Is Ottawa real estate really as “hot” as everyone thinks it is?

Ottawa real estate has posted solid results over the last 2 years but is it really as “hot” a market as is often portrayed?

Both buyers and sellers should beware of headlines, myths, legends and Realtor marketing which can tend to obscure reality and create unrealistic expectations.

Let’s start with some facts, based on 3rd quarter 2018 results and see how this jibes (or not) with some market perceptions:

Unit sales year to date:
Residential sales are very flat this year with units sold up only* .3% in the first 9 months of the year.  Condo sales meanwhile (though a much smaller #) are up strongly at 15.1%
*There is a school of thought that says the low residential unit sales increase is due to listing inventory limitations and there is some truth in this.

Prices:
The average price of a residential property sold in Ottawa this year is up nicely by 5.2% to $447,427.  The average condo price is up only 2.3% to $278,401.

Good solid numbers but not exactly runaway sellers’ market results, right?  So why is it that if asked, many people would say we are in a “crazy” strong market and everything is selling quickly, with multiple offers and over list price sales?

Headlines and social media:
Clickbait headlines and search word worthy social media posts and videos tend to be as dramatic as possible, so quite often outlier examples ie one house in Barrhaven sold with “xx offers submitted and sold for xx,xxx over listing” tend to over influence the market reality.

Also, quite often, short term results, such as a single month sales report are taken to represent the overall trend which may or may be correct.  Sales or prices for a single month (or even 2) touting a runaway market may not be consistent with longer term results (4 to 6 months or more) and therefore skew buyer and seller thinking.

Realtor Marketing:
Realtor marketing is pervasive and hypes their individual results, focusing on the how many they sell and how quickly and for list price or better.  Again, giving the impression that everything sells in a just a few days on the market (or even before being on the market!) and creating an impression that this is the market norm.  We submit that the overall sales stats refute the common perceptions created by these Realtor marketing posts.  One high level Realtor marketer quoted earlier in the year that more than 50% of their listings were selling in multiple offers &/or over list price.  While this may have been true for a short period, there is no way this is true over the year to date results.  Unfortunately, such marketing claims can mislead consumers. * during that approximate period the Ottawa Board did quote a figure of 20% of properties selling at list price or above for that specific month.  Unfortunately, there does not appear to be an easy way to track this statistic, which is totally bizarre in 2018.

Listing inventory continues to be low:
Listing inventory continues to run much lower than over the last 5 years (currently residential inventory is 16.8% lower than a year ago and condo inventory is 28.2% lower)  These numbers certainly reflect a relatively thin level of supply but if it was truly drastic…wouldn’t the average selling price increases be much higher under typical supply and demand rules?

Builders recording huge sales increases over last 2 years: Part of the growth in the recent market has been a huge uplift in builder and developer sales of new construction housing and condos and only a small portion of these are sold via MLS listings, so this growth is not included in our market statistics.  Most of these new construction buyers also have a property to sell and these properties do eventually get to the public market via an MLS listing, so those pending listings arrive in the resale market 90 to 150 days before the new construction property is due for possession.

Grey market for listings:
There has been a long growing trend towards pre-announcement of listings by Realtors both as a marketing tool and an attempt to get a property sold sooner.  Everyone has seen the “Coming Soon” or “Exclusive Listing” sign toppers in their neighbourhood and these are examples of what we call the “grey market”.  Though an advance notice market may seem like a good idea, we think it takes away from the impetus and proper MLS launch of a listing but if it makes sense to that seller, then of course that is up to them.

Unfortunately, any sales recorded by these “grey market” listings are not captured by MLS and therefore not included in our Ottawa Board statistics, which may distort the overall sales picture. (in fact, it may understate results and average prices)

Summary:
Overall, our market is healthy and lower listing inventory still favours sellers-so this fall and winter should be among the best in many, many years.  One of the tenets of Ottawa real estate is that it is steady and stable without the large peaks and valleys, experienced in some other markets and we are better off for it.

We are in a relatively strong market but not a runaway seller’s market and we would be happy to provide detailed research for buyers and sellers appropriate to their individual situation.

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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving to Ottawa? Some things to know about real estate

Average house prices a relative bargain:
Those moving from the GTA or Vancouver will view overall Ottawa average prices (average residential selling price approx. $447,000) as a real bargain and that would be correct.  Averages are just averages though and price ranges vary considerably across the city and the Ottawa real estate board reporting area. Urban residential price averages in 2018 are in the $600-$900K ranges and topped $1.5 million in Rockcliffe Village.  Prices have been increasing fairly strongly in the last couple of years, and limited listing inventory is a factor.

Geography:
Ottawa is quite spread out east to west along the Ottawa river some 45 km (Carp Rd to Trim) and about half that distance north-south. Dominant features include the Ottawa and Rideau River systems, the Rideau Canal and the “Greenbelt”, all of which have factored in Ottawa’s development. North of the Ottawa river is western Quebec, the Gatineau hills and the city of Gatineau. Realtors must be separately licenced/registered to practice in Quebec, so very few, if any, can provide services on both sides of the Ottawa River.  Average prices are about $100,000 less on the Quebec side, so buyers should determine which province is of most interest from the beginning of their search.

