Oakville & Milton Real Estate Recap: June 2010

While the spring of 2010 marked a record number of transactions, the month of June showed a decrease in the number of real estate transactions (over 2009). Prices, however, remain significantly higher than those recorded in June 2009. According to The Oakville, Milton & District Real Estate Board, “For the month of June 2010… total sales transactions were 800, a decrease of 27 percent over June 2009. Overall, year to date, total sales transactions are still ahead of 2009 transactions by 547 sales, which is a 12 percent increase.” Further, OMDREB states that the number of properties listed in June 2010 is 6 percent greater than the number listed in 2009.

A Spring buying rush was encouraged by the introduction of the new HST as well as speculation regarding rising interest rates. As such, buyers (and vendors) who may have traditionally waited until later in the year were encouraged to close sales before June 30.

Oakville June 2010
Average House Price: $616,907
Median House Price: $495,000

Milton June 2010
Average House Price: $397,199
Median House Price: $365,500

This informtion is courtery of The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how this information will impact your decision to buy or sell, please feel free to contact me at rdavison@trebnet.com or 905-845-2200.

Published in: on July 16, 2010 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Beat The Heat in Halton: Splash Pad Locations in Oakville & Burlington

To say that this has been a hot summer would be a bit of an understatement. Our family has been cooling down by taking advantage of our local splash pad. The kids love it, there’s usually a shaded spot for Mom & Dad to sit and, it’s free! One of the great services in our local area. The splash pad that we love to use is the one at Nautical Park as there is a fantastic playground onsite as well.

Oakville Splash Pads

Splash Pads (open from 9 a.m. to *8:30 p.m., June to mid-September – weather dependent)
*During heat alerts, splash pads will be open until 9 p.m.

Coronation Park (closed – under construction)
Forrster Park (early fall 2010)
Heritage Way Park
Millbank Park
Munn’s Creek Park
Nautical Park
Neyagawa Park
Old Abbey Lane Park
Pine Glen Park
Postridge Park
Sixteen Hollow Park
Valleybrook Park
Valleyridge Park
West Oak Trails
Wynten Park

Burlington Splash Pads

LaSalle Park
Nelson Park

Burlington Splash Pads

Spray Pads
Splash Zone (Rotary Park): 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Open first weekend of June to Sunday following Labour Day (weather permitting)

Neighbourhood Spray Pads: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Saturday of Victoria Day weekend to Sunday following Labour Day (weather permitting)

Beaty Neighbourhood Park
Bristol District Park
Coates Neighbourhood Park
Dempsey Neighbourhood Park
Clarke Neighbourhood Park (South) – opening late summer 2010
Lions Sports Park

However you choose to beat the heat, be sure to have fun and stay safe!

Natalie

Published in: on July 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

May brings lower homes sales and fewer new listings

OTTAWA – June 16th, 2010 – Statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that home sales activity and new listings in Canada declined in May.

Seasonally adjusted home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards declined nationally by 9.5 per cent in May from near-record level activity the previous month. While activity declined in more than 70 per cent of local markets, the lower national figure resulted largely from fewer sales in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales activity was down 4.3 per cent in May from the same month last year. In a departure from the normal seasonal pattern, national activity levels in May were also down from April levels. This suggests that the combination of changes to mortgage regulations and rising mortgage rates pulled forward a number of sales into April that would have otherwise taken place at a later date.

“May was the first full month in which sales activity was affected by these changes,” said CREA President Georges Pahud. “An accompanying decline in new listings and housing starts means these changes are also affecting the supply side, which will keep the market balanced and Canadian home prices stable.”

The seasonally adjusted number of homes that were new listings on Canadian MLS® Systems in May 2010 declined by four per cent from the previous month. This marks the first monthly decline in new listings in eight months. New listings had been climbing sharply, rising from a four-year low last September to the second highest level ever last month.

The number of homes listed for sale on Boards’ MLS® Systems at the end of May was up 5.4 per cent from levels at the same time last year, when the supply of homes for sale on the market had started declining.

The national average price of homes sold via Canadian MLS® Systems rose 8.5 per cent in May from a year ago. This is a smaller increase compared to those recorded over the past nine months.

“Supply and demand has become more balanced in a number of major markets,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “Homebuyers now have more choice and are likely be in less of a rush to purchase than they were recently, so the amount of time it takes to sell a home is expected to rise in the coming months.”

With last year’s string of downwardly skewed average price values having now mostly passed, year-over-year national average price comparisons are coming back into line with changes in the national weighted average price.

