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Real estate in Mitchell has been "hot" for weeks – Mitchell Advocate



The real estate market has never been hotter in West Perth, or Mitchell specifically. SUBMITTED

With enough money saved for a down payment on his first house, and interest rates at historically low levels, everything is in place for Thomas Rowland to take that plunge.

Except there’s nothing to buy.

In Mitchell, anyway, which has been a “sellers” market for quite some time, as a confluence of factors have all come together to make it extremely difficult for first-time home buyers like Rowland.

The 21-year-old said he’s made at least three offers on various houses in Mitchell the past few weeks, all of which went over the asking price, making it a little frustrating since he’s been looking for a house, casually at least, since last September.

“It’s hard to compete when a lot of houses are going way over, that’s for sure,” he said.

After literally everything shut down over the COVID-19 pandemic, Rowland said he wasn’t sure what the market would look like now that the province has eased regulations in this region.

“I wasn’t sure if things would go down, or plateau, but they just seem to be slowly going up,” he said. “It also seems like more and more people are also itching to buy so it makes it hard to compete.”

Real estate agent Heather Ward has been trying to help Rowland find a starter home since last fall, and says he’s not the only one coming up empty.

“It is a seller’s market. We are critically low on inventory and if you’re thinking about selling, now is the time to sell,” she said.

Huron-Perth Real Estate Board statistics show that the price for houses sold in Mitchell were $50,000 higher this July than last year, from $375,000 to $425,211; and single-family homes on average were sold for $419,720 in July, more than $33,000 higher than the same month in 2019.

Also last month, the sale to list price ratio was at 107 per cent – meaning prices on average went seven per cent over the asking price. Ward said one recent house had more than 30 showings over a five-day period and of the six offers received, four were cash offers with no conditions. It went for 18 per cent over the asking price or, in this particular case, close to $60,000 higher than listed.

Historically-low interest rates and limited inventory have aided in the rise in value for houses in Mitchell. That, plus the influx of buyers from Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph has driven the prices up, as home owners have realized they can successfully work from home plus can purchase a “wonderful” home in Mitchell for that kind of money. In the city, they won’t be able to get near the home for $350,000-$400,000 they’re spending here.

Normally, there would be 35-40 listings but there’s less than 10 at the moment and has been for some time, Ward said, which hasn’t helped those seeking to buy, either.

Michelle Chessell, who’s been in real estate for 32 years, says this is the hottest the real estate market has been in the Mitchell area over that span. She said there are not a lot of viable options at the moment for the mature, senior population so they are staying in their houses longer, leaving those first-time buyers with little to choose.

“We’re definitely inundated right with out of town agents and out of town buyers,” she added, something that has crept ever westward. “Anything selling under $425,000 is really hot at the moment, and anything over the $450,000 range to me is a normal market and doesn’t get multiple offers necessarily.”

Ward said she’s not complaining about how busy the industry is at the moment, saying her phone didn’t ring from the end of March to the middle of May due primarily to COVID-19. She had a busy start to 2020, but the pandemic has done nothing to slow things down.

When she started selling real estate nine years ago, Ward said houses remained on the market for three months. Now, it’s rare they remain unsold in three weeks, especially for anything under the $400,000 price point which is all typical first-time buyers can afford. Anything worth more, from $475,000-$525,000 is not moving as quickly.

Both Ward and Chessell say COVID has also been a factor.

“I honesty wish I had a crystal ball and I knew what’s going to happen,” Ward said. “I thought maybe the COVID would drop our prices but it didn’t, it actually increased them.”

The variety of new developments currently underway in Mitchell is a good thing, with the 55-and over market at Upper Thames Village, open subdivisions and townhouses all catering to different markets, Chessell noted.

“Hopefully by having all this, the people that are in their established homes will now start picking and choosing and making a move to one of those subdivisions,” she said.

“The sad part with Mitchell is, it took a long time to get these developments going …. and all of a sudden there’s nine developments happening within a two-year time frame. If there had been a little stagger it would have been easier, because now we’re all trying for the same buyers.”

Normally in this market the busiest closing date has been June 30, coinciding with the end of school, but that has been thrown out of whack since COVID-19, too.

“June and July has been extremely busy and so far August is starting out the same way,” Ward said. “It doesn’t seem to be letting up any but I think you’ll see a slowdown in September when the kids go back to school.”

Chessell agrees, saying “your house is worth what your house is worth” and the market eventually will correct itself.

Rowland, who’s at home living with his parents outside Mitchell when he’s not away for work, says he’s using the delay to continue to save. The fact that he can offer no conditions is in his favour, but still nothing has shaken loose. He knows he needs to remain patient.

