Fall Real Estate Selling Myths

Autumn is the golden season – the sun, the foliage, and a great time to sell your home. There are also some fall real estate market myths floating among the leaves. If you’re thinking about listing your home for sale, we dispel some common fall real estate myths and offer useful tips to help turn that “For Sale” sign to “Sold.”

Curb appeal doesn’t matter in the fall real estate market.

False! Summer may have come to a screeching halt, but that doesn’t mean your home’s exterior should fall by the wayside (pun intended!). Curb appeal counts, regardless of the season. During the autumn months, ensure walkways and gutters are cleared of leaves and debris, the lawn is mowed and trees are neatly trimmed. Take your exterior a step further with some hearty landscaping that can weather the cool nights.

The weather is cold, and so is your home.

The first sign of fall is the plummeting temperature. But just because it’s cooler outdoors doesn’t mean your home should give you the chills. Before listing your home for sale, consider giving it a fresh coat of paint in a warm, neutral shade. Fun fact: Second only to a kitchen and bathroom renovation (cha-ching!), a fresh coat of paint gives you the best return on your investment on the resale market. (Source: RE/MAX 2021 Renovation Investment Report)

For open houses or showings, turn the thermostat up a couple of degrees to make buyers feel comfortable. Turn on your fireplace to crank up the cozy factor. In addition, some easy and cost-effective extras like pillows and throws can go a long way to show the comfort of your home during the cooler months.

Buyers pay less attention to price.

Wrong! Price is always a key factor for homebuyers and sellers alike, and pricing your home incorrectly is the biggest mistake you can make when selling in the fall. Landing on the right list price can be complicated, depending on a number of factors such as season (that’s right!), and market factors such as supply, demand and economic conditions. If you’re wondering what your home is worth in your local resale market, work with an experienced real estate agent. A RE/MAX agent will help ensure your home is priced correctly.

Once the home is sold, you’re done.

The papers are signed and the deal is done, so all that’s left to do is pack up and move, right? Not quite. Everyone is very busy leading up to the holidays, which means you may have issues finding time to pack or booking a company to help you move. Even family and friends may be hard to nail down for a day of lugging furniture. To eliminate these issues, plan well in advance. Make sure your moving date is scheduled firm in everyone’s calendar, and plan ahead to ensure you aren’t left without a solution if someone is forced to back out. A stress free move will make a world of difference in the first couple days in your new home.

Now that you know the common myths about the fall real estate market, you can tackle these small projects in preparation for the fall selling season. Despite the cool weather, it’s bound to be a hot one!

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Are Investors Driving Up Canadian Real Estate Prices?

Canadian real estate has been one of the hottest in the world throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Virtually every region from coast to coast, from the major urban centres to cottage country and rural areas, have posted record-setting growth during what can only be described as chaotic times. The Canadian housing market has been so strong, that it has supported the nation’s economic recovery in the aftermath of the sharpest financial crisis in history. But it has also been a double-edged sword for many households.

Although many had anticipated a slowdown in the housing sector at the onset of the COVID-19 public health crisis (which never materialized), the rapid sales activity and the ballooning prices suggested these prognostications were incorrect. As a result, this has created a housing affordability crisis, leaving many Canadians sitting on the sidelines and unable to achieve the dream of home ownership.

While the economic data has pointed to a modest cooling period of recent sky-high gains, some industry experts believe the sector could find additional support from yield-hungry investors, albeit at a modest level. Indeed, how much investors would contribute to valuations is uncertain at this point, but even a modicum of investment could further lift prices in the critical jurisdictions of Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and a growing list of other municipalities.

Are Investors Driving Up Canadian Real Estate Prices?

According to data published in the Bank of Canada’s (BoC) financial system review, investors represented one-fifth of all residential purchases nationwide. Since the early days of the once-in-a-century global health crisis, investor buying advanced 20.1 per cent. In the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), investors accounted for 22.7 per cent of home purchases, says BoC. This is higher than in the pre-pandemic economy, but lower than at the end of the previous housing boom.

Considering that the national average home price has skyrocketed by more than a third to north of $700,000, it would be simple to surmise that this is the doing of real estate investors. However, experts contend that it could be difficult to reach this conclusion without further study. Meanwhile, others are blaming the housing inventory shortage for rising prices.

“Determining the precise level at which investor activity should be a cause for concern is difficult and requires further study,” central bank spokesman Alex Paterson told The Globe and Mail.

Earlier this year, the BoC told reporters that there is growing evidence that real estate investors are engaging in “a lot more flipping,” creating a “fear of missing out” for both investors and buyers.

One of the data points policymakers might be looking at is gross fixed capital formation (GFCF). According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), more than one-third of GFCF is allocated to real estate investing. The previous high was 22.4 per cent in the year 2000. Moreover, housing now imbibes more than 66 per cent of the nation’s fixed capital investment.

