Wednesday, April 5, 2017

March Resale Market Goes Out Like a Lion

OTTAWA, April 5, 2017 - Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,485 residential properties in March through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 1,160 in March 2016, an increase of 28 per cent. The five-year average for March sales is 1,240.
“The busy spring selling season descended upon Ottawa early this year,” remarks Rick Eisert, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “Unit sales for March marked the second-best on record, only 13 units down from the record set in March 2010. We’re also starting to see properties move faster, with the average cumulative days on market sitting at 82 days. With all these positive numbers, it’s still important to emphasize that price and conditions vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.”

March’s sales included 314 in the condominium property class, and 1,171 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.

“We’re seeing a lot more multiple offers than we’ve experienced in a while, mostly due to lower inventory levels,” says Eisert. “The number of properties listed in March also experienced a decrease over last year, and is about 100 units shy of the five-year listing average for March.”

The average sale price of a residential-class property sold in March in the Ottawa area was $415,467, an increase of 5.3 per cent over March 2016. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $272,597, an increase of 5.3 per cent over March 2016. The Board cautions that the average sale price 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 calculation of the average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold.

“We’re seeing a trend since the beginning of the year, with 50 properties sold over $1 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to only 22 in the first quarter of 2016,” explains Eisert. “Again this month, a higher number of properties in the over $1 million price range were sold. These gains were in both the residential and condominium property classes, with seven more residential units and four more condo units sold this year over last year. These high-end property sales are taking place throughout the market with Rockcliffe Park, The Glebe, and Westboro leading the way.”

“The two most active price points in the residential market in March were the $300,000 to $399,999 and the $400,000 to $499,999 range, accounting for 53.7 per cent of the market. Within the condo market, the most active price range was in the $150,000 to $249,999, accounting for 51.2 per cent of the market,” says Eisert. “In addition to residential and condominium sales, OREB Members assisted clients with renting 639 properties since the beginning of the year.”

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hardwork leads to resuts

Our home was for sale for many months with another Broker ..My wife and I had built a new home and our former residence was , subject to staged furniture , vacant. Greg  gave us good advice on pricing . Bennett Property Shop kept us up to date on all showings and feedback . After open houses they followed up with all Visitors and once again provided us with feedback . There was some small repairs to perform after acceptance of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and Greg once again provided us with guidance and assistance in having the work completed . My profession as a lawyer has giving me great experience with Brokers . Without criticizing the first broker who worked very hard ,sometimes it is just a matter of good luck .What it takes is hard work and Bennett Property Shop provided that.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

6 ideas to help Toronto housing issues

Distinguished economist Benjamin Tal says that rentals "must be part of the solution" to the GTA housing problem

Report Summary:
  • The GTA is not a normally functioning market due to a history of legislation failure, as well as a severe lack of land;
  • House prices, while always on the rise in the GTA, have followed a “predictable path” until 2016, when the average-home price increase spiked by 17.3% and is currently at over 20%;
  • Unexpectedly, condo prices followed suit to almost parity, rising by 16% in the fourth quarter of 2016;
  • Contrary to the perception that there are “too many condos”, condo sales increased by a record 34%, while the supply was down by 6%;
  • The demand for housing in the GTA is not only strong but “stronger than perceived” due to “undercounting of the number of non-permanent residents”;
  • Government intervention to prevent the house prices to grow at this rate, such as foreign tax policy and new mortgage rules do not make a significant difference in an atypical market such as the GTA

Report Conclusion:
  • An increase of supply of rental units is desperately needed in the GTA for a “real and lasting change”;
  • The GTA’s rental market has “never been hotter” with average rent rising by a record of almost 12%;
  • The new wave of renters (young families) will need “stability of long-term renting”;
  • For builders in the 416 area, the gap between the profitability of condos and profitability of purpose-build is very narrow; on surplus land, it makes even more sense to favour purpose-built;
  • Incentives from the government on new rental projects will make the difference between an “affordable and an unaffordable GTA housing market”: expediting the approval process for purpose-built projects, allowing higher intensification rates and cutting the HST will ultimately encourage builders to complete purpose-built projects before a full-blown affordability crisis.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Falcon House

Over the weekend, I visited a property that is a side by side duplex, about 20 minutes walk from Carleton University.  It can be provided vacant on closing.  Currently, it rents for $1350 and $1500 per month plus utilities.  It is two three bedroom and 1.5 bathroom properties.

