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HomeHunt with Bruce Johnson

! March/April 2011 ! ! Vol. XV, Issue II

Bruce Johnson Photo


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OHNSO SALES N REPRE SENTA RE/MA TIVE X of W asaga B each I n c ., B rokera ge PHON E (705) TOLL 429-45 FREE 00 (8 88) 74 1- 8 8 8 8

March/April 2011

with Bruce Johnson

‘WILD CARD’ PROPS UP CANADIAN HOUSING MARKETS OVER PAST DECADE Mississauga, ONTARIO: Tighter inventory levels helped to make the last decade one of the healthiest periods on record for Canadian real estate, insulating markets in major centres from the peaks and valleys characteristic of past decades, according to a report released by RE/ MAX. The RE/MAX Housing Barometer Report measured monthly sales-tonew listings ratios in 18 major centres across the country from January 2000 to December 2010. The report found strong seller’s/ balanced conditions prevailed for much of the time frame, prompting significant gains in housing values.

“The traditionally busy spring season is expected to keep the market at a perfect equilibrium.” The lone exception was when the market dipped into buyer’s territory during the latter half of 2008 and early 2009. However, fewer listings served to offset diminished demand and provided greater

stability. Average price increases from 2000 to 2010 ranged from an annually compounded rate of return of 4.82 per cent in London-St. Thomas to a high of 9.56 per cent in Regina. The national average was 6.82 per cent. By far the tightest market in the nation was Winnipeg, where sellers ruled the roost for 85 per cent of the decade, followed by HamiltonBurlington (67 per cent), Regina (63.6 per cent), Kitchener-Waterloo (59.8 per cent) and Edmonton (57.5 per cent). Housing markets have been remarkably hearty over the past decade and the stage is set for a better than expected 2011. Inventory has proven to be an effective form of market self-regulation, providing both an ideal climate for price escalation and a shelter in periods of softer home-buying activity. As a number of city centres are already reporting stronger than usual activity out of the gate, it’s clear supply will continue to be the wild card in 2011. First-time buyers comprise the vast majority of purchasers, with move-up buyers in close pursuit.

Cover Photo: “Busy Wagons” mural painted by John Hood in 1998. Located at Second and Hurontario Streets on the side of Cafe Chartreuse. Click here for more information on this painting. The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”


Demand and supply are on relatively even keel at present in most areas, but the traditionally busy spring season is expected to keep the market at a perfect equilibrium in the days and months ahead. However, there may be some exceptions to the rule. The country’s largest markets—Greater Toronto, Greater Montreal, and Greater Vancouver—are expected to head into the second quarter with fewer listings overall. Two centres—Newfoundland & Labrador and Kelowna—are still firmly entrenched in buyer’s markets.

“The stage is set for a better than expected 2011.” An improved global economic picture, lower unemployment rates and rising consumer confidence levels have buoyed home buying activity since November. While sales figures are expected to be slightly off 2010’s heated pace, housing values are forecast to continue to climb in Canadian real estate markets in 2011—with most a direct result of lower listing levels. Western Canada experienced some of the highest rates of return for real estate over the 11-year period. While values in Regina posted the greatest percentage increase (9.56 per cent), Edmonton, (9.25 per cent), Saskatoon (9.2 per cent), Winnipeg (9.01 per cent), Kelowna (8.42 per cent), Greater Vancouver (7.8 per cent), Calgary (7.7 per cent) and Victoria (7.59 per cent) all outperformed the national average. Equally strong gains were posted in Quebec. While solid balanced market conditions prevailed for much of the decade, housing values in Quebec City and Montreal rose 9.2 and 8.48 per cent respectively on an annually compounded basis. Increases were more moderate in Ontario and Atlantic Canada—with the exception of Newfoundland & Labrador, where values escalated 8.14 per cent on average. Ottawa led in terms of price appreciation in Ontario at 6.78 per cent,



followed by Hamilton-Burlington at six per cent, Kitchener-Waterloo at 5.69 per cent, the Greater Toronto Area at 5.35 per cent, and London-St. Thomas at 4.82 per cent.

