Friday, August 31, 2012

Print Versus Online Advertising

  As a consumer, you are no doubt like me in that most of us turn to the Internet to obtain information about products or services we are looking to purchase. In addition to just acquiring information about my buying decisions, I have found my last to vehicles via an Internet search and have made numerous online purchases from eBay and Amazon including books, boat parts, computer accessories and more.

  As a long term car buff I can remember the days when the Toronto Star classifieds had column after column of cars listed for sale.  Those ads were later displaced by Auto Trader magazine followed by In real estate, the Internet has become the tool of choice when consumers are hunting for properties and REALTORS®.  With the growing magnitude of “online” based consumer purchasing activity it begs the question, what’s happened to the print advertising market.
  The attached graph was prepared by a Wall Street Analyst that follows the U.S. newspaper print advertising market.  This graph illustrates print versus online advertising trends in the U.S. from 1995 through 2010.  From 2005 on, money spent on print advertising has sharply declined whereas online ad spending has ramped up to the point where in 2010, online ad spending exceeded print.  While these numbers are reflective of the U.S. market, Canada has always been one of the leading countries re: Internet adoption/usage, so there is no reason to doubt that we are any different.
  We as REALTORS® continue to spend large amounts of money on print ads with little or no results for our seller clients.  Sure, it helps us to “brand” ourselves and often gains us more listings but it has been years since I sold a property based on a print ad no matter where it was placed.  Increasingly, I am, finding that potential seller clients are asking “which websites will you list my property on?” When you interview a REALTOR® to potentially list your property, this is the very question you should ask as well.  With so many of the potential buyers for properties in the Georgian Triangle living outside our region in the GTA and elsewhere, a strong online presence is essential in getting you property in front of the buying public.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

For Sale By Owner Listings & MLS®

  On numerous occasions I get asked by consumers about the "changes" they have vaguely heard or read about over the past couple of years pertaining to allegations from the Federal Competition Bureau that the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) is anti-competitive.
  First, these allegations were never proven.  However in response, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) which owns and maintains the consumer website and owns the MLS® and REALTOR® trademarks adopted some changes whereby consumers wishing to have nothing more than their property listed on MLS® could do so. 
  This change gave rise to various companies and or allowed indivdual REALTORS® should they choose, the opportunity to place a seller's property on their local MLS®  system for a fee.  These listings are techincally referred to a "mere postings" wherein the seller handles most or all of the selling activities on their own such as advertising, conducting open houses, negotiating any offers they receive etc. 
  Licensed REALTORS® are responsible for the integrity of everything we do which is why we are required by law to carry errors and omissions insurance.  This includes the accuracy of the information we provide with respect to a listed property.  Taxes, room sizes, zoning, available services and other pertinent information must be accurately determined and fully disclosed regarding a listed property including "mere postings."  This is done to ensure that information going out to consumers is accurate and any pertinent facts are fully disclosed.
  CREA has gone one step further and investigated the potential of allowing "For Sale by Owner" properties known as FSBO's and non-MLS® listed properties to be included on  After careful consideration and upon obtaining qualified legal opinion, the decision has been made to not allow this. 
  First, in allowing FSBO's and non-MLS® listed properties on it would jeopardize the MLS® and REALTOR® trademarks.  Secondly, the integrity of property information available to consumers on the CREA owned consumer real estate website would be compromised.
  In summary, consumers now have more choices in how they choose to market their properties.  A traditional full service MLS® listing has the REALTOR® doing all the work.  A mere posting allows a REALTOR® to place the seller's property on their respective MLS® system which feature the property on and thje seller handles the remaining aspects of the sale process.  Finally, the seller can go the "For Sale By Owner" route handling the entire process on their own with no MLS® presence.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Where Did All The Water Go?

