Thursday, December 13, 2012

Canada and specifically Ontario job numbers are impressive

TD Bank States

The Canadian economy added 59,000 jobs in November, following a lackluster performance in October. The unemployment rate fell to 7.2%, a drop of 0.2 percentage points, to the lowest level seen since June.

Regionally, employment growth was strongest in Ontario with 32,000 jobs added.

Overall, we expect employment to be fairly steady next year, increasing by an average of about 15,000 jobs per month, with the unemployment rate holding fairly steady.

For Ottawa real estate contact the Bennett Pros

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Big Long

A new generation of investors is betting on United States of America’s housing market

Click here to read the complete article   Shares in home building companies are on the rise.  Warren Buffett is buying brick companies, home improvement companies and bought a real estate brokerage company.  Hedge Funds are pumping billions into housing markets.  Blackstone has $54 billion invested in real estate.      

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

CMHC - Condo bubble not ready to burst in Ottawa

Condo construction will stabilize next year, but demand remains high - click here

The recent CMHC Housing Outlook Conference had a lot to say about Ottawa Condos and the Ottawa real estate market.

Are there too many condos being built?
With towers popping up across the city, is the condominium bubble about to burst in Ottawa?

“The answer is no,” continued Abdul Kargbo of the CMHC.  While the supply of condo units for sale has been rising since 2001, the percentage of unsold units has remained flat, Kargbo said, indicating that so far, demand is keeping up with condo construction.

How is the rental market in Ottawa?
The rental market will continue to remain tight as investors express little interest in building or buying rental buildings and units. Prices and demand have been high since 2008 and with only 400 new rental units completed in the past year, rents will remain high, Pérez Torres said.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Huge News! Mark Carney to leave Bank of Canada and Head Bank of England

Carney to leave Bank of Canada early, takes on big job at Bank of England

  Appointed Feb. 1, 2008, Carney's legacy will have been to help steer the Canadian economy through the 2008-09 recession, revamping the management of the institution and introducing what the central bank called the most sophisticated, plastic currency in the world.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Downsizing Federal Government

Update to the downsizing of the Canadian Federal Service

The federal government has cut 10,980 jobs as part of its bid to balance the budget, Treasury Board president Tony Clement said Friday.

As part of the cuts, 7,500 positions were eliminated through attrition, by cutting vacant jobs or not replacing people who left willingly, Clement said in a news release.

Ottawa is scheduled to have 4,800 of the 19,200 total positions being cut.

to read the complete article click here

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Ontario Building Code Is Out

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has released the next edition of the Ontario which will help ensure public safety, increase energy efficiency and contribute to the competitiveness of the building sector. Most of the new Building Code will come into force on Jan. 1, 2014. However, certain requirements will come into force later on Jan. 1, 2015 and January 1, 2017.
The revised Building Code will put Ontario among North America's leaders in water conservation with requirements like efficient toilets and showerheads for new homes and rain water harvesting for all new buildings. The revised code also increases Ontario's consistency with other codes across the country so businesses can sell their products and services nationwide.

Click Here for the new code.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Alt Hotel coming to Ottawa - 199 Slater

The Alt Hotel announced today, it will be part of the exciting 199 Slater development in Ottawa

Click here to read the announcement

CMHC USA predictions for 2013

- North American economy has been in neutral but will switch into DRIVE in mid-2013
- USA consumers are starting to spend
- USA economy will drive the world economy again, especially in 2014
- China was growing at 10%, now down to 7.5%
- Emerging countries still need resources (China, Brazil, India, etc)
- USA equity markets are improving
- every 1% growth in the USA economy translates to a 6% growth in employment in Southern Ontario
- USA household debt is low
- Credit is loosening in USA
- 150,000 new jobs created in the USA
- USA housing is starting to increase in value
- there is now 5.9 months supply in the USA housing market (lowest since pre-2007)
- big issue facing the USA is the Fiscal Cliff
- distressed sales are 35% of the USA market, down from 50%
- USA banks are staggering foreclosures to keep housing prices rising
- Shadow inventory is not a big concern going forward

*** USA is approaching pre-recession car buying numbers (for volume)
This is an indicator of the coming housing boom, as people are starting to purchase big ticket items again

CMHC Housing Outlook Conference 2013

- Ottawa real estate market to re-gain strength mid-2013

- USA consumer spending is up, driving their economy forward

- manufactoring sector driving Ontario economy

- 85% of apartment construction in Ontario is Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton

- Ottawa affordability index is tightening

- average Ottawa income $94,700 (household)

- Ontario is in the early stages of closing the gap with Alberta

- Ottawa volume of sales will be down, prices increase modestly

- condos in Gloucester and Nepean will be hot

- under $250k will be a top price point for buyers

- Ottawa single family starts expected to drop another 15%

- Rental market will stay strong

- Ottawa economy will remain stable

- unemployement in 2013 expected to be 6.3% - one of lowest in Ontario

- 4800 Federal job reduction less than 1% of government work force

- multifamily construction to increase (towns, semis, condos)

- 8.9% population increase in Ottawa in 2012 (921,823)

- house built in Ottawa annually is 6300

- new households formed 5400

- 1/3 of people in Ottawa earn less than $40k family

- 40,000 students in ottawa in 2000, 65,000 now

- 10% of students in Campus housing, at Ottawa u only 7%

- 2200 more people expected to move into retirement homes over next 10 years in Ottawa

- first time home buyers will lead the recover in Ottawa

- since Q3 2008 - TSX is plus 5%, a condo is plus 30% as an investment

- 29% of Ottawa is between 45 and 65

- hot areas will be inside greenbelt (West and East of downtown)

- downtown will be neutral, as prices are increasing and young buyers cannot afford

Monday, November 5, 2012

CMHC - 2013 lookout is positive

CMHC released a bulletin about Ottawa real estate that indicates the housing market will moderate and be in balanced territory for 2013.  Housing prices will grow positive.  The later part of 2013 will be stronger than the beginning.

Check out the report here

Monday, October 29, 2012

New home prices in the USA

New Home prices have turned the corner and forces are driving rising prices in the foreseeable future. In this article, we discuss these forces and reveal the trends that are not evident to those who rely only on publicly-available data to form their views on home prices.
The popular aggregate price indices have shown a modest turnaround in home prices, rising nominally in recent months, but these median readings obscure the dramatic cross-currents that are at work underneath the surface. Effectively, there are two housing markets, each exhibiting distinct price trends. One consists of residential developments that are within a reasonable commute of job centers, with developed shopping and entertainment options and good schools. These are the projects that the builders care about, characterized by strong new-home demand and an increasingly scarce supply of homes and lots. The other “market” is the massive collection of remote lots, struggling subdivisions, and mothballed master-planned communities that were developed during the last year of the boom (2005/2006). Projects with these characteristics are almost completely dormant, and have very little impact on the builders.

Factors that will keep home prices rising in the “A” and “B” (good) locations are:
• New-home inventories are so low that builders who have standing or nearly-finished homes can command higher prices.
• Lot scarcities, expected to worsen in 2013, will force builders to raise prices, and the limited supply of new homes for sale means that builders have more pricing power.
• Rising costs (materials, lot prices, permitting/impact fees, and labor) will force builders to raise prices in order to be profitable.
• Pent-up demand re-emerging (people who were doubling up are now finding jobs and forming their own households, and people who were waiting for prices to bottom are now taking advantage of the buying opportunity and record-low mortgage rates). Household formation rates are forecast to increase by 50% over the next three years.
Meanwhile, in the “D,” and “F” locations, plentiful supplies of bank-owned homes for the moment continue to make new home construction a money-losing proposition. If buyers are willing to commute to those areas (‘drive ‘til you qualify’), they can buy homes from banks, at auction, short-sales, or from investors who bought from the banks or the agencies, and they can often do so at a price that is below replacement cost.

