Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region


Rebuilding in Haiti using Sustainable Housing (Earthships)
January 29, 2010, 5:21 am
Filed under: Rebecca Sargent, Sustainability | Tags: , , ,

This is the best idea I have seen for rebuilding Haiti so I have decided to pass it on in hopes that the organizers can reach their funding goals and provide the maximum assistance to those in need.

Those at Earthship Biotechture intend on teaching the people to build their own sustainable housing (earthship technologies) using locally found materials.

Currently the organizers are in need of:

– Camping food, Camping Gear
– Money
– Vaccines
– Connections with people and organizations in Haiti to partner with.

Please check out their website and pass this information on to everyone you can!

Thinking of those in Haiti. Our hearts and minds are with you.

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Build wealth with investment property
January 14, 2010, 1:13 pm
Filed under: Judita Makos | Tags: , , , , , ,

Why  buy an investment real estate in Waterloo Region?
The communities of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge, known collectively as Canada’s Technology Triangle, are becoming known as a competitive area to build high-tech businesses. The area is so strong economically that the Real Estate Investment Network™ in its past research has dubbed it the “Economic Alberta of Ontario”. This continues to prove true as the region was once again selected as the number-one investment town in Ontario. Within a 24 hours drive, the Technology Triangle has access to more than 60% of Canada’s population and 40% of the U.S. population. The reinvention of the region’s economy in the last few years has led to investment in the information technology sector, a venture which has protected the Triangle from the steep increase in job losses experienced in many other Ontario communities. A commitment to infrastructure improvements and transportation projects will also help drive the economy and the real estate market in this area.

 Research indicates that there are more buying opportunities now than in the last few years, meaning more investment options and better yields” said Don R. Campbell, REIN™ President and author of the best-selling books Real Estate Investing in Canada and 97 Tips For Real Estate Investing.

“With today’s mixed market signals it is critical that investors and home-buyers complete that extra level of due diligence. An economic fundamental, not speculation, plays the key role in whether a property increases or drops in value. The years of skyrocketing prices are finally over; however, over the long-term the economic fundamentals of these key regions will help their property values dramatically outperform other regions of the province.”

The Top Ontario Investment Towns report list:
1) Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge
2) Hamilton
3) Simcoe Shores:Barrie- Orillia
4) Brampton
5) Durham Region – Whitby, Pickering, and Ajax
6) Ottawa
7) Brantford
8) Toronto
9) Vaughan
10) Whitchurch-Stouffville

Why isn’t everyone buying real estate? Most people don’t understand how to buy, how to evaluate and how to manage their investment. First basic rule is not to buy a property unless it can produce cash flow. When you calculate the rent and subtract expenses there shouldn’t be anything else to pay. If you have to add money every month to pay for this investment then stay away!

The second rule for buying an investment property is to be wary of listings showing a great rate of return on projected values. If you are looking at an investment property ask for the income and expenses for the past 24 month. Also, allow for reasonable vacancy rate and don’t forget maintenance per unit.

Next step is to calculate capitalization rate, also known as the cap rate.  It is not generally a great idea to have cap rate under 6-7.5% unless the property has some real upside. For example, it has additional land, it has been extensively renovated, or there is some potential for additional income.

Another factor to consider is the mortgage rate interest. For example, you buy an investment property at 6.5% cap rate, pay 25% down payment and pay 5% interest on remaining mortgage. On the money invested, you will earn 6.5%, but on the money borrowed you will earn the difference between cap rate and the interest rate. This creates increased return on investment (ROI).

Like all investments, buying and owning investment property poses a form of risk. Real estate investment is dependent on your management skills. People may end up selling, what would be the best investment for them in long run, only because they don’t have knowledge, patience and understanding of managing real estate.



KW REAL ESTATE UPDATE
December 11, 2009, 11:55 pm
Filed under: Judita Makos | Tags: , , , ,

A new record for residential sales was set by Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Board in November.  Mls sales reached 556 units, which is 87.8% increase from november 2008.

“For the third consecutive month we have seen a significant resurgence from the downturn that started last fall”  reports Ted Scharf, the new President of Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Board.

There have been 6,108 residential units sold, meaning sales will easily surpass 2008’s year-end total of 6,115 units.  Homes selling between $350,000 to $500,000 totalled 90 in November, and increase of 233 % compared with November 2008 and an increase of 67 % compared to last month.  Another bright sign for the local economy,  was the increase in the sale of builder product last month.  There were 85 new construction homes sold  in November, marking a 214.8 percent increase over the same month last year.

Kitchener – Waterloo Real Estate Market Update

September – November 2009

  SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER
Homes Currently for Sale 1917 1819 1696
Homes Sold 531 579 556
Selling Ratio 28% 33% 33%
Sale Price vs. List Price Ratio 98% 98% 98%
Average Days on the Market 47 46 51
Median Selling Price $239,900 $238,700 $252,900
Average Selling Price $255,400 $258,600 $277,600

Listings and Sales by Price Range

Price Range   Actives   Solds
  SEPT OCT NOV SEPT OCT NOV
$150,000 or less 190 167 137 66 61 53
$150,000 – $200,000 215 190 180 79 92 79
$200,000 – $250,000 328 293 300 153 168 137
$250,000 – $300,000 301 283 267 86 116 101
$300,000 – $400,000 434 441 386 103 93 120
and Over $400,000 449 445 426 44 49 66

 

For a detailed statistical report relevant to your specific property and neighbourhood please

JUDITA MAKOS, SALES REP

CENTURY21 HOME REALTY INC

DIRECT; 519-572-0765

EMAIL;  judita.makos@century21.ca



Plutonic, GE to resume work at Canada wind farm
December 11, 2009, 11:38 pm
Filed under: Judita Makos | Tags: , ,

Plutonic, GE to resume work at Canada wind farm.

