Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Great job numbers in 2014 in USA

Job gains were stronger than expected in January and point to an economy that is gaining momentum, as the U.S. economy added 257,000 jobs to start the year (on a seasonally adjusted basis), according to initial estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 
That figure exceeded the consensus forecast of 234,000 jobs, as monthly gains topped 200,000 jobs added for the 12th straight month. Gains topped 249,000 jobs in seven of the past 10 months.

The BLS revised its November and December employment gains upward -- from 353,000 jobs to 423,000 in November and 252,000 jobs to 329,000 in December, for a net gain of 147,000 jobs. Annual benchmark revisions as well as seasonal factor updates and population re-estimates account for most of the large revisions to previous data.

Job gains averaged 267,000 per month for the 12 months ending January 2015, according to the BLS' Current Employment Survey (also known as the payroll survey). Monthly job gains averaged 196,000 during the same period one year ago, 36.2% less than the current average. The economy added 3.207 million nonfarm jobs in the trailing 12 months ending in January 2015, compared to 2.349 million jobs added from January 2013-January 2014. Annual job growth was 2.3% in January, compared to 1.7% in January 2014.


Friday, February 20, 2015

truly amazing and knowledgable

My first contact with Greg was when we acquired our third property (condo) at the event that held by Bennett real estate group. I knew from that first conversation, that I had found the right realtor. He made sure to provide us with all the answers to all of the questions that we had that evening and took his time to get to know us a bit better. From the beginning, I didn't feel like he was just our realtor, I honestly felt, and still feel, like he is our family friend. Any time I have a question related to the real estate I would email Greg and he would get back to me within 24 hours. 

During our journey in finding our forth investment property we had so many bumps in the road and when things began to look grim and like we may not be able to have the triplex we wanted, Greg went above and beyond the call of duty. In the end, all of his hard work, patience and dedication payed off and we are now in process of closing this deal that we so wanted. 

I can't say enough about how truly amazing and knowledgable of a realtor Greg is. He is such a kind soul and a true gem! 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

HGTV Canada is looking for house flippers!

Do you love flipping houses? Do you have expertise in both real estate and practical renovation? A major Canadian network is looking for an articulate, funny, and experienced couple that are FULL TIME flippers to host a new real estate renovation series.

The ideal couple they are looking for is Canadian and between the ages of 30 to 45, with a good relationship dynamic. They don't take a huge amount of time on big projects; they are all flipping a house quickly. This ideal couple should flip multiple houses a year, and not on a casual basis.

If you are or know of a couple who fits this description, HGTV wants to hear from you!  

How to apply:

Send a photo of the couple, a quick bio (one paragraph max), and up to four photos of examples of their work. They also need a video of the couple including an introduction; why they flip houses for a living; and if they could give one tip to others who want to get into flipping, what would it be? This doesn't need to be a fancy video; a smart phone or computer recording is good. The video should be no longer than one minute, and be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo.  Note: Vimeo can have a password, don't forget to share this.

Email: yourtvcasting@gmail.com
Subject: Full Time Flippers
Deadline: February 19th, 2015 @ 8 p.m.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ottawa Home Design award winners - 2014

