A quick lesson in wood floors

Wood floorsThinking about installing wood floors? The first decision you need to make involves the type. According to the National Wood Flooring Association, there are four types:

  • Unfinished. This type requires you or your installer to sand and apply a finish. If you want a specific colour or style, or you’re trying to match existing flooring, this might be the best option for you.
  • Factory finished. As the name suggests, this is flooring that has its finish applied in the factory. Although it is more expensive, factory finished flooring can be installed faster and can be walked upon immediately.
  • Solid. This is flooring that is made from a solid piece of wood, top to bottom. The advantage is that it can be sanded and refinished many times over the years, or even decades.
  • Engineered. This is flooring that is made of thin layers of wood pressed together. It can be engineered to be very durable and expand and contract less than solid flooring. The type you choose depends on your needs. Talk to your dealer or contractor about your specific application.

When Is It Time To Talk To a REALTOR®?

handshakeMany people only see a doctor when they’re sick or have some other health concern. On the other hand, some people visit a doctor regularly for check- ups, to ask questions and get advice, and to maintain good health.

Which do you think is the better approach? Obviously, the second one!

The same thing is true when it comes to real estate. Even if you have no current plans to buy or sell a home, there are many reasons to talk to a REALTOR® regularly in order to maintain your good “real estate” health. For example, you can:

  • Get an assessment of the current market value of your home, so you can make an informed decision about whether to stay or move.
  • Ask about the state of the local real estate market (which may be vastly different than what you hear on the national news.)
  • Find out what homes are currently selling for in the area.
  • Learn what’s currently available on the market, especially in neighbourhoods you would like to live in and that are within your budget.
  • Ask for a contractor recommendation.
    In fact, it’s a good idea to have a chat with your REALTOR® once or twice a

    year, even if it’s just to say hello.

    You want to build a relationship with a good REALTOR® who understands (and cares about) you and your needs. That way, when it does come time for you to make a move, you’re dealing with a REALTOR® you already know and trust.

    If you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling real estate please contact us today.

Steady Sale and Increased Inventory Bring Balance – November 2013

RD Sales Pie Chart November 2013
RD Sales Pie Chart November 2013

MLS® Sales Up 2%

Inventory Up 28%

WINNIPEG – The first time the Winnipeg Multiple Listing Service® did $1 billion in sales activity was 2002. Then the MLS® did $2 billion in sales in 2007. Sales broke $3 billion in 2011. In 2013 the WinnipegREALTORS® co-operative marketing system has reached $3.2 billion at the end of November!

WinnipegREALTORS® president Richard Dettman reports the dollar volume strength has benefited from 24 sales valued over $1 million so far this year – 20 residential-detached homes and four condominiums.

Although real estate values continue to increase, the market appears to be establishing some degree of balance; a shift from the sellers’ markets of the past dozen years.

“With 3,454 properties available, it’s the best November for active inventory in the last 10 years,” said Dettman. “In November alone, there were 1,247 new listings, which is also the most entered for the month in 10 years. This gives potential buyers a greater selection of houses to choose from.”

November MLS® unit sales were up almost 2% (863/847) while dollar volume rose 1.6% ($219.3 million/$215.8 million) in comparison to the same month last year. Year-to-date MLS® sales are down less than 1% (12,293/12,392) while dollar volume is up 4% ($3.18 billion/ $3.05 billion) in comparison to the same period last year. New listings coming on the MLS® market in November showed a healthy increase of 17% and inventory is up 28% over last year.

Dettman said the local MLS® activity has defied all the national media predictions of gloom & doom for the Canadian real estate market. “We read the anecdotal stories and ‘expert’ ramblings on the Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary markets. But in Winnipeg we do not experience the meteoric price increases and the even more startling market corrections that the big cities experience. Winnipeg continues to be a market that remains steady and affordable.”

He went on to say; “We have predictions from knowledgeable pundits advising that interest rates will stay low through 2015 and inflation should remain under control.”

The Bank of Canada announced its trend-setting interest rate will not increase as it does not want to risk reversing the current “gradual unwinding of household imbalances” and slowdown in household debt growth. “In other words, the housing market is well behaved right now and the bank wants to keep it that way,” according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Dettman said the market would even be stronger if the federal government would stop tinkering with mortgage regulations; if the provincial government were to be convinced to seriously review their dependence on excessive Land Transfer Tax fees and remove education funding from

property owners – then we could look to an even healthier and better balanced real estate marketplace for the foreseeable future.

Even with all the government taxation and interference taken into account, innovative real estate initiatives continue to make our Winnipeg a more exciting and cosmopolitan place to live and do business. The almost extinct construction crane can be seen resurfacing around the new Convention Centre … and at the SHED (Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District) …the Zoo expansion and other Assiniboine Park initiatives … and of course CentrePort Canada and the potential spillover development opportunities at the Forks from the completion of The Canadian Museum for Human Rights …

“There is no visible housing market bubble in Winnipeg,” said Dettman. “It’s an exciting time to be involved in real estate in Winnipeg.”

Residential-detached sales in November were most active in the $250,000 to $299,999 price range with 23% of total sales. Neck and neck in second place was the price ranges of $200,000 to $259,999 and $150,000 to $199,999, each with 17% of all residential-detached sales. The highest sales price was $1,200,000 while the lowest was only $61,000. The average days on market for residential-detached sales in November was 34 days, 5 days slower than last month and 3 days slower than November 2012.

Condominium sales in the $150,000 to $199,000 price range were the most active in November with 33% of the sales. The next highest price range was $200,000 to $249,999 with 20% of all condominium sales. The highest sales price was $1,100,000 and the lowest was $68,500. The average days on market for condominium sales in November was 32 days, 2 days slower than last month but 5 days quicker than November 2012.

