March sales absorb flood of spring listings

new listings surged in March but buyer demand met the challenge with huge unit sales increases

In a more normal market a 30-40% increase in new listings would be cause for concern. But not the case with our wild and crazy market that pumped out unit sales increases of 47% for residential properties and 65% for condos, during March.  This obliterated the new listing surge and pushed already soaring prices in to the stratosphere: The average residential property sold for $758,802 during March up 35% vs last year and the average condo sold for $437,046, up 18%.

Price-low-to-sell-high:
Unfortunately, 80% of listings sold at above listing price during the month (vs 60% a year ago) We say, “unfortunately” because this reflects the fact that the market has proven that the lowest listing price generates the greatest buyer interest and number of offers, therefore yielding a higher sales price.

Time and time again, we note listings where a cursory look at recent sales for reference properties show a pattern of selling in the high $500’s, (for example)  yet the new listing comes out at $450 or $499K…what’s the point?  Why not list at $550 or $575K?  …because if one does that, the market has shown that you don’t get as many showings or offers, nor a healthily higher than list price result.  So while it is very unkind to buyers, (who will always believe they have a chance) if it is in the sellers’ best interest, then that is what many listing agents feel compelled to do.  There is a strong sentiment among Realtors, however, that properties can still be properly priced and we have seen instances of online “price shaming” where some Realtors call out another for an obviously way underpriced listing.

Sellers: do your best to temper expectations
Side note: just did a quick survey of 500+ residential sales over the last 7 days.  The selling price to listing price was a healthy 111.3% and properties sold almost $60K higher than the list price…. but how much of this $60K overage is accounted for by the underpricing practice noted above?

There is a bit of a trap here for sellers: if you believe you have priced your property for what you really hope to achieve and is reasonable then don’t expect that you will still get the $50-$75K-$100K over list price result (or more!) that you read about daily.  Not everything is selling $100K or $200K or $400K above list.  Getting a full list price result, with a strong buyer and favourable conditions (usually, none at all) should still be considered a fully satisfactory result.  Anything more is a bonus and expectations should not be that every listing results in a lottery win.  If something sells for way too much over list, there is the potential for appraisal issues or buyer financing issues.

The listing cupboard is bare…especially for residential property:
At the end of March, our residential listing inventory was only 868 properties, down 46.7% from 2020, which was already down 37.9% vs 2019.  Current on hand inventory is barely enough to satisfy two weeks of expected sales!  In a “balanced” (equal supply and demand) we expect to have at least 2 to 3 months of expected sales on hand.  So no surprise the average days-on-market (DOM) to sell is down to 10 days for residential properties and 14 days for condos.  It would be much lower than this but for holding back offer dates.

Wildest Q1 ever?
Prices for the quarter were record setting at an average of $729,897 for residential, up 32% year to date and the average condo sold for $415,054, an increase of 17% over the same quarter a year ago.

Unit sales were up by 33.5% for residential properties and 40.5% for condos.  Rentals by members of the Board also soared by 44% during the quarter.

Conditions? …what conditions?
A scary attribute of this market is the almost total lack of buyer conditions.  Though the Board does not track this, my back of the envelope guess-stimate, concludes that approximately 60 to 70% of deals are being done with no buyer conditions.  A lot of risk being taken on financing approval, appraisal, lack of inspections or heaven forbid, the sale of a buyer’s existing home.  In most cases, this risk is on the buyer and their agent…but what happens if the buyer doesn’t get financing?  Doesn’t sell their existing home for what is anticipated?

A “semi-senior” moment?  ….how about an almost $300K hike in 2 years!
I am sure that many must be shaking their heads and asking themselves:  “how did this type of property get to that price level?  Have I been asleep at the switch?  If one compares the average residential sale price in March 2021 of $758,802 to only two years ago when March 2019 yielded an average selling price of $480,589, the difference is a staggering gain of $278,213 or 57.8%

Where do we go from here?
Buckle up….it looks like more of the same in the weeks ahead, as we start our peak 10-12 weeks of real estate activity for the year.  We’ll be keeping an eye on listing inventory and reporting on it regularly, as this statistic, combined with sales absorption, are always key indicators of market direction. 

Be realistic and take what the market can provide:
Buyers can have many frustrations in this market, but also must temper their own expectations.  If your financial plan says you don’t want to spend more than $500K, then don’t rush out to see every $499K listing, if it is clear it may sell for $600.  Your agent should be able to help with this and sometimes even a call to the listing agent, may give an idea of what the seller expectation is for a selling price.  If they want a minimum $600K and your top point possible is $525K…why bother frustrating yourself?

