The New Normal: A Strong Housing Market Expected to Continue into 2021

The New Normal: A Strong Housing Market Expected to Continue into 2021

Circumstances like a once-in-a-hundred-years pandemic and historic inventory shortages might have made you assume that the housing market would lose steam, but there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. As Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) senior economist, Shaun Cathcart noted, “records [are continually] being broken” in the residential property market.1

Indeed, rather than a slowdown, we are continuing to experience a surprisingly robust real estate market across the country. And experts estimate that these conditions are likely to last into the new year. TD Bank Group Economist Rishi Sondhi predicts that high home prices will persist for the rest of 2020.2

Market conditions like fewer available listings, changing criteria for desired homes, and record-low mortgage rates are changing the way people buy and sell homes, most likely in a lasting way. But this sustained activity, even in the uncertainty that is 2020, proves Canadians still view real estate as a sound investment. The only question now is how you can take advantage of the housing market’s “new normal.” In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know to achieve your goals.

FEWER LISTINGS EQUALS A SELLER’S’ MARKET

 Inventory, meaning the number of homes for sale, is at a record low across the country.

According to statistics from RBC Economics, the majority of Canada is experiencing tighter demand versus supply conditions than the country has seen in nearly two decades.3 And at the end of September, there were just 2.6 months of inventory on a national basis. That restricts supply, which increases prices if demand remains unchanged.4

There has been a bit of relief in terms of inventory. New-home construction hit levels in August that the country had not seen since 2007, but then waned somewhat in September with housing starts down in eight of 10 provinces.5 Doug Porter, chief economist at Bank of Montréal, also predicts some “building headwinds” that will further cool the influx of new inventory coming on the market.6

Fewer listings creates a housing market that is advantageous for sellers for several reasons. For one, buyers have to act fast to snap up available homes. The median number of days listings now spend on the market is 26 days.7

 Another benefit is that sellers are enjoying higher net returns on their listings. This is thanks to the tough competition for homes, which often results in bidding wars between buyers. The average price of a home sold on the Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA’s) MLS service went for a record $604,000 (17.5% more than last year).8 Continued home-price growth is anticipated for the remainder of the fourth quarter, and the median national home price is expected to rise 7% over last year.9

 This sellers’ market is not simply a product of the pandemic. In fact, Cathcart cited the steady decline in home inventory over the past five years—not COVID-19—as the cause for higher prices. “Heading towards records and record type conditions was something that we had already expected for 2020,” he said. This means that even if construction was to ramp back up, buyers can’t simply wait for things to go back to normal before reentering the market. Rather, all signs indicate that this is the new normal.10

What It Means for Homeowners:

These higher home prices show that buyers are willing to spend more on a home right now than they did last year. So, if there ever were a time to list for top dollar—and expect to receive asking price quickly—that time is now. Ask us for a free consultation of your home’s value today.

What It Means for Homebuyers:

Due to low inventory, buyers could easily find themselves in a bidding war. Time is of the essence in a seller’s market, so you’ll need to get your financing in order and be preapproved for a loan before you begin your home search. We can connect you with a trusted mortgage professional to get you started.

  

BUYERS BENEFIT FROM LOW MORTGAGE RATES AND A BIGGER PLAYING FIELD

Don’t worry, homebuyers. This “new normal” of real estate has benefits for you too.

For example, people used to base their next home purchase on how far the commute was to work or in which public school district it was. But now, thanks to the pandemic shifting the locus of jobs and work, they are free to consider what they need from a home to make it a place they really want to work, teach, exercise, cook, and live.

Often, this equates to needing more space in different types of areas. The search for these criteria is driving residents out of densely populated metropolitan areas and into the suburbs.11 And this exodus from cities is good news for buyers: it opens up more possibilities for inventory that they could not have considered pre-pandemic.

 Another advantage for buyers is the record-low mortgage rates. The average five-year fixed rate fell to a record low of 1.99% in September, down from 3.04% at the end of 2019 and 3.74% at the end of 2018.12

Thanks to these rates, buyers are afforded the opportunity to buy much more home than they could before. Consider this example. If a buyer can afford a $500,000 home by putting $120,000 down (25%), the monthly payment on a standard 25-year mortgage would be $2,210. Conversely, with a lower rate (say, 2.8%) that buyer can now afford a $600,000 home—$100,000 more purchasing power—at a cost of only $12 additional per month.13

 The good news is that interest rates are not expected to rise anytime soon—and may hover at these record lows until 2023.14

 

What It Means for Homeowners:

If you’re locked into a higher fixed-rate mortgage for the next several years, you’re probably wondering if it’s a good idea to refinance. With those additional funds, you could even choose to invest in a second home in a new desirable location. Reach out to us for a referral to a trusted mortgage professional or an agent in those markets.

 

What It Means for Homebuyers:

The time is now to determine how much home you can comfortably afford and make a plan to find it. We can set up a search for you to find homes that best meet your new needs, even if they’re in neighborhoods you wouldn’t have considered before.

 

A RECORD-SETTING YEAR FOR HOME SALES IS JUST THE BEGINNING

Despite the seemingly adverse buyer conditions, 2020 experienced a record-breaking number of home sales. According to CREA, home sales activity jumped 46.5% year-over-year in September. With an additional 20,000 transactions logged, it was the busiest September thus far. Moreover, “[m]any Canadian housing markets are continuing to see historically strong levels of activity as we enter into the fall market of this very strange year,” CREA chair Costa Poulopoulos said in a statement.15

Part of the reason for these continued sales is that the pandemic has created a paradigm shift in the patterns of real estate. For example, housing needs are typically resolved by late summer and early fall to coincide with the commencement of the new school year. With homeschooling and remote work, however, buyers have been freed to continue their home search into the traditionally slow winter months.16

Another reason for the robust market is that household savings grew to 28.2% of household income during the pandemic, an extraordinary level that Statistics Canada said the country has not seen since the 1960s.17 Canadians who were able to keep their jobs, as well as those on unemployment, have evidently made growing their savings a priority. And it seems as though Canadian homebuyers are using that cash on real estate.18

 All this indicates that the housing market is in a strong position heading into the new year. So though it looks different than it ever has before, it’s clear that consumers consider real estate to still be a good investment. The coming months should provide more clues about the market’s direction in the year ahead, such as whether low interest rates and changing housing needs can keep demand levels high, or whether the exhaustion of pent-up demand will cool things off.

