Buyers, use your Realtors!

Are you looking for a new home? Have you found a REALTOR®  that you trust and that you can go to for your real estate questions? Great! Why not take full advantage of their service to you when you are looking at homes?

While many buyers enjoy the advantages of attending an open house, sometimes that may not be possible. So who is the first person that you should call? Your Realtor!

Your Realtor will be able to tell you how many days the home has been on the market, whether or not there is a conditional offer on the home, as well as other details that are not readily available to the public. Of course, they will schedule the private viewing as well!

We’re always here to answer your Buyer questions and assist you in buying a home, unless you have your agent under contract to help you. In that case it would be a violation of ethics. If you do have an agent that has committed to you, please call your agent to book that showing. They’ll be happy to help!

What’s in store for 2017?

As construction of the light rail transit system (LRT) continues, Kitchener-Waterloo is expected to continue to thrive economically. In combination with the continued increase of Go-Train frequency between Kitchener and the GTA, along with the healthy tech sector growth, the region will continue to attract buyers looking to find more value for their money arriving from Toronto and area, as well as commuters, and those employed or looking to become involved in K-W’s technology parks and increased business growth.

The RE/MAX 2017 average residential sale price expectation for Kitchener-Waterloo is an eight per cent increase in home prices, increasing to $413,313 for the average residential sales price, up from $382, 687 in 2016. Spring 2017 should also bring increased inventory levels, along with some new developments coming to market. However, 2017 is expected to stay a seller’s market with an expected 8 per cent increase in home prices.

For sellers, these numbers provide even more incentive to ensure you present your home in the best light, to make the most out of the sale of one of your biggest assets. This includes making repairs, maintaining home systems including HVAC, and water lines, as well as keeping your curb appeal in tip-top shape.

If you’re thinking about selling your home and want to maximize your profits, ask us how! We’ll provide you with a free home evaluation and get you started on understanding the value of your home in our current market.

Real Estate Report on Kitchener-Waterloo 2016

The Kitchener-Waterloo Housing Market saw significant growth in 2016.  The average residential sale price rose approximately 10 per cent to $382,697 up from $348,220 in 2015. Many residential listings received multiple offers, with pre-emptive or bully offers being a common occurrence.

Housing Market Kitchener-Waterloo

Attracting Out-of-Towners – Greater Toronto Area buyers continue to drive demand in Kitchener-Waterloo as they seek out affordable housing options along the GO Train line. Waterloo’s economy and consumer confidence were boosted in 2016 due to substantial growth in its tech sector as the low Canadian dollar encouraged increased investment from American tech companies.

Outlying Towns Heating Up- New Hamburg and Baden, located on the outskirts of Kitchener, are becoming increasingly popular with move-up buyers and retirees. For young families, the areas offer good schools and nice properties at affordable prices, while retirees are attracted to the adult retirement villages, which feature bungalow-style homes, amenities and activities.

First-Time Buyers- First-time buyers are a key driver of the Kitchener-Waterloo market. Young couples looking to enter the market typically prefer low maintenance condo properties that provide easy access to the downtown core.

Condo market – Condo sales were up in 2016 between January and October to 1,358, compared to 1,029 properties sold during the same period in 2015. Due to a surplus of condo inventory near Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, it’s expected that some of the housing initially intended for student rentals may eventually shift to wider availability residential rental units.

Source:  REMAX 2017 HousingMarketOutlookReport

 

 

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%

 

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.

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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.

 

New Mortgage Rules and You

Since 2008, we’ve seen the progression of changes implemented by the government to tighten eligibility rules for new insurable loans. By October 17th 2016, we’ll be looking at another wave of changes, most notably with the application of a “stress test”. Home buyers are now required to qualify for both their negotiated mortgage rate as well as the Bank of Canada’s five year rate. The result? Purchasing power will be affected and many home buyers will be adjusting their expectations and plans.

If you’re a first-time home buyer and you’re not sure that you can meet the new mortgage criteria, you should make it a priority to speak to your financial advisor or mortgage broker to advise you on your options.

Even if you you’re confident in your buying power because you already intended to buy well below your agreed pre-approval rate, you can benefit through the clarity of discussing these changes. If you’re a home buyer in this group, you may also see less competition, as the parties that have been working at the top end of the budget take a step back to regroup.

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Some new rules also apply to sellers: If you’re selling your principle residence, you will now need to report this change on your income taxes to the CRA, but your home will still be exempt from being taxed on this profit in most cases. This is a great topic to discuss with your accountant or income tax preparer.

As Sellers, you will find that our local market in Waterloo Region is healthy and attractive to home buyers, particularly those who are financially stable, and understand the advantages of reducing their debt ceiling. Further, our buyer base is growing geographically as we continue to attract out-of-towners who find the Region to be a great place to live.

Overall, while the new regulations will restrict purchasing power from what which we have previously been exposed, it’s important to understand that regardless of these changes, it’s always wise to reduce other consumer debt, save more for a larger down payment, or lower your budget for your new home, which increases your financial stability, and risk reduction.

After all, home ownership should be a smart, informed, and a financially comfortable decision that allows you to invest in your life.

If you’re looking for more guidance on buying or selling a home in Waterloo Region, reach out and we can help you get familiar with the process, whether it’s the first time or the fourth time. Contact Us.