“History tells us that exceptional growth supported by sound fundamentals is healthy.” There’s no question that price growth has been solid over the past decade, but history tells us that exceptional growth supported by sound fundamentals is healthy. Concern is only raised when the underpinnings are insufficient to justify the trajectory. By all accounts, Canada’s real estate market measures up to conventional wisdom and the faith in homeownership has not been misplaced. While the statistics are impressive, they alone cannot tell the tale. The gains realized over the past decade speak to the tremendous resiliency of the Canadian residential housing market. Considering catastrophic events, both natural and man-made, that occurred throughout the period—SARS, forest fires, ice storms, 9/11, a recession—the performance of the real estate sector proved that much more significant. It remained a consistent bright spot supporting economic growth and ancillary spending, and subsequently helped lead the nation out of the greatest downturn in recent memory—its hardy nature heightening its appeal as a long-term investment. For more information, click here:

RE/MAX Barometer Report Video

The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”




“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens ring

Sp n w bto a l S


ak Kay

Bruce Johnson Photo © The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”





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Tips for Buying a Vacation Property Financing your vacation retreat. Whether you're planning to purchase a waterfront or back lot, a seasonal or year-round property, something finished or unfinished, coming up with the funds to buy your vacation retreat may not be as difficult as it used to be. Most financial institutions offer financing programs for vacation properties and/or second homes. Depending on the type of property you buy, you may be eligible to obtain financing for up to 95%* of its value.

Use the equity in your home Your primary residence is another good place to look for financing. If your home is worth more than your outstanding mortgage, you may be able to tap into some of the available equity to purchase your vacation property. Tip: If you anticipate being out of the country when renters occupy the property, you might consider hiring a manager who can take care of maintenance and repairs.

Resourceful financing solutions Along with cost to purchase, potential owners of vacation properties may have to budget for renovations, maintenance, and property taxes.

Renting your property If you anticipate that you won't be using your vacation property for all the summer months (or if you intend to purchase a winterized chalet near the ski slopes that won't be in use during parts of the season), you might consider renting out your property to help with the carrying costs. To determine a fair rental price, ask around or check into classified and Internet listings and community bulletin boards to get a sense of what others are charging for similar properties. Listing your property with a rental agency can help you market it. Don't forget that if you decide to rent out your home away from home for parts of the year, you will be responsible for ensuring that it is clean and habitable.

Family ownership Another way to reduce your financial outlay is to consider a joint purchase with family or friends. A parent may consider buying property with an adult child who does not have a principal residence. If the property is

The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience�




and budgeting. They will understand the market and renting conditions and can give you good estimates on property taxes and annual upkeep. If you are planning to buy vacant land on which to build a dwelling, they can also help you check into any building restrictions and local zoning regulation. in the adult child's name, this can help to save on capital gains taxes if you intend to sell during your lifetimes. Siblings may also consider purchasing a property together. On the face of it, this may seem like an easy way to make a vacation property affordable, but potential problems can easily arise. The most obvious is the use of the property - particularly as our Canadian summers are short. Other things that should be worked out well in advance - and preferably put in writing - are who will be responsible for maintaining the property (work and costs) and succession planning. Tap into local knowledge Local real estate brokers are a valuable resource who can help you in your planning Tip: Be sure to save all receipts associated with maintenance, utilities, and insurance, as you may be able to claim tax deductions if you are drawing income from your property. Renovations may also increase your capital base and can lower potential capital gains when and if you decide to sell.

Ask yourself the tough questions Before you go ahead and make your vacation home purchase, it pays to be honest with yourself and your family about what you really want. How often do you plan to use the property? Can you afford the purchase price and maintenance costs without having to compromise on the other things you want out of life? In your planning and budgeting, you may find that it makes much more sense to rent for a month during the summer season, and still have enough left over for travel and other leisure activities. But if you are still dreaming of owning a vacation property, sit down with your mortgage lender and find a way to make it happen.

Michael McCarthy is a mortgage advisor with Scotiabank... and a heck of a hockey player! Click here to contact Michael McCarthy

The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience�




Spring Staging STEP ONE: FRESH PAINT If you’re thinking of selling this spring or even later this summer, don’t make the mistake of thinking it will only take a couple of days or even a couple of weeks to get your property marketready. Basically, market-ready means: 1) Clean and Odour-Free 2) Clutter and Distraction-Free 3) Repair and Maintenance-Free. Painting is the one task that addresses all three of the market-ready requirements and so, in spite of being disruptive and time-consuming, this is the primary task in offering a fresh, updated, welcoming home to buyers. Freshly painted walls are right up there with updated flooring on the list of what buyers desire and conversely,

shabby walls do decrease perceived value. Paint is the least expensive update with the most impact. The cost ranges from $150-$1500 with the Return on Investment estimated (in a 2011 HomeGain survey) to be 109%. Move-in-ready definitely includes “no painting required”. I address all three market-ready goals and how to achieve them in a detailed staging checklist (my Feng Shui Staging services, including colour consultation, checklist and showcasing, are offered free-of-charge to Bruce’s clients). These checklists can be 10-15 pages long but home sellers appreciate that the recommendations are detailed and prioritized. Checking off each item on their list results in a real and deserved feeling of pride; sellers now really believe in the value of their

Don’t be one of the sellers who say: "We don't have time to paint, and anyway it would be a waste to paint since the buyers will want to pick their own colours." Buyers will simply not keep your house on their short list if they label it as “dark, outdated, shabby, dingy, needing paint, damp smelling, etc.”

