Choosing a neighbourhood based on the school

Every year, families move from one area of Kitchener-Waterloo to the other, or move in or out of the Region. One thing that holds true for many parents is ensuring that their children will have the opportunity to benefit from quality education.

Fortunately, in Waterloo Region, we have several schools that rank well according to the Fraser Institutes annual assessment which uses objective, publicly-available data to compile the rankings.

Waterloo’s Top elementary schools include Laurelwood Public School and St. Nicholas (8.8), and Millen Woods Public School  (8.3)

If you live in Kitchener, the top elementary schools include St. Teresa (9.5), Lackner Woods and St. Mark (8.2).

For students attending high school In Kitchener, Resurrection  (7.5), Kitchener Waterloo Collegiate Institute (6.7), and St. Mary’s (6.6)

For high school students in Waterloo, top ranking schools include Waterloo Collegiate Institute (8.2), Sir John A. Macdonald (8.1), and St. David (7.3).

We’re very fortunate to have many great schools to choose from in Kitchener-Waterloo. For more details about other school rankings or to compare schools, click here.

Navigating the real estate rise and fall

As many of you have likely noticed, particularly if you have been thinking about buying or selling property in the last year, the real estate market has seen a number of fluctuations. All you have to do is open your Facebook, or turn on the television to see headlines declaring that home prices are continuing to climb or drop. The most recent? Canadian home prices have seen the biggest drop in 7 years.

So what if you’re thinking about selling or downsizing? What if you need to buy a larger home for your family or move closer to work? While the news has kept some of you in the loop, it’s really REALTORS along with the local and national statistics that can help to make sense of what is happening at ground level in Waterloo Region. How can you best take advantage of the market to meet your goals?

As real estate professionals, Landon and I have been anticipating the economical and psychological effects of the changes in lending rates and policy regulations and prepare our clients with how that will change the real estate experience.

Our market knowledge, strategy, timing, marketing, and active assessments of patterns and statistics can be an asset that you too can benefit from. What’s your next move? Let’s talk about where you want to go, and how we’ll get you there. Make an appointment with me now and we’ll develop a plan that works for you.

Strong buyer demand endures

Last month, we saw fewer homes sold in Waterloo Region than compared to June 2016. This is the first time this has in nearly two years.

Still, with more homes being listed than ever before, the continued strong demand for homes means that most homes are still selling within weeks.

“Home sales in June were very strong, and we’re on track to have another record breaking year of residential sales,” says James Craig, President of KWAR. “June is the fourth consecutive month home sales in the Kitchener-Waterloo area have exceeded 700 units. Historically sales in KW and area have only ever surpassed the 700 unit threshold in a single month three previous times.”

Home prices remain higher than last year, with the average sales price of all residential sales increasing 19.8 per cent to $465,772 compared to June 2016.

Meanwhile, detached homes sold for an average price of $537,389 for an increase of 19.3 per cent, while the average sale price for an apartment style condominium was $276,443 for an increase of 17.6 per cent. Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $341,716 (up 23.2 per cent) and $380,660 (up 28.4 per cent) respectively.

For more on the official report on June’s K-W Market Update including statistics from Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships, click here.

Record sales and over 1000 new listings

This is the second consecutive month unit sales have hit an all-time high.

It’s also the first time in two years that the number of new listings put on the market has exceeded the 1,000 unit mark.

REALTORS® listed 1,271 residential properties in K-W and area this May, a 38.6 per cent increase compared to May of 2016, and a 29 per cent increase compared to the previous month.

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The increase in homes available for purchase means that there are more homes on the market in Waterloo Region and area for Buyers to choose from. At the same time, competition remains strong as out-of-area Buyers continue to be attracted by the relatively inexpensive inventory. The average sale price of a single-detached home in this area at $594,047, just over half the cost of the average single-detached home in Toronto.

KWAR May report stats

While more homes were listed in May, it continues to be a seller’s market in Waterloo region and across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) as inventories remain tight at near or less than one month of inventory.

For more on the official report on April’s K-W Market Update including statistics from Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships, click here.

Planning for green fingers and thumbs?

If you’re new to gardening, or have moved to a new home with many unknown plants, you’ll be pleased to know that Waterloo Region has a fantastic Facebook group “Gardeners of KW“, that can serve as a handy resource whether you’re a seasoned or new gardener.

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For those who join, there are some basic rules:

This is essential behaviour for the gardeners in this group: lettuce be thankful to each other for sharing by voicing our gratitude, squash selfishness by offering and accepting advice and goods happily, turnip to help thy neighbor freely, and always make thyme for fellow garden-lovers. Acting this way will create peas of mind for all group members.

-Gardeners of KW

Whether you’re growing food, landscaping or trying to identify the plant in your new backyard, this is the place to be!

Peas out!

April showers brought sold signs

In April 2017, 766 residential transactions were recorded through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR), an increase of 14.3 percent  compared to April 2016.

Waterloo Region is still seeing lots of buying and selling activity, and fortunately there have been more homes coming to market, meaning that there are more homes for buyers to choose from. At the same time, the demand for homes continues to grow.

market april chart

In April, REALTORS® listed 985 residential properties in the K-W area, a 17.8 percent increase compared to April of 2016, and the first time the number of new listings put on the market in a single month has come so close to the 1,000 unit mark in two years.

