Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region


K-W Real Estate Update

INTEREST RATES
The Bank of Canada took its first steps this week  toward returning the country to more normal interest rate levels by signalling a more hawkish tone on inflation and acknowledging the economy is performing better than expected on “vigorous” consumer demand.

The messages were conveyed in the Bank of Canada’s latest interest-rate statement, which kept its record-low benchmark rate of 0.25% as is and pledged to keep it there until July.

The rate statement emerged a day after economic data indicated the Canadian economy grew at a robust 5% annualized pace in the final three months of 2009, blowing past market expectations for a 4% gain and the central bank’s original 3.3% forecast. Economists say the fourth-quarter performance has set the stage for another robust gain, of perhaps 4% or more, for the first three months of 2010.

Meanwhile, recent data indicate that both the headline and core inflation rates have moved much closer to the 2% level than the central bank had expected. Under the bank’s forecast, the 2% level would not be reached until the third-quarter of next year.

In the statement, the central bank acknowledged economic activity has been “slightly higher” than its own projections, with the 5% gain in the fourth quarter powered by “vigorous domestic demand” and a recovery in exports.

Low interest rates are doing their job in stimulating demand — perhaps, increasingly, too well.”

The consensus remains that the central bank will wait until July to begin raising rates.  There are two more scheduled rate decisions between now and then, with one April 20 and then June 1.
Economists believes rate increases will begin in the third quarter, but  the odds have increased that the first hike will be in July as opposed to September.

How much, and how rapidly, the central bank raises rates beginning in July is up for debate, with economists estimating increases of 100 to 150 basis points in the second half of 2010.Financial Post

HOUSING ACTIVITY IN  2010

According to CMHC housing starts rebounded in the second half of 2009 and will strengthen in 2010.

Following a total of 149,081 units in 2009, housing starts are expected to be in the range of 152,000 to 189,300 units in 2010, with a point forecast of 171,250 units.
 In 2011, housing starts will be in the range of 156,400 to 205,600 units, with a point forecast of 175,150 units.

“Canadian housing markets will benefit from improving economic conditions and low mortgage rates,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist for CMHC. “As well, measures recently announced by the Government of Canada to support the long-term stability of Canada’s housing market will help moderate housing activity as some potential buyers will have to save a larger down payment or consider a less expensive home.”

Mr. Dugan also noted that the existing home market has shifted from a buyers’ market, at the beginning of 2009, to a sellers’ market. The relative lack of new listings for existing homes has pushed some of the demand into the new home market, which helps explain the forecast for higher housing starts activity in 2010.

The strong pace of MLS®1 sales seen in the second to fourth quarters of 2009 reflects, in part, activity that was delayed in the previous two quarters. The pace is not likely to be sustained as pent-up demand is exhausted and financing costs increase with anticipated higher interest rates later in 2010. As a result, existing home sales will be in the range of 455,350 to 509,900 units in 2010, with a point forecast of 486,700 units, and then move slightly lower in 2011 to be in the range of 426,300 to 494,600 units, with a point forecast of 469,950 units.

With an improved balance between demand and supply, the average MLS® price is expected to remain close to the average in the last quarter of 2009, for most of 2010, and then rise modestly in 2011. CHMC 

KITCHENER- WATERLOO MARKET UPDATE – KWREB  OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE 

KITCHENER‐WATERLOO, ON (March 3, 2010) – While Canada’s athletes were racing for Olympic Gold;Waterloo region’s homebuyers were racing to buy real estate. There were  553 homes traded  in February through the Multiple Listing System (MLS®) for a total value of $153,120,645, marking a 31.7 percent increase over January’s results.
This is the most residential sales we’ve seen in the month of February in over two decades.” said, Ted Scharf, President of the Kitchener‐Waterloo Real Estate Board. “It has been an exceptionally busy start to the year.”
February’s sales included 350 detached homes (up 43.4 percent from 2009), 99 condominium units (up percent from 2009), 52 semis (up 73.3 percent from 2009) and 49 townhouses  (up 63.3 percent from 2009).
There were a total of 75 properties sold in the $300,000 to $350,000 price range‐‐ the second most popular category last month—a 150 percent increase on a year‐over‐year basis.

The most active price range continued to be homes selling between $225,000 and $250,000, with 93 sales, up 50 percent over last year.
The average sale price of all residential sales increased 12.2 percent to $276,891 compared with February 2009. Single detached homes sold for an average price of $324,631, an increase of 15.8 percent compared to last year.

