Forgive us if it sounds a little odd to be “counting down” on real estate sales and closings for 2017 but in reality, this is the case as we approach mid-August. How so, you say?
There are several key factors that create this tightening timeline:
1) Seasonal slowdown:
Our market unit sales volume steadily eases from its peak in April, May and June to the start of winter hibernation in mid to late November when things are really quiet for 60-90 days. Sales are progressively lower for each month following the end of June to the end of year and unit sales are lowest in December and January. Most buyers don’t want to move in during the winter (if they have a choice) and seeing properties in the winter and making a buying decision is more challenging.
Many buyers also like to get moved in time to enjoy Xmas season in their new home or before the snow flies, in early to mid-December.
2) time-to-sell and time-to-close Typical selling time in our strong market for midrange properties should be 30 days or so and remember one must add at least a week for a buyer to firm up their conditions.
Most buyers are looking for a 45-60 day closing period, particularly first time buyers or those coming from rental properties where 60 day notice to the existing landlord is required.
3) prep and lead time to get a property on the market: There are always a few more things to do to get ready for professional photos and for the onslaught of strangers visiting your home at the outset of a listing period. Realtors need time to schedule photography, sign installation and marketing, so this “prelist” phase in most cases, will be at least 7-10 days.
While every property and sale will differ, adding the above takes somewhere in the order of 75-100 days, so the typical property listed by the end of August, is most likely to sell and close somewhere between mid-November and mid-December.
These timelines may be further skewed or lengthened if the property being sold is a higher priced or unique property or presents some selling challenges.
The best thing a prospective seller can do is to check with a Realtor and see how these timelines apply to their own property and what the likelihood is for success in line with the seller’s expectations. Though we have a strong market this year and listing inventory is much lower than in recent years, it is important to remember that rate of sale for the balance of the year is quite different than what we have seen in the last 3-6 months.
If you are not currently working with a Realtor, please feel free to give us a call and we will be happy to provide a no cost no obligation market evaluation of your property and how we might be able to assist. For more information or to get check out more information on Ottawa real estate, please see our online co-ordinates below.
We really do have a lot of excellent people in our profession and it is on behalf of all these quality sales people and brokers that we offer the following rant on what we feel are really poor real estate practices by some that should not reflect poorly upon us all!
The “snow in June” listing photos: C’mon guys!…how tough is it to pop by your listing and get a photo update? How is one serving the seller by telegraphing that the listing has been on the market for quite a while…sheesh!
The 1 photo or no photo listing: Do you think that this is going get people’s attention or that they will come back to check out the listing later?….keep dreamin’!
Too many listing photos: 6 photos of the front door or the bowl on the dining room table….who needs this? There are very few properties that cannot be effectively shown with 25-35 quality photos that show the layout with some perspective. Some artsy photographers get carried away but few consumers (and trust me, way fewer buyer agents) want to click through 100+ photos!)
The focus on something you’re not buying photos: How many listings do you see where the focus is the flower arrangement, the staging, the accent wall, the furniture, the artwork, the dining room table, the knick knacks, etc. Do I really need to see a close up of a vase in the middle of a table when I can’t see the room it’s in?
The (old) cellphone photo:
Some of the listing photos we see look like they were taken with an old flip phone. I guess it works for those going for the dark and fuzzy look…but it does nothing for the online viewer and even less for the seller. This works especially well (not!) with text that brags about the “bright, airy space with lots of natural light”.
The companion photo set is the one from the agent with the latest and most expensive phone but you can tell they took all the listing photos in about 2 minutes (while walking through the property-hence the blur), since they had to rush off and get the Beamer detailed, pick up their commission cheque or get to their mani-pedi, workout or yoga.
The missing photo scam: Do you really think that smart consumers won’t figure out the yard is ugly, there are hydro towers or an expressway in the backyard, the garage is falling down, the roof is doomed or that the Army Corps of Engineers are needed for kitchen and bathroom renos?
The super wide angle photo: …don’t you just love the ones where the fridge or stove looks 6-8 feet wide?
The “why-is-this-in-the-photo?” photos: Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the unusual things that catch your eye in listing photos. The pet, the diaper pail, the garbage can, the Realtor reflection in the shower door or mirror, the car in the driveway, dishes in the sink….anything that distracts the buyer from assessing the house for their needs is bad news.
The-too-many-too-few conundrum: Condo listings specialize in this awful practice: you get 3 photos of the unit and 12 of the view, the building complex, lobby, gym, pool, or neighbourhood/surrounding area. Sure you have a great park or bike path down the street but I want to see the darn place I may be buying!
