May 2021 Newsletter

From the month of showers comes the month of flowers.  Although May seems to have started with temperatures more like the month of March at times, it is so great to hear the birds celebrating the arrival of spring and it amazes me every year to see beautiful little flowers pushing their way up from such a cold soil bed. 

Those little flowers remind me each year that when things look impossible, with determination, the impossible is quite possible.   

I have heard that the local garden centers are already very busy so if you are like my wife Bonnie and I, who enjoy potted ferns and flowers on the deck, it might be wise to shop early and care for those beautiful plants indoors until at least after the long weekend this month.  I’m far from an expert on that type of thing, but I do remember what my parents told me about spring planting. 

Now, from the thoughts of a cool start to spring, below is an update on the very hot local real estate market this spring.

Home Sale Prices Continue To Climb 

Lakeland Region +35% / Orillia +37% / Barrie +37%

Below is an overview of how the month of April wrapped up in the local real estate market.  The report represents freehold, residential homes with numbers compiled from the Barrie & District Association of Realtors for the City of Barrie and The Lakelands Association of Realtors for Orillia and the Lake Country Area.

 If you would like information specific to condos, waterfront only or commercial real estate contact me and I would happy to answer your questions.   

 April 2020/2021 Overview 

 

Barrie                                2020             2021       Change %

Selling Price (Median) $528,250    $725,000      +37%

Average Days To Sell        25                 16             -36%

# Active Listings              390                305           -22%

# Homes Sold                   96                  345        +259%

Months of Inventory          4                     1             -75%

 

 

Orillia                               2020               2021     Change %

Selling Price (Median) $442,000     $605,000     +37%

Average Days To Sell        27                  10            -63%

# Active Listings             153                  94            -38%

# Homes Sold                   35                   93         +166%

Months of Inventory          4                     1             -75%

 

 

Lake Country Region       2020         2021       Change %

Selling Price (Median) $505,000 $680,000        +35%

Average Days To Sell        32             15                -53%

# Active Listings             478            238               -50%

# Homes Sold                   75             226           +201%

Months of Inventory          6                1                -83%

(Lake Country includes Orillia, Oro-Medonte, Severn and Ramara – Lakeland Association of Realtors)

Market Inventory

Market inventory is a reflection of how many homes sell in a month compared to how many homes are currently listed in the market.  This determines if it is a balanced market, seller market or buyer market.

 Buyer Market – 6+ months (180+ days) of inventory.

Balanced Market – 4 to 6 months of inventory.

Seller Market – Under 4 months of inventory. 

At the close of April, the areas noted in the overview above indicate that locally it remains a Seller’s Market.

 

 

Greenspace Town With No Car Traffic 

Imagine a town covered in jungle greenery.  A true car-free eco-town.  

The first car-free community is being planned in Singapore.  It’s not that there won’t be any cars, they just won’t be visible as you walk around the town because vehicle traffic is underground leaving the above-ground community a forest town of abundant nature for better health and well being.

Check out the amazing details HERE.

 

Hydro One Update For Orillia Customers

Orillia Power has officially been in new hands since September and Hydro One has announced that new bills from them will begin to appear in June. 

According to Hydro One’s vice-president of customer service, Spencer Gill, customers can expect a smooth switch over with the new billing.

Pre-authorized payments whether for monthly usage billing or equal payment plans will switch from the Orillia Power name to Hydro One automatically.  

There will be a one-time billing adjustment on the first Hydro One bill for Orillia residents in June to reflect electricity consumption for the last cycle of Orillia Power due to meter readings dates, but basically Hydro One is saying residents don’t have to worry about the changeover and it should go smoothly.

Speaking of power, check out the food-for-thought story below about when the power went out.

 

Sometimes No Power Can Be A Good Thing

I read an interesting post recently that is well worth the read.  It comes from Valerie Garcia and her personal story says a lot about how attached we are to our powered-up life. 

I have often wondered what it must have been like in the days when there was no TV, no iPads, no gaming consoles and for that matter no power to homes at all.   