The “C” locations are neither good nor bad at present. While not all “C’s” are created equal, within two years many will rise to “B” status. No builder wants to be “below C level.” (very punny). I like Mike Castleman’s (Metrostudy’s CEO) statement during a presentation to a national builder client that builders will soon be “gnawing at the bone of C lot supplies.”

To invest in the USA please click here

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ottawa neighbourhood values

Many people wonder what neighbourhoods in Ottawa have grown the most over the past five years.  Interesting questions comparing Manotick to Westboro to Hintonburg to Bells Corners.  Ottawa real estate has continued to grow with the historic consistency. 

Bet you can't guess the number one growth area of Ottawa (45.7% increase) and the only negative growth neighbourhood in Ottawa real estate over the past 5 years ....

Check out the actual stats here

USA real estate recovery

The real estate market is in the USA is primed for a quick recovery, completing the rebound by as early as 2015 according to Barclays Capital.

Now is the time to be looking at investing in USA real estate.   

"That turn in the [housing] market is occurring now and it should become a boom by 2015. It will be powerful enough ... to lift the entire U.S. economy," said Roger Altman, chairman of Evercore Partners and former deputy Treasury secretary, in a column for the Financial Times.

Altman said he expects housing will add 4 million jobs to the economy over the next five years, as pent-up demand for home purchases drives building and and home prices higher.


Friday, October 5, 2012

September sales historically on track in Ottawa

“There has been a lot of attention recently on the need to “cool” the real estate market across the country,” said Ottawa Real Estate Board President, Ansel Clarke. “While there may be a need in some areas, we emphasize that real estate is local, and conditions and prospects will vary among major market areas and indeed within market areas. Historically the Ottawa real estate and housing market has not experienced volatility in prices or number of units sold.”
“While average price information does not indicate the value of a specific property, it is useful to identify trends,” continued Mr. Clarke. “Since 1956 the average price in the Ottawa real estate area has decreased only five times year over year and has increased by 15 per cent or more only five times as well. The Ottawa real estate market can be characterized as stable and steady although there are pockets of our market area where we see larger increases in price.”
“As for the number of sales, we are on track this year to match historical levels of activity. Since 1999 the number of sales through the MLS® System in Ottawa has ranged from a low of 11,329 to a high of 14,783. Sales for the first nine months of the year are just under 11,700.”
New mortgage rules and continuing uncertainty about job losses in the public service may have contributed to recent decreases in the number of sales through the MLS® System of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. Members sold 993 units in September 2012, down from a near record high of 1,201 in September 2011. The average price of properties sold for the month was $351,585, up from $347,236 last month and $335,623 in September 2011.

“Some buyers are deferring their decision to purchase until their employment status is clearer. Meanwhile, sellers will want to ensure that their properties are priced appropriately. We encourage buyers and sellers to talk to their Ottawa and area REALTOR® for more information about the housing market outlook where they live, or want to live,” concluded Mr. Clarke.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

West End New Development

New Development starting in high $100s.  In the West End, near Ikea.  More details to come in the near future.
This project will have a really neat courtyard feature and will have a football field sized amenities space in the interior of the buildings with putting green other cool items.

Friday, September 14, 2012

More rumoured banking changes

Banks are making changes to lending practices to help control inflation in the Canadian economy.  By slowing down consumer spending, the Canadian government is able to control inflation.  Interest rates cannot be raised, as this would encourage foreign investment in Canada and would drive our dollar higher, which would hurt the manufactoring sectors.  In lieu of following the early 80s strategy of raising interest rates, the Canadian government is making mortgages more difficult to ascertain. 

Housing is the single biggest purchase for most Canadians, so if the government can slow down the housing market, it will slow down consumer spending, which will control inflation in the Canadian economy. 

All Canadian banks will have to change their lending practices on home equity lines of credit.  They will be able to offer a maximum value of 65% loan to value.  Rumours now have it that soon, lines of credit secured by investment properties will be outlawed. 

I would suggest, making contact now with a financing expert who can arrange an home equity line of credit at 80% loan to value and even if you are not planning on using it, have it available for potential need. 

If you are interested in making this type of arrangement, I have a special lender who can make this arrangement.  Please contact me by clicking here and I can make an arrangement to speak.

If you think someone your know, your friends or family could benefit from using my services ... please contact me here!

For Ottawa real estate, please contact the Bennett Property Shop Realty for further information.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Distressed USA Properties

Please check out the following USA investment real estate opportunities.  These are distressed assets that can be bought under market value.  To purchase these properties, there are two requirements:

1 - Sign an NDA and lender document for further information
2 - Provide proof of funding (cash, financing, etc)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Invest in Arizona

The market for USA investment real estate is gaining momentum now.  With a USA presidential election in November 2012, there is likely going to be a rally within the USA economy. 

I think it is important to focus in the sunbelt states, as Canada and the USA have approximately 80 million babyboomers combined.  That is the age group currently mid forties to mid sixties.  As age creeps in, this group will likely be headed for warmer climates, not damp, cold winters. 

Check out Brett's story.  He invested in Arizona with Smart Real Estate Foreclosures and made $21,000 in just 8 weeks. 

Click here for the video

August - volume down, prices up

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,141 residential properties in August through the Board's Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,328 in August 2011, a decrease of 14.1 per cent. The five-year average for August sales is 1,193.
August's sales included 248 in the condominium property class, and 893 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, stacked etc.), which is registered as a condominium, as well as properties which are co-operatives, life leases and timeshares. The residential property class includes all other residential properties.
"The number of residential properties sold has decreased compared to August 2011, while the average price has slightly increased," indicates Ansel Clarke, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. "The new mortgage rules came into effect in early July, and this could be an explanation for the decrease in properties sold. Potential home buyers may be waiting to save a bit more money before purchasing a property. This summer, we also experienced exceptionally hot weather, which may be a factor in the market slow down. This August's sales are still in line with the five-year average, so the Ottawa real estate market remains steady despite a small dip in units sold." Clarke also notes that the total number of year-to-date properties sold is up 2.8 per cent and the average sale price is up 2.2 per cent from this time last year.
The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in August in the Ottawa area was $346,949, an increase of 2.5 per cent over August 2011. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $272,367, an increase of 7.6 per cent over August 2011. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $367,661, an increase of 1.7 per cent over August 2011. The Board cautions that average sale price information can be useful in establishing trends over time but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The average sale price is calculated based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ottawa Citizen - Condo prices in Ottawa to grow in 2013

Ottawa real estate prices and especially Ottawa condo prices are expected to grow according to a new study by Genworth, published in the Ottawa Citizen.

Some interesting tidbits from the article:
Ottawa prices are fore-cast to rise by 1.8 per cent to an average $283,606 in 2013, after a much larger gain this year.

Genworth ... suggests that the population is expected to grow in all eight cities studied over the next few years, while employment growth and low interest rates should also support the market. The numbers also indicate Canadians are flocking to urban centres. Toronto's population jumped more than 17 per cent over the previous census period in 2006.
For the full article please click here

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Photos for upcoming pre-construction condo launch

New Ottawa real estate pre-construction condo launch .... check out these common areas!!!

To register for this exciting Centertown condo lauch please click here

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

USA new housing price heading upwards

Ottawa real estate remains strong, but big movements in prices are happening South of the Canadian border.

The turnaround in USA housing is seemingly happening as we speak.  Housing prices are still at late 90s to early 2000s levels, but heading in the right direction.  Places like Phoenix, Arizona are experiencing boom market conditions with price increases of over 20% in the past calender year. 

In 82% of markets studied, new house prices rose in July.  Construction is heating up in markets throughout the USA.  Click here to read the entire article

Overall, the USA housing market is up 3.2% from July 2011 to July 2012 (CFRA News). 

For information on USA investment real estate please click here

Monday, September 3, 2012

Properties already rented

Sometimes the hardest part of buying an Ottawa real estate investment property is the uncertainty over being able to rent the property.  There are some great options of properties that are already rented.