The “why bother” photo set: Tenant occupied properties lead the way but are not the only source of incredibly messy, disorganized properties that are clearly not ready for prime time. To be honest, some are so scary; you hope you never have a customer call who might want to see one of these suckers! You are not doing yourself or the seller any favours by listing those in this condition…so why bother?
Shame on you for not investing in professional photos! Our industry in Ottawa is serviced by many excellent and reasonably priced photographers who do fantastic photography and hosting services at very reasonable rates. If you are listing someone’s property and asking them to pay $15,000-$20,000 (or more) in commissions and won’t shell out $150 to get some decent photos done? …sorry, you shouldn’t be in the business! Oh, and by the way…shame on your brokerage and manager, too!
The “I-forgot-what-the-point-was” photo spread: The objective of the exercise is to have the prospective buyer see enough of the key features of the property that they will want to come and see it in person and soon! The photos should highlight the critical features, be consistent with the text and be just enough to keep them wanting more. Too often, these simple objectives seem to be forgotten.
More of the same (and worse!) in the video world: All of the above issues and more are present in the now ever present video/Utube/social media marketing which is far from an exact science for the amateur productions too many turn out to be.
If we have forgotten any mind boggling real estate photo practices that you see regularly, please let us know!
We are having the best year since 2010 in Ottawa real estate, with unit sales and prices up nicely and listing inventories dropping significantly from some historical highs in 2015.
Overall unit sales are up 10.8% and average prices are up 7.2% to $398,872 across the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB)
Builders are reporting an extraordinarily strong year with one report indicating a 44% hike in unit starts and one builder reporting that sales have doubled in the first half of the year!
So how is Stittsville doing? Stittsville market is keeping pace with overall growth with the exception of areas north of Hazeldean Rd which is fairly flat in both sales growth and price increases.
Desperate need of more listing inventory north of Hazeldean Rd!
MLS® zone 8211
Unit sales are down 7.6% compared to midway in 2016 and average prices are pretty flat with an increase of .5% to $393,237.
Very limited listing inventory may be the cause of relatively fewer sales, for example, this area has only 22 total listings at time of writing and that is barely one month’s worth of sales! So this is a great time to be selling in Stittsville North (Fairwinds, Jackson Trails, Bryanston Gate, Timbermere, Poole Creek) especially.
One would have thought that this should push average prices higher but is not the case thus far. The other two Stittsville zones below have a more reasonable 3 months’ worth of listing inventory, although still much lower than in previous years.
Central Stittsville: (MLS® zone 8202 between Hazeldean Rd. and Abbott St.)
Unit sales are up 25.6% and average prices up 8.2% to $468,745. 55 residential properties currently listed.
South Stittsville: (MLS® zone 8203)
This area is also seeing strong results with unit sales up 21.7% and the average price up 5.8% to $512,666. 50 residential properties currently listed.
Builder competition: With so much new construction in Stittsville and Kanata, the resale market is always competing with builders. This can have an effect on those selling, particularly if the home is less than 5 years old and the builder still offers that particular model for sale.
Builders have been raising prices this year, along with the market overall.
Construction disruption: Some streets/neighbourhoods may have resale affected by new construction in adjoining parcels of land, particularly where that development may change the ambience or traffic patterns.
The military invasion continues! With the migration of DND HQ to DND Carling Campus at Moodie Dr., Stittsville and Kanata continue to be very popular for military families.
If you would like more information on this or any other neighbourhood and are not currently working with another Realtor by all means give us a call 613-435-4692 or check us out at our online co-ordinates below.
The Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) June results report another strong month of sales and price gains. Virtually every indicator is positive and suggests continuing growth in the months to come.
Average prices and unit sales continue upward trend: Our best average price increases in many years with the average residential selling price up 7.2% to $427,721 and the average condo up 6% to $274,974 through the first half of 2017.
Unit sales: Residential unit sales are up by 10.8% and condos by 26.2% on a year to date basis.
Listing inventory plummets: The one somewhat challenging statistic is the continuing decline in new listings (-10.3% year to date) and the overall listing inventory at the end of June which shows the number of residential listings down 27% from a year ago and condos down 22.2%. (compared to historical highs at the end of June 2015, residential listings are down 36.4% and condos down 28.1%) This is a good situation for those selling but not so much for buyers.
These inventory levels suggest continuing strong demand for the foreseeable future.
New home sales up 44% The Ottawa Home Builders Association reported that housing starts are up 44% this year to date, compared to last-so builders are seeing very strong activity also. Accordingly, builder prices have bumped up this year and buyer incentives have generally decreased from a year or two ago.