 In the condominium market the average sale price in February was$173,726, an increase of 8.3 percent from one year.
“The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) which takes effect on July 1 is likely contributing somewhat to the increased sales we are seeing, “says Scharf.   But the biggest factor influencing strong sales during this traditionally slower time of year according to Scharf, is the historically low-interest rates. “Consumersare taking advantage of current interest rates now before they are predicted to rise this summer.”



Market Update- September 2009

The market remains steady with sales starting to close in on last year’s totals. As Karen Shartun of the K-W Real Estate Board explains, “After the first quarter of 2009 sales were down on a year-to-date basis by 25% compared to last year, by the end of the second quarter that gap decreased to 10% below, now after the third quarter the decrease is only 4.2%. The recession appears to have had its greatest effect during the first part of the year and now the market has returned to near normal levels.

There was a total of $108,337,581 in real estate sales in Kitchener-Waterloo region in September 2009. $62,476,342 of that was in single family detached homes, and $32,069,126 of that was in other single family dwellings. There was $8,075,800 in sales in multi-family units, $242,000 in land and $5,474,313 in commercial sales in September.

The average sales price for a single family detached home in September was $289,242, a 1.6% decline from the numbers this time last year. The average sales price for a semi-detached home was $204,428. The average price of a freehold townhouse unit was $247,326. The average price for a condo unit was $185,447. The average price for a co-operative unit was $136,000. The average price for a link home was $219,000. The average price for a mobile home was $68,000.

There were 408 unit sales last month in the Kitchener-Waterloo region; with 216 single family detached homes sold, 29 semi-detached homes sold, 38 freehold townhomes sold, 89 condominium units sold, 1 cooperative home sold, 1 link home sold, 1 mobile home sold, 14 multi-family dwellings sold, 1 land property sold, and 18 commercial properties sold.

Of the 375 residential sales, 342 were resale homes and 33 were new construction homes. The majority of these residential sales (177 or 342 sales) were in the $200,000 to $299,999 price range. There were 10 residential sales under $100,000; 81 residential sales in the $100,000-$199,999 price range; 69 residential sales in the $300,000-$399,999 price range; 19 residential sales in the $400,000-$499,999 price range; and 10 residential sales in the $500,000-$749,999 price range. There were no residential sales above $1,000,000 in September.

The majority of residential sales (155 units) happened in Kitchener West of King Street. 80 units were sold in Waterloo West of King Street, 72 units were sold in Kitchener East of King Street, and 68 units were sold in Waterloo East of King Street.

There were a total of 691 new listings processed in September, with 1,666 listings still on the market. This means there are still plenty of homes for you to choose from to find the home of your dreams and expectations that the value will still steadily increase over time. Sellers are getting still high values for their homes and are still selling fairly rapidly. The market will likely start to slow over the winter, as it normally does, picking up again in the early spring.



Condos are moving… August market remains fairly steady.

There were 520 unit sales in the month of August in the Kitchener-Waterloo region, a 19.3% increase from August of the previous year, with an average sales price of $255,311 for residential properties. Of the 482 residential properties sold, 278 were single family detached homes, 46 were semi-detached, 33 were freehold townhomes, 122 were condos, 1 cooperative home, 1 link home and 1 mobile home sold during this period.

The incentives for first time home buyers appear to be affecting the market as both condominium and semi-detached home sales were significantly up from last year with a 62.7% increase and 31.4% increase respectively.

Of the 482 residential properties, 454 were resale homes and 28 were newly constructed homes.

The volume of sales was highest in the $200K-$300K price bracket, which constituted nearly 49% of all sales (235 units). There were 9 sales in the under $100K price bracket, 131 sales in the $100K-$200K price bracket, 69 sales in the $300K-$400K price bracket, 23 sales in the $400K-$500K bracket, and 12 sales over $500K. There were no sales over $1 million this month.

Kitchener west of King Street topped the sales again this month with 208 units sold in August. Waterloo west of King Street followed this with 102 sales during this time period. Waterloo east of King Street had 79 sales, while Kitchener east of King Street had 93 sales. Kitchener east properties seem to moving more quickly as sales volumes were up 78.8% from last year’s numbers and nearly 20% from last month’s.

In total there was $131,995,819 in sales in real estate in the Kitchener-Waterloo region for August, up nearly 15% from last year. Residential sales accounted for the majority of these sales, with $119,428,287 of sales recorded ($80,282,630 in single family detached homes and $39,145,657 in other single family dwellings). Multi-family unit sales were worth $4,529,500, vacant land sales were worth $1,356,000, and commercial sales at $6,682,032.

