What Realtors hate about this sellers’ market

Realtors have some beefs with this market

Most will think that Realtors must be rejoicing in this sellers’ market and that it is just a matter of fast sales and big commissions.  Must be “easy street”, right?  In reality, I think we would find that the larger % of real estate professionals would be happy to see a more “balanced” market that features a more equal number of buyers and sellers.  While it is true that listings sell quickly and for top dollar, there are many aspects to this market that cause Realtors heartburn, if not heartache.

Not a lot of listings to go around:
At the end of January 2020, there were something like 2,100 residential listings posted on the Ottawa Real Estate Board.  When you compare that to almost 3,100 members that means there are not a lot of listings to go around.  Given the real estate mantra of “you list to exist”, this means many Realtors are scrambling for fewer listings and those listings sell quickly, so the marketing reach and prospect generation value of those listings is very limited.  If fewer listings=fewer sales, then despite rising prices, there may be fewer commission dollars being earned out there by many Realtors.

Being on top of new listings and immediately available for showings:
Finding a property for qualified buyers, always has its challenges but these are magnified 10 times in this sellers’ market environment.  Buyer agents have to be really on their toes and alert to pending listings and being available to immediately get their buyers in to see new listings.  The watchword in this market is “you snooze, you lose” and if a buyer misses a property and their perception is that it is their agents’ fault, the agent could potentially lose that buyer.  This results in buyer agents doing a lot of “one-at-a-time” showings, whenever a new property of interest comes out on the market, which is pretty time consuming and may require a lengthy search period, particularly if buyers have a pretty tightly defined geographic, property or price point criteria.

Many showings and offer submissions:
The supply/demand imbalance has resulted in multiple offers in 35-50% of listings, so buyers’ agents invest a lot of time in researching listings, doing showings and preparing offers on properties, only to lose out to other more aggressive buyers/agents.  This can be very disheartening and frustrating for buyers.

No time to decide and hasty decision making:
Buyers often get only one chance to view a property and after a 30 to 40 minute visit then make a critical decision on their largest purchase?  This alone has pushed the numbers of conditional sales that fall through to double or more the regular rate.  (easily 10% of conditional sales are falling through over the last year)

How do you figure out a price in this “crazy” market?
Buyers and sellers count on Realtor expertise to establish appropriate list prices when selling and also what offer price (and terms) is necessary to be successful in submitting an offer on a listed price for a buyer.  The listing side is somewhat easier, in that the market and collective buyers will determine the market value, so there is less pressure on the listing agent.

Realtors normally do extensive research on comparable properties sold but in this market, much of it becomes old news and even a sale a month ago, may no longer be very useful in providing guidance on what to offer for buyers on a current listing.  If buyers are not successful over a period of time they may choose to blame their Realtor or they may refocus their search in a different geographical area or property type that is not as readily serviced by the buyer agent. Ie. New construction, out of town properties.

Temptation to go “all in” with a “no condition offer”
Though highest price still generally rules, offer terms are always a critical component and a totally “clean” offer with few/nil conditions, is bound to surface in the most sought after listings.  Most sellers don’t mind waiting for a week or so if the price offer is significantly better but many are happy to know that they accept the offer and their house is sold.  This is why we see so many listings with offer dates then showing up as “sold firm”, the next day after offers are due.

We had a buyer last year, who actually offered $25K less than at least one other offer but our buyer won, since our offer had no conditions and a 30 day closing which was a critical factor for that particular seller.  This place was a total fixer upper and not including an inspection clause, was a risk our experienced reno buyer was prepared to accept.  Many buyers (and their agents) are just not able to do this and of course, the risks can be significant.

New construction sales are very strong:
Though we don’t have proper stats on this, we believe there are a larger % of sales being done in new construction than normal right now.  This is partially due to the limitations on resale listing inventory and also the fact that new construction options are plentiful and widespread.  (though delivery dates may be getting pushed out by some builders)

Buyers actually start gaining equity, the day they sign their builder sales agreement, even though their possession date may be a year away.  Those with existing homes to sell, are effectively “double dipping”, as both the new construction property “on order/to be built” is gaining in value, as is their existing property which they will only sell close to the possession date.  With prices rising 8% or 9% in 2019 and 5% or 6% forecast for this year, these homeowner/buyers are earning a nice tax free equity bump on both properties.

A surprisingly small % of new construction sales involve Realtors (perhaps as low as 15 to 20%) where resale buyers are represented by Realtors at least 80% of the time.  On top of that, builders do not offer the same level of Realtor compensation, as do MLS® listings, so Realtor paydays are much less when their buyers are buying a new construction property.