“At least I’m able to save and not being pushed out the door or anything like that,” he said. “But it would be nice to get my head in there anyway when I can because who knows what’s going to happen. It’s so unpredictable.”

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Adventures in real estate: How the pandemic is changing the way we live now – Toronto Life



Upsize, downsize, flee to the country, live on a boat, buy an RV, get a farm, shack up with the in-laws, and other life-altering changes Torontonians are making in these crazy times

Photograph by George Pimentel

The smart money this pandemic year was on manufacturers of trampolines, pools and, yep, top-loading washers. Wherever you looked, the answer was sold out, check back later. Some enterprising types tried scalping above-ground pool kits. Stuck indoors in our sweatpants, we craved a jump, a dip and in-home laundry. Most of all, we craved space.

Despite the unemployed chefs and empty theatres and ghost-town corporate core, despite the iffy assurances that it’s okay to send your kids back to school, despite the seemingly permanent undercurrent of volatility making our daily lives so queasy—despite everything—home prices and sales just kept climbing. Weirdest of all, after a few soft months during the pandemic’s earliest stages, sales spiked. In August, there was a 20.1 per cent increase in the average house price compared to August of last year, and a 40.3 per cent jump in sales. Even the price of condos—you know, those super-dense glass towers where residents freak out about sharing elevators—won’t quit. By August, condo prices had climbed 9.5 per cent. So much for the theory that the only buyers were Airbnb speculators.

What’s going on? We offer a few theories. First is that our (fingers and toes crossed) success at flattening the curve and reopening parts of the economy means we’re good and ready to buy again. Then there’s the likelihood that we’ve all got calamity survivor syndrome, leaping into major life changes (getting married, getting pregnant, signing a mortgage) as a kind of promise ring for a brighter future.

The simplest answer: in a world where we measure personal safety in two-metre increments and spend our evenings sewing masks, a safe haven is our most valuable commodity. We’ve all become ruthless cost-benefit analysts of personal space. If you live in an apartment, this is the year to score a place with another bedroom to use as a home office. Or maybe you decided to buy—according to a survey this summer by Mortgage Professionals Canada, twice as many renters as in 2019 planned to purchase in the next year. If you live in a house, you want a bigger yard (for those trampolines and pools) or another storey so you can hide from the kids. Or maybe you’re feeling the urgency to give up on the city, sell your place in a bidding war (still happening!) and live out your fantasy of tending crops on an organic farm where your only neighbours are emus whose wool you weave into your own sack dresses (a July Ontario Real Estate Association survey found that 61 per cent of respondents wanted to move to the suburbs or countryside).

At the moment (but hopefully not for long), so much of what we take for granted about city living now falls into the category of unnecessary risk—belting out show tunes at karaoke, ditching work for Hanlan’s Point, navigating bustling sidewalks. No wonder everyone wants an escape, whether in an RV, a starter yacht or a cottage. (Prices increased in Muskoka by 15 per cent year over year between January and the end of May, and sales were up 73 per cent for the month of June.)

In the linked stories above, you’ll meet people who decided this was the year to take a leap and spring for that RV, buy that farm or put a down payment on that downtown condo. We might not have a vaccine (digits crossed on that one, too), but at least we’ve learned how to shelter in place in the best ways possible.

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Adventures in Real Estate: “I left Toronto, found the love of my life and bought 14 goats” – Toronto Life



Adventures in Real Estate: “I left Toronto, found the love of my life and bought 14 goats”

Marli Seheult, 31

Operations coordinator at a downtown spa, now living in Arthur

In February, I met a guy online named Jeff who lives on a 72-acre hobby farm in Arthur, about 40 kilometres north of Guelph, with his parents. At the time, I was living in a two-bedroom apartment at Church and Adelaide with a roommate and my three dogs.

Jeff and I were talking a lot, and I could tell he was very family oriented, especially from the way he talked about his four-year-old son. I lived on a farm in Stratford as a young kid, and we bonded over our shared love of rural life.

I wanted to go and meet him, but I was really busy with work. Plus, I have three dogs, so how would I bring them up to Arthur for a date?  Then Covid happened. I told Jeff I’d put myself in a two-week quarantine and then go visit him in Arthur.

He’s got his own space there, a suite attached to the main house, so we had privacy. After three days of hanging out together, we both knew it was love. Three days turned into a month, which turned into two months. I was able to work remotely, and it felt irresponsible to be going back and forth to Toronto anyway. I kept saying, “Okay, I’ll go home next week,” but we kept pushing it back. Then, at the end of July, we drove to Toronto, packed up my stuff and I moved to the farm for good.

