
  Regulating not necessarily gas prices but the timing and implementation of price increases is perhaps an alternative.  For those that might feel this is unreasonable or tantamount to government interference think again. Let's face it, government a different levels exercises control over the pricing of pharmaceuticals, hydro, alcohol, tobacco as well as some other goods and services.  Some of these items are less of a necessity to consumers than gasoline yet price increases must be applied for and phased in so-to-speak so as to not unduly harm consumers.
  It has become a matter of common practice for oil companies to defiantly and flagrantly disregard any thought of fair consumer practices yet quarter after quarter they report huge profits.  There is something dreadfully wrong with a system where the nightly news tells us how much we will be paying at the pump the following day when there are no mitigating circumstances to warrant such change. Huge reserves of oil and gas sit in storage tanks waiting to be distributed to consumers.  This inventory was typically produced months ago when the cost per barrel may have been much different than today and as such the cost of that inventory is not directly impacted by "speculation,"   I recently saw a cartoon where a fictitious oil company had a wheel in their boardroom similar to Wheel of Fortune.  The caption in the cartoon read: "It's time to jack up our prices to add to our record profits.  Give the wheel a spin to see what excuse we can give to the public." Although just a comic, to some degree you wonder if there isn't some element of truth to it!
  To see how much we are over-paying visit Tomorrows Gas Price Today and click on their Rip-Off Chart. The time is long overdue for some form of government intervention and that is the subject of my current online poll.  Tell us what you think.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Area Real Estate Sales - It's Looking Like 2009!

After posting gains in overall market activity in January and February, real estate sales in both March and April have weakened at a time when traditionally the market picks up with the arrival of spring.
  Unit sales in April were down 19% from April of last year while dollar revenue dropped 17%.  Year-to-date unit sales to the end of April are now 13% behind 2010 with 517 properties having sold this year as compared to 595 last year.  Sales revenue for the first four months has held up much better down just 13% driven by increased activity at the upper end of the market.  Year-to-date we have had 12 sales over $1 million reported through the MLS® system of the Georgian Triangle Real Estate Board (GTREB) versus 5 sales over $1 million in the first four months of 2010.
  Following the recessionary slowdown of 2008 and 2009, sales bounced back very strongly in the first half of 2010 then fell off later in the year.  As a result, we are comparing monthly sales in the early part of 2011 to some very healthy sales activity in the first half of last year. 
  Two addtional factors that have invariably affected sales of late is the weather and the federal election. Weather during the month of April was unseasonably cool, wet and just plain dull and did little to inspire the home buying public. A more significant factor perhaps in dampening sales was the recent federal election.  The uncertainty leading into either a federal or provincial election the results of which could bring about change in economic policy and or taxation etc. is bound to halt many from making large purchasing decisions.
  The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has forecasted a drop in residential unit sales for 2011 of 1.3%.  Sales activity across the country is expected to gain momentum in the latter half of 2011 as the economic recovery continues and employment strengthens.  If this is the case, market activity in 2011 will mirror that of 2009 when sales returned with a vengence in the latter half of the year, particularly during the 4th quarter.  This far, 2011 is shaping up very much like 2009 and only time will tell if this is indeed the case.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Smartphone" Real Estate Applications to Search MLS® Listings

As mentioned in my last posting titled Social Networking and Unmarketing more and more consumers are using their smartphone to access the Internet on a regular basis thus allowing them instant access to their social networking and other sites on demand regardless of where they are. 
  In response to the increased demand for immediate and efficient Internet access for MLS® real estate listings, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has released several applications for smartphones that allows ready and convenient access to http://www.realtor.ca/.  The most recent release was for Blackberry® devices.  I have just downloaded this "app" to my own phone and it works well.  Listed below are the various smartphone "apps" that are currently available to access http://www.realtor.ca/

Blackberry®
Apple iPhone
Windows® Phone 7

  Coming soon is the smartphone app for "Android" based smartphones.

 http://www.realtor.ca/ is by far the most popular consumer reasl estate website in Canada with over 3 million visitors monthly.  On this site you will find virtually every MLS® listed residential property in Canada that are currently listed for sale.  Worth pointing out is the fact that it takes 24 to 48 hours for new listings to be uploaded from the MLS® systems of the various real estate Boards across Canada to this site.  For those that wish to access current listings live and up to the minute, you can do so on many REALTOR®  websites including my own. Just click on Search MLS® Listings.  This will give you instant access to listings that are current right to the moment without the 24 to 48 hour delay associated with http://www.realtor.ca/ .

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.