Builder compensation for Realtors tends to ebb and flow with the ups and downs of the market.  In tough times, builders are mostly happy to see buyer agents with their buyers but in this market, most builders view Realtors as a cost factor to be minimized or eliminated.

Managing showings and multiple offers:
Listings are getting a lot of attention, of course but this can put a load on a listing agent.  Lots and lots of showings, phone calls, texts and emails from prospective buyers and also buyer representatives.  There are strict rules to follow in properly and fairly managing offer processes and this takes a lot of organization and discipline on the part of the listing agent.  While it is fun to provide an over list price offer to your seller, having to make the calls to other agents whose buyers were unsuccessful is not nearly as much fun.

Buyer agents can be very aggressive in representing their clients and this can result in some not so fun moments, too.

Managing “bully” offers (those submitted prior to offer date) and multiple offers can be challenging. Any time there are many losers and only one winner, frustration and tension can be high.

Overlapping showings:
As a buyer representative, one is almost always stuck with overlapping showings with another buyer agent and their buyers in the property in the same time window.  Normally, this is not too difficult to manage but with the volume of showings on many properties right now, it can be tough to get an appropriate amount of time to have a really good look at a property in private and communication between agent and buyer is constrained when others are also in the property.

So while our challenges in this market are vastly different and more positive than the other side of spectrum in a buyers’ market, it is not all easy days and big commissions for Realtors in this sellers’ market.  Your Realtor will have adapted to these market conditions and help you navigate these oft choppy waters.

 

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com www.oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa
@OasisrealtyOTT
http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/  

Seller tips and strategies for Ottawa winter showings

winter showing tips and strategies

There are some important decisions to make with your listing broker to help you plan to accommodate winter showings, in this busy sellers’ market in 2019/2020.  Here are just a few:

Initial showing period:
How will you manage access to accommodate the largest number of buyers to your property?  High demand and low listing inventory right now means properties are highly sought after and buyers will want to see the property as soon as possible after it is listed. 8 to 10 showings a day (or more!) in the first few days is not out of the question.

Some buyers are even vacating their properties for the first 4-7 days to provide for easiest access for buyers.

Are you holding offers?
If you are holding offers back to a certain date, you will want to take this in to consideration also.

Do you want to schedule overlapping showings?
Realtors normally book a 1 hour showing window.  Do you want to allow for potentially overlapping showings where more one buyer and their agent may be in the property at the same time?  This is a quite normal practice but if you want individual buyers to enjoy a private showing, you may request that your listing broker does not schedule overlapping showings.

What part does an open house or open houses play?
Open Houses work for most properties and provide a scheduled time for buyers to visit.  When trying to maximize or optimize the number of visitors in a short time frame, they can be very strategic.  We often hold dual open houses on listing launch weekends, as this gives buyers two choices to visit plus it may help us, if a winter storm impacts a single open house day and time.

Do you continue showings after a conditional sale?
Do you continue with buyer showings (and open houses) if you have signed an agreement for a conditional sale on the property?  Sales cancellations are at an all-time high of 10-15% of conditional sales, so it may be a good idea to continue accepting showings and holding any already scheduled open house, just in case, the buyer financing does not come through or for some other reason the buyer chooses to opt out of the agreement.

Do you have any time-of-day restrictions you wish to add to your listing?
In most cases, you want to make the property as accessible as possible for buyers but there are circumstances like children’s bedtimes, shift work schedules and other family matters may dictate a time window where showings cannot be accommodated.  Discuss these with your listing broker.

What is your pet management plan for showings?
Discuss with your broker, how best to manage pets to accommodate showings.

Here is an update to a previous post with specific tips for prepping for buyer visitors in winter:

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

  1. Please shovel the driveway, 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. Also, please make sure all windows and patio doors are frost and ice free and can be opened by visitors, if they wish.
    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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Please make sure there are ample floor mats and boot trays to accommodate visitor footwear, especially for Open Houses.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. Moisture control is also important, as excess condensation on windows can be a worrying sign for buyers.
  9. Minimize distractions:  we don’t need cooking smells, music, vanilla on the stove, excessive air or carpet deodorant, personal photos, etc.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. No smoking…even in the garage!14.don’t run dishwasher or laundry when showings are anticipated
  1. Leave out copies of any pertinent neighbourhood information, your property survey or other items that may be potentially of interest for buyers or their representatives.
  2. Don’t be afraid to post a note about turning off lights or not locking inside garage door.

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

For a great list of top real estate blogs in Canada, check here: https://blog.feedspot.com/canada_real_estate_blogs/

Is a “pre-listing” home inspection a good idea?

can a pre-listing inspection save a sale?

