Should showings continue after a conditional sale?

What’s the point?  If it’s already sold….

Sellers can be excused for not really wanting to continue with additional showings after agreeing a conditional sale with a buyer.  It is understandable that sellers might wish to take a breather, after all the preparations for listing the property and the rush and stress of the initial deluge of showings.

Buyers, too, generally have little enthusiasm for a property that appears to be already “spoken for” by another buyer.  After all, why get all excited about the property, when another buyer is in control of that property during the conditional period.  Many buyers are afraid that they will be disappointed after seeing the “one that got away”

Even buyer representatives can be somewhat reticent about investing time in showing a property that their buyer’s cannot buy.

For the above reasons and more, the number of showings on properties with conditional sales in place drops 90% or more.

…but what if the conditional sale does not “firm up”?

10-15% of conditional sales are falling through in our current market!
Given the current seller’s market conditions, extremely low listing inventory, offer dates and multiple offers, many more conditional sales are falling through than is usually the case.  Historically, conditional sales don’t complete only about 5% of the time but over the last 18-24 months this figure has grown to the point where as many as 10-15% of conditional sales are falling through! See the number of properties shown as being ” back on market”  in this recent 7 day snapshot from our Realtor dashboard.

See a previous post on why sales fall through here: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/conditional-sales-falling-like-autumn-leaves/

Property effectively “off the market”
Sellers will have missed buyers during the conditional sales period and there can be a bit of a stigma associated with a sale falling through.   Some buyers and their agents may wonder if there was some issue around inspection that surfaced to kill the previous deal, for example.

Both buyers and sellers should pursue showings:
A buyer may get a “leg up” on a such a property, should it fall through, as many buyers will have moved on and not be in a position to quickly get in to see the property, once it shows up as “back-on-the-market”  An aggressive buyer (and agent) may even want to submit an offer to show the seller their level of interest and if anything happens with the original buyer, they are then in a position to control the property. (still not a high % play, but if it is the “right” property, it may be worth the time investment.)

Sellers: be open to showings and keep the property readily available and accessible. 
We had an interesting experience recently where we booked a showing on a property that had been conditionally sold to find that snow had not been shovelled and the property was not accessible or safe for viewing.  Surprisingly enough, the conditional sale on that property fell through and it was back on the market a few days later. Also no surprise: our buyers had moved on a purchased something else in the meantime.

So while it is normal to lose interest in doing showings post conditional sale, all parties are best to remember “it’s not over ‘til it’s over!

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692              oasisrealtyottawa.com

 

4 hidden MLS listing sections buyers and sellers don’t get to see

Our MLS listings are very detailed and provide lots of opportunity for complete disclosure of information that is pertinent to buyers.  Like all things however, the quality of the listing is only as good as the quality of data input by the individual Realtor.  Also, a lot of brokerages don’t do a terrific job of oversight or quality control on their listings but this is a matter for another post.

What we do wish to discuss here, are the sections of the listing that can be very useful for a buyer to know and can also be critical to the success of the listing, as well as the buyer purchasing decision.

Here are some of the key sections of the listings that buyers don’t see:

Realtor remarks:
This short section allows the listing agent to detail ancillary information like listing conditions, closing date preferences, utility costs, special instructions, special assessments, rental items or lease obligations or other notes that are generally directed to the Realtor members but almost always are pertinent for buyers as well.

CTSO:
This is the acronym for “Commission-to-selling-office”.  This is critically important and both buyers and sellers should know what is contained in this small section.  This section tells the buyer agents what % commission is being offered on the listed property and may be the most important hidden section of all, since it speaks to compensation.

Many sellers don’t understand what is posted there for their listing and what effect it may have on a buyer agent’s enthusiasm for that listing.  Also, FSBO sites or “mere posting”   listings often show $.01 in this field with instructions in the Realtor remarks to contact the seller directly to understand what commission they are offering or not.