This property can be converted to two properties, each with 5 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  In this area, older, run down properties are renting for $525 plus utilities per room.  It is highly likely, this property can rent for $550 a room plus utilities.

You would need to close off a dining room into a bedroom and build another bedroom in the basement.  The basement bathroom would require a stand up shower added as well.

The price is aggressive currently for the amount of rent generated.  At $2850 in gross rents and and asking of $639,000 is high.  For more information, please contact me by clicking here... 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Curious about the outlook for Toronto real estate market

Looking for an outlook on the near term future of the Toronto real estate market?  Which way are trends pointing?

Check out Ben Myers's lastest Market Manuscript for great information on many of Canada's top markets - please click here for real estate investing information

If you are interested in investing in Toronto real estate, please click here 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

How do housing projects get financed?

Here is a really cool video on how housing projects are financed.  If you are interested in buying pre-construction properties, please contact me here.

GTA condo market undersupplied?

The commonly-held perception that there are too many condos for sale in the Greater Toronto Area has been challenged by CIBC’s Benjamin Tal.

The lender’s deputy chief economist says that the market is actually undersupplied, acknowledging a record year for condo sales in 2016 with 27,000 units sold; but highlighting a decline of 6 per cent for new condo launches and inventory down 50 per cent to a 10-year low.

Tal says that limited supply in the 416 area is leading to more activity in the 905 area which may overtake the core Toronto market for sales this year.

The economist’s report on the GTA rental market says that younger Canadian families are accepting longer-term renting and will require more availability of purpose-built developments.

For help purchasing a property in Toronto, please click here 

For the complete article please click here

Monday, March 13, 2017

Sometimes numbers are a mess...

There isn't an agent out there, other than you, (or at least I havent seen one) who a) understands investments/numbers and b) who is willing to work through the mess to create a favourable outcome.  
Most of the agents I have spoken to - their eyes start to glaze over when I start talking these numbers. 
Really appreciate your effort!


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Why Is The Canadian Housing Market so Resilient?

A common question amongst investors and home buyers is what is going to happen to the market, when is it going to go up or down?

Did you know the reason why Canada’s housing market has been so strong is because it has terrific fundamentals? That's right! Each year 250,000 people immigrate to Canada creating a constant need for new housing development.  Check out the video ...

A tale of four 2 unit homes

Traditionally, homes with secondary dwellings are wonderful investments.  Instead of receiving one income per month from a property, you will now receive two incomes.  This lowers your vacancy risk, as one empty unit doesn't eliminate all your monthly income.

A fast growing trend amongst downsizing Baby Boomers and first time buyer Millennials is purchasing a property with multiple apartments, living in one and harvesting the rental income from the others.  The demand is rising for these types of properties, as more than just rental properties, as they can be located in non-traditional rental neighbourhoods, surrounded by single homes and having large lots, driveways and gardens.

Please let me know if any of these off market opportunities catches your interest .... click here to contact me 


Beacon Hill North bungalow

This property is offered for $489,900.  It is located in Beacon Hill North, inside the catchment area for Colonel By High School, one of the most sought after high schools in Ottawa (it has the IB program).  This home has all the legal paperwork from the city of Ottawa.  It is currently vacant, as construction just finished.  You can live either upstairs or down or rent the complete property until you are ready to move in....

Beacon Hill North luxury high ranch

Asking $499,900 for this exceptional property with granite counters, top quality throughout with high ceilings and big windows on both levels.  This home is fully permitted by the city of Ottawa.  The top unit is rented at $1700 per month and the two bedroom/1 bathroom lower level unit is available to move in.

Carlington stunner

Asking $497,900 - downstairs rented at $1800, upstairs ready for move in.  This property is on a direct down town bus route.  It features everything new, with both units having 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  Again, fully permitted and ready for either move in or renting.

Elmvale Acres

The fourth option, asking $500,000 is a stunning bungalow with a secondary suite in the basement, currently both units are rented at $1650 and $1175.  The basement is month to month, so the current tenant can be removed for owner occupying.  

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Why are there so many condos in Toronto

A question often asked is ... "Why are there so many condos in Toronto?"  The first major reason is immigration.  Toronto grows by over 100,000 people annually.  With an average of approx 3 people per household, this means Toronto needs over 30,000 new housing units per year.