More sales falling through: Conditional sales that do not firm up normally run about 5 or 6% but we notice that this is up to more like 8 or 10% this year. This may be caused by buyers who make an offer quickly and then have some buyer remorse. Another possibility may be that sellers are less inclined to adjust prices after home inspections discover some latent issues, thus causing buyers to walk on signed conditional agreements. Tighter mortgage qualifying rules may also be a factor.
These sales “fall throughs” are worrisome, as they effectively take a property off the market for 5-7 business days and then potentially leave a stigma as to why the deal did not proceed which may turn other buyers away from the property.
More offer dates and multiple offers: We are seeing many more offer dates or “no offers before”, as listing agents try to ensure as many buyers as possible get exposure to the property to optimize value for their sellers. Ottawa has always been more of an “early-bird-gets-the-worm” type of market but listing scarcity and stronger demand are forcing more agents and sellers to hold back offers. Note: while multiple offers have certainly increased this year they are not the norm, generally only a small % (perhaps 5%) will see multiple offers and over listing price sales., although this may be higher in very high demand neighbourhoods. There is a tendency for some in our industry to be over enthusiastic and make it sound like every property is selling overnight and with multiple offers and an over list price result. This may lead to faulty expectations and perhaps some impulsive buying and selling decisions.
The average days on market to sell a property (though improved) is still 40 days for residential properties and 60 days for condos.
So it is a strong market which brings some different challenges than we faced a year or two ago and buyers and sellers are encouraged to stay engaged with their industry professional to be fully on top of the market dynamics.
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or 613-371-9691 (mobile)
Quality brokerage services at lower commissions, 11th year in business
Let’s dispel a major Ottawa real estate myth: that summer is “dead” in real estate
It has long been held that summer is dead in real estate and things pick up in the fall…but is it really true?
….not so much, as our research has proven! (See monthly unit sales chart)
We hear this all the time from sellers, home owners and even other Realtors who seem to think that there are two “prime” or “peak” seasons in Ottawa real estate: spring and fall. We hear statements like “everyone is on vacation” or “gone to the cottage” etc. thus explaining why real estate “dies” off in the summer and somehow is magically reborn and “things pick up after Labour Day”.
While it is true that summer sales do dip compared to the super peak season in May and June, July and August are the next best sales months the market will see until the following April, so serious buyers and sellers should not put their real estate plans “on hold” until the fall’s purported “2nd season” in the Fall.
Summer unit sales: July and August 4th and 5th strongest months
Sales in July and August are some 20-25% less than those in April-May and June but are still usually well ahead of sales in September and October which are a further 10-20% lower, followed by November when sales start to go in to the winter hibernation phase of Ottawa real estate.
New Listings and total listing inventory are also typically higher in the summer months than in the fall and winter, so it is a great time to be buying also.
How did this myth get started? …hard to say but possibilities include:
After a busy spring season, some Realtors may be looking for a bit of a break themselves, which is hard to do when one has to be “on call” and readily available close by to support a new listing or buyer client. So if a buyer or seller plans can be deferred a couple of weeks, the Realtor can sneak in some summer vacation time for themselves.
Also, some Realtors may feel that for whatever reason, a certain property may get more attention in the fall or they may simply be trying to save some business activity to anchor the balance of their business year, especially with the typically slow winter season approaching from mid-November on.
There may be some valid reasons in terms of market circumstances, competitive listing inventory, seller vacations, property preparation for listing and so forth but let us be perfectly clear: don’t delay listing your property in July or August because you think business is stronger later!
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or 613-371-9691 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ottawa real estate had record unit sales in May and the combination of all indicators suggests we are either in a seller’s market or very much on the verge of one.
Sales and prices were up and new listings and overall listing inventory were down thus making for a good month for sellers and listing agents but not so much fun for buyers.
May is typically our busiest sales month (followed by June and then April) as our market is boosted by families looking to move before school starts in September and also a strong transition of government staff (primarily military and RCMP) moving to and from our area.
Unit sales strong:
Residential unit sales up 12.4% for the month, condos up 44.6%
The number of residential units sold in May was 1856 vs 1612 a year ago.
Condo unit sales were 444 vs 307 in May 2016
On a year to date basis through May, residential sales are up 12.4% and condo sales up 27.1%.
Average prices increasing nicely: The average price of a residential property sold in May was $436,625 and increase of 7.4%.
The average condo sold for $270,993 in May an increase of 2.3%.
