Strong sales kick off Ottawa real estate 2019

January is normally the 2nd lowest monthly sales in the Nation’s Capital which would be no surprise to most.  This year however, buyers and sellers shook off the winter blues (and the snowiest January on record) and pumped out a 15.8% unit sales increase, in what was a record January.

Listing inventory remained a key factor, as residential inventory was 20.3% lower than a year ago and condo listing inventory was down 30.9%.

New listing trend is somewhat positive, as new residential listings were up 2.2% from a year ago, though condo listings were down 11.8%.  So our seller’s market conditions continue.

Some average price growth, with residential properties sold up slightly by 1.5% to $432,829 and the average condo selling price was $283,990 up 7.7%

If you are contemplating a move to or around Ottawa this year, please give us a call and we would be happy to help you navigate this challenging market.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage  613-435-4592 www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

 

Key questions for Ottawa real estate 2019

Will mortgage rates continue to rise?
Rates have been creeping up but it is hard to say what we may see in 2019.  Another .25% probably wouldn’t hurt the real estate market too much but anything beyond that will certainly have an impact, when one also considers the mortgage stress test provisions.

 

Will listing inventory stabilize/improve?
We have seen very low listing inventory conditions throughout 2018, making life difficult for buyers and their agents.  Will this continue in 2019?  The number of new listings has flattening out somewhat in latter 2018 so we are not falling further behind on listing inventory but this will continue to be a critical factor.

Builders have had very strong sales in both 2017 and 2018, so it is possible there may be a backlog of resale properties to hit the market, once these new home (or condo) buyers are getting closer to taking possession of their new properties.

At what pace will prices grow in 2019?
If there was an anomaly in our market in 2018 it is the fact that resale prices did not increase as much as they might have, given the low listing inventory and supply/demand imbalance in favour of sellers.  The average residential selling price was up 5.1% to $446,415 through the end of November and the average condo sold for $278,330, up 2.8% vs last year.  Nice improvement but not the runaway sellers’ market some of the headlines would suggest has been occurring.  It is possible that the balance of sale % shifted towards lower price condos and townhomes which could have the effect of buffering overall % selling price increases.

What government action could impact our market this year?
Potentially long list here, with a Federal Government election pending, a new Provincial government in Toronto and a new city council in Ottawa.

Ottawa employment and general economic activity should be pretty stable with the current government or a minority government post-election but all bets are off, if a fiscally conservative government gets elected on a promise to balance the Federal books.  This would result in Ottawa government and private sector job losses and would chill the housing market.

Our biggest concern is what the Provincial government may do in terms of downloading, should Premier Ford decide it necessary to try and get the disastrous Provincial books in order.  Delays or cancellations to funding big projects like LRT2 or other infrastructure projects (Civic Hospital, Library) all could take a bite from the local economy.

Is MLTT coming this year?  We are fully expecting that at some time in the next couple of years, the City will join Toronto in the implementation of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT), as this would add up to $150 million annually to the city tax revenues, without impacting most taxpayers.  Since only 5 or 6% of homeowners buy or sell each year, it is almost the perfect tax, since those not concerned with buying or selling are less likely to get hot and bothered over this type of tax.  The impact of an MLTT would be pretty significant for a buyer:  on an average residential property this would mean an additional Land Transfer tax (on top of the existing Provincial amount) which would total $10,950 for the buyer of the average $450,000 property and $18,950 for the buyer of a $650,000.

This tax has been in place in Toronto for almost a decade now, without destroying the Toronto real estate market and generating something like $800M a year in tax revenue, so don’t be surprised if this is coming our way!  When you think about it, the revenue from such a tax would almost be enough to be able to offer free transit or at the very least, half price transit which would help boost declining ridership.

Will LRT be a success?
The long awaited LRT will be pretty exciting but also nerve wracking in 2019. How well the system launches and is accepted by commuters will have an impact on the “transit oriented development” meme and developer plans/timing to populate high density condos and rentals along the transit route.  If we don’t see ridership meet projections then many things could change or be delayed.

What now for Lebreton?
The recent gyrations at Lebreton Flats and the poor sales to date at Zibi, may simply be indicative of the market overall appetite for high end urban condos but there is no question that the recent “failure to launch” will slow sales of any project in that immediate area.  After all:  who wants to plunk down a pile of dough for a condo that may get built in 3 or 4 years, next to you-don’t-know-what?  We think most consumers (and their realtors) will be hesitant to jump headlong in to pre-construction purchases, given the Lebreton saga and current status.  Unfortunately, we can’t expect the Feds to be too engaged on this file going in to an election, especially with a new Chairman at the helm of the NCC.

Bottom line:
Short of any major worldwide economic event, we see another pretty good year ahead for Ottawa real estate, despite the “cooling” reports you may be seeing throughout the national media.  Real estate is very local and all indicators look pretty good as we open the doors for 2019.  Our view is that those considering plans will want to move on those sooner rather than later, as prices continue to rise.  It is never too early to start both buying and selling plans and getting your Realtor team together, is always a good start!

Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2019!

