Kingston and area real estate statistics has been very positive news so far this year. As of the end of May 2016 we have seen a 4% increase in price. This makes the average selling price of a home just over $301,000.
So far this year we have seen strong residential home sales for the first 4 months over last year. This slowed down a bit for May which is still strong since residential home sales for May of last year was 18% over 2014. This strong start helped bring down the inventory of homes by about 7.5% from last year at this time. Some may recall that it was a little difficult to sell a home last year due to the volume of homes on the market and not enough buyers. This made it a buyers market for 2015. So 2016 is returning to a more balanced market with just 4.9 months of inventory on hand. (The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.)
The value of all home sales was a record $145.6 million in May 2016, an increase of 17.6 per cent from a year earlier. This was the first time volumes had ever surpassed $140 million in any month.
Selling your home seems like a pretty simple idea. The steps appear to be straight forward… 1) call a REALTOR® 2) clean the house 3) have people come through your home 4) get an offer 5) put up the sold sign 6) move
Stress starts from the moment you don’t see and realize the big picture. Understanding and managing the selling process will help you in managing the stress, hence, making the selling process much more enjoyable.
Call a REALTOR® you can trust. The most important step is selecting a REALTOR® who will work well with you and listens to your wants and needs. This is the person who will prepare you for the speed bumps and not allow you to hit them straight on! There is a large number of REALTOR®s in the market and they are not all cut from the same cloth. Each has their own style of conducting business. Each has their own personality, experiences and values. Interview 2 or 3 to see which person comes across as someone you can work withl. This is the biggest and most important step!
Manage your expectations during the home selling process. It is not uncommon that we feel our home will sell very quickly. In actual fact, this is very rare in a balanced or buyers market unless you have a highly desirable home priced just right. Your REALTOR® will be able to give you market information which tells you the type of market you are currently in and also the demand for your type of home., as an example, whether it is suitable for young families of today or what trends buyers are moving towards. If you are expecting a fast sale and it is now over 3 months will cause conflicts and stress. Understand all the factors that affect the home selling process.
Getting your home ready for sale will most likely have a different meaning for you than your REALTOR®. Your REALTOR® will be able to make suggestions which will make your home more appealing to a greater number of potential buyers. Home Staging may be the answer but it is not for everyone. It is important to discuss what this exactly means and how much it will cost and whether your home will benefit from it. You want to highlight and maximize all the good features of your home. Keep in mind that a buyer will be more sold on your home if they can experience the feelings of living in it when they walk through the door.
Your REALTOR® may also suggest small or big home repairs or changes. He or she may see that the yard needs some TLC, or feel some (or alot) of the personal objects need to be packed up, or the closets decluttered. The list goes on. Keep in mind that these are not for the purpose of making your home into a show home but to ensure that we maximize the feelings of every buyer that comes through the door. The fact is that not every house sells and few sell fast (your REALTOR® can provide you with these statistics) so in order to give it 100%, your home needs to be ready.
It is important to understand the buyers side of the equation as well. Not everyone who comes through your home will want to buy it. In fact, the number is very low in most cases. As previously mentioned, not every home sells and few sell fast. Buyers come in all shapes and sizes, different budgets, different experiences. It’s a bit of a treasure hunt for them… they are looking for the perfect home. In most cases, you also have a husband and wife who must also come to an agreement of their individual wants and needs list. There will be sacrifices and 99.9% of buyers will not get everything on their lists. Put yourself in their shoes as you too will be doing the same thing. They will look through dozens of houses looking for the perfect gem. Most are not in a rush, some will also have to go through the same process as you to list their home, and some are already stressed. Just keep in mind that if they don’t select yours, it is not personal.
There are many opportunities to be stressed in the home selling process. It is important to reduce as much as you can so you can enjoy moving on to the next adventure in your life. Don’t let the little things become big things and keep focused on what is important. These steps are just a few of the many points which a REALTOR® can assist you with. Don’t underestimate the job they will do for you.
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another” ….. Williams James
When we look at the sales information for the first three quarters of 2014 vs 2015, Kingston saw an increase in single family home sales of 7.7%. This is considerably better than last year which saw a decrease over 2013 sales of nearly 6%. We don’t see this changing much by years end.
There were 553 new residential listings on the Association’s MLS® System in October 2015, down 5.5 per cent from the record October last year. However, this was still the second highest October level ever. Active residential listings on the Association’s MLS® System numbered 1,899 units at the end of October, down 10.5 per cent from the end of October 2014. There were 7.8 months of inventory at the end of October 2015, down from 8.5 months at the end of October 2014 and below the long-run average for this time of the year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.
The sales-to-new-listings ratio continues to be around the 37%. Effectively, what this means is that for every 3 houses which are put onto the market, only one sells. This is important to understand when listing your home.