 

What It Means for Homeowners:

It’s tempting to believe that homes will basically sell themselves in a market like this. But we’re still seeing properties that are overpriced and under-marketed sit unsold. We can help you optimize the process of selling your home so you can get the best possible offer.

 

What It Means for Homebuyers:

Preparation is key to success in a sellers’ market like this, but don’t let yourself become paralyzed. We are here to answer your questions and offer sound advice to guide you through all the options that are available to you.

 

WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

National real estate numbers can give us a pulse on the market, but real estate happens in our own backyard. As your local market experts, we can help you understand the finer points of the market that impact sales and home values in your own neighborhood.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home before the new year or in early 2021, contact us now to schedule a free consultation. We’ll work with you to develop an actionable plan to meet your goals.

 

Sources:

  1. Georgia Straight –

https://www.straight.com/news/canada-real-estate-wildcard-dealt-by-covid-19-cited-as-september-home-sales-rise-46-percent-for

  1. TD Economics –

https://economics.td.com/ca-housing-update

  1. RBC Economics –

https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/canadas-housing-market-got-hotter-in-september/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=economics&utm_campaign=housing

  1. Yahoo Finance –

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/canada-hot-housing-market-face-123440993.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNhLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAGHiUEUct_rnoOGtMbgsdPAv19LqiVnyNdbRS7x1wd0nV1AhnSvhBGStr7JEhs-CdHhox09OQK3PMK0rIoBlg5teQ5KJkW-P8az0s9FQXdiLKmpSEuIYlsGJ_1n5WMT-qvpkTVZkBWnm0xmajN2uiMY3sawaxMqiMpTbO2boIJXW

  1. CTV News –

https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/cmhc-reports-annual-pace-of-housing-starts-in-canada-fell-20-per-cent-in-september-1.5137771

  1. Financial Post –

https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/growth-in-canadian-home-sales-slows-amid-record-tight-supply

  1. Zolo –

https://www.zolo.ca/

  1. MSN Money – https://www.msn.com/en-nz/money/personalfinance/canadian-home-sales-set-record-for-september-up-456percent-from-last-year-crea/ar-BB1a3uIq
  2. BNN Bloomberg –

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/real-estate/video/expect-strong-canadian-real-estate-market-in-2020-royal-lepage~1861392

  1. Halifax Today –

https://www.halifaxtoday.ca/local-news/high-real-estate-prices-not-solely-due-to-covid-canadian-real-estate-association-2800942

  1. Global News –

https://globalnews.ca/news/7392667/real-estate-canada-suburbs-commutes/

  1. Financial Post – https://financialpost.com/executive/executive-summary/posthaste-canadas-home-prices-to-rise-12-by-the-end-of-2022-economists-predict/wcm/5f31b866-57a9-4ecf-90aa-65aa6ffbe02c/amp/
  2. Yahoo News –

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/average-house-price-continues-defy-133115838.html

  1. Bank of Canada –

https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2020/10/fad-press-release-2020-10-28/

  1. CREA –

https://creastats.crea.ca/en-CA/

  1. PwC –

https://www.pwc.com/ca/en/industries/real-estate/emerging-trends-in-real-estate-2021.html

  1. The Globe and Mail –

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/personal-finance/household-finances/article-savers-stashed-127-billion-in-2020-it-may-just-rescue-the-economy/

  1. CBC/Radio Canada –

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ting-column-sept-18-1.5730878

 

 

 

Posted by Christine Pecharich
October 2020 Market Statistics

October 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release October Stats

Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) were up again year-over-year for the fourth month in a row. Our Members made 10,563 sales as reported through the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s MLS® System in October 2020. This was up by 25.1 per cent compared to 8,445 transactions in October 2019.

Sales and new listings reached record levels for the month of October. However, year-over-year growth rates for sales and new listings diverged in some market segments. In the detached market segment, the pace of annual sales growth far outstripped growth in new listings. Conversely, the condominium apartment market segment experienced more than double the new listings compared to October 2019, whereas sales were only up by 2.2 per cent over the same period.

“Competition between buyers of single-family homes, and particularly detached houses, remained strong last month and continued to support double-digit annual rates of price growth in many GTA neighbourhoods. In contrast, condo buyers have benefitted from much more choice compared to last year. Pre-COVID polling had already pointed to an increase in investor selling in 2020. The pandemic only added to this trend with a stall in economic growth and a halt to tourism impacting cashflows for many investors,” said Lisa Patel, TRREB’s President.

The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark was up by 10.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis in October 2020. The average selling price for all home types combined was $968,318 – up by 13.7 per cent compared to $851,877 in October 2019.

“Year-to-date home sales through October were above last year’s level. The economic recovery in some sectors coupled with low borrowing costs has kept home purchases top-of-mind for many GTA residents. With this being said, we have not accounted for all of the pent-up demand that resulted from the spring downturn. Expect record or near-record home sales for the remainder of 2020,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

Area  Average Selling Price Current Month Percent increase/decrease Average DOM
Milton  $                     916,717.00 13.8% 14
Oakville  $                  1,313,481.00 18.9% 21
Burlington  $                     917,013.00 13.5% 15
Halton Hills  $                     935,612.00 16.4% 14
Guelph  $                     620,000.00 15.9% 10
Mississauga  $                     878,276.00 16.5% 16
Toronto Central  $                  1,147,600.00 12.1% 18

Milton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.8 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 5.7  %

Oakville Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 18.9 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 8.1  %

Burlington Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.5  %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 16.9  %

Halton Hills Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 16.4 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 18.7  %

Mississauga Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 16.5 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 5.7  %

Toronto (Central) Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 12.1 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 8.6  %

Posted by Christine Pecharich in Burlington, Georgetown, Guelph, Halton Hills, Market Reports, Milton, Mississauga, Oakville, Toronto
September 2020 Market Statistics

September 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release September Stats

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board President Lisa Patel announced that sales reported through

TRREB’s MLS® System by Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® amounted to 11,083 – a new record for the month of September. This result was up by 42.3 per cent compared to September 2019. Following a record third quarter, sales through the first nine months of 2020 were up by approximately one per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

“Improving economic conditions and extremely low borrowing costs sustained record-level sales in September, as we continued to account for the substantial amount of pent-up demand that resulted from the spring downturn. Further improvements in the economy, including job growth, would support strong home sales moving forward. However, it will be important to monitor the trajectory of COVID-19 cases, the related government policy response, and the impact on jobs and consumer confidence,” said Ms. Patel.

