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Highlights for the Kingston Area from the Royal LePage National House Price Survey

Here are a few highlights from the Royal LePage National House Price Survey for the Kingston Area. To see how Kingston compares to the rest of the country click the link below.


  • Average Price for Bungalows - $299,955 (Q3 2016)  vs $317,935 (Q4 2017)
    • Year over year increase of 6.0%

 
  • Average Price for Two Storeys - $332,178 (Q3 2016) vs  $368,244 (Q4 2017)
    • Year over year increase of 10.9%

 
  • Average Aggregate Price - $314,720 (Q3 2016) vs $334,581 (Q4 2017)
    • Year over year increase of 6.3%

Related Files

Q3_2017_Price_Composite_Survey.pdf

Q3_2017_Price_Composite_Survey.pdf

August 21st, 2017

The Royal LePage Peak Millennial Survey was released to media early this morning.

Key highlights from the national release include:
 

  • High home values in Canada's largest urban markets and job uncertainty in other regions mean new strategies and different priorities for 'peak millennials.' A term coined to describe the largest cohort of the millennial demographic, 'peak millennials' also reflects the impact of their potential purchasing power. Whether this demographic chooses to rent or buy, their sheer volume will put pressure on entry-level homes and rental units.
 
  • Although the desire to own a home is strong among peak millennials, the obstacles they face on the path to homeownership are numerous. The cross-Canada survey conducted by Leger found that 87 per cent of Canadians aged 25 to 30 believe homeownership is a good investment. Yet, while 69 per cent hope to own a home in the next five years, 57 per cent of those surveyed believe they will be able to afford one.
 
  • Over half (52 per cent) of those surveyed would look to the suburbs when purchasing a property. This is especially true when it comes time to raise a family as the supply of new developments and spacious residences are more abundant in these areas. In addition, 61 per cent stated that they would be willing to move to another city or suburb where property is more affordable.

Buyers: How do I make an offer on a new home before selling my current home?

June 1st, 2017

When current homeowners make the decision to move and purchase a new home, there are usually two ways to go about the process:

1) Sell your current home before looking for your next home and submitting any offers to purchase a new home.

2) Search for a new home with the possibility of submitting an offer while your current home is for sale on the market.

There are different reasons for taking one approach over another. Market conditions, timing constraints, financial situation, career demands, children's schooling needs, etc will all factor into the decision making process. This article will focus on option 2 and how to go about submitting an offer on a new home before your current home has sold. 

"Sale of Buyer's Property"

If a buyer submits an offer to purchase a home but must first sell their current home, it is necessary to include a clause that makes the offer conditional on the sale of the buyer's property. The typical clause might be worded as follows:

This Offer is conditional upon the sale of the Buyer's property known as ________. Unless the Buyer gives notice in writing delivered to the Seller personally or in accordance with any other provisions for the delivery of notice in this Agreement of Purchase and Sale or any Schedule thereto not later than ______ p.m. on __________, that this condition is fulfilled, this Offer shall be null and void and the deposit shall be returned to the Buyer in full without deduction. This condition is included for the benefit of the Buyer and may be waived at the Buyer's sole option by notice in writing to the Seller as aforesaid within the time period stated herein.

The above clause means that the sale of the home does not become final and binding until this condition and any other conditions have become fulfilled or waived.

Typically, the seller will also require the inclusion of an "escape clause" in the agreement of purchase and sale. The escape clause requires the seller to notify the first buyer if they accept another offer from a second buyer, and gives the first buyer a set time period (usually 24 or 48 hours) to meet the conditions of their own offer or walk away from the deal. If the first buyer is unable to sell their existing home and it is confirmed in writing, the first deal becomes null and void and the seller can continue with the sale to the second buyer. 

If the first buyer does fulfill the conditions included in the offer, the seller must sell the home to the buyer according to the original terms of the offer. This is known as giving the buyer the "right of first refusal."

These conditions can effect the the negotiations between the seller and first buyer, and if these conditions are accepted by the seller, can also effect negotiations with the second buyer. It is important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these details with your sales representative.
 