  Although I do not own waterfront property in the Collingwood area I do have a cottage on Manitoulin Island just off Lake Huron which is one-in-the-same body of water. In the late 1980's the water level was such that is was up into the trees in the accompanying photo.  Since then it has done nothing but recede. Admittedly is was even lower in the mid 1960's.
  As a waterfront property owner and REALTOR® engaged in selling waterfront properties, I am keenly interested and have closely followed the steadily declining water levels in Georgian Bay and Lake Huron over the past several years. Further, I have attended many of the meetings held by the International Joint Commission (IJC) pertaining to their study of water levels in the Upper Great Lakes including the most recent one in Collingwood on July 17th. Their latest study focused primarily on the regulation of water flow from Lake Superior into Lakes Michigan, Huron and of course Georgian Bay. The initial regulation plan governing the outflow of water from Lake Superior was first established in 1921 and the most recent study was to ascertain what changes might be implemented to this regulation that would boost water levels in the aforementioned downstream lakes.
  Lakes Michigan and Huron are the only two of the five Great Lakes where there is no control of the outflow of water downstream into Lakes Erie and Ontario. Water from these two Upper Great Lakes runs unabated down the St. Clair River. Following dredging that was done in the 1960’s as part of the St. Lawrence Seaway project and further erosion of the river bed since then, studies have indicated that the volume of water flowing out of Lake Huron and Michigan is much greater than prior to the dredging or as earlier calculated by engineers involved with the project.
  I am no expert but common sense would suggest to me that revising the regulation plan to potentially allow more water to exit Lake Superior will have little impact on water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron given there is no control of water exiting these two lakes at the other end. To me it’s like pouring more water into a pail that has a whole in the bottom. I am sure that anyone concerned with the declining water levels in the Upper Great Lakes acknowledges that recent mild winters, hot dry summers such as the one we are having and climate change in general are playing some role in the diminished water levels. That perhaps would suggest there is all the more reason why a control mechanism must be installed on the St. Clair River to permit the regulation of water flowing out as well as in. If it was important to have a regulation plan in place back in 1921 governing the flow of water coming in from Lake Superior then I would suggest we are 91 years behind in implementing the same type of control plan at the other end.
  The recent meetings both here in Collingwood and at Little Current on Manitoulin Island in mid-July were politely vociferous affairs. Those in attendance were insistent that the IJC must make a recommendation(s) to the various levels of governments to implement corrective action(s) whatever they may be, to increase the water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron. While I am in favour of both Canada and the U.S. in being good global citizens with respect to assisting less fortunate nations, charity as they say begins at home. Let’s take some of the millions of dollars earmarked to be spent elsewhere and invest it in maintaining what is undoubtedly one of our most important natural assets, the fresh water found in our “Great” Lakes.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Highway 26 Re-Alignment Nears Completion

After a couple of false starts, the long anticipated completion of the re-alignment of Highway 26 from Wasaga Beach to Collingwood is nearing completion with a scheduled opening date later this fall.  Work is currently underway to complete the beginning section at Wasaga Beach south of Mosley Street as well as on the terminus at the Collingwood end where the new road will merge with the existing Highway 26 by the Pilkington Glass plant.
  This new road will offer a much more efficient, safer and attractive approach to Collingwood and is something that is long overdue.  Initiated some years ago when the Provincial Progressive Conservatives were in power, the project was shelved when Dalton McGuinty and company were elected.  The delay has been so lengthy that although a good portion of the route was once cleared, sizable trees had once again grown back in place.  A portion of the road is now open off what is known as the local Collingwood Airport Road aka the Nottawasaga 33/34 Side Road to Mosley Street.
  What remains to be seen in the minds of many, is how efficient and safe the two roundabouts at Mosley Street and Poplar Side Road are going to work.  It's one thing to have single opposing lanes of traffic merge into the roundabouts such as at Poplar Side Road and High Street as well as on Mountain Road.  In the case of these newest traffic circles, there are two lanes travelling in each direction entering the circles which may result in some hairy moments for the more timid of drivers or for those simply not paying attention.  Time will tell....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Area Single Family Home Sales Up 12% in 2012

  Single family home sales reported through the MLS® system of the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® (GTAR) are up 12% to the end of July compared with the first 7 months of 2011. A total of 806 homes have been sold versus 718 through the end of July last year.