The 2nd through 4th reasons are summarized in this great video

If you are looking to invest in Toronto real estate, please click here to connect on some exciting opportunities 

Ottawa Apartment buidings under $1m

This edition of the Ottawa apartment buildings under $1m showcases a broad range of properties - 21 in total make the list, ranging from the bottom line $359,000 to the tickling the top $980,000.  

These properties were selected as their net operating incomes are above 5% cap rates.  I have not done extensive review on all properties, if there are any you are curious about, we can arrange visits and do a much more detailed analysis.  

For a copy of the list, please click here

Thursday, February 16, 2017

How are condo apartment buildings built...?

Ever wondered how the development process works?  The five major steps to developing a condominium building?

Check out this short video on real estate development .... 

Ottawa house prices lag behind only Vancouver and Toronto

Ottawa homeowners have been waiting many months for a sign that the country’s lopsided housing markets are set to return to equilibrium. They didn’t get one in January.
While the benchmark price for single-family homes in Ottawa increased 4.8 per cent year-over-year in January to $373,000, that was still far behind the 24.4 per cent and 15.9 per cent gains posted in greater Toronto and Vancouver, respectively, over the same period.
The Ottawa housing market did hold up well against Regina (up 4.6 per cent) and Montreal (up 3.9 per cent). Benchmark prices for single-family homes actually fell year-over-year in Calgary (down 2.1 per cent) and Moncton, N.B. (down 0.4 per cent).
The figures are from an analysis published Wednesday by the Canadian Real Estate Association.
Nor does CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump see much evidence that prices in the two big markets will reverse anytime soon. “The shortage of homes available for sales has become more severe, particularly in and around Toronto and in parts of B.C.,” he said. “Unless sales activity drops dramatically, the outlook for home prices remains strong in places that face a continuing supply shortage.”
The Ottawa real estate market is considered roughly in balance. But while that’s true of the city as a whole, there was a large variation in price changes by district.
The biggest gains year-over-year were recorded in Hunt Club/Windsor Park (up 15 per cent) and Billings Bridge/Riverside (up 14.1 per cent). Price is likely a factor here. Indeed, the January benchmark price for single family homes in the five real estate districts that recorded the fastest gains ranged between $335,500 and $433,500.  These districts are all just outside the city core, a relatively straightforward commute by car or transit — and affordable for many two-income families.
Of course, much the same can be said of the five laggard districts, suggesting other factors are at play as well. Three of the laggards — Britannia/Lincoln Heights, Qualicum and Knoxdale — saw benchmark prices for single family homes actually drop compared to January 2016, though only by a small amount. Prices for homes sold in these districts ranged between $371,100 and $491,700.
The most expensive district in January, as usual, was Rockcliffe Park, where the benchmark price reached nearly $1.2 million, up two per cent from a year earlier. The lowest price for single family homes — $309,600 — could be found in Bells Corners. That was up 2.7 per cent from January, 2016. 
For the complete article, please click here 

Are foreclosures on the rise again....

The hard data is saying NO, the opposite is happening, foreclosures are dropping... From the data on the neighbouring chart, foreclosures are roughly equivalent to the 2004 rate, and the red line, pending foreclosures, is trending lower than it was in 2004.  From the data, it appears the risk of foreclosures in the market place is very low currently, 1/3 of the amount at the height of the financing meltdown

More new Ottawa jobs in healthcare sector

More jobs leads to a need for more housing, which leads to an increase in housing values.....

Canadian scientists have received $11 million to advance research into cancer immunotherapy, much of it conducted in Ottawa, including a promising treatment that uses genetically modified immune cells to fight leukemia and other blood cancers.
The funding, announced Wednesday by the federally funded BioCanRx network, is designed to build both the scientific and manufacturing capacity required to launch Canadian-based human clinical trials of CAR-T cell therapy.
The therapy involves re-engineering a patient’s own T cells to make them better cancer fighters.
Ottawa researchers will receive $5.5 million in grants and Ottawa will become home to a multimillion-dollar manufacturing centre capable of producing a key component of CAR-T cells.

for the complete article please click here 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Exceeding expectations ... over delivered

Good Day, 

I am writing to express my appreciation for the professional service I have received from  Bennett Property Shop Realty, Brokerage and more specifically from your agent Mr Greg Blok

What started as just simply listening to one of your radio shows, intrigue me to send in an email inquiring on some of your innovative sale approaches which lead to a scheduled meeting with Greg. 