A “pre-listing” home inspection is just like a regular home inspection but is completed by the homeowner/seller prior to listing the property for sale.  Buyers are very familiar with the advantages of a home inspection when buying a property but few sellers take the time to have a “pre-listing” home inspection done.  Here are a few thoughts on why this rarely happens and why it is probably a very good idea in this market.

Is this a good idea?
Doing such a home inspection prior to listing is an excellent idea for a number of reasons.  It can be part of listing preparation and a sensible piece of due diligence to perform.  Most home inspectors are happy to do these and generally, they would be conducted well enough in advance of the listing date, to allow time to rectify any significant issues discovered.  (Or at the very least, to obtain professional quotes to understand the cost of remedies that can be built in to pricing strategy or negotiations)

In our sellers’ market one might say “what’s the point? there are lots of buyers out there” and forgo such an inspection and the associated cost.  However, having a home inspection report on file and available for serious buyers and their buyer representatives can be a very handy tool.

Some buyers may choose to forego the need for their own home inspection, if the report on file is deemed satisfactory.  This can mean a “cleaner” offer and possibly a quicker firming up date which benefits both buyer and seller.  It might also mean more offers in a multiple offer situation.

It can also provide buyers with confirming data on the property under consideration which can add to their confidence level or inform them of details that they may not have known.  This may help prevent a sale “falling through” or being cancelled during the conditional period.  Because of our sellers’ market, we are seeing extraordinarily high levels of such sales cancellations and these really hurt the seller, so on this basis alone, a pre-listing inspection is warranted.

If a general pre-listing inspection suggests more specific, expert consultation then a seller may choose to further investigate the matter and obtain additional reports, quotes or information that will help facilitate a sale or negotiation.  If done well in advance, then a seller has the opportunity to address some of the items pointed out and thus ensure success when a buyers’ home inspection is conducted.

A Professional Inspectors thoughts:
Mike White, owner of Homepro Inspections here in Ottawa and a very experienced home inspector, says perhaps 3% of his total inspections annually are pre-listing.
“I do several of these a year. Many are estate sales where the sellers are really not aware of any information about the house.

Most of the issues found are the same for any other inspection. Asbestos is something that many homeowners have no idea is in their homes.

The main difference when I am performing a pre-listing inspection is that I will typically give the sellers some tips on preparing their home for the next inspection. This would be information beyond what some agents provide in their services.

Some of this would be:
– Cleaning the furnace, or changing filters.
– Recommendation of increasing attic insulation
– Caulking and other general maintenance which can give potential buyers an impression of how the home has been maintained.”

You can reach out to Mike for a variety of home inspection related services at: http://homeprocanada.ca/ or by calling 613-860-4848

Why don’t more sellers and listing agents do these?

Timelines:
Quite often sellers are on a tight timeline to get a property listed and there just isn’t time to get a pre-inspection done.  Inspectors are in high demand in peak season and may or not be as readily available to do such inspections during the busiest months in the spring.

“Don’t-ask-don’t tell” or “don’t poke the bear
Most sellers are also very familiar with their homes and either don’t feel a home inspection is necessary, don’t want to shoulder the cost (approx. $500) or don’t want to “poke the bear” and potentially find out some negative aspect of the property that could affect their selling process.  Many listing agents also apply a “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” principle to the pre-listing inspection, as anything significant discovered by that inspection may be a material fact which must then be disclosed to buyers or may delay the listing process.   “Why ask for trouble?  many listing agents may ask themselves.

Today, only the most cautious sellers are having pre-listing home inspections done in our market and in many cases, probably only upon the suggestion of their listing agent/broker.  Some brokers may choose to include the cost of this inspection in their listing fees.  Homes that have had (or have) some specific issue, (ie foundation, structural, latent defect) are good candidates to show buyers what needs to be done and what it will cost or to prove that the issue has been resolved. Often, a trade specialist or Engineering inspection and report may be provided for this purpose.

We believe that doing such an inspection protects both seller and listing broker and paves the way for a smoother sales process overall but don’t expect to see a much higher % of listed properties being supported in this fashion.  Those contemplating a sale, should at the very least discuss this with their listing broker and determine if there are sufficient reasons to proceed.

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

 

 

 

Is buying new construction like “double dipping” in this market?

is buying new construction a “no brainer” in a rising market?

Ottawa has a hot sellers’ market in real estate right now, with limited listing inventory and price increase levels we haven’t seen since the advent of super low mortgage rates almost 2 decades ago.  New construction homes have similarly been enjoying significant sales success and similar price bumps.  Unfortunately, we do not have stats to track new construction sales or average price increases but let’s assume they are going up at least as much as resale homes which is approximately 9% year-to-date for both residential and condo sales.

