The proper marketing of your home has never been more important. We need to get your home exposed to as many people as possible online. We have added in services to make this happen. This additional exposure will help you maximize your sale price.
We have been working on a new process to stage your home virtually. Our stager is phenomenal and will help you prepare each and every room in the house. It will involve a few calls, some pictures back and forth, and will end with a full detailed report for you to follow. It will essentially be a game plan for getting your house market-ready. This work will help you maximize the sale price of your home. Statistically speaking staged homes sell for at least 2% more than non staged homes.
This will give buyers the opportunity to experience a showing from the comfort of their home. Having this tour is paramount in today’s market. Some buyers are purchasing the home just based on this tour!
We will have a professional floorplan drawn up so buyers can see the dimensions of each room and the layout of the space. An integral part in the new virtual world.
In the weeks ahead we will be taking extra pictures for buyers to look at. Our photographer is amazing and you can see her work by clicking on the link. She will also take precautions when photographing.
This will be done to take people through every aspect of the home. We are trying to give every buyer the opportunity to purchase your home without actually seeing it in person. We just started doing this. My partner launched a listing with this feature yesterday. Here is an example: https://quickpageapp.com/p/aku2ny6FBWfECMgfu?cid=dAWQJfWDgdiS4GrS7
We are completing all our agreements via an e-signing program that is easy to use. Stephanie, our listing manager is still working full-time Mon-Fri 830-430. We have lots of support for all our clients. She will be getting all buyers to sign Covid-19 forms prior to any viewing. We are trying to do everything we can to mitigate risk for our clients while making it easy for buyers to get all the information they need on our listings.
We are fortunate to live in Ottawa with so many solid and secure public service jobs. This will help us recover faster than other market centres across the country. We are not however going to be immune to this unprecedented situation. It seems as if what first looked like a matter of weeks is now looking like months of social distancing. This will of course impact local business, tourism, restaurants, and just about everyone. Our local economy is going to be affected and some businesses just won’t survive. The government will help others stay afloat until this situation is resolved. The bigger question I have is once we are released from our quarantine will we be going to restaurants, bars, flying on planes, and getting back to normal life? That is the hope of course but that may require a vaccine or cure.
The Real Estate Market
Ottawa real estate prices have been on an upward trajectory for years. We are in an extreme seller’s market. This past year was a straight line up, with over 20% in gains. That momentum was stopped in its tracks. Our market was at absolute historical low levels of inventory and peak prices. To use an analogy, if your home was a stock it would have been at an all-time peak. Unlike the stock market, home prices do not crash overnight. That is why we should own more real estate than stocks. Luckily for Ottawa when the needle moves I see it moving towards a more balanced real estate market, maybe still slightly in sellers territory. Since we were so deep into seller’s territory we have room to move and still be in a good market.
ACTIVITY IN THE MARKET
Where does the housing market go from here?
It is naive to think that our current hot streak will continue. The market is going to start levelling off. I see the first impact coming in the entry-level market. I think some investors will get out of this market (this is not a bad thing). This will open the door to first-time buyers to pick up a property without bidding against 10 other buyers. This will put some downward pressure on some of the ridiculous prices we were seeing in this segment early this year. Sellers are going to have to start adjusting their prices to match the current demand. I am already seeing that when I look at the hot sheet of daily sold properties. I am actually seeing some homes sell for less than their asking price in some cases.
There will be pent up demand when all this is all resolved. In China, sales were booming as soon as the ban was lifted as people were waiting on things to resume. It will be interesting to see what kind of supply of listings we have compared with the demand of buyers. I suspect it will be a more balanced equation than where we have been in the past few years.
Stay safe everyone.
An interesting read from a credible economist on what is to come.
March 2020 will be a month none of us will forget. The speed at which this virus has taken over has been astonishing. I was in the process of interviewing potential candidates to join our team early in the month. Two weeks later the majority of our clients put their real estate needs on hold. We have been working from home trying to homeschool our kids and keep some type of daily routine. It has been challenging to say the least!
The real estate market can almost be divided into the first two weeks of the month and the final two. Early in the month, the statistics reflected what was going to be another record-breaking month. The final two weeks cooled that and we barely ended up ahead of last year’s sales numbers. The full impact on sales will eventually be reflected in April’s numbers.
People that don’t have an urgent need to buy or sell are being asked to wait till this is all over. A few of our clients have bought a new home prior to COVID-19 and are in a position where they absolutely need to sell. Others sold their home just before this hit and need a place to live. This is the main reason why our industry was deemed an essential service.
Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,525 residential properties in March through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 1,507 in March 2019, an increase of only 1.2 percent. March’s sales included 1,170 in the residential-property class, up 3.3 percent from a year ago, and 355 in the condominium-property category, a decrease of 5.1 percent from March 2019. The five-year average for March unit sales is 1,465.