Here is Valerie’s post……

“Yesterday I was in the middle of a conference call when I heard a huge crash and the power went out.  

It turns out a car hit a pole and took out power to the entire neighborhood. Within 30 minutes, the entire street was full of neighbors. Lawn chairs formed a circle in the cul de sac. Kids started a whiffle ball game.  Lenora brought out lemonade. Adults played tic tac toe in sidewalk chalk. And for an hour, while we waited for the power to come back… we just soaked in the sun. 

We heard that Greg’s cancer is in remission and Gaston is fully recovered from his heart attack. We complimented Gail on her birdfeeders. We plotted a neighborhood garden. We planned an outdoor movie night. We admired my daffodils that popped open today.  

Just as the sun dropped behind the trees, the outdoor lights flicked on. We gathered our chairs and slowly made our ways back home to our tvs and internets and distractions. But for that hour, it was the most community I’ve had in many, many months. And I loved every minute of it. 

I am kind of hoping the power goes out again tomorrow.”

 

THANK YOU!

I remember many years ago learning about a project to help build a new home for The Lighthouse Soup Kitchen and Shelter.  A dream of more than just more needed beds for men, but beds for women and beds for youth and the many greatly needed service to help those who come to the door at The Lighthouse.

As a member of the Building Hope team, we hope that next month the buildings now at 75 Queens Street will have an official opening.  What seemed like an impossible task in reaching a $14.5 million target and to be able to do that so the doors swing open, mortgage-free on opening day is now a reality because of the incredible support in our great community.   

I want to thank all my clients who have trusted me to assist them in buying and selling their homes over the past number of years.  I believe we are on this earth to help each other, even people we don’t know, and because of my amazing clients, I have been able to donate to the Building Hope campaign with each sale. 

My original goal was to be able to provide $10,000 to the campaign, but through my many clients who put their trust in me, that total has now surpassed $30,000. 

If you know of someone planning to buy or sell a home in the future please share my name with them.  Your referrals are such a blessing and I plan to continue to support The Lighthouse for the operating dollars required to provide the services so many people need through what Building Hope has accomplished at 75 Queen Street.

It has been such a pleasure to serve on the Building Hope team and be surrounded by an incredible group of people on so many different committees who have inspired me.

There is a Bible verse that speaks to me in an amazing way. It’s partly because of my role in real estate, but also because of my faith.  I think of the verse when I now drive by 75 Queen Street because the new buildings on that lot are without a doubt a God-given miracle.   

Every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.  Hebrews 3:4 

 

Your Referrals Help The Homeless.  Learn More.

 

Food For Thought

“If I couldn’t say one word, what would my life say?”  Trent Shelton  

 

Small Towns, Big Opportunities: OREA’s Rural and Northern Housing Policy Report

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is hard at work for you, in ways you might not even know about.

In the Lakeland Association of Realtors which covers Orillia and Muskoka, there is a great need for more housing opportunities.  Inventory levels are at an all-time low which is driving prices up to record highs. However, we live in an area of great opportunity to overcome this shortage and for more job creation in the area with the right infrastructure in place.

OREA has been at work encouraging the province to continue the push for more high-speed internet service in more rural areas in Ontario. With more people working from home and most recently with children being schooled online during COVID-19, the need for high-speed internet in rural areas has become clearly a must-have.

Many buyers in our area are unable to branch out in their search for a home because they need high-speed internet service because of working from home. OREA continues to push forward towards success in this area.

The OREA report Small Towns, Big Opportunities ensures that the communities of rural and Northern Ontario are set up for success in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19 and for years to come. The full report is available HERE.

OREA and the Lakeland Association of Realtors also recognize the great need for natural gas service in smaller rural communities. With this service expansion, the opportunity for job creation in rural areas increases dramatically.

Neil Sharma has an interesting article on this topic at Canadian Real Estate Wealth found HERE.

Million Dollar Mortgage Common Place in GTA

Remember that Barenaked Ladies song – If I had a million dollars?