As mentioned earlier, sellers can also moderate their own expectations.  Obtaining a winning offer well above list, is best treated as a nice surprise, rather than an expected or guaranteed result, as there can well be differences in expectations and results.  The market (buyers collectively) will decide what it is willing to pay for a property/product and seller expectations have very little to do with it.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage
Ottawa 613-371-9691 www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

1 1/2 Story For Sale in Stonebridge, Ottawa

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huge bungalow on 50 x 120' lot in Stonebridge

•  2700 sqft , 3 bath , 4 bdrm 1 1/2 story FOR SALE  CAD875,000 . Monarch "Brookside" bungaloft

SNEAK PEEK! EXCLUSIVE (NON-MLS LISTING) In the heart of Stonebridge (phase 2) on a quiet crescent, awaits this venerable “Brookside” (aka Mahogany) bungalow with loft. This upscale neighbourhood has been a coveted location in suburban Ottawa since its inception. Close to the golf course, river and Stonebridge Trail. This bright, spacious home boasts over 2700 sq ft of above ground living space per builder plans (and MPAC) and a full basement which could be developed for yet even more living space. (multi-generational use, nanny suite, work out studio, home business)
The home features 2 bedrooms plus den and 2 full baths on the expansive main floor plus soaring cathedral style ceilings and large windows for optimal natural light. (southwest exposure in rear, means one enjoys natural light year round) An open concept/ kitchen, eat in area, living room and dining room make for the utmost in family or other social gatherings or entertaining. A convenient main floor laundry right beside the bedroom areas, complete the main floor amenities.
In the apartment size loft above, there are two more spacious bedrooms, as well as an open den or TV area and a 3rd full bathroom.
The large lot home is fully fenced in rear, where there is also a low maintenance deck, shed and inground sprinkler system
This lightly lived in and extremely well maintained home is move in ready and the main floor was professionally painted in early 2020. Surprisingly reasonable utility costs.
Some key additional features include: covered front porch, alarm system, central vac and central air, gas cooktop, oven and dryer, quality Laureyson kitchen cabinetry with additional pantry/cupboard, 2 huge linen closets (one on main and one in loft), gas BBQ hookup, convenient gas fireplace on main floor, quality hardwood and ceramic tile, cement pad and electrical hookup for hot tub, R-60 attic/ceiling insulation, basement rough in for future bath,

Property information

Seller tips and strategies for Ottawa winter showings

winter showing tips and strategies

There are some important decisions to make with your listing broker to help you plan to accommodate winter showings, in this busy sellers’ market in 2019/2020.  Here are just a few:

Initial showing period:
How will you manage access to accommodate the largest number of buyers to your property?  High demand and low listing inventory right now means properties are highly sought after and buyers will want to see the property as soon as possible after it is listed. 8 to 10 showings a day (or more!) in the first few days is not out of the question.

Some buyers are even vacating their properties for the first 4-7 days to provide for easiest access for buyers.

Are you holding offers?
If you are holding offers back to a certain date, you will want to take this in to consideration also.

Do you want to schedule overlapping showings?
Realtors normally book a 1 hour showing window.  Do you want to allow for potentially overlapping showings where more one buyer and their agent may be in the property at the same time?  This is a quite normal practice but if you want individual buyers to enjoy a private showing, you may request that your listing broker does not schedule overlapping showings.

What part does an open house or open houses play?
Open Houses work for most properties and provide a scheduled time for buyers to visit.  When trying to maximize or optimize the number of visitors in a short time frame, they can be very strategic.  We often hold dual open houses on listing launch weekends, as this gives buyers two choices to visit plus it may help us, if a winter storm impacts a single open house day and time.

Do you continue showings after a conditional sale?
Do you continue with buyer showings (and open houses) if you have signed an agreement for a conditional sale on the property?  Sales cancellations are at an all-time high of 10-15% of conditional sales, so it may be a good idea to continue accepting showings and holding any already scheduled open house, just in case, the buyer financing does not come through or for some other reason the buyer chooses to opt out of the agreement.

Do you have any time-of-day restrictions you wish to add to your listing?
In most cases, you want to make the property as accessible as possible for buyers but there are circumstances like children’s bedtimes, shift work schedules and other family matters may dictate a time window where showings cannot be accommodated.  Discuss these with your listing broker.

What is your pet management plan for showings?
Discuss with your broker, how best to manage pets to accommodate showings.

Here is an update to a previous post with specific tips for prepping for buyer visitors in winter:

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

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

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

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

For a great list of top real estate blogs in Canada, check here: https://blog.feedspot.com/canada_real_estate_blogs/

Hello world! Ottawa Real Estate Guide 2.0

This is version 2.0 of our Oasis Realty Ottawa blog and we are keen to get it ramped up again. (we lost about 5 years worth of posts due to a misunderstanding between us and our website supplier…ugh! …not all their fault but it was surprising there was no way to go back and repatriate the content)

We think we can have a valuable role in creating a forum for consumers and Realtors to discuss real issues in today’s Ottawa real estate scene.  Many professionals in the business don’t have time to blog or don’t have much latitude, due to employee contracts, corporate brokerage policies or management practices.  Many others prefer to focus strictly on marketing and lead generation using their blog.

We hope to emulate in some small way, the super blog by a Realtor colleague in Toronto, David Fleming who has done a fantastic job in “telling it like it is”  in Toronto real estate.  He doesn’t pull any punches, either….something that is not possible for 95% of Realtors out there who are effectively muzzled or controlled, since everything they write or post, is subject to some management or corporate policy, scrutiny or legal potential.  We encourage everyone to check out https://torontorealtyblog.com/  for an interesting perspective on the GTA market and real estate in general.

We think we have some real insight to offer, with over 15 years of industry experience and 12+ years running our own small brokerage.  We have worked with 2 major corporate franchise brokerages prior to launching our own brokerage, so we feel we offer an interesting perspective.

We encourage you to submit questions and issues you would like to hear about it and we will address them, if we believe they are topical and of interest to other consumers.  So what are your thoughts on the Ottawa real estate market?  What have your experiences with Realtors been? What surprises, confuses, entertains or ticks you off about how real estate is done?

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

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