Despite greater numbers of homes available for purchase in April, vigorous demand for homes in Waterloo region meant homes were snapped up quickly.  The average days on market in April were 10, compared to 33 days a year ago. On a month-to-month basis, it took four fewer days from list to sale date in April compared to March.

In fact, The average sales price of all residential sales increased nearly 40%to $512,656 compared to April 2016.

If you’re considering selling your home or investment property, 2017 is shaping out to be a good year to do so.

For more details on April’s K-W Market Update including statistics from Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships, click here.

Winds are a changin’

The spring market in real estate is always a busy time for buyers and sellers alike. With March’s home sales statistics showing continued strong interest by Buyers in Waterloo Region, more Sellers are considering the benefits of using this market climate to their advantage, as they plan to downsize, or sell investment properties to release equity and potential financial gain.

In fact, a new poll of 3000 Canadian adults conducted by CIBC, finds 41 per cent of Canadian with plans to sell their property are doing so to cash in and make a profit.

It’s definitely a prime time to sell, particularly in light of some signs of cooling happening in areas surrounding Toronto. So while the market is hot now, it won’t last forever. If you’re thinking about moving, why not get the market to work for you?

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If you’re wondering just how much the market has added to your home, and how much you might be able to take home after the sale, be sure to speak to a REALTOR® who will be able to help you effectively capture that profit to help you buy your new home, save for the kids’ education, or fund that retirement nest egg.

Momentous Homes Sales in March

If you thought that February’s sales stats were high, get acquainted with March Stats which included  729 residential properties sold in the Kitchener-Waterloo area through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener‐Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR).

“This is the first time we’ve seen residential sales come anywhere close to the 700 unit mark so early in the year,” says James Craig, President of the KWAR.

The average days on market in March were significantly shorter than a year ago: 14 days, compared to 35 days. On a month to month basis, it took four fewer days to sell a home in March compared to the month before.

march stats

Despite the low inventory, Craig notes that people were listing their homes in large numbers last month. “We had 844 new listings processed through our MLS® System in March which is above the previous 5‐year average of 807 for the month of March.” However, due to extraordinary demand, the number of active residential listings still on the market at the end of March was well below normal with only 434 residential properties for sale, way below the previous 5‐year March average of 1,508.

For more details on March’s K-W Market Update including statistics from Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships, click here.

Getting to know your new neighbourhood

In this fast-paced market, homes are selling more quickly than ever, but location is still a factor that should be considered by Buyers. Is it close enough to school, work, and other amenities that are important to you?

When you’re thinking seriously about moving, take the time to do a little research and take advantage of the internet, and talk to friends who may live or frequent the area to help you decide if it’s the right buy for you.

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Here are are a few great ways to learn more about a neighbourhood whether you are moving across town or to another province:

  1. Use Google Street View- to map out streets and find amenities close by, and don’t forget to use street view to consider the overall condition of the homes, and the community centres, or local parks.
  2. Check Google Reviews and Yelp- to get an idea of what kinds of shops, restaurants and other features are nearby and to see if these are places that you would like to visit or use.
  3. Google Map Destinations- map out your routes to work, school, soccer, access to the 401, expressway or any other destination you think you will be using regularly. Does it makes sense to buy a home that is 20 minutes from the highway, if you commute?
  4. Ask your REALTOR®  – We are a great resource that can help you understand the demographics of a neighbourhood, let you know where people tend to shop or go to school, and other characteristics that can help you imagine living in your potential new home.
  5. Take a hike– Walk around the home, and streets. Do you feel comfortable? What are the neighbours like? Is it an acceptable level of traffic? Only you will know if the area is right for you.

Prepping for spring market

Spring market is the busiest selling season when it comes to real estate! With all the buzz about the market favouring sellers, does that mean that you should just sit back and wait for your home to sell?

You can. But we suggest continuing to put your best foot forward. When selling your home, it really does make a difference if you commit to refreshing, cleaning and staging your home.

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Top 5 classic quick tips:

  1. Get your home spotless – this includes inside closets, baseboards, cupboards, around the stove, under the sofa, and definitely every inch of your bathrooms. People love a clean home when they see one!
  2. Stow away your valuables– That antique jewelry your Aunt Edith gave you when you turned 16 can find a new temporary home. Better to keep it out of sight for security and peace of mind.
  3. Clear up clutter – Extra furniture, old clothes and toys, fridge magnets and an abundance of decor can be packed up to make way for more space on tables, floors and counter tops, allowing buyers to focus on your home. Bonus points if you donate your extra stuff to a local charity.
  4. Depersonalize – Family photos should be packed up carefully and removed from walls, and tables. For example, a family photo gallery in the foyer brings the buyers attention to the pictures and the sellers, and not to the house. If your goal is to sell the house, best to remove all distractions from the eyes and minds of the buyers.
  5. Call in a professional – Sometimes, it best to call in a professional stager. In some cases, staging can increase the selling price of your home by up to 17%. Looking for a referral? Ask you Real Estate Agent who will gladly assist!