Better Dwelling may have said it best: “To say it’s disproportional for the size of the economy is a big understatement.”

That said, Aled ab Iorwerth, the deputy chief economist at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), said in an interview with the media outlet that when real estate investors substantively enter the market, they will inevitably boost home prices. And, according to Jean-Philippe Deschamps-Laporte, the chief of Statistics Canada’s Housing Statistics Program, this will make it harder for homebuyers to compete, emphasizing that “that is a fact.”

Buyers could find it challenging to afford to purchase a home in Canada, even in Atlantic Canada or rural communities in the west. But, with the latest trend of developers and lucrative investment funds going on a buying spree of properties, renters could bear the brunt of higher prices. Over the next 12 to 18 months, it could be the last time to move into a somewhat affordable apartment or condominium unit as a combination of low vacancy rates, a paucity of affordable housing, and stronger competition could lead to soaring rents in the urban centres.

An Affordability Crisis in the Rental Market?

In June, social media was abuzz that investment institutions have been scooping up homes and even entire communities across the United States. Despite the conspiracy theories scattered across the Twitterverse, this has had been part of the finance industry’s plans prior to the pandemic. Still, there are fears that this would further exacerbate affordability issues, and not just for homebuyers.

Is the same trend occurring up north? With interest rates sitting at record lows, the same developments are unfolding across Canada.

Over the last year, there was nearly $13 billion in apartment building transactions. This included Starlight Investments and KingSett Capital acquiring 27,000 apartment units and several hundred short-term rental apartments throughout the country. In a market where high-income households are forced to rent, the latest investment developments make sense.

On the surface, this might seem like a worrying move. But, once you scratch underneath the surface, economists suggest that these developers are not reducing the housing supply. “They are shifting it from home ownership to rental,” noted CMHC’s deputy chief economist.

Are Buyers Giving Up?

It is hard to disagree with the notion that this has been a stressful and fatiguing real estate market for young families. Recent polls have found that a notable percentage of Canadian homebuyers are suffering from buyer fatigue. Other surveys suggest a considerable number of households do not think they will ever be able to buy a home. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) discovered that most Canadian real estate markets are witnessing buyers dropping out of the market quicker than sellers. If this keeps up, the country could see a generation of permanent renters. That is until a significant correction or downturn takes place. Will this happen? As has been the case over the last 16 months, anything can happen.

Sources:

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Liveability Factors When Buying

There are many things to consider when choosing the home for you. It may seem obvious, but the importance of liveability and your wants and needs need to be addressed. Check out this list of the main liveability factors that you should consider when finding your next home.

Location

Location is key when searching for a home, as it is the one thing you can’t change. Try not to get too caught up in the emotional side of the house hunt and overlook important factors related to location, such as how busy the street is, what the noise levels are like in the area, and the future of the neighbourhood.

Proximity to Services & Work

When house hunting, take into consideration the potential home’s proximity to different amenities, such as hospitals and grocery stores, as well as restaurants and other shops. If these are spots you visit frequently, you don’t want to be driving a great distance to get gas or pick up dinner. Schools are also an important factor to consider for parents, not just location-wise, but also the reputation of the school. Being close to good schools is also great for resale. Commute times are another important factor to consider when house hunting. Studies show that the shorter the commute time, the happier the person.

Lifestyle

Your lifestyle is a huge factor to consider when house hunting. If you’re an outdoorsy person who enjoys activities like hiking and biking, being close to lots of green spaces and bike trails might be something to look for. If you are active in your community, consider looking for a home that is close to cultural, community, and athletic centers. Taking your lifestyle into consideration when purchasing a home can help ensure that you continue living a life that you love.

Current Status & Future Plans

Taking your current status and future plans into consideration when house hunting is essential. Do you currently have kids, or are you planning on having kids in the near future? Do the homes you’re looking at work with that plan, or will you need to move up to a bigger home in the future? Regardless of what your plans are, evaluate your current situation and look at where you may be in 5 or 10 years and if the homes you’re looking at make sense.

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

7 Tips to Make Moving With Kids Easier

Let’s face it, moving is hard for everyone. Big moves bring up all sorts of feelings, from stress to uncertainty, and excitement. Luckily, there are a few actions you can take before the big day to make moving with kids easier on them – and you.

 

Tips for moving with kids

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Little People, Big Dreams

Whether you’re hoping to stay in the same neighbourhood or move right across the country, inviting your kids into the house-selection process from the get-go can help. Ask them what they’d like in a new home and see if you can reach a consensus — a bigger back yard would be a win for everyone!

