Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"This Old House" - Collingwood Version

  I will be the first one to admit that I like “projects.”  Projects of all types, business projects, volunteer & community projects and projects around my home and cottage both indoors and out.  I am an fan of home renovation shows both from a personal interest standpoint but also because of my real estate business.  Often, clients are looking for ideas or are asking questions about a home they may be considering and it helps to have some construction and renovation knowledge.  I am also fortunate to have been born with some natural skills which were further developed in my youth working with two of my uncles that were carpenter contractors.  I am just finishing a renovation of my kitchen done with my own hands and skills which I will elaborate on in a future post, with before and after photos.

  Almost daily I see and marvel at the scope of a "project" that someone has undertaken with a property in Collingwood.  The house in question sold in early 2012 and I had the opportunity to show the property to clients prior to that.  The property in question “was” a lovely century or so old six bedroom, 3.5 bath red brick home. It had received at some point, a family room addition somewhat contemporary in design which to me was totally out of character with the rest of the house.  In total it was over 3,000 square feet, it had a double car garage and an in-ground swimming pool.  This is the before photo.

  The buyer(s) of this home obviously like “projects” as well.  The house has been gutted including removing the entire the original roof structure.  The double car garaged?  Gone!  The in-ground swimming pool?  Gone!  Once the demolition work was completed, all that remained of the house was the four brick walls of the home's original footprint.

   Notwithstanding the obvious cost, this is a project of a magnitude that few would have the intestinal fortitude and or patience to undertake.  It would in fact make for a great home renovation TV show that could runs for weeks.  I commend the buyers taking on such a project and for preserving a piece of Collingwood’s history.  Too often older homes especially in places like Toronto, are bought, leveled and replaced with something while lovely, often lacks the character of the home they replaced.   

  It will be interesting to watch this “project” as it progresses.  Having been in the home previously, I would be delighted to have the opportunity to view the finished product.  If not, it may very well end up as a story in one of the area’s numerous magazines. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Record Dollar Sales Projected for Area Real Estate in 2013

MLS® sales activity reported by the Southern Georgian BayAssociation of REALTORS® have been very strong during 2013 and it would appear that we are heading for a record year in terms of dollar sales volume as reported through our local MLS® system.

  Attached is a graph I have prepared which summarizes MLS® unit sales on an annual basis over the past 10 years.  Despite the fact that we had seen a significant increase in annual dollar sales volume during this period, annual MLS® unit sales of individual properties have for the most part remained flat and are in fact trending downward.  For the most part, MLS® sales do not include the sale of new homes in the various subdivisions around our market area.  These sales are for the most part, handled by sales personnel working strictly on behalf of the builder/developer.  Many of the area’s larger subdivisions such as Creekside and Georgian Meadows in Collingwood have enjoyed very strong sales activity.  For every new home sold, that is essentially one less resale home sale going through the local MLS® system.  Eventually these new homes will change hands and no doubt as the result of a MLS® sale transaction, but for now, new homes sales are to a reasonable degree, stifling any significant increases in annual MLS® sales.

  Where we are seeing significant growth is in the sale of higher priced homes and this is what is fueling the dollar volume increases we are seeing through our MLS® system.  Year-to-date sales of homes above $1.5 million during the first nine months of 2013 total 7 properties whereas last year during the same time there were just 3.  Similarly there has been a significant increase in sales between $350,000 to $500,000, and also between $500,000 to $800,000 with sales in both of these price ranges up 17% year-to-date.  With the migration of retirees to our area just in the early stages combined with further expansion of the recreational housing market, I expect we will continue to see sales in these upper price ranges increase annually thus driving both higher MLS® sales volume as well as continued increases in the average residential price for homes in the area.

  What I have outlined herein is of significant importance to both Buyers and Sellers especially the latter, and in my next post I will explain further.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Quebec Real Estate Boards Threaten to Jump Ship!

Unhappy with the current direction of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the Montreal and Quebec Real Estate Boards
are threatening to leave CREA and will strike out on their own. 

What does this mean? With a combined membership of approximately 24,000 REALTORS®, the Montreal and Quebec City real estate boards are amongst the largest in the country.  Should they opt to leave CREA, it will mark the departure of upwards of 25% of CREA’s total membership.  Leaving CREA is no small task.  CREA owns and operates the Multiple ListingService® (MLS®) as well as the MLS®, REALTOR® and other trademarks.  With no further association/membership with CREA, the Montreal and Quebec City Boards would be forced to establish their own property listing “system(s)” as they would no longer have access to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®).

  The MLS® system we have in Canada is the envy of many other countries including the U.S.   I lived and travelled extensively throughout the U.S. for four years and I can attest to the fact that they have a very fragmented MLS® system with some states having multiple systems in which to search for properties.  This makes it very difficult to search for a home as effectively there is no one online site whereby you can access all of the properties for sale in a given region.  Should the Montreal and Quebec City real estate boards follow through with their departure from CREA, this could well open the door for other large boards such as Toronto to do the same.