NEW YORK — GE Energy Financial Services and Plutonic Power Corp will restart construction of a 300-megawatt wind power farm in British Columbia, after a court approved the companies’ purchase of the project.

GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of General Electric Co., and hydroelectric company Plutonic together paid $52.5 million to bankrupt EarthFirst Canada Inc for the planned Dokie Wind farm, which would be the largest in the Canadian province.

Read more: http://www.financialpost.com/story.html?id=2330325#ixzz0ZQV7nZJY
The Financial Post is now on Facebook. Join our fan community today.



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.



The accidental environmentalist.
September 13, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Rebecca Sargent, Sustainability | Tags: , ,

Now you may be surprised to hear this, considering that I write a blog about sustainable housing, but I do not consider myself an environmentalist. I do not feel like I am one of the green, tree-hugging folk.

I do live what most would consider a fairly green and simple life. I haven’t really been shopping in a few years now, aside from groceries and the occasional need for office supplies for my business (mostly 100% recycled paper and re-filling the ink cartridges in my printer). I think very carefully before I make a purchase and try to research its impact whenever possible. My clothes are all second hand from the thrift store or handmade creations by friends. I live in a very minimum square footage, use all non-toxic cleaners (thank goodness for baking soda), and take great measures to reduce my daily energy usage. I grow some vegetables and herbs for the fresh goodies through the harvest and to preserve to last me as far as I can get through the winter. Aside from chocolate (which I can’t imagine ever giving up!), I try to eat mostly a localvore diet, although I’m not extremely strict on this. I dream of the day when I will be able to live in a fully self-sustaining home, off the grid, growing all my own food myself.

So why do I write about sustainable housing, and why do I seem to care about environmental issues so much?

I’ve always considered myself a fairly good person. It has never been my intention nor want to cause another being harm and I have always been concerned with human rights and freedoms. It is with this purpose that my so-called “environmentalism” came to be.

I was once a fairly heavy consumer. I desperately wanted the latest and greatest, and coveted these goodies with great lust. I dreamt of a high-tech, gadget-filled existence and thought the tree-huggers to be unrealistic idealists with their head in the clouds.

That all began to change– slowly, but surely–after extensive world travels and years at university studying about global affairs began to really open my eyes. I read (and write) constantly about human rights and have for at least most of the past decade. I dream of a day where the basic human rights (you know, like those ones agreed upon by many nations–including our own–through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights over 60 years ago) are actually ratified and guaranteed by the governments of the world. A world where everyone has the basics they need to live a healthy and happy existence.

For me, environmentalism coincides with this dream. Pollution, in my opinion, violates my human rights. It affects my health and well-being and the health and well-being of my family. I should not have to endure a barrage of toxins if I don’t want to do so willingly.

Unfortunately, we have little choice in the matter. Our air and water is filled with toxic pollution and it is only getting worse. In some places, people are experiencing severe health problems due to the high toxicity levels in the air, ground or water. Their right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and their families is being infringed upon by polluters.

High levels of consumerism are having an immense impact on pollution levels. We live in a society where we are expected to shop. We are expected to have a home computer and a cell phone and a big screen TV. We are taught from a young age to value material things. Unfortunately, this value for the material happens to contradict with many people’s value of doing no harm. It was this contradiction that led to my gradual life change.

Not only does the need for the latest-and-greatest cause tremendous pollution, which will harm the planet and the beings living on it, but many of these latest-and-greatest are also incredibly human rights abusing in their production. Now, I’m not just talking about sweat-shops, even thought almost every store in North America probably has at least one product created by sweat-shop labour. The abuses go much deeper.

Think about where your products came from and what it took for them to get from raw materials in and on the ground to your home. They have probably traveled hundreds if not thousands of miles, creating mass amounts of pollution along the way only to wind up in a landfill at the end of it.

If the product has metal components, it is possible that this metal was mined by slaves and you would never even know it. It is quite possible that it also provided financing for a murderous warlord to continue warring. For example, you’d be hard-pressed to find an electronic product such as a cellphone or laptop computer that hasn’t helped in some way to finance civil war or helped to continue the rape, torture or death of innocent civilians.

It is with this in mind, that I began to look into what I was consuming, why I was consuming it and how it was impacting the world. It is with this in mind that I became an “accidental environmentalist”. I started searching out the sources of the products and services I was using daily and whenever I found one that didn’t meet my ethical standards– I stopped using it. As I stopped using all the products and services to such a high degree– I noticed that I didn’t need or miss them after they were gone for a while. As I started looking into environmental issues more and how they were affecting the people of this planet, I started reading about the different renewable and sustainable technologies that exist. I starting thinking– why aren’t we using these? They make so much sense, not only from an environmental standpoint, but they are also more cost effective and efficient.

Reversing or slowing climate change has never been a prime goal for me. Not infringing on other people’s human rights, however, IS.

The next time you think about going green, think about this. Probably the number one greenest thing you can do for this planet and the beings living on it is to STOP CONSUMING SO MUCH STUFF!!

Everything you consume had to be created. It had to use goods mined or extracted from the earth, causing pollution and depleting often non-renewable resources, and is perhaps even using slave labour or causing war and death along the way. When you throw it away at the end of its usage it will probably wind up in a landfill leaching into our water supplies. So think before you buy– do I actually need this? Chances are, you probably don’t, and after a while, you probably won’t even miss it.



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.