Sustainable housing and real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo Region


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



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.



Do you want to view homes and businesses utilizing sustainable and renewable energy technologies and have all your questions answered?

Hello all!

I will be running a tour of homes and businesses in the K-W region that are currently utilizing sustainable or renewable energy technologies in collaboration with University of Waterloo’s Sustainable Technology Education Project (STEP) so that you can learn about these technologies from those who use them every single day!

The tour will be absolutely FREE and everyone is welcome!

Included in the tour will be solar technologies, geothermal technologies, wind turbines, green roofs, heat recovery systems, straw bale construction and grey water systems, as well as some local community gardens. See how the technologies work and ask all your questions directly to the home or business owners who use them.

You can take the tour with your own transportation, or join a group and tour with others who will be taking the bus, walking, riding bicycles, or using rollerblades and skateboards to get from site to site!

The tour will be running Sunday September 20th starting at 10am.

If you would like to join the upcoming tour or want more details please contact me at rebecca.sargent@century21.ca or directly at 519-591-4299.

If you own a home or business that is using sustainable or renewable energy technologies and would like to be part of the tour, please let me know about it!

Hope to see you there!

Please be sure to add yourself to the facebook events page!



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!)



Is Rapid Transit in the future for the K-W region?

The need for a Central Transit Corridor that would link the three cities of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge was first identified in 1976 and it seems that an active plan is finally underway to start to really connect them. The region is currently connected by a bus system or by hopping on one of the many roads, highways or walkways. The growing population makes congestion a real issue as nearly three quarters of a million people are expected to be living within the K-W  in the next 25 years.

The region has proposed a light rail transit (LRT) route starting at Conestoga Mall in Waterloo (and possibly extended along King Street to St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market) all the way through the city in a southerly direction to the Ainslie Street Terminal in downtown Cambridge. The system will possibly also feature a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Think of the LRT system like the streetcars in downtown Toronto. The LRT vehicles use rail technology that travel in dedicated lanes, using overhead electric or on-board diesel/hybrid propulsion to make their way through the city. It would be quicker than a bus, but services a smaller, and more direct line. The BRT system uses buses that travel in a dedicated laneway. It would mean there would be an extra lane on the streets with the BRT system dedicated solely to the bus route, allowing it to move much more rapidly through heavy traffic.

The benefits these systems are to be weighed and evaluated and on June 24th, the Preferred Rapid Transit System will be presented to the Regional Council for consideration. If passed and incorporated it would mean another alternative to get around and within the three cities (Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge) without having to use a car.

There are many advantages to these types of systems from an environmental standpoint. A single LRT train could reduce the traffic of nearly 200 vehicles, severely curtailing traffic, congestion and idling within the city. This would mean less smog, and less pollution. If made affordable, an expanded tranist system could also be a cheap option for many people to get to and from work.

I currently ride the #8 bus on almost a daily basis to get to where I need to go during the day. Unfortunately, I still need a car for my business, but I try to use the bus for social events, or many other things I need to do during the day. It comes almost just outside my door at most every 15 minutes and at worst every 45. Depending on the time of day and where I am on the line, the bus can be completely overcrowded or almost completely empty.It’s easy. It ‘s fairly cheap. It gets you where you need to go.

My biggest complaint with this type of system is that they do not run completely responsibly. A service that is carrying people across locations should be accessible when people need it. There is currently almost no service earlier than 5:30 in the morning or 12:30 at night. For someone starting work very early in the morning, tranit is not a good option. It also leaves little option for late night party-goers  to choose a responsible way home. I have been saying this for years:  If you want people not to drink and drive– give them a cheap and reliable way to get themselves home! Keep the buses running an extra 2 or 3 hours or add a few late night options to get people across the cities.

If we are beefing up the transit between the tri-cities, we should also seriously consider beefing up the transit options between cities like Toronto, and London with the K-W. The current round-a-bout system of buses, or trains from Kitchener to Toronto makes inter-city travel between these two cities a tedious and rather costly affair. If the government wants to encourage people to use transit instead of cars, they should subdidize transit to be more affordable. If a ticket from Kitchener to Toronto costs more than the gas to get there and takes at least 2 times as long to get there– who wants to take it?

Do you think the proposed LRT is a good idea? I’d love to hear your thoughts.