Year-over-year sales growth in September continued to be driven by ground-oriented market segments, including detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses. Annual growth rates were also higher for sales reported in the GTA regions surrounding the City of Toronto.

The September 2020 MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 11.6 per cent year-over-year. The average selling price for all home types combined in September was $960,772 – up by 14 per cent year-over-year. Price growth was driven by the low-rise market segments. The relatively better supplied condominium apartment segment experienced a comparatively slower pace of price growth.

“On a GTA-wide basis, market conditions tightened in September relative to last year, with sales increasing at a faster pace than new listings. With competition between buyers increasing noticeably, double-digit year-over-year price growth was commonplace throughout the region in September, resulting in the overall average selling price reaching a new record,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

Area  Average Selling Price Current Month  Percent increase/decrease Average DOM
Milton  $                      910,683.00 13.0% 22
Oakville  $                   1,419,482.00 18.0% 18
Burlington  $                      915,994.00 13.5% 18
Halton Hills  $                      938,970.00 15.2% 13
Guelph  $                      654,490.00 21.0% 10
Mississauga  $                      908,545.00 17.7% 16
Toronto Central  $                   1,134,524.00 12.1% 18

Milton Summary:
Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +1.5 %

Oakville Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 18%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 5 %

Burlington Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.5 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 10.1 %

Halton Hills Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 15.2 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 18.4  %

Mississauga Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 17.7 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 8.1 %

Toronto Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 12.1%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 9.7 %

Posted by Christine Pecharich
5 Secrets Buyers and Sellers Must Know About Virtual Home Tours

5 Secrets Buyers and Sellers Must Know About Virtual Home Tours

For years now, virtual home tours have helped real estate buyers far and wide find the perfect home. From long-distance military personnel being relocated, to investors expanding their portfolio, to homeowners looking for a vacation getaway, this technology makes finding a house that’s a bit out of driving distance much easier. And for real estate agents, virtual tours have been a useful way to help buyers with their home search and to assist sellers in creatively marketing their listings.

Because of the pandemic, virtual home showing options recently experienced a huge spike in popularity. One survey found that nearly 33% of recent home tour requests were for virtual tours, as compared to just 2% pre-pandemic.1 And it’s easy to see why.

Buyers want to quickly find their next safe haven, one that may need to serve as their office, gym, and even classroom for months to come. And sellers want to limit the number of strangers in their home, yet still have the ability to reach enough potential buyers to get the best offer on their property.

Virtual home tours are the popular thing right now, but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re the only option for your homebuying or selling experience. In this post, we’ll reveal five important secrets behind the virtual real estate scene. Read on to learn how they impact today’s home buyers and sellers.

SECRET #1: Virtual Tours Have Evolved

Lots of real estate professionals who had never used virtual tours before were forced to quickly adapt when the pandemic struck. Because of restrictions on time and resources, not everyone is able to create what would have been deemed a “virtual tour” last year. So instead, we’ve expanded the definition of the phrase by creating innovative new ways to show homes while keeping our clients safe and socially-distanced. Here are some terms you might come across as you explore homes with virtual tours.

Traditional virtual tours use 360° Photos, which are images that allow you to see all angles of a space. These are what allow virtual tour viewers to look up, down, and all around the interior and exterior shots of a home. Using a software program, 360° photos can be stitched together to create a digital model that looks like a dollhouse. This is called a 3D Tour. Sometimes agents will also add Virtual Staging, which decorates rooms with digital furniture and accents like wallpaper or paint.

Traditional virtual tours allow you to click to move from room to room in the home, but Online Walkthroughs feature the actual action of walking around. Either the seller or the agent (depending on factors such as time and safety requirements) will create a video by holding their camera or smartphone and simply moving through the home.

Online Walkthroughs can be filmed in advance or happen live. If they are live, they can also be referred to as Virtual Showings or Online Open Houses. A Virtual Showing is often a scheduled, one-on-one event that mimics an in-person tour of the home, in which the agent and viewer start at the exterior and move their way through the property. If your agent offers to FaceTime or Skype you from a home you’re interested in, for example, that would be a type of Virtual Showing. In contrast, an Online Open House is more freeform, allowing more viewers to pop in and out of a group video call on apps such as Facebook or Zoom.

SECRET #2: Virtual Doesn’t Mean Impersonal

All these styles of virtual tours showcase the property’s details better than static photos ever could. But for a purchase as intimate as your next home, details like a new refrigerator or the size of the master closet aren’t the only deciding factors. Luckily, virtual tours are exceptional tools for personal connection.

As a prospective buyer, virtual tours give you a feel for the property, inside and out, so you can easily picture yourself in the space and decide if the home’s flow and features work for your lifestyle. Live video walkthroughs with the real estate agent will give you insights on those crucial non-visual aspects, like creaky floors, super-fast internet speed, and neighborhood dynamics. Plus, you’ll be able to ask questions and get an insider’s perspective on what’s so great about the home.

For sellers, if your agent recommends using a virtual tour to market your home, you could attract more buyers.2 And you can be sure that those interested buyers are still getting the up-close and personal look inside your home that will inspire their strongest offers.

SECRET #3: Virtual Is Just The First Step To Safe Home Sales

Even as government restrictions begin to ease in some areas, virtual tours are still recommended as a safer way to buy and sell real estate.3 Buyers don’t have to worry about exposure to anyone who previously visited the property, and sellers cut down on the foot traffic in their home. Some data even suggest that virtual tours keep agents safer as well, since they’re hosting fewer in-person showings and open houses.4

But despite the variety of virtual tours available, some buyers will still need to visit a home themselves in order to feel confident enough to submit an offer. In this situation, listing agents and sellers will work together to come up with a procedure that ensures everyone feels safe and comfortable. Some recommendations include requiring interested buyers to present a pre-qualification letter, conducting tours only by appointment and with essential parties, and asking buyers to self-disclose whether they have COVID-19 or exhibit any symptoms.3

The day of the in-person tour, agents might ask buyers to remain in their vehicle until they arrive at the property, and to wear protective gear such as face coverings and gloves. Many will provide hand sanitizer and will ask buyers to refrain from touching any surfaces in the home. Instead, the agent (or seller, prior to the buyers’ arrival) will turn on lights, open doors, and pull back curtains. Then, after everyone has left, the agent will return the home to its original state and disinfect it as needed.3

SECRET #4: The Speed of Closing Depends on Your Goals

Though maybe not literally, virtual tours are opening doors for both buyers and sellers in terms of options available to them. In 2019, buyers viewed an average of 10 homes over a period of 10 weeks before submitting an offer.5 But thanks to an increased prevalence of virtual tours saving them driving time, they’re able to peek inside that number of homes in a much shorter period to make their final choice.