I had little expectation of selling our duplex property in Old Ottawa South yet was pleasantly surprised at my meeting with Greg by his preparation and knowledge of the differences in selling multiple dwelling building versus singular homes. Some of these differences were not known to me and gave me some confidence in Greg's ability. 

Even though I was very non committal Greg convinced me to remain open minded and to agree to an exclusive condition if he were able to find a serious buyer. 

To my surprise Greg delivered. Our original meeting on November 23 resulted in accepting a full price offer by the 14th of December and all conditions waived by the 23rd December 2016. 

Throughout this journey, Greg gave a professional service by always responding to an emails or concerns without delay. His relaxed demeanour was well appreciated and allowed my wife and I to be always feel in control of the process without any sale pressures. We are still in disbelief in how Greg was able to attract this buyer and guide us through the sale of our property with such ease. 

I thank you for providing us with such service and will without hesitation recommend your company to others. 


Intensified demand for downtown Toronto condos...

Amid the blazing hot prices in the Toronto real estate market, a growing number of consumers (most of them young families and professionals) now tend to prefer the city’s condominium units over detached properties.

In a recent analysis, it was noted the struggle for condo units in the downtown area—especially in the Queen and King Street West sectors—has led to feverish bidding wars involving as many as 17 competitors.

Particularly, detached homes above $500,000 have proven more difficult to get for first-time buyers in the wake of recent regulatory revisions involving mortgage insurance and financing.

Fresh figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board revealed that condo resales have spiked up by a massive 26.7 per cent year-over-year in January, evenly divided between area codes 905 and 416. In the same time frame, detached home sales rose by only 7.8 per cent, mostly in the 905 (416 sales actually declined by 5.5 per cent).

Helping the condo sector’s popularity is its relative attainability, with prices increasing by only 14.5 per cent year-over-year last month. Meanwhile, the average cost of a detached house rose by 26.3 per cent in January compared to the same time last year

For information on the Toronto real estate market, please click here 

for the complete article, please click here

$1M no longer a luxury home in Toronto

The mythical $1-million barrier used to be a popular barometer of luxury, but in the red-hot Toronto housing market, this sum would only be enough to buy what has been described as “a tear-down home on a skinny lot.”

Built in 1912, the bungalow at 69 Muriel Ave. was listed on January 23. The initial asking price of $679,900 prompted a fiery bidding war that led to the property getting sold on February 2 for a staggering $1,050,000.

The sale value was deemed exceptional by observers, as the house was situated in a miniscule 20 feet x 78 feet lot. The 10-day turnaround for the listing, which was slated to close mid-March, emphasized the level of competition in the GTA market.

Bidding wars have become an all-too-common feature of the GTA real estate sector, where the average sales price across all housing types has increased 22.3 per cent year-over-year in January (up to $770,745).

For more information on the Toronto Luxury Market, please click here 

for the complete article, please click here 

What census data means for investors

The latest Canadian census has provided the industry with immigration stats that point to increased real estate demand, according to one major company.
“There’s no doubt we’re saying major immigration coming into the GTA area and major centres throughout Canada. They need to live somewhere,” Shawn Zigelstein, a representative for Royal LePage, told “So definitely what happens right away is your lack of supply and more demand means increased prices.”
According to the latest census, released Wednesday, Canada’s population grew by 1.7 million between 2011 and 2016; 2/3 of that growth was due to new Canadians.
And that means increased demand for real estate.
So which parts of Canada are enjoying the largest population boom?
The West, for starters.  Alberta grew at twice the national average between this census and the last and Manitoba’s population increased by 5.8%.  Manitoba’s mark surupassed the national average for the first time in 80 years due, in large part, to immigration.
Nearly one-third of Canadians now live in the West
Calgary and Edmonton, meanwhile, were the fastest growing cities between 2011 and 2016.
Further east, Quebec’s population surpassed eight million and Ontario’s reached 13.4 million.
If you are interested in learning more about how immigration can effect real estate, please click here 

for the complete article, please click here 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Nothing short of amazing

Over the course of the last forty years, I have had many experiences with the world of real estate, both as a buyer and seller, and I have to say that my most recent experience with the team at Bennett Property Shop, and especially Greg Blok, has been nothing short of amazing. 