 

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Real Estate Stakeholders

If your kids are old enough look at prospective homes with you, why not bring them along? Hearing their opinion on a property makes them feel involved and listened to. They may even think of something that you didn’t, like how the proximity to the baseball field is a major selling point for your little Major League hopeful.

 

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Memory Lane

Making a memory book filled with photos and doodads of the good times shared in your old home can help your kids find closure while still having something of the house to literally hold onto. Get friends and neighbours to sign the book along with their email addresses so everyone can keep in touch.

 

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Local Haunts

Before moving day arrives on the calendar, pencil in a farewell tour of all their favourite neighbourhood spots. Be warned: Seeing and saying goodbye to landmarks on your street may bring up all the feels…and not just theirs. Leaving a beloved home is hard but remind them (and yourself) that those precious memories go with them no matter where they are.

 

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Party Favours

Having a chance to say a proper goodbye to the people that have been a big part of their lives — neighbours, babysitters and coaches — is an important part of the emotional process of moving. Throw a casual potluck and share some stories over a plate of samosas. (And when you get into your new digs, get out there and introduce yourself to new neighbours toute suite.)

 

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Treasure Trove

Packing up the kids’ rooms has the potential to be a less-than-peaceful process. Inject some fun into the functionality by getting them to create their own “Treasure Chest.” Pull out a packing box they can decorate with special markers and stickers and then fill with their favourite objects to keep close to them on the journey.

 

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Interior Design Team

Sometimes it may feel like the adults are making all the decisions (we are, sorry) and things are out of control. Getting the kids involved in picking out new furnishing and bedding for their room allows them to feel a sense of ownership of the new space. (Plus, that Star Wars duvet cover is super cool no matter how old you are.)

 

Uprooting can be hard on the littlest member of the family but having a handle on what can help will make that move go smoothly and you’ll all be settled in in no time.

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

What Happens at a House Showing?

What happens at a house showing? This important question has historically been eclipsed by others like, “How much should we list for?” and “How long will it take to sell?” However, COVID-19 has many home sellers considering showings from a different perspective, with extra attention paid to safety, convenience, and current best practices (think technology). Here’s what home sellers can expect when they’re showing their home, and how they can maximize this opportunity to yield higher offers and a quicker sale.

Showings versus Open Houses

Showings and open houses are different. As the name suggests, an “open house” is when the seller opens their door to anyone who wants to pop in for a closer look. This method of showing a listing was extremely popular until the pandemic hit in early 2020. Homebuyers would scour property listings all week, map out the open-houses online, and plan their weekend route. And before technology and the Internet changed literally everything, families would pile into their cars on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, driving around their preferred neighbourhoods in search of the “sandwich” signs lining sidewalks, touting this typically two-hour event: Open House: 2-4 PM. Come on in!

Times may have changed, but the process behind appealing to homebuyers hasn’t changed a ton from what it looked like 30 years ago. However, if you have never sold a home, you’re likely wondering what happens at a house showing.

More recently, COVID-19 prompted a mandatory shift in how homes are shown – and seen. Government-mandated health and safety measures put a pause to the “open-door” policy, for obvious reasons, in favour of virtual home tours as a no-contact way of showing listings. Once buyers found a listing that met their criteria for a new home, they would venture out, masked and in minimal numbers, to view the home in person. Some homebuyers even took the transaction completely virtual, with the showing, offer, negotiations, and final paperwork all done remotely.

Today, the convenience of the virtual sale continues to be a trend that’s unlikely to wane, thanks to technology and sheer convenience. However, with widespread vaccination efforts in place and infection numbers trend downward, many Canadians are eagerly awaiting a return to a post-pandemic life. For many homebuyers and sellers, this includes in-person showings.

What happens at a house showing?

After everything we’ve lived and learned over the last year and half, some things have changed in the show-showing process. Here’s a quick refresher of what home sellers can expect when showing their home.

Schedule the showing.

When homebuyers find a listing they might like to purchase, most will want to view it in person before making an offer. They’ll be eager to see it as soon as possible, which is particularly true in a hot seller’s market when timing is everything, and even a seemingly short delay can cost them their opportunity to buy.

During the selling period, be available to communicate with your real estate agent at a moment’s notice to ensure the timely scheduling of showings. Ask your agent to give you a couple of hours’ notice, but it’s in your best interest to be as flexible as possible. It’s always a good idea to ensure your agent is aware of any factors that could impact the timing of showings, such as the need for a quick clean-up if you’re still living in the home, or time required to vacate the home of pets and people (more on that, below!).

How will you know when there’s a showing?

Discuss the best form of communication with your real estate agent ahead of time. How would you like to be contacted? Choose a mode of communication that you’ll have easy access to and will check often. This can include, but is not limited to, email, a phone call, text message, calendar invite or a scheduling app, if your agent uses one. As mentioned, your agent can give you some advance notice, if you need it.