Kingston’s average selling price of $290,580 saw a nice increase of 5.7% over the same period as last year. This increase is not seen as prices taking off but more so of a weakness of the prices in the 4th quarter of 2014.
Mortgage rates continue on the downward slope. As of October 21st, 2015, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 4.64 per cent, unchanged from the previous Bank rate announcement on September 9th, and down 0.15 percentage points from one year ago. The next interest rate announcement will be on December 2nd, 2015, while the next update to the Monetary Policy Report will be On January 20th 2016. It is unknown what effect the introduction of the new Liberal government will be on these rates.
Employment and unemployment figures remained pretty steady. All these factors are great news for the Kingston housing market. It is forecasted that Ontario home sales over the next couple of years will be stable. This could change if we see increases in the mortgage rates.
New Home Sales
The price of buying a new home has been steadily increasing. The average price in the Kingston area for a single family home is $323k vs. 2010 when we saw the average price of $277k. New home starts have been steadily decreasing since a boom in 2003. The Kingston area saw a high of almost 900 new units started in 2003. Comparatively, 2014 saw 462 starts, and as of the end of October 2015 we are at 257 starts, a drop of 28% over the same period as last year.
Home sales recorded through the MLS® System of the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association posted a double digit year-over-year increase in August 2015.
Residential property sales numbered 297 units in August, up 13.4 per cent from the same month a year earlier. On a year-to-date basis home sales are currently running almost seven per cent ahead of the first eight months of 2014.
“August was an above average month for home sales in the Kingston area, not record breaking but an improvement from earlier this year,” said Jack Green, President of the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association. “Meanwhile, the average sales price this year is running more than three per cent ahead of 2014.”
The average price for homes sold through the Association’s MLS® System in August 2015 was $280,234, up 6.4 per cent from August 2014. The less volatile year-to-date average sale price was $294,338, an increase of 3.1 per cent from the first eight months of 2014.
There were 725 new residential listings on the Association’s MLS® System in August 2015, down 9.9 per cent on a year-over-year basis.
Active residential listings on the Association’s MLS® System numbered 2,204 units at the end of August, down 6.8 per cent from the end of August 2014.
There were 7.4 months of inventory at the end of August 2015, down from nine months at the end of August 2014 and on par with the long-run average for this time of the year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.
The value of all home sales was $83.2 million in August 2015, an increase of 20.6 per cent from a year earlier. This was the highest August on record.
Sales of all types of properties numbered 335 units in August, climbing 12.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis. The total value of all property sales jumped 25.6 per cent from a year earlier to $95 million in August.
Have you ever planned a long needed vacation just to have something more urgent interrupt your plans before you even get a chance to relax? How about the times when just as you “touch wood” for making a casual declaration like “I never have issues with my car. It’s always reliable” just to have something go wrong? Well Karma works in funny ways and house purchases are no exception.
So you buy a home which included some stainless steel appliances which look in wonderful shape. As you start settling down in your home over the next few weeks and you find out these nice shiny objects have issues. They may just stop working altogether. The question is… did the sellers know there were issues with the appliances when they agreed to leave them in the house? Or, was Karma just working against you?
What to do?
Attempt to fix it
Go out and buy a replacement appliance
Get angry and call your realtor
Get angry and call your lawyer
All of the above
If an appliance which was included in the sale fails to work correctly after closing, your options are limited to get anyone to do anything about it. This is a BUYER BEWARE situation. Your agent and you should test each of the appliances during your home inspection to ensure they are operational. Any issues which are discovered can be address far in advance of closing. Then again, the day of or prior to taking possession, another inspection of the appliances should be conducted. There are NO WARRANTIES with these items after you take possession of the home. If they fail to operate after you move in, you have no recourse. Trying to solve this situation via the lawyers would end up costing you more money and stress than it is worth. Venting to your realtor or lawyer may help with your stress level but will result in very little satisfaction.
How to protect yourself?
The best solution is to bring or buy your own appliances
If you do include them in the offer to purchase, ensure you take the time to inspect whether they are operating as expected. (NOTE: this does not protect you against issues that result in a complete failure of the appliance days or weeks after closing)
Ensure you understand that no warranty is expressed or given when you include the appliances. When you have the keys in your hand, you are now the proud owner of those appliances, working or not working!
Request to take photos of each of the appliances and record the make, model, and serial numbers. This way the old bait and switch doesn’t happen before closing. You ensure the appliances you thought you were going to get are actually the ones in the house on the day of closing.
Within the negotiating process, be happy with the price you are offering FIRST. If your agent is able to also negotiate in the appliances to make the deal come together, then it’s a win win. You shouldn’t feel that you paid extra for the appliances especially when that perceived “extra cost” goes into the mortgage and paying interest for 25 years. If they only last a week or 5 years, you are technically out nothing other than a bit of stress.