Close to 50 trophies were given out Saturday night at the 31st annual Housing Design Awards, which celebrates design excellence in Ottawa’s housing industry. Here are the winners.
Production homes, attached, 1,800 sq. ft. or less
Richcraft Homes
Production homes, attached, 1,801 sq. ft. or more
Urbandale Construction
Production homes, single detached, 2,000 sq. ft. or less
Greenmark Builders Inc.
Production homes, single detached, 2,001 to 2,599 sq. ft., $500,000 and under
Richcraft Homes
Production homes, single detached, 2,001 to 2,599 sq. ft., $500,001 and over
Cedarstone Homes Limited
Production homes, single detached, 2,600 to 3,499 sq. ft., $750,000 and under
Uniform Urban Developments, Barry J. Hobin & Assoc. Architects, 2H Interior Design
Production homes, single detached, 2,600 to 3,499 sq. ft., $750,001 and over
Cardel Homes
Custom home, 2,400 sq. ft. or less
Christopher Simmonds Architect, Maple Leaf Custom Homes
Custom home, 4,000 sq. ft. or more
Terra Nova Building Corp.
Custom urban infill, 2,400 sq. ft. or less
Flynn Architect Inc.
Custom urban infill, 2,401 to 3,099 sq. ft.
Roca Homes, Barry J. Hobin & Assoc. Architects
Custom urban infill, 3,100 to 4,499 sq. ft.
Design First Interiors
Custom urban infill, multi-unit
Art House Developments
Low-rise housing development of the year
Legacy Homes
Condominium unit
Claridge Homes
Custom condominium unit
Urban Keios Design Inc., Barry J. Hobin & Assoc. Architects
Renovation, under $60,000
Capital Cellars
Renovation, $60,000 to $99,999
Linebox Studio Inc., The Lake Partnership Inc.
Renovation, $100,000 to $199,999
Gordon Weima Design Builder
Renovation, $200,000 to $349,999
Christopher Simmonds Architect
Renovation, $350,000 to $499,999
Christopher Simmonds Architect
Renovation, $500,000 to $749,999
Amsted Design-Build, Chuck Mills Residential Design & Development
Basement Renovation, $74,999 and under
Just Basements
Production kitchen, 129 sq. ft. or less
Deslaurier Custom Cabinets
Production kitchen, 130 sq. ft. or more
Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, Cardel Homes
Production bathroom
Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, Cardel Homes
Custom kitchen, 159 sq. ft. or less
Astro Design Centre
Custom kitchen, 160 to 190 sq. ft.
Potvin Construction
Custom kitchen, 191 to 219 sq. ft.
Design First Interiors
Custom kitchen, 220 sq. ft. or more, $74,999 and under
Christopher Simmonds Architect
Custom kitchen, 220 sq. ft. or more, $75,000 and over
Design First Interiors
Custom bathroom, 90 sq. ft. or less
Linebox Studio Inc., The Lake Partnership Inc.
Custom bathroom, 91 sq. ft. or more
Irpinia Kitchens
Housing details
Design First Interiors
Any room in the house
Design First Interiors
Exterior details
Christopher Simmonds Architect, RND Construction
Exterior living space
Christopher Simmonds Architect, RND Construction
Anywhere in the world
Christopher Simmonds Architect
Green custom home of the year
John Donkin Architect Inc., RND Construction
Green renovation, entire home
Cornelis Grey Construction Inc.
Custom builder of the year
Roca Homes
Production builder of the year
Cardel Homes
Renovator of the year
Amsted Design-Build
People’s Choice Award
Christopher Simmonds Architect, RND Construction
Colonel Boss Award
Rob Pierce, Monarch (presented annually to an individual for outstanding dedication and service to the association)
Fred Nielsen Award
CRS Contractors Rental Supply (presented annually to a company that has made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the association and the housing industry)
Enbridge Hall of Fame Award
Direct Energy

Check out the best in Ottawa home design here - http://ottawacitizen.com/life/homes/housing-design-awards-winners-list

Friday, February 6, 2015

Ottawa Home buyers undeterred by January cold


Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 627 residential properties in January through the Board's Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 587 in January 2014, an increase of 6.8 per cent. The five-year average for January sales is 633.

"The cold weather proved not to be a deterrent for buyers in January," says President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, David Oikle. "Residential and Condo sales combined, contributed to an increase in sales this month, and we are right on par with the January average. Residential two-storey and bungalow properties had the highest concentration of buyers. In addition to residential and condominium sales, Ottawa Real Estate Board members assisted clients with renting 183 units this month."

January's sales included 114 in the condominium property class, and 513 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, townhouse, 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.

"This month has been a busy month for our Members," says Oikle. "The number of residential and condo properties listed in January (2,018) more than doubled the amount of newly listed properties from December - a normal occurrence at the beginning of the year, in advance of the usual busy spring market."

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in January in the Ottawa area was $348,617, an increase of 0.5 per cent over January 2014. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $250,406, a decrease of 5.8 per cent over January 2014. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $370,442, an increase of 0.5 per cent over January 2014. While average sale price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, it should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value, because the average sale price is calculated based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold.

"The possibility of interest rates approaching record lows will provide even more opportunity for homebuyers," explains Oikle. "The Ottawa resale market remains steady, and we look forward to a productive year ahead."

Charlie Munger's unique student housing project

The University of Michigan isn’t usually a school that tries to compete with off-campus student housing by adding lots of newon-campus beds. But when it plans a new residence hall, it certainly implements some unique elements.

The 632-bed Munger Residences, which is scheduled to be completed this summer, will be open only to graduate and professional students. A $110 million gift from Michigan alumnus Charles T. Munger, a vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, helped fund construction of the $185 million project, which has a vision of “fostering a trans-disciplinary community where students live and exchange ideas together.” The gift, incidentally, was the largest in university history.

Munger’s unit mix is certainly conducive to exchanging ideas. It’s a high-density property, with the bulk of the 96 units comprising either six or seven bedrooms (layout pictured at left), each with their own private bathroom. Some three-bedroom units are available. Each unit has an additional half-bathroom for use by all residents and guests.

For the full blog post, please click here

Monday, February 2, 2015

Property Tax - Is having the bank pay them the best method?

It is an interesting time of year when your year end mortgage statements arrive.  I started with my primary residences mortgage statement for my Ottawa home.  It shows the amount of principle, interest and taxes you paid during the previous calender year.  Often, these are put in a box and sent to the accountant in April. 