The weighted average price compensates for changes in provincial sales activity by taking into account provincial proportions of privately owned housing stock. It climbed 8.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis in May 2010. Similarly, the residential average price in Canada’s major markets was up 9.8 per cent year-over-year in May, while the weighted major market average price rose 10.7 per cent.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of months of inventory stood at 5.3 months in May 2010. This is up from 4.8 months at the same time last year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, months of inventory stood at 6.1 months in May, the highest level since last April.

“The number of months of inventory may rise further in response to easing sales activity and a further rise in the number of active listings,” said Klump. “However, the number of newly listed homes will ultimately retreat in response to a more competitive sales and pricing environment in a number of local markets. The outlook for the Canadian economy, employment, and mortgage market trends remain upbeat, so supply and demand will remain balanced on a national basis. Canada will avoid a U.S.-style home price correction.”

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national MLS® sales information from the previous month.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

A more balanced market and the avoidance of a U.S. style home price correction are welcome news. I am always available to discuss your real estate queries or challenges. Please feel free to contact me at rdavison@trebnet.com or 905-845-2200.

U.S.-Style Home Price Correction Unlikely in Canada

As a Realtor, the first question posed to me when I meet new people is always “How is the market?” This is often followed with “Where is the market heading?” I always enjoy these conversations with individuals who are interested in the dynamic market I am very much immersed in. The looming introduction of the GST is almost a month away and many people want to know how this is going to impact the market in the immediate term. Many fear we could be at the top of the market and heading for a correction. Below, you will find an excellent commentary from CREA on this very question.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released a new report today indicating that home prices will stabilize, and will remain stable for some time. This means that Canadian homeowners are unlikely to experience a U.S.-style decline in the value of their homes.

“The relationship between average price and income has recently been cited as portending a U.S.-style correction in Canadian home prices,” said Gregory Klump, Chief Economist, CREA. “However, such warnings ignore the longer-term relationship between prices and income, and disregard typical Canadian housing market cycle dynamics.”

Home prices tend to rise in cycles, characterized by periods of sharp growth and periods of stability. By contrast, income generally follows an orderly upward trend over time. For home prices to keep pace with incomes, they must rise faster during housing booms to make up for periods of little or no price growth. Canadian home prices were stagnant throughout most of the 1990s, while incomes continued rising, making housing more affordable. Over the past decade, home prices have climbed sharply as mortgage interest rates declined.

Klump adds: “The Canadian housing market is now widely thought to be at, or very near, the top of a cycle, and the ratio of home prices to incomes is currently high. This ratio will revert to its long-term average as it always does as part of a normal housing market cycle. History suggests, however, that it will not do so by means of a significant correction in home prices. The more likely scenario is that home prices will stabilize, giving incomes a chance to catch up again.”

The correction in U.S. home prices has sparked fears that Canadian home prices may share a similar fate. However, according to Klump, “warnings to this effect ignore solid Canadian mortgage market trends.”

Conservative lending practices in the mortgage industry combined with prudent borrowing and accelerated payments among Canadian mortgage holders have been seen throughout the recent housing market cycle. Accelerated accumulation of home equity will provide options for the small proportion of homeowners who may face financial difficulty when their mortgage is renewed at a higher interest rate. These trends are expected to help Canada avoid a U.S.-style housing crisis.

The correction in U.S. home prices is set against a massive oversupply of homes due to distress sales, combined with a drop in housing demand due to unemployment. The unwinding of the housing boom in Canada will be more orderly, characterized by softening sales activity and stable prices.

I hope you have found this information informative and I always welcome your comments or viewpoints on this and all topics posted on 905westword.com. I can also be reached at 905-330-1241 or rdavison@trebnet.com.

Cancellation of Home Retrofit Program –

A lot of home sellers have reaped the rewards of the home retrofit program. The benefits were two fold in that home owners made their homes more efficient while at the same time increasing the value of their properties. The program was introduced in 2007 as the ecoEnergy program. After conducting the initial audit home owners were able to update their properties with everything from insulation to furnaces and air conditioners in order to get back as much as $5,000 in rebates. In order to obtain the rebates a follow up audit had to be performed.

This program was intended to run until March 2011. However, on March 31st at 5pm ET it was announced that the Department of Natural Resources would not be accepting any new applicants to the program. Those who have had the first audit done can complete their retrofits and then complete the second audit to get the rebates. According to the press release If you have already booked an appointment for a pre-retrofit evaluation, have completed an evaluation or applied for re-entry to the program, you remain eligible to apply for a grant.” Homeowners who have not booked an audit will not be eligible for the rebate. The Government will be administering the program until March 31, 2011.