“Our results show that the Ottawa real estate market seems to have withstood the pressure of a worldwide economic event in March, however in context with our market’s performance up to this point, we can see the underlying effect. Before the pandemic, monthly unit sales were increasing between 10-16% from 2019, while March’s sales were just on par with a year ago” The board President
The slowdown included a 75% drop in showing activity in the final week of March according to Showingtime software (this is the software we use to process showing). Of course, this is not surprising because everyone is being told to stay at home. Interestingly I have seen a surge in some of our online initiatives. Including our very popular 3D tours. Here is an example of one of our listings: https://chrisscott.ca/properties/active-listings/425-barrick-hill-road/ Some buyers remain active and I am hearing of some purchasing their homes virtually from tours like this.
“Once the Ontario State of Emergency began, our Members and Brokerages rightly began to make all adjustments necessary for the health and wellbeing of our clients and customers. We welcomed the government’s declaration of real estate as an essential service so that transactions in progress could be completed. However, it was not and is not business as usual for our Members. They are heeding government and public health authority warnings and advice and are being diligent in taking extra safety precautions. All this, while still doing their best to help their clients successfully conclude or close real estate transactions that were already in progress,” Board President Burgoyne acknowledges.
The lasting impacts of COVID-19 are yet to be seen. Ottawa is going to be in a better position than most markets to weather the coming economic downturn. Historically we were in the hottest seller’s market ever. This, of course, will change but I think because we were in such a strong market when the needle moves we will still have a fair and balanced market. We just won’t see some of the ridiculous prices and bidding wars that were prevalent early in 2020.
The market is B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Was trying to think of a more eloquent word but bananas seems to fit here. Here are three reasons why:
Prices in our residential-class properties are up 21%
Prices in condo class are also up 21%
Over 58% of homes are selling for above their asking price (feels like 100%)
It is a tough market right now for buyers. They (and their agents) have to go through the process usually a few times before they can secure their house. Sellers hold all the cards! However, many sellers are also buyers. This has added to the inventory issue. Many sellers do not want to sell until they buy. So round and round on the no inventory hamster wheel we go!
There are not enough new listings to satisfy the growing demand for Ottawa properties. Much of the demand is the entry-level $400,000- $550,000 market. About 40% of all sales are in this price range. I am seeing very competitive offer situations in that range. Many homeowners are listing very low and creating a frenzy on the offer date. This is partly to blame for the high over-asking sale prices. It is frustrating many buyers too. To have to keep going higher and higher to secure the deal is no fun!
Investors are quietly playing a role in the frenzy too. I am seeing lots of out of town buyers coming in and buying up properties. Again, mostly in the entry-level range. This week I have seen a bit more inventory coming to the market. I hope this is a trend that continues.
If you would like to see some sales in your neighbourhood, let us know and we can send you a report on your area. Every neighbourhood is very different.
We have talked quite a bit about inventory in the past few months or the lack thereof. Right now this is the Ottawa real estate market’s biggest challenge. There were only 1082 properties that came for sale in January 2020. That is about 50% less than the average. Then you look at the 780 sales in January 2020. This represents a very high absorption rate. This absorption is most prevalent in the $400,000 to $555,000 range, this represents over 40% of January 2020 transactions.
Buyers are getting increasingly frustrated. Some have put their searches on hold. I don’t recommend this. I do believe we will get more supply in the next year but I think price appreciation will continue. A balanced and fair market is still at a minimum a year or two down the road.
Ottawa’s market increases are still sustainable and reasonable when you consider our high average income. It is just a bit shocking to see how rapidly some of the price appreciation is happening in certain neighbourhoods. I think this appreciation is in some part due to the fact that Ottawa has been very much undervalued in years past. Not anymore! I think the new reality is here to stay for a while. Every neighbourhood and segment of the market is unique. If you want to know what is happening in your area please feel free to get in touch.
Another year is almost in the books! This one has flown by. This year has been the most active housing market I have experienced. The numbers bear that out. In November new listings were being absorbed by buyers at a record-setting pace. Here is what our board president had to say:
“Our inventory is not having a chance to build as it is being absorbed as quickly as it comes on the market. That’s why there are so many sales every month even though the supply stock is low,”
If we compare November of this year to last year, the price difference is almost shocking! See the statistics in the chart. We are up 16.9% on the freehold side and 9.8% on the condo side of things. At the start of next month, I will be providing a very detailed annual market report that breaks down all the numbers.
There is a slight cause for concern with the recent announcement that Canada lost over 71,000 jobs in the last month. This represents the largest drop in employment over a one month period since the financial crisis. Ottawa is always sheltered from this unless it hits the public service. Something to keep an eye on for sure.
If you want to know what’s happening in your neighbourhood, please feel free to reach out.
It is a winter wonderland out there already. What the heck is going on! A snow day on Nov 12th is madness!! Some people may be wondering if the cold weather will put a chill in this hot real estate market. I am not sure that will be the case. The numbers from October reveal that there is some madness in that regard too!
Our market is summed up nicely by our board president:
“New listings are down, inventory remains scarce, and yet more homes changed hands this October than in the past decade and a half,” reports Dwight Delahunt, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “It’s perplexing at first; however, when you consider the current breakneck transaction pace in the Ottawa resale market, often requiring homebuyers and sellers to make swift decisions, it makes sense.”