If the lyrics in that song were updated, for many people in the GTA they would be singing along to – If I had a million dollars, I’d pay off the mortgage and have nothing left. A million-dollar mortgage in the GTA is becoming commonplace.

So what does it take to qualify for a mortgage on a million-dollar home? For starters, an annual income of no less than $175,000 and you need about $200,000 for a down payment.

Right now, no matter if it’s a million-dollar home or a $400,000 home, you must pass the stress test which currently means that although mortgage rates remain low, buyers must be able to still be able to handle the mortgage payment if the rates jumped to close to 5%.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage should be one of the first things you do. If you want more information on this, contact me and review Linda White’s Postmedia article – Million-dollar mortgages now common in GTA HERE.

2019 – 2020 Market Changes

Below is an overview of how the local market changed in 2020 compared to 2019.The data used is a reflection of residential sales within the Lakeland Board of Realtors and the Barrie & District Association of Realtors.  

If you would like information for specific categories such as waterfront properties only, commercial properties or vacant land I would be happy to provide this to you.  Contact me HERE for any additional information. 

Barrie

Median Sale Price 2019:  $475000  /  2020: $552,000  /  +16.2%

Average Days To Sell 2019: 32  /  2020: 22  /  -31.3%

Number of Sales 2019: 2,346  /  2020: 3016  /  +28.6%

Orillia

Median Sale Price 2019:  $398,000  /  2020:  $445,000  /  +11.8%

Average Days To Sell 2019:  34  /  2020:  29  /  -14.7%

Number of Sales 2019: 769  /  2020: 842  /  +9.5%

Lake Country ( Orillia, Severn, Ramara, Oro-Medonte)

Median Sale Price 2019:  $450,000  /  2020:  $525,000  /  +16.7%

Average Days To Sell 2019:  40  /  2020:  34  /  -15%

Number of Sales 2019:  1531  /  2020:  1886  /  +23.2%

Midland/Penetanguishine

Median Sale Price 2019: $375,000  / 2020:   $414,500  /  +10.5%

Average Days To Sell 2019:  38  /  2020:  40  /  +5.3%

Number of Sales 2019:  560  /  2020:  637  /  13.8%

Gravenhurst/Bracebridge

Median Sale Price 2019:  $460,000  /  2020:  $540,000  /  +17.4%

Average Days To Sell 2019:  41  /  2020:  32  /  -23%

Number of Sales 2019:  8830  /  10,646  /  +20.6%

How October Birthdays Style Their Home

Welcome to October

Besides celebrating Thanksgiving in October, if you also celebrate a birthday this month did you know that you could have a messy home and a praiseworthy backyard. Those are two things that identify people born in October.

Those born in October can also often have vivacious personalities and can connect well with others. They’re often the life of the party. And, when it comes to making decisions in life – or in their home décor – they tend to be bold risk-takers.

If you were born in October or you know someone who has a birthday this month find out more about those born in October and the style of their homes HERE.

10 Things to Consider Before Renewing Your Mortgage

Before you renew your mortgage it is important to review where you’re at, where you want to go and what is best for you.  That involves doing a little homework before you sign for your mortgage, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. 

One of the biggest errors many people make when it comes time to remortgage is not asking for better rate.  Just because you have a mortgage, it doesn’t mean you have to remain with your current lender when it is time to renew.  There could be other options that are much better for you and rate is only one thing to consider.  

Cory Davis provides you with 10 Things to Consider Before Renewing Your Mortgage at this Real Estate 101 feature through Realtor.ca

Home Furnishings Trend: Brass is Back

For years brass has been on the sidelines, but it’s making a comeback. Here are ways homeowners can incorporate the finish to add glamour and help homes stand out.

After years of chrome, stainless steel, and nickel being the shining stars of interior metals, brass is back and starting to steal the show.