I spent some time reviewing my statements recently and was shocked at the results.  On a few of my properties, I had over two years worth of property taxes in the tax account.  Usually, you have about one year in advance, because taxes are due March and June in most municipalities.  This can easily add up to thousands of dollars of withholding by the Bank on our behalf.

I started doing some research and discovered that most municipalities offer a monthly auto payment from your bank account.  For instance, if you own Ottawa real estate, they will accept monthly payments for your taxes.  Currently, most people pay their monthly mortgage payments as Principle, Interest and TAXES.  By paying the municipality directly, you might actually save a bit of money monthly, as the withholding is usually about 5% higher than the taxes due. 

What do I do?
Step 1 - You can ask the bank to change to merely Principle and Interest. 
Step 2 - Then you can ask the municipality to do a monthly withdrawal of your property taxes.

Each month, instead of having one payment to the bank, you will have two payments, one to the bank (covering principle and interest) and one to the municipality (covering taxes). 

The real upside to this, the bank will close your tax withholding account and credit your bank account all the taxes withheld on your behalf.  This can easily amount to $1000s of dollars per property you own.

New student housing a growing niche in the rental market

As exciting as the purpose-built rental apartment market is, a growing niche within this sector is surprising everyone with its revenues, rising demand, and strong return on investment. Student housing promises to be a growing industry with high rents, low vacancy rates and lots of potential for investors.

Student housing traditionally has faced a number of negative stereotypes. However, the reality of today’s student housing is far removed from the poor-quality converted housing of old. Throughout Canada, over 17,000 units of new student housing stock is shocking the marketplace in terms of its quality and the rents achieved. Developers entering the student housing market today are discovering a wealth of opportunity due to four critical factors:
1.    The Demographics are Favourable
In September 2013, over 950,000 full time students enrolled at the 82 largest university campuses across Canada. This number has been rising for the past decade and is expected to pass 1,000,000 within the next couple of years. Of these million students, 55% attend universities outside of the communities they grow up in; 10% of full-time university students come from outside of Canada.
These more than half-million students are in need of places to live. Economically, these young men and women have more income than ever before, and they are backed by parents and grandparents who want their children to be housed in accommodations that are safe and conducive to their educational experience. This makes for a high demand for quality accommodations that rewards those who provide quality supply.
2.    Post-Secondary Institutions Are Looking to Private Developers to House their Students
Post-secondary institutions are dealing with a double-blow of increasing student enrolment and decreasing government funding. Universities and colleges have by and large chosen to focus on building classroom and research space while leaving private companies to house their growing student populations. Developers are already finding good markets for student housing close to major universities, and post-secondary institutions are encouraging these developers to build.
This pattern is even further advanced in college and university towns across the United States, where large student developments have been built. Developers can take the burden of student housing off of universities, leaving the universities to concentrate on the students’ educational experience.
3.    Student Housing Offers Higher Rents Per Square Foot
Students have more disposable income in their pockets (and their parents’ pockets) than in years past. They are also more willing to share space than conventional renters. Students want to be close to their schools, and they are looking for other amenities that complement their experience. Games rooms, study rooms, even fitness centres and movie theatres may seem costly to developers, until you realize that student housing developments rent by the bed rather than by the unit. The rate of return for a building that looks after the students’ needs far exceeds a traditional apartment building that would be overlooked in the market.
Student housing also defies the normal economic cycle. During the economic recession of 2008, when most sectors of real estate suffered, apartments in general and student housing in particular maintained occupancy rates and net operating income, and financing remained available. During recessionary times, undergraduate students tend to stay in school longer, while graduates come back to school to upgrade their skills. All of this drives demand for student housing up.
4.    The Market Has Only Just Started to Develop
For developers one of the best things about the student housing market in Canada is that it is still in its early stages. Waterloo has seen a boom in student housing that has added 9,000 beds within walking distance of the universities of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier. Just 9,000 more privately-built beds exist around the other 80 university institutions in the country.
The student housing market in the United States is now mature. In Canada, most university and college towns are virgin territory. Developers who move now into the Canadian market will obtain a strong first-move advantage and stand a chance of becoming the de-facto student housing brand.
Entering the Market with Eyes Open
The market in Canada has ramped up rapidly over the past three years. ROCK Advisors Inc has been leading the way in consulting for and brokering student housing, and has helped sell nearly $300 million in student housing. However, it is important to invest wisely, and to do that, developers and investors need the support of industry experts and an objective, well-crafted feasibility study.
Third party consultants can objectively assess each market, identify the best target properties and recommend the best types of buildings to build, and the best amenities to include, bringing their expertise to bear. This way, investors can be assured that they are picking the best sites to build, are getting the highest net operating income, and the best return on their investment.
Student housing is a young, up-and-coming marketplace with a bright future. If you are ready to engage in the unique challenges that student housing represents, you can reap considerable rewards.

Please click here for the complete article written by Derek Lobo