From the very first contact to the conclusion of the sale, they have all been about the most professional team I have ever seen.
Greg Blok, in particular, as my representative, was very clear, priced the house correctly, and gave me a realistic assessment of the time it would take to sell.  He was completely correct.  My house had incredible marketing, multiple showings and sold in three weeks at very close to asking.
The team were all very professional regarding scheduling showings, constant feedback, and just overall ‘hand-holding’.
All I can say is that my experience with Greg, Marnie, and the entire team has been the best real estate experience I have ever had, and I am so very grateful for their knowledge, experience and support through what is usually a stressful experience. 
Thank you Greg, Marnie, and everyone involved.  You are terrific.

TORONTO real estate update - Don Mills home sells for $1.15 million over asking

Fifty years ago, a young couple paid $27,000 for a modest home in Don Mills. That approximately 1,500-square-foot house sold for $2.3 million, more than $1.15 million over the nearly $1.19 list price on Wednesday.
The home on Norden Cres. near Lawrence Ave. East and Don Mills Rd., drew 31 offers following 175 showings over nine days. Two weekend open houses attracted another 75 viewers.

We anticipated it would be busy. We could not have predicted that outcome,” he said on Friday.

In terms of that neighbourhood, it’s the highest price an older three-bedroom home has sold for. You have new construction properties that have sold for much higher but those are brand new,” said Mansoor.
He had been working with the sellers for the last three months and gives them credit for their “tireless preparation” in selling a home they have occupied since Canada’s Centennial year in 1967.

It was lightly staged and the time spent preparing it for market generated some buzz and made the home appealing to a wider audience, said the agent.

Initially he thought the house might sell for between $1.5 million and $1.6 million. But the January market activity combined with the small number of listings on the market changed everyone’s expectations, said Mansoor.
His colleague had listed a property a few weeks earlier in the same area for $990,000. It sold for $1.95 million. The Norden Cres. homeowners agreed to similarly list below market value to try and generate a similar response.

They wanted to appeal to the broad range of buyers that are house hunting in the leafy neighbourhood close to the Shops of Don Mills — the buyers who might want to live in the house and the builders and consumers who could tear it down and rebuild in that location.
A lot of the other homes are being sold mostly for land value at this point. They’re homes that need work and they’re not being marketed. They’re really just being listed and sold,” said Mansoor.
Now you have builders competing with end-users,” he said.

The home has been “lovingly maintained” and updated over the years. It was renovated in the late 1990s or early 2000s with an extension on the front and a bathroom on the main floor. The owners had carefully tended to the roof and mechanicals and were thrilled with the sale, according to their agent.

It’s nice to see people who have been in their homes for a long time, who are now selling and having the opportunity to enjoy their retirement,” said Mansoor.

If you think about people who bought in that neighbourhood five years ago and paid $900,000 and they’ve made $1 million in equity in five years, that is crazy. These guys have actually earned it. You don’t hear a lot of stories of people who have been in their homes for 50 years straight,” he said.

The key for this couple, said Mansoor, is that they’ll be moving into a larger older condo in the same neighbourhood where their son has been living.

Here is the house that sold for $1.15m over asking .....

for the full article, please click here 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Wow – It’s done. I am so very happy.

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you and the Bennett Property Shop

In all honesty, I have been through a number of real estate experiences in my life, and this is, by far, the best experience I have ever had, and I will be singing your praises from the rooftops.

Thank you so much for all your work,

Not on market - Golden Triangle 4 plex

Great opportunity to purchase a 4 unit building mere steps from the Rideau Canal and a short walk/bike to Ottawa U.  This property is located in the Golden Triangle, between Elgin and the Canal.  Perfect location for young professionals, students or downsizers.

There is great potential for this to evolve into a owner occupied property with an income supplement.  Imagine, eventually retiring to one of Ottawa's premiere neighbourhoods, but in the meantime, harvesting the income from your Ottawa real estate investment.

This historically beautiful property, with an Ottawa orange brick exterior and houses four apartments - featuring a two bedroom, 2 three bedrooms and a four bedroom.  The property is well maintained and sports a 5.4% cap rate

Net Income over $73,000
Asking price is $1,350,000

If you would like additional information, please click here 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Arizona - $7B factory investment

During their meeting at the Oval Office, Intel CEO Bryan Krzanich told Trump that the company is investing $7 billion in a an Arizona factory, per White House pool reports. Krzanich said that the factory — which will create the "most advanced" semi-conductor chips on the planet — will employ about 3k workers directly, and 10k workers in Arizona in support of the factory.
Krzanich added that Trump's "advantageous" tax and regulatory policies are partly responsible for their decision to announce the factory investment at the White House. Trump called the investment "a great thing for Arizona," and said the products will be "amazing."