  MLS® condominium sales remain unchanged from 2011 with a total of 184 condominiums sold year-to-date. What has changed however is the location of those sales. Condo sales in Collingwood during the first 7 months of 2012 total 117 properties up 16% from the 101 units sold year-to-date July 2011. Condominium sales in the Blue Mountains however are down 30% this year with 48 MLS® sales reported compared to 69 units sold in the first 7 months of 2011.

  Vacant land sales while not robust, are up 8% this year with 77 MLS® sales reported thus far. With an abundance of MLS® listed re-sale properties on the market and the high cost of building, many buyers are simply electing to purchase and if necessary renovate an existing dwelling versus engage in a lengthy building process.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Grey Highland Sales Up 57% in 2012

During the past 2 to 3 years, real estate sales through much of the Georgian Triangle have steadily come back following the most recent economic downturn which started in late 2007. By the end of last year, most area municipalities began to see a return to more consistent real estate sales activity.

Two exceptions were the municipalities of Grey Highlands and Meaford which in 2011 saw sales decreases in the 20% to 25% range. Seven months into 2012, this trend has completely reversed itself with year-to-date MLS® unit sales in Grey Highlands and the Municipality of Meaford up 57% and 18% respectively. No doubt the closure of Talisman Resort has had some impact on recreational property sales in the Beaver Valley, part of Grey Highlands. While Talisman continues to remained closed and is for sale, Grey Highlands real estate has once again become popular with 74 MLS® sales thus far in 2012 versus just 47 sales in the first 7 months of 2011.

The Municipality of Meaford which includes the former Municipalities of Sydenham and St. Vincent has up until last year seen steady growth as buyers have headed west of the major ski resorts in search of better pricing. Year-to-date MLS® sales total 67 properties, 10 more than what had sold during the first 7 months of 2011.

Year-to-date MLS® sales in the municipalities throughout our area are as follows:
  • Clearview 97 sales up 3% from 2011
  • Collingwood 204 sales up 7%
  • Grey Highlands 74 sales up 57%
  • Municipality of Meaford 67 sales up 18%
  • Town Blue Mountains 95 sales up 17%
  • Wasaga Beach 242 sales up 13%
  Market activity is expected to remain stable through the balance of 2012.  As we get through August and into September, recreational buyers begin to think about the coming ski season so certain segments of the market ie: condos and ski chalet sales typically increase through the fall months.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Real Estate Sales Rebound in July

  After taking a downturn in June, area real estate sales in July rebounded nicely posting significant gains over the results from July 2011. Unit sales as reported through the MLS® system of the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® (GTAR) totaled 186 properties an increase of 8% from the prior year. Dollar revenue for the month was up 19% stemming from the fact that there were a number of high-end sales in the $500,000 to $1.5 million + range processed for the month. Activity in the upper end of our market has been slower this year than anticipated so it was encouraging to see this segment of the market begin to gain some momentum as we head into the fall selling season.
  Year-to-date MLS® sales in the area now total 1,163 properties, a 9% increase in sales over the first 7 months of 2011 when1,063 MLS® sales were reported. MLS® dollar revenue as of the end of July stands at $337.4 million, up7% from the $316.1 million sold through the end of July last year. This year we are seeing a much higher level of sales activity in the $200,000 to $499,999 price range as buyers take advantage of the continuing low interest rates to move up to more substantial homes. Sales in the $200,000 to $350,000 segment are up 12% with 561 sales reported this year compared to 502 in 2011. In the $350,000 to $499,999 range, sales are similarly up 11% with 161 properties sold year-to-date versus 145 last year.
  There continues to be an abundance of inventory listed for sale. Year-to-date 4,246 new listings have been processed compared to 4,033 in the first 7 months of last year, an increase of 5%. Essentially 1 out of every 3.6 properties listed for sales sells. At the end of July there was 25 months of unsold housing inventory on the market.
  In my next posting I will review year-to-date area sales by type ie: single family versus condo etc. as well as how sales are stacking up in the various municipalities throughout our area. In the meantime, should you have any questions or to confidentially discuss your personal real estate goals, please do not hesitate to Contact Me.

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Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4


Direct: 705-443-1037

Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230


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