With all this viewing activity, it makes sense that sellers whose listings feature virtual tours are receiving more offers on their properties. According to one study, virtual tours can add between two and three percent to the sales price of a home, in part because increased buyer interest has made sellers feel confident waiting for the exact right offer.2

So if you’re a buyer luxuriating in viewing homes from your couch, just remember that you’re not alone in your search. Your competition is virtually viewing the same properties you are, so it’s still important to work with your real estate agent to quickly submit a strong offer when you find the home of your dreams. And for sellers, if a speedy sale is important to you, carefully weigh that against the temptation to entertain more and more offers, which can keep your home on the market up to six percent longer.2 Your agent can help you decide the right strategy for your priorities.

SECRET #5: Virtual May Not Always Be the Right Choice

Creating, editing, uploading, and marketing virtual tours for a listing can be pricey. Packages through popular 3D imaging platforms like Matterport and Immoviewers can cost hundreds of dollars on their own.6 Virtual staging will further bloat a listing’s marketing budget, and then there’s the advertising dollars needed. Even seemingly inexpensive options like video call walkthroughs still require time and energy on behalf of both the seller and agent.

These costs mean that a full virtual tour package might not always be the right choice for sellers. When you talk to your agent about marketing your home, it may be that an elaborate virtual tour, showing, and open house just don’t make sense. It could be that your potential buyers may not resonate with that type of marketing, that the investment-to-return ratio isn’t in your favor, or that there are more effective ways to get your listing seen by qualified buyers.

Buyers, you may notice that some listings within your search parameters don’t offer virtual tours. That’s because those for-sale homes might not have needed a full virtual marketing package to entice buyers to submit offers, or those homes are better marketed through more traditional tactics. Don’t close the door on your dream home because it doesn’t have virtual events and features. Stay open-minded so you can consider the wealth of home options that fit your lifestyle, needs, and budget.

ARE VIRTUAL HOME TOURS IN YOUR FUTURE?

As technology develops, it will become easier and cheaper to create virtual tours. Coupled with the high demand for them, this means that virtual tour options are likely not only here to stay, but will continue to grow into a common addition to listings.

If buying or selling a home is on your mind, we’d be happy to discuss how virtual tours can play a part in your real estate experience. Reach out to us today for help finding local homes for sale that have virtual tours, or to chat about if adding a virtual tour to your upcoming listing is the right fit.

Sources:

  1. Rocket Mortgage – https://www.rocketmortgage.com/learn/evolution-of-home-showings-during-covid-19
  2. Radio Iowa – https://www.radioiowa.com/2020/07/28/trying-to-sell-a-house-ui-study-finds-virtual-tours-will-bring-more/
  3. NAR Showing Guidance During Reopening – https://cdn.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/Showing-Guidance-During-COVID-05-14-2020.pdf
  4. NAR 2020 Member Safety Report – https://cdn.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2020-member-safety-report-08-31-2020.pdf
  5. NAR 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – https://cdn.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2019-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers-highlights-11-21-2019.pdf
  6. Realtor.com – https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/how-to-host-virtual-home-tours-almost-as-good-as-the-real-thing/
Posted by Christine Pecharich
August 2020 Market Statistics

August 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release August Stats

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) President Lisa Patel announced that the strong rebound

in Greater Toronto Area (GTA) home sales continued with a record result for the month of August. GTA REALTORS® reported 10,775 residential sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in August 2020 – up by 40.3 per cent compared to August 2019.

Sales were up on a year-over-year basis for all major home types, both in the City of Toronto and surrounding GTA regions. It should be noted that the low-rise market segments, including detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses, were the drivers of sales growth. Condominium apartment sales were up on an annual basis for the second straight month but to a lesser degree.

“Increased demand for ownership housing has been based on improving economic conditions, in terms of monthly GDP growth and job creation, and the continuation of very low borrowing costs. In addition, fewer households have chosen to go on vacation as a result of COVID-19 and instead have remained in the GTA and been active in the housing market, satisfying pent-up demand from the spring,” said Ms. Patel.

Both the number of new listings entered into TRREB’s MLS® System during the month and the number of active listings at the end of the August 2020 were up on a year-over-year basis. While new listings were up strongly for all home types, growth in new condominium apartment listings far outstripped growth in the other market segments.

“Generally speaking, market conditions remained very tight in the GTA resale market in August. Competition between buyers was especially strong for low-rise home types, leading to robust annual rates of price growth. However, with growth in condominium apartment listings well-outstripping condo sales growth, condo market conditions were comparatively more balanced, which was reflected in a slower pace of price growth in that segment,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 11.1 per cent in August 2020 compared to August 2019. Over the same period, the overall average selling price was up by 20.1 per cent to $951,404. Annual detached and semi-detached sales growth was stronger in the comparatively more-expensive City of Toronto compared to the surrounding GTA regions, which helps explain why growth in the overall average selling price outstripped growth in the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark.

Milton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 11.2 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 5.3 %

Oakville Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 15.7%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 2.7 %

Burlington Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.4%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +2.7 %

Halton Hills Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 15.2%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +12.1 %

Mississauga Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 17.3%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 13.8%

Brampton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 14.2%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 3.4%

Toronto Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 12.3%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 12.6 %

Posted by Christine Pecharich
Move-Up vs. Second Home: Which One Is Right For You?

Move-Up vs. Second Home: Which One Is Right For You?

The pandemic has changed the way many of us live, work, and attend school—and those changes have impacted our priorities when it comes to choosing a home.

According to a recent survey by The Harris Poll, 75% of respondents who have begun working remotely would like to continue doing so—and 66% would consider moving if they no longer had to commute as often. Some of the top reasons were to gain a dedicated office space (31%), a larger home (30%), and more rooms overall (29%).1

And now that virtual school has become a reality for many families, that need for additional space has only intensified. A growing number of buyers are choosing homes further from town as they seek out more room and less congestion. In fact, a recent survey found that nearly 40% of urban dwellers had considered leaving the city because of the COVID-19 outbreak.2

But not everyone is permanently sold on suburban or rural life. Instead, some are choosing to purchase a second home as a co-primary residence or frequent getaway. Without the requirements of a five-day commute, many homeowners feel less tethered to their primary residence and are eager for a change of scenery after spending so much time at home.