Condo Sales Lead the Way To Near Record October 2013

Sales Pie Chart October 2013
Sales Pie Chart October 2013

MLS® Sales Up 7%

MLS® Dollar Volume Rises 12%

WINNIPEG – With the exception of October 2007 when it was the only time MLS® sales for October eclipsed the 1,200 level, October 2013 is only five sales behind and set a new dollar volume record for this month going over $300 million for the first time. As a result, year-to-date dollar volume is on a record-setting pace at less than $50 million shy of reaching the $3 billion mark for the third year in a row. There are still two months to go. Year-to-date sales have come up substantially too from the beginning of the year (were down 13% after 3 months) to be within 1% of 2012’s MLS® sales activity.

Helping bring back MLS® sales to close in on last year’s brisk pace is the impressive month- to- month performance of condominium sales activity. They are up 15% over the same period in 2012 and in October shot up 42% over October 2012. While still just representing less than 16% of total MLS® sales in October as residential-detached or single family homes captured 70%, condos are by far seeing the best year-over-year property type sales increases of any property type.

Maybe it should not come as a surprise as there has been a 25% increase in condominium listings this year. Moreover, as with other major real estate markets, condominiums on average are more affordable than a stand-alone home on its own lot.

October MLS® unit sales were up 7% (1,196/1,118) while dollar volume rose 12% ($316.7 million/$281.8 million) in comparison to the same month last year. Year-to-date MLS® sales are down 1% (11,430/11,545) while dollar volume is up 4% ($2.95 billion/ $2.83 billion) in comparison to the same period last year. New listings coming on the MLS® market in October showed a healthy increase of 13% and while the inventory dropped under 4,000 listings for the first time since June it is up 26% over last year.

Another story to emerge in October was its record-setting dollar volume for this month of the year. It resulted in a number of high end home and condominium sales. There were seven residential properties over a millions dollars including two new condominiums under construction in South St. Vital.

“I am confident, with only two months to go to conclude 2013, WinnipegREALTORS® will have one of its best years on record in its 110-year history,” said Richard Dettman, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. “MLS® dollar volume is almost a sure bet to set a new annual record at well over $3 billion and we can conceivably still reach the 13,000 level sales mark for only the fourth time since it first happened in 2007. It all depends on how much buyers continue to take advantage of the largest and best selection of MLS® listings in many years.”

Residential-detached sales in October were most active in the $200,000 to $249,999 price range with 21% of total sales. Not far off in sales activity was the next higher price range of $250,000 to $299,999 at 18% and the $150,000 to $199,999 with 16% of all residential-detached sales. The highest sales price was $1,575,000 while the lowest was only $14,000. The average days on market for residential-detached sales in October was 29 days, 2 days quicker than last month and one day slower than October 2012.

Condominium sales in the $200,000 to $249,000 price range were the most active in October yet only by a 1% difference to the previously most dominant price range of $150,000 to $199,999. They finished at 27% and 26% respectively. The average days on market for condominium sales in October was 30 days, one day faster than last month and 2 days ahead of October 2012.

5th Annual National Garage Sale for Shelter, raising more than $364,000

ShelterFoundation-jpgThousands came out to the 5th Annual National Garage Sale for Shelter, raising more than $364,000 to provide safety and hope to women and children

While temperatures may have been low in many parts of the country, spirits were high at the 5th Annual National Garage Sale for Shelter held on May 11 in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. Since 2009, Royal LePage agents, brokers and staff, along with thousands of community members across Canada, have come together on Mother’s Day weekend to raise much needed funds in support of women’s shelters and violence prevention programs.

This year’s event raised more than $364,000 which will enable the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation to fund 200 shelters and assist more than 30,000 women and children escape abuse this year. Royal LePage offices held 155 Garage Sales across the country as part of their commitment to help put an end to family violence in Canada. Royal LePage REALTORS® help people find their dream homes, but they recognize that home is not a safe place for the thousands of women and children who experience domestic violence. That’s why the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation was established in 1998 and since then, through fundraising events like the National Garage Sale for Shelter and donations from Royal LePage brokers and agents, it has raised more than $16 million to fund women’s shelters, programs that help abused women and children rebuild their lives, and youth anti-violence education.

Since Royal LePage underwrites the administrative costs of the Shelter Foundation and sponsors cover event expenses, every dollar raised goes directly to the cause. Since 2009, the National Garage Sale for Shelter – believed to be the largest, one-day charity garage sale in Canada – has generated $1.6 million in financial support for women’s shelters and violence prevention programs.

“Royal LePage professionals are incredibly committed to making a difference through the Shelter Foundation. With the funds raised at the National Garage Sale for Shelter, women’s shelters across Canada can offer a range of services for women and children seeking a refuge from violence,” said Shanan Spencer-Brown, Executive Director of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. “In addition to providing a safe place to stay, shelters offer women and children the chance for a new beginning.”

A special thank you goes out to the event’s national sponsors: TD Canada Trust Mobile Mortgage Specialists, Atlas Van Lines Canada, Your Commission Today, Kaiser Lachance Communications, Xerox and Enbridge, along with dozens of sponsors at the local level. Their generous support and unparalleled commitment to the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation made this event possible.

“Helping You Is What We Do™ is not just a tagline, it is our corporate philosophy and it translates into a collective commitment to giving back to the community,” said Phil Soper, President and CEO of Royal LePage. “Royal LePage professionals are tireless in their efforts to create safer homes and safer communities through the Shelter Foundation and the National Garage Sale for Shelter.”