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan

April 20th, 2017
 

Ontario's Fair Housing Plan introduces a comprehensive package of measures to help more people find affordable homes, increase supply, protect buyers and renters and bring stability to the real estate market. The plan includes:

Actions to Address Demand for Housing:

  1. Introducing legislation that would, if passed, implement a new 15-per-cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) on the price of homes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) purchased by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations. Ontario's economy benefits enormously from newcomers who decide to make the province home. The NRST would help to address unsustainable demand in this region and make housing more available and affordable, while ensuring Ontario continues to be a place that welcomes all new residents. The proposed tax would apply to transfers of land that contain at least one and not more than six single family residences. "Single family residences" include, for example, detached and semi-detached homes, townhomes and condominiums. The NRST would not apply to transfers of other types of land including multi-residential rental apartment buildings, agricultural land or commercial/industrial land. The NRST would be effective as of April 21, 2017, upon the enactment of the amending legislation.

     

    Refugees and nominees under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program would not be subject to the NRST. Subject to eligibility requirements, a rebate would be available for those who subsequently attain citizenship or permanent resident status as a well as foreign nationals working in Ontario and international students. See technical bulletin for further information.

Actions to Protect Renters

  1. Expanding rent control to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991. This will ensure increases in rental costs can only rise at the rate posted in the annual provincial rent increase guideline. Over the past ten years, the annual rent increase guideline has averaged two per cent. The increase is capped at a maximum of 2.5 per cent. Under these changes, landlords would still be able to apply vacancy decontrol and seek above guideline increases where permitted. Legislation will be introduced that, if passed, will enact this change effective April 20.‎
  2. The government will introduce legislation that would, if passed, strengthen the Residential Tenancies Act to further protect tenants and ensure predictability for landlords. This will include developing a standard lease with explanatory information available in multiple languages, tightening provisions for "landlord's own use" evictions, and ensuring that tenants are adequately compensated if asked to vacate under this rule; prohibiting above-guideline increases where elevator work orders have not been completed; and making technical changes at the Landlord-Tenant Board to make the process fairer and easier for renters and landlords. These changes would apply to the entire province.

Actions to Increase Housing Supply

  1. Establishing a program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market housing and new, permanent, sustainable and affordable housing supply. Potential sites under consideration for a pilot project include the West Don Lands, 27 Grosvenor/26 Grenville Streets in Toronto, and other sites in the province. This builds on an agreement reached previously with the City of Toronto to ensure a minimum of 20 per cent of residential units within the West Don Lands are available for affordable rental, with an additional 5 per cent of units for affordable ownership.
  2. Introducing legislation that would, if passed, empower the City of Toronto, and potentially other interested municipalities, to introduce a vacant homes property tax to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out, to address concerns about residential units potentially being left vacant by speculators.
  3. Ensuring that property tax for new multi-residential apartment buildings is charged at a similar rate as other residential properties. This will encourage developers to build more new purpose-built rental housing and will apply to the entire province.
  4. Introducing a targeted $125-million, five-year program to further encourage the construction of new rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges. Working with municipalities, the government would target projects in those communities that are most in need of new purpose-built rental housing.
  5. Providing municipalities with the flexibility to use property tax tools to help unlock development opportunities. For example, municipalities could be permitted to impose a higher tax on vacant land that has been approved for new housing.
  6. Creating a new Housing Supply Team with dedicated provincial employees to identify barriers to specific housing development projects and work with developers and municipalities to find solutions. As well, a multi-ministry working group will be established to work with the development industry and municipalities to identify opportunities to streamline the development approvals process.