Year to date increases for residential properties sold is trending up 6.7% and for condos 4.9%. This is our best average price growth in 5 or 6 years.
Listing inventory continues to be the key indicator to watch! New listings continued to slow with condo listings lower than May 2016 by 6.3% and the # of new condo listings down by 13.2%.
Overall, the number of new listings is 10% lower this year to date.
End May listing inventory signals more demand in coming months!
The combination of strong unit sales increases and a lower number of new listings leaves us at the end of May with 25.3% fewer available listings in the residential market and 22% fewer condos that in 2016.
This means more competition for available listings in general and thus favours sellers. On an area by area basis this may vary but it does jibe with what we are seeing daily in the market.
New listings to sales ratio indicate seller’s market conditions during May:
The number of residential sales (1,856) to new listings (2607) yields a ratio of 70.2% and this is almost Toronto high! (a ratio above 60% is said to reflect seller’s market conditions, with 40-60% representing a balanced market and less than 40% a buyer’s market.) On a year to date basis the ratio is 58.8%, just short of a seller’s market
Condo unit sales for May (444) vs new listings (734) yield a ratio of 60.4%, also just in to seller’s market territory. On a year to date basis the condo ratio is 46.8% which suggests a more balanced market.
What can we expect in the long, hot summer?
We are certainly seeing more multiple offers and offers days being established by sellers and their listing agents, especially in key geographic areas and price points. Sellers should discuss their pricing and marketing strategy with their listing salesperson to determine the best course of action for their circumstances.
Buyers want to be on top of new listings (and price changes) and not wait for an Open House to go and see a property that may interest them.
Both sellers and buyers will also want to determine their own position on how they wish to participate in a multiple offer situation, should one materialize.
Why pay 5% commission to sell in a “hot” market?
Buyers and sellers need their salesperson or brokers’ advice just as much in a hot market as in a slower one….but do you really need to pay 5% commission on the selling side?
If you don’t think so, give us a call and we can explain our options that will *save you 26% to 50% of the selling fees on your sale. 613-435-4692
*not intended to solicit those with existing listings. Savings based on our range of listing commissions vs typical 5%.
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis Realty Brokerage 613-435-4692 email@example.com Oasisrealtyottawa.com
An experienced, effective and inexpensive residential brokerage
It wasn’t too long ago that buyers had the upper hand in Ottawa, as we were saddled with excess listing inventory, flat sales and very low average price increases. It is looking like 2017 may be a whole new ball game though and we may be in the first stages of another seller’s market, which we have not had for at least 5 or 6 years.
2016 was a transition year: Between 2013-15 we experienced a period of excess listing inventory which combined with flat sales and price increases, created a market favouring buyers in general. (Although some high demand urban neighbourhoods may not have experienced this quite as much)
Starting about a year ago, we have seen unit sales improve consistently and though prices have remained fairly flat until recently, the number of new listings and overall listing inventory has decreased steadily…a good sign!
Overall listing inventory right now: (early March 2017)
Our current available listing inventory is well below (20%) some peak levels experienced in 2015 and new listings continue to lag behind by approximately 10%. Unit sales improved in 2016 and currently seem to be improving further. As these trends continue, we end up with a supply/demand shift favouring sellers and more competition among buyers for fewer available listings.
“Chronic”, overpriced, stale or unique listings:
There is always a certain percentage of listings that fall in to this category and these lower demand listings are bypassed quickly by most buyers. Though these listings are shown in overall “available” listings totals, they are not in high demand, regardless of the improved overall environment.
One buyer example:
In doing a search for a current buyer, we found the following out of 31 listings that met their general specifications:
Chronic listings on the market for extended period: 9 listings or 29% (anything beyond 90 days we consider chronic which means either the property has a problem and/or is overpriced.)
Busy street or other location issue: 7 (this young family does not want a primary or secondary collector street)
Unique listing or one with an obvious issue: 5 (not looking for a fixer upper or one with has obvious resale challenges in future)
Total: 21/31 listings or 67.7% of available listings are not viable for this particular buyer couple, leaving only 10 properties to consider. So while there might seem to be a fair number of listings, there really is not for these customers.
As it turns out our buyers have submitted an offer on one of these properties but it looks like it will be their 2nd go round in a multiple offer situation, in as many weeks.
New listings sell fast:
The sell through of new listings at this time of year is 50% or more of new listings selling in less than 30 days, so buyers don’t have a lot of research and decision making time. Being prepared and having a well prioritized search can really help ensure one is ready to jump on new listings, as soon as they happen.
