Waterloo Region House Prices One Year After The Tax

Our local market is doing great despite the turmoil seen in the latter half of 2017. House prices in Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge have almost entirely recovered from the aftermath of last spring’s foreign buyers tax. KWAR news release

Waterloo Region house prices one year after the tax are even with the numbers from last spring. However on a city by city basis Waterloo and Kitchener prices are down slightly compared to May 2017 while Cambridge is sharply higher. Regardless the overall trend in valuation has been upward over the last year. In all three cities prices are considerably higher than the lows seen in the last half of 2017.

Waterloo Region house prices one year after the taxPerhaps unsurprisingly our market mirrors the activity seen in the GTA, albeit with lower prices and a stronger recovery. The GTA saw the same sharp falloff in prices after the introduction of the foreign buyers tax. Both markets saw a reduction in volume in combination with a recovery in prices that gained momentum this spring.

Despite the strong recovery here and the more muted one in the GTA it’s unlikely we’ll return to the market conditions of last spring any time soon. There are several factors at play preventing a steep run up in prices. Rising interest rates, the mortgage stress test and modest wage growth are three factors that undermine affordability. This limits the number of people entering the market and also moderates the activity of owners wishing to move up the property ladder.Waterloo Region house prices one year after the tax

These factors are the only thing keeping a check on demand and thus prices. Barring a major recession or a black swan event on the world stage there is little reason to predict lower prices in Waterloo Region any time soon.

Waterloo Region house prices one year after the tax are doing very well indeed. We are still strongly in a sellers’ market. Available housing stock in Waterloo Region sits at two thirds of the 10 year average. Unemployment is low with immigration to the GTA continuing unabated. Locally we’ve certainly seen an uptick in activity from buyers unable to afford the GTA’s high prices. This last point would certainly explain the big uptick in Cambridge prices last month. For city data see my House Prices Page

Rodding For Reading 2018

The sweet smell of unburned hydrocarbons hit my nose and I knew I’d arrived. Rodding For Reading is a classic car show in support of The Literacy Group of Waterloo Region. These old cars brought me right back to my youth when gas was very cheap indeed. The Lead Kings Car Club provided the beautiful machinery. We lucked out with perfect weather and a great turnout.

The Literacy Group provides a number of great programs helping adults improve their skills, such as reading, writing, mathematics or using modern electronics. I volunteer with TLG helping people update their IT skills and really enjoy seeing the progress made by our students. Our volunteer work is free, but the cost of running our programs is not. Rodding For Reading is crucial for raising funds and awareness for the important work done by The Literacy Group.

Here’s a pile of shots from today’s event!

Rodding For Reading

1973 Mustang Convertible

Rodding For Reading

327 in Nova

Rodding For Reading

327 Nova

Continue reading

Buying A New Phone

I’m cranky! Perhaps it’s my age and perhaps my mindset is a holdover from days when product lifetimes were measured in years and decades instead of months.

I had to get a new phone the other day because my old one bricked itself.

I should be happy! Buying a new phone is great, right? Maybe so, and maybe not…

Despite my love for technology I’m not one of those questionable sorts who camp out all night for the latest gadget.

I’m grumbly because dealing with technology is often a pain and the lifespan of today’s products is woefully short.

I come from a generation that fixes stuff. Trying to do anything less is wasteful in my opinion.

So I learned how to reflash my dead Nexus 5, but to no avail.

I’d managed to get the phone and PC connected but the phone refused every attempt at re-flashing the operating system. Since I’m not a coder the learning curve was steep and painful. In the end I wasted a lot of time confirming my phone was dead.

My new Samsung S8 is great but I liked my old phone just fine. Buying a new phone and setting it up was almost as annoying as trying to fix my old phone.

It’d be great if my new phone lasted longer than the three and a half years my Nexus 5 did, but I’m not counting on it. Why can’t we build stuff to last?

Buying A New Phone

Should I Get A Home Inspection?