Currently, as a home buyer you will pay a Provincial Land Transfer Tax. This adds thousands to the home purchase. This may change in the future if the province grants Municipalities the authority to collect additional tax revenues by way of a Municipal Land Transfer Tax. Toronto buyers currently pay a Provincial and a Municipal Land Transfer Tax adding an average of $12,000 to the home purchase. Keep in mind that the tax is based on a percentage of the purchase price. The same calculation done for a $300,000 home in Kingston would be approximately $2,975 for the Provincial Land Transfer Tax and then and additional $2,720 for the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (assuming the same percentage rate as Toronto is charged)
The spread of the Municipal Land Transfer Tax throughout the province threatens to increase the total cost of home ownership. The additional tax dollars is for the benefit for all citizens and to fund all municipal services, not just home buyers. This additional tax burden on Buyers will have a trickle down affect on consumer spending.
“OREA Position Ontario REALTORS® oppose the municipal LTT. Simply put, the tax is fundamentally unfair, bad for the economy and is an unreliable source of local revenue that has implications for provincial tax revenue.”
The good news is that when the candidates for the recent municipal election (Kingston, Gananoque, Stone Mills Township, Napanee) were questioned whether they supported such a tax, an overwhelming number said no. Time will tell whether this is true. At the very least you will know more about this potential additional tax burden.
Home sales recorded through the MLS® System of the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association were up on a year-over-year basis in October 2014.
Residential property sales numbered 250 units in October, rising 16.3 per cent from the same month last year.
“The 250 homes that changed hands in October 2014 made for the strongest October sales figure for Kingston and surrounding areas in seven years,” said Liza Tallen, President of the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association. “At the same time, the amount of product on the market has risen sharply since the spring, and that appears to have put a lid on price increases for now.”
The average price for homes sold through the Association’s MLS® System in October 2014 was $270,161, down 4.4 per cent from October 2013. The less volatile year-to-date average price was $283,029, up 1.6 per cent from the first 10 months of 2013.
There were 585 new residential listings on the Association’s MLS® System in October 2014, an increase of 10.4 per cent on a year-over-year basis. This was a record for new supply in the month of October.
Overall supply has risen sharply in recent months following a dip at the start of the year. Active residential listings on the Association’s MLS® System numbered 2,122 units at the end of October, up 27.3 per cent from the same month in 2013. This was the highest level for this time of the year in more than 15 years.
There were 8.5 months of inventory at the end of October 2014, up from 7.8 months at the end of October 2013 and above the long-run average for this time of the year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.
The value of all home sales was $67.5 million in October 2014, an increase of 11.1 per cent from a year earlier. This was a record for the month of October.
Sales of all types of properties numbered 286 units in October, up 18.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis. The total value of all property sales rose 16.0 per cent from a year earlier to $75.6 million in October.
Home sales recorded through the MLS® System of the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association was little changed on a year-over-year basis in September 2014.
Residential property sales numbered 251 units in September, edging p 1.6 per cent from the same month last year.
“September turned in another solid performance, with home sales running roughly in line with both the five and 10-year averages for the month,” said Liza Tallen, President of the Kingston and Area Real Estate Association. “The same cannot be said of supply, which has risen sharply just over the past five months. This has given buyers more of an advantage in negotiations and may be starting to put the brakes on price increases.”
The average price for homes sold through the Association’s MLS® System in September 2014 was $274,387, little changed (-$216) from September 2013. The year-to-date average price was $284,357, up 2.2 per cent from the first three quarters of 2013.
There were 719 new residential listings on the Association’s MLS® System in September 2014, jumping 26 per cent on a year-over-year basis. This was a record for new supply in the month of September.
Overall supply has risen sharply in recent months following a dip at the start of the year. Active residential listings on the Association’s MLS® System numbered 2,328 units at the end of September, up 29 per cent from the same month in 2013. It was also the highest level for this time of the year since 1997.
There were 9.3 months of inventory at the end of September 2014, up from 7.3 months at the end of September 2013 and above the long-run average for this time of the year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.
The value of all home sales was $68.9 million in September 2014, an increase of 1.5 per cent from a year earlier.
Sales of all types of properties numbered 290 units in September, up 3.6 per cent on a year-over-year basis. The total value of all property sales rose 6.4 per cent from a year earlier to $78.3 million in September.
With Halloween just around the corner, making a haunted house is a perfect way to celebrate or to spook your guests. To transform your house will take planning, hard work, and creativity.
1. Start by planning a path… either inside your home or outside. Figure out the scale of how big you want to make this. Maybe it will only be the entrance to your home or you could plan a series of small areas or rooms.
