Move-Up and Luxury Home Buyers- Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Trends 2016

Kitchener-Waterloo was characterized by strong real estate market throughout 2016 with house prices increasing by an average of 10% over home prices in 2015. A series of broken sales records combined with low inventory has had a rippling effect on everyone.

Move-up buyers in particular have enjoyed the maximization of their equity. Owners who have sold their homes in 2016 are benefiting from the substantial activity at the lower end of the market, which has allowed them to move into larger, new homes, often in the luxury $1 million+ range. While there has been some multiple-offer activity in the luxury home market, competition is remarkably less than that found below $500,000.

Luxury Home

However, there are only a few weeks left in 2016 for buyers of luxury homes to enjoy the original land transfer rates. New mortgage policy has updated or “modernized” land transfer rates to reflect the prices of luxury homes, with purchases of homes over $2 million seeing a .5% rate increase to help accommodate the doubling of the First-Time Home Buyer land transfer rebate announced in November 2016.

“Modernized” Ontario Land Transfer Tax Rates
Home Purchase Price      
       Tax Rate
Up to $55,000                                 0.5%
$55,000 to $250,000                      1.0%
$250,000 to $400,000                    1.5%
$400,000 to $2-million                    2.0%
$2-million and over                         2.5%


$100 Million Project Planned for West Galt

With plenty of focus on development in Waterloo and Kitchener for the past few decades, now it’s Cambridge’s turn to step into the technology and expansion lime-light.

The growth of multiple condominium lofts and apartments in Galt will be joined by the Gaslight District by HIP Developments. Planned as a complete community with a cobbled square, it will be centred within Grand Avenue, Fraser Street, Glebe Street and St. Andrews Street, next to the Grand River in West Galt.

The expansive project will span 2 years, with the projected result being a European look and feel housing 400 residential units, a tech hub based around Conestoga College’s tech programs such as advanced manufacturing and cyber-security, as well as restaurants, and retail.


This 100 million dollar investment will include selective demolition of portions of the Southworks Factory Outlet which currently is home to nearly 50 shops.

HIP’s other projects in the region have included 181 King in Waterloo, Trio on Belmont in Kitchener and the River Bank Lofts in Hespeler.



First-time Home Buyers to get Double the Land Transfer Tax Rebate

Yesterday afternoon Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced an increase to the land transfer tax (LTT) rebate for first-time buyers. The rebate is being doubled from $2,000 to $4,000. The announcement came as part of Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement and is specifically aimed to help first-time buyers enter the housing market. Buyers can start claiming the rebate effective January 1, 2017.


Although home prices continue to rise, every little bit helps to allow buyers a chance to get into the market and begin to build equity and wealth. With the new change, first-time home buyers who are permanent residents will not pay land transfer tax on the first $368,000. In many cases in Kitchener-Waterloo and area, the rebate will translate to these buyers not paying land transfer tax on the purchase of their first home at all.


What Can You Expect From Your REALTOR®?

You probably know that a REALTOR® does more than just post a for sale sign on your front lawn, or guide potential buyers through your home. But how much more? What exactly will a real estate professional do for you?


Taking the time upfront to understand what to expect from your agent will help to reduce misunderstandings, and make the selling process less mysterious and stressful. You’ll be able to anticipate what’s going to happen next, be prepared to ask the right questions along the way, and be aware of whether your Realtor is meeting expectations.

Typically, you should expect a good real estate agent to:

  • Explain the Listing Agreement to you. (This is your contract with the real estate firm.)
  • Describe the home selling process, and answer all your questions and concerns.
  • Prepare a realistic appraisal based on the expected market value of your home by comparing it to similar property sales in your area.
  • Provide you with advice on how to make your home more appealing to potential buyers, especially during showings and open houses.
  • Create a comprehensive marketing plan to promote your home.
  • Screen enquiries, schedule appointments, and show your home to potential buyers.
  • Field offers from potential buyers, deal with counter-offers, and negotiate the best terms and selling price possible for your home.
  • Help you throughout the entire selling process to make it as easy and stress-free as possible.

These services should be the minimum you expect from a good agent. The best agents will do more. They will be there for you in the weeks, months, and even years after the sale to make sure everything continues to go smoothly in your new home.