Who shows the home?

Prospective buyers will be accompanied by their real estate agent for the duration of the showing. If a buyer isn’t represented by an agent, they’d typically contact the listing agent directly, who would walk them through the property.

While it’s entirely at the seller’s discretion, most homeowners will vacate the property during showings. The showing is usually booked for one hour. Go for a walk, go for a drive, or go run some errands. Just go! Having homeowners present during showings can turn some homebuyers off, making it difficult for them to picture themselves living in the home, or creating an awkward situation when discussing their honest feelings about the place.

If you’re expecting many showings in a hot market or a popular area, it might be a good time to book a holiday away from home. This reduces the inconvenience to you, while ensuring the home stays in “showing condition” without constant clean-up on your part.

What happens during the showing?

The homebuyers will have access to your property during their pre-determined time – typically one hour. They are expected to arrive, view and leave within that time. Their agent will walk them through the home, ensuring they remove their shoes and follow protocols, and answering their questions. If the agent isn’t sure of the answer, they will find out by way of the listing agent.

During the showing, you can expect the buyers to look in cabinets, cupboards and closets, from top to bottom. Furniture drawers and the like are off limits, since you’ll be taking those with you when you move, but anything that is built-in will be assessed for storage capacity, quality and condition. Don’t forget about the basement, attic, garage, shed and utility areas!

Speaking of which, buyers may also test the utilities by running the water taps, flushing toilets, checking light switches and testing electrical outlets. Some buyers may even use this opportunity to do a home inspection (this should be communicated to the listing agent and seller beforehand), so if they choose to make an offer, they can do so without having this condition in place.

During the pandemic, some sellers are choosing to leave closet doors open and lights on, to help minimize physical contact.

After the showing

Now that you know exactly what happens at a house showing, what next? When the showing is complete, the buyers’ agent is responsible for ensuring the property is left in the same condition in which it was found, and that the door is locked.

Then, depending on market conditions, it can be a waiting game. If the buyer has any follow-up questions or would like to make an offer, communication generally happens between the buying and listing agents. If the buyers are choosing to pass on the property, some listing agents may even reach out to the buying agent, to get feedback on the listing – price, the condition or features of the home, the neighbourhood, or anything else that has swayed the buyers away. If the home isn’t selling, this feedback can prove valuable when revisiting the listing strategy. Of course, there are clear signs a house showing went well, generally coming in the form of speedy offer at or over asking price!

If you want more details about what happens at a house showing, or if you have specific questions, we will be happy to answer them!

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Condos Spring Back to Life in Toronto Real Estate Market

For years, one of the hottest segments of the Toronto real estate market was condominiums. The skyline of the Big Smoke had been lined with construction cranes and glass towers rising on nearly every corner of the downtown core. Indeed, views of the city from Centre Island have vastly changed over the last decade. The upward trajectory suggested that there was no slowing down for red-hot condos.

Then, the coronavirus pandemic struck and everything was turned upside down, including the Canadian real estate market. Suffice it to say, Toronto’s condominiums took a downturn in 2020. While sales activity was moderate, prices had notably slumped. The reason? Supply had outpaced demand amid families leaving the city, up-sizing their living situation by moving into a detached or semi-detached home, not to mention the temporary ban on Airbnb units. But all this may soon be ancient history.

Could it be morning again in the Toronto condo market?

Now that the COVID-19 public health crisis is subsiding, the Toronto condo market is returning to life, rebounding to its best level in about three years. With renewed demand and historically low interest rates, residents will likely witness even more construction cranes dotting the skyline of North America’s fourth-largest city.

The Toronto Condo Market Springs Back to Life

According to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), residential sales for Toronto condominiums soared 159.1 per cent year-over-year to 1,881 units in May.

The average price of a condo unit in the 416 area rose at an annualized rate of 0.1 per cent to $694,152. However, TD Bank believes that benchmark prices are doing even better than industry data, pegging the number at 10.6 per cent from the same time a year ago. This would be the strongest gain since 2018.

“Though overshadowed by the superheated detached market, condos are quietly making a comeback,” said TD economist Rishi Sondhi, in an interview with the Financial Post. “Should condo sales consume a rising share of the market moving forward (as we expect), downward pressure on average home prices from these lower-priced units would be applied.”

Overall, it has been a great start to the year for the city’s condo industry. In the first quarter, sales advanced at an annualized rate of 79.7 per cent to 9,398 units. During the January-to-March period, the median sale price for condominium apartment units climbed 1.4 per to $592,000 compared to the same time last year.

So, what could be driving these positive trends?

The Ins and Outs of the Toronto Condo Market

Across all property segments, demand has been strong in 2021. While this was business as usual for detached and semi-detached homes throughout the pandemic, demand has dwindled within the condo market over the course of this year.