Attention – OFF MARKET - House in Sandy Hill

Renovated home in Sandy Hill, available exclusively for purchase.  
  • Four blocks from Ottawa U
  • Currently 3 bedrooms/1 bath with basement inlaw suite (featuring 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom)
  • closing in August 2017
  • currently owner occupied but was used as a student residence in the past
  • Can easily be converted to a 5 or 6 bedroom house
  • average rents for the area are $700 to $750 per room (unfurnished/without cleaning/without cable and internet)

Roughly bills under student's housing were as the following. 

Cable tv's,  each room had its own box for 7 rooms was about $180.00 with extreme high speed Internet,  unlimited downloads.

Water: high $80.00 (water saving measures through out the house). 

Hydro: about $120 during fall winter seasons about $160-180 for the summer (AC).

Gas: roughly $75.00 monthly
Weekly cleaning service was $200.00 a month.
Property taxes - $5170 (approx)

Each room had a mini-fridge (with a freezer), TV, desk, dresser and bed.

The rooms used to rent for $850-875.00 main floor and the top two rooms. The small room upstairs I was renting it for $750.00. 

For more information please let me know, click here.

Asking price is $685,000

Ottawa DND move update

The first 300-plus employees — mainly in personnel and human resources jobs — have been installed in Building 8, with another 3,100 to occupy what will be known as the South Campus by this spring.
That’s somewhat later than expected. The plan put together last fall had anticipated the first full wave of 3,400 would be in place by March 31.
Two subsequent waves comprising more than 5,000 employees had been targeted for completion by March 31, 2018, and March 31, 2019, respectively. It’s not clear if these deadlines will still be met. In light of the delays in the first wave, it seems unlikely.
For Military Families considering a move to Ottawa, it would be my pleasure to assist in your move, please click here 

Housing's new hot spots: Homebuyers driving Ottawa market shift to west and south

For years Ottawa has supported one of the country’s most stable markets for buying and selling homes. The benchmark price for a single-family home in December was $373,200 according to the Ottawa Real Estate Board — up just 9.4 per cent in five years. This is basically in line with inflation.
While this is bad news for homeowners who have missed out on the sharp price gains reported in Toronto (up 68 per cent over five years) and Vancouver (up 60 per cent), it’s great news for first-time buyers.
In Ottawa, younger residents — part of the millennial generation born after the mid-1980s — can still aspire to home ownership in districts reasonably close to the downtown core. Single-family homes in Bells Corners (west) and Vanier (east) could be had last month for less than $320,000. Benchmark prices for condominiums across the city were $219,000 — lowest within the country’s five largest urban areas.
The benchmark price, developed by the Ottawa Real Estate Board and other regional agencies, differs from average and median prices in that it also tracks housing characteristics such as age of property, number of bathrooms and type of roof. This permits the creation of an index on which the benchmark price is based, and a more consistent view of underlying trends in the housing market.
Nevertheless, while house prices overall have been tracking up slowly, this is less true of districts now favoured by older millennials — those born in the mid-1970s to mid-1980s.
A Citizen analysis of 45 real estate districts across the city reveals that, over the past five years, homebuyers have been prepared to pay significantly bigger increases for properties in the west and south, and relatively less for homes downtown and in the east.
Consider what’s been happening just west of the downtown core, in a corridor that stretches from Bronson Avenue to Churchill Avenue along the Ottawa River. The area has long been a haven for government workers and professionals, but the coming expansion of light rail transit and likely development of LeBreton Flats has given the district extra cachet.
In the real estate districts known as Hintonburg/West Centretown, Ottawa West/Tunney’s Pasture and Westboro/Hampton Park, prices for single-family homes over the past five years have jumped 27 per cent, 21 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively. These were the biggest gains in Ottawa, roughly double that of the city as a whole.
Indeed, the price for single-family homes in Hintonburg/West Centretown five years ago was only marginally ahead of the average for the city. The benchmark price in this district last month was $436,600 — 17 per cent ahead of the average.
Even so, it remains a relative bargain compared to Ottawa West/Tunney’s Pasture and Westboro/Hampton Park where single-family homes last month sold for $583,000 and $547,800, respectively.

