Friday, November 22, 2013

Canadian Real Estate Association MLS® Sales Statistics

For the most part, REALTORS ® are often accused of looking at the world through rose coloured glasses, forever optimistic about the real estate market in terms of sales and prices almost to the point of exaggerating the situation.

  For the past several years, some media pundits have been critical of Canada's real estate market claiming that properties in Canada are over-valued, the market is doomed and headed for a major correction.  Adding to these claims, recently there have been media articles about the Canadian Real Estate Association's (CREA's) monthly resale housing information that question the accuracy of the data. These articles have been generated by completely unfounded and uninformed accusations from observers outside of the real estate industry. CREA catagorically states that "They are wrong and we want to assure our membership that you – and your clients – can count on the statistical information we publish."

These observers point to duplicate listings on as their evidence of "double-counting" without acknowledging that is simply a consumer marketing site. The statistics used by CREA's economics team for analysis and reporting do not come from, rather they are generated by various Real Estate Board and Association MLS® Systems across the country and are provided to CREA by those Boards and Associations.  

  The issue at hand is the question of what are commonly known as "duplicate listings."  A duplicate listing arises when a REALTOR® such as myself, lists a property for sale on the MLS® system of both our local real estate association the Southern Georgian Bay Associations of REALTORS® and say also on the MLS® system of the Toronto or Barrie Real Estate Associations.  The claim being made is that when an MLS® sale is reported, that sale is duplicated by its presence on other Real Estate Association's  MLS® systems thus inflating the sales being reported.  First, duplicate listings represent less than 0.8 per cent of all residential listings listed for sale.  In many areas, including where these are heavily concentrated, they are managed or deleted by the Boards and Association involved and as such, are not double counted for the purpose of statistical reporting of monthly MLS® data.  If any such duplicate listing were to slip through the cracks, it represents a fraction of a fraction of one per cent. This is not statistically significant, particularly as it relates to the identification of trends.

  CREA maintains absolute confidence in the quality and accuracy of statistics it receives from Boards and Associations that are generated from MLS® Systems across Canada.  The numbers are what they are, good bad or indifferent.  As previously reported, the local real estate market is headed for a record year in terms of MLS® sales.  As of this posting, we have already surpassed the MLS® sales volume for November 2012 and we still have five reporting days yet to go.  By the end of November we may very well break the $600 million barrier is terms of MLS® sales for 2013, a level never before attained and with one month still remaining in the year.  That is no exaggeration, it is a fact.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

BELL CANADA - A Company I Have Come To .....

  One company that I have come to loathe is Bell Canada. Based on my experience they are the epitome of lousy customer service and poor value for the services they provide. 

  At one time my business with Bell consisted of my home and cellular phones along with their satellite television.  All that remains is my cellular phone and based on my most recent experience, that too may be short lived when my contract is up for renewal.

  On November 6th I visited the new Bell store on Hurontario Street in Collingwood.  That location is in fact not a “Bell” store, but a franchise and in my opinion it should be clearly indicated as such.  Real estate offices are essentially the same.  My office is in effect not Royal LePAGE per say, but an independently owned and operated Brokerage and by law, it must be identified as such but I digress. 

  The purpose of my visit was (a) to see if my current cellular plan was the best one based on my usage and (b) I wanted to purchase a roaming package for a trip I was making to the U.S.  In all fairness the salesperson in the store was helpful.  She verified that there was a more cost effective cellular plan for me to be on but I would have to contact Bell themselves to make the switch.  Has Bell ever called to offer me a better plan based on my cellular phone and data usage?  No.  Why not?   My bank calls periodically to advise me of a better package for my banking needs and good for them.  That’s how you build a stronger relationship with your valued clients.

  After returning to my office I called Bell direct, verified that the plan recommended to me was in fact better, made the switch and also purchased a roaming package at a cost of $60 to take effect the following day, November 7thBell’s roaming packages are for 30 days in duration only.  Why?  How many people take a holiday or are otherwise away for 30 days.  Why are they not available say on a per day basis?  Because they essentially have you under contract, a monopoly so-to-speak and can get away with it that’s why.
  Six days later while in Santa Barbara, California I received a text message from Bell advising that me I was exceeding my data plan suggesting I call them for a roaming package, which I had already bought.  I called them only to find that my roaming package had inadvertently been applied to my son’s cellular phone (he is on my bill).  After some 25 minutes on the phone I got the mess sorted out or so I thought.  The following day I had no network access for data so no emails either in or out.  Despite two more calls to Bell I remained unable to send or receive emails for the remaining 5 days of my travel as they had effectively suspended my data access.

  Upon returning to Canada thus ending my roaming, my network access started again but only after I powered my phone off and on.  Two days later (yesterday) my emails ceased coming yet again and once again I found had no network access.  Yet another call was necessary to Bell today to have the problem resolved.  All tolled I’ve made 6 calls to Bell in the past week which consumed well over an hour of my time.  In the end, my $60 roaming plan was of no use to me as (a) I did not have one for the first six days of my travel the result of a Bell employee setting it up on the wrong phone and (b) once the roaming package was on my phone I had no network access. 

  One more call will now be required upon receiving my next bill in order to get a credit for all the data roaming charges that I racked up while away.  I will also be requesting a refund for the $60 roaming package I paid for yet effectively never had use of. 