TRREB President Lisa Patel explained in a news release that confidence in the post-pandemic economic recovery is creating a splash in the Toronto real estate market and the broader Canadian housing sector. The other crucial aspect has been historically low borrowing rates, with the Bank of Canada (BoC) signalling that it is unlikely to raise interest rates until the second half of 2022.

Although Patel believes that “the absence of a normal pace in population growth” has been a factor in these demand slumps, the federal government will soon relax tough border restrictions, reigniting immigration levels. For the last decade or so, the population boom in the city centre and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) was one of the biggest drivers of the Toronto condo market.

As the public health crisis wanes, one of the top questions is: What about the short-term rental market? The province of Ontario banned Airbnb units in the early days of the pandemic in response to the surge in infections. This led to a substantial drop in rental prices of as much as 20 per cent since owners had to list their suites as long-term rentals. It might seem like conditions will return to normal in the coming months, but city hall adopted new rules.

This past spring, the municipal government approved three new rules that experts suggest could hurt the short-term rental industry in one of the world’s hottest real estate markets. The measures?

  • Registration of Airbnb units and a $50 annual renewal fee.
  • A four per cent municipal quarterly tax.
  • Airbnb must be your primary residence.

Ultimately, moving forward, it will be a different type of new normal for the condo market.

Is Toronto on Fire Again?

The Globe and Mail ran a piece at the end of May showcasing the selling traits of several condominiums. For example, a 754-sq.-ft. one-bedroom-plus-den-unit sold for $669,908 after just one day on the market, a little more than $10,000 above the asking price.

Put simply, the Toronto condo market is now experiencing the same characteristics as the broader real estate market: bidding wars, above-asking price transactions, and sky-high prices. Hopeful urban homebuyers anticipating a COVID-discount on a 2 bedroom condo in the heart of the city, may be sorely disappointed!

 

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Canadian Housing Market Sees Sales Volumes Finally Cooling

Has the Canadian housing market reached its zenith? Will the red-hot housing market begin to cool down? Will new homebuyers get a chance to achieve the Canadian dream of owning property? As Canadian real estate skyrockets, reporting record-breaking figures month after month, the list of questions just keeps on growing!

It has been a raucous 16 months in Canada’s housing industry. From major urban centres to rural communities, sales activity and home prices have been soaring to unprecedented heights. Historically low interest rates, strengthening demand, and lacklustre inventory levels – there have been many factors accelerating the housing affordability crisis. This had defied conventional thinking in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, with some anticipating a collapse of the Canadian real estate market. Instead, the housing sector has become so intense that bidding wars, bully offers, and blind bidding have infected small towns, suburbs, and cottage country.

The latest data suggest that the Canadian housing market may have finally peaked. Across the country, price growth has slowed down, residential sales have declined, and more supply is coming to market. Moreover, expectations of higher interest rates and stress tests could be additional factors that could spawn a noteworthy slowdown.

This could be the lifeline that many young families had been hoping for in the post-pandemic recovery.

Sales Volumes Finally Start to Cool in Canadian Housing Market

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national residential sales tumbled 12.5 per cent month-over-month in April. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI), which is considered a more accurate representation of average and median prices, rose 2.4 per cent in April.

Indeed, on an annualised basis, home sales and prices have soared 256 per cent and 41.9 per cent, respectively. But these figures are skewed since the nationwide real estate market was at a standstill at this time a year ago. This is why, when examining small communities in the Ontario real estate market or Atlantic Canada, that sales and prices are up as much as 600 per cent.

Industry experts are now concentrating on month-over-month data to garner some insight into what could be happening as the summer progresses. But, for now, the consensus is that the significant gains of the last year are unlikely to be replicated moving forward.

“While housing markets across Canada remain very active, there is growing evidence that some of the extreme imbalances of the last year are beginning to unwind, which is what everyone wants to see happen,” said Cliff Stevenson, Chair of CREA, in a news release.

That said, Stevenson made a good point that the fresh lockdowns and restrictions imposed in the last few months might force the spring market into the summer, igniting another round of pent-up demand.

“The result is that a relatively more ‘reasonable’ set of numbers in April 2021 looks both way up or way down depending on what crazy part of the last year you compare them to, but the correct interpretation of those big numbers is that the April housing numbers came in somewhere in between those extremes, which is a good thing,” he stated. “While we still have a ways to go, measures of market balance have finally turned a corner and monthly price growth has decelerated. I believe we’ve all wanted to see the temperature turned down on this market after the last year and it looks as though that is finally happening.”

