Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2017 Real Estate Year in Review – Dissecting the Stats

Well, we are now fully into mid January and 2018 is in full swing.  Hopefully those of you that made new year’s resolutions have stuck to them so far .  If one of your resolutions was to stay informed on the Windsor-Essex real estate market, then you have come to the right place!  Today, we are going to be reviewing the 2017 Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors statistics.

Listings Year Over Year Fell 2%
Listings were slightly down from 2016, and many people already thought 2016 was a year of low inventory.  In 2017, we burned through even more inventory and there are less properties for buyers to go around as we start 2018.  One might’ve assumed the hot market would entice more people to list their properties but the stats don’t tell that story.

Units Sold Rose 2% Year Over Year
The total number of property transactions increased by 2% over a great 2016 year!  It's not a huge increase, but combining that with a decline in listings and inventory being eaten up, a 2% increase in units sales isn't enough to explain all the craziness of the 2017 market. That leads us to our next stat...

Average Sale Price Increased 17% Year Over Year
The average sale price in the area increased from from $225,906 to $264,750 during that period.  A banner year on a percentage basis and one of the best our local market has even seen.  Strong activity across the board and a healthy sellers market.  But when comparing the price increase to the listing and unit sales activity (with modest moves), the number seems a little out of whack.  Why is that?  To try to figure it out we’ll dive into the December monthly statistics.

In December 2017,  16.83% of sales were of Properties that Sold for $420,000+
When the board breaks down sales by price range, they have increments of $40,000-$60,000.  Starting at $0-$60,000, $60,000-$99,999, etc, up to $420,000+ as the highest range, the highest range had the second highest sales activity next to only $140,000-$179,999 (17.16%).  Basically, we’ve been selling way more high priced properties!  I think a lot of this can be contributed to the booming year in new construction and for detached homes, with $420,000+ at the low end of that price range.  The next point will help us further illustrate and hopefully drive the message home.

In December 2017, Average sale price increased 36% Year Over Year!
Wow, now that is pretty amazing.  Prices in those 30 days went from an average of $220,053 in 2016, all the way to $300,314 in 2017.  The first time we ever remember seeing an average price with a 3 handle!  Not that long ago our average prices still had a 1 handle!  In this 30 day period the main contributor to the huge spike in average prices was the healthy activity in the higher priced properties.

There is our brief but hopefully helpful review of the 2017 market statistics.  If there are any topics you’d like to read about in 2018, drop us a line and we’d be happy to try and incorporate it into a future post.  Happy new year everyone!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Real Estate Insider: December 2017 News Report

Looking to buy, sell, rent, upgrade, or even change cities? Here's 13 topics you need to read to stay in the loop!


Are you renting out a room or level of your Primary Residence? Read this article to find out if you are still entitled to the Capital Gains Tax Exemption. >>


“Think Canadians couldn’t abandon their mortgages like Americans did in 2008? Think again” >>


Ready to go Net-Zero? Read the simple steps to take to make your current home produce enough energy to run itself! >>


BC to ban Duel-Agency in order to increase consumer protection, and could possibly be the first of many provinces to do so. >>


Looking to buy a house for a bargain? Look in January! Looking to sell your house? Don’t list it in January! The statistics don’t lie; find out why January is the best time for bargain hunters to buy a house. >>


There are new rules when Buying or Selling a house with a Tenant. Be sure to keep up to date so you stay protected! Reading this article is a good start! >>


The rapid increase in housing prices has pushed CREA to try and change RRSP rules, to allow parents to take out money for their children’s down payment. Ultimately decreasing debt and increasing buying power for first-time buyers. But whom are they really trying to help? Read more here. >>


New Federal Court ruling may force Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) to make more information available to the public. This in turn could increase competition and possibly lower prices, so why is TREB fighting so hard to appeal it? Read here. >>


With interest rate hikes looming in the near future, learn what it could possibly do with respect to mortgages, housing prices, demand, and more. >>


Breakups can be tough, especially when you two have a house or condo together. Read this article for advice on how to property split your assets after a big split. >>


The Bank of Canada announces that it left its rate locked at 1%, however points to many recent positives that could support higher rates in the near future. >>


A By-Law requiring rental housing to be licensed has been blocked by Mayor Drew Dilkens, however many people are calling for change as the sub-standard housing rental market is become dangerous and in some cases, fatal. Read more about the pros and cons of the proposed by-law here. >>


Even after the recent housing price surge in Windsor, we are still the cheapest place to own a home in Canada! Read the staggering difference in prices around Canada here. >>

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Ex-Windsorites: Make 2018 The Year To Move Back Home

Part of the boom we’ve seen in our local Windsor-Essex area in the past few years has been attributed to the large segment of Windsorites moving back home.  Whether they left for jobs, school or other factors, people are migrating back in droves.  For those of you still weighing a potential move back home to Windsor-Essex, today we are going to try and push your decision over the edge and discuss what you are missing out on!