The speed at which the program was cancelled and with little to no warming is drawing fire from the political opposition. This program was also creating many jobs in Canada.

I know that I personally have benefited from this program, as have numerous clients of mine. Hopefully the decision makers will reconsider this decision. For those of you that missed the opportunity you may want to send your opinion to Ottawa. For those that are still going to squeak in under the wire, you will want to make the most of the opportunity.

If I can be of assistance to you with regard to this information, please contact me at 905-330-1241 or rdavison@trebnet.com. All the best. Ryan.

Sales, Price, Listings All up from Last Year (in Burlington)

(March 5, 2010 – Hamilton, Ontario) The Greater Hamilton-Burlington area resale market reported a total of 1114 units sold in February, an increase of 50 per cent over February of last year, according to the Multiple Listing Services® (MLS®) statistics released by the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) The total unit sales, when compared to January of this year, were 50 per cent higher in February, 2010. “It is no surprise that our numbers have all increased from last year at this time,” said Joe Ferrante, RAHB President, “given there was so much uncertainty in the market in early 2009. It’s obvious that both buyers and sellers are showing confidence that the economy is recovering.” Residential properties sold during February totalled 1067 which included 866 freehold properties and 201 condominiums. Commercial sales for February, including industrial, farm, vacant land and business, totalled 47 units. The average price of freehold residential properties sold in the month of February was $331,523, an increase of 18.6 per cent over the same month last year and an increase of 9.4 per cent over last month. In the condominium market, the average price of condominiums in February was $241,987, an increase of 20.7 per cent over February, 2009 and an increase of five per cent over last month. The average sale price reflects the dollar volume of residential sales divided by the number of total residential units sold. February’s total average residential sales price increased 18.2 per cent over the same month in 2009. The total number of units listed for sale during February was 1751, which is 24 per cent higher than were listed in the same month in 2009. “We anticipate that the spring market will be strong,” added Ferrante, “as buyers and sellers look to make their home purchases and sales before the HST kicks in and increases the taxes they will pay on the services attached to the home buying process.”,br> Unit sales reflect “all property types” including residential, condominiums, commercial property, farmland and sales of businesses.

There are some amazing numbers in this hot residential resale market. If you are considering selling or buying and would like to discuss the local market conditions, please contact me at 905-330-1241 or rdavison@trebnet.com . All the Best! Ryan.

The February 2010 Real Estate Market was Golden! (Oakville & Milton)

(March 2010 – Oakville – Milton, Ontario) For the month of February 2010, The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board *total sales transactions were 786, an increase of 45 per cent over February 2009. Sales have shot up sharply in the last two months, confirming an increasingly strong market. This is verified by looking at February sales from years past, compared to 2008 they are 14 per cent ahead and 47 per cent ahead when compared to those in February 2007. The total value of sales processed through the Board MLS® System also demonstrates a consistent increase. The Oakville, Milton and area resale market reported a **total dollar volume of sales for the February 2010 of 115 per cent higher than 2009 and 127 per cent year to date, according to Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) statistics released by The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board.

“Our market is very healthy and sustained low interest rates have made it a great time for buyers and sellers. I anticipate an even stronger market for the up-coming Spring,” states Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board President Jeff Mahannah. “Even with the government changes to the mortgages rules of limiting buyers to a mortgage of 35 years and requiring a minimum of five per cent down payment, I predict that we are going to see records set for real estate sales and prices this year.”

Residential resales in Oakville for February 2010 are up by 85 per cent over February 2009 with an average price of $586,031 and a median price of $498,000 representing a 32 per cent and 31 per cent increase respectively over the same month last year. The luxury market is very healthy in Oakville, recording 22 sales over a $1,000,000 in February 2010, compared to 4 in February 2009.

Milton’s sales were up by 67 per cent and the average sale price was $381,134, an increase of 23 per cent when compared to February 2009.

Year to date residential sales in Milton show a 72 per cent increase when compared to 2009 and Oakville demonstrates a very healthy 101 per cent increase.

Also notable are the Days on the Market Activity for both Milton and Oakville. For Milton in February buyers had to move quickly and make decisions fast as the average time period was 13 days. Oakville also had a very short time period of 25 days, indicating we are in a seller’s market. Consumers should note that the comparisons to 2009 to 2010 will continue to be extreme through to the beginning of the second quarter due to the low sales activity during that period in 2009.