Other districts that have seen higher-than-normal rises in benchmark prices are clustered south of the downtown core near the international airport. Single-family homes in Hunt Club/Windsor Park, Country Place/Pineglen and the Glebe all saw prices rise in excess of 14 per cent during the past five years. The latter two districts are among the most expensive in the city with houses benchmarked last month at $591,000 and $648,000, respectively.
The priciest district, as usual, is Rockcliffe Park, home to most of Ottawa’s embassies, top mandarins and entrepreneurs such as former Cognos CEO Michael Potter and Corel founder Michael Cowpland. However, it’s the only district that, since December 2011, reported a drop in benchmark prices (to $1.2 million) — a distinction that owes much to the extremely low volume of sales.
Even so, nearby areas with a heavy component of senior bureaucrats and professionals — New Edinburgh/Lindenlea and Manor Park/Cardinal Glen — also experienced little improvement in benchmark prices over the same period. These were up 2.5 per cent and 4.0 per cent, respectively.
Further east, districts such as OrlĂ©ans and Blackburn Hamlet — traditional haunts for employees at the Department of National Defence — have seen growth in home prices slightly below the average for the city. The weakness is expected to continue as DND ratchets up its project to shift half its Ottawa workforce to the former Nortel campus at 3500 Carling Avenue in the city’s west end.
The first 300-plus employees — mainly in personnel and human resources jobs — have been installed in Building 8, with another 3,100 to occupy what will be known as the South Campus by this spring.
That’s somewhat later than expected. The plan put together last fall had anticipated the first full wave of 3,400 would be in place by March 31.
Two subsequent waves comprising more than 5,000 employees had been targeted for completion by March 31, 2018, and March 31, 2019, respectively. It’s not clear if these deadlines will still be met. In light of the delays in the first wave, it seems unlikely.
If they are moving here from Toronto or Vancouver, they will be pleasantly surprised at what it costs to live here. 

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2016 Census data - Ottawa is growing...

New census data shows the population of the metropolitan area of Ottawa - Gatineau outpaced the national growth rate over the last five years.
Statistics Canada information from last year's census shows our region grew by 5.5% over the past five years, to a population of 1,323,783.
The national population growth rate was 5.0%, while Ontario's was 4.6%.
The newly-released information also shows Canada's total population has now topped 35-million people.
But all of that growth has come through immigration.
The agency says Canada's average fertility rate remains very low, at 1.6%.
A rate of 2.1% is necessary for a population to remain steady, based only on births.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

January in Ottawa - Resale Market Off to a Great Start

OTTAWA, February 3, 2017 - Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 667 residential properties in January through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 598 in January 2016, an increase of 11.5 per cent. The five-year average for January sales is 614.
“The year is off to a great start, with sales up over this time last year, and well above the five-year average,” remarks Rick Eisert, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “Residential-class resales supported this increase, with a 16.6 per cent growth over January 2016. The number of properties listed in January has doubled the amount listed in December, which is very typical of sellers getting a jump start on the spring selling season.”
January’s sales included 119 in the condominium property class, and 548 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.
“While the numbers indicate a positive trend for Ottawa as a whole, we emphasize that all real estate is local, and prices and conditions will vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood,” explains Eisert. “We encourage buyers and sellers to talk to a REALTOR® for more information about the housing market outlook where they live, or want to live.”
The average sale price of a residential-class property sold in January in the Ottawa area was $394,001, an increase of 1.9 per cent over January 2016. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $288,655, an increase of 16.8 per cent over January 2016. 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.
“The average sale price for the condominium class saw a big increase over last year,” Eisert says. “It’s important to note that three properties sold for over $1 million this January, while none were sold in January 2016. This needs to be taken into consideration when looking at the overall increase in average condo sale price.”
“In the residential market the most active price point was the $300,000 to $399,999 range for the month of January, accounting for 35.2 per cent of the market. The condominium market was most active in the $150,000 to $249,999 price range, accounting for 58.7 per cent of the market,” says Eisert. “In addition to residential and condominium sales, OREB members assisted clients with renting 201 properties in January.”

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Trump to change Dodd-Frank Act

President Donald Trump will order a sweeping review of the Dodd-Frank Act rules enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis, a White House official said, signing an executive action Friday designed to significantly scale back the regulatory system put in place in 2010.