You can drive pretty much anywhere you’d like to go in 20 minutes or less!  Traffic is one of the biggest issues of living in a big city and having a long commute is a big contributor to issues with stress and quality of life.  Give up that two hour commute and spend more time with family or at the gym everyday

I don’t know if you’ve been living under a rock, but Detroit is experiencing a renaissance these last few years.  Lots of exciting developments are underway and tens of thousands of new people are living and working again in the city.  As it grows, our area is becoming a suburb of Detroit and offers us access to many big city amenities including a major airport, all four major sports teams (Major League Soccer is also in the works), shopping, bars and restaurants, and also a large job market as many cross border workers can attest to.

Cheap Real Estate
You probably already knew this one, but Windsor-Essex still offers some of the cheapest real estate in Canada.  As you get priced out of the large Canadian markets, you’ll still more than likely be able to afford the type of home you desire in our area.  At an average price of around $260,000, you wont have to grind it out paying a mortgage your whole life!

The YQG has one of the warmest climates in Canada. Summers are longer and during winters we often "skate" by with little snow (fingers crossed for this year).  If cold winters and snow aren’t your thing, consider a move to the southernmost county in Canada.

Part of the reason lots of people left our area over the last decade was the automotive downturn and the accompanying high unemployment rate.  Well, that has more than reversed course and we now hold one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada (below 6% this fall).  One of the main issues we face going forward is a shortage of workers in different sectors.  Apply within!

Those are just a few of the dozens of reasons you should consider moving back home to Windsor-Essex.  It really is the “Biggest Small Town” around.  What are you waiting for?  Make 2018 your year.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Real Estate Insider: November 2017 News Report

Wow, did we find some articles you won't want to pass up! This edition, we cover tax evasion, living with your parents, "jingle mail", and much more.


Have an RRSP? Thinking about buying a home? Make sure you are up to date on the provisions of the Home Buyers Plan to make sure you are saving as much as possible! >>


Watch this great video if you’re considering becoming a Landlord! Be sure to know all the tips and tricks before you make the big investment! >>


There are many different ways to invest your RRSP; one of the lesser-known ways is to invest it in Real Estate! Learn how you can use your RRSP to your advantage when investing for your future. >>


Buy or Rent? An age-old question associated mostly with cars and houses, but what about water heaters? Learn the pros and cons of buying versus renting a water heater for your home. >>


Want to learn more about the upcoming stress test? Read these 10 ways that it will change the lending market. >>


Tax Evaders beware! BC and Ontario to consider registry of pre-construction condo sales. >>


Whether you are a Landlord or a Tenant, make sure you are up to date with the changes to Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act so you can stay informed and protected! >>


Still living with your parents? You’re not alone! Multi-generational households are becoming more common due to price growth and it is changing the way developers are planning for the future. >>


American Real Estate Company “Zillow” to start showing Canadian Listings with goals to expose American buyers to affordable housing in Canada, mainly in big cities and vacation areas. >>


“Think Canadians couldn’t abandon their mortgages like Americans did in 2008? Think again.” >>

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Are you Fit for a Mortgage?

What the heck is a Stress Test? Why Should I care?
Starting next year, it will become tougher to qualify for a mortgage.  Earlier this month, Canada’s banking regulator published final guidelines for its mortgage qualification rules.  For some reason it hasn’t gotten as much coverage as other news items, such interest rate hikes or Amazon HQ2.  But it should have because it has serious potential repercussions for the real estate market and the economy.  Today we are going to discuss what you need to know.

Who is making this change?
Canada’s banking regulator, the OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions).  The OSFI is responsible for supervising and regulating Canada’s financial institutions.

When do the changes come into effect?
January 1, 2018.

What changes are they making to the regulations?
They are tightening standards on uninsured mortgages (mortgages where the borrower is putting down 20% or more of a down payment on the purchase price).  Lenders will soon be required to “stress test” all uninsured mortgages at the greater of: the Bank of Canada’s five year posted interest rate or 200 basis points (2%) higher than the negotiated contract interest rate.