New condo, one bedroom on the 4th floor, located in Westboro, rented for $1450 asking price is $350,000

New condo, one bedroom on the 16th floor, located in Tunney's Pasture, rented for $1900 (2 year lease), asking price is $360,000 - property is fully furnished.

New condo, two bedroom on the 2nd floor, located in Westboro, rented for $1900 + $150 for parking, asking price is $399,900

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Friday, August 24, 2012

Feds gets in on condo action with overhall of Tunney's Pasture

You might have heard that the Ottawa Condo market is overheated.  People see the cranes and the new properties and come to the conclusion that there are way too many condos.  According to both CMHC and Fotenn Planning, the Ottawa real estate market needs approximately 50,000 new condos between now and 2035. 

Baby boomers are now in their late 40s, 50s and early 60s.  These are the years where many people begin to look towards downsizing and moving closer to the services and recreation, including hospitals. 

The Federal government is now in the process of redeveloping Tunney's Pasture and bringing in commercial and residential development.  This will include condos being built in the area with the government either selling the land or leasing it to developers.

If the market is infact overheated, why is the Federal government looking to get involved in the market now?

Federal government gets in on condo action with overhaul of Ottawa neighbourhood

After issuing months of warnings about the rapid expansion of Canada’s condominium market, the federal government now appears to want a piece of the action.

Ottawa is planning a major overhaul of a 49-hectare campus-style property it owns in the nation’s capital called Tunney’s Pasture.

Situated along the Ottawa River about four kilometres west of downtown, it is a drab complex of grey concrete government buildings. But the neighbourhood around it is currently one of the hottest spots for new condo development in the capital.

To read the complete article please click here

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Savannah Port Deepening Approved

CHARLESTON, S.C., Aug 23 (Reuters) - A $652 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel has been approved by the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to a report made public on Thursday.

Savannah, the fourth largest container port in the nation according to the Department of Transportation, is among several South Atlantic ports that want to deepen their shipping channels for super-sized container ships expected to come through the expanded Panama Canal starting in 2014.

In July, the Obama administration announced a "We Can't Wait" initiative to fast-track the modernization of five East Coast ports, at Jacksonville, Miami, Savannah, New York/New Jersey and Charleston.

Miami has already received approval for the deepening of its port and dredging is due to begin in early 2013. Charleston's plans are still awaiting approval from the Corps of Engineers, as well as funding from Congress.

The army's final decision on the Savannah project is expected in November.

For the full article please click here

This is very interesting.  Due to the expansion of the Panama Canal, it will now be cheaper for Asian countries to "float" their goods from Asia to the major East coast markets in the United States, rather than sending them to Seattle or Long Beach and rail shipping products to the East Coast.  The effects could be drastic on both coasts as the West Coast will lose valuable dock jobs that will migrate East towards New York and Savannah.  Crane operators in Seattle and Long Beach make massive money unloading oceanliners, which is money thrust into local economies. 

If you know friends or family that could benefit from my services please contact me

For more information on USA real estate investment opportunities

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A family affair

RE: Greg Blok, Broker - Bennett Property Shop Realty, Brokerage, 190 Lisgar Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 0C4

My husband, Barry and I met Greg through our daughter and her fiancée. Our daughter was in the process of selling her condo in Kanata and had hired Greg as her Agent. Our daughter’s fiancée had already worked with Greg in purchasing several investment properties and was very pleased with his experience.

I must admit that I did not see a need to use any agent for selling her home and thought why not do it yourself. I soon discovered the value of working with Greg. The advice our daughter received in updates that she should do to her home and the staging that was given when the home was ready were amazing. Our daughter’s home sold for a record high in her area and set a new benchmark for the value of condos in this neighbourhood. My husband and I were most impressed.

Greg has assisted us in buying not one, not two, but three investment properties in Ottawa. He is quick to respond to emails, text messages and phone calls with questions that we have. He is quick to set up viewings with properties that we may be interested in. His advice is important when we question him about the homes and the neighbourhoods. Greg’s knowledge of the Ottawa real estate market is invaluable. Greg has always been extremely professional and his work ethic is very impressive.

Greg has also assisted us in finding a home for our daughter to purchase. Greg and I explored all areas of Ottawa in search of this special first home. Our daughter was out of the country so we were doing the footwork for her. Greg’s advice was again very valuable. I never felt pushed on any purchase and if Greg saw a concern he did not hesitate to let us know.

I would highly recommend Greg as an agent for a personal home purchase or investment purchase.

I would also highly recommend Greg and his team for helping to prepare your home for sale and handling the sale of your home.

It has been a pleasure working with Greg and I am quite certain we will work together again in the future. The service and the experience start to finish have been excellent. We have always wanted to associate ourselves with “winners” and appreciate dedication to hard work and believe that if you are going to do a job you must do it to the best of your ability. Greg and his team exemplify this.

Barry and Judy

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interesting quick hit stats

USA auto sales in June 2012
- Chrysler had best June in 5 years
- GM June sales up 15.5%  (twice the estimate)
- VW up 34.5%
- January to June 2012 was the best first half in car sales since 2008

US housing in June 2012
- Housing starts up 6.9%, highest since October 2008
- US household debt is 84% of GDP down from 98%

Friday, August 17, 2012

Important information surrounding the policy changes for Home Equity Line of Credit

Big changes in how Ottawa real estate is financed are coming.  This important information is surrounding the policy changes for Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) with TD Canada Trust.

On June 21, 2012, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced a series of changes to lending guidelines that all federally regulated financial institutions (FRFI) must adhere to as part of prudent residential mortgage underwriting. One of the key changes states that all FRFIs must ensure that revolving HELOCs are limited to a maximum loan-to-value (LTV) of 65%. Effective August 19, 2012, non-amortizing HELOCs will have a maximum LTV of 65%.

- EXISTING HELOC’s will not be affected.
- maximum lending with a HELOC is 65% LTV whether in 1st or 2nd position combined
- Re-finances must comply to the maximum lending of 65% LTV.
- Approved but not yet funded deals with LTV higher than 65% will be grandfathered.

Please note that all federally regulated Financial Institutions must comply with the new guidelines which state that a HELOC cannot exceed 65% LTV. This will not be a strictly TD policy – all other banks will be following suit.

For information on Ottawa real estate, please contact the Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage and for further clarification on the financing changes taking place, please contact Lilianne Eid at TD Canada Trust.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Centertown new condo ALERT

New to Ottawa real estate and coming in September, there will be a pre-public priority launch for a new condo building in the heart of Centertown, in the financial district of Ottawa.  This building is going to feature a national brand hotel on the lower levels and stunning condos on the top floors.  The builder is a major developer from Montreal, with experience building in Ontario. 

Launch date is likely mid-September.

These condos will be starting in the low $200s. 

For more information and to register for the event, please click here

Monday, August 13, 2012

Q the Groundbreaking

YOU’RE INVITED: Join us for a special launch event!

Q West is now 70% sold, and construction is underway! They are holding a special launch event to celebrate – this will be the last chance for buyers to save thousands with pre-construction pricing on Ottawa real estate.

You’ve always dreamed of living in that ideal neighbourhood, with everything you want just steps away. Now’s your chance to call Westboro and the extraordinary Q West community home, at limited-time-only pricing. Be sure to attend – don’t miss this opportunity!

Tuesday, August 21st
5p.m to 8p.m

To rsvp, please click here

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ottawa's both too tall and too short

Ottawa’s both too tall and too short

Intensification has seen looming condo towers sprout, but malls and parking lots still sprawl, Rhys Phillips writes. When will the city get it just right?

By Rhys Phillips
Read the full article please click here    

Interesting points in this article about Ottawa real estate being too tall (42 storeys at Preston and Carling) and too short (1 storey at Trainyards in Alta Vista).  I think the Trainyards was truly a lost opportunity.  To maximize this space, the city should have studied communities like those developed by Sembler in the Southern USA.  They focus on true work, live, play areas where they feature office space, retail, residential, rental housing, the complete gamet of opportunities.    A really neat project in the Southern USA is the Atlantic Station.  It is the total work, live and play property.  These types of properties are great examples of infill and planning.