Other Actions to Protect Homebuyers and Increase Information Sharing

  1. The province will work to understand and tackle practices that may be contributing to tax avoidance and excessive speculation in the housing market such as "paper flipping," a practice that includes entering into a contractual agreement to buy a residential unit and assigning it to another person prior to closing.
  2. Working with the real estate profession and consumers, the province is committing to review the rules real estate agents are required to follow to ensure that consumers are fairly represented in real estate transactions. This includes practices such as double ending. The government will modernize its rules, strengthen professionalism and improve the home-buying experience with a goal to make Ontario a leader in real estate standards.
  3. Establishing a housing advisory group which will meet quarterly to provide the government with ongoing advice about the state of the housing market and discuss the impact of the measures in the Fair Housing Plan and any additional steps that are needed. The group will have a diverse range of expertise, including economists, academics, developers, community groups and the real estate sector.
  4. Educating consumers on their rights, particularly on the issue of one real estate professional representing more than one party in a real estate transaction.
  5. Partnering with the Canada Revenue Agency to explore more comprehensive reporting requirements so that correct federal and provincial taxes, including income and sales taxes, are paid on purchases and sales of real estate in Ontario.
  6. Making elevators in Ontario buildings more reliable by establishing timelines for elevator repair in consultation with the sector and the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA).
  7. Working with municipalities to better reflect the needs of a growing Greater Golden Horseshoe through an updated Growth Plan. New provisions will include requiring that municipalities  consider the appropriate range of unit sizes in higher density residential buildings to accommodate a diverse range of household sizes and incomes. This will help support the goals of creating complete communities that are vibrant, transit-supportive and economically competitive, while doing more to address climate change, protect the region's natural heritage and prevent the loss of irreplaceable farmland. As part of the implementation of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, 2006, enough land was set aside in municipal official plans to accommodate forecasted growth to at least 2031. Based on discussions with municipalities across the region, the government is confident that there is enough serviced land to meet the Provincial Policy Statement requirement for a three year supply of residential units. The Greenbelt provides important protection of natural heritage and farmland, and neither the area of the Greenbelt or the rules about what can occur inside of it will be weakened. The upcoming Growth Plan will promote intensification around existing and planned transit stations and will promote higher densities in the suburbs to support transit.

See map "Greater Golden Horseshoe".

Actions to Date

The government has taken a number of actions over recent months and years in order to support homebuyers, increase supply of affordable and rental housing and promote fairness. These include:

  • Helping more people purchase their first home by doubling the maximum Land Transfer Tax refund for eligible first-time homebuyers to $4,000. This means eligible homebuyers in Ontario pay no Land Transfer Tax on the first $368,000 of the cost of their first home.
  • Modernizing the Land Transfer Tax to reflect the current real estate market, including increasing rates on one or two single-family residence over $2 million. Revenue generated from the increased rates is being used to fund the enhancements to the First-Time Homebuyers Refund.
  • Making it easier for not-for-profit affordable housing providers to buy surplus government lands.
  • Introducing an inclusionary zoning framework for municipalities that will enable affordable housing units as part of residential developments.
  • Amending the Planning Act and the Development Charges Act to support second units, allowing homeowners to create rental units in their primary residence and creating additional supply.
  • Freezing the municipal property tax burden for  multi-residential apartment buildings in communities where these taxes are high.
  • Collecting information about Ontario's real estate market to support evidence-based policy development

Spring Home Maintenance

February 22nd, 2017

Warming temperatures signal the need to assess winter damage and undertake any necessary repairs. These home maintenance tips will help save you time and money by protecting your investment and making it a more enjoyable place to call home:

  • Survey your roof for cracks, moss, debris, or nail pops and replace cracked, curled, or missing shingles. If you suspect water damage, check from inside the attic for wet insulation or mould.
 
  • Examine your brickwork, siding or stucco for damage that would allow moisture to get into the walls or foundation. Use applicable sealers to cover cracks and seal off exterior holes to prevent pests from entering.
 
  • Clear clogged gutters, flush downspouts and check for joint separation and loose fasteners. Leader pips should extend at least 150cm to ensure water flows away from foundation.
 
  • Remove storm windows, clean windows and screens, and repair any damaged sealing and weather-stripping. Make sure windows open and close smoothly, and lubricate if necessary.
 
  • Audit your home's smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms. Clear dust from covers, replace batteries, and test for efficient operation.
 
  • Clean and fireplaces or wood stoves and turn pilot lights off where applicable. Service your chimney to remove built up soot and creosote, and check for cracks in your chimney's exterior caused by freeze-thaw of seasonal change.
 
  • Check your air conditioning system and dehumidifier by switching the power on. Call for service if required. Replace filters and close humidifier damper, if applicable. Service the air conditioning system every two to three years.
 
  • Clean the kitchen exhaust and air filter. Dust off the bathroom fan grilles and ceiling fan blades. Vacuum out clothes dryer ducting, exterior vent and under dryer to remove excess lint.