Buyers need to know what is shown in this section, as they may be liable to pay directly any difference between their contracted commission rate in their Buyer Representation Agreement and that offered by the specific listing.  While most commission rates to the selling office are 2.5%, they can vary widely.  Government relocations for example may be seen at only 1.85%.  Some brokerages offer 2, some 2.25 and some do a flat fee  commission amount for as little as a $3,000 commission to the buyer brokerage and representative.

Sales History:
The sales history section of the listing is very critical for buyers to see (and also sellers, prior to listing time) as this documents the current sales activity and most previous MLS® listing history.  It can be useful for buyers to know how long the property has been on the market and also what the previous sales timelines and results were.  For example, if a property had some kind of stigma, unique feature or location disadvantage and it took a long time to sell during previous listings, the odds are the same will be true again.  This buyer should try to remember this when calculating an offer price and also remember it in future when their turn comes to sell the property.

Noting when price changes or conditional sales have occurred is also relevant information contained in this area.

Listing attachments:
Our Realtor system has a feature that allows us to any number of attachments to the listing to provide further information such as floor plans, surveys, lease agreements, work orders, permits, upgrade lists, pre-listing home inspections, property appraisals, tax bills, maintenance records/history or any other pertinent record that helps the buyer representative better explain the home features and history to the prospective buyer.

This attachment field is not as well used as it might be, but more and more we are seeing useful and detailed information being added by the most conscientious and professional listing agents.

Both buyers and sellers should be asking their respective agents if there is pertinent information in any of these fields that are pertinent to their decision making.

Follow us on social media for more buying and selling tips and news on Ottawa real estate.  https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/  @OasisrealtyOTT

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

buyer tips for tough 2019 seller’s market

With listing inventory at millennium lows (-25.3% vs 2017 and -42.5% below 2016 levels at year end 2018) it is more important than ever for Ottawa buyers to have a strong team in place and a plan for success in 2019.

Have an updated plan:
Make sure you have a plan and update it, if one is up to date with everyone on your buying team then a purchase will definitely go more smoothly with fewer surprises:
Here are just a few things to do to be ready for that dream home:
If you have been looking for a home for a while, it is also a good idea to revisit and update your plan.
-check with your mortgage broker to make sure there is no change in your prequalification level or mortgage rate and see if you can get a rate hold guarantee
-review with your mortgage broker whether a fixed or variable rate is best for you.  70% of mortgages are still fixed rate but variable has been most advantageous over the long run.  Understand the pros and cons for each and plan based on what works for your circumstances.
-speak with your lawyers office and make sure you are up to date on all fees, and other disbursements the lawyer will make on your behalf, including land transfer tax (LTT), title insurance, mortgage insurance (if less than 20% down)
-check with your insurance broker, so you know what information they will require to provide appropriate insurance coverage and if there are any potential issues with a  property under consideration.

Price range:
If you have not been successful in finding an appropriate property, do you need to bump your price search range up to a higher level?

Focus on specific housing type:
Have you evaluated all options in potential housing and narrowed down your criteria to those that suit best?  There is an old saying that home buying is as much a matter of elimination as it is of selection and this is quite true.  The more one can focus on the type of house they are looking for within their financial plan, the better

Geography:
-do you need to add to or subtract from your geographical area of search?  Again, the more focused one is on a particular area or region, the easier it is to stay on top of new listings.

Are partners on the same page?
Being one the same page with a spouse or partner is critical in a successful home purchase.  If there are differences of opinion, try to get these ironed out before you start seeing homes and making offers.  If priorities are too far apart, getting a successful deal done will be painful.

Do you have your buying team in place and up to date?
Do you have a mortgage broker? Realtor? Lawyer? Inspectors? Does your financial planner need to be in the loop?  Are they all available right now if your dream home gets listed tomorrow?

How are you funding the down payment and deposit?
First time buyers will want to review this, especially if these funds are coming from an RSP or TFSA.  Typical deposit on a deal is about 1% of purchase, so $3,000-$5,000 paid at time of sales agreement for the average priced property.  Buyers may wish to offer more though, if they feel it adds strength to your offer, particularly in potential multiple offer situations.