The average sales price for a single family detached home last month was valued at $289,829, down about 3.4% from this time last year. The average sales price for all other single family dwellings was valued at $193,790, up about 2% from last year. The average semi-detached home sold for $210,510, while the average townhome sold for $224,399. The average condo unit sold for $180,968, the average cooperative unit for $132,900 and the average link home for $229,900. The average mobile home sold for $21,500.

There were a total of 599 new listings processed in the Kitchener-Waterloo region in August, 327 new single family detached homes, 182 other single family homes, 26 multi-family units, 6 vacant land properties, and 58 commercial properties. There are 1,665 active listings still available to search from, with 710 single family detached properties, 421 other single family properties, 78 multi-family units, 53 vacant land properties, and 403 commercial proeprties still on the market.

If you have any questions about any of these statistics or require further information– please be sure to ask me at rebecca.sargent@century21.ca.



July keeps the pace. The market is still going strong!

The market is going strong, with the unit sales and average sale price for homes sold in July 2009 being the second highest ever recorded for the Kitchener-Waterloo region. The 2008 housing peak, broken by recession fears, appears to be normalizing on an higher slope than the pre-2008 levels.

There were 522 unit sales last month in the K-W, with an average sale price of $274,895.  A total of 486 residential units sold in July; 314 of which were single family detached homes. The average sale price for single family detached homes was $316,436. Of the other residential properties sold, there were 38 semi-detached properties (average sale price $210,050), 33 freehold properties (average sale price $227,324), 97 condo units (average sale price $178,773), 1 co-operative unit (sale price $62,000), and 3 link homes (average sale price $202,500). 12 multi family units were sold,  1 non-residential land unit sold, and 23 commercial properties sold.

Of the 486 units sold, 452 were resale homes and 34 were new homes.

The majority of home sold in July were in the $200,000 to $299,999 range (233 out of the 486 sales). There were 96 sales in the $100,000 to $199,999 price range and 12 homes in the under $99,999 price range. 89 (of 486) homes sold in the $300,000 to $399,999 price range. 35 homes sold in the $400,000 to $499,999 price range. 17 homes sold in the $500,000 to $749,999 price range. 3 homes sold in the $750,000 to $999,999 price range, with one home over a $1 million sold.

Kitchener west of King Street once again had the highest number of sales with 203 units sold, followed by Waterloo west of King Street with 131 units sold. Waterloo east of King Street had 73 sales and Kitchener east of King Street had 79 sales.

The total volume of sales in Kitchener-Waterloo region in July was worth $143,495,025, the majority of that ($133,095,923) in residential sales.

There were 789 new listing processed in July, 667 of those in residential units and 91 commercial units. A total of 1,862 units remain active in the Kitchener-Waterloo region and are just awaiting the proper buyer. Now’s your chance to find the perfect property for you! Ask me if you’d like to start viewing some properties today (rebecca.sargent@century21.ca or Direct at 519-591-4299!)



May was definitely blooming! K-W monthly update.

May was a strong month for real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo region, as the number of residential sales saw a nearly 10% increase over May 2008.

Home ownership incentives introduced in the new budget such as the changes to the RRSP savings program, the First-Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit, the temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit, and the ecoENERGY Retrofit program, seem to be encouraging more home ownership.

The average residential sale price for properties sold in May has seen a 24% increase in value over the past five years, now resting at $295,968 for single detached homes, $207,682 for semi-detached, $229,724 for freehold townhomes, and $166,814 for condo units. It appears overall values are remaining relatively steady. Single family detached homes are moving the fastest with 358 unit sales in May, up 15.1% from this time last year. There were 28 semi-detached homes, 41 freehold townhouse , and 98 condo units sold in May.

Homes in the $225,000 to $249,999 price range sold in the highest volume, with nearly 18% of all sales in this range. 71% of all sales occurred in homes priced between $200,000 to $400,000. 8% of sales were priced higher than $400,000.

Kitchener west of King Street had the most sales for the Kitchener-Waterloo region with 216 units sold in May in this area. West Waterloo had the next highest sales volume with 122 sales in May, followed by Kitchener East with 104 unit sales, and Waterloo East with 85 unit sales. Hespeler had the most sales for Cambridge with 18 units sold, followed by Preston and North Galt with 4 unit sales each, and Galt East and West with 3 unit sales each.

There are plenty of stock available for those looking to buy with 677 new residential property listings processed in May and nearly 1,500 active residential listings to choose from.