There is not a major shortage of overall listings (a la Toronto) but the demand for quality listings is improving and in many cases, greater relative to supply, so buyers and their representatives need to be on top of their game or someone else will beat them to the hot new listings hitting the market.
Having a Realtor buyer representative fully engaged in one’s search is even more critical at this busiest time of the year.
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
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Our Ottawa market is showing some strong signals that we may be seeing a return of seller’s market conditions, with stronger demand, rising prices and the increase in the number of multiple offer situations. This can be a stressful experience for all parties, particularly buyers who have not experienced the process.
We recently competed in a multiple offer (representing a buyer) on a detached single home in the south end which attracted 5 offers within 48 hours of being listed on MLS®. We were not successful with our offer and our buyers were very disappointed but we gave it our best shot in the fast paced process surrounding these types of situations.
Here are some of the key challenges in the process:
Compressed timelines: The listing was just posted on MLS® later on Monday. We alerted our buyers to the new listing that evening and requested a showing directly via the listing agent that night. We actually viewed the property twice on Tuesday, once with one of our buyers and the 2nd time with both buyers. (one of our buyers was actually able to take the day off work to get in to see property as early as possible)
We submitted an offer on Tuesday evening that was slightly over asking price, as we expected that demand would be reasonably strong given the amount of showing activity on the listing. We were aware of the fact that another offer was pending and it had been submitted just prior to our own offer.
Our buyers revised their offer price upwards, based on the 2nd offer.
The listing salesperson had now established an offer presentation time for Wednesday later afternoon. By early-mid afternoon Wednesday, we were aware that there were now a total of 4 offers registered on the property. (there ultimately ended up being 5 offers submitted)
Our buyers revised their offer price upwards a 2nd time to their absolute maximum and we submitted revised documentation to the listing sales person.
Buyer roller coaster: Buyers are caught on a roller coaster of emotions: from the elation of seeing a property they both really want in their price range and area, to happily submitting an offer which is over the listing price and hoping there are not too many offers, to frustration from waiting around without any control of the situation, to stressing about how much one should offer and avoiding temptation to overpay or remove some important condition from the offer which may help “win” the property bid but prove costly later, to the anticipation of waiting and hoping your offer will make it to the top of the pile, to the disappointment that comes from finding out that it was a good offer but not quite good enough.
Sellers are happier but not stress free: Sellers are definitely the beneficiaries of the best possible market value in these scenarios but they are certainly not stress free. This young family was pretty much shut out of their home for the better part of 2 days while buyers and their agents toured the property.
These sellers also have a home they are buying, so until their own property sells and firms up, they are not 100% sure of securing their own dream home. Even if it looks pretty good right now, it is still not over until the final paperwork is done with any buyer conditions satisfied.
Buyer representatives have a lot of conflicting pressures: All buyer representatives want the right property for their buyers and at the right price. While one-on-one negotiations with a listing agent and seller have one set of challenges and variables, multiple offer situations are completely different and the buyer representative has far less control or influence over the outcome.
Price, closing date and conditions are the critical factors and we want our buyers to win but not pay too much or sacrifice important conditions. i.e. like foregoing a home inspection or not including a financing condition.
Add to this the uncertainty of knowing what the “winning” price might be and how to properly advise buyers is a challenging task.
No “cake-walk” for the listing salesperson, either: The listing sales person has their own set of pressures in professionally representing the seller, co-ordinating access for showings, communicating on a timely basis with all interested parties and running a well-organized and credible multi offer submission, advising sellers on bid selection, negotiations and debriefing all who have submitted offers. This is a pressure packed process for them as well. In this case, we had a very professional listing salesperson who very ably managed all of these from our vantage point.
Everyone’s life is “on hold”: All parties to these situations are pretty much “on call” as the dynamics of these situations unfold and the process lurches towards a conclusion. Don’t miss out on a phone call, text or email-as you may lose out on timely information or ability to act upon that information. When the ultimate prize is so important, everything is circumspect and under a microscope. Did we do everything we could? Was there more information we should have had? Should we have been more aggressive? How much risk should we take?
This is definitely starting to look like a “you snooze…you lose” kind of market: What about the buyer representative who missed the listing or the buyer who wasn’t quick enough to even get in to see it? What about the buyer representative who wasn’t available to get their buyers in to see the property? What about the buyer who said: “let’s wait for an Open House”?
Bottom Line: It is always disappointing to “lose” but our buyers did everything they possibly could and are moving on to the next one. Our job is to find them an even better one than the one that got away and it’ll happen for them!