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Condo investors have something to smile about – Canadian Real Estate Magazine

Two independent bank reports suggest condo investors’ assets will most likely retain their value and their cash flow will be supported by rental demand. Those who bought new condos and rented them once construction was complete could earn superior returns, according an analysis by Laurentian Bank. With condo rents 40% more expensive than apartment rentals of similar sizes within the Toronto CMA, condo investors should be reaping the rewards.

One economist was quoted as saying, “based on market activity to date, the total number of new housing units (condos) completed by builders has not exceeded the GTA’s demographic requirements and is unlikely to do so by any significant magnitude in the next few years.” Such an analysis counters fears that Toronto’s condos will fall in value.

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kanata Town Home Opportunity

In Kanata, there is a 1994 built town house that has been updated by the current owners, which is for sale.  The best part, the current owner is willing to stay for 5 more years at $1500 per month.  For more information on this opportunity, please contact me.

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Ottawa Facts and Figures

Changes are coming to the city of Ottawa and to Ottawa real estate.  Looking forward into the future, the city of Ottawa will be a totally different city.  The numbers are shocking when seen in print.

• Ottawa’s population projected to 1.1+ million people by 2031.

• 145,000 new homes by 2031.
• +/- 50,000 units (mostly apartments) within Greenbelt over a 25 year horizon.
• Average of 2000 new condo units required annually.
• Assuming 125 units per typical building this equals 16 new condo buildings needed per year.

Source CMHC and Fotenn Planning

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Great quote

Whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve!

Ottawa Condo Show offers buyers a chance to "kick the tires"

Chris and Linda West thought it was a splendid idea.

Retired and living in rural Oxford Mills south of Ottawa, the couple has been thinking about returning to the city. Chris said they “sort of started kicking the tires” of condo life in Ottawa, but visiting condo sites one by one was a slow process. So when they heard that Bennett Property Shop Realty was hosting a four-hour condo show spotlighting new and resale units across the city, along with workshops on legal and other condo-related matters, they dropped by.

“It’s really useful having all the information right here,” said Chris at the show, which was held July 18.

For the full article by Patrick Langston please click here

Friday, July 6, 2012

Ottawa Citizen - Condo Show

One-stop shopping for condos

By Patrick Langston, The Ottawa Citizen July 6, 2012

Small units in gleaming downtown towers. Spacious resale suites in older buildings. Townhomes and flats in the ’burbs. Ottawa’s condo market is diverse, evolving and complicated.

Real estate sales veteran Marnie Bennett hopes to remove some of the confusion from condo shopping by hosting what she’s calling Ottawa’s first-ever condo show July 18 at Bennett Property Shop Realty, Brokerage, 190 Lisgar St. Aimed at both the general public and investors, it will spotlight new and resale condos from across the city, including hip downtown and Westboro, the burgeoning area of New Edinburgh and the east and south ends. Properties will include a range of condos, not just those represented by Bennett’s team.

Builder representatives, real estate agents, lenders and others will be on hand. Prospective buyers can compare models, photographs, floor plans and finishes. Bennett has also programmed workshops on financing and interior design.

“Who has time to drive all over town looking at condos?” asks Bennett, dubbed Ottawa’s condo queen for her success in the marketplace.

She adds that Ottawans, despite the construction boom, are less familiar with condominiums than people in cities such as Toronto. She says the show will educate attendees about the ins and outs of ownership: what a condo corporation is, for example.

To register for the event, visit
—Patrick Langston
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

Friday, June 15, 2012

CHEO Casino Night

This is an amazing fundraising event on July 6th to benefit the Cheo Foundation and the Julianne Courneya Trust Fund. This cause is very important to a co-worker of mine, as some of you know, her 6 yr old godson Isaac was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer over the March break. Cheo has been a wonderful support to Isaac and his family as he continues to fight.  Please pass this email on to anyone you think will be interested. 

Event Name: Casino Royale to benefit the CHEO Foundation and the Julianne Courneya Trust Fund

Event Date: Friday, July 6th, 2012

Event Location: Brookstreet Hotel, Kanata, Ontario

Start Time: 7:00pm (Cocktail Hour), 8:00pm (Gaming Tables Open)

Tickets: $30 in advance / $35 at the door (tickets can be bought online at

Dress: Semi-Formal (Black Tie Optional)

What Your Ticket Gets You:

Entrance to the Event

$200 in play "money" (Monopoly money) to be used at the gaming tables

2 complimentary drinks (alcoholic or non)

Complimentary Hors D'Oeuvres

How the Event Works:

The Casino Royale will be hosted in the Banquet Hall of the Brookstreet Hotel. 15 gaming tables will be set up (blackjack, roulette, crown and anchor, poker, etc). Each guest will be given $200 in play money to use at these tables. At the end of the gaming period, we will then host a live auction, where you can use your "winnings" to bid on prizes that have been donated for this event.

Some of the Prizes that can be won at the Live Auction Include:

Large Flat-Screen Television


Ottawa Senators Package (Luxury Suite at a Senators home game for you and 23 friends)

Toronto Blue Jays Package (Trip to Toronto for you and 3 friends)

Home Furnishings

Sports Memorabilia

Golfing Packages

Concert Tickets
Silent Auction: Trip to the 2013 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California
The event will also include a silent auction - where you can bid on different prizes, including our Grand Prize, a trip for 2 to the 2013 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California next February. This package includes:

Round Trip Airfare from Ottawa to Los Angeles

3 night hotel stay at the Beverly Hills Hyatt

2 tickets to the 2013 Grammy Awards

2 passes to the Official Grammy Awards After Party

100% of the proceeds from this event will be going directly to the Julianne Courneya Trust Fund and the CHEO Foundation -- for more information on the event beneficiaries, please see attached package, or go to

June 19th - Pre-Construction Launch

There is a new condominium building being launched featuring wide and shallow units starting from the mid $250k.  This building will be built near the Experimental Farm, in a high growth corridor. 

BBB Architects have designed the "next evolution in condo development".   Completion timelines are in 3 years with deposits being 15% held in trust until final closing.

This development is the next intergration of commercial and residential living, located in a master planned community set to house over 1,000 condos, high end shopping and dining.

As per CMHC and Fotenn Planning, Ottawa will require approximately 50,000 new condominium residences over the coming 20 years to meet the demand of the population and with a current vacancy rate of less than 2%, the market remains strong. 

To register for the priority, pre-public opening on June 19th, please rsvp to Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Monday, May 28, 2012

Baby boomer data will highlight upcoming policy challenges

The next set of data from the 2011 census shouldn't hold many surprises for anyone in Canada — but it no doubt will.

On Tuesday, Canadians will discover how old their society has grown. It will be apparent in black and white how fast the baby boomers are entering their golden years, and how quickly the population of seniors is overtaking the number of youngsters.

It's the second tranche in a series from Statistics Canada's 2011 census, a full count of the Canadian population done every five years.

Experts say they expect to see evidence that the number of people in Canada over the age of 65 will soon outnumber those under the age of 15 — the result of a surging senior population and a steady decline in the ranks of children.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Annual increases

Housing Price in Ottawa have increased over the past 10 years from $200,000.00 to $343,284.00. This is an average of 7% per year!!

Rental income In Ottawa has increased over the past 10 years from $932.00 per month to $1,161.00 per month. This is an 8% increase in rental income as well!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Top 25 USA turn around towns

Seven housing markets hit hardest by foreclosures – all from Florida – are leading the nation towards a general housing recovery, while unexpected new comers in Michigan, Texas, Iowa and California are showing signs of strength and stability, according to the Top Turnaround Town Report released today by, the #1 homes-for-sale site operated by Move, Inc., (NASDAQ: MOVE), the leader in online real estate.