Builder new home deposits are much higher, generally in the 10% of purchase price range, although buyers will have about 60 days to provide these funds in installment payments.

New construction vs resale:
If you are considering a new construction purchase, please make sure your Realtor knows, as they can help immensely in co-ordinating visits and providing advice on lot selection, features, upgrades and builder recommendations.  Realtors are involved in 85-90% of resale transactions but probably only 25%-30% (or less) of new construction transactions, so many of these buyers are purchasing without anyone directly representing them.  (…kind of like going to court without a lawyer…)

Multiple offers and bully offers?
Have a strategy for dealing with multiple offers or “bully” offers.

With our low listing inventory environment, these types of situations occur more frequently, especially for those shopping in the $250-$500K range.  Understanding how these work and determining if and how you will participate, is good to discuss in advance.

Be an ‘active” buyer:
-keep an eye out for new For Sale signs in your area of interest.  Especially look for those that say “coming soon…” or “Exclusive Listing” as these will not immediately appear on MLS® and may even be sold prior to an MLS® public listing being posted. Give your realtor the name of the listing agent and the address of the property and they can follow up for you and get you in to see the property.
Ditto, watch for online postings in facebook groups or kijiji or other online real estate sites that may show listings that have not yet made it to MLS®.  Some buyers and agents are advertising future availability, too and while these can be tricky and not that often successful, they may well could be an opportunity.

Be aggressive and decisive: don’t fret overpaying
Don’t wait for an open house, try to get in to see a newly listed property as soon as possible.
If you have a good market knowledge and see a property that ticks all your boxes, be ready to make a decision and go for it.  Many buyers can be a little nervous about overpaying but remember that if our upward market continues, this property is likely to be worth $20-$30K more next year and you want to get in to the market as soon as possible.  Your Realtor will help guide you in appropriate pricing strategy.

2019 is expected to be another challenging year for buyers, so have a good plan and work closely with your Realtor for success this year.  If you do not already have a Realtor, we strongly suggest you engage one now to improve your chances in finding and securing your dream property this year.

We would be happy to discuss if our approach and philosophy is appropriate for you, if you would like to discuss, please give us a call at 613-435-4692 or check us out at oasisrealtyottawa.com or our facebook or twitter platforms @oasisrealtyOTT or https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis Realty Brokerage
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

Findlay Creek bungalow and a heck of a listing deal!

New construction bungalow in Ottawa Findlay Creek MLS 1126904 $669,527

Builders have been racking up sales records for the last 2 years or more and possession lead times are growing for buyers.  One great option for buyers is to consider builder “quick occupancy” homes, spec homes, model homes or other inventory homes and your Realtor can help you shop for these.

We have a fabulous bungalow listing in Findlay Creek (MLS 1126904 at 602 Rockrose Way $669,527) that offers the best of all worlds: a relatively short delivery window (26 weeks) for a brand new construction home.  This home is built to the drywall stage and the exterior is complete, including sod, driveway paving and partial fence.  Designer upgrades have been ordered as of Jan 18th, 2019 and include over $68,000 in upgrades and extra features (ie AC) These should be installed an the property available for possession late summer.  This would allow a buyer to sell an existing property in the peak spring market.

For additional listing details and photos, please check out the MLS® listing here: https://oreb.mlxmatrix.com/matrix/shared/JwDGzRm50m/602ROCKROSEWAY

Another bonus of this buying approach, is that construction is essentially completed on this street, so buyers are getting to move in to a finished block without the inherent annoyances of ongoing construction.

In a seller’s market with limited inventory and upwards price pressures, those buying new construction can tend to benefit from both their existing property and their new construction property appreciating in value, as they wait for the new home to be built.

Best listing deal in town if you buy this home with us!
Buy this home directly with our firm and we will sell your existing property for only 2.5% +hst total commission!  (not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements, some conditions apply)  This saves the average seller in Ottawa over $12,500 in commission and HST, compared to a typical 5% MLS® listing fee program.