Historically low interest rates won’t last much longer.Now’s the time to buy!



Is it a good time to buy/sell?

Despite the current economic conditions, the Kitchener-Waterloo market is still fairly healthy. Last month’s sales volume was the fifth highest ever recorded for an  April in the region, with overall property values still remaining high. The Average sales price for a residential properties has dropped by about 1.8% since last year’s record breaking year, but when put into perspective, this year’s average sale price is still up 4.2% since 2007, and has increased more than 42% since 1999. Values remain relatively high overall. The average sale price for single family detached home is currently sitting at about $289,838 and the average sale price for a semi-detached property is $196,429. Freehold townhouse units are sitting at $241,298 and condominium unit’s average sale price is about $161,138.

There were 632 homes sold in the K-W in April, a 27.4% increase from March of this year. Almost 10% of these sales were new home sales, with the other 90% in resale homes. The majority of buyers were purchasing properties priced between $225,000 and $249,999. Some highlights this month were seen in the number of units sold in the $400,000 to $500,000 price range, which increased by a significant 31.6% since this time last year, and the average sale price for freehold townhouses jumping by over 16.7% since March as new homebuyers are taking advantage of historically low interest rates. Most lenders in Canada have slashed their 5 year interest rates to below 3.95% for qualified clients, meaning the costs of carrying a mortgage have dropped significantly.

West Kitchener had the most sales in April with 231 residential sales. East Kitchener had 73 sales, West Waterloo had 110 sales and East Waterloo had 78 sales. Cambridge sales are up significantly from this time last year (by more than 50%), with the majority of sales happening in Hespeler. There is a great stock for buyers to choose from, with more than 861 new listings processed last month, and over 2,000 residential properties on the market.

A properly marketed and prepared home will sell in this market and receive a competitive price. Buyers currently have lots of options on the market, and great interest rates for their mortgages that are only probably going to climb higher and higher in the upcoming months. Now is a definitely a great time to buy or sell!



Spring has come.

Winter is coming to a close and it is finally beginning to look like spring outside. Spring always brings with it one thing in real estate– open houses and increasing sales. You can properly tour a home and view it in its prime, as plant life begins to sprout again around it. It adds a certain beauty and appeal to the search process and allows visitors to truly see the property without the hindrances of deep snow. Many begin their home search in the spring time, with the expectation of closing and moving over the summer months while their children are on summer vacation.

If you are thinking a listing a property in the near future, take a couple things into consideration. The current average number of days on market has slightly lengthened and property value has slightly decreased. This means your home will take slightly longer than normal to sell and may sell for a slightly lower price than expected (closer to 2007 prices). 

Prudent Realtors will bring you a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to help guide you to price your property at a reasonable value. The Comparative Market Analysis takes recent sales data of similar homes in the area and compares them with the listing property to help determine a fair market value and develop a price that will make the property sell the quickest and for the most value. It will take some recently sold properties, some recently expired properties and some currently active properties that have similar characteristics or features and base the price upon these. Sold properties usually indicate pricing that was somewhat reasonable. Expired properties usually indicate inflated pricing or major problems with the property, although sometimes it is an unwillingness of a seller to budge on pricing or conditions or poor marketing done by the Realtor.

Unfortunately, difficult financial times are often associated with less than reputable business practices. In real estate this can translate to what we call “buying a listing”. Essentially the Realtor presents the seller with an overly optimistic sales price for the home, doubtful that it will actually sell for this price in the hopes that he or she can “buy” the listing by suggesting the seller will receive a higher sale price. They expect to talk the seller down every couple of weeks to lower and lower pricing.

Why would they do this? Sometimes homeowners have inflated perceptions of their home value, but mostly, it is done by unscruptulous Realtors who are desperate for listings.  The best way to protect yourself? Find a Realtor you can trust, and review all the materials they bring to you. If they suggest a certain price, ask them for proof to back this up.

Interview at least 3 Realtors and get their Comparative Market Analysis. Look at the criteria they are using to determine the value of your home. Are all three using the same comparable material, and where do they differ? Are they using current data (from the last 2 months)? Are they using reasonable comparable properties to your home? Are they taking into consideration the solds, expireds and active listings? If you are unsure, ask.

One high pricing may seem like a dream come true, but after weeks on the market, you may be singing a different tune. Protect yourself up front and ensure you are pricing the property properly. Listing too high will scare away potential buyers or limit them from even searching or viewing your property. Staleness will creep in, and as your price drops, fewer and fewer viewers will be attracted. Get the price right the first time and save yourself the hassle.