As with many home furnishings trends, the comeback was inspired by what’s occurring in fashion. In this case, gold and rose gold watches became influencers a few years ago, says Chicago designer Tom Segal of Kaufman Segal Design, who thinks that home furnishings styles tend to be cyclical. Now he’s adding small brass details to rooms in the same way a gold watch might peek out of a shirt cuff.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE.

Credit Scores and Mortgages

The last five years has once again shown that rising house prices make buying the right house a good investment. However, that can’t be said for all buyers. 

With the wrong mortgage, even the right house can turn into a financial disaster for a buyer.

The rules surrounding being approved for a mortgage can be frustrating for some, but they are in place to actually protect you from heading into something that is not right for you. 

 

Simply put, finding a mortgage while having a poor credit rating isn’t totally impossible, but what becomes possible isn’t always good for you. You need to ensure you are getting into a manageable mortgage or your dream of getting a house can quickly become a long term nightmare.

Among other things considered in approving a mortgage, the lender checks credit scores. To qualify for the best interest rate, you typically need good credit and good credit scores. Most established mortgage lenders do not offer loans to people with bad credit, but some lenders might lend to borrowers with lower credit scores.

For a buyer recognized as having a low credit score the mortgage funds, if secured, will normally come with a higher interest rate than the average posted rates from leading lenders. The reason for the higher rate is understandable.  The lender sees the borrower as a higher risk. The source of funds for lower credit score buyers can sometimes be found through private lenders who are willing to take a chance on someone with a lower credit score, but the private lender will want a higher return in doing so.

In Canada, credit scores range from 300 (just getting started) up to 900 points, which is the best score. 650 is the magic middle number – a score above 650 will likely qualify you for a standard loan while a score under 650 will make things difficult.  

Whether you have a good credit score or a low credit score it is advisable to shop around for the best mortgage rate and mortgage terms. You need to know in advance of agreeing to a mortgage of any possible hidden costs in the event you ever need to be relieved of the mortgage commitment down the road. 

As an example, there might be a penalty if you were to sell your home prior to the expiry date of the terms of the mortgage you agreed to. You also need to ask if your mortgage would be portable to another home purchase and if there is any cost in doing so.

There can be large financial penalties with some mortgages when you go to sell and you have not reached the full term of your current mortgage.

Higher interest rates can mean higher mortgage payments and a can also mean a longer time to pay down the mortgage principal depending on your payment schedule which can be a huge added expense over the long haul.  

Being approved for a loan can be a happy day for a potential buyer, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should get over-excited until you do your homework about the terms for that approved mortgage.

Deal with a trusted lender who clearly outlines all the details of your mortgage. There are many banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers who can assist you in this area and I would be happy to provide you with several contacts. 

Whatever you do, don’t stick your head in the sand to many of the realities that exist surrounding getting a mortgage from just anyone.

There is no cost or obligation for you to utilize any of my buyer services including details you should consider when getting a mortgage and how to go about it.   I would be happy to answer some of your questions and put you in contact with a qualified mortgage consultant. Contact me if I can assist in any way.

$ave Hundreds With This Wow Factor Idea

Many of the buyers I take through homes, in fact, I would say nine out of ten buyers seem to always say “Wow, I Love That” when they see this in a home.  

If you’re looking for something to add a wow factor to a room in your home, the barn door might be the right way to go if it fits the decor.

Plain unfinished barn doors can be purchased for a couple of hundred dollars, however, when it comes to catchy designs the price tag jumps considerably.  ( It seems to always be the catchy designs that get more wows.) 

The attractive Urban Woodcraft Barn Door in the picture above can set you back close to $1,000, but you can build a barn door with a modern twist at a fraction of the cost and here’s how.

 I came across the plans for the door below which might start your creative juices flowing to create your own design.  Get all the materials needed for the door and the step- by- step plans from Michelle’s site at Breaking Down The Box  (Click HERE.

If you’re planning to sell your home I would be happy to provide other ideas to add value to your home.   Contact me for a FREE home-evaluation and tips on what you should do and don’t have to do to sell your home fast and for top dollar.