If this particular home is not the right one for you, then we are happy to help find that dream home in 2019 and also optimize your equity proceeds from the sale of your existing property.

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

 

Why Ottawa will have the best winter sales in a decade or more

sales should help “warm” Ottawa winter

Ottawa real estate normally pretty much hibernates from late November to late February but this may not be the case this year.  Buyers and sellers will want to consider the following factors and consider whether they wish to move up their buying or selling plans accordingly:

 

Listing inventory at decade lows:
The level of available properties to purchase continues to be extremely low and the number of new listings coming on the market, shows no signs of reversing this trend. Supply/demand alone would suggest that this has to put more upward pressure on selling prices.

Residential listings are currently 17.5% lower than last year, 35.5% lower than 2016 and 48.8% lower than 2015.

Condo listings are 34.5% lower than 2017, 45.5% lower than 2016 and 55.8% lower than 2015.

Even rental listings are down quite significantly, 31.6% lower than last for MLS rental listings.

Beat the price increase!  Your next house is going up $2-3K a month!

With residential prices on the way up (+5.7% through Oct 2018) that dream house is getting more expensive day-by-day.  For example:  a $500,000 property today may well be $525,000 or even $530,000 by the end of 2019 peak selling season.  That’s an increase of $2,000 to $2,500 per month and with mortgage rates also headed north, the cost of servicing a mortgage is also increasing.  The mortgage “stress test” which is typically 2% above the mortgage rate being offered is also moving upwards as rates rise thus making approvals more challenging for some buyers.

New construction price and availability:
Builders are also facing limited availability, after two record years of sales and also are facing some labour shortages and price pressure.  All of these factors will also continue to push up the price of new construction.

Mortgage rates:
Rates are pretty well guaranteed to rise a half point in the next 6 to 12 months, with an outside chance of going up a full % point.  This adds challenge to the approval process (mortgage stress test) and monthly cost for buyers and homeowners, so buying now and locking in at a lower rate will have some advantages. *new construction buyers will have to make sure they get a guaranteed rate from their mortgage broker or bank to cover them for the longer new build timelines.

Local economy is strong:
The local economy seems pretty solid regarding employment and there appears to be no signs of the Federal Government doing any significant belt tightening in advance of next year’s election. (Though one never knows?)  So our market should continue its current moderate upward path in the immediate future.

Provincial and municipal budgets:

A “new” city council in Ottawa is in place and we also have a relatively new Provincial government in Toronto.  The Provinces’ fiscal challenges are well noted and there are also signs that the City of Ottawa has its own issues.  Here are a few things that could happen that might add cost for buyers and sellers:

  1. If Ottawa council feels really in a budget pinch, is it possible that a Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) could be implemented here? This would add $5,000-$10,000 to the typical residential purchase transaction cost here and would cause a bubble and price run up in advance of implementation.   To put this in perspective: the total land transfer tax on a $500K home would jump to almost $13,000 and $21,000 for a $700,000 home purchase.
  2. What is the Provincial government going to do to fix their huge fiscal problem? Could they raise the level of the Provincial Land Transfer Tax? Add some other “luxury” or other tax on housing?
  3. Could Ottawa raise development charges which once again adds to the cost of new construction homes and condos?
  4. What effect will “inclusionary zoning” have on costs of new construction? This principle requires builders and developers to include provision for lower cost housing in their new projects but will certainly affect the cost of new properties, as it becomes more prevalent in the near future.
  5. Do the Feds have any plans in their National Housing plan that might affect buyers, sellers or homeowners?

 

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage

613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com

Optimizing real estate transaction costs

 

does low listing inventory signal even more price increases in 2019?