The list of 25 Top Turnaround Towns, developed using year-over-year comparative data from the first quarters of 2012 and 2011, is led by Phoenix-Mesa, AZ, Miami, FL and Orlando, FL – three top foreclosure markets experiencing list price appreciation, along with reductions in inventories and their median age of inventory, all on a year-over-year quarterly basis. Other call out markets include Boise City, ID (4), which has been on the rise steadily since its debut at No. eight in the third quarter of 2011, and Naples, FL, which rose one spot from sixth to fifth in one quarter.

Noteworthy newcomers include Bay Area frontrunners Oakland, CA (6) and San Jose, CA (24), heating up as the nation watches the local hi-tech industry and upcoming Facebook IPO, and the Lone Star State markets of Dallas, TX (12) and Forth Worth-Arlington, TX (18). While Detroit, MI continues its struggle with high unemployment (10.2%), it landed in the 23rd position on the list with a 5.82% increase in list price appreciation, a -29.59% reduction of for sale inventory, and a market that’s moving 27.27% faster, all on a year-over-year quarterly basis.

“We continue to see signs of stabilization and recovery on the local level throughout the country, basing analysis on the real-time nature and accuracy of the data,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of operator, Move, Inc. “By all indications, the 2012 housing market is unfolding as we expected, and we’re encouraged with the progress local markets are making. However, much will depend on the continued health of our economy, specifically job rates, and how lenders will release their foreclosure inventories now that the 49 state AG Agreement has been signed. All of these key factors will determine how quickly our local housing markets recover and remain healthy.”

Read more: Names Top Turnaround Towns – May 2012 (DATA)® Blogs

Phoenix tops list of 10 turnaround markets

Editor's note:'s "Top Turnaround Towns" list is compiled using an algorithm that considers year-over-year median price appreciation, drop in year-over-year age of inventory, reduction of inventory levels compared to a year ago and year-over-year changes in unemployment rate. All data, unless otherwise indicated, reflect analysis on a quarterly basis.

It's sunny and international in's "Top Turnaround Towns" for the first quarter of 2012. Seven of the top 10 metros on the list are found in Florida. Seven also made the cut in a recent Inman News analysis of public records that identified the top 10 U.S. hot spots for global buyers.

Miami, Orlando and Naples -- No. 2, No. 3 and No. 5, respectively, on the turnaround list -- all ranked in the top 10 on the Inman News list of hot markets for global investors. Orlando, despite having lower and fresher inventory than a year ago, might be in the most precarious position of the three, having experienced 9,330 foreclosure filings (one for every 101 homes) in the first quarter.

Regardless, the fact that Phoenix and parts of Florida hit especially hard by the downturn are beginning to perform well lends an optimistic tone to the springtime buying season.

"By all indications, the 2012 housing market is unfolding as we expected, and we're encouraged with the progress local markets are making," said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of operator Move Inc.

The Miami area is especially hot, even though it lost its No. 1 ranking on the list this quarter to the Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz., metro. In March 2012, according to the Miami Association of Realtors, 65 percent of all home sales in Miami-Dade County were all-cash, and for-sale inventory dropped 48 percent from last year's first quarter. Median list prices saw a year-over-year jump of 24 percent.

The fast-rising Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz., metro continues its remarkable turnaround as No. 1 on the list, up from No.4 in the third quarter of 2011 and No. 2 in the fourth quarter of 2011. Just two years ago, in 2010, it topped the nation's metros with 55,732 bank repossessions in that year.

A substantial reduction in year-over-year for-sale inventory (48 percent), a sharp year-over-year drop in median age of inventory (33 percent) and the largest year-over-year median list price increase (27 percent) of any of the 146 metros tracks for the report landed the Phoenix-Mesa metro in the No. 1 spot. It also has a very good relative unemployment rate at 7.8 percent (February 2012).

Oakland, Calif., makes a surprise appearance on the list at No. 6, thanks to brisk home sales compared to a year ago (46 percent faster) and a steep year-over-year drop (48 percent) in for-sale inventory. From March 2011 to March 2012, the feisty, restaurant-rich Bay Area city had the largest drop (52 percent) of for-sale inventory in any of the 146 metros tracks for its top turnaround markets report.

With a low foreclosure rate in its county (one in every 519 homes) and a relatively strong unemployment rate (8.7 percent), the Boise, Idaho, metro continued its steady climb on the top turnaround towns list to No. 4. The Potato State capital had a year-over-year 37 percent drop in for-sale inventory and a near chart-topping 17 percent year-over-year increase in median list price on for-sale homes.

See's full 25 metro "Top Turnaround Towns" report here.


Calculating ROI

Some buyers/investors may think ROI is too basic a topic and not worth mentioning but for those new to real estate investing understanding ROI and how to calculate it is very important in determining if a property is a sound investment. When purchasing a rent and hold property, the rule of thumb in calculating the ROI is to look at the average income over a 2-3 year period. What is a good ROI on a real estate investment? Well that is a personal question and in a large part has to do with the opportunity cost of that investment for an individual investor. In other words "what else could you do with your money?" Considering that you would probably be lucky to get 1% on your money in a savings account or possibly 2% on a CD it does not take much to consider other alternatives. Lets look at a typical ROI calculation for an Arizona residential property. We want to give you a basic and easy formula to follow which can help considerably when purchasing a property to formulate a return on investment.

Ok here's the scenario:

Home purchase price = $95,000

Annual operating expenses = $5030

(Including: vacancies, Hoa, management fees, property taxes, and repairs/maintenance)

Estimated Rental income = $16,800 ($1,400 monthly)

When you subtract the operating expenses ($5030) from the annual rental income ($16,800) you get a net annual income of $11,770

As a formulation:

$11,770/$95,000 = 12% ROI

This property is a typical example of a property in the current Arizona market place.

Another key factor that can and should be used in determining the ROI is the potential equity that may be earned on the property. In the long run equity is just as important as the cash flow a property is generating on a monthly basis. If you were to add a modest 5% annual appreciation to the above example your total return on investment would be close to 17%. Of course the length of time you hold the property and the closing costs to sell the property would need to be factored in but where else can you expect these kinds of returns now?

Property values in Arizona are still low, but are now rebounding upward nicely. Arizona was number 3 in foreclosures six months ago but is now ranked 33 in the nation. Big Change! This tells us that bank inventory is not still flooding the market, and values are rising. SMART has all the rental and property value data needed to calculate ROI within our state of the art system.

Our SMART investors are currently taking advantage of our auction properties and reaping the cash rewards. There are 200 to 300 properties scheduled for auction each day in just the Phoenix area. we have the inventory available and the knowledge needed to assist buyers in buying very nice homes at great prices. When purchasing investment properties, it is important to get upstream and away from the competition! Let us show you how to buy before the property is foreclosed on and goes back to the bank. The time is now to sign up and start making a great return on Arizona real estate! Cash flow is easy in this market! We can show you how.


Luke Gross


Monday, April 16, 2012

Interview - The Children's and Teens' Book Connection

I was recently interviewed by The Children's and Teens' Book Connection. It was a very cool experience doing my first interview as a published author. Check it out here

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Real Estate TV

Check out the Bennett Property Shop Realty real estate tv on the web hosted by Youtube.  There are lots of great videos here to view that cover properties for sale, investment in real estate and a condo iq series, showing you how to increase your knowledge of condos before you purchase

Click here to check it out

Find out about exciting new infill homes including

66 Stonehurst
359 Wilmont

Check out a dream manor home - Old Virginia Manor

The Wellington at Island Park

Want to live in Wellington West neighbourhood?  The Ottawa restaurant and theatre district.  Check out this boutique building in the happening Wellington West community - click here

Both 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom suites available

Domus Lofts in Ottawa

Check out this great video featuring the hot new loft condos located in the heart of the Byward Market above Domus Restaurant - click here

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bennett Exclusive - Yves Condo 4-plex

Opportunity to own four unit building in rapidly expanding Rockland, Ontario.  This property is only 4 years old.  Each unit is a two bedroom, one bathroom with a gas fireplace.  These units have individual title, meaning in the future you can sell them as individual units or as a complete building.  Check out the numbers below and contact me for your personal viewing.