Big difference between urban and suburban living:
Much of Ottawa’s residential growth over the last couple of decades has been at the fringes in the east (Orleans), west (Kanata and Stittsville) and south. (southwest in Barrhaven and southeast in Findlay Creek and Riverside South)  Home prices have increased most in urban areas and this has fostered many condo developments and infill housing development in the highest urban demand areas.  We currently have several of the largest mixed residential urban neighbourhood projects in Ottawa history underway or planned.  These include: Wateridge, LeBreton, Greystone and Zibi plus numerous large (and tall!) condo projects.

High demand urban areas:
Westboro/Wellington West and Carling/Woodroffe area , Hintonburg/Mechanicsville, Civic Hospital, Glebe, Old Ottawa South, Ottawa East, Manor Park, New Edinburgh, Sandy Hill

Students, Students, everywhere!
Ottawa is a big education centre with over 80,000 full time post-secondary students (140,000+ counting part time) at University of Ottawa, Carleton, Algonquin, Cite Collegiale and St. Paul’s.  This demographic has an impact on housing, entertainment, dining and the work force.

Transit oriented:
Ottawa has always been a transit oriented city with commuter ridership % among the highest in North America.  The OC Transpo system has been built on a mix of dedicated transitways (bus only roads) and express bus lanes which connect urban and suburban commuters with the downtown core.

2018 brings Phase 1 of Ottawa’s LRT (Confederation line) which will connect 13 stations over 12.5 KM, including a 2.5KM tunnel underneath the downtown core.  Phase 2 will expand the scope both east, west and south (Trillium Line) by 2023.

This has created a “transit oriented development” focus for city planners and a great deal of activity is planned around LRT transit hubs.

Greenbelt:
When one drives through Ottawa from the downtown towards the suburbs, the city seems to stop and then restart after large swathes of open space.  This was created way back in the day when the original plan was to keep Ottawa within the borders of this “Greenbelt”.  Over time, persuasive developers found a way to build new communities beyond the Greenbelt and this is where much growth has taken place since the 1970’s.

Schools:
We have a gamut of schools at the elementary and high school level encompassing English, French and immersion programs from public, Catholic and French school boards.  The widespread geography of Ottawa has become a bit of a problem in this regard, as demographics have changed school enrollment patterns and many schools are on the “to be closed” list due to lack of students while others are overloaded and still others have no local services at all.  Researching schools for both current and future requirements can be a key factor for many parents, so it is a good idea to review this early in your Ottawa home search to determine your geographic focus.

Real estate is local:
Every market is different, so be careful not to assume that things in Ottawa real estate will be the same as the market you are moving from.  Housing types/styles, trends and key features and highest demand items in one local market may vary widely from those in another.

If you are relocating and looking for an experienced brokerage team to consult on your home or condo buying plans, we are more than happy to help!  Give us a call at 613-435-4692 or check us out online at our co-ordinates below:

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

Follow us on Twitter 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/

 

 

 

 

Why fall and winter may be the best time of year to buy a new construction home

Our Ottawa real estate season tends to “bloom” in the spring with the greatest portion of resale transactions being done from March 1st to September 30th.  We do not have access to stats on new construction sales but we suspect they may follow a somewhat similar pattern.

A strong argument can be made that fall and winter may be the best time to purchase a new construction home from a builder. Here are some of the factors that work in favour of buyers purchasing during these somewhat quieter months of the year.

Less frantic buying environment:
When it is peak selling season (or a major launch) builder sales centres are packed and this puts extra pressure on buyers to “make a deal now” before someone else reserves that special lot. This can result in an almost timeshare or boiler room atmosphere which is not conducive to well-reasoned and researched decision making.  Buyers may be swayed more by a “fear of loss” motivation and thus make some hasty decisions.  This is fine if one has done one’s homework but it can also produce impulsive and immature buying decisions.

This environment and the genuine risk of losing out on an opportunity should be slightly less during quieter selling months.

Closing date a critical factor
Most new home deals being signed in the fall or early winter, will call for deliveries in the summer or early fall of the following year. Buyers will really want to consider all aspects of how this availability date impacts their individual situation, as there are both pros and cons and builders have limited ability to adjust scheduled deliveries to meet buyer criteria in a significant way.

Sale of existing home timeline is also critical
Those with an existing home to sell will want to be able to sell their property during the peak selling season, if at all possible. Understanding the timelines is important: ie. When should I list my house to meet the builder closing date?  How long will it take to sell?  How long will it take to close?  How much am I going to get from the sale of my home? A Realtor can help with all of these items and more concerning a new construction home purchase.

Design Centres may also be less busy and stressed
A critical stage of the home buying process is getting the design centre options researched, decided and planned. This timeline can be daunting for those who have not done it before and if a builder design centre is super busy or understaffed this can impact the process and the quality of the buyer decisions and ultimately, the finished product.   Since you only have a short window to get these choices right, it may be advantageous to do this phase in a quieter time of the business year for the builder.