  Life’s best lessons are best learned by experience.  Will I ever buy another roaming package?  No!  While out of the country my best advice to you is to turn off the roaming feature on your phone.  Free Wi Fi is quickly becoming available everywhere.  It was available free at the real estate conference I attended, free at my hotel, free in restaurants, coffee shops such as Starbucks etc.  Using the Wi Fi feature on my phone or iPad I will simply send and receive email messages that way thus avoiding the cost and aggravation that I have endured over the past week dealing with Bell.  It’s not hard to see why the CTRC is clamping down on the mobile phone carriers.  They have had it too good for too long and Canadian consumers deserve better service and better value.  

 If like me you have had a similar frustrating experience I would like to hear from you.      

Monday, November 18, 2013

REALTOR® Skills & Knowledge Need Constant Enhancement

I just returned from a week away attending the National Association of REALTORS® Conference in San Francisco.  This is an annual event that draws thousands of REALTORS® from not only the U.S. but also from around the world.  This year there were approximately 1,400 from other countries with several hundred of those from Canada.  Both the Canadian Real Estate Association and Royal LePAGE Canada held evening events for those of us in attendance.

  The real estate profession has undergone dramatic changes and it continues to be transformed by consumer’s expectations, ever changing market conditions, new business models affecting the traditional MLS® system  and perhaps most significantly by technology.  All of these factors are continuing to impact the role of real estate professionals.   Real estate is no different than any other industry or profession.  While the traditional 80/20 rule has applied with 20% of the REALTORS® doing 80% of the business, it’s now more like 90/10 and with further consolidation of the business sure to happen, 95/5 is ultimately how the distribution of listings and sales will invariably end up.

  In order to effectively meets the changing demands of clients, I view attending conferences such as this as being imperative to both understanding the market changes that are happening as well as learning the necessary skills and initiatives that you need to implement in order to be of relevant importance.  In the Home Cents Help Tips section of my website I have a piece titled "Education Keeps REALTOR® Standards High.  Over the three days I attended 11 different seminars and while it is a somewhat intense learning environment it is also very invigorating and stimulating.  Many of this year’s sessions dealt with the increasing importance that social media is having on our business.  This blog is in fact the result of my attending the NAR Conference back in 2007.  Since that time I have tried to provide content that will be of some material value to my readers whether it is a real estate related matter, community/municipal affairs or just some odds and ends that I feel may be of interest.   Recently I started a second blog pertaining to the luxury home market titled “Southern Georgian Bay Carriage Trade Homes,” be sure to check it out.

  The keynote speaker at this year’s conference was Hilary Clinton.  Mrs. Clinton shared with us her and husband Bill’s experience with real estate from their first home to occupying the Governor’s mansion in Arkansas to the White House.  It was interesting to learn that since leaving the White House, the Clinton’s real estate purchases have all been made conditional on approval by the Secret Service as they are the ones tasked with guarding and defending the home of the former President and his family forever.    

  As I have mentioned in prior posts, the U.S. does not have a nation-wide MLS® system such as what we have in Canada.  It is not uncommon for one state to have severalMLS® systems and our American REALTOR® counterparts are envious of what we have and the ease with which it allows consumers to find properties virtually anywhere in Canada.  Sometimes it’s nice to have one up on our neighbours to the south.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Area Real Estate Sales On Track For Record Year

 While area MLS® real estate sales in terms of dollars during October were slightly below October of last year, we are still on track to having a record year in terms of MLS® dollar sales volume sold for 2013.  If sales during November and December are nothing more than the same level as 2012,  we will see in excess of $600 million worth of MLS® listed properties change hands this year.

October sales of $65.9 million reported through the MLS ® system of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® (SGBAR) was 3% less than in October 2012 however MLS® unit sales during the month were up 1% with 220 properties selling in October versus 217 in October of last year. 

  Year-to- sales MLS® of 1,863 properties marks a 7% increase over the number of MLS® listed properties sold in the first 10 months of 2012.  Year-to-date dollar volume now totals $551.5 million reflecting an 8% increase over last year.  During 2013 we have seen a consistent increase in unit sales in many of the price ranges over $500,000 which has resulted in a slightly higher dollar volume versus unit volume sales increase year-to-date.  While sales between $1.0 and $1.5 million are down 3 unit sales from last year, sales above $1.5 million total 9 properties, more than double the number sold in 2012.

  As per the accompanying graph, year-to-date single family home sales are running slightly ahead of last year up 2% while condominium sales are
essentially even with last year.  Vacant land sales total 131 properties up 21% from one year ago.

  As has been the case throughout the year, the number of new MLS® listings coming to market decreased in October as did the number of expired listings.  Year-to-date there have been 5,681 new listings entered into the SGBAR MLS® system a decrease of 3% from last year.  The number of expired MLS® listings year-to-date which total 2,454 properties represents a decrease of 5% from the number of MLS® listings that expired in the first 10 months of 2012.  What does this mean for consumers?  Fewer active and fewer expired listings has resulted in a more balanced market where the ratio between the number of properties listed versus sold is decreasing.  In October 2012 there were 3.4 MLS® properties listed for every property sold.  As of the end of October this year the ratio is 3.0 to 1.  

 In my next posting I will review sales activity in the various municipalities that make up our market area.       


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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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