If you’re feeling cramped in your current space, you’ve probably considered a move. But what type of home would suit you best: a move-up home or a second home? Let’s explore each option to help you determine which one is right for you.

WHY CHOOSE A MOVE-UP HOME?

A move-up home is typically a larger or nicer home. It’s a great choice for families or individuals who simply need more space, a better location, or want features their current home doesn’t offer—like an inground pool, a different floor plan, or a dedicated home office.

Most move-up buyers choose to sell their current home and use the proceeds as a down payment on their next one. If you’re struggling with a lack of functional or outdoor space in your current home, a move-up home can greatly improve your everyday life. And with mortgage rates at their lowest level in history, you may be surprised how much home you can afford to buy without increasing your monthly payment.3,4

To learn more about mortgage rates, contact us for a free copy of our recent report!
Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers”

One major benefit of choosing a move-up home is that you can typically afford a nicer place if you spend your entire budget on one property. However, if you’re longing for that vacation vibe, a second home may be a better choice for you.

WHY CHOOSE A SECOND HOME?

Once reserved for the ultra-wealthy, second homes have become more mainstream. Home sales are surging in many resort and bedroom communities as city dwellers search for a place to escape the crowds and quarantine in comfort.5 And with air travel on hold for many families, some are channeling their vacation budgets into vacation homes that can be utilized throughout the year.

A second home can also be a good option if you’re preparing for retirement. By purchasing your retirement home now, you can lock in a low interest rate, start paying down the mortgage, and begin enjoying the perks of retirement living while you’re still fit and active. Plus, it’s easier to qualify for a mortgage while you’re employed, although you may be charged a slightly higher interest rate than on a primary home loan.6

One advantage of choosing a second home is that you can offset a portion of the costs—and in some cases turn a profit—by renting it out on a platform like Airbnb or Vrbo. However, be sure to consult with a real estate professional or rental management company to get a realistic sense of the property’s true income potential.

WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR ME?

You may read this and think: I’d really like both a move-up home AND a second home! But if you’re dealing with a limited budget (aren’t we all?), you’ll probably need to make a choice. These three tactics can help you decide which option is right for you.

1. Determine Your Time and Financial Budget

You may meet the bank’s qualifications to purchase a home, but do you have the time, energy, and financial resources to maintain it? This is an important question to ask yourself, no matter what type of home you choose.

Most buyers realize that a second home will mean double mortgages, utilities, taxes, and insurance. But consider all the extra time and expense that goes into maintaining two properties. Two lawns to mow. Two houses to clean. Two sets of systems and appliances that can malfunction. Second homes aren’t always a vacation. Make sure you’re prepared for the labor and carrying costs that go into maintaining another residence.

Of course, some move-up homes require more work than a second home. For example, if your move-up option is a major fixer-upper, you’ll probably invest more energy and capital than you would on a small vacation condo by the beach. Have an honest discussion about how much time and money you want to spend on your new property. Would a move-up home or a second home be a better fit given your parameters?

        2. Rank Your Priorities

 If you’re still undecided, make a wish list of the characteristics you’d like in your new home. Then rank each item from

most to least important. This exercise can help you determine your “must-have” features—and which ones you may need to sacrifice or delay. Here’s a sample to help you get started:

 

# FEATURE
  Dedicated home office
  Extra bedroom
  Pool
  Walk to the beach
  Big backyard
  Close to friends and family
  Short commute to the office
  Investment potential

      3. Explore Your Options

Once you’ve determined your parameters and priorities, it’s time to begin your home search.
If you’re still not sure whether a move-up home or a second home is right for you, we can help.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss your options and help you assess the pros and cons of each, given your unique circumstances.

We can also send you property listings for both move-up homes and second homes within your budget so you can better envision each scenario. Sometimes, viewing listings of homes that meet your criteria can make the decision clear.

LET’S GET MOVING

Whether you’re ready to make a move or need help weighing your options, we’d love to help. We can determine your current home’s value and show you local properties that fit within your budget. Or, if your heart is set on a second home in another market, we can refer you to an agent in your dream locale. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation!

 

 

Sources:
1. Zillow –
https://www.zillow.com/research/coronavirus-remote-work-suburbs-27046/
2. The Harris Poll –

Should you flee your city? Almost 40% have considered it during the pandemic


3. MarketWatch –
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/mortgage-rates-keeping-falling-so-will-they-finally-drop-to-0-2020-08-13
4. Toronto Star –
https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/08/07/you-can-get-a-fixed-rate-as-low-as-184-per-cent-which-is-unbelievable-low-mortgage-rates-driving-up-home-prices.html
5. Kiplinger –
https://www.kiplinger.com/real-estate/buying-a-home/601091/timely-reasons-to-buy-a-vacation-home
6. The Press-Enterprise –

5 tips on when should you buy a retirement house (hint: before you quit work)

Posted by Christine Pecharich
Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers

Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers

The interest rate on Canada’s most popular mortgage, the five-year fixed rate, has fallen to its lowest level in history. In early June, HSBC made headlines when it began offering Canadians a five-year fixed-rate mortgage below 2%. Multiple brokers followed suit, and some are now advertising even lower rates.1 And while many Canadians have rushed to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, others question the hype. Are today’s mortgage rates really a bargain?

While discounted five-year fixed mortgage rates have hovered between 2% and 4% for the past decade, they haven’t always been so low.2 For a period of 18 years, from 1973 to 1991, the posted five-year mortgage rate never fell below 10%. At the time, the Bank of Canada was hiking interest rates to try to stem a rising tide of inflation. It’s hard to imagine now, but the five-year fixed rate peaked at over 21% in 1981.3 Fortunately for home buyers, inflation began to normalize soon after, sending mortgage rates on a downward trajectory that has helped make homeownership more affordable for millions of Canadians.

So what’s causing today’s five-year fixed rates to sink to unprecedented lows? Economic uncertainty.

