You Gotta Try This Authentic Caribbean Cuisine Near Collingwood and Wasaga Beach

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If you love Caribbean food and specifically authentic Jamaican cooking, then you have got to stop in and visit Angie and her family.

2016-06-29 17.37.26Angie’s Place is one of those hidden gems that is one of those non descript places you would drive by and not give a second glance.  But you’d be wrong to do so.  Located on the 27/28 Sideroad just east off Highway 26 north of Stayner, Angie’s Place has been serving authentic Caribbean cuisine for 13 years now and her fans are legion.  Just read the reviews on Trip Advisor to see what I mean.

The smell when you walk in through the screen door is heavenly.  With menu items like Curry Goat, Jerk Chicken and Stewed Oxtail, this is what I call Flavour Town. The roti is delish (try the Jerk BBQ pork) and if you want to bring on a flood of Jamaican holiday memories, get the Ackee and Salt Fish. You can see Petronella cooking in the kitchen and trust me, she is making you a great big meal that will last you two days. I hear that Angie’s dumplings are out of this world but they do require an advance order so I’ve never managed to be quite that organized.  Dessert offerings include traditional Jamaican rum cake and coconut drop cookies that are addictive.

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You can pop in and see what’s on the stove or you can order ahead.  There are a couple of tables inside and picnic tables outside or you can take-out.

Angie’s place is open year around Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  You can find the menu, prices and directions on their website.  Really, next time you are in the area, make this a must for you to try.

Southern Georgian Bay Real Estate Sales Set All Time Record

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Once again, real estate sales in the local area broke records in June 2016 with the 287 sales representing a 19.1% increase over June 2015.  Year-to-date, sales are up 21.4% in our region compared to last year.

Housing Activity Western District

While we have a painful shortage of available supply compared to demand, there was a little relief last month with a 14.5% increase in the number of new listings compared to the same month last year as sellers try to take advantage of the great market conditions for them.  Having said that, the year to date inventory of residential properties for sale in our area is down by 35.6% to fewer than 600 properties available for sale in the entire Western region.  In areas such as Clearview, Collingwood and Wasaga Beach, the sales-to-listing ratio is hovering around 70% – true seller market conditions.

Currently, there are approximately 2.7 months of inventory available

Currently, there are approximately 2.7 months of inventory available compared to 4.9 months at this time last year.  Those are tight conditions and again, the most challenging conditions are in the more urban centres versus rural areas.

I have recently had a large number of buyers looking for condominiums to buy in Blue Mountain, outside of the Village and, in the Collingwood area.  Again, there is a real shortage of options available in that segment of the market as well.

Average Sale Prices

Looking at the 6 key areas of our region that include Clearview, Collingwood, Meaford, Grey Highalnds, The Blue Mountains and Wasaga Beach, the 12 month average sale price as of the end of June 2016 was$420,195 compared to $395,029 a year ago; an increase of 6.3% and $25,000.

Condominiums

There were 275 sales of residential condos in the first six months of this year; an increase of 22.8% over last year.  The average sale price has climbed 8.8% to $277,495.

So what is going on?

We know that market conditions across the country are strong and the media continually points to foreign investment.  I think there are many other factors at play as I described in a previous blog post.  Whatever it is, it will not continue forever.  The question people ask is, will it slide back?  Is there a bubble?  I don’t think there is.  I suspect we will see a levelling off in price increases but I don’t see a slide back at all.

In our area, the market is being driven by numerous factors.  Retirees from the GTA, by young people wanting to make a lifestyle change, by secondary property buyers… many different demographics are at play and right now, money is cheap.  As someone recently said to me, there are about 9,000 household units in the town of Collingwood.  If just 9,000 people from the 9 million in southern Ontario wanted to come here, that would double the population overnight.  That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?

Please Note:  Statistics have been derived from the MLS® data of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS®

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Why Is The Real Estate Market So Hot and Will It Last?

A few good reasons to love Canada

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Of course, there are so many more reasons but this simple message is about as Canadian as it gets.

Happy Canada Day!

How Many Square Feet Is It Really?

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The media has been making a big news story out of the case out west of a woman who claims that misrepresented square footage on a listing when she bought has cost her thousands of dollars. Now of course, I have my own opinions on this as you can guess but I’ll keep them to myself. Bashing REALTORS® is just so much fun and I wouldn’t want to rain on the parade.