*The total sales are comprised of all sales by OMDREB Members, regardless of jurisdiction.
**Total dollar volume of sales reflects “all property types” including residential, condominiums,
commercial property, farmland and sale of businesses.

Source: The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board

These are some exciting sales figures. If I can be of assistance with any of your Real Estate needs please do not hesitate to contact me at 905-330-1241 or rdavison@trebnet.com .

Save the Pineland English Program…It’s Saved!

Elizabeth Gardens truly is a fantastic neighbourhood to live and raise a family in. I am biased of course, as I live and work in Elizabeth Gardens. However, any sceptics need only look to the front lawns of vocal residents for evidence of their community involvement. Signs reading “Save the Pineland English Program” have caught the eye of many a motorist.

In mid-December it was announced to Pineland parents that due to declining enrolments in Grades 1-6 English programs at Pineland Public School, the Halton District School Board was considering a Program Review. JK – 5 English stream students attending Pineland and future JK registrants for the 2010-2011 school year would have been impacted.

Some Background Information:

- 85% of SK students attend Grade 1 French Immersion at Pineland while only 10% go into the English Program for Grade 1. In 2009, there were no Grade 1 students in the English Program.

- In order to maintain funding teachers need to have a 20: 1 Students to Teacher ratio in the classrooms. Dwindling English program attendance could have resulted in triple and quadruple grade classes in order to maintain the 20:1 ratio. This would create educational, social and financial challenges.

- The staff recommendation was to make Pineland Public School the French Immersion Centre for Grade 1-8 students. JK-Grade 6 English Program students in the Pineland catchment area were to be sent to Mohawk Gardens. Pineland would also remain the receiving school for Grade 7-8 English students returning from Mowhawk Gardens.

These suggestions were not received well by the parents in the Pineland catchment area. As a result of the efforts of the Pineland parents the following has transpired:

1. JK – SK – Grade 6 English program remains at Pineland.

2. Grade 1- 6 English classes will be staffed for blended classes (not triple graded)

3. Pineland will be open to optional attendance for Grades 1- 6 English programs as per Board policy for September 2010.

4. Students accepted into Pineland for optional attendance will be allowed to complete their English program pathway at Pineland.

5. Pineland will continue to offer Grade 1-8 French Immersion.

6. Pineland will continue to be the receiving school for Grade 7 – 8 English students from Mohawk Gardens.

7. If optional attendance does not generate sufficient English program enrolment over the 2010 – 2011 school year, effective September 2011, students choosing English program for Grade One would be directed to Mohawk Gardens for their English program. Students currently in
the English program could complete their English program pathway at Pineland

Note: The final decision from staff does not require approval by the Board of Trustees.

It is great to live and work in such an involved community. Great job everyone!

Low inventory levels set stage for heated Spring market in most major Canadian centres, says RE/MAX

Active listings down in 81 per cent of markets in January

Lack of inventory will be the greatest challenge facing housing markets across the country this Spring, according to a report released by RE/MAX.

The RE/MAX Market Trends Report 2010, which examined real estate trends and developments in 16 markets across the country, found that unusually strong activity during one of the traditionally quietest months of the year has led to a sharp decline in active listings in 81 per cent of markets surveyed. The threat of higher interest rates, tighter lending criteria, and in British Columbia and Ontario, the introduction of the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) have clearly served to kick-start real estate activity from coast-to-coast, prompting an unprecedented influx of purchasers. As a result, 87.5 per cent of markets posted an increase in sales in January. Average price appreciated in 81 per cent of markets surveyed.

There have never been so many motivating factors in play at once. We’re in for a heated Spring market that will, in all probability, spill over into the summer months, as the window of opportunity draws to a close. The supply of homes listed for sale has been drastically reduced, housing values are once again on the upswing, and banks and governments are moving in unison toward stricter lending policies.

Markets experiencing the tightest inventory levels include Toronto (- 41 per cent); Kitchener-Waterloo
(-33 per cent); Ottawa (- 30 per cent); Victoria (- 30 per cent); Greater Vancouver (- 27 per cent); Halifax-Dartmouth (- 19 per cent); London-St. Thomas (- 18 per cent); Regina (- 16 per cent); and Winnipeg (- 13 per cent). Conditions were still balanced, but starting to tighten in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon, particularly in the single-family detached category.

