Shift Happens…

Posted on by Keith in Market Updates | Comments Off on Shift Happens…

Real Estate markets shift quickly. Such is currently the case where we’ve gone from low inventory and huge bidding wars to a GLUT of inventory. In many neighbourhoods, it’s now a Buyer’s market. When was the last time you heard that?

Here are some numbers that will allow all potential Home Buyers and pundits in the industry to say “Aha, I told you so!” Local stats show a +67% increase in listings, a -17% drop in firm sales and a -42% drop in showings last week over the same period in 2016. Even re-sale prices in May show a -7% decrease from April of this year though still +23% higher than last year. Canadian Real Estate Wealth reported a -20.3% decrease in sales of detached homes in the GTA last month over April. Cleary, the actions taken by the Provincial Government are having the intended effect on the market, though I’d maintain it pales in comparison to the effect that all the extra inventory that flooded the market in April has had.

 

Timing the Market (Sellers)

With the market at a peak in March, a larger number of Sellers apparently wanted to “cash in” on the amazing prices that Buyers were willing to pay for housing. Sure, it wasn’t a bad idea to cash in on the gravy train but for those Sellers that decided to list in April, it was already too late. A flood of inventory, combined with government announcements of their plans to cool the market caused Buyers to step back and take a breath. This put a lot of Sellers who had already purchased a home in a very, hairy predicament. They had purchased a home based on the prevailing market, thinking their own home would sell in 5 days with multiple offers. The market turned and they’re left holding the bag. Not pretty!

 

Timing the Market (Buyers)

Which brings us to this market shift. We don’t predict the future, primarily because it’s unpredictable. But with 20 years’ experience in the real estate market, current activity has the feel of a more “balanced” market and in certain pockets you could call it a Buyer’s market. This is refreshing. But will Buyers make the same mistake that April’s sellers made? Remember Vancouver? The government in BC tempered the market last year but now, it’s back. Though sales were off about -8.5% in May over the same period last year, prices were up +8.8%. To those Buyers who were holding back hoping for further market declines…you lose.

We see the same happening here. We see some Buyers sitting on the sidelines now, thinking that prices will start decreasing, maybe drastically! Overall prices have already moderated and some Sellers have made drastic reductions in price, however, these are typically those Sellers who must sell their home due to a pending purchase contract. Buyers should jump at these! But if you’re sitting on the sidelines thinking this is the beginning of the big decline, you’re trying to “time the market.” That never ends well. Look at Vancouver which is now increasing again!

Buyer or Seller’s Market…

Has the market stalled giving those buyers on the sidelines good reason to stay there? No. We looked at bungalows for sale in Oshawa last week. There were 103 of them on the market. Sounds like a lot except for the fact 100 sold in the past 4 weeks. This is one month’s inventory…solid seller market stats. Compared to the 1 week inventory levels we’ve seen over the past 2 years; however, Buyers are now in new territory. Buyers can now negotiate price and include conditions in their offers! We looked at another popular subdivision where inventory is currently running at 6 MONTHS! That’s solid Buyer’s Market territory. What a totally refreshing scenario for Buyers but…

 

The Herd runs the race Bass Aackwards…

Herd mentality shows that when Buyers shouldn’t be buying because there’s a heated frenzy, they’re buying and adding to that frenzy. When Buyers should be buying because conditions are balanced, they sit on the sidelines thinking the market will favour them even more if they just wait long enough. Not good. This is trying to time the market and as the Vancouver market has proven, markets don’t always do what we think they’ll do.

In Durham Region, the market is obviously still very active even though sales are slower. It is, from a financial and lifestyle point of view, the best Region in the GTA to buy a home and raise a family. In our opinion, this is exactly the time you should be scouring the listings, if you’re a buyer. And if you’re looking in an area where there’s plenty of inventory, SELL FIRST so you know exactly how much money you’ll have to work with. Or better yet, purchase your next home Conditional on the sale of your current home! The sun is about to come out again, and this may have more of an effect than any government intervention!

 

Our advice?

This summer is THE time to buy a home. Are you listening? HIGH Inventory, LOW Buyer Competition, LOW Interest rates, HIGH Seller Motivation. Now go out there and negotiate a deal!

We break down the stats neighbourhood by neighbourhood. If you’re sitting on the sidelines, contact us for a detailed analysis of the areas you’re interested in!