Double dipping:
With increased unit sales and some labour shortages, builders are stretched to deliver the volume of possessions, so lead times have been extended and customers are generally having longer waits for their new build home. *though there are many spec homes being built and sold with somewhat shorter delivery times.  It is not unusual for a new home buyer to wait a year or more, for their new home to be ready for occupancy.

In this rising market however, that is not a totally unhappy circumstance for buyers.  The first time buyer has longer to save up for a larger down payment or for other costs, such as window coverings, appliances, furniture, etc.

The new home buyer who also has an existing property, is really “doubling down”, with both their existing property and the new build property appreciating in value at the same time.  Depending on how much down payment the builder requires, the new home buyer may be seeing as much as a doubling of their down payment amount in increased equity on the new build, before they even move in!

So it should be a “no-brainer”, right?
With expectations of at least another 5-6% increase in overall average selling prices in 2020, (perhaps more in entry level and medium price points) buying new construction certainly appears to be a pretty safe bet, provided the future delivery of the new build is not too far out there.  No one has a perfect crystal ball, so it is tough to be sure what the markets might look like 18-24 months from now.  Some may remember that many buyers in Toronto got burned in recent years when, prices levelled off or even dipped which caused them to be underwater on their investment.

Things to remember about new construction purchases:
Builders typically want 10% or more down on a purchase(at time of signing), so this can run in to a fair amount of cash and buyers will have to have a good financial plan to manage this down payment.

Getting a handle on new construction total costs is often a bit of  a challenge, as typically one can’t get 100% accurate upgrade costs, until they have already “signed on the dotted line” for the base price of the property. Parking costs and storage costs are also extra in almost all new condos, too.  This requires some flexibility in budget or buyers can find themselves compromising important upgrades to keep the overall costs within desirable parameters.

The market for new homes is very competitive, so just like resale, the “you snooze-you lose” premise is very much a factor.  The couple in the sales centre at the same time as you, may well write the cheque for a “hold” on a specific lot or unit, while you are still touring the model home.

Few incentives on the table:
Builders have adjusted their incentive programs for both buyers and Realtors, so the type of bonuses available only 3 or 4 years ago are long gone.  Don’t expect to be able to negotiate much of a “deal” (if any!) in this sellers’ market.  If your Realtor is less than enthused about your interest in a new construction purchase, it may be because the financial remuneration they receive is slim or none, for assisting you with that purchase.

Beware the “boiler room” environment in new home or condo sales: New lot releases and new subdivision or condo launches can be a good time to try and be first in the queue to secure most desirable choices within a development or condo.  However, many times, these events are super hyped and promoted with the “buy-now-or-lose-it” pressure of a timeshare selling environment which can contribute to some hasty or ill-informed buying decisions.  Condos can be the biggest example and are typically also the furthest down the road on the delivery date.  This can provide a major risk to buyers, if the market changes, before that condo is built.

We have seen recent examples where some new developments are already “sold out” even though the planning approvals have not yet been received.  Changes to accommodate planning requirements can make changes to what buyers have actually bought and may not bring pleasant news to buyers who thought they were doing the right thing by buying first.

Delivery timelines dictate selling of existing property:
Those who are “double dipping” will eventually have to sell the current home and delivery timelines are out of the buyers’ control.  This can lead to some awkward timing in selling an existing property, to coincide nicely with the possession date of the new build.  For example, a February or March possession date, probably means listing in December which is not the best time to be selling for most.  Delays can also push out possession dates by 60-90 days and though builders are usually very good about meeting their delivery dates, things do get delayed for a variety of reasons.

No guarantees:
Many new construction buyers have done very well in recent years, particularly those that bought in tougher markets back in 2014 or 2015 when builders were anxious to do a deal.  Though the short term looks very positive for those interested in this form of “double-dipping”, there can be no guarantees when trying to guess on future market dynamics or complexities.

Remember, there is typically no cost to utilizing a Realtor’s services and expertise with your new construction plans, so don’t miss out on what could be invaluable 3rd party advice and counsel.

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

For other interesting blogs here in Ottawa check out this link:  https://blog.feedspot.com/ottawa_blogs/

 

 

Average home prices up $25,000-$40,000 through November 2019

a wintry November did not slow sales

The Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) results for November show another strong sales month, despite the early onset of wintry conditions. Unit sales and average home prices both approached double digit gains, compared to November 2018.  The market shows no trends of flattening out, except for the usual seasonal fluctuations.