Fixed mortgage rates move in sync with the yield offered on government-backed bonds.4 As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dampen the economy and inject volatility into the stock market, a growing number of investors are shifting their money into low-risk bonds. This increased demand has driven bond yields—and mortgage rates—down.1

Quantitative easing measures taken by the Bank of Canada are also helping to bring down mortgage rates. The federal bank dropped its overnight lending rate to .25%, and it continues to inject billions of dollars into the economy, giving financial institutions the confidence and ability to continue lending.1

 HOW LOW COULD MORTGAGE RATES GO?

No one can say with certainty how low mortgage rates will fall or when they will rise again. But the Bank of Canada has signalled its commitment to keeping the policy rate at its effective lower bound of .25% for the foreseeable future, and many economists expect it to remain there through 2022.4

The real estate technology firm Mortgage Sandbox compiled forecast data from Bank of Montreal, Central 1, Desjardins, National Bank, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, and TD Bank. According to their analysis, the consensus was that the fixed 5-year mortgage rate will rise modestly over the next two years, averaging between 2.3% and 2.88%.5

While forecasts may differ, many experts agree: Those who wait to take advantage of these unprecedented rates could miss out on the deal of a lifetime. Positive news about a vaccine or a faster-than-expected economic recovery could send rates back up to pre-pandemic levels.

  SHOULD I CONSIDER BREAKING MY CURRENT MORTGAGE?

If you have a variable rate or recently renewed your mortgage, you may already be enjoying the benefits of falling interest rates. But if you’re locked into a higher fixed-rate mortgage for the next several years, you’re probably wondering if it’s a good idea to refinance.

Reduced interest rates can save homeowners a bundle on both monthly payments and interest over the term of a mortgage. The chart below illustrates the potential savings when you decrease your mortgage rate by just one percentage point. When it comes to refinancing, the bigger the spread, the greater the potential savings.

 Estimated Monthly Payment On 5-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage

25-Year Amortization 

Loan Amount 3.5% 2.5% Monthly Savings Interest Savings Over 5 Years
$100,000 $499 $448 $51 $4,720
$200,000 $999 $896 $103 $9,441
$300,000 $1498 $1,344 $154 $14,161
$400,000 $1,997 $1,792 $205 $18,881
$500,000 $2,496 $2,240 $256 $23,601

Of course, you’ll need to factor in prepayment penalties and any fees associated with your new mortgage. In some cases, these can cost as much as 4% of the mortgage amount.6 You can use an online refinance calculator to estimate your potential savings, or we’d be happy to connect you with a mortgage professional in our network who can help you decide if refinancing is a good option for you.

 HOW DO LOW MORTGAGE RATES BENEFIT HOME BUYERS?

We’ve already shown how low rates can save you money on your mortgage payments. But if you can meet the mortgage stress-test requirements,* they can also give a boost to your budget by increasing your purchasing power.

For example, imagine you have a budget of $1,500 to put toward your monthly mortgage payment. If you take out a 5-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.0% amortized over 25 years, you can afford a loan of $285,000.

Now let’s assume the mortgage rate falls to 3.0%. At that rate, you can afford to borrow $317,000 while still keeping the same $1,500 monthly payment. That’s a budget increase of $32,000!

If the rate falls even further to 2.0%, you can afford to borrow $354,000 and still pay the same $1,500 each month. That’s $69,000 over your original budget! All because the interest rate fell by two percentage points. If you’ve been priced out of the market before, today’s low rates may put you in a better position to afford your dream home.

On the other hand, rising mortgages rates will erode your purchasing power. Wait to buy, and you may have to settle for a smaller home in a less-desirable neighbourhood. So if you’re planning to move, don’t miss out on the phenomenal discount you can get with today’s historically-low rates.

(*This scenario assumes you can meet the current mortgage stress-test requirements.)

 HOW CAN I SECURE THE BEST AVAILABLE MORTGAGE RATE?

The best mortgage rates are typically reserved for only highly-qualified borrowers. So what steps can you take to secure the lowest possible rate?

    1. Consider a Variable-Rate Mortgage

 If you’re looking for the lowest rate possible, and you don’t mind the added risk, a five-year variable mortgage may be right for you. Even though the prime rate has held steady at 2.45% since April 10, lenders are gradually increasing their discount rates.1 And interest rates are expected to remain low at least through next year.

    2. Opt for a Closed Mortgage

 Closed mortgages usually come with hefty penalties if you opt to prepay or refinance your mortgage before the term ends. However, they offer lower interest rates than convertible or open mortgages. It’s important to note that not all closed mortgages are created equal. Before you commit, make sure you understand exactly how much you’ll be expected to pay should you need to break your mortgage mid-term.

    3. Give Your Credit Score a Boost

You may have heard that the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has raised its minimum credit score requirement from 600 to 680. And while there are plenty of banks willing to lend to borrowers with a lower score, their best rates go to those with excellent credit. Unfortunately, there’s no fast fix for bad credit, but you can take steps to give your score a boost before you apply for a loan:7

  • Dispute inaccuracies on your credit report.
  • Pay off debt, or spread it across multiple credit facilities.
  • Charge small amounts and then quickly pay off any dormant credit cards.
  • To lower your utilization rate, pay your credit card bill before the statement date

     4. Make a Large Down Payment

 You may be surprised to learn that the lowest advertised rates often go to insured borrowers who put down less than 20%. That’s because these “high-ratio borrowers” must pay for mortgage default insurance, which protects the lender from any financial loss. So while “conventional borrowers” who make a down payment of 20% may be charged a slightly higher interest rate, their total borrowing costs are lower because they don’t have to pay for mortgage default insurance.8 A down payment larger than 20% can bring down borrowing costs even further.

    5. Shop Around

 Rates, terms, and fees can vary widely amongst lenders, so do your homework. If you’re renewing an existing mortgage, start with your current lender. Then contact several others to find out which one is willing to offer you the best overall deal. But be sure to complete the process within 45 days—or else the credit inquiries by multiple mortgage companies could have a negative impact on your credit score.9

READY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOWEST MORTGAGE RATES IN HISTORY?

 

 

Mortgage rates have never been this low. Don’t miss out on your chance to lock in a great rate on a new home or refinance your existing mortgage. Either way, we can help.