The highest year-over-year sales gains were reported in Greater Vancouver (152 per cent), Kelowna (121 per cent), Greater Toronto (87 per cent), Victoria (69 per cent), Hamilton-Burlington (58 per cent), London-St. Thomas (55 per cent) and Calgary (47 per cent). Western Canadian cities dominated the list of centres with the highest increases in price appreciation. These included Victoria at 25.5 per cent, Kelowna at 22 per cent, Greater Vancouver at 19.5 per cent, and Winnipeg at 17 per cent. St. John’s (23 per cent) and Toronto (19 per cent) were also among the frontrunners for price growth.

Affordability is the catalyst for the vast majority of purchasers in today’s housing market. While homeownership is still within reach in many major centres, levels are slipping. There is a growing sense, on both sides of the fence, that the time to act is now.

While buyers are taking advantage of favourable conditions, sellers too are reaping the rewards. Competing bids are a factor in the marketplace once again, with well-priced listings—especially at the entry-level price point—experiencing multiple offers. Properties priced at fair-market value will likely sell quickly for top dollar. The overall pressure on sales and price is significant across the board – and it’s not likely to subside unless more inventory comes on-stream.

The level of frustration is growing, as pent-up demand builds. For every successful offer, there are those that will walk away empty-handed. They’re thrust back into the buyer pool and the process starts all over again. Some buyers are upping the ante, while others are considering alternate housing options. Still, purchasers remain cautious in their bids, with most careful not to max out debt service ratios.

Recent revisions to lending criteria will add fuel to the fire in the short term. Buyers considering a variable rate mortgage will step up their plans for homeownership in the next month or so just to get in under the wire. In the longer term, buyers will adjust, but move forward. Compromise has long been a reality—particularly in the larger centres. This simply means they may go smaller or further in their pursuits.

It’s been a 180 degree turnaround from this time last year. It’s clear that real estate from coast to coast has roared back to life and markets are once again firing on all cylinders. The vast majority of markets are now recovered and fully-evolved, with all segments working in tandem. At the luxury price point, activity was brisk in seventy-three per cent of centres surveyed, with momentum ramping up in the remainder. Opportunity exists in some areas, but the question is for how much longer?

The local real estate market is quite active at the moment. Should you wish to discuss how the information above might impact the value of your current home or the price of a home you might be considering, please feel free to contact me at rdavison@trebnet.com or 905-330-1241. Exciting times!

Jim Flaherty’s Changes to Mortgage Qualification Rules

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced three changes to Canadian mortgage rules on February the 16th. These are important changes, but less important that what Mr. Flaherty did not change. There had been industry talk of increasing the minimum down payment from 5% to 10% and shortening the maximum amortization period from the available 35 years. Thankfully Jim Flaherty understood that increasing the down payment rules and shortening the amortization would potentially put the brakes on higher priced markets like Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.

The changes that the Finance Minister did make are designed to impact real estate speculators and heavily indebted people looking to roll higher priced debt into their mortgages. The every day home purchaser should not notice much of a difference following the implementation of the changes as of April 19th, 2010. These changes impact mortgages with less than 20 per cent down that are covered by government backed mortgage insurance, in the following ways:

- Increased mortgage term used for mortgage qualification calculations. Regardless of the term or type of mortgage the consumer selects, they must qualify against the 5 year fixed rate. This is up from the 3 year fixed rate that is currently used for qualification. Once qualified against the 5 year fixed rate, the consumer can select whichever type and term of mortgage they wish. This approach will insulate borrowers from the shock of the rising rates in the future.

- Increased down payment requirements for income properties when the property is not the owner’s principal residence. Investors that purchase these investment properties will have to come up with a 20% down payment to qualify for mortgage insurance as of April 19th, 2010, instead of the 5% down payment required at the moment. Currently, very few investors would purchase a rental property with 5% down payment.

- Mortgage refinance restrictions. Home owners that are looking to roll higher priced consumer debt into their longer term, lower cost mortgage debt through refinancing will face limited access to their equity. Currently, home owners are able to take up to 95% of the equity out of their homes. As of April 19, 2010 refinancing will only be allowed to a limit of 90% of the equity of the home.

Jim Flaherty’s changes to mortgage qualification rules are slightly more restrictive than what was in place prior to his February 16th, 2010 announcement. However, he has not implemented any changes that will put healthy Canadian real estate markets in shackles. These are responsible restrictions that will help the real estate market avoid over heating and heading toward bubble territory.

Should you have any questions about this or any other piece on the 905 West Word blog please feel free to contact me at rdavison@trebnet.com or 905-330-1241.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.