Jeff and his parents only recently got Internet (he didn’t know what Netflix was, which I found cute), so I’ve been showing them all about it. Jeff’s mom loves Kijiji—we just went crazy and bought 14 goats online.

I’m breeding for other breeders, not for meat, so my males will be sold for a high price—roughly $400 each.

We’re living in the in-law suite, and it’s nice and private. I’ve gotten to know Jeff’s four-year-old son, so in addition to becoming a goat breeder, I have a four-year-old best friend, too.

I call my partner’s parents my in-laws.

It was a pretty sudden transition, but I’m spontaneous by nature. There was some shock from some friends and family, but then they saw how in love we are and how excited I was about starting something with him.

I think we’re just at that age where we’re ready to settle down. Ours is a family farm, so eventually, when his parents get older, we’ll take over all the chores and duties. What started as a three-day date has turned into the rest of my life.

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The Winnipeg Real Estate Market Continues to Grow – RE/MAX News



Could Winnipeg attract homebuyers from other major Canadian cities? Winnipeg has always been on the cusp of a major economic breakout. With the recent economic diversification initiatives of the past few years, the city has witnessed growth, but the path has been slow and long. Could the post-coronavirus economy speed up the momentum for this prairie city?

The Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA) was blunt in its assessment that Winnipeg and the broader province have seen the housing market blossom in the aftermath of the COVID-19 public health crisis. MREA president Glen Tosh called it an “extraordinary rebound,” particularly after it seemed like residential sales would plummet for a lot longer than just the March-to-April period.

Although the city appears to be playing catch-up, the Winnipeg real estate market has generally had a good 2020. In fact, despite the pandemic, this year is shaping up to be better than in 2019.

“Overall, 2019 was a good year for residential sales in Manitoba, and considering the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, catching up to and surpassing last year’s totals at this time is quite an achievement,” said Tosh in a statement. “While there are more challenges to come in fighting the global pandemic, we believe owning a home in Manitoba can offer a safe haven in an uncertain world.”

So, what do the numbers say?

The Winnipeg Real Estate Market Continues to Grow

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA) Winnipeg REALTORS, Winnipeg recently enjoyed its best month on record. In August, sales surged 28 per cent from the same time a year ago and above the five-year average.

New listings failed to keep up with rising sales. Last month, 2,374 new listings were added to the Winnipeg real estate market, which is down one per cent from the same time a year ago. It is also down nine per cent from July. Overall, the present supply stands at 4,232 listings, down 30 per cent from last August, and the number of sales that account for the current inventory is 44 per cent.

Put simply, demand is ballooning, but there is a shortage of listings to match buyers. This has created a situation of bidding wars and multiple offers.

What may surprise some market observers is that there has been an incredible increase in the move-up market as Winnipeg households seek more space. In fact, the highest sale price ever occurred in August: $3.9 million.

“A work from home trend is changing the way one thinks about the kind and extent of space and has definitely garnered more thought and attention,” said Catherine Schellenberg, RE/MAX Professionals, president of WinnipegREALTORS®, in a news release. “This coupled with historically low mortgage rates are motivating factors for a number of sellers and buyers to make a change during this pandemic.”

Since there is plenty of uncertainty in the broader economy with the cold and flu season on the horizon, homebuyers and sellers are wondering if Winnipeg can maintain the upward trajectory in housing. The consensus appears to be a resounding “yes”.

Can Winnipeg Sustain the Momentum in the Fall?

The Canadian real estate market is expected to benefit from ultra-low borrowing costs. Rates are at historical lows, and they could remain this way for several more years. The Bank of Canada (BoC) has all but confirmed that low interest rates are here to stay for a few more years. As part of the central bank’s efforts to cushion the economic blow from the virus outbreak, rates across-the-board will remain lower for longer. The five-year benchmark mortgage rate, for example, was lowered to below five per cent.

When borrowing is this low, it allows homebuyers to consider other options, like relocating to another city or upgrading their residences. Winnipeg could see an inflow of capital over the next couple of years, particularly as more people become concerned over hyperdense urban centres. The same trend is playing out in other Canadian urban markets like Halifax, which is in the beginning stages of a population boom and a capital influx.

Winnipeg is still recovering from the coronavirus-induced economic downturn, and its housing sector will play a role in its recovery. As pent-up demand and low inventory levels impact the real estate market, you can anticipate that prices will sustain their upward trajectory. According to the RE/MAX Winnipeg Housing Market Outlook (Fall 2020), real estate prices are forecast to rise two per cent for all property types for the remainder of 2020.

What better way to emerge from an unprecedented public heath crisis than seeing housing valuations climb! The future looks promising for this dynamic prairie city.

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