Regular maintenance ensures a safe and comfortable home environment for you to enjoy. It also safeguards your investment and helps prevent costly repair problems in future. Well maintained homes are easier to prepare for sale, give prospective buyers greater peace of mind and confidence in their purchase decision, and generally provide better resale value.

Are you a self-employed individual looking for a mortgage?

January 31, 2017

If you are self-employed it can be difficult to obtain financing for purchasing a home. I myself have been self-employed for the past 20 years and can recall the challenge of obtaining my first mortgage as a self-employed individual. Recently, I had a self-employed client whom was looking to complete his "pre-approval" before making an offer on home. He was dealing with one of the "Big 5" banks and the process ended up being frustrating and needlessly time consuming for him. The bank (who he already carried two other mortgages with) initially gave him the impression that he would easily be pre-approved for the desired amount and that the process would be fairly simple. They asked him for specific documents at the beginning of the process and then he heard nothing from them over the following weeks. When he initiated the next contact with the lender wondering where they were in the process, they then asked him for more documentation and had no input on the status. More than a week later, he still had no word as to the status of his pre-approval and decided to ask where they were in the process. They then asked him for more documentation. 

Of course any lender needs to perform their due diligence, and assess and manage the amount of risk involved with a particular client. They do this to protect themselves and to protect the borrower. Lenders have a set of calculations, ratios, and formulas that help them reach a final decision of whether a client can be approved for a mortgage and if so, for how much. Regardless of the applicant's financial situation, lenders should be able to clearly state what documentation they need from you at the outset of the process based on the information you provide them about your employment or business situation. Following that, a good lender should be able to educate you on the process and provide a rough timeline for the entire process. In the case of my client, it was only when he approached them wondering what the delay was, that they asked him for more documentation. To me this was poor customer service and it appeared that the lender lacked experience dealing with self-employed individuals. From my own personal experience and hearing from other self-employed individuals, this is a common experience.

My suggestion for self-employed individuals is to use a mortgage broker. Brokers have access to a variety of lenders, some of which specialize in dealing with self-employed individuals. Brokers also have access to many more options and tools to help you with the process of obtaining a mortgage. When working with any lender or broker as a self-employed individual, I suggest the following:

1) Ask for an overview of the process and educate yourself on the process before committing to anything.
2) Ask about the differences between different options. For example, rates, term, pre-payment options, variable vs fixed rate, early termination penalties etc. Different mortgage products and tools are available and some may suit your needs  or situation better than others.
3) Ask exactly what documentation is needed from the outset.
4) Ask for an estimate of time needed to complete your application.
5) Ask to be provided with more than one option for your mortgage from more than one lending company.

I hope you find this article helpful. If you have any questions about the process or would like a list of some local Mortgage Brokerages in the Kingston area, feel free to contact me at jeffe@royallepage.ca  and I would be happy to help.




 

Thinking of Selling this Spring?

January 17th, 2017

Thinking of selling your home this spring? Make sure you focus on the best strategies to attract buyers while keeping your costs low. Here are some suggestions on how to ready your home to for sale.

1) Home Improvements

In an effort to make the home more attractive for selling, many sellers will spend a lot of time and money renovating or upgrading various features of the home. Sellers often assume that these improvements will pay them back or earn them more money upon the sale of the home. On average, most sellers will only get back just over 60% of the cost of the improvements. Some “improvements” can actually work against you if they are unappealing or too unusual for the market you are in. Also, make sure you have the correct permits when undertaking any renovations that require them. Improvements done without the proper permits could leave buyers skeptical about the quality and safety of the work that was done.

Some examples of improvements with the best “Return on Investment” (ROI) are:

- Refinishing hardwood floors or installing new hardwood flooring
- Adding or improving insulation, especially in the attic
- Replacing old shingles on the roof
- Converting an unfinished basement to a living space
- Replacing old windows
- Installing new vinyl siding
- Installing a new garage door
- Installing new hardware on doors, cabinets, and drawers
- De-clutter and remove grunge
- Add a fresh coat of paint
- Add or rearrange lighting 
- Update your kitchen faucet

Ask your real estate agent for more suggestions on which home improvements give you the best bang for your buck and optimize your home’s appeal for successful sale.

