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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com  @oasisrealtyOTT
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Is buying an Ottawa property for a visiting student a good idea?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seller tips for winter showings in Ottawa

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Selling in Winter?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

758 Bunchberry Way , Ottawa

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

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

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

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

 

 

Selling in December: …how do I handle Christmas decorating?

When I’m selling in December…should I decorate my home?
Perhaps not the biggest question sellers and their Realtors may have on their minds late in the year but one that warrants some consideration. Christmas is an important time of the year for many of us and a big part of the excitement is decorating the home as part of the seasonal celebrations.  So if my property is still going to be listed for sale…does this change how I choose to decorate?
Bah, humbug!…don’t decorate at all!
One school of thought might be that one should not decorate at all and let buyers see the property without all the distraction that could be associated with Christmas décor.  This argument would also suggest that adding decorations personalizes the home and may detract from the overall space.
To tree or not to tree?
Christmas trees may be an important centre piece in one’s seasonal decorations; should we forego the Christmas tree this selling season?  Trees take up a lot of space and also could be quite a distraction for visitors.  While it is one’s prerogative to “tree or not to tree”, we think smaller homes and condos may show best without a Christmas tree or opt for a very small or table top sized version.
“It’s our last Christmas here…”
There is a lot of sentiment around the Holiday season and if it won’t feel like Christmas without the tree and all the trimmings then by all means “go for it”.
Withdraw or suspend listing or restrict showings:
A compromise solution might be that one either temporarily withdraws the listing from MLS® or introduces some showing restrictions during the Christmas season.  (Your Realtor has forms for doing this.)
Bottom line:
Homeowners make their own choices of course and as Realtors we also encourage sellers to balance the listing needs with their own, as they still are living in the home and should not feel that they are in some sterile environment which is void of any personal touches.  We would generally suggest that a “lite” version of one’s typical seasonal decoration is the best way to strike a compromise.
Merry Christmas and Happy selling!
Dawn Davey, Broker
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692
oasisrealty@rogers.com  www.oasisrealtyottawa.com
@oasisrealtyOTT

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Fed spending and headcount continue to hike home sales in Ottawa

925-plante-sold-1

…overall prices though…not so much!

October 2016 yielded another pretty good month in Ottawa real estate, buoyed by continued growth in Federal government headcount and spending. Sales were positive in the month of October with new home sales and condo’s leading the way.

New home sales up 18.5% year-to-date:
The new home segment has seen a major surge this year and that is good news for builders. Some of these sales may challenge the resale market which is pretty flat in average price this year, although the number residential units sold is up 6.0% so far this year. Average selling prices are ahead only .9% overall for residential at $396,109.

Condo sales much better this year, up 9.1%
Condo sales on MLS® (which also includes some new construction sales but not all) where up a whopping 27.2% in October and are showing a 9.1% increase year-to-date but average prices are again pretty flat with the average price sold at $259,925 unchanged.

Listing inventory pullback has helped the market:
The number of new listings this year is down by about 7% overall and current inventories show the number of residential listings down 16.7% at the end of October and condo listings down 14.1%.   Rental listings were also down by 28.9% at month’s end.
This has moved us away from some very high listing inventory levels experienced over 2014 and 2015 and keeps us in a much more balanced market.

How long does it take a property to sell in Ottawa?
Our days-on-market to sell the average property has increased slightly to 58 days for residential properties (up from 55) and 73 days for the average condo (up from 68 days last year). This is a key statistic for those considering a sale to study in detail for their own area, as it is critical in assessing both marketing timelines and listing pricing.  A Realtor can provide up to date and detailed information in this regard.

Most popular pricing categories:
The $300,000 to $400,000 price category is the most active/popular range, followed closely by the $200,000-$300,000 price category.
Overall, 80% of residential sales in Ottawa are done at lower than $500,000 and 75%+ of condo sales are done at less than $300,000. These types of ratios are important for sellers to consider when listing, as it determines the size of the potential market for their property.

What’s next?
We are entering the quieter period for real estate in Ottawa and while sales should continue strong vs previous years, the months of November-February are our 4 slowest months of the year. Sellers will want to carefully review pricing and competitive factors prior to listing their property for sale during this period.

Now may be best time to buy new construction for 2017 delivery:
Buying new construction may be optimal at this time of year for closings in summer 2017, as those with existing homes to sell, will be able to sell in the busy spring market.
First time buyers will have more months to save and also possibly be able to use their 2016 tax year RRSP contribution for their down payment, in addition to getting the 2016 tax break.

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

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 !
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– 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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