Semantics and Decoding the Current Bancroft-Barry's Bay Real Estate Market

February 24th, 2017

Locally, talk is that the real estate market is HOT. We're experiencing pressure from the squeeze that is happening south of us. It's a natural occurrence. The dollar volume of trading is actually down slightly- but that is due to the lack of properties listed and available. This means demand is higher than inventory which drives prices up. As I mentioned in another recent blog, there is an influx of foreign investment in Toronto, in response to the regulations having recently changed on the west coast, as well.

Just this morning, I noticed a couple of Facebook Friends had posted status comments that were interesting to say the least. These discussions seem to corroborate my suspicions about the local market and explain why so many city dwellers, particularly artists, are leaving the city and moving to places where they can not only stretch their dollars but enjoy a healthy and quiet lifestyle.

The first I want to share is a Toronto Facebook friend (a musician) who had written this status:

"We are losing our city to speculators and developers. It's a horror show."

The comments were interesting to say the least. The discussion seems to corroborate my suspicions and explain why so many city dwellers, particularly artists, are leaving the city and moving to places where they can not only stretch their dollars but enjoy a healthy and quiet lifestyle.

I found it such an interesting read that I'm going to share these comments below:

RESPONSE 1:

Well.. we have a long history of disliking developers.. They turn nice places into unliveable areas. Usually city council members are in cahoots with the developers. Money talks.

ORIGINAL POSTER:

It's scares me

RESPONSE 2:

Making all these condos out of duck tape with no rent controls.

RESPONSE 3:

My realtor told me that the heavy Asian money is now moving into the GTA, now that they've changed the rules on the west coast. Last year, a townhouse like mine sold for $650,000. Last week, a similar unit sold for $906,000. gasp emoticon:-o)

RESPONSE 4:

Yes, it's a problem. But: Toronto is the economic engine of Canada. People want to live here. Would you rather that every piece of open land from here to Barrie get covered with suburbs? You don't like condos? Fair enough. You want nothing but single-family dwellings on big lots with yards front and back? Of course you do. That's what most people want - which is why, when they come on the market in Toronto, the price starts around a million bucks. Okay, you'd rather have fewer people and less economic activity in Toronto? Who will pay for the upkeep of the existing infrastructure, let alone improvements without new tax dollars? None of this is to say that better planning and design control wouldn't be a good idea, but once you've let off steam about how you don't like high-rises, what would you actually do?

RESPONSE to 4 from another Facebooker:

They're gonna do both.. What ever makes $

ORIGINAL POSTER:

Who the hell can afford a million dollar mortgage? Have a look around. Young people don't have this kind of money. This will drive thousands out of this city as properties are sold

RESPONSE 5:

You said it, I don't know anyone can afford a million dollar mortgage! Homes that I can afford are minimum 3 hours away

RESPONSE 6:

gutting the city of young artists and the movers and shakers of tomorrow...

RESPONSE 7:

I have to move back into this! It is frightening!!!

ORIGINAL POSTER:

It's truly sickening.

RESPONSE 8:

The only people who can afford a million-dollar mortgage are inheritors or those in the upper reaches of the finance industry. But they're almost never going to be first time home-buyers. Increasingly, they're foreign buyers (although it would be a mistake to overstate the number of those buyers). Toronto real estate is still pretty cheap when compared to the likes of Paris or New York. The economy is reasonably stable and Canada is a safe haven for investors. All this tends to increase prices as demand increases. You don't have to like it, but you can't deny it. There's certainly plenty about the present situation to dislike. On the other hand, the exodus of home buyers who can't afford Toronto prices is having a reviving effect on communities like Hamilton.

RESPONSE 9:

If only we took our cues from cities like Paris and Berlin who value and thank their artists for contributing so much to the fabric of their local cultures by federally subsidizing their artists.
https://www.google.ca/.../20140613-artists-subsidies
'Artists' subsidies are an important part of France' - France 24
france24.com|By FRANCE 24 English

RESPONSE 10:

I don't disagree, but this is not an urban issue - it goes to the root of our national character. This country was founded, and is still largely owned and run by people who view the arts as a nice-to-have frill, not a must-have necessity. It's by no means as bad as it was, but we're a very long way from a European level of regard for the arts, and I don't think we'll ever get there. Especially if Conservatives ever regain power.

ORIGINAL POSTER:

I've lived here forty seven years. I would like to live out my life in the city I love. It's not looking promising. If this keeps up it will be a city owned by foreign investors. There's no way in hell these homes are worth a million plus. Many are sh*t holes.

