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

Moving to Ottawa in 2018? …here’s how to get ready:

 

It could be “slim pickings” for buyers in 2018 Ottawa real estate:

The Ottawa real estate market has been improving steadily since spring 2016 and 2017 was probably the best year in a decade, with overall unit sales up 10.2% and prices up 6.8% for residential properties and 3.4% for condos.

The good news is Ottawa is still very affordable compared to many places across the country and one of its most stable markets.

Average selling prices 2017:
Detached single home: $ 451,306   +7.6%
Row townhome:            $ 343,958    +4.9%
Semi-detached home:   $ 420,042    +5.7%

Apartment condo:         $ 298,537    + 3.7%
2 story town/condo:     $ 230,141    + 2.9%

Tougher news for buyers will be scarcity of listing availability in 2018 and definite upward pressure on prices, as listings have fallen to very low levels all across the city.

New listings were down 8.7% over the course of 2017 and that trend is worsening already in 2018 with new residential listings in January down 30% compared to the 5 year average. Overall listing levels are down 21.7% for residential listings at year end and 27% for condos.

With increasing numbers of sales and lower numbers of new listings, the supply-demand balance will be swinging even more in favour of sellers, so buyers will have to be very aggressive and prepared for a tough seller’s market.

Here’s some things to do to be ready to buy:
1) have your team in place, so you are 100% ready to buy: Realtor, mortgage broker, insurance broker, inspectors, lawyer.  Make sure you and your spouse/partner are on the same page concerning priority level of housing features.

2) know your financial plan and pre-qualification levels before even looking at a property. Know whether you will need a property appraisal and if the new 2% qualification threshold applies to your file. Understand home operating and utility costs, as this may vary from your existing geographic location.  For example:  property taxes may be higher or lower and ditto for heating, electrical or water costs.  Ottawa has much higher property taxes than Toronto per $ of assessment, for example and we also have rental hot water heaters which those from out of Ontario may not know.

3) have a realistic target of home by type, area, features and price and narrow that as quickly as possible. No sense chasing rainbows in a tough market for buyers.  Wishing you can get the $525K house for $475K will not make it so.

4) have a plan for multiple offers. Well priced new listings will be attracting multiple offers, so discuss your position in advance with your Realtor.

5) consider builder quick occupancy inventory, as many builders are building some homes on spec to be available for peak delivery months ie summer.

6) search online for exclusive listings and other non MLS® posted properties. Many are “trying” listings out on 3rd party sites and social media before posting on MLS®, so you may find listings on social media groups or via search engine alerts.

7) drive through your geographic areas regularly (if possible) to look for new lawn signs popping up. New ones may have toppers that say:  “coming soon” or “exclusive” listing.  These may be good choices if you can find them before other buyers.  The fragmentation of listings from the central MLS® system makes it difficult for buyer agents to stay on top of all new listings appearing in your areas of interest and one cannot be satisfied that electronic means will be sufficient in getting you in to see the hot new listings, before other buyers.

If we can assist with your Ottawa purchase plans this year or answer any questions, please do not hesitate to call 613-435-4692

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

https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/   http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

 

Seller’s market in Ottawa real estate May 2017?

Record sales in May 2017

 

Ottawa real estate had record unit sales in May and the combination of all indicators suggests we are either in a seller’s market or very much on the verge of one.

Sales and prices were up and new listings and overall listing inventory were down thus making for a good month for sellers and listing agents but not so much fun for buyers.

May is typically our busiest sales month (followed by June and then April) as our market is boosted by families looking to move before school starts in September and also a strong transition of government staff (primarily military and RCMP) moving to and from our area.

Unit sales strong:
Residential unit sales up 12.4% for the month, condos up 44.6%
The number of residential units sold in May was 1856 vs 1612 a year ago.
Condo unit sales were 444 vs 307 in May 2016

On a year to date basis through May, residential sales are up 12.4% and condo sales up 27.1%.

Average prices increasing nicely:
The average price of a residential property sold in May was $436,625 and increase of 7.4%.

The average condo sold for $270,993 in May an increase of 2.3%.

Year to date increases for residential properties sold is trending up 6.7% and for condos 4.9%. This is our best average price growth in 5 or 6 years.

Listing inventory continues to be the key indicator to watch!
New listings continued to slow with condo listings lower than May 2016 by 6.3% and the # of new condo listings down by 13.2%.

Overall, the number of new listings is 10% lower this year to date.

End May listing inventory signals more demand in coming months!

The combination of strong unit sales increases and a lower number of new listings leaves us at the end of May with 25.3% fewer available listings in the residential market and 22% fewer condos that in 2016.

This means more competition for available listings in general and thus favours sellers. On an area by area basis this may vary but it does jibe with what we are seeing daily in the market.

New listings to sales ratio indicate seller’s market conditions during May:

The number of residential sales (1,856) to new listings (2607) yields a ratio of 70.2% and this is almost Toronto high! (a ratio above 60% is said to reflect seller’s market conditions, with 40-60% representing a balanced market and less than 40% a buyer’s market.) On a year to date basis the ratio is 58.8%, just short of a seller’s market

Condo unit sales for May (444) vs new listings (734) yield a ratio of 60.4%, also just in to seller’s market territory. On a year to date basis the condo ratio is 46.8% which suggests a more balanced market.

What can we expect in the long, hot summer?

We are certainly seeing more multiple offers and offers days being established by sellers and their listing agents, especially in key geographic areas and price points. Sellers should discuss their pricing and marketing strategy with their listing salesperson to determine the best course of action for their circumstances.

Buyers want to be on top of new listings (and price changes) and not wait for an Open House to go and see a property that may interest them.

Both sellers and buyers will also want to determine their own position on how they wish to participate in a multiple offer situation, should one materialize.

Why pay 5% commission to sell in a “hot” market?

Buyers and sellers need their salesperson or brokers’ advice just as much in a hot market as in a slower one….but do you really need to pay 5% commission on the selling side?

If you don’t think so, give us a call and we can explain our options that will *save you 26% to 50% of the selling fees on your sale. 613-435-4692

*not intended to solicit those with existing listings. Savings based on our range of listing commissions vs typical 5%.

 

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

 

An experienced, effective and inexpensive residential brokerage