Purchase Price $699,000.00

Down Payment $174,750.00
Financed Amount $524,250.00

Monthly Expenses:
Mortgage Payment $2,028.85
Condo (snow/lawn) $100.00
Water $75.00
Insurance (approx) $175.00
Taxes (estimate) $750.00
Total Monthly Expense $3,128.85

Rent $3,925.00

Monthly Cash Flow $796.15

Approx Return Summary
annual cash flow $95,538.30
principal reduction $133,698.54
capital appreciation (2.5% growth) $195,779.10


*** based upon 2.35%, 30 year mortgage

Exclusive to Bennett Property Shop Realty - Domus Lofts

Check out some hot new Ottawa real estate, located above Domus Restaurant, at 85 Murray St in Byward Market (corner of Parent and Murray) are 22 condo rental conversion apartment units.  These units are being totally renovated and revitalized into urban hip condos.  Rental rates have been estimated by a professional property management firm and have the one bedroom units at $1300 per month and the two bedrooms at $2000 monthly. 
The model units will be finished this week and private viewings can be arranged through myself.  Please let me know a time you are free and we can see the super cool urban loft condos.

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

One Bedrooms

no parking

Purchase Price $229,000.00
deposit $57,250.00
mortgage $171,750.00
Closing costs $4,580.00

rental income $1,300.00
mortgage $704.18
taxes $244.27
Condo $195.61
Cash flow $155.95

Return (7 years later)
Cash flow $13,099.80
mortgage reduction $28,363.07
value increase (3% annual) $52,641.12
total anticipated return $ 94,103.99

*** 2.79% interest, 3 year fixed, 30 year term
***rents based upon projection by property manager

Otto and the Hunt for Mal Goue on Amazon

Today is an exciting day, my first novel, Otto and the Hunt for Mal Goue, has debuted on Amazon, the largest online book retailer in the world.  Please check out the link below and buy your own copy online with Amazon -

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My first novel - E-Published

Otto and the Hunt for Mal Goue

You’re commanding a tall ship on the ocean, with the greatest naval captain in the fleet hot on your tail. He has a bigger ship, which is faster, with more guns and a seasoned pirate crew. They’re closing fast! He has been sailing the high seas for over thirty years, more than twice your age, your men are staring at you, waiting for you to tell them what to do next. What do you do?

This is but one of the dilemmas facing young Otto DeGraff in Otto and the Hunt for Mal Goue, the story of a young boy from humble beginnings, who escapes an arranged marriage, becomes a stowaway on a battleship and unknowingly stumbles into the biggest act of treason in the history of the Dutch East India Company. The novel is set during the grand era of the high seas, at the height of the Dutch East India Company, when tall ships sailed the ocean, men made their living on the high seas and pirates terrified even the bravest of souls.

Otto faces insurmountable obstacles in his quest to find Mal Goue, the mythical artifact that turns dirt into gold and will ultimately save his family. Along the way Otto has to use his cunning, strength and nerve to overcome the cast of scoundrels including Mr. Landseer, the corrupt magistrate, the Pirate King and the treasonous Captain Vanderzee. In the exciting climax, Otto has to face his fears and his toughest adversary in a stunning sword dual to save his life and the lives of his crew.

To order the book -

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Housing market is blooming again

Phoenix, Arizona (CNN) -- Want a sign of economic hope? Look to a place where the housing collapse began: Phoenix, Arizona.  "We're talking about (home) prices being 3 to 4% higher than last year, which most people don't believe because they're used to bad news," said Mike Orr, director of Arizona State University's Center of Real Estate Theory and Practice.

Orr's new report on the Phoenix market shows a direct reverse of the situation that sparked a massive housing bubble. Monthly foreclosure starts have fallen 49% since a year ago. Home sales are up 8%. The result? What had been a market with far more housing supply than demand has now become a place where buyers have to act fast and beat out heavy competition.
Read the rest of the article, click here

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Helping Cristina"

I received the following email from a client of mine.  I thought I would pass it along to everyone. 

this link will take you to a web page “Helping cristina” you may have read or heard about the issues she is facing. She is the daughter of a good friend of mine, and the father asked if I can pass the info to as many people as possible to raise awareness and possibly get her a bone marrow match and get her off the intravenous feeding tube and extend her life.

Please pass this on to as many contacts possible. THANK YOU
Click here to learn how to help

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Some interesting data

2012 predictions and interesting facts from Trapeze Capital

USA and Canada will see accelerating growth this year, so will China, India and Latin America
Worldwide household wealth has doubled since 2000
USA GDP forecasts a 3% growth
US Housing has reached bottom, inventories are down 16% from two years ago
USA housing starts 1/4 of previous highs
US homebuilders confidence highest in 4.5 years
Auto sales are up, 2012 expected to be best year since 2007
Railroad freights are surging, a good barometer of recovery
In December 2011, US consumer confidence hit an 8 month high
US jobless claims hit a 4 year low
in 2011, the US economy added 1.6 million jobs
unemployment in USA down to 8.3% (Canada at 7.5%)

More jobs leads to more need for housing and automobiles, which leads to more jobs, which leads to more ....

Think you are picking up the pattern here

Investing in USA real estate

My wife and I were new to real estate investing when we met with Greg. The team of people that he put us in contact with made us feel comfortable and confident that we made the right decision. Starting with the amazing service from Annelies and Julie to the renovation company we hired, everyone was very responsive to us and understood our investment goals.

Tim's team in Phoenix is outstanding. They have answered countless questions from us and worked very closely with us on our first property which had 8 offers in the first 24 hours on the market. Their website is very simple to use. The feature we use the most is the hotlist of properties that they hand pick as some of the best deals for their clients. We have purchased 3 properties in the past 4 months. We are looking forward to our 4th purchase in early 2012.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Westboro Condos ... update

At QWest they are offering a current promotion of 5% deposit!
Condo Fees are only $0.28/sq ft. 
Just released our remaining terrace suites and 9th floor penthouses in Phase 3.

111 West just had a price increase of 7% (totaling between $18,000 and $27,000).  

According to the sales staff, Q West will be having a price increase shortly in all 3 phases.

101 Richmond re-sale and rental rates:
1 bedrooms renting from $1450-$1650/month
2 bedrooms renting from $2000-$2400/month

Equity growth based on re-sale has been:
$40,000-$60,000 for a 1 bedroom
$60,000-$80,000 for a 2 bedroom.

Warren Buffett's thoughts on USA housing

An exerpt from their annual reporting, Berkshire Hathaway remains optimistic on USA housing, although the recovery is slower than he imagined.  The interesting thing, is in December and January we are starting to see real signs of recovery.  I still think 2013 will be the year when the turn is in full swing as the bad financing policy (subprime lending policy) will be washed through the system.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Saturday that he was “dead wrong” with a prediction that the U.S. housing market would begin to recover by now, but he remains optimistic about the nation’s economy.

In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Mr. Buffett said he is sure housing will recover eventually and help bring down the nation’s unemployment rate. But he did not predict when that will happen.

Mr. Buffett said housing “remains in a depression of its own,” but he predicted, in typical plain-spoken style, that the housing market will come back because some human factors can’t be denied forever.

“People may postpone hitching up during uncertain times, but eventually hormones take over,” he wrote. “And while ‘doubling-up’ may be the initial reaction of some during a recession, living with in-laws can quickly lose its allure.”

Full article available here

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ASU: Phoenix housing market showing signs of recovery

The housing market in the Phoenix metro area is showing signs of improvement, according to a study released today by the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University Arizona State University Latest from The Business Journals ASU sells Sundome for MClosure of Navajo Generating Station could cost Arizona BOHSU's Allan Price dies suddenly Follow this company .

“Single family home prices overall in the Phoenix area have been moving up since they reached a low point in September,” said Michael Orr, the author of the report and the director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice.