 

We’d be happy to connect you with the most trusted mortgage professionals in our network. And if you’re ready to start shopping for a new home, we’d love to assist you with your search—all at no cost to you! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

Sources:

  1. Canadian Mortgage Trends –
    https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2020/06/mortgage-rates-keep-setting-new-record-lows/
  2. Rate Hub –
    https://www.ratehub.ca/5-year-fixed-mortgage-rate-history
  3. The Globe and Mail –
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/the-market/remember-when-what-have-we-learned-from-80s-interest-rates/article24398735/
  4. Canadian Mortgage Trends –
    https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2020/07/bank-of-canada-hints-at-no-interest-rate-hikes-until-2023/
  5. Mortgage Sandbox –
    https://www.mortgagesandbox.com/mortgage-interest-rate-forecast
  6. Financial Post –
    https://business.financialpost.com/moneywise/with-mortgage-rates-bottomed-out-its-time-for-homeowners-to-take-advantage
  7. Canadian Mortgage Trends –
    https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2020/02/five-tips-increase-credit-score-quickly/
  8. Integrated Mortgage Planners –
    https://www.integratedmortgageplanners.com/blog/first-time-home-buyers/canadian-mortgage-rates-explained-why-a-smaller-down-payment-comes-with-a-lower-mortgage-rate-tuesday-morning-interest-rate-update-may-23-2017/
  9. Equifax –
    https://www.consumer.equifax.ca/personal/education/credit-report/understanding-hard-inquiries-on-credit-report/

Posted by Christine Pecharich
July 2020 Market Statistics

July 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release July 2020 Stats

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board President Lisa Patel announces that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 11,081 sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in July 2020 – a 29.5 per cent increase over July 2019 and a new record for the month of July. On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, sales were up by 49.5 per cent compared to June 2020.

Year-over-year sales growth was driven by low-rise home types, particularly in the regions surrounding the City of Toronto. However, condominium apartment sales were also up on an annual basis, including in Toronto. Total new listings were also up strongly on a year-over-year basis by 24.7 per cent, but this annual growth rate was less than that of sales, which means market conditions tightened on average compared to July 2019. In addition, active listings at the end of July were down by 16.3 per cent.

“Sales activity was extremely strong for the first full month of summer. Normally we would see sales dip in July relative to June as more households take vacation, especially with children out of school. This year, however, was different with pent-up demand from the COVID-19-related lull in April and May being satisfied in the summer, as economic recovery takes firmer hold, including the Stage 3 re-opening. In addition, fewer people are travelling, which has likely translated into more transactions and listings,” said Ms. Patel.

The July 2020 MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 10 per cent compared to July 2019. The overall average selling price was up by 16.9 per cent year-over-year to $943,710. On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, the average selling price was up by 5.5 per cent compared to June 2020.

Price growth was strongest for low-rise home types, notably within the City of Toronto. Despite more balanced market conditions in the condominium apartment market segment, year-over-year price growth remained in the high single digits.

“Competition between buyers continued to increase in many segments of the GTA ownership housing market in July, which fuelled a further acceleration in year-over-year price growth in July compared to June. On top of this, we also experienced stronger sales growth in the more-expensive detached market segment, which helps explain why annual growth in the overall average selling price was stronger than growth for the MLS® HPI Composite benchmark,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

 

Milton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 9.9%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 11.3 %

Oakville Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.9%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 11.2 %

Burlington Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.5%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 2.9%

Halton Hills Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.5%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +5.2 %

Mississauga Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 14%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 37.7%

Brampton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.5%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 10.6%

Toronto Central Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 10.1%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 17.1 %

City of GUELPH on
Single Family Average Sale Price $ 721,325 up by 15.2%
Number of Sales 135 up by 4.7%

Posted by Christine Pecharich
June 2020 Market Statistics

June 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release June 2020 Stats

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board President Lisa Patel announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,701 sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in June 2020. This result represented a very substantial increase over the May 2020 sales result, both on an actual (+89 per cent) and seasonally adjusted basis (+84 per cent), and was only down by 1.4 per cent compared to June 2019.

Year-over-year growth in sales was reported in some areas and market segments. Especially notable were the detached and townhouse market segments in the GTA regions surrounding the City of Toronto. New listings were up slightly on a year-over-year basis by 2.1 per cent. However, active listings on TRREB’s MLS® System at the end of June 2020 were down by 28.8 per cent compared to June 2019. Growth in new listings will need to outstrip growth in sales for a number of months before active listings approach last year’s levels.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 8.2 per cent year-over-year in June. The average selling price for all home types combined was $930,869 – up by 11.9 per cent compared to June 2019. The actual and seasonally-adjusted average selling price was also up substantially compared to May 2020, by 7.8 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively.

Average and benchmark selling prices were up year-over-year for all major home types. The strongest average annual rates of price growth were experienced in the detached and semi-detached market segments in the City of Toronto at 14.3 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. This, coupled with the fact that average selling price growth outstripped growth in the MLS® HPI benchmarks, points to a resurgence in the higher-end market segments.

Scroll through the charts below to see specific area’s average Sales prices broken down by house types:

Posted by Christine Pecharich
Add Value To Your Home With These 9 DIY Improvements

Add Value To Your Home With These 9 DIY Improvements

Whether you’re prepping your house to go on the market or looking for ways to maximize its long-term appreciation, these nine home improvement projects are great ways to add function, beauty, and real value to your home.

The best part is, once you’ve secured the materials, most of these renovations can be completed over the course of a weekend. And they don’t require a lot of specialized skills or experience. So grab your toolbox, then get ready to boost your home’s appeal AND investment potential!

  1. Spruce Up Your Landscaping

Landscaping improvements can increase a home’s value by 10-12%.1 But which outdoor features do buyers care about most? According to a survey of Realtors, a healthy lawn is at the top of their list. If your lawn is lacking, overseeding or laying new sod can be a worthwhile investment—with an expected return of 417% and 143% respectively.1

Planting flowers is another great way to enhance your home’s curb appeal. And if you choose a perennial variety, your blooms should return year after year. For an even longer-term impact, consider planting a tree. According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, a mature tree can add up to $10,000 to the value of your home.2

  1. Clean The Exterior

When it comes to making your house shine, a sparkling facade can be just as important as a clean interior. Real estate professionals estimate that washing the outside of a house can add as much as $15,000 to its sales price.3

A rented pressure washer from your local home improvement store can help you remove built-up dirt and grime from your home’s exterior, walkway, and driveway. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully—and only use it on surfaces that can withstand the intensity. When in doubt, a scrub brush and bucket of sudsy water will often do the trick.