Key average price milestones reached this year:
The average detached home price has sold this year for $510,975, an increase of 8.4% or $39,693, breaching the $500K mark for the first time.
The average residential row townhome has sold for $408,905, an increase of 9.8% or $36,620, topping $400K.
The average residential semi-detached home has sold for $489,656 an increase of 9.5%. or $42,447
The average condo sold this year has topped $300,000, coming in with a 9.1% price increase to 303,817 which is up $25,459 from a year ago.  Apartment condos lead the way with an average price of $324,459 up 5.7% while row units and stacked condos also showing similar $ price gains at $268,613 and $274,860 respectively.

Listing inventory continues to languish:
The number of new listings in November are pretty flat with a year ago, so while they are not getting any worse, they are not improving, either.  This means our supply/demand imbalance should continue for the short term, at least-given the strong sales demand.

At the end of November, our residential listing inventory was 22.6% lower than last year at the same time and condo listing inventory was 43.9% lower.

About the only listing category that was higher was the number of rentals that are MLS® listed, which are up 53.9% vs 2018.  Year to date rentals done via MLS® are basically flat vs last year, so that category is not seeing the same growth as the resale market.

City policy on short term rentals may put more inventory in the market:
Though there will no doubt be ongoing appeal action via OMB or other legal avenues, there could be a slight bump in available listing inventory and long term rental properties, from investors losing their ability to rent their (non resident occupied) properties via Airbnb or VRBO.  Numbers are not readily available of how many housing units fall in this category but this could have help the condo and urban market inventory where most of the short term rental properties are located.  Airbnb totalled some 4,600 listings in Ottawa over the last 12 months, so the number of investors involved might easily be 500-1,000 (or more) which would be welcome in the long term rental or resale markets.  Stay tuned!

New home construction:
New home sales continue to flourish and with the upward trajectory in the market, many new home buyers feel they are kind of “doubling down”, in that both their current home and the one “on order” or “to be built” are appreciating in price, while they wait for the new home possession which typically is 8-12 months or more, down the road.

Cost of waiting makes buying even more expensive:
Strong markets like this make it tough on all buyers, particularly first time buyers and those that are “fence sitters”, who are considering a move but don’t really have a compelling reason to do so, until they find the “right” property.  The upward price trajectory, however, makes the cost of waiting potentially significant.  For example, even if current prices only increase by 6% over the next months (a Re/Max projection for Ottawa), the average prices overall could look something like this:
The average detached single home will jump to $541,633 and a further hike of $30,000+ over current prices.

The average two storey single detached home could top $600,000 next year, with a 6% hike from this years’ average price of $567,456.

The average townhome would jump to $433,439 up $25,534

The average condo would increase to $322,026 overall and the average apartment condo to $343,926, each up almost $20K.

This means more down payment needed to qualify for appropriate financing, more to generate 20%+ down payment for investment properties, higher land transfer and mortgage insurance costs and a longer period to pay off mortgages taken out against these purchases.

These also represent only “average” price increases and higher priced properties could easily be going for $50-$100K more in the immediately foreseeable future, especially, if the current inventory shortage continues and the market generates another 8-10% price rise.

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

Glencairn semi-detached homes post huge gains in 2019

sold by bully offer in 2 days

Kanata’s Glencairn neighbourhood had suffered a bit of a stigma after enduring 3 “storms of the century” resulting in flooded basements a decade or more ago.  The city has invested many millions to solve the problem and so far, this seems to have worked.  Many homeowners were able to take advantage of a City program that reimbursed those in the most flood prone locations to install sump pumps, to mitigate any future flooding.  Also, city infrastructure has been significantly improved, with a total investment of some $35M.  But “time heals all wounds” and Glencairn has shone in real estate in 2019, especially the semi-detached home category.

By far Kanata’s most affordable neighbourhood:
Glencairn is home to relatively more moderate priced housing and has been a bit of a bargain for many years due to the flooding stigma previously noted.  Many bungalows are available and it also boasts a huge variety of semi-detached homes in all varieties from bungalows, to hi-ranch style, to splits to 2 storey.

The average price of all homes sold this year, has not broken through the $400K barrier, so we can expect more growth in future.

90.9% sold at list price or above!
As house prices generally  have risen over the last couple of years, Glencairn has drawn more attention from price point conscious buyers and sales of semi-detached homes have been fiercely competed in 2019, which has produced a very strong average price increase of 11.4% .  In fact, 50 out of 55 semi-detached homes sold in Glencairn up to the end of November, were sold at list price or above which generally means multiple competing offers, reflective of significant demand.

Note: The Ottawa Real Estate Board quoted 36% of all sales were above list price in October and Glencairns’ 90.9% year-to-date ratio in the semi-detached category may be the highest in the city.

Still affordable?
The average selling price for Glencairn semis is up to $341,846 but this is still very affordable when townhomes across the city have averaged over $400,000 this year and the average semi across the Board is pushing the $500K mark at $484,549.  So we can expect further growth and competitive bidding for the foreseeable future.