The Canadian Real Estate Association does have standards of practice including rules of measurement. In my experience, most people do not understand that the square footage reported on a listing does not include spaces that are below grade. There are also other significant reporting differences from what people might expect. Below is just a small taste of a few styles of homes and how they are to be measured.Measurement guidelinesOne of the most common errors we see is in 1 ½ or 2 ½ storey homes. You know the ones – sloped ceilings inside, steep roof lines? They are particularly common in older homes. Since you do not have full height on the upper level, not all of the square feet can be counted. If it is a half storey, we can only add half the square footage of the foot print. Things get even trickier when you have dormers to factor in. Another challenge is homes with walk-out basements and the variety of these leads to errors and inconsistencies in reporting.

Another thing many people are not aware of is that square footage calculations are taken from the exterior of a house and not inside the way you typically might see in commercial measurements. In condos, builders often measure from the mid point of a centre wall.

The bottom line is, do your own due diligence when looking at a home. Does the space work for you? Great. Is square footage important in your area in regard to impact on value? Then determine how you want to have that square footage verified and further, how accurate is the information of whatever other homes you are comparing it to?

It’s these kind of details that people don’t often talk or think about but apparently, they make great news stories.

Collingwood and Area Real Estate Barometer June 17-23/2016

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This market summary includes data for Collingwood, Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, Clearview, Grey Highlands and Meaford. The information was obtained from the MLS® statistics provided by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS®. Previous week(s) will in brackets.

Single Family ResidentialMarket Report Icon

New Listings:  41 (45, 65, 52)
Average List Price: $482,616
Range of List Prices: $99,900-$1,500,000
Number of Sales:  34 (49, 64, 48 )
Range of Sale Prices:  $72,000 – $765,000

Condominiums
New Listings:  13 (9, 10, 13 )
Average List Price:  $283,346
Range of List Prices: $144,900 – $599,900
Number of Sales:  16 (11, 13, 15)
Range of Sale Prices: $110,000 – 545,000

Vacant Land
New Listings: 16 ( 13, 11, 19)
Number of Sales: 0 (5, 4, 4)
Range of Sale Prices: $0

Price Changes this week: 29

Notables this week:  

  • 5 Single Family residences sold for more than their asking prices
  • 2 single family residences sold at their asking prices
  • 2 condo listings sold at their asking price
  • 1 condo listing sold for more than its asking price

Note: All statistics obtained from the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® Real Estate Board.

Vintage Décor In and Around Collingwood

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Vintage Decor sm (2)

When it comes to home décor, it seems that the pull toward the vintage style has never been stronger.  Today, we see people pulling together vintage and industrial chic in a blend of creams, whites and greys using textured fabrics (think linens) with architectural salvage (think rusty metals) and quirky pieces that all work so well together.

I’ve noticed that the houses that sell the fastest are often staged with these hues as they blend in modern, sleek furniture pieces with live edge tables, polished concrete counters, sliding barn doors and beautiful green/purple/white flowers.

In the Collingwood area, you can find inspiration and items in places like Leuk located in downtown Collingwood, at the Greentree Emporium on Hwy 26 west of Collingwood and at Kettlewells in Nottawa.

Why do I suddenly have the urge to go shopping?

 

RE/MAX 2016 Recreational Market Report

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REMAX rec reportAs real estate prices rise, many Canadians are looking for alternative ways to finance their dreams of cottage or cabin ownership. In a recent survey of RE/MAX agents and brokers, more than half reported seeing an increase in buyers who planned to rent out their property full- or part-time. In a separate survey of Canadians, conducted by Leger, nearly 60 per cent agreed that due to the emergence of popular, user-driven vacation rental websites, it is easier for an owner to rent out an investment property today versus five years ago.

The Leger survey also found that millennials were most likely to have spent time at a cottage or cabin in the past year, demonstrating that young Canadians are sustaining demand for access to recreational properties. This provides an opportunity for buyers to finance their second homes, most notably in high demand areas such as Grand Bend, Ontario, Tofino, B.C., and Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

In most of the regions that reported an increase in buyers planning to rent out their properties, demand is driven primarily by families and retirees, rather than investors. Retirees were reported as being key drivers of demand in 83 per cent of regions surveyed, and 53 per cent of regions reported an increase in retiree buyers this year compared to last year.