REPSONSE 11:
I would suggest that you stay in your current home for the rest of your life, assuming that you're mortgage free. Then it's only the creeping property taxes that will catch up to you. frown emoticon:(

RESPONSE 12:

This is a housing market bubble.
100%. As a rabid chart reader (stocks, bonds) this will end badly.
In fact, we are coming to the end of the euphoria stage - and this will turn blood red in the coming stage - which is aptly named "panic" Anyone purchasing a home yesterday, today and tomorrow will need to sit tight and wait for the mean reversion to bring back their home appreciation back up - and this takes 7-15 years.
This is not a supply issue - This is a cheap money issue.

RESPONSE 13:

I'm seriously considering 'cashing out' right now. I bought my place for $203K, I own it outright, and they're selling for over $900K now. I'm 56, and I'm happy to rent a brand new condo for a couple of years and then prepare to exit the GTA...

RESPONSE 14: I looked at 4 properties in NOLA but couldn't quite pull the trigger. Very inexpensive and just 12 to 20 blocks from The quarter. 15 minute bike ride. going back to soon to look again during Jazzfest.

RESPONSE 15:

Vancouver II

RESPONSE 16:

Manhattan III

RESPONSE 16:

That's what I did two years ago. Sold the house. It was like a lottery win. Renting now and regularly checking out properties in Prince Edward County but I love Toronto.

RESPONSE 17:

So nice to have our lives sacrificed on the altar of greed. By the time you pay your rent and your hydro, you don't have much left. Then you see those "property flipping" tv shows.

RESPONSE 18:

Once gone you won't get it back

RESPONSE 19:

I had to leave because of it. The whole thing gives me the creeps.

RESPONSE 20:

Same has happened here in Australia with foreign investors. The prices of homes are insane today.

RESPONSE 21:

And somehow the city of Toronto doesn't have enough money. Something isn't adding up.

RESPONSE 22:

Real estate, renovation and all the $bits that come with it, are the economy...It's all way too big to fail, so we juice it with minuscule rates, marketing madness and own avarice, while a handful of suits at the OMB control our destiny

RESPONSE 23
It's going to burst - inflated beyond reality

ORIGINAL POSTER:
Something has to give

RESPONSE 24:

It is easy for the property owners to cash out and leave or downsize. For renters it is a nightmare. While the landlord is the same and they stay put they are protected from gouging rents, once the property is sold or they try to move all that is lost.

RESPONSE 25:

Sadly this town is going to card board buildings ! My building is on the verge of being sold ! Being bought maybe by investors from India !!! They built a building across the street In One year !!! It's nothing ! Renting 2 b 2 b 4500 month ! Paper walls ! Very sad !

RESPONSE 26:

I'm in the fairly close 905 and had a real estate agent at my door today who led me to believe my place is worth somewhere around $150K more that I thought it was -- and my thoughts were a 35% increase over the appraised value at this time next year. I my place is worth somewhere around $150K more that I thought it was -- and my thoughts were a 35% increase over the appraised value at this time next year. I haven't got a big mortgage. But I can take equity out of here and buy something cash down, say, Niagara way and probably put money in the bank. ...I'm beginning to think I'd be a fool not to do that.

RESPONSE 27:

Nothing stays the same.

RESPONSE 28:

landlord just sold our townhouse for close to 2ce the value - nice unless he needed to buy something similar & we'd be buying at 2ce the value

RESPONSE 29:.

I often feel like Chicken Little... The sky is falling...

..
RESPONSE 30:

They chased me out of Vancouver. Got to the point where we owned this over-inflated house, and couldn't actually afford to enjoy any of the amenities of living in a city like Vancouver. So we sold for a disgusting profit... feeling terrible knowing the... knowing the tear-down of a house wasn't "worth" anything close to what it sold for.... the guy who bought it did some renovations and I think if he sold now it would probably be for triple or quadruple what he bought it from us for nine years ago. And it's still essentially a tear-down. I don't feel so bad about that deal anymore but I'm still sad for the city that I can now barely tolerate even visiting.

RESPONSE 31:

It's even worse in London, U.K.

RESPONSE 32:

We lost a conservation area, which was also a protected bird and fish sanctuary. Metrus threw enough money around. cry emoticon:'(

RESPONSE 33:

We visited Toronto in 1984. The tour bus driver drove us through a line of brownstones, close to downtown. I was not impressed, because it reminded me of some rundown streets in Louisville. He pointed out to one and said "This house just sold for 500K last month" I was floored! In Louisville it would bring 135K, tops. I can only imagine what it is like 35 years later.

ORIGINAL POSTER:

The city is beautiful. A detached home starts at a million. It's killing the heart and soul of this city. Rents are astronomical.

RESPONSE 34:

I lived in the west end in the 90s. You could buy a semi for $160,000. The neighborhood was full of artists and musicians buying cheap housing and re-gentrifying the neighborhood.

Now the same is $1.5 million.

So much for the arts

and this thread is from a Bancroft Facebook Friend:

" A house on our lane sold this week for over asking price.
Buyers purchased it online - sight unseen!
How do they do that? I can't even buy a sweater without trying it on."