Glencairn offers:
Most of Glencairn was built in the 1960s and there were no townhouses or other multiple dwelling units in the initial phases, therefore it does not have the density of newer neighbourhoods.  Larger lots, mature trees, wider streets, lots of parks, schools and the Trans-Canada Trail plus a wide variety of services and recreation are all appreciated in this neighbourhood.  Proximity to the Kanata technology business and the new DND HQ and express transit are also key features.  Commuters also have pretty quick access to highway 417.

You can read some interesting facts about Glencairn’s history on the Community Association webpage here: http://kanatasouth.com/?page_id=6

 

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

Stittsville real estate soaring through October 2019

Stittsville real estate outpaces market in 2019

Stittsville has experienced a building and population boom in recent years and is now approaching 35,000 inhabitants.  Quite a leap from being “just beyond the fringe” that was a popular radio commercial tagline back when Stittsville was a quiet village removed from both urban and suburban Ottawa with a population of 3,000 or so.  In fact, when combined with Kanata, the area has the largest population and number of residences in the Ottawa metro area and is the fastest growing.  Stittsville is projected to have close to 60,000 residents within the next decade!  So with all the new construction going on, it is no surprise that real estate has made strong gains in 2019.

This year’s residential numbers:
We are using the residential resale numbers for the 3 main Stittsville MLS® zones, though October 2019.(does not include any condo sales)

Stittsville North MLS® zone 8211 for sales north of Hazeldean Rd

Stittsville Central MLS® zone 8202 for properties between Hazeldean Rd and Abbott St.
Stittsville South MLS® zone 8203 for properties south of Abbott St.

For comparison purposes, the Ottawa MLS® as a whole has recorded sales increases of 3.8% in unit sales and an average selling price increase of 8.4% for residential properties to a price of $484,891.

North Stittsville (8211) is rocking!
This area closest to highway 417 has had and continues to have growth and new construction with a good variety of residential housing to cover many price points.  It also offers best access for commuters who rely on the 417 for commuting purposes.

Unit sales are up a strong 20.1% this year and the average selling price is up 11.9% to $473,866

Central Stittsville (8202) sees strong price growth but inventory limits unit sales:
Unit sales in Central Stittsville are actually down this year by 3.2%, perhaps reflecting the lack of listing inventory available.  Still, good demand has pushed the average price in this area up 13.6% to $552,472.

South Stittsville (8203) unit sales up 7.1% and the average price sold this year is $579,098, up 8%.
Most of these unit sales are resale homes and we have no visibility in to the numbers of new homes being sold in Stittsville but it is obviously significant at the present time, with most of this growth in the eastern section of Central Stittsville and in South Stittsville.

Outlook for 2020:
Expect to see continuing sales  and price growth as all the fundamentals continue to look good with the local economy and the pace and range of new home construction in the area is significant and pretty compelling for a lot of homebuyers, who may also feel that they should buy now, before prices escalate any further.  Those who have existing homes to sell then of course, offer that existing property for sale to co-ordinate with the new home possession date.

So it should continue to be “all systems go!  For Stittsville real estate in 2020.

 

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

 

 

 

Other benefits to sellers: Open Houses part 2

More open house benefits for sellers

We wrote a little while ago about the benefits of our dual open house strategy (see that post here: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/dual-open-houses-great-strategy-sellers/ )  and here is a follow up piece with a few more thoughts on this topic and real estate open houses in general.

Motivates buyers to book a showing:
Quite often we find that buyers will choose to book a showing in advance of a scheduled open house.  This may be just a matter of scheduling or it could mean they want to get in early to take a look at the property and potentially get first crack at it.  Getting buyers in to the property is always a worthy goal and we do believe that the scheduling of an Open House does spur other buyers to get in to see it asap.

Aggregates showings and saves seller time and trouble: Buyers will schedule a private showing at random times throughout the day and in our hot sellers’ market, this can mean a lot of private showings on a daily basis.  So much so, that some sellers even vacate their properties for the first 3-5 days to allow the buyer/showing frenzy to happen without totally upsetting their lives and schedules.  By scheduling an Open House, some of these buyers may choose to attend that event, rather than booking a private showing thus alleviating the need for the seller to vacate the home. (and making sure it is clean and tidy when the do)

This really works well for families with small children or pets that can spend less time tidying up for multiple showings and also removing pets.

We get feedback:
When we get a chance to chat with buyers about the house or hear their comments to one another, we are getting valuable feedback for our own knowledge and for the sellers.  What do the buyers really like about the property?  What don’t they like?  When we here the same things consistently, it helps clarify where the property and price fit in the marketplace and may help us tweak our marketing strategy for the sellers.  If all buyers have a similar issue or concern then it helps us build a strategy to overcome that objection and/or discuss remedies with the seller.