As the large demographic of Baby Boomers retires, sellers who benefitted from significant price appreciation in cities like Vancouver and Toronto are putting that equity into recreational markets, which is causing prices to increase in those regions. Some buyers who may still be five or 10 years away from retirement are taking the opportunity to enter those markets now, renting out their property until they are ready to retire.

This effect has been especially pronounced in British Columbia, where significant price increases in the Lower Mainland are encouraging buyers to invest in regions such as the Okanagan and the Gulf Islands.

The low Canadian dollar is having a positive effect on Canada’s recreational property markets. Canadians, mainly Baby Boomers, who bought properties in the U.S. when U.S. real estate prices were comparably low are selling them at a profit and investing in Canadian recreational markets. The low dollar is also encouraging Canadians to vacation within the country rather than going abroad, putting their money into vacation rentals closer to home.

Some regions, particularly established recreational destinations with international reputations such as Whistler, the Muskokas and Mont Tremblant, are seeing foreign buyers, primarily from the U.S., return to those markets. Cape Breton Island, which recently made international news when a website “Cape Breton If Donald Trump Wins” gained the attention of high-profile news media, has seen increased interest from prospective U.S. buyers this year due to the publicity boost, combined with favourable exchange rates.

You can download the full report here.

Mountain Springs Resort: A Blue Mountain Investment Condo Option and How It Works

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Mountain Springs Resort is a 144 unit, slope side development at Blue Mountain that is located next to the Toronto Ski club with direct access to the north chair.  It’s still possible to buy units for under $100,000 here so I do get a number of enquiries about this project as you can imagine.
Units here are a little different than a standard residential condominium. Firstly, they have a commercial zoning which means you cannot live in them full-time. Most people use them as an affordable personal getaway and/or they rent them out through either a property rental company or they self-manage rentals.  This is a whole other topic as the Town of Blue Mountains has a by-law that governs the renting of accommodations for less than 30 days at a time.
There are several things to learn about these condos from the issue of HST to rental income expectations. This video will give you a bit of an idea of how it all works.  If you are looking for an affordable vacation property, this may be worth a closer look.

Collingwood and Area Real Estate Barometer June 3-9, 2016

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This market summary includes data for Collingwood, Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, Clearview, Grey Highlands and Meaford. The information was obtained from the MLS® statistics provided by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS®. Previous week(s) will in brackets.

Single Family ResidentialMarket Report Icon

New Listings:  65 (52, 45, 85)
Average List Price: $562,395
Range of List Prices: $149,900 – $2,495,000
Number of Sales:  64 (48, 47, 54)
Range of Sale Prices:  $169,900 – $980,000

Condominiums
New Listings:  10 (13, 12, 17)
Average List Price:  $292,550
Range of List Prices: $106,000 – $449,900
Number of Sales:  11 (13, 15, 12)
Range of Sale Prices: $195,000 – $649,900

Vacant Land
New Listings:  11 (19, 12, 14)
Number of Sales: 4 (4, 6, 15)
Range of Sale Prices: $125,000 – $250,000

Price Changes this week: 29

Notables this week:  

  • 6 Single Family residences sold for more than their asking prices
  • 7 single family residences sold at their asking prices
  • 2 condo listings sold at their asking price
  • 2 condo listings sold for more than their asking price

Note: All statistics obtained from the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® Real Estate Board.

Faux Lawns Are Appearing In Our Area

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grassOne day last summer, I was driving through the McKean subdivision in Nottawa, just south of Collingwood and couldn’t help but notice one lush, green, weed-free lawn stand out among the rest. I had to take a closer look and then realized it was artificial turf. A few weeks later, I was showing a high-end luxury home on a gorgeous treed street of heritage, estate homes only to see that the perfect lawn was indeed, a faux lawn. Is this a trend that is taking hold?

Faux grass means never having to mow or water your lawn which is appealing in these time-starved days we all have. The dog doesn’t leave a patch of dead grass and no fertilizing is grassrequired. The “grass” is low maintenance needing only the occasional raking or hosing down. It is expensive though at $8 to $12 a square foot but for some, the trade-off seems to be worth it.

Others are opposed to this newer technology on environmental grounds. While there are no mowers, water or chemicals needed, the product is synthetic and can leach into the ground depending on the construction. Drainage and run-off could be a concern as they are not as permeable as natural grass. There could be heat build-up.

I don’t think there is a definitive answer to the ecology of artificial turf but it looks like the option is becoming increasingly popular. Would you install it at your home?

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