According to the data, the median sales price of a single family home is up 6.5 percent in January compared with January 2011. That number is $120,500 as compared with $113,166 a year ago.

From an average price standpoint, the increase is 1.7 percent. That number is $163,813 as compared with $161,012 a year ago. The price per square foot has increased 2.9 percent. That number is $82.62 per square foot as compared with $80.27 a year ago.

New home sales are up 49 percent in January from January 2011. That number is 496 as compared with 333 a year ago. New sales were concentrated in Gilbert with 130 sales, followed by Phoenix with 50, Chandler with 49 and Goodyear with 43.

Orr said there’s no longer an oversupply of homes for sale in prices less than $300,000. Investors, Orr said, have purchased most of the glut of homes in the low to moderate price ranges.

“Many people think there is a glut of homes the banks are hiding somewhere, and that may be the case in other markets, but not here in the Phoenix area,” Orr said. “We’ve gone through so many foreclosures that the system has been working itself out for about five years.”
In all there were about 8,000 home sales in the Phoenix metro area in January as compared with less than 7,500 a year earlier. The peak buying season begins in February, so further improvements are expected.
“Buyers from Canada, New Zealand and Australia, in particular, are taking advantage of the exchange rates to purchase investment and vacation homes,” Orr said.

Click here

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Disney Vacation Homes

I spent a day in Orlando in a vacation home in Davenport, Florida.  I became fascinated in these properties as I have a few clients looking at this as an investment.  It shocked me, when I arrived off the plane and saw the advertisement that stated "1 in 3 Canadians who visit Orlando stay in a vacation home."

Vacation homes are bigger houses, usually with two master bedrooms, built to accomodate multiple families.  They are located in gated communities with security, that are zoned short term rental.  These houses usually feature backyard pools, attractive parks, clubhouses, etc  

Disney itself is located in Orange County (in Florida, not California).  There are three other counties that intersect in a cross in this area.  Orange County is zoned for hotels.  This area is really highly developed and totally encompassing the Disney brand.  The surrounding counties could not make money trying to sell hotels, so they changed their zoning to short term vacation home rentals.

I met an agent and a property manager.  They both commented that the market has been on a down slope since 2008, but is starting to rebound.  They mentioned a realistic number of weeks for rental yearly would be 30 to 35, with 8 to 10 of these weeks coming from your own friends and families renting.  For most houses the nightly rental rate is between $150 and $200.

The costs are hard to get a handle on, but I have heard $150 per month on costs and a "healthy" percentage on tenant finding fees.  The people I spoke to said you needed a minimum of 35 weeks annually to make some money.

Click here for a forum discussing Orlando vacation homes 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Home Smarts - Buying a New Home

Check out the newest edition of Home Smarts, written by Marnie Bennett, entitled "An Emotional Guide"

Making their mark

It goes without saying that Ottawa’s leading real estate agents know how to sell property. It naturally follows that they also know how to sell themselves. Witness recent activity by Marnie Bennett, Paul Rushforth and Marilyn Wilson.

Bennett, dubbed Ottawa’s condo queen, has announced that she’s striking out on her own. A member of the Keller Williams family since 2007 and in real estate for more than 30 years, Bennett felt the time was right to set up her own boutique shop.

“You get to a point that you become – the production’s there, you have your own marketing, your own brand and people buy the agent,” she said Wednesday. “It’s part of our succession plan – all my family works for us – and we want to be boutique; we want to keep the personal touch.”

With 23 agents and about 40 staff all-together, Bennett says “as a team I was larger than most brokerages in Ontario.” Her team had more than 790 sales last year. “That’s a lot of sales,” she says, adding that 81 per cent of realtors in Ottawa sell five homes or less in a year.

Bennett Property Shop Realty will move in mid-April to a renovated heritage house at 190 Lisgar St., about a block and a half away from her current office.

Rushforth, who’s made a name for himself on radio and the W Network’s All For Nothing, has already made a similar move, opening the boutique firm Paul Rushforth Real Estate Inc. in Orleans. He had also been a part of the Keller Williams family.

More recently, Rushforth co-authored a book released in December called Answers from Experts on Buying a Home. It includes advice and little-known secrets from 18 top-selling real estate brokers across North America. The free book is available at

Wilson, meanwhile, added a feather in her cap last year, becoming one of just a handful of Canadian agents and the only one in Ottawa to be affiliated with the prestigious Christie’s International Real Estate, which is the real estate branch of London-based Christie’s art auction house.

The company markets upscale properties to people who have the money to buy fine art and the million-dollar-plus properties listed with Wilson’s company, Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc., are now displayed on the Christie’s International Real Estate website,

Click here to view article

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Long term expected returns

CBC News has reported the long term returns from the stock market should be between 4.75% and 5% over the next 15 to 20 years, in stark contrast to the typical 8% that is often predicted.  Click here for the article

It is really hard to predict where long term stock market returns will go.  There is a lot of debt in the USA markets now.  Gold is continually pusing new highs.  Long term mortgage rates are diving lower and lower (10 year ING mortgages at 3.99%).  Greece is flirting with default.

It is a difficult time to predict what is going happen longer term, especially with securities that are effected by the public's sentiment.  Equity mortgages are a viable option today for registered investments.  Having a secured product will protect your principle.

Remember the two rules of investing, according to Warren Buffett
Rule #1 - Never lose the principle
Rule #2 - Always follow rule number 1

Friday, January 27, 2012


Hello Everyone,

Terrific news!

We are so happy to announce the opening of our new brokerage …


The new brokerage will be a boutique brokerage offering a high level of service, evidenced by the prestigious Better Business Bureau Torch Award.  I look forward to continuing to offer the highest in customer service and real estate knowledge.  Marnie Bennett will continue in her role as Team Leader.

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pre-construction condo opportunity

Pre-construction condo opportunity available now.  Only 10 opportunities.

- 2% off the purchase price.


- 5% upon waiver of conditions
- 5% on january 1st. 2013
- 5% on march 1st 2013 (total of 15%, spread over 14 months, instead of standard 90 days)

Upon Occupancy 
- Additional 10% deposit
- rent your place during interim occupancy

- Free property management for 1 year

Services included
- find the tenant
- qualify tenants
- collect all rental cheques
- deal with day to day tenant issues
- answer any questions and resolve problems.

For Ottawa real estate be sure to contact Bennett Property Shop Realty Brokerage

Hot new paint colours for 2012

Check out the hot new paint colours for 2012

Rock-bottom vacancy rates creates a lucrative market for condo investors

Looking to rent an apartment in Ottawa? Maybe you should move into a condo — a rental one, that is.

The continuing dearth of apartment building construction here combined with the rabbit-like proliferation of condos means a new kind of landlord has emerged: the individual investor who buys one, two or more condo units and rents them out. The idea is not so much to get rich on the rent — it sometimes barely covers the mortgage, tax and other expenses — but to use the rental income to cover those costs while acquiring a potentially valuable asset in the process.

Some say investor landlords could spell trouble for tenants, while others caution that becoming a landlord isn’t as easy as it appears. We’ll get to those issues in a minute.

Just 101 rental apartments, also known as purpose-built apartments, were started in Ottawa in 2011, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. That followed several years of minimal construction. At present there’s just one apartment building application before the City of Ottawa’s planning department.

Ottawa’s “last big year for (apartment) construction was 2002,” says Sandra Pérez Torres, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Ottawa. “Even if builders started (planning) apartments now, we wouldn’t see anything for at least a couple of years.” She pins the paucity of construction on skyrocketing land and development costs.

In a city where one-third of residents were renters, according to the 2006 census, that means a vacancy rate of just 1.4 per cent as of October 2011, according to CMHC’s latest Rental Market Report. That rate is down from 1.6 per cent the previous year and means only five Canadian cities had a tighter vacancy rate than Ottawa.

Even so, average vacancy rates fell across 34 other Canadian cities as well last year, to 2.2 per cent in October compared to 2.6 per cent a year earlier.