‘Should I get a home inspection?’ is actually a question for a lot of buyers, but I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want one. It’s a trivial amount of money to spend for some real peace of mind, and an inspection can save a buyer thousands of dollars if things are uncovered.

should I get a home inspection

US Navy photo Jimmy Johnson https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

I’d never advise against getting an inspection but sometimes market forces make it impossible to secure a property with an inspection condition, or any conditions for that matter. This was the case in the multiple offer environment we saw in the spring of 2017.

Things are better now but a significant number of homes are still selling ‘firm’ with no conditions. It’s very much a sellers’ market and it can be difficult to buy conditionally.

Nevertheless the vast majority of my offers have inspection conditions. No doubt we’ve lost out on a few properties because of this. But I’m pretty certain several of my clients who answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘Should I get a home inspection?’ are pretty happy having spent four or five hundred dollars.

should I get a home inspection

Photo Laura Scudder GFDL / CC-BY-SA-2.5

In one property the inspection uncovered some significant roof and siding issues. In two other cases asbestos was found. Lastly a supposedly rewired house had knob and tube hidden away between floors.

If significant issues are uncovered a buyer has the option of abandoning the deal, renegotiating on price or having the seller remedy the deficiencies. We’ve done all three of these things at one time or another, saving my clients tens of thousands of dollars as a result.

Even if nothing serious is found the inspectors have a wealth of invaluable knowledge and experience to pass on to the buyer. My clients get a thorough education on every aspect of the home which is why it’s essential that they attend the inspection.

Should I get a home inspection? Yes, without a shadow of doubt you should. Getting a home inspection is a good thing.

Here’s three great inspectors I work with:
Canadian Home Inspection Services
Green Trust Services
Pillar To Post

Does A Messy Desk Equal Genius?

The universe loves entropy. It’s the final state of everything if given enough time. This seems eerily familiar to those of us with messy desks and cars.

Can I justify the mess because ‘creatives’ are just born this way? I’m intelligent, and that too is an indicator that I may be prone to slovenliness. Does a messy desk equal genius? According to Cosmo, yes, so it must be true :O

I think being messy is a choice first and foremost. I am prone to this because cleaning and organizing do not excite me whatsoever. I’ve always got things to plan out, reading to catch up on and a million and one other things to do. But cleaning up is necessary simply because of the entropy I mentioned.

My desk’s level of entropy is quite high from time to time, but not so bad that papers wander off. They have their places and no one touches them except me. The entropy in-between my ears causes me to sometimes forget where exactly I put things that’s all.

But the real estate business is not hard in an administrative way. The forms we use are standard and the processing of agreements is typically routine. It’s primarily electronic these days although I do keep paper back-ups as well. These are kept in separate folders far away from the chaos.

Does a messy desk equal geniusSo most of the mess on my desk comes from somewhere else. It is the end result of marketing, doing Open Houses and searches for properties. These things generate a lot of paper. The recycling bin beside me was empty 3 months ago. My Epson Eco-tank printer has gone through 3700 sheets of paper and it isn’t a year old yet.

Being busy and entropy go hand in hand. I come home many nights after dinner and drop the day’s work on my desk. Next day I’m out again with the same clients or new ones and the process repeats. Other times it’s a scramble to get out the door. I’m busy shaving or brushing my teeth while the printer is doing its thing, and fingers crossed nothing goes wrong!

The same can be said for receipts. I buy a lot of stuff for my business at stores, in person. What’s the easiest quickest place to put stuff; the centre console glovebox of my car of course! Come tax time it’s full and I fill a grocery bag bringing it in the house.

Does a messy desk equal geniusAnyway, my taxes are done and my desk is reasonably clean again. I’ve battled chaos inside the house in my office and downstairs in the the man cave as well. The car is another matter entirely. The warm sunny days of late with the sunroof open bathe my dashboard in blinding light and all I see is dust and dirty windows. There’s motes of entropy everywhere! I’d better get cleaning….