Creating curb appeal on a budget

Posted on by Keith in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Creating curb appeal on a budget


The arrival of summer has many homeowners outside planting, preparing the patio for cookouts, and taking evening strolls through the neighborhood. Often, this extended outdoor time brings on a desire to improve a home’s curb appeal.

 
But home improvement projects can be expensive, and many homeowners are still wary about spending money on renovations, despite the improving real estate market. So what’s the best way to spruce up the appearance of your house without breaking the bank?

 
There are many budget-friendly exterior changes that will make a big difference in curb appeal. A fresh coat of paint can work wonders, whether it’s applied to the entire house or just on the front door. If your house is painted a neutral color like white or cream, be adventurous and try an energizing red or soothing aqua on your front door; the pop of color will add appealing interest.

 
While a landscaping overhaul can be very expensive, window boxes or planters are an easy and cost-effective way to add natural beauty to your home’s facade. Learn how to build a container garden that will provide extra dimension and color to a front porch or patio.
Take a look at your house from the street. Do your windows look bare? Try adding shutters, but make sure they are appropriately sized. Buying shutters that are smaller than the windows they flank is an all-too-common mistake homeowners make, which leads to the windows looking disproportionately small.

 
And if you have a garage, don’t overlook the importance of a good-looking garage door. A garage door can account for up to 30 percent of a home’s exterior that is seen from the street, so having an attractive one is vital to good curb appeal. But, like shutters to a window, a garage door should be appropriately matched to its house’s architectural style. Not sure which door fits your home the best? Try out the handy Door Designer tool at www.amarr.com, which lets you choose from six different home styles and then matches an appropriate garage door based on that style.

 
Of all these budget-friendly improvement projects, a new garage door will give you the best return on your investment and provide the most value for your home. Over the last few years, surveys conducted by the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report indicate that installing new garage doors has been the project moving up the most in the rankings.

 
Most people, to some degree, factor in resale when making their home improvement decisions. Both structural and decorative curb appeal is important when it comes time to sell a home, bringing in a larger number of prospective buyers and making it more likely that they will make the purchase.

 
According to principals at Smykal Renovations, a contracting firm in suburban Chicago, curb appeal projects “may not have the ‘wow’ factor of a major kitchen remodel, but [they] pay off more in the end.”

 
So don’t let budget constraints keep you from improving the appearance of your home’s exterior. There are many low-cost changes that can be made that have a big impact on how your home looks. Whether you’re making these changes to enjoy for yourself, or to make your home more marketable, the summer is a great time to get outside and focus on curb appeal.

Turn great art into great home decor

Posted on by Keith in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Turn great art into great home decor

 

From the moment the first cave dweller marked the wall of his home with a bit of charcoal, art has been a home decor must that has stood the test of time. Whether it’s the vibrant colors of a van Gogh, the almost-mystical perfection of a da Vinci or the dreamily diffused light of a Monet, great art speaks to the soul.

The works of master artists have inspired home decor for centuries, and technological advances have made it easier than ever to incorporate their genius into your own home. It’s no longer necessary to visit the Louvre in Paris to view the Mona Lisa or to travel to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to savor van Gogh’s Starry Night.

You can easily incorporate great artwork into your home decor.

Reproductions are the most obvious – and accessible – way to enjoy great masterpieces in your home. Fortunately, you have a variety of options when looking for a quality reproduction. From simple paper prints purchased at your local home decor store to actual paintings digitally reproduced with the aid of a computer program, you can find reproductions for virtually every price point.

You can use your reproduction to enhance your home decor in a number of ways. A small print tucked into a discrete spot on the wall can add a pleasant, surprising pop of color in a room. Or, a larger reproduction can be a focal point for a room’s decor, and even provide color inspiration for the rest of the room, from walls to upholstery and accessories.

Another versatile option that can be bold and striking is a wall mural. When you think of inspiring murals, does Michelangelo’s famous work from the Sistine Chapel come to mind? With easy-to-install wallpaper murals, you can recreate the world’s most-recognizable ceiling in your own home.

A mural can fit into the decor in virtually every room of your home. Imagine the whimsical delight of Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave of Kanagawa as an accent in your master bath. Or, van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night can impart a distinctive Old World flavor to the decor in your breakfast nook. You can even incorporate a masterpiece mural in your outdoor design. Website MuralsYourWay.com offers wallpaper murals in SmartStick, a peel-and-stick material that can be used indoors or out and adheres to most smooth wall surfaces (including glass) and is easily removable and repositionable. No paste is needed and you can use the mural over and over again.