RESPONSE 1 (from a colleague Realtor)

I knew it went fast - that is crazy that they did not see it - we have no inventory in our area and tons of buyers. Great time to list. We listed one last Monday at 199,900 and had 3 offers submitted on it by Tues!

RESPONSE 2:

Curious. ...what did the house look like?

ORIGINAL POSTER:

Four yrs old, small and geared for seniors but tons of stairs to the lake.

RESPONSE 3:

They must've heard what great neighbours they were going to have.

Spring is Right Around the Corner

February 2nd, 2017

The market hasn't slowed down one bit. We've got beautiful snow and the winter enthusiasts have kept us hopping. With the spring market just around the corner, it's still a great time to look at property-especially acreages, before the leaves entirely obscure your views.

It's a good idea to do your homework early and be ready to make an offer on a property that meets your criteria as things are moving fast. Bidding wars are becoming a little more common here, but not like in the cities and we certainly respect people who don't want to get caught up in that sort of hectic negotiation.

It's important to carefully consider your investment... particularly in areas where you aren't hooked up to municipal water and sewer.

Price Spillover

January 25th, 2017

We seem to have added a new term to the ever-growing language of Real Estate Jargon. According to my colleagues in Toronto, the average price of a detached home in Toronto was up over 23% last year from the year before and the rising demand for single family homes is driving people into outlying areas. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) describes "Price Spillover" as the result.

What's effectively happening is nearby centres (like Hamilton, Guelph, Barrie and Whitby, Oshawa and Peterborough) are seeing a greater demand for single family homes and that demand is bringing prices in those areas up. As more people move into those areas, the GTA expands. In turn, the residents of those areas who have been enjoying a quieter life are now moving further afield and increasing the demand for single family homes in towns and villages outside of those centres.

We are beginning to see the effects of this in cottage country.

From Haliburton and Bancroft, for instance... it's just slightly over an hour to cities like Belleville and Peterborough... and just a couple of hours from Ottawa and Toronto... and it's not an hour spent in gridlock on the 401. In simpler terms, prices in cottage country are reflecting the influx of immigrants into the Ottawa and Toronto markets- they call it "Price Spillover" and they expect it to continue for foreseeable.

International Citizens Buying Up Toronto

January 12th, 2017

There is a lot of talk in the industry about foreign investors buying up prime property in Toronto, forcing local people out of the market and there's no end in sight. Facing similar issues, British Columbia responded to frustrated Vancouverites by increasing taxes by 15% on properties owned by international citizens. This drove the overseas buyers to Toronto.

Foreign based newspapers are encouraging investors to buy in Toronto because the market is hot and expected to continue on its upward trajectory for quite some time. While salaries are generally higher in the city, entry level and junior positioned staff are being forced out to the suburbs because rents are increasing, putting a strain on public transit, too. Suburban prices are being nudged over the top and more and more people are looking at longer commutes and less disposable income.

While there is no formal data collected, due to privacy legislation, the Toronto Real Estate folks estimate about 5% of properties were purchased by international citizens. That number is expected to climb.

Some in the industry believe that buyers from around the Middle East, China and India are particularly interested in luxury homes and condominiums in the downtown core and many of these properties are left empty- which has a negative impact on the local economy. Others argue that it is mostly immigrant families moving to the city and they are looking to purchase a family home and that blaming foreign investors is not going to help the situation.

Generations from Bancroft to Barry's Bay

January 5th, 2017

For the most part, I think of myself as having very deep roots in Canada, particularly Ontario & Quebec. I can trace my ancestry back into the late 1500s, early 1600s in North America. In fact, I have an Aboriginal ancestor or tow, way back there. Also, somewhere, in the early French Canadian part of my tree, Fabian's mother and I have a connection.

Fabian is related to Maynooth's own Fitzgerald Family, through his mother and to Wilno's Polish community, through his father. His most recent immigrant ancestor arrived in the early 1800s. I have one grandparent who emigrated to Canada, from England, in the 1930's. My grandfather was only sixteen when he ventured to Canada on a merchant vessel, arriving in Owen Sound where he met my grandmother.

Through this grandmother, whose UE Loyalist ancestors first rooted in the Quinte area, I have ties to the Bancroft area in the 1800s. Through the voyageurs and first nations peoples, I have ties much earlier than that.

A keen, amateur genealogist, frequent readers of my blog know that I most enjoy anecdotal information. I scour old news reports, diaries and other documentation looking for bits and pieces. I know, only too well, that even official documents are fraught with errors, for a myriad of reasons... and sometimes, it's simply a case of poor memory.

Today, I am thinking of my grandfather. Born January 7, 1912 in Edgehill, Lancashire, England. For years, he celebrated his birthday on January 28th. I think we discovered the error sometime in the 1970s.