Oasis Realty Brokerage, Ottawa Real Estate
Gord McCormick Ottawa, ON K2S0H6
Phone: 613-435-4692 Mobile: 613-371-9691 Fax: 613-435-4698

Petential potholes aplenty in 2016 Ottawa real estate

A perspective on Ottawa real estate 2015

A perspective on Ottawa real estate 2015

Ottawa real estate report December 2015

Optimistic unit sales for both residential and condo markets in November:

Ottawa buyers and sellers were active in November in the fresh optimism generated by the new Federal Government.  Unit sales were very positive for the month with residential sales up 9.7% for the month vs November last year and condo unit sales up nicely by 17.1%.
On a year-to-date basis residential unit sales are up 6.1% and condo sales are flat at +.7%.

Prices remain pretty flat overall:
Year-to-date average prices for residential sales are up by 1.7% to $392,183 and the average condo price sold this year has dropped by 1.1% to $260,278.

How long does it take to sell on average?
The average residential property sold this year after a cumulative listing period of 82 days on the market vs 77 days last year.  The average condo sold in 102 days compared with 87 days a year ago.

Listing inventory easing slightly overall:
Overall listing inventory has pulled back slightly from some record setting levels mid-year.  Residential listings are currently15.6% higher than the 5 year average and condos are 31.9% higher.
Listing inventory is overweight higher end properties at $500,000 and above, compared to recent sales patterns.  Currently listing inventory above $500K is over 20% of all listings while sales above $500K are only about 15% on a year-to-date basis.

Rental market on MLS® continues to surge:
Realtors continue to generate more rental listings and lease agreements for their clients than ever and rental inventory is up 50% compared to the 5 year average.  Whether this reflects more investor owners or simply sellers who were not able to sell at a desired price point, we cannot be sure.

Listing cancellations, withdrawals and expiries remain high:
The number of listings that don’t sell and expire or are terminated by the sellers remains at historically significant levels.  If these sellers have quit the market then this is a good thing as it lessens what has been a supply/demand imbalance in favour of buyers.  If however, these properties are just off the market temporarily and will return to active listing status in 2016 this may mean our inventory issues will continue. 

It is never too early to plan your purchase or sale for 2016, though we escape for several weeks in the New Year, we are always available by email, text or skype/cell to help you meet your objectives.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a successful 2016!

Dawn Davey, Broker
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 office 613-371-9691 mobile/text

Great news: MLTT not expanding beyond Toronto!

In a somewhat surprising about face, the Ontario Provincial government announced yesterday that it would not be expanding the municipal land transfer tax (MLTT) accross the province.  This is great news for buyers/sellers and Realtors, as it looked like this was almost a fait accompli.

We believe that the issue was contentious enough and feedback significant enough that Queen's Park chose to back off.  So kudos to the government from this corner and all our friends and colleagues who helped lobby against this punitive taxation measure!

Here is a link to the National Post coverage of the story:  http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/ontario-wont-expand-the-municipal-land-transfer-tax-beyond-torontos-borders


home energy rating and disclosure program coming soon?

The Ontario Provincial government  is revisiting the case for mandatory home energy audits and ratings before one can sell a home or property. (Like the NRCan Energuide® rating for appliances.)  While no one would argue the conservation goals and importance of consumer disclosure....this will be a disaster for homeowners in older, energy inefficient homes, as their properties will be stigmatized and lose big market value, unless they invest huge $$$$ in retro-fitting their home prior to sale.  Though the government will no doubt offer some tax credit or rebate support, homeowners still have big bucks to spend on insulation, doors, windows, wiring, furnaces, appliances and so forth or face a significant market value loss and marketability problem for their property.

You can see conceptual details of the program at the link below and it appears a phased implementation with full adoption by 2019.  Not clear on details yet and there are many questions: i.e. how does an audit get done on an apartment condo?

‪#‎ottawarealestate‬ ‪#‎homeenergyaudit‬

Ottawa real estate market report November 2015

Residential Sales pretty solid:
Sales for the month were up 3.7% and year to-to-date are 5.9% higher than 2014.
Average selling price for the month was up 2.8% to $380,075 and year to-to-date the average selling price is up 1.8% to $393,078

Condo sales and prices continue to sag:
Condo sales continue to struggle due to oversupply in both the resale and new construction markets.
Though condo unit sales were up slightly over last October, they were still down 9.4% compared to the 5 year average.  Year-to-date unit sales are down .5% compared to last year.
Prices took a beat of a beating in October and on a year-to-date basis are down 1.9% compared to the first 10 months of 2014 at $258,995.

* average selling prices are affected by the price mix of properties sold and in the current market there is more activity in the lower to mid-priced market segments ie $250K-400K which keeps the overall average price in check.