Strong Demand Continues to Fuel Waterloo Region Housing Market in October

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (November 3, 2016) ––Last month a total of 577 residential properties sold in Kitchener-Waterloo and area though the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR), an increase of 24.4 percent compared to October of 2015, and an all-time high for the month.

October’s sales included 359 single detached homes (up 18.9% compared to October 2015) and 130 condominium type units (up 28.7%) which include any property regardless of style (i.e. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.). Sales also included 41 semi-detached homes (down 105 percent) and 39 freehold townhouses (up 2.6 percent).

Record breaking sales are also being tallied on a year-to-date basis with 5,818 residential transactions compared to 4,920 during the same period in 2015, representing an increase of 18.3 percent. Conversely, inventory levels are low with only 729 active residential listings on the market to the end of October, a decline of 11 percent compared to the previous month, and 53.9 percent below the same period last year.

The average price of all residential properties sold in October was $408,067 a 12.7 percent increase over 2015. Detached homes sold for an average price of $478,685, an increase of 14.3 percent compared to October 2015. During this same period, the average sale price for an apartment style condominium was $225,221, an increase of 5.6 percent. Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $307,294 (up 17.6 percent) and $329,966 (up 23.9 percent) respectively.

Noting an increase in multiple offer situations, and homes selling for above asking price, Charlotte Zawada, president of the KWAR says: “A strong appetite for homeownership in Waterloo region combined with slimmer inventory levels means it’s still a sellers’ market.”

The average price was also pulled upward by an increase in homes selling for a half-million dollars and above in October, compared to the same month last year. The number of sales occurring at or above $500,000 doubled in October compared to the same month last year; and made up a total of 23 percent of all home sales, compared to just 14 percent in 2015.

The median price of all residential properties sold in October increased 17.2 percent to $375,000, and the median price of a detached home during the same period increased 16.8 percent to $438,000.

New measures by the federal government which introduced a mortgage rate “stress test” on all new insured mortgages took effect on October 17, 2016. While the overall impact of these changes is yet to be fully understood, President Zawada says “It is likely that some first-time homebuyers rushed to purchase prior to the stress test coming into effect.”

Residential Sale Price and Total Units Sold in October over the last 10 years:

10 Year Comparison:


Editing is your friend

Sometimes, when people think of staging their home as one of the first steps to selling it, they underestimate the advantages and impact.

While your home may be well decorated to your standards and preferences, this doesn’t mean that a fresh approach may not be helpful (or even necessary)!


One of the biggest factors that can hold back a sale is the sheer amount of stuff that people tend to keep in their homes. Items used daily make sense, rather it’s the items that haven’t been used in years that are overlooked as people get used to them or have trouble leaving the past behind.

Here are 5 of the worst offenders. If you decide to keep these around, you are kicking yourself in the home-selling butt by losing money and valuable time.

1. Unused children’s toys that languish on display in vacant bedrooms, attics, or fill closets — Have your children grown, gone to college/university and moved out? Donate that old rocking horse and those trucks. Let another child enjoy new memories with their new find.

2. Extra furniture — You don’t have a place for them, and you don’t plan to take them with you when you move. Not only do they rob your home of floor space, often these pieces do not match with your decor and take away from the final presentation. Plenty of local charities in Waterloo Region will come by and pick up free furniture donations as long as you schedule them in advance. During the summer they may be booked up, so maybe borrow a friend’s truck and drop it off at the charity yourself.

3. Old candles — If you have several candles that are partially used and look a little sad, maybe save those for a power outage or put them away to use when your home is not on display. This is also important if your candle is not to scale, such as having a tiny tea light on an expansive dining table.

4. Trinkets galore — As much as you might love silk or acrylic flowers, small porcelain figurines, or ceramic dolls, it’s best to put all or most of these away. They’ll not only date your home, but they collect dust, distract home buyers from viewing the space, and let’s face it, might make some people uncomfortable.

5. Anything that blocks a walk way, door way, or window — These areas are important parts of your home that buyers will experience when they visit and impact the overall flow and layout. They want to feel good in the space and having to squeeze around furniture, boxes or appliances that are awkwardly placed makes for a less than advantageous situation. If there’s a window, make sure it can easily be seen and allow light in as much as possible.

Those are the big editing points to attend to in your home as a seller, so if you’re willing to put in the elbow grease and care about the sale of your home, it can mean the difference between “sold” and “stress”.