2. What is the tone you wish to convey… i.e. funny or scary? Is this mainly for kids or adults?
3. This will take more than one person to pull it off. Enlist family or friends. You may want some of them as actors in costumes making noises or grabbing your guests in unsuspecting corners.
4. Consider the theme. Is this a traditional haunted house, serial killer, graveyard? You will want a story to go along with the theme. Figure out an interesting story to go along with your spooky theme.
5. Pay attention to the light effects. Too much light will disclose the location of your actors too soon. But you need enough light to ensure the safety of your guests. Consider giving your guests flashlights or other light source. Replace light bulbs in lamps to coloured bulbs such as green. Dress up traditional lamps with cob webs and bats on the inside. Ensure the bulb is not touching any of the materials!!! Black bags can be used to cover furniture.
6. Don’t forget the special effects. Strobe lights create a slow motion effect. Fog machines can be used to provide a eerie atmosphere. Black lights and neon paint can be used to create your signage.
7. Noises! A spooky house is not complete without noises. Timing is everything. Have your actors use noisy shakers. Use different spooky music in each area. Silence can also be used just at the right time!
Now you have the basics! Consider the time left to plan, the people that will be helping you, and how much you want to invest in time as well as money. Happy Halloween season 🙂
Choosing the length of your amortization period, which means the number of years you will need to pay the full balance of your mortgage, is an important decision that can affect how much interest you pay over the life of your mortgage.
Historically, the banking industry’s standard amortization period has been 25 years, a standard that still applies today. It is the benchmark that is used by most lenders when discussing mortgage offers. However, shorter or longer time frames are available.
Why choose a shorter amortization period?
The main reason to opt for a shorter than standard amortization period is so that you become mortgage-free sooner. And since you are agreeing to pay off your mortgage in a shorter period of time, the interest you pay over the life of the mortgage is therefore greatly reduced.
You also have the advantage of building home equity sooner. Equity is the difference between any outstanding mortgage on your home and its market value. It represents the amount of money you can claim as your asset. If you choose, your equity can be used to secure lower interest cost financing for things such as home renovations, your children’s education or second property investments, just to name a few.
A shorter amortization period saves you money on interest.
While there are many good reasons to opt for a shorter amortization period, there are a couple of other factors to consider. Because you are reducing the actual number of mortgage payments you make to
pay off your mortgage, your regular payments will be higher.
So if your income is irregular, or if you’re buying a home for the first time and will be carrying a large mortgage, a shorter amortization period that increases your regular payment amount and ties up your cash flow may not be the best option for you.
But, if you can comfortably afford the higher payments and are looking to save money on your mortgage, or maybe you just don’t like the idea of carrying debt over a long period of time, perhaps you should consider a shorter amortization period. The following chart will help you see the differences between shorter and standard amortization periods.
Compare the difference*: Five-year fixed-rate closed mortgage
Why choose a longer amortization period?
Choosing a longer amortization period can get you into your dream home sooner than choosing a standard or shorter period. When you apply for a mortgage, lenders calculate the maximum regular payment you can afford. They then use that amount to calculate the maximum amount they will lend to you for your mortgage.
As a shorter amortization period results in higher regular payments, a longer amortization period reduces the amount of your regular principal and interest payment by spreading your payments over a longer period of time. So you could qualify for a higher mortgage amount than you originally anticipated. Or you could qualify for your mortgage sooner than you had planned. Either way, you end up in your dream home sooner than you thought possible.
Get your dream home sooner with a longer amortization. Regular payments are less with a longer amortization.
Again, this option is not for everyone. While a longer amortization period will appeal to many people because the regular mortgage payments can be comparable or even lower than paying rent, it does mean that more interest will be paid over the life of the mortgage. The chart below will help you to see differences between longer and standard amortization periods.
Compare the difference* : Five-year fixed-rate closed mortgage
You have the flexibility to shorten your amortization period. Regardless of which amortization period you select when you originally apply for your mortgage, it does not mean you have to stay with that period throughout the life of your mortgage. You can always choose to shorten the amortization period and save on interest costs by choosing an accelerated payment option, making extra payments when you can, such as a Double Up®** or an annual lump sum principal prepayment.
You should review your options at each renewal to shorten your amortization and pay off your mortgage faster.
It also makes good financial sense for clients to re-evaluate their amortization strategy every time their mortgage comes up for renewal. Then, as you advance in your career and begin to earn a better salary over time, you can simply increase the amount of your regular payments by as much as 10% once each year. All these prepayment features will take years off your amortization period, and save you money on interest.
Compare Interest Costs
For more information about mortgages, speak to Shawn Kimber, an RBC Mobile Mortgage Specialist