Your foray into great art doesn’t have to be limited to paintings, however. While reproductions of renowned sculptures are easy to come by, and an obvious choice, you can also find a variety of accessories and even furniture that draw their inspiration from famous works of art.

Looking for something thought-provoking and edgy for your home decor? Consider items – from wall clocks to furniture – inspired by the work of Salvador Dali. Is modern and abstract more to your taste? Fabrics that draw on the colors and design of Picasso’s works may fit your vision.

Great art speaks to the soul, and whatever genre you prefer – impressionist, Renaissance, modern or abstract – you can find a place for it in your home. Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to enjoy great art and incorporate it into your decor.

Serve up an ideal space for summer outdoor entertaining

Posted on by Keith in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Serve up an ideal space for summer outdoor entertaining

(BPT) – The arrival of milder temperatures means dining al fresco, hosting neighborhood cookouts and enjoying intimate cocktail parties under the stars. When creating a backyard oasis to entertain family and friends this summer, it’s important that it be both inviting and able to withstand the wear and tear that goes hand-in-hand with warm weather fun.

The outdoor living experts at Trex suggest the following tips:

Maximize your space. Think about your deck in terms of different activities – and dedicate separate areas for relaxing, grilling, dining and socializing. Consider creating a simple seating nook or an elegant outdoor bar. Structures like trellises, or even tall potted plants, can help establish settings for cozy conversations between guests – while a pergola may offer much-needed relief from the summer sun.

“When you take a situation where you can entertain and move it outside, it immediately feels special,” says Tyler Florence, culinary artist and one of the faces of Trex’s new Engineered Artistry campaign. “First and foremost, think about how your space interacts with the environment and use that as inspiration to create a deck that suits your personal interests and preferences.”

Create a “full service” outdoor kitchen. If you’re planning to spend most weekends entertaining on your deck or patio, consider adding an exterior kitchen to your home. Incorporate elements like a grilling station, cooking range, sink, compact refrigerator – or even a built-in rotisserie or pizza oven. You’ll be able to prepare and serve food while outside conversing with guests – rather than being stuck inside behind the stove. Just remember to build your outdoor kitchen in an area protected from the elements and make sure that its style – whether modern stainless steel or rustic country – complements the look of your home’s exterior.

Choose low-maintenance materials. Spills, splashes and other mishaps are inevitable when entertaining outdoors. If you want to spend more time enjoying – rather than maintaining – your deck, choose materials that need only a soap and water cleaning to retain their enduring good looks.

“Because I have so much going on, I try to keep things as simple as possible and avoid situations that require an enormous amount of upkeep,” says Florence. “If you’re going to make the investment in a gorgeous outdoor living space, use decking and railing that will look amazing for decades to come.”

High-performance, wood-alternative decking like Trex resists fading, staining, scratching and mold growth thanks to an exclusive protective shell and high-traffic formulation – even after several summers of dropping grill tools, spilling barbecue sauce and moving around heavy outdoor furniture. And while these materials offer the natural look of wood, you never need to worry about sanding, staining or painting.

Design with distinction. Select a style and color scheme for your deck that best complements your home’s exterior and reflects the natural environment. Today’s wood-alternative decking offers high-definition wood grain patterns and rich, saturated colors inspired by the outdoors – with a vibrancy that remains unchanged for years. When combined with a modular railing system that provides similar high performance and long-lasting beauty, composite decking offers endless mix-and-match options for incredible design flexibility to suit the style of any home.

“Go online and experiment with different resources and tools to figure out how your outdoor living elements can be integrated,” says Florence. “With Trex, for instance, the ideas are endless because you have so many more opportunities to create a really luxurious space.”

Don’t forget the finishing touches. Customize your outdoor living space to make family and friends feel truly welcome. Add ambience for evening cookouts with dimmable LED deck lighting, and create an inviting lounge area with comfortable, durable furnishings – or even outdoor speakers. You can choose to truly “deck out” a space with luxuries ranging from flat screen televisions to stone fire pits, but if the budget is tight, adding vibrant pillows or tropical flowers and plants serves as a quick and colorful pick-me-up.

For more inspiration to create an amazing outdoor entertaining space – or for favorite outdoor living recipes from Tyler Florence – visit www.trex.com.

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