2) Curb Appeal

The first thing buyers will see is the outside of your home. What kind of first impression will they get when they view your home from the outside? Remember that buyers will pull up and view your home from their car first before making their way to the front door and then inside the home. Some simple and inexpensive improvements to the exterior of your home can make a great first impression:


- Add a fresh coat of paint to any railings, steps, porches, exterior doors etc to help give a fresh and clean appearance
- Keep your lawn freshly mowed and free of any debris
- Adjust or repair any downspouts that are damaged or displaced
- Keep your windows and window frames clean
- Remove any weeds or unwanted plants from your garden and prune existing plants
- Replace, repair, or freshen up your mailbox
- Repair any damaged doors, steps, or porch areas


3) Showing the home 

Sometimes sellers will limit showing of the home to specific times. Buyers often have the challenge of juggling family and work life while searching for a new home. Sellers should remain flexible and make their home available for showings at all times of the day and evening. Limiting your showing times can cause you to miss a potential sale. Staying flexible and co-operate with buyer’s agents even when it is inconvenient.

 4) Use your agent’s experience 

Although you are likely to know more about your own home, your agent likely knows more about how to sell your home. Your agent has a wealth of experience and has bought, sold, and viewed hundreds of homes. Your agent likely has many great suggestions on how to best sell your home, even if you may not want to hear them. Your agent may suggest a new paint job, removal of personal items, or have a differing opinion on the listing price, which can sound offensive at the time. Agents know what makes a listing grow stale and they know what helps a listing sell quickly. You don’t have to follow all of their advice, but listen and analyze what your agent has to say. Most people will buy and sell 2 or 3 homes in a lifetime, whereas an agent will buy, sell, and view hundreds and that experience can be very beneficial to the seller when it comes time to list the home for sale.

If you would like more information or advice on how to prepare your home for sale feel free to contact me at jeffe@royallepage.ca

What are the Steps to Selling a House?

January 2nd, 2017

Selling your home is rarely something that happens overnight. Even in so called "seller's markets" listing and selling a home takes time. One of the challenges for sellers, is having a clear understanding of the steps involved and the amount of time needed to complete each step during a transaction. We all know that buying or selling a home can be both exciting and stressful at the same time. It can feel like an emotional roller coaster at times but having a clear understanding of the steps involved can help eliminate some of the uncertainty, stress and emotional ups and downs. Below we will look at the process of listing and selling a home and the time it takes to complete each step of the process. 

Step 1- Listing your home (3-5 days)

When preparing your home for listing, your listing salesperson will usually need a couple of days to gather information about your home. This includes taking measurements, taking note of the home's features, and taking photographs. From this information your listing salesperson and you, the sellers, will come up with a listing price. After gathering information and determining a listing price, the listing agent will then be able to prepare the listing for upload onto the Multiple Listing Service where it can be accessed by other salespersons. It will also be uploaded to other sites such as Realtor.ca. 

Step 2- Awaiting an offer on your home (*55 days)

The average DOM (days on market) for a single family home in the Kingston Area from October 2016 - December 2016 was 55 days.

*To be clear, the days on market can vary greatly based on a number of factors including listing price, location, time of year etc.

Step 3 - Accepting an offer on your home

Once you've accepted an offer on your home, you then have a specified period of time before the "closing date". The closing date is negotiated between the buyer and seller and is the date the transaction "closes" and the property changes hands. In many cases, sellers will have accepted a "conditional offer" from the buyers. At minimum, most buyers will submit their offer with the following conditions:

- Obtaining satisfactory financing for the property
- Obtaining a satisfactory home inspection report
- Obtaining satisfactory insurance for the property

Assuming the sellers accept the offer with the buyer's conditions, the buyer then has a specified and agreed upon time in which they must fulfill the conditions of the offer. Generally, a timeframe of 2-3 weeks is sufficient to meet the most common conditions.

Step 4- Receiving payment (0 days)

On the day of closing, the seller's lawyer will receive funds from the purchaser's lawyer. This money goes into the seller's lawyer's trust account to pay out any old mortgages, real estate commissions, and outstanding taxes. The remaining funds from the sale of your home go to you. Once the transaction is complete, your lawyer will then contact you to pick up your cheque. 

I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions please contact me at jeffe@royallepage.ca