You’re kidding me right? We are not even at the end of August, yet “time may be running out”.
Well, think about it, there are only a few weeks of summer remaining (sorry!) with weather warm enough to do a lot of outdoor prep that you will not have time to do in the early spring, because of cold or damp weather. This is true for anyone who may be contemplating a sale anytime between November and May but especially so for military personnel that are expecting a “posting notice” out of Ottawa which means an April listing.
Here are some sample projects that will help you get ready for a spring sale now:
Any outdoor painting, caulking, staining, sealing, parging or other concrete repair
Repair or replace any tired fencing or decking.
Thin out, weed and mulch gardens and plant new spring bulbs for colour.
Trim hedges, shrubs and replace any plants, trees or sod affected by bugs or heat.
Aerate, top dress and overseed the lawn and fertilize, so it will look great next spring. Hire a professional lawn service company or landscaping company if your lawn and gardens are in really poor condition.
Hint: extra watering in the fall right up to the time the snow flies is a great way to have lawns, trees, shrubbery and gardens look good early in the spring.
Clean out the eavestroughs once all the leaves are down this fall.
Get the windows cleaned inside and out.
De-clutter garage, garden shed and remove any extraneous items or materials from outside spaces.
Replace any tired outdoor furniture or accessories.
Dig out your home inspection manual and see if there are any outstanding items on the list that have not been completed.
Hint: consider a pre-listing home inspection right now! This may uncover things that need to be addressed and it may save a sale later. Many inspection items are a lot less expensive to fix before listing than after. A general home inspection may also conclude that a roofer, HVAC, foundation, WETT or other household system may require professional servicing or further inspection. Better to find it now than later!
If there is a swimming pool, have it professionally closed and inspected this fall and keep copies of work orders, invoices and any repairs or quotes.
Get your driveway sealed, so it will look well maintained come spring.
You could also take some photos of the exterior of the house and yard, garden, shrubs, trees etc. right now, as they probably look better right now than any time until early May. Having some nice color photos to use for online in in home presentation during listings, is a great tool and allows prospective buyers to see the summer state of the exterior landscaping or other features.
This is by no means a complete list and you have not even started inside yet! If you would like to discuss what you need to do to be 100% “listing ready” for a spring or winter sale, by all means give us a call, if you are not already working with another Realtor.
It wasn’t too long ago that buyers had the upper hand in Ottawa, as we were saddled with excess listing inventory, flat sales and very low average price increases. It is looking like 2017 may be a whole new ball game though and we may be in the first stages of another seller’s market, which we have not had for at least 5 or 6 years.
2016 was a transition year: Between 2013-15 we experienced a period of excess listing inventory which combined with flat sales and price increases, created a market favouring buyers in general. (Although some high demand urban neighbourhoods may not have experienced this quite as much)
Starting about a year ago, we have seen unit sales improve consistently and though prices have remained fairly flat until recently, the number of new listings and overall listing inventory has decreased steadily…a good sign!
Overall listing inventory right now: (early March 2017)
Our current available listing inventory is well below (20%) some peak levels experienced in 2015 and new listings continue to lag behind by approximately 10%. Unit sales improved in 2016 and currently seem to be improving further. As these trends continue, we end up with a supply/demand shift favouring sellers and more competition among buyers for fewer available listings.
“Chronic”, overpriced, stale or unique listings:
There is always a certain percentage of listings that fall in to this category and these lower demand listings are bypassed quickly by most buyers. Though these listings are shown in overall “available” listings totals, they are not in high demand, regardless of the improved overall environment.
One buyer example:
In doing a search for a current buyer, we found the following out of 31 listings that met their general specifications:
Chronic listings on the market for extended period: 9 listings or 29% (anything beyond 90 days we consider chronic which means either the property has a problem and/or is overpriced.)
Busy street or other location issue: 7 (this young family does not want a primary or secondary collector street)
Unique listing or one with an obvious issue: 5 (not looking for a fixer upper or one with has obvious resale challenges in future)
Total: 21/31 listings or 67.7% of available listings are not viable for this particular buyer couple, leaving only 10 properties to consider. So while there might seem to be a fair number of listings, there really is not for these customers.
As it turns out our buyers have submitted an offer on one of these properties but it looks like it will be their 2nd go round in a multiple offer situation, in as many weeks.
New listings sell fast:
The sell through of new listings at this time of year is 50% or more of new listings selling in less than 30 days, so buyers don’t have a lot of research and decision making time. Being prepared and having a well prioritized search can really help ensure one is ready to jump on new listings, as soon as they happen.
There is not a major shortage of overall listings (a la Toronto) but the demand for quality listings is improving and in many cases, greater relative to supply, so buyers and their representatives need to be on top of their game or someone else will beat them to the hot new listings hitting the market.
Having a Realtor buyer representative fully engaged in one’s search is even more critical at this busiest time of the year.
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
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!
Though January is typically the lowest sales month of the year, (along with December) there are some very positive trends in the current market.
Strong residential sales in January 2017:
Unit sales have been trending up steadily since April 2016 and January continued that trend. Unit residential sales were up a solid 16.6% for the month and overall residential and condo sales were 8.6% higher than the 5 year average for January. Condo unit sales were flat in January but did sell at a higher price than a year earlier.
Listing inventory trending down:
This is a key category and indicator of overall market activity. We experienced several years (2013-2015) of increasing inventory levels which led to a supply/demand imbalance favouring buyers. Starting in spring 2016 this indicator started moving in the opposite direction and moved in to a balanced position during 2016. See chart: https://public.chartblocks.com/c/5895b4b79973d295631e48dc via @chartblocks
January 2015 listing inventory is 15.2% lower for residential listings and 10.7% lower for the number of condo listings, compared to a year ago.
New listings in January were 11% lower than a year ago and condo listings for the month 4.6% lower.
Balanced market or seller’s market?
If we continue the combination of higher unit sales with lower numbers of new listings and total listing inventory, then we may see more pressure on buyers and higher prices and move more towards a seller’s market. This is what can occur when demand outstrips supply and can be characterized by shorter selling times, higher prices and the existence of more multiple offers on listings. We have not had sellers market conditions (except perhaps at a neighbourhood level) for 4 or 5 years now, here in Ottawa.
We have also had reports of strong sales from builders on new construction and inventory homes.
Overall average prices are not leaping forward, as has been the case for the last number of years but the trend suggests this could change if supply limitations drive prices up.
This is a very important time of year for both buyers and sellers, as market activity grows on a daily and weekly basis from now through peak season in May and June, so it is a good idea to get one’s plans in place and existing properties ready to sell.
These overall numbers may not apply to all neighbourhoods, so if you would like to get an analysis done for your own property or area, feel free to give us a call or call your Realtor. 613-435-4692
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691 email@example.com oasisrealtyottawa.com
One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/
Average house prices mostly a bargain:
Those moving from the GTA or Vancouver will view overall Ottawa average prices (average residential selling price approx. $400,000) 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 2016 were in the $600-$750K ranges and topped $1.2 million in Rockcliffe Village.
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. Dominate 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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org