We get to know our product better:
Even though we may know the property quite well, the more time we spend there and the more feedback we receive-the better we fully understand the property.  After all, in most cases, we may get a couple of 10-15 minute tours through the property with the owner which is certainly not enough time to commit every detail to memory or notice the level of details that buyers may wish to have explained.  We often find little things that a seller can do as a result of our time in the home during an Open House.  We can often find corrections to listing information that may been incorrectly supplied by the seller or through a typo on listing input. Ie the age of a furnace, air conditioner, windows or some other important system or component.

Events drive activity and greater activity usually means more sales opportunities:
Open houses are great events for a listing agent to advertise around and focus their marketing efforts to gain the best possible reach and exposure.  Because there is a time deadline, it should focus those potentially interested in the property to have a good look at it.

Even if they are unsuccessful, they still work:
Huh???  We have had a lot of blockbuster open houses that result in multiple offers and sales and we have had just as many that are total duds.  As a listing agent, there is nothing worse and more boring than feeling like the Maytag repair man for a couple of hours on a weekend afternoon when no one is coming to see you!  After spending time and money in scheduling and prepping for the open house and getting the sellers to vacate for 2 or 3 hours and investing one’s own time, it can be more than annoying when the turnout is poor.

It really does force one to have a good look in the mirror, though and a critical look at the property as well.  If one is getting good online activity and reasonable private showings then one should get decent open house turnout as well.  If not, one has to assess how well the event was advertised/marketed and if the listing, photos, presentation and pricing on the property are correct.

The more focused activity early in a listing should bring great attention from buyers, since the listing is new and they have not seen it before.  If hundreds or thousands are looking at the property online but not booking private showings or coming to an Open House, then there is some kind of disconnect.  Buyers are not seeing enough appeal or value at the price level to take the time to come and see the property in person which is not a good sign.  It does however, give us some good comparative data and perhaps some feedback from buyers who did view the property.  On that data and feedback, we can often have important discussions with sellers or amend some portion of our online presentation, marketing or pricing.

Other open house types:
Some listing agents have had success with the “neighbourhood”  or “ commuter” open house.  These may be along the “sneak peek” marketing line and advertised locally.  The commuter open house will typically run 5-7 PM when buyers can pop by on their way home from work and typically occur very early in the listing when it appears it is a good first chance to see the property.

The oft flaunted “Brokers’ Open” one sees on HGTV or Millionaire Listing tv shows, is rarely practiced in our market. (talk about the Maytag repairman!)

Use of open houses can be a contentious topic:
There are quite diverging opinions on the value of open house marketing, with some realtors being strongly opposed to their use.  Just look online and you can find dozens of articles on why sellers should never consider holding an Open House.  We feel completely the opposite, of course, but the bottom line is that sellers can make their own choices and if they don’t see the value then of course, are not required to hold one.

We have many thoughts on why these other Realtors so strongly “DIS” open houses and we will cover these in a future post. Plus “How so many Realtors sabotage their own open houses”, coming soon!

 

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage
Ottawa, Canada 613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com

Ottawa market continues strong through October 2019

Sun continues to shine on October sales in Ottawa

The Ottawa real estate market just keeps rolling along, with another double digit sales increase recorded in the month of October and continuing listing inventory shortages, with less than 2 months of anticipated sales currently on the market.

Residential unit sales for the month were 16.9% more than October 2018 and the number of condos sold was up 23% during the month.

Monthly average selling prices upward bound:
The average selling price of a residential property during October was $483,405 an increase of 7.6% over last year and the average condo sold for $319,208 which was up 18.3%.  On a year to date basis, the average residential price is up 8.3% and the average condo is up 9.1%

Listing inventory continues to slide:
Residential listings are down 22.3% vs last year at the same time and condo listing inventory is down a significant 38.8%.  New listings are not taking up the slack and are pretty flat vs last year, so our increasing sales continue to chew through available listing inventory.

Our number of listings currently available, is less than 1 per Realtor member of the Board.

36% of homes selling above asking:
This is a great new stat the Board is tracking and providing, so members and consumers are aware of the real degree of multiple offers.  So while it is quite common, it is not happening for every listing.  The Board noted in its release that in Oct 2018, only 21% of homes sold were sold above listing price, so our continuing inventory shortages are creating more competitive offer activity, although it should also be mentioned that a high % of listings are holding back offers, which can create a multiple offer situation.

Election fallout?
With the minority Federal government coming out of the election, it is highly unlikely the local economy will suffer, as both the Libs and NDP try to out-left one another, which only means more program money and staffing in the National Capital Region.  So our local economy should continue to be quite healthy for the duration of the minority government.