First time buyers RHOSP “double dip”
First time buyers using their registered home ownership savings from their RRSP, may be able to make a savings deposit for the current fiscal year and qualify for that year’s tax deduction, as well as being able to utilize those funds for a purchase the following year. There are some rules around this, as funds must be present in the RRSP account for at least 90 days, before they can be withdrawn for home buying purchases.  Check with your mortgage professional to check on each specific situation.

Saving and planning time
Having several months to plan a move, allows time for additional saving, facilitates scheduling and also allows time for the purchase of new furniture, appliances or household items.

Don’t forget your Realtor!
Many new construction buyers forget to get their Realtor involved early in their new construction home buying cycle. A Realtor can be a really good “Coach” in helping plan and execute a new home purchase. Those buying new construction for the first time and those with an existing home to sell can very much benefit from Realtor experience and counsel. So…”don’t go to the builder sales centre without them”

New construction is one of our core areas of involvement and we are always happy to discuss and advise for those who are already not already working with another Realtor. We feel we have a bit of “inside track”, too-as we have been listing new construction homes for a major Ottawa builder for7 years now.  So give us a call at 613-435-4692, if you have some questions about how the process can work for you.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com  blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/
https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

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Ottawa real estate “stellar” midway through 2017

 

 

 

 

 

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)
Oasisrealtyottawa.com

Quality brokerage services at lower commissions, 11th year in business

 

 

 

 

 

Is there a shortage of quality listings in Ottawa real estate?

 

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.

Bottom Line:
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

www.oasisrealtyottawa.com   oasisrealty@rogers.com

One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages:  https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

“all the real estate news that’s fit to tweet”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

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

A full service, lower commission brokerage

Multiple offers puts additional stress on all parties

lots of twists and turns but ultimately only one across the finish line
lots of twists and turns but ultimately only one buyer gets the prize

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!

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

One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages:  https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

“all the real estate news that’s fit to tweet”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

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

A full service, boutique brokerage with lower listing fees

When is the best time to list my Ottawa property?

Here is a chart we have compiled from monthly Ottawa real estate board published unit sales results (residential and condo property unit sales/month) for the last 5 years. This demonstrates a pretty consistent annual pattern in the Ottawa market.

Spring is key:
April through June are typically our peak sales months and this will come as no surprise for most. Government employees are relocating and families looking for a summer closing and move before the next school year, give this season a major boost.  Each year Ottawa real estate handles some 800-1000 moves in to town by government personnel with an equal number moving away from Ottawa.  The highest % of these are military and RCMP relocations.

Summer surprisingly strong:
There is a significant myth that “real estate is dead in summer” and this table shows this is totally incorrect! July and August are typically the 4th and 5th busiest sales months of the year, so those who “wait until the market picks up in the Fall” are really doing themselves a disservice.

March, September and October:
These are “shoulder” or transition sales months. March activity is increasing for the busy spring and September and October are marked by erosion of peak demand heading in to the slower fall and winter season.

November-February:
Ottawa sales take a breather, as fewer people want to move during the winter time and seasonal vacations, holiday activity and weather all play a role in making house buying not quite as active. A lot of planning and preparation for the peak season can be done during January and February, so still an active period-just not as many sales.

Personal Objectives most important:
What dictates selling or buying times is often based on a specific property being available and this then drives the sale of an existing home. Those with homes to sell will want to consider their buying and closing timelines in a way that optimizes selling an existing property if at all possible. For example, buying a new home that closes in February means one is selling an existing property in late fall in order to co-ordinate the new home purchase.  This however, is not the best-selling market for the existing property-so the seller will have to take this in to account when doing their pricing and listing plans.

When will my property show best?
Most properties will not show their best until mid-May when leaves are on the trees and everything has “greened up”, so some may wish to time their listing (and photo) plans accordingly. For example, a house with a pool will look much more inviting when the pool is open and warmer temperatures occur.

Is my property ready to list?
It can take longer than one thinks to get a property in HGTV condition for listing and selling, so this must be planned in to the listing cycle.

Competition also a factor:
The quality and number of head to head competitors to the property being sold (both new and resale) also factors in to the timing decision.

How long will it take my property to sell?
Sellers will have to factor in both selling and closing time in to the planning timeline and these can vary widely by location, price point and property type.

Bottom line:
There are a lot of variables to be considering in the listing, marketing and selling process and your Realtor is best equipped to help facilitate the process and optimize results based on all these factors. If one is planning a purchase or sale this year, January and February are the ideal months to sit down and have a planning discussion with your Realtor and any other key 3rd parties ie mortgage broker, stager, trades people.

If you are not already working with another Realtor, we are happy to provide a no cost, no obligation market evaluation of your property to help you with your real estate objectives.

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

Follow us on Twitter 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/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quality service at lower fees equals better value!

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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