Could Ottawa real estate be poised for a breakout year in 2017?

925-plante-sold-1With renewed local confidence and lots of government activity at all levels, 2016 was a turnaround year for the local real estate market and many key indicators suggest we could be in for a great year in 2017.

Positive key indicators:
Unit sales growth:
Unit sales improved by 6.3% overall with residential sales (which is 81% of the total units) increasing by 5.5% and condos coming in with a welcome 9.6% unit sales increase to the end of November vs the year before.
New listings:
The number of new listings decreased by 7.4% in the first 11 months of 2016 and this certainly helped move the supply/demand balance closer to a balanced market and away from some historically high inventory levels (and buyer’s market conditions) 2014 and 2015.
Current listing inventory at year’s end is about as low as it has been in 4 or 5 years and this is a very positive sign, unless there is a backlog of chronic listings that sellers have carried over the winter and will relist in spring.
Builder new construction sales:
The last report we have seen suggests that builders have had a good bounce back year and have recorded a sales increase of 15-20% which is great news, although may be influenced by a larger number of new projects coming online and adding to the sales numbers.

Neutral indicators:
Overall price increases:
The average residential property sold in Ottawa through November 2016 sold for $396,700 an increase of 1.2%. The average condo sold for $260,880 virtually unchanged from 2015.  These numbers continue the trend line in our market over the last 5 years where average prices have been mostly inflationary level.  These pale compared to the price levels and average price increases which dominate the news and online media that we hear about from Toronto, Southwestern Ontario and Vancouver but is simply a sign of our stable market and the fact that real estate is very local in nature.
Sales: new listings ratio:
Our sales to new listings in Ottawa through November 2016 stand at 40.9% by our calculation which is right on the borderline between a balanced market and a buyer’s market. (40-60% is considered “balanced” with lower ratios favouring buyers and 60%+ favouring sellers) With current lower levels of listing inventory this ratio should continue to improve and provide us with balanced market conditions in 2017.

Bottom line:
We are in the best position we have been in for some time and if sales demand continues or increases, we should see another positive year in 2017, although modest price increases are still most likely.

Lots of key factors to consider and there are many reasons why 2017 would be a good year to move on your real estate plans. Stay tuned for a future post on what may shape our market in 2017 and feel free to give us a call to discuss your own housing plans, 613-435-4692 as now is a great time to get a head start on a spring or summer sale.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

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2 Story For Sale in Poole Creek, Stittsville

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Quality new construction, Stittsville

 Immediate delivery!

•  3 bath, 4 bdrm 2 story – $624,000. $73,000 in upgrades
MLS® #1015117

– Quality new construction with quick delivery from top Ottawa builder! Ideal family home on corner lot with access to all Stittsville and Kanata amenities and services. Quick access to 417. Amazing designer upgrades  installed for 30 day possession. 4 beds, 3 baths, large main floor family room plus living room and dining room, butler’s pantry, large kitchen island with quartz counters, 2nd floor laundry, Energy Star® equipped, AC 16 SEER. Check it out for an early new construction move in 2017-no waiting months and months for construction on this one! Some photos shown are model home and some are actual property.

Buy this home directly through us and we’ll sell your existing home for only 3% + HST full service MLS® commission! (not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements)

Property information

Should other governments follow BC’s lead on first time buyer loans?

The Province of British Columbia has recently introduced a program that will provide no interest no payment loans to help first time buyers get in the market. On first glance, this seems to be an attractive program and one that helps these buyers and the real estate market as a whole…but does it really help?

How it works:
The government is promising to match down payment funds with a loan up to $18,750 with no interest or payments for 5 years. Presumably, in year 6 the buyer would start repaying this loan or 2nd mortgage in a manner similar to the Federal homebuyers plan (HBP) where a buyer repays the amount used for down payment back in to their RRSP over a maximum period of 15 years.
This certainly helps gets buyers in to homes and helps them gain that first step on the property ladder.

Does it really help the buyer or just create further debt?
Some say that these programs are useful to a degree but like any loan…eventually, it must be paid back and further indebts the borrower…so does it really help the first time buyer? In in growth market, these types of loans are usually absorbed in higher ongoing house prices and corresponding equity growth but what if market prices plateau or drop?