 

  1. Add A Fresh Coat Of Paint

New paint can have a big impact on both the appearance and value of a property. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to revitalize a home’s exterior, update its interior, and make it appear larger and brighter. The best part? Painting is relatively easy and inexpensive!

To get the maximum return at resale, stick with a modern but neutral color palette that will appeal to a broad range of buyers. According to a recent survey of home design experts, cool neutrals are a safe bet when it comes to interior paint. And respondents chose white and gray as the best exterior paint colors to use when selling a home.4 However, it’s important to consider a property’s architecture, existing fixtures, and regional design preferences, as well.

  1. Install Smart Home Technology

In a recent survey, 78% of real estate professionals said their buyer clients were willing to pay more for a home with smart technology features.5 The most requested smart devices? Thermostats (77%), smoke detectors (75%), home security cameras (66%), and locks (63%).6

The good news is, many of these gadgets are fairly easy to install. And some of them, including smart thermostats and light bulbs, will pay for themselves over time by making your home more energy efficient. In fact, many manufacturers report that smart thermostats can cut back on heating and cooling costs by 10-20%.7

If you already own a smart speaker, like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, choose devices that will pair with your existing technology. This will enable you to create a truly integrated (and in many cases voice-activated) smart home experience.

  1. Modernize Your Window Treatments

Smart—or motorized—blinds are also growing in popularity, and several manufacturers make models you can order and install on your own. But they’re not the only way to modernize your window treatments.

If you have old aluminum blinds, consider replacing them with plantation shutters, which are energy efficient, durable, and have strong buyer appeal.8 Roman and roller shades are another stylish alternative, and they come in a variety of colors and fabrics, which you can personalize to meet your design and privacy preferences.

Fortunately, upgrading your blinds has gotten easier and less expensive in recent years. There are a number of retailers that specialize in affordable window coverings that are simple to measure and hang yourself.

  1. Replace Outdated Fixtures

Drastically transform the look and feel of your home by swapping out dingy and dated fixtures for contemporary alternatives. Start by assessing your current light fixtures, faucets, cabinet hardware, door knobs, and even switch plates. Then prioritize replacing those that are particularly outdated or in highly-visible areas, such as your entryway or kitchen.

Even if your home is fairly new, consider trading your builder-grade fixtures for higher-end options to give it a more upscale appearance. And forget the old rule about sticking to one metal tone throughout your property. According to designers, mixing metal finishes can add interest and character to a space.9

For more designer insights and decor trends, contact us for a free copy of our recent report: “Top 5 Home Design Trends for a New Decade.”

  1. Upgrade Your Bathroom Mirror

A minor bathroom remodel offers one of the best returns on investment, with a $1.71 increase in home value for every $1 you spend.10 We’ve already explored several improvements you can make to your bathroom: new paint, fixtures, and hardware. Now complete the look by upgrading your vanity’s mirror.

Before you purchase a new mirror, examine your existing one to see how it is attached to the wall. Some vanity mirrors are glued to the wall and difficult to remove without shattering the glass or damaging the sheetrock behind it.11

If you prefer to keep your existing mirror, you can paint the frame—or add one if it’s currently frameless. There are several online retailers that will send you the frame components cut to your specifications, which you can assemble and mount yourself. Much like a work of art, your vanity mirror serves as a focal point for your bathroom, so let your creativity shine through!

 Shampoo Your Carpet

Carpet is notorious for trapping dust, dirt, and allergens. It’s one of the reasons that most buyers prefer hard surface flooring.12 But if you love your carpet, or you’re not ready to invest in an alternative, make an effort to keep it clean and odor-free.

To properly maintain your carpet, you should vacuum it weekly. Experts also recommend a deep shampoo at least every two years.13 Fortunately, this is a cheap and easy DIY project you can knock out in about 20 minutes per room. According to Consumer Reports, you can rent a machine and purchase cleaning fluid and supplies for around $90. With an average return on your investment of 169%, it’s well worth the effort and expense.14

  1. Customize Your Closet

Real estate professionals estimate that a closet remodel can add $2500 to a home’s selling price. And while a professional renovation can cost upwards of $6000, there are many high-quality DIY closet systems you can customize and install yourself.15

Experts recommend taking a thorough inventory of your wardrobe and accessories before you get started. Make sure frequently-worn pieces are easy to reach, and store seasonal and seldom-used items on high shelves. Place shoe racks near the closet entrance so they are easy to access.16 A little planning can go a long way toward building a closet that you (and your future buyers!) will love.

GET A COMPLIMENTARY ANALYSIS OF YOUR PROJECT

 

We’ve been talking averages. But the truth is, the actual impact of a home improvement project will vary depending on your particular home and neighbourhood. Before you get started, contact us to schedule a free virtual consultation. We can help you determine which upgrades will offer the greatest return on your effort and investment.

Sources:

  1. HomeLight –
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/improve-curb-appeal-landscaping/
  2. National Association of Realtors –
    https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/landscape-renovations-that-pay-off/
  3. com – https://www.houselogic.com/save-money-add-value/add-value-to-your-home/adding-curb-appeal-value-to-home/
  4. Fixr –
    https://www.fixr.com/blog/2020/01/14/paint-color-trends-in-2020/
  5. T3 Sixty –
    https://blog.coldwellbanker.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/CES2018-Smart-Homes-An-Emerging-Real-Estate-Opportunity.pdf
  6. Consumer Reports –
    https://www.consumerreports.org/smart-home/smart-home-tech-upgrades-to-help-sell-your-house/
  7. American Council for Energy Efficient Economy
    https://www.aceee.org/sites/default/files/publications/researchreports/a1801.pdf
  8. Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2016/07/05/10-upgrades-under-1000-that-increase-home-values-2/#47b0d3162e60
  9. Insider –
    https://www.insider.com/home-design-rules-you-should-be-breaking-2020-1
  10. Zillow –
    https://www.zillow.com/sellers-guide/roi-for-bathroom-remodel/
  11. Lowes –
    https://www.lowes.com/n/how-to/remove-a-bathroom-mirror
  12. HomeLight –
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/what-flooring-increases-home-value/
  13. Angie’s List –
    https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-often-should-i-clean-my-carpets.htm
  14. HomeLight –
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/projects-that-increase-home-value/
  15. National Association of Realtors – https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/remodeling-impact
  16. EasyClosets –
    https://www.easyclosets.com/tips-ideas/2016/10/02/how-to-plan-your-walk-in-closet/
Posted by Christine Pecharich