Moreover, fresh housing stocks keep getting injected into the market. New numbers from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) show that housing starts advanced 2.53 per cent to 279,055 units. The six-month moving average is heading in the right direction, possibly alleviating tight conditions and setting the tone for the remainder of the year.

Inside the Canadian Housing Market

Let’s take a look inside the Canadian real estate market and see how individual markets are performing:

Vancouver (April | MoM)

  • Residential Sales: -14 per cent
  • Benchmark Price: +2.6 per cent to $1,152,600

Edmonton (April | MoM)

  • Residential Sales: +17.6 per cent
  • Residential Average Prices: -0.4 per cent to $389,773

Toronto (April | MoM)

  • Residential Sales: -12.7 per cent
  • Average Price: 0% at $1,090,992

Montreal (May | MoM)

  • Residential Sales: -14 per cent
  • Median Prices for Single-Family Homes: +3.11 per cent to $496,000

Halifax (May | MoM)

  • Residential Sales: -12.5 per cent
  • Average Price: +2.57 per cent to $363,300

Will New Developments Douse the Fire? 

At the end of its June policy meeting, the Bank of Canada (BoC) decided to leave interest rates unchanged at 0.25 per cent. According to the central bank’s guidance, rates are expected to remain unchanged until the second half of next year. The institution is forecasting a robust economic rebound this summer, alluding to reopening, greater vaccination rates, and higher consumer spending.

Does this mean it is all quiet on the western front? Not exactly.

The new stress test level went into effect on June 1, which will make it harder to qualify for a mortgage. The federal government increased the minimum financial threshold that anyone applying for a mortgage must meet to 5.25 per cent, which is two per cent above borrower’s mortgage rate.

This move will reduce the number of qualified borrowers and is projected to cool down the Canadian real estate market. With signs that the housing sector is on the road to cooling down, this could further douse the flames. But will this prevent another barrier to entry for new homebuyers? While price growth will not accelerate as it did a year ago, home valuations across the country are at record highs, making it harder for many households to purchase a property.

Meanwhile, Ottawa is expected to relax border restrictions soon, facilitating immigration and the movement of people. Since immigration levels were projected to top 400,000 this year, an influx of even half that figure would add pressure to a market with limited supplies.

What’s Next for Canadian Real Estate?

The Royal Bank of Canada’s senior economist Robert Hogue did an excellent job of succinctly summarizing the state of the Canadian real estate market recently: the mania has toned down, fewer homeowners are listing homes for sales, homebuyers are declining faster than sellers, and a reversal of the “unsustainable spike” is unfolding.

Real estate agents and market analysts alike will undoubtedly hone in on the summer months like a guided missile!

 

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Home Renovations That Buyers Want, According to RE/MAX Brokers

What are the home renovations that buyers want to see on the market? It’s a great question, and one you’ve likely pored over if you’re preparing to list your home for sale in the near future, or you’re embarking on a renovation with a thought to long-term resale value. According to the 2021 RE/MAX Renovation Investment Report, more than half of Canadians underwent a home renovation for personal/non-ROI purposes, with 29% choosing to renovate for non-essential “lifestyle” reasons, such as recreation-inspired projects. Despite the trend of renovating for personal use and enjoyment, 59% of Canadians said they always consider the return on investment that a renovation will have on their home’s overall market value, so while there is a current renovation trend based on lifestyle aspirations, practicality is never far from the surface. From the homebuyer’s perspective, certain renovations are more in-demand than others.

So, what are the best home improvements to sell your home quicker and for top dollar? According to a survey of RE/MAX brokers across Canada, below is a list of what homebuyers want most. We’ve also sourced the ballpark costs for each, via Pillar To Post’s Residential Construction and Remodeling Estimates Cost Guide, to give you a rough idea of the level of investment required for each.

6 HOME RENOVATIONS THAT BUYERS WANT

Home Renovations That Buyers Want kitchen

#1 Kitchen

93.5% of RE/MAX brokers surveyed said kitchen renovations are most sought-after by homebuyers. The kitchen is typically the most complicated room in the home to renovate, and the most expensive. Many homebuyers who aren’t interested in taking on a big project will pay a premium to have this big project done for them. Depending on the age and condition of the home, kitchen updates can range from a complete gut job, to updates such as refacing or repainting cabinets, new hardware and appliances, countertop, backsplash and flooring.

  • kitchen cabinets: $50 to $125 per linear ft.
  • kitchen counter, laminate: $45 per linear ft.
  • kitchen counter, marble: $80 per linear ft.
  • dishwasher: $675 to $950
  • garbage disposal: $200 to $425
  • range hood: $350 to $525
  • porcelain sink: $750 to $900
  • stainless steel sink: $650 to $800
  • total cost: $7,500+
Home Renovations That Buyers Want bathroom

#2 Bathroom

64.5% of RE/MAX brokers said new or updated bathrooms are in high demand by homebuyers. This trend echoes the above-mentioned kitchen reno rationale, whereby homebuyers who are unwilling to undergo the effort and inconvenience of a bathroom renovation willing to pay a premium to have this project already completed.