Does it help the market balance or simply keep the upwards pricing trajectory?
The BC market has been hit with many sources of turbulence this year and affordability is a major concern. The government clearly feels that programs like these are needed to both help buyers get in to the market and keep a source of new home owners entering the market which helps the whole market grow (or at least maintain itself). Other monetary moves have restricted new foreign buyers and affordability and new mortgage rules have pinched the supply of new buyers entering the market which combined could have a negative effect on market health.

Other circumstances being considered:
Organized real estate through its associations has been lobbying governments to both index the amount of the HBP and widen the application of RRSP funds to other life circumstances in addition to the first time buyer program. Examples include those relocating to take up employment and those who become disabled. (although other circumstances have been mentioned in the past ie divorce/separation, caring for a family member and so forth)   While one can see how these programs could be useful to the home buyer at the time…does it not simply grow indebtedness and continue the upward price cycle of housing?
The persons using the program would have further savings capabilities curtailed while they are repaying the funds used out of the Retirement funds and losing the investment and growth value also. While it certainly helps on the housing side is it a good thing for the overall investment picture and does it put too many “eggs” in the housing “basket”?

It would not be surprising to see that there may be some appetite for a BC like program in Toronto where prices are high but we’ll have to wait and see what rolls out and how the program and BC’s real estate market fares.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com  @oasisrealtyOTT
www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

Quality service at lower fees equals better value!

 

 

Is buying an Ottawa property for a visiting student a good idea?

Over the years we have assisted many out of town buyers looking to purchase homes or condos to provide housing for their children who are coming to Ottawa to attend one of our large and growing post-secondary colleges or universities.

With limited on campus residences and cost factors in mind, many parents have bought apartments, townhomes or homes to accommodate student needs and also as an investment or cost offset.

Many have successfully bought and then sold several years later and either made some money or minimized the cost of accommodating the student during their years here in Ottawa.

Once a “slam dunk”….
For most of the new millennium, this practice has been pretty positive, particularly for those who have rented out rooms to other students as well as their own children and those parents who have more than one child who will be living in Ottawa during the same period.

Now that we are in a period where prices have not been advancing at 5%-7+ annually, as they did during the 2000-2011 timeframe, this practice is no longer the “slam dunk” it was for many parents. We recently completed a sale for an out of town family who bought in 2010 in a strong seller’s market and were able to sell in 2015 but only appreciated a very small increase in the price of the property from what they had paid 5 years earlier. While this was disappointing, these owners had kept the property well rented out to other students during the 5 years of ownership and therefore, still came out pretty well financially, despite the limited uptick in the value of the property.

Do you want your university age child to bear the burden of ownership and property management?
Some out of town parents may not wish to burden their children with the responsibilities of managing and maintaining the property; collecting rent, divvying up utility costs, being a disciplinarian and so forth, in addition to their school work and perhaps part time job. Other parents may deem this a good “learning experience” and see it is as an opportunity.

Many factors to consider:
Those considering the purchase of such a property here in Ottawa should carefully research all financial factors in buying and selling in a remote city and the best source of information is a local Realtor who can assist with competitive issues, neighbourhood choice, property choice, local rules, buying and selling costs and so forth. This practice is certainly no longer a “slam dunk” in our  market and should not be carefully researched with local professionals.

For more information or to discuss particular circumstances, feel free to give us a call if you are not already working with another Realtor.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

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Seller tips for winter showings in Ottawa

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Selling in Winter?