  There is no one specific reason for the dissatisfaction being expressed by the provincial REALTORS® in Quebec.  Among their concerns are the regular increases of annual dues that CREA thrusts upon us as members.  At the same time, CREA’s expenses are being called into question with expensive meeting locations and other costs being looked at that ultimately do not add value to the efforts of individual REALTORS®.  Just as consumers question our commissions and the value we bring to their real estate needs, we too question the costs that we incur as licensed REALTORS® relative to the day-to-day operation and success of our individual businesses.

  The most significant complaint however maintains CREA’s direction with respect to the MLS® system itself.  Many REALTORS® across Canada feel that CREA failed to adequately protect the MLS® trademark and the overall integrity of the MLS® system when challenged by Canada’s Competition Bureau.  As the number of monthly visitors to reflects, Canadian consumers have enjoyed the benefits of a well established nation-wide MLS® system for many years.  Upwards of 5 million visits per month are made to by Canada’s real estate hungry consumers.  Whether you live in Toronto and are relocating to Vancouver, or you are looking to move from St. John’s Newfoundland to Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, you can from the comfort of your home, your car or while sitting in your favourite Wi-Fi  equipped coffee shop, search for property from one end of the country to the other.  That to me is an invaluable asset that Canadians consumers have with respect to buying and selling real estate that few other countries offer.

I hope the two Quebec based real estate associations can resolved the sticking points that have resulted in their dissatisfaction with CREA and their desire to leave.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Area Real Estate Sales up 15% in the 3rd Quarter

  Area real estate sales reported through the MLS® system of the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® (GTAR) (which includes the municipalities of Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Clearview, The Blue Mountains, Grey Highlands and Meaford) totaled $187.9 million in the 3rd Quarter reflecting a 15% increase in sales over the 3rd Quarter of 2013.  Sales during the month of September were particular strong with unit sales and dollar volume for the month up 28% and 35% respectively from one year ago.  

  Year-to-date sales volume for the first nine months of 2013 now totals $485.8 million, reflecting a 9.8% increase over MLS® property sales of $442.5 million during the same period in 2012.  A total of 1,644 properties changed hands during the first nine months of 2013 versus 1,517 during the same period of 2012, an 8.4% increase year over year.
  The number of new listings for the first nine months of 2013 now totals 5,168 properties, a decrease of 2.8% over the same period in 2012.   The strongest month for new listings in 2013 was April, when 706 new listings came onto the market. This sharp increase in new listings during April is consistent with the arrival of the spring selling season.  The number of expired listings has decreased this year, down 5.0% through the end of the 3rd Quarter.  As the result of fewer new and expired MLS® listings year-to-date, there has been a reduction in the overall available housing inventory listed for sale.  This is effectively leading to more balanced market 
conditions overall for both buyer and seller.  

Following several months of very soft sales activity, the Municipality of Meaford and the Township of Clearview are now exhibiting the strongest demand for residential homes in our area.  MLS® unit sales in the Municipality of Meaford and Township of Clearview through the 3rd Quarter are up 24.1% and 16.5% respectively.  Sales in other area municipalities are as follows: Wasaga Beach up 2.4%, The Blue Mountains up 2.3%, while the Municipality of Grey Highlands and Collingwood showed weaker units sales with decreases of 12.2% and 3.0% respectively.

 Year-to-date MLS® unit sales through the 3rd Quarter shows increases in every price range: under $200,000 price range reflected a 12.9% increase over third quarter 2012 year-to-date, while sales between $200,000 and $350,000 were up a modest 1.5% increase.  Sales between $350,000 and $500,000 are up 17%, while sales between $500,000 and $800,000 increased 16.7%.  Sales between $800,000 and $1 Million showed the greatest increase at 35.7%, while year-to-date sales over $1 Million are up by 1 unit (4.5%.)

 Given the current pace of sales activity, 2013 is shaping up to be a record year for MLS® sales activity in the Georgian Triangle.  I anticipate we will see over $600 million worth of area properties being sold through our local MLS® system before the end of the year.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Announcing - New Area Real Estate Association

  It’s official!  The merger between the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® and the Southern Georgian Bay Real Estate Association in Midland is now complete.

  The new “merged” organization based out of 243 St Marie Street in Collingwood is now known as the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® (SGBAR).  Total SGBAR membership is approximately 480 REALTOR® members.

  The accompanying map outlines the geographical boundary for which SGBAR has Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) jurisdiction.  It covers the areas that previously fell under the Southern Georgian Bay Real Estate Association which includes the Towns of Midland and Penetanguishene, the surrounding communities of Elmvale, Port McNicoll, Victoria Harbour, Coldwater, Port Severn, Honey Harbour and Tiny as well as Tay, Springwater, Oro-Medonte, Severn and Georgian BayTownships.  Also included are those areas previously within the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® which included the municipalities of Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, Clearview Township, The BlueMountains, Municipality of Meaford and Grey Highlands.  As you will note, the new Association essentially covers the entire bottom portion of Georgian Bay.

  From both a recreational and a retirement standpoint, Southern Georgian Bay continues to attract a growing increase from those potentially looking to acquire property.  This merger will result in a stronger Association of local real estate experts, better positioned to adapt to the ongoing changes in technology and other issues that continue to impact the real estate profession, while at the same time allowing us to meet the increased demands from consumers for more comprehensive information and improved overall service.    

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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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