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

New construction townhome For Sale in Poole Creek, Stittsville

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new construction, quicker occupancy

•  3 bath, 3 bdrm 2 story – $349,952. $10K off or $10K design
MLS® #1042154

– Quality new construction from long time local builder. Built to drywall stage and for a limited time, buyers can choose their own flooring, cabinetry, tile, fixtures and colours. 18 week delivery, so mid-to late summer at time of listing. Call your Realtor to arrange an appointment to view model homes or listed property.
Other models also available, *Interior photos are of model home not listed property

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New construction family home For Sale in Poole Creek, Stittsville

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new construction, quicker occupancy

•  3 bath, 4 bdrm 2 story – $525,940. $15K design centre bonus
MLS® #1044523

– Stittsville beauty! New construction family home from quality builder, is complete to drywall stage and awaits buyer decisions on finishings (limited time only!) 18 week delivery from firm agreement means a mid/late summer delivery at time of listing. $15,000 design centre bonus and terrific standard choices in finishing. Granite for kitchen counters, ceramic and hardwood are standard on main floor, as are 9’smooth ceilings. INTERIOR PHOTOS SHOWN ARE MODEL HOME, NOT LISTED PROPERTY.

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Fed/Brookfield IRP contract cuts Realtor commission to 3.7%

for-sale…does this cause a risk to those selling to relocate?

The federal government is cutting commission rates for Realtor services on the National Integrated Relocation contract (IRP) and Ontario Realtors will share a total of 3.7% for listing and selling a relocating government employee’s home, as of January 1, 2017. (down from the previous rate of 4.1%)

While some will cheer the move, it may not be quite so popular with relocating employees if they see a decrease in service levels or lower buyer agent interest in their listings, due to the lower compensation offered.

What are typical real estate commissions?
In Ottawa, typical commissions remain around 5%* with 2.5% going to the listing sales person and brokerage and 2.5% going to the agent and brokerage that represent the buyer. Commissions are highly competitive and are open to negotiation but most typical fees will be in this general area.* commissions are negotiable and can vary by the individual salesperson or broker and many do charge less, including Oasis Realty.

How does it work with the Federal relocation contract?
Brookfield Relocation Services (affiliated with the parent company of Royal Lepage real estate) manages the federal government Integrated Relocation Program (IRP) nationally and has done for many years. Just a few years ago, this program paid Ottawa Realtors 5% with the usual 2.5%/2.5% split.  On the last contract this dropped to 4.1%, with listing and buyer agents each receiving 2.05% over the last few years. (a decrease of 18%)

With the new fee/compensation structure coming January 1st at 3.7%, the listing representative and buyer representative will each receive 1.85%, if the 50/50 split continues (a further decrease of 9.7%)

Toronto is not Ontario and real estate is “local”:
We are not sure how these fees are established or negotiated but we strongly believe that “one size does not fit all” in real estate fees and by having one set fee for all of Ontario, this does not take in to account the vast regional and local differences. Toronto is its own market, as is Ottawa.  Smaller but important centres for Federal employees such as Trenton, Petawawa etc. may have an even bigger problem if their local prices and volume of transactions normally requires 6% fees to support.

While Toronto prices have continued on the elevator ride up to atmospheric levels, our prices in Ottawa have certainly not followed suit and even this year with solid unit sales our average prices continue to be pretty flat and at or below inflation level. So Realtors are not making up the difference in the average price of houses being sold here, as they might be in Toronto.

What risks might a relocating government seller be facing?
1) fewer Realtors may be interested in listing properties on the program, given the compensation level.
2) Realtors may also ask employees to “top up” the government paid fees, so they can achieve their usual %. This happens regularly today with those selling or buying a private listing or FSBO where a significantly lower commission rate is offered to a buyer representative.  The standard Buyer Representation Agreement signed by most buyers provides for the buyer paying incremental Realtor commission if the seller does not pay an agreed upon fee level ie 2.5%.
3) If one believes that Realtors are significantly “coin operated” then sellers may also see less interest from buyer agents in their properties, as those representatives may favour properties where the buyer representative commission is more robust. Getting paid 27.7% more on property “B” than government listed property “A” is a pretty compelling advantage.  This amounts to about $2,600 on the average $400K sale or purchase.
4) Listing agents will certainly have less budget monies for advertising and other costs to support their government listings when one considers they are also splitting commissions with their brokerage.
5) properties may take longer to sell if satisfactory “full commission” alternatives are available.

Bottom line:
Government employee sales will continue but there may be a few service wrinkles given the now “discount” fees being paid by the Federal government.

This commission change was hotly debated on a Realtor forum late in 2016, before the Board moderator cut off discussion on the issue, so there are clearly many who feel that this lower rate combined with their brokerage splits, dues/fees and other expenses makes this business less viable for them.

 

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com oasisrealtyottawa.com

One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oasis-Realty-Brokerage-Ottawa/209265863918
For “all the real estate news that’s fit to post”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

One of Ottawa’s best real estate blogs: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

 

2 Story For Sale in Poole Creek, Stittsville

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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)

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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

 

2 Story For Sale in Centrepointe, Ottawa

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3 or 4 bedroom, 4 bath town

•  4 bath, 4 bdrm 2 story$339,900. save $10,000 !
MLS® #1032688  

– JUST LISTED! Great downsizing opportunity in desirable Centrepointe, near park, bike paths and services. 3 or 4 bedroom (including main floor bedroom) plus 4 bath condo townhome in small, well managed adult oriented community. Park like treed setting and ample space for living, entertaining and storage. Bath with shower on main floor provides great optional living situation. OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY OCTOBER 23RD 1:00-3:00 PM or call your Realtor for a private showing appointment. Immediate occupancy!

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