Here is a checklist to things to consider when prepping for winter showings:

  1. Please shovel the drive, walkway, front porch, decks and patios and make sure it is both accessible and safe for visitors. Ditto for snow or ice on roofs, eaves, overhangs or garages.
  2. check to make sure the house numbers are visible as is the real estate “For Sale” sign and not obscured by snow, ice or snowbanks.
  3. For evening showings, please leave an outdoor light on so it is quick and easy to access the lockbox and then open the front door.
  4. Leaving all house lights on, saves time and shows your home to its best. Best to turn off the security system for scheduled showings also.
  5. Please make sure there are ample floor mats and boot trays to accommodate visitor footwear, especially for Open Houses.
  6. Please keep floors dry and clean! Few things are more irritating or distracting than walking through a puddle or having to walk through a dirty basement.
  7. Keep a moderate temp in the 19-20 C range (65-68F).  Many vacant properties are like meat lockers temperature wise and this does nothing for a buyer trying to “warm up “to a property, particularly when walking through in their sock/stocking feet on a cold floor. Visitors are wearing coats at this time of year, so please don’t make it too warm, either.
  8. Keep curtains and blinds open to admit as much natural light as possible, this is especially important in our low light winter conditions.  Light, bright homes show better and buyers are very much interested in this.
  9. Have a pet management plan which includes daily removal of any pet droppings that are emerging through the snow and ensure cat litter boxes and the area around them are cleaned regularly.
  10. Check for cooking, pet or other odours (hockey equipment?) and ventilate the home using your HRV, as home odours are more noticeable during the winter when houses (particularly newer more air tight ones) do not get as much fresh air from opening windows and doors.
  11. Minimize distractions:  we don’t need cooking smells, music, vanilla on the stove, excessive air or carpet deodorant, personal photos, etc.
  12. Leave out some good colour photos of what the house and yard look like in the summer time, this really helps a buyer “see” the property.
  13. Have a plan for any fireplace.  Wood burning fireplaces don’t need to be lit but should be clean and with wood or fire log ready to light.  Gas fireplaces should also be clean and ready to turn on with directions on how to do so but resist the urge to leave the gas fireplace “on” or a wood burning fire going.
  14. No smoking…even in the garage!
  15.  don’t run dishwasher or laundry when showings are scheduled.

We would love to share our other thoughts on how to get your property sold, so feel free to give us a call at 613-435-4692 or oasisrealty@rogers.com , if you are not already working with another real estate professional.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com   https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/ @oasisrealtyOTT

 

Why this may be the best time of year to buy new construction

Seasonal sales dip:
Ottawa real estate typically takes a pretty good dip from mid-November until at least mid-February and unit sales drop off 40 or 50% from the monthly average for the rest of the year.  It may however be the best time for many to buy a new construction home from a builder.

So why buy now?
Most builder deliveries are currently being booked for summer or early Fall 2017. For those with an existing home to sell, this means one would end up selling the existing property in peak season in April, May or June to facilitate a closing in the summer time.
This is a much better situation than those with January, February or March closings-as these buyers are faced with selling an existing property in the latter part of the year when buyers are fewer and many buyers prefer not to close in the winter months.

Prep to sell time improves:
One of the advantages of buying a new home is that there is lead time to prep and existing property and make sure it is in optimal condition for listing. Given the lead time between now and spring, there is some good “runway” for homeowners to do painting, organizing or minor repairs in advance of listing the property for sale.
It also gives more planning time with one’s Realtor, mortgage broker, stager and trades or service people.

First time buyer advantages:
First time buyers can also take advantage of having some lead time to continue saving for their purchase and also take advantage of RRSP contributions for both 2016 and 2017 tax years, before withdrawing those funds to use for the house purchase. Kind of like double dipping and is perfectly OK with the tax man, as long as the funds are deposited for at least 90 days.

758 Bunchberry Way , Ottawa

Findlay Creek quicker occupancy new construction MLS® 1035381
Findlay Creek quicker occupancy new construction MLS® 1035381 $608,562

*We have deals for new construction buyers (and sellers) !
First time buyers get a $1,000-$2,000 buyer bonus if they buy a new construction home with us.
Those with an existing home to sell can take advantage our super low full service MLS® listing fee of only 3.0% if they buy a new construction home with us before the end of February 2017 and quote this article. (*not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements, some conditions apply)

We list a lot of homes for a major Ottawa builder and help them meet their sales objectives, so this knowledge and experience can benefit those shopping new construction.  It is one of our specialties!  So give us a call before you head to a builder sales centre and we can be your new home consultant!

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com
@oasisrealtyOTT
https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/