February Market Update for Waterloo Region

There was a frenzy of home sales in February as 474 residential homes were sold in February through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR), an increase of 4.2 percent compared to February 2016.

A lack of listings to satisfy the strong consumer demand is fueling multiple offers often resulting in sale prices above the actual asking price, which pushed the total residential average sale price in February up 27.5% compared to the same month last year to $463,355.

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“The dream of homeownership is very much alive and well,” says, Craig. “It’s a challenging time to be selling or purchasing a home and sellers may be tempted into thinking they can simply stick a sign in the yard because it’s such a strong sellers’ market.” But Craig notes that in these market conditions it is even more important than ever to avail yourself of the professional knowledge of a local REALTOR® to guide you through these unique and evolving market conditions.

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

 

January Market Update- Waterloo Region

While demand remained strong in January, the number of active listings was down significantly: There were 367 active listings at the end of January, compared to 1,068 in 2016.

“The continued strong demand combined with a tight supply of listings means that many properties are not on the market for very long,” says James Craig, President of the KWAR. “This has created an extremely competitive buying environment.”

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The average days on market in January were significantly shorter than a year ago: 22 days, compared to 47 days, and six days quicker than in December. The average sales price of all residential properties sold in January was $421,104, a 0.5 percent decline compared to the
previous month, and a 19.1 percent increase compared to January 2016.

Reaching a new milestone in December, was the average price of a Detached home sold through the KWAR’s MLS®
System which for the first time surpassed the half million mark; a benchmark that was repeated again in January, with the
average detached home selling for $501,821, an increase of 22.7 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

President Craig points out that Waterloo region is in high demand. “Getting into the housing market at the moment is not easy, and buyers need all the help they can get. It is more important than ever that you avail yourself of the professional knowledge of a local REALTOR® to guide you through these unique market conditions”

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

2016: Unprecedented year for home sales in Waterloo Region

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December 2016 topped off an unprecedented year in real estate in Waterloo Region as prices for homes along with numbers of homes sold reached new heights.

According to market statistics, “dollar volume of all residential real estate sold last year increased 30.9 percent to $2,578,176,468 compared with 2015”, and “a thousand more units than sold in 2015, amounting to an increase of 18.1 percent and setting a new record for total annual sales”.

November set another all-time high in market sales, with one month still to go in 2016. “Year-to-Date Sales to the end of November have now exceeded any previous end-of-year totals on record,” says James Craig, president of the KWAR.  But greater sales numbers were not due to greater inventory. With a substantial shortage of homes, many properties are selling above list price, as more buyers compete for fewer homes. According to the report:

Craig says that he expects demand for home purchasing in 2017 will continue to be strong. “There is no smoking gun to explain the current market. Mortgage rates remain low, inducing more consumers to get into the market. We have an extremely attractive community, with a growing population and diverse economy bringing in new residents to the region. Home prices remain affordable when compared to the average GTA prices.”

“The challenge is inventory levels remain low, as homeowners are staying in their homes longer and some who might have otherwise moved up are choosing to avoid the hot market. What I hope to see is more balance returning to the market, because I sure don’t see the appetite for home ownership in Waterloo region letting up anytime soon.”

For more details on December 2016’s K-W Market Update that includes statistics from Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships, click here.

 

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

 

 

First-time home buyers making it work

With the new mortgage rules and home prices rising faster than ever in Kitchener-Waterloo and beyond, first-time home buyers are feeling the pinch. With the risk of being priced out of the market, there is the additional challenge of not only carrying a larger mortgage but also coming up with the minimum 5% deposit, or ideally 20% deposit that would exclude the need for CMHC mortgage insurance fees in most cases.

But recent studies show that rising prices won’t stop buyers who are determined to start building equity as soon as they are able. In fact, half of Canadians aged 18 to 34 own homes and rent out a room or basement to help cover housing costs.

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While it may be an inconvenient to share your home, getting closer to being mortgage free, and having the extra income generation may be worth the temporary sacrifice. According to a study based on 2000 participants, 12 per cent of Canadian homeowners currently rent or plan to rent out part of their home, with that amount rising to 20 per cent for 18- to 34-year-old homeowners.

 

Another record-breaking month in November

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November set another all-time high in market sales, with one month still to go in 2016. “Year-to-Date Sales to the end of November have now exceeded any previous end-of-year totals on record,” says James Craig, president of the KWAR.  But greater sales numbers were not due to greater inventory. With a substantial shortage of homes, many properties are selling above list price, as more buyers compete for fewer homes. According to the report:

As of the end of November, the KWAR’ MLS® System only had 565 active residential listings on the market, down 23.1 percent compared to the previous month, and 60.8 percent below the same period last year.
The average price of all residential properties sold in November was $411,602 a 15.5 percent increase over 2015. Detached homes sold for an average price of $473,104, an increase of 13.9 percent compared to November 2015. During this same period, the average sale price for an apartment style condominium was $209,360, a decrease of 8 percent. Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $310,151 (up 14.8 percent) and $330,534 (up 27.7 percent) respectively.
“With a notable shortage of inventory, many properties are selling above list price,” said Craig. “This is because you have many buyers competing for fewer properties, and this is pushing up the average price.”

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

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.

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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.

Video: http://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=997676&binId=1.1147261&playlistPageNum=1

 

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.

 

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?

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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.