  • cabinets $50 to $125 per linear ft.
  • countertop, laminate: $45 per linear ft.
  • countertop, marble: $80 per linear ft.
  • pedestal basin: $375
  • vanity basin: $250
  • bathtub – replace / retile: $2,500+
  • shower connection: $250
  • shower stall, plastic: $900 to $2,000
  • shower stall, ceramic tile: $2,500 to $3,300
  • new toilet: $425
  • tub enclosure, ceramic tile: $2,500 to $3,300
  • tub enclosure, plastic: $600 to $1,275
  • whirlpool bath: $4,250
  • total cost: $5,250+
Home Renovations That Buyers Want flooring

#3 Flooring

48.4% of RE/MAX brokers identified new flooring as a hot selling feature on the resale market. Depending on the size of the home and the scope of work being done, flooring would typically cost less than a kitchen and bathroom reno, but this is a great way to refresh the home, especially when paired with a fresh coat of paint. Carpet is actually considered to be a drawback by some homebuyers, so this is an update that’s worth completing prior to listing a home for sale.

  • carpet cleaning: $125 per room
  • carpet and underpad: $6 to $11 per sq. ft.
  • ceramic tile: $6 to $11 per sq. ft.
  • hardwood $6 to $11 per sq. ft.
  • prefinished hardwood: $11 to $16 per sq. ft.
  • refinishing hardwood: $3 to $6 per sq. ft.
  • vinyl sheets: $4 to $9 per sq. ft.
  • vinyl tile: $4 to $9 per sq. ft.
Home Renovations That Buyers Want paint

#4 Paint

35.5% of RE/MAX brokers said buyers want a fresh coat of paint. This is a relatively simple and low-budget upgrade that makes a big impact on the look and feel (and sometimes, smell) of a property. Given the current seller’s market conditions in many regions across Canada, homes are selling like hotcakes, regardless of renovations. With this in mind, home sellers in particularly hot markets, like Toronto and Vancouver, are keeping their reno efforts (and budgets) to a minimum. Paint is the simplest and cheapest way to freshen up the place.

  • Painting walls (3 coats): $2 per sq. ft.
Home Renovations That Buyers Want basement

#5 Finished basement

22.6% of brokers identified basement renovations as a huge selling feature on the resale market. Quite simply, if it increases the usable square footage of the home, that’s a good thing in homebuyers’ books.

  • adding basement entrance: $5,250 to $10,500
  • basement main beam: $2,100
    basement support post / foundation: $500 to $1,000
  • excavation / waterproofing: $125 to $175 per sq. ft.
  • foundation crack repair (excavation method): $525 to $1,100
  • foundation crack repair (injection method, cost per crack): $500
  • acoustic ceiling (suspended): $6 per sq. ft.
  • baseboard / door / window casing: $4 per linear ft.
  • drywall over plaster: $3 to $4 per sq. ft.
  • plaster (over existing plaster): $3 to $4 per sq. ft.
  • stucco / stipple: $3 per sq. ft.
  • walls (insulations / drywall): $4 per sq. ft.
  • painting walls (3 coats): $2 per sq. ft.
  • wallpaper: $6 to $11 per sq. ft.
Home Renovations That Buyers Want landscaping

#6 Outdoors & landscaping

19.4% of RE/MAX brokers said homebuyers are setting their sights on the great outdoors with landscaping and outdoor features becoming a popular “must-have” item. This trend became amplified during the course of the pandemic, which saw people spending more time in and around their homes, and buyers looking for bigger yards and features such as swimming pools/hot tubs, patios and decks to act as “outdoor living rooms.”

  • lay soil & sod: $3 to $6 per sq. ft.
  • sprinkler system: $1,200
  • concrete retaining wall: $55 per sq. ft.
  • wood retaining wall: $45 per sq. ft.
  • deck, pressure treated / cedar: $15 to $30 per sq. ft.
  • deck, custom designed & built: $55 to $80 per sq. ft.
  • patio, concrete: $16 to $25 per sq. ft.
  • patio, flagstone / fieldstone: $21 per sq. ft.
  • patio, interlock brick / stone: $11 to $16 per sq. ft.
  • patio stones: $6 per sq. ft.
  • porch flooring: $8 per sq. ft.
  • porch railing: $225
  • porch skirting: $21 per linear ft.
  • porch steps, concrete: $525
  • porch steps, wood: $325
  • chain-link fence (4-ft. high): $10 to $20 per linear ft.
  • cedar fence (5-ft. high): $15 to $30 per linear ft.
  • pressure treated wood fence (5-ft. high): $10 to $20 per linear ft.
  • reset post in concrete: $80
  • vinyl-lined pool (16ft. x 40ft.): $15,000 to $20,000
  • concrete-lined pool (16ft. x 40ft.): $30,000+
  • pool heater: $2,100
  • pump / filter: $1,600
  • fiberglass hot tub: $5,250+

* Cost estimates reflect the average basic costs for supplies and installation of building materials in Canada and the U.S., as anticipated for 2019-2020. Costs may vary depending on regions, upgrades, complexity and disposal fees.