The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”




property and buyers quickly agree. I am always thinking about ways to organize the checklist to make it even more straightforward for clients. Since sellers sometimes give me an overwhelmed grimace at my staging suggestions that involve painting, I’ve started to provide a separate painting checklist. Starting at the front door and working clockwise, I list each room or area then provide the paint’s name and colour code and also inform clients on how to receive my 35-60% discount at Sherwin Williams or ICI (both will colour-match Benjamin Moore colours and provide low or no-VOC options). I choose colours based on which colours work best in different qualities of light (i.e. southern versus northern exposure, size and function of room, flooring and/or cabinet undertones) and staging training/colour education as well as a fan deck of “staging safe” neutrals. Accents (i.e. punches of colour) can be accomplished with pillows, throws, pottery, glass bowls filled with fruit, and so on, so I have a list of favourite neutrals that clients often love so much they use it when they set up their new home, as these colours have that timeless trait called “liveability.” Once the painting is done, the fun really begins; as clients go about editing out excess furniture and “stuff” and tackling any other repairs or updates while I help them place furniture, art, lighting and accessories. Make freshly painted walls your first step to selling your home and you are likely to

sell faster and for more equity return. ~ Mary

“Hire It Out or Do It Yourself?” If you’re like me and actually enjoy painting or if you are capable of doing a professional-level job yourself, there are fantastic how-to guides online to follow for professional results. The time spent in thorough prep work and the investment in a quality primer will pay back big-time! Here are a couple of my favourites how-to articles: Secrets of Pro Painters Secrets of a Perfect Paint Job Paint Tips and Tricks If you just aren’t the do-it-yourself type and/or feel that not having to do the prep and cleanup is simply priceless, I highly recommend hiring it out to a pro. Although you may not like their prices at first, there are reputable, insured local painters that you will love for giving your house back in days rather than weeks.

The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”




Map of Wasaga Beach 1. Click here for Things To Do in Wasaga Beach!

2. Click here for Things To Do in Clearview! 3. Click here for Things

nty u o C e Simco ns o i t i d Con d a o R

To Do in Balm Beach! le! Ar rive alive, peop

cal o L y a d 4 1 e nd Weather Tr

Cur rent Weath er

The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”




Map of Co llingwo od 1. Click here for Things To Do in Collingwoo d! 2. Click here for Things To Do in Blue Mountain!

3. Click here for Things

Grey Co unty Road C ond itio ns

To Do in Thornbur y!

cks e n d


ny n u F



s! o t o h e P s u o H Ug ly

Blue Mtn Ski Report

The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”




A real estate broker was dismayed when a brand new real estate office much like his own opened up next door and erected a huge sign which read 'BEST AGENTS.' He was horrified when another competitor opened up on his right, and announced its arrival with an even larger sign, reading 'LOWEST COMMISSIONS.' The broker panicked, until he got an idea. He put the biggest sign of all over his own real estate office. It read: 'MAIN ENTRANCE'


t n u H e Hom



Two women were walking through the woods when a frog called out to them and said: “Help me, ladies! I am a real estate broker who, through a curse, has been transformed into a frog. If one of you will kiss me, I’ll be returned to my former state!” One woman took out her purse, grabbed the frog, and stuffed it inside her handbag. The other woman said, “Didn’t you hear him? If you kiss him, he’ll turn into a real estate broker!” The second woman replied, “Sure, but these days a talking frog is worth more than a real estate broker!”

Contes t!

Who To Win:


The first person to email Bruce wins everlasting


glory... and a $50 gift certificate to fud grill in Edenvale! Good luck, Home Hunters! You must be a member of our Facebook business page so click here to visit the page and hit the “Like” button: “Who Lives Here?” Contest

Click Here! ! Big Hint

Congratulations to last edition’s speedy winner: Ann Barnes Ann won a $50 gift certificate to the delicious fud grill in Edenvale!

The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”


Click here for the easiest property search in the Known Universe!



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The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”




“Whatʼs My Home Worth?” Click HERE to see an example of my extensive Market Evaluation. Click HERE to contact me for your free no-obligation custom report.

The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”

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HomeHunt with Bruce Johnson


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仝 仝

Mary Johnson

Bruce Johnson

The Home Hunt: 1263 Mosley Street, Wasaga Beach, ON L9Z 1A5 | 705-429-4500 x226 “A Moving Experience”

Mar Apr 2011 Newsletter  

A lively source of real estate information for Wasaga Beach, Collingwood, Blue Mountain and Tiny Beaches.”

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