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.

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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