Recent job numbers:
Ottawa’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.2% in October, the lowest it has been since 2007, yet another positive indication that the bull market in real estate should continue in the short to intermediate term, those planning a move may consider acting on their plans, as that home under consideration may well cost $30 or $40K more next year.

Normally the start of hibernation period…but perhaps not this year?
Mid November is normally when real estate activity eases seasonally and troughs out for 90 days or so, until we get through the worst of winter and then things get brighter and more active mid-February on.  This market, however, should continue to post gains, though the seasonal slump should still occur as usual.

We are working hard to ramp up our blog and are happy to be added to a National list of real estate blogs which you can check out here: https://blog.feedspot.com/canada_real_estate_blogs/

 

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage 613-435-4692

Why dual open houses is a great strategy for our sellers

We are big fans of open houses, unlike many agents who tend to pooh-pooh their use.  (That’s a topic for another day!)
We have found tremendous success for our sellers by using a dual open house strategy during the first week our listings launch.  Here are some of many reasons this strategy works:

Facilitates access for buyers:
Buyers like open houses.  It is an easy way to have a look at a property with a low commitment level, regardless of where a buyer may be in their purchasing cycle.  Many buyers fall in to the “I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it” category and may watch or browse the market for an extended period, before finding one that ticks all their boxes.
These buyers often “don’t want to bother their agent” and would probably not otherwise book a showing to see the property, without open house availability.  Many buyers don’t wish to engage their agent until they are really ready to buy.  Many an agent will get a phone call on Sunday evening or Monday morning, from a client who has seen a property at an Open House on the weekend.

We get to “sell” our client’s property!
The MLS® network is remarkably effective at putting buyers and listed properties together.  One drawback is that as a listing broker, we rarely get to speak directly to a prospective buyer of the property, since that buyer contact is normally managed by another agent in the buyer representative role.  So, while we can sell to the buyer rep, we rarely have the same opportunity to speak directly to the buyers.  Open Houses give us that opportunity and who better to speak to our own listing than us?

Many open house visitors are quite cautious and reserved (wonder why that is?…we’ll have a post on that in a week or two) but generally speaking, the most interested buyers are very engaged and detailed in checking out the house.  Many ask excellent questions too and it is a great time to field those questions and address any objections or possible misconceptions.

The better informed a buyer is and the more chance they have to investigate a property, the less the chance of a conditional sale falling through which is happening with almost frightening frequency in this hot sellers’ market.

We can get a read on potential buyers:
We can gauge interest levels by the amount of time a buyer or couple spend in the house.  Usually, the longer the stay, the greater the interest.  We can also often tell if one half a buyer couple is more interested than another.  We can often get a feel for the buyer’s level of interest and key features that may come in handy at offer/negotiation time.

Buyers can get multiple chances to see the property:
Too often in our hot sellers’ market, a buyer gets to see a property once and then has to make up their minds about submitting an offer.  This is leading to an unprecedented number of conditional sales falling through.  By providing two additional chances to visit the property via our open houses, buyers may get a better feel for whether the property is the right one for them.

We even see some buyers twice when the visit both open houses, which is also a good sign that they are activity considering the property.

Buyers see level of interest from other buyers:
While we don’t intend to create a boiler room high pressure sales environment, (and we are not high pressure!) we think it is very much in the sellers favour for all buyers to see a house full of prospective buyers at an open house.  This shows everyone that the house is getting strong demand and may help motivate them to make an offer and make a strong offer.  The fear of loss and need to compete motivation of some buyers is tweaked when a busy open house is experienced.

Open Houses are very democratic:
We think open houses allow a wider cross section of buyers to consider the property and in generating more face-to-face visits to the property, we are engaging a larger cross section of the buyer pool.  This is both fair to all buyers (not just the early-bird-gets-the-worm buyers and their agents)  Many properties are publicized in advance of MLS® publication which often skews the playing field in favour of just a few buyers.  While this may be good for those buyers and their agents, it is not necessarily best for our sellers.  More exposure-more buyers should equal better and true market value in our opinion.

Best when holding offers:
Dual open houses are a great strategy when holding back offers, too.  It gives Realtors and buyers ample access to see the property 2 or even 3 times and determine their level of interest and how they plan an offer strategy.  Some may even choose to do a pre offer inspection which would help strengthen their offer.

There are a ton of other intangible benefits to dual open houses too but we’ll leave some of those for another post.  Right now, it’s late Saturday morning and we have to get ready for our first Open House this weekend!

 

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Principal Broker, Ottawa Real Estate Board
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty  613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com