Listing inventory surplus eases:
For the first time in a long time, we have seen some improvement in the amount of listing inventory surplus on hand.
Residential listings are only 19.5% higher than the 5 year average at the end of October and condos are 42.5% higher.
New listings in October for residential properties actually were less than during the previous 3 years and 4.6% lower than the 5 year average, so this is potentially a very good sign.

We note however that listing cancellations, withdrawls and expiries continue to run at high levels with residential properties 14.4% higher than the 5 year average and condos 55.3% higher. If some of these sellers have moved to the rental market that would be OK as the rental market seems pretty active.  If on the other hand these sellers are just waiting to relist at a later date then perhaps there still may be an overbalanced equation on the supply side.

Rental Market listing inventory is up 58.7% over the 5 year average but the number of rentals done by Board members is way up also, so this is not a particularly worrisome stat.

Time on market to sell increases also:
Both condos and residential properties have taken more time on market to sell this year with residential properties selling in 80 days vs 75 last year and condos taking 101 days to sell vs 86 days last year.

Now is a great time to plan for spring and summer 2016, give us a call if you to discuss your plans and get some ideas on what can be done to optimize your buying and selling process.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record


Competition Bureau vs Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB)

…or... “you can have our data when you pry it from our cold, dead hands!

In what may result in a watershed ruling affecting real estate historical listing information, the Competition Bureau Tribunal will be conducting hearings in both Toronto and Ottawa over the next few weeks to determine how much listing data can be provided by online real estate marketing companies.  This matter has been winding its way through various regulatory and legal processes for some 4 years now, including the Supreme Court-which refused to hear the matter.

What does the Bureau want?
The Bureau wants MLS® listing and sold data to be more widely available to consumers and 3rd party online marketers like Trulia and Zillow in the US.  This would allow more information for both buyers and sellers and a new range of online services.  Currently, Realtors control this data and provide it to their customers or prospects.
The Bureau argues that TREB (and by extension MLS® as a whole) uses its monopoly over access to this listing data to prevent new services and business models and that consumers have a right to access this data without having to go through an MLS® REALTOR® member, as is the case in some other countries.

NB.  The issue fundamentally relates to historical “sold” data and listings, as active listings are already widely distributed to the online 3rd party real estate community via the MLS® Distributed Data Facility (DDF).

What is organized real estate’s position?
Organized real estate feels very strongly that historical listing data is proprietary to MLS® members as they have assembled/created and paid for the whole system that collects, aggregates, stores and distributes the listing data.  Listing data goes far beyond simple listing and selling prices and includes photos, videos, room sizes, special features etc.

This comprehensive data set is what is necessary to form any kind of baseline for pricing a property to be listed in future.  Simply having the selling price of a property without all the ancillary information included in a typical MLS® listing is fairly meaningless and is already available to the public via MPAC (up to 24 properties in Ontario) or the local land registry office.(for a small fee)

Organized real estate also argues that even private sellers (for-sale-by-owner or FSBO sellers) have access to comparable sold data, as the major FSBO sales organizations are generally affiliated with a real estate brokerage that can provide that information.  FSBO sellers can also have their properties posted on MLS® subsequent to a previous agreement between the Bureau and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

We believe the bottom line on the whole exercise is “…let’s not try to fix what’s not broken”.

Which side would the public support?
We suspect most members of the public with only a cursory knowledge of the issue might choose to support the Bureau and hope that the Tribunal decision forces the MLS® membership to make sold listing data widely available without REALTOR® involvement or engagement.  However, it is a complex matter and the results of such a change may have some unintended consequences that may not serve the consumer well at all.  Our current MLS® system is the envy of many around the world and provides a strong centralized national and regional platform for the distribution of listings for sellers and easy access to those active listings for buyers. (without commercial messages or advertising on www.realtor.ca )  Furthermore comparable sold data is readily available for both sellers and buyers from a large and diverse REALTOR® population who compete via a variety of business models for consumer business.  We believe the consumer is well served by the current system.

Be careful what you wish for...
While there may be some positive aspects of wider access to MLS® sold listing information for consumers, if such a change ultimately resulted in a significant change to the MLS® landscape both consumers and real estate professionals would be poorly served.  We hope the Tribunal considers all possible consequences in rendering its decision.

Our belief is that by and large professional real estate is fairly intractable on this issue, so who can say what may transpire if the Tribunal rules against TREB?

Stay tuned for news coming out of Ottawa on this issue, as it remains to be seen whether this will simply be another skirmish between the Competition Bureau and organized real estate or if in fact it will be a decisive battle. 

NB: we offer this note as our personal opinion only as experienced real estate brokers and not as representatives of any Association, Board or entity, as we do not have detailed knowledge of the legal complexities nor do we represent organized real estate in any way, concerning this matter.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692  www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

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