Trump also will halt another of former President Barack Obama’s regulations, hated by the financial industry, that requires advisers on retirement accounts to work in the best interests of their clients. Trump’s order will give the new administration time to review the change, known as the fiduciary rule.

Taken together, the actions are designed to lay down the Trump administration’s approach to financial markets, with an emphasis on removing regulatory burdens and opening up investor options, said the White House official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

The orders are the most aggressive steps yet by Trump to loosen regulations in the financial services industry and come after he has sought to stock his administration with veterans of the industry in key positions. His plans are sure to face fierce criticism by Democrats who charge that Trump is intent on undoing changes designed to protect everything from average investors to the global banking system.

He also could face a backlash from some of his own supporters, whose distrust of big institutions and the financial industry helped fuel the populist anger that propelled Trump to the White House.

‘Big Number’
Trump is scheduled to issue the directives at a signing ceremony around noon following a meeting of more than a dozen top corporate executives led by Blackstone Group LP Chief Executive Officer Steve Schwarzman.

On Monday, Trump promised to do “a big number” on the Dodd-Frank Act during a meeting with small business owners. He said the law had damaged the country’s “entrepreneurial spirit” and limited access to needed credit.

“Regulation has actually been horrible for big business, but it’s been worse for small business,” the president said. “Dodd-Frank is a disaster.”

What’s the problem with Dodd-Frank? -- a Q&A explains
Trump’s Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin will meet with members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and report back on what changes the administration should take to alter Dodd-Frank, the official said. Particular attention will be paid to the Volcker Rule limits on banks making speculative bets with their own funds, an restriction promoted by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

Immediate Impact
The official wouldn’t say how long the Treasury Department would have to complete its review, but did say that the administration would be looking for ways to make an immediate impact, including through administrative changes and personnel decisions.

Trump’s directive also stalls the so-called fiduciary rule -- set to take effect in April -- that the Obama administration said would protect millions of retirees from being steered into inappropriate high-cost or high-risk investments that generate bigger profits for brokers.

The review will include examining making personnel changes at financial regulators as a way of accomplishing the administration’s objectives, the official said. They declined to answer a question on whether Trump would try to fire Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The official did say the administration believed that some of the rules created under Dodd-Frank may have been unconstitutional, including the creation of new agencies, an apparent reference to the bureau.

Asked Monday about whether Trump would retain Cordray in his position, White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to answer. Mnuchin said during his congressional testimony that he believed the CFPB as a whole should be preserved but that Congress should take more direct control of its budget.

The Trump administration doesn’t believe Dodd-Frank measures, including the Volcker Rule, addressed real issues in the financial system, the official said. The president’s team also believes the Labor Department fiduciary rule was unnecessarily restricting investor choice without providing necessary consumer protection, the official said.

Republican lawmakers and some financial firms say the fiduciary rule is deeply flawed, arguing that it will restrict options for consumers and result in some savers being denied advice on their retirements. Trump will call for the Labor Department to stop and review the regulation in its entirety.
While the review will be undertaken independently by the Labor Department, the White House aide signaled that the president was expecting significant change.

Broader Overhaul
Delaying implementation of the Labor Department rule is the first step Republicans and the finance industry are eyeing as part of a broader overhaul of the measure. GOP Lawmakers have argued that the Securities and Exchange Commission, not the Labor Department, should oversee and regulate any changes related to financial firms.

Banks, asset managers and insurers have been fighting the fiduciary rule ever since the Labor Department approved it last year, saying the regulation could raise the costs of providing advice and make it harder to serve lower-income clients. Business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Council of Life Insurers have sued to try to block it.

Still, representatives of some financial services companies said they planned to change practices to meet the regulation’s standard even if it is halted.

“We plan to go forward with the majority of the work we’ve done,” Bill Morrissey, managing director of business development at LPL Financial Holdings Inc., said in an interview before Trump’s order was disclosed. “What investors want is more transparency and lower fees.”

Morgan Stanley, one of the biggest U.S. brokerages, said on Jan. 26 it plans to move ahead with changes designed to comply with the rule, despite uncertainty over whether the regulation will be implemented. Insurers including American International Group Inc. and Principal Financial Group Inc. stressed after Trump’s victory that they would continue to forge ahead as though the rules would be carried out.

“My expectation is that a lot of firms are going to continue installing a best-interest standard, regardless,” said Brian Graff, chief executive officer of the American Retirement Association, a group that represents pension administrators and plan advisers.

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