 

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

The Art of Compromise: Home Decor Edition

Home Sweet Home…or is it? You’ve just moved in with your significant other and couldn’t be more excited; however your new home isn’t exactly boasting the ideal look and feel you were hoping for. You’ve been inspired by sites like Pinterest, and you have an idea of the overall theme/look you’re going for, what pictures to hang and where, and which accent pillows you want to use. The problem is you’ve now got to include your partner in these plans.

So, now what? You could try the ol’ “Well… you can decorate this room yourself (the one that is hidden in the back corner of the basement – which nobody ever sees) if I can decorate the rest of the house”, but that isn’t always going to cut it. Some partners want to share their opinion and incorporate their own interests in the decor. For example they may want to put up a poster of their favorite sports team or movie, a quote or even a piece of art that has nostalgic value. So let us tell you this, in the interest of a healthy and successful relationship, get to know what the word compromise really means.

Here are 5 tips on how best to compromise when it comes to decorating your home:

1) Make your partner feel included by getting them involved in the process early on.

2) Share your inspiration and ideas BEFORE buying new items.

3) Engage in open and honest communication about things you both like and dislike – make a list of all shared likes so you can refer to it when finalizing decisions.

4) Be open to new ideas. Explore new styles together. After all, you may find one that you both like.

5) Make an effort to display both personalities throughout the home in different rooms.

Again, we can’t promise you anything, but by working together and following these tips, the two of you should end up with a beautiful looking home that you’re both happy with and a space to call your very own.

 

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

5 Landscaping Trends That Are on the Rise

Our gaze naturally turns toward the outdoors and our yards as the weather begins to warm and buds burst open. Design ideas sprout up on all the great ways we can enhance our fresh-air experiences during this upcoming patio season. These five landscaping trends push the boundaries on how we see our outdoor living spaces, so prepare to be inspired.

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Think Smart, Think Small

Having limited outdoor space is nothing new; especially for city dwellers. How that space is used is pushing the envelope. Multitasking is king when it comes to planning which features to add and where to plant what within limited square footage. For example, a water feature can be integrated into the irrigation system, doubling the function of a single feature.

Analyze the systems and features you can work with in your garden. It will take some consideration and planning to get the most out of your limited space, but it will pay off immensely in the end.

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Every Season Turns

Think “four seasons” when planning your garden. Differentiating textures and bright conifer foliage will look lovely in the springtime, but also brightens up the garden during the winter months. Deciduous shrubs, trees with peeling bark, and evergreens that change colour can help you maximize your garden all year-round.

Choosing the right plants that can withstand Canada’s shifting seasons will be a challenge, so consult a garden expert before investing.

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Feeling Fenced In

Fencing is the most common method of enclosing a yard, however creative alternatives to posts and planks are popping up. Consider planting a screening foliage, such as bamboo, between the sidewalk curb and your lawn to offer some privacy. Also, look at incorporating lacy-leaved trees such as dogwoods or Japanese maple — they’re big enough to create a border but won’t overwhelm.

Thinking outside the box to create the feeling of a protected area is what this landscaping trend is about. The drawback to these pretty, yet permeable, barriers is they do little to secure a pet or protect against trespassers.

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Get Crafty

Part of the “maker movement,” this landscaping trend moves away from mass-produced products, and returns to roots of authentic craftsmanship. Whether it’s a stone bench or a pergola, finding a professional artisan to handcraft your next garden element is definitely a trend. This trend is about quality craftsmanship that stands the test of time. This quality craftsmanship does come at a premium, but hiring local artisans is a wonderful way to support the local economy.

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Go Forth

Imagine being able to eat dinner in your own backyard and under the stars. Alfresco dining is so popular these days that having a designated dining area, complete with an outdoor cooking area, has become a top landscaping trend. Different this year is the location of this open-air eating area — it’s no longer close to the kitchen but further afield. Creating a unique space at the back of the yard, far from the lights and bustle of the house is on-trend.

From backyard dining to living walls, each one of these landscaping trends can add value to your home and boost curb appeal. Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of what’s trending in the landscaping world, which one will you dig into this spring?

 

 

Courtesy of HGTV.ca

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