In Ottawa, says the agency, increases in the cost of buying a home, modest job and income gains and continued inflow of new residents to the city have strengthened rental demand. It predicts vacancy rates will fall to 1.2 per cent in 2012, the tightest it’s been since 2001.

Little incentive
“It’s just too expensive to build (apartments),” says Terry Nichols, vice-president of finance at Urbandale Construction. Like others, he blames development and land costs. “You have to ask, ‘Where can I get the best return?’ ” The company has more than 1,500 rental units in Ottawa, though most are 30 to 40 years old — in keeping with the rest of the city’s aging apartment stock — and therefore subject to provincial rent control regulations that govern rentals including condos in buildings constructed or first occupied before Nov. 1, 1991. Controls, not popular with property owners, kept annual increases to an average of 1.89 per cent from 2004 to 2011, although this year that jumps to 3.1 per cent.

Nichols says Urbandale has looked into building more apartments and even has a couple of properties in mind, but can’t justify it at present.

Condo construction, while slowing down last year along with Ottawa’s overall decline in house building, has boomed relative to rental apartment construction and is playing an increasing role in filling the apartment shortfall.

Of the 1,473 apartment starts last year, 1,372 were condo units. Some area developers report that as much 30 to 40 per cent of condo buyers are investors, although CMHC says it’s closer to 19 per cent. CMHC, meanwhile, says the number of investor-owned condo units has surged to 5,000 from 3,400 in the past six years. That’s just under eight per cent of Ottawa’s total rental apartment units.

Investor Monique Lalonde and her husband, Paul, rent out several condo units in Ottawa. A full-time accountant, she says it’s not a “high cash-flow thing” and that they are more focused on the appreciating value of their units than on whether the rental income is hugely profitable. In partnership with a couple of other family members, for example, they are renting out a 563-square-foot unit in Ashcroft’s new 101 Richmond Road building in Westboro.

“We’re making maybe $50 or $75 a month right now. Even if we just break even, it’s OK because our equity has already increased by about $40,000,” says Lalonde.

Traditional landlords can’t operate like that, says Roger Greenberg, chief executive officer of Minto. The company is Ottawa’s largest residential landlord, with just under 10,000 units in its portfolio. It, too, is holding off on building more apartment blocks. “A purpose-built landlord can’t afford to not make a profit for years,” he says.

It’s a situation echoed or magnified in other major centres across the country, according to CMHC. In Vancouver, for example, more than half of renters live in “secondary” dwellings, including investor-owned condo units, townhomes and others, and a little over 25 per cent of condo units are rented out.
In Toronto, where the vacancy rate is the same as Ottawa’s, 22 per cent of condos are rented out.
Not that no new apartment units are going up.
Montreal-based Groupe Lepine has constructed more than 900 rental units in Ottawa since 1997. They include the swanky, just-opened Kanata Lakes Apartments. The 146-unit site includes a club house, indoor salt water swimming pool and fully equipped gym. It’s one of four buildings planned for the area, which will eventually house 740 rental units.
Patience pays
“It’s what we do,” says company president Francis Lepine when asked why he’s building apartments when others aren’t. Unlike the fast turnaround in the condo market, where deposits and down payments mean ready cash, in the apartment business “you have to be patient.”
Rents at Kanata Lakes start at $1,285 for a 650-square-foot unit including utilities except hydro. A two-bedroom unit goes for $2,200, about double the average price of a similar-sized unit elsewhere in Ottawa, according to CMHC.
Lepine explains that builders can’t afford to put up low-end apartment projects and expect to make a profit, saying government-based charges from taxes to development fees amount to 20 per cent of total construction costs.
That worries City of Ottawa planner Stan Wilder. “We need a lot more affordable units,” he says. “I’m worried all rental (properties) will be higher-end products.”

A recent City of Ottawa staff report says more than 10,000 households are on the waiting list for subsidized housing. The report also states that family stays in emergency shelters have increased to an average of 72 nights in 2010 from 46 in 2007.

Phoenix Homes, meanwhile, is also planning an apartment building in Chinatown, although the company is battling with the city on height restrictions. Known mostly as a land developer and builder of singles, townhomes and condos, the company is looking at apartments to diversify its portfolio with a product that yields continuing long-term cash flow as opposed to the faster, one-time profits of other construction projects, says vice-president Rahul Kochar.

Interestingly, Brian Card, president of the real estate research firm CRG Consulting, says existing rental properties, which are relatively inexpensive to buy compared to building new, are among the hottest acquisition items for both developers and pension fund managers. A tight rental market practically guarantees that the units won’t sit empty, even if some upgrading is required upon acquisition.

With all this happening, what’s the scoop on becoming a tenant in a condo unit as opposed to renting a purpose-built apartment?

Well, it won’t cost you a lot more for a condo, according to CMHC. In 2011, a two-bedroom condo in Ottawa rented for an average of $1,235, compared to an apartment at $1,086.

For the extra money, you’ll likely get a new condo unit with all the trimmings, including an open-concept design, up-to-the-minute kitchen and amenities like a fitness room and maybe a rooftop terrace with a barbecue. Many of Ottawa’s condos are being built in the popular downtown, Westboro and Little Italy areas with good access to public transit, restaurants, bike paths and more.

Older apartment units can have trouble competing with all that. In fact, CMHC even reports a decline in the rental of townhomes, semi-detached and singles in favour of condos.
Not a threat
Still, says Greenberg, condo rentals aren’t a threat to traditional landlords. “They’re needed in the marketplace as cities like Toronto and Ottawa grow. If landlords like Minto aren’t building, where are these people going to live?”

But he cautions that investor landlords need to remember that there are tenants from hell who will fall behind in their rent, damage the unit or pull a midnight skip.

Tenants, he says, should do their homework before renting a condo. How much experience does your landlord have with the rental world? Does he or she live in Ottawa, and how accessible is the landlord if you have problems?

“Sign a lease,” he urges. It’s for your mutual protection.

Paramount Properties, an Ottawa apartment rental company, suggests prospective tenants also inquire about condominium regulations and other matters before signing on (see

And if you think the condo investor model is just a contemporary spin on the traditional small-holding landlord who knew you by your first name, Wilder cautions, “In the old days, the mum-and-pop landlord watched their little building like a hawk. An investor might leave the whole thing up to a property management company.”

Condo tenants, however, are protected like any other tenant under Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act and in case of disputes have access to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

The above holds true whether the tenant has signed a lease or just has a verbal agreement with the landlord.

In addition, Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing representative May Nazar says in an email, “under the RTA, landlords who enter into verbal rental agreements with tenants are required to provide tenants with written notice of the landlord’s legal name and address within 21 days from the start of the tenancy.”

While condo landlords may have the best interests of their tenants at heart, a changing marketplace could have a negative impact on both parties.

Card says that condos make a “nice little investment” that should pay off in the long run, but that a likely slowdown in resale value this year means the skyrocketing growth in equity that owners have enjoyed to date will moderate. That could leave landlords who planned to sell at a fat profit and use the money to finance other commitments with less cash than they anticipated. That, or even a jump in interest rates, could force investors to sell properties, leaving tenants unexpectedly looking for new digs at the end of their lease or facing hefty rent increases if the building is not subject to rent control.

Industry insiders like Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association executive director John Herbert have also worried about the potential for overbuilding in the condo market and a resulting price correction. His concern was underscored by chief executives from the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Montreal at a recent banking conference. Although their concerns focused on the Vancouver and Toronto markets, Ottawa’s love affair with condos could put us in a similar situation where condo landlords suddenly have a lot less cash — or credit — than they thought.

Large landlords can also get snared in financial sand traps, but they tend to have much deeper pockets and a more sophisticated knowledge of the rental business than small landlords.

No one has a crystal ball, of course, and the market could go up, down or sideways. But however it plays out in the long run, we should expect to see even more, not fewer, condos for rent in Ottawa in the coming years.
By Patrick LangstonJanuary 20, 2012 10:50 AM
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