Can you give an example of how this would work?
Let’s say you are looking to purchase a house and are shopping to line up mortgage financing.  Your realtor tells you to go get pre-approved so you understand what price range you can afford.  Your lender offers you a 5 year fixed interest rate of 3.19% (which would be competitive as of the writing of this blog).  Before this change, you were able to qualify at this fixed rate with your lender and based on your ratios you were able to qualify up to a maximum price range.  After the change, you will now have to qualify at the higher of: 4.99% (the bank of Canada’s posted rate as of writing) or 200 basis points higher than the contract rate (3.19% +2.00%) or 5.19%.  In this case you would use 5.19% to qualify.  Naturally with the higher interest rate your ratios would change and your affordability will drop – you won't be able to qualify for as much house!

How will this affect the market?
This will knock some buyers completely out of the market in some higher priced areas and will drop other buyers into lower prices ranges when shopping for a home.  This should increase competition for starter type homes and decrease the pool of buyers in larger and pricier homes.  Other people will be forced to put up a higher down payment (thanks Mom and Dad).  This will also increase rental demand in most markets.

Why are they making this change?
The main reason is to slow down the runaway housing market many cities in Canada have experienced in the last 7-8 years.  The regulator is also concerned about the indebtedness of the population and their ability to handle potential rising interest rates.  This should reign in the mortgage segment at least.

What else should I know?
This applies to you if you are renewing your mortgage as well.  The only time it doesn’t is if you are renewing and staying at the same lender.  But if you decide to switch, you’ll also have to qualify with this new stress test.  It is a bit concerning that some people will be forced to stay with their existing lenders because of this and knowing the borrowers predicament, the lender will not be very generous in their renewal terms.

Of all the changing regulations the government has thrown at the housing market in the last few years, this one has the most potential to really shake things up.  It remains to be seen how the market will respond but it will be interesting to see!  What do you think of these stress tests?  Will they affect your plans in 2018?  We’d love to hear from you.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Real Estate Insider: October 2017 News Report

Did your equity in your home spike in the past few months due to the increase in property values? Use it to make your wealth grow! Read this to learn the basics such as how, when, and why. >>


If you have multiple rental properties, this article is for you! Learn the pros and cons of opening up a holding company. >>


Planning your estate or have you recently gotten a large inheritance? Here’s what you should know about estate and inheritance tax in Canada. >>


Are you self-employed or a new Canadian? CMHC proposal will make it easier for you to buy a home by getting rid of a lot of the ‘red tape’. Read more here >>


Read the top 9 things this experienced couple looks for when buying a rental property, and what they wish they knew when they first started. >>


These few little known facts could save you tons of money on capital gains tax when selling your rental property. >>


Inheritance can be tricky, especially when it isn’t divided equally or fairly. Read this man's conundrum when his Mother left him everything and his brothers were left empty handed. >>

Friday, October 6, 2017

Has The Local Real Estate Market Cooled Off?

It's hard to tell from the unseasonably warm weather, but we are a couple weeks into the fall season. The autumn real estate market is well under way and even if the weather hasn’t cooled off yet, our local real estate market (Windsor, Ontario) is certainly feeling a drop in temperature. Today we are going to discuss a few of the factors that have led to this cooling.

Sellers Have Adjusted Their Prices Upwards
This makes a lot of sense. We had a pretty crazy first 8 months of the year. Multiple offers were everywhere, properties were selling considerably over list price and it was a great time to be a seller.  As this continued, the market adjusted and realtors and sellers began to adjust their prices to these new comps. As prices increased, demand levelled out to a more balanced market place.

Interest Rates Were Raised A Couple Times
The Bank of Canada (BOC) has now increased the benchmark interest rate two times this year, for a total of 50 bps (0.5%). Although this is a minor increase, it has affected affordability and how much house a buyer can qualify for.  The BOC seems to be indicating that they are also planning further hikes into 2018. This has led to a modest softening in demand.

Trickle Down From The Toronto Market
After a series of measures introduced earlier this year to slow the housing market, the government seems to be finally succeeding. Sales are way down, prices are stalling and deals signed in the spring are running into snags at closing. A large segment of the demand in our market was coming from Toronto buyers who were relocating and/or investing in our market. Suddenly, properties that used to sell in a few days are sitting on the market for a couple months. Because of these developments, this pool of buyers has seemed to slow and put a dent in demand.

General Uncertainty
There seems to be lots of bad headlines out there right now: the Liberals are planning to change the taxation of professional corporations; anything Trump related; the US, Canada & Mexico are renegotiating NAFTA; North Korea’s nuclear program; hurricanes causing havoc; flooding (which we experienced locally); and terrorist attacks. Uncertainty is never good for markets. Markets operate on confidence, which is sometimes a fragile thing. It's difficult to quantify how much confidence is shaken by these types of events, but combined with the above factors, it probably has some impact on demand.

Sometimes it's hard to figure out cause and effect in markets but those are some of the factors we see cooling our local market. What are your thoughts on this subject? We’d love to hear from you.