Listing inventory end Oct 2018

Ottawa listing inventory is a prime indicator of our seller’s market conditions this year. Chart shows the tremendous change in October month end listing inventory over the last 4-5 years. (from a buyers’ market in 2014/15)
Residential listings are currently 17.5% lower than last year, 35.5% lower than 2016 and 48.8% lower than 2015.
Condo listings are 34.5% lower than 2017, 45.5% lower than 2016 and 55.8% lower than 2015.

Why aren’t prices up even more?
Given these figures, one almost wonders why we have not seen even more upwards price pressure, with residential prices up (only) 5.7% in 2018 to $449,005 and condo selling prices overall essentially flat with an average selling price increase of only .6% to $271,350 at the end of October.

On the good news front, new listings appearing on a monthly basis are starting to level off somewhat, so the listing inventory situation does not appear to be getting any worse.  Many buyers however, are finding it very difficult to find and secure the property they want.  Low listings and quicker selling times have resulted in more multiple offers which typically generate a selling price above the listing price.

Now is great time to be planning a purchase or sale for 2019, as one can only see more scarcity and perhaps even higher prices in 2019.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record

Oasis Realty Brokerage  613-435-4692

Ask about our amazing 2% exclusive listing fee!

 

Conditional sales falling like autumn leaves

As most know, we have a seller’s market here in Ottawa as we close out 2018.  Sales and prices are up and listing inventory is pretty scarce in most market segments.
One statistic that seems almost out of line with the strength of the market and lack of listings is the number of conditional sales that are terminated by buyers and do not go firm.

The numbers: (such as are available) 
We don’t have a regular report mechanism on the amount of such sales but for the last 12-18 months, this ratio has more than doubled from 4-5% of sales to as much as 10-15%.  We offer as evidence a current 7 day period where new listings have been 406 and conditional sales 304 and firm sales 370.  The number of “back-on-market” listings during this period is a significant 74 or almost 20-25% in relation to the sales.  This is extraordinarily and we feel the overall level is probably in the 10-15% range noted previously.

So what is causing this massive number of sales cancellations?
There are several reasons why sales fall through in any market, these including: Inspection, financing and good old fashioned buyer remorse.  All 3 of these factors are enhanced in the current market.

Inspection:
Sellers feel they are in a strong position in this sellers’ market, so may not be as amenable to making price adjustments or fixing issues identified by inspectors, knowing there are a lot more buyers out there for their home.

Buyers accordingly, are often buying at their maximum and often feel they are paying a premium (even over paying) and therefore, some may try to renegotiate the deal price wise, without reciprocity from the seller.

Financing:
Mortgage rates have risen and the new mortgage “stress test” may still be catching some buyers unawares thus resulting in buyer inability to obtain satisfactory financing.

Hurried purchase decisions:
Buyer remorse can always be a factor in the termination of conditional sales.  Often caused by either irrational enthusiasm by one or more of the buyers or most likely where one buyer loves the property and the other merely likes it.

In the current environment of listing scarcity and multiple offers, buyers don’t get as much time to research a property (many only get a chance to see it once, before having to decide on an offer) and then once they have longer to think about it, they are not as enamoured with it as originally thought.

Unfortunately, a hasty purchasing decision in a rushed and stressful environment, leaves plenty of room for error and many buyers may be re-thinking the suitability of the property or re-evaluating the purchase price being paid or both.  Conditional sales agreements are written in way that favours the buyer significantly and that conditional period can often end up being a “cooling off period” and buyers can be pretty subjective in their decision making on whether to firm up the deal or not.

Sellers are adversely affected by such cancellations, as they may lose some of the other buyer interest during the conditional sales period when their property is pretty much “off the market” while a buyer does their due diligence and attempts to complete their conditions.  Other buyers may wonder if “ something is wrong” with the property and may therefore lose interest in it.  Still others may have gone on to buy something else.

The best solution to this problem is for buyers who are well prepared and well coached with appropriate financing in hand and a good knowledge of current market value.  If all of these are in place, we can hopefully optimize the current high level of sales cancellations.

Gord McCormick
Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage
Ottawa  613-435-4693
oasisrealty@rogers.com

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/