When I analyze the market it is clear to see we are firing on all cylinders. What I see is that for the first time you have all segments of the market including condos and freeholds beings extremely desirable to buyers. In years past it might have been the condo market that was hot or the last few years, it was more about the freehold market. Often times it could be different locations that were “hot”. This year it seems to be every segment in almost all locations. Especially West of downtown. The hottest locations are experiencing price increases of over 5% when compared to March and April of this year!! Many buyers back in the Spring were patient and that patience is long gone with buyers now realizing they have to pay a big premium (in some cases) to secure their home.
I get why our market is what it is. We have been undervalued for a long time. I have said this in my annual reports for years. Even now in relation to our average earnings and the extremely high quality of life in our city, I can still make that case. It is just not much of a secret anymore! If you want to know what’s happening in your neighbourhood let me know. We are always happy to be a real estate resource for you.
Every day I look through the hot sheet from the Ottawa Real Estate board. It is a list of all new properties to the market. One thing that almost every one of them has in common is that they were holding offers. This means the seller is waiting till a certain date and time to review offers. The idea is that they will have lots of showings between the list date and offer date. The hope, of course, being that the seller will have multiple offers to choose from. There are some buyers who do not want to wait until the offer date. That is where the term bully offer comes from.
The bully offer:
I prefer the term pre-emptive offer. Essentially the buyer makes an offer right away and before pre-determine offer presentation. The offer is usually at a premium price and often with no conditions. Example: House is listed for $400,000 and the buyer makes an offer for $450,000 on day 1. This would get the seller’s attention right?! The idea is to make the seller think twice about waiting until their pre-determined date.
A few other things to consider:
The Realtor is often in a tough position here as well. They have a form 244 signed with their clients explaining that there is no conveyance of offers until the specific date. If the Realtor then presents this offer it is in breach of the pre-signed paperwork. Further, other agents who showed the property or have scheduled showings on the property need to be kept in the loop on any change of directions. Our team has been on both ends of bully offers and there is a lot of things to navigate here for sure.
Ottawa is a great place to purchase investment properties. Our vacancy rates are low. As real estate prices in Ottawa continue to increase, some buyers are looking at ways to supplement their mortgage payments.
Owner-occupied main levels, with tenants renting out the basement, is a common cost-efficient approach to maximizing your profit margins.
Two common beliefs are that a basement bedroom becomes legal if there are
1) a closet in the room, and
2) a window in the room big enough and accessible to be used as a means of exit in case of emergency
In reality, this is not exactly correct. A window in the room is required but its dimensions are more to ensure that natural light covers at least 5% of the total floor area. It is also important to note that, while no height restrictions are included in the code, it is recommended that homeowners use furniture or other means to increase accessibility to windows that are higher off the ground, should there be a need to use them as an exit. There are also stipulations regarding minimum square footage required, with and without built-in closet space.
The most important thing to remember is that there must be a viable means of egress available on the same level as the bedroom, either by window or door (other than those that lead upstairs). If you choose to have a bar installed in front of the window, it must have one of two options. The keys must be within arms reach or the ability to be unlocked and opened without tools. This is to increase the likelihood of a safe exit in times of emergency.
Ensure you are comfortable with leaving a loved one in any circumstance created by your renovations. Keep abreast of any Building and Fire Code changes that occur. Ensure everyone in your home is aware of all possible means of exit, just in case. For more information, contact the City of Ottawa, or be in touch with us anytime and we can help!
As part of a full-service real estate team, each week I preview and show several properties to various buyers, and host open houses for our seller clients whenever possible. The 2 most common questions I hear day-to-day are:
1) Why are the current owners selling?
2) What is the square footage of the house?
Interestingly, as licensed members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, we are not permitted to display the square footage on any listing. Whatever the reason behind this rule, the fact remains.
Square footage can be important when comparing the property value of the property with another, or even just to assess if there is enough space to hold all of your current furniture and effects (and growing family members). For appraisals and assessments, it is often measured by simply multiplying the length and width of the exterior walls of the house. When you consider this, overall useable Living Space can become a more essential factor to consider.
What are the reasons that are motivating you to make a move?
Do you need more overall space, more closet space, or a more open-concept space?
Some homes have unique jogs and cut-outs along walls and ceilings, reducing the amount of space you are able to occupy or renovate. An older century home may have a large den, parlour, and dining room, and therefore an increased footprint, yet also have a long hallway upstairs and 3 bedrooms with gabled ceilings that are a nuisance to you and your growing children… and no master en-suite. Or, a previous owner may have blown out a bedroom wall to create their dream en-suite + walk-in closet, and now Mr & Mrs Buyer are handcuffed because despite 2000+ sq ft above grade, what they really need is another bedroom. Or, 4 large bedrooms and a loft upstairs might not be enough if there is no room on the main level for the home office you really need.
There are many things to consider when buying your next home. A deal-breaker to one buyer may be a non-issue to another. A great idea for everyone is to take some time to write a list of your Wants and Needs in a new home, get on the same page with everyone involved, and enlist the service of a licensed Realtor who can help you stick to your plan and make informed, objective decisions in order to achieve your individual real estate needs.