Collingwood and Area Real Estate Barometer May 12-18, 2017

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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) in brackets.

Single Family ResidentialMarket Report Icon

New Listings:  62 (60, 58, 47)
Average List Price: $685,280.
Range of List Prices: $259,900 – $2,988,000
Number of Sales: 46 (53, 47, 40)
Range of Sale Prices:  $209,900 – $1,800,000

Condominiums
New Listings:  15 (17, 20, 17)
Average List Price:  $438,673.
Range of List Prices:  $179,900 – $1,495,000
Number of Sales:  13 (10, 17, 21)
Range of Sale Prices:  $129,900 – $725,000

Vacant Land
New Listings:  11 (18, 5, 9)
Number of Sales: 12 (9, 10, 10)
Range of Sale Prices: $25,500 – $500,000

Price Changes this week:  17

Notables this week:  

  • 12 Single Family residences sold for more than the asking price and 9 sold at the asking price
  • 3 Condos sold for  more than the asking price and 4 sold at the asking price
  • 2 Vacant Land listings sold at the asking price, and 5 sold for more than the asking price

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

An Unforgettable Video of the Nottawasaga Lighthouse

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The Nottawasaga Lighthouse is one of those iconic symbols of the Collingwood and Blue Mountain areas.  A local condo development, Lighthouse Point, gives not to it’s status.  Built in 1858, this lighthouse is one of the few original such structures remaining on the great lakes and sadly, it is crumbling.  This haunting video will give you a close-up view of the condition.

Nottawasaga Lighthouse from Michael Storey on Vimeo.

Thankfully, a group of citizens has come together to save the lighthouse with a mission statement that aims to “protect the important architectural and cultural significance which makes the Nottawasaga Island Lighthouse a significant part of Canada’s Great Lakes marine heritage for the benefit of all Canadians.”

Leading into this past winter, the group raised sufficient funds to shrink wrap the lighthouse to preserve it from further deterioration.  They continue to work hard to raise the needed funds to both preserve and restore this icon for generations to come.  It’s a worthy pursuit and I hope you’ll take a moment to have a look at their website to learn more and to see how you can help.

Collingwood and Area Real Estate Barometer May 5-11, 2017

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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) in brackets.

Single Family ResidentialMarket Report Icon

New Listings:  60 (58, 47, 55)
Average List Price: $586,950.
Range of List Prices: $224,000 – $1,900,000
Number of Sales: 53 (47, 40, 45)
Range of Sale Prices:  $145,000 – 1,500,000

Condominiums
New Listings:  17 (20, 17, 14)
Average List Price:  $372,418.
Range of List Prices:  $170,000 – $995,000
Number of Sales:  10 (17, 21, 6)
Range of Sale Prices:  $195,000 – $779,000

Vacant Land
New Listings:  18 (5, 9, 14)
Number of Sales: 9 (10, 10, 13)
Range of Sale Prices: $39,900 – $425,000

Price Changes this week:  11

Notables this week:  

  • 23 Single Family residences sold for more than the asking price and 5 sold at the asking price
  • 2 Condos sold for  more than the asking price and 2 sold at the asking price
  • 6 Vacant Land listings sold at the asking price

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

New Affordable Housing Units in Collingwood

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When you see something every day in the landscape, you don’t even notice it anymore until something changes. This happened at the cornerscale of High and Second Streets, opposite the Metro store.  All of a sudden, people are asking what’s going on with this property where several brick townhomes are sitting empty and large stands of trees have been cleared.

The 3.5 acre site is owned by the County and the 30 townhomes on the site have been vacated.  The Simcoe County Housing Corporation is proposing to tear those down and to create two apartment buildings on the site:  one being a six-storey building with 55 units geared at families and the second being a five-storey building with 92 units geared to seniors.  The almost $40 million dollar project is currently before council to obtain the required re-zoning and, construction is expected to be completed in 2019.

Given how much attention has been drawn to the site by the mere removal of a stand of trees, it should be quite interesting to see how people will react to five and six storey buildings on that site where nothing surrounding it comes even close in height. It will also be interesting to see how traffic in that area will be impacted by the creation of an extra 117 homes on the same site. Don’t get me wrong – we NEED affordable housing units in the community and I’m glad we are getting these.  I just hope the planning is intelligent.

Collingwood and Area Real Estate Barometer Apr. 28-May 4, 2017

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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) in brackets.

Single Family ResidentialMarket Report Icon

New Listings:  58 (47, 55, 61)
Average List Price: $529,538.
Range of List Prices: $200,000 – $1,950,000
Number of Sales: 47 (40, 45, 37)
Range of Sale Prices:  $120,000 – $1,910,000

Condominiums
New Listings:  20 (17, 14, 17)
Average List Price:  $348,275
Range of List Prices:  $179,900 – $729,900
Number of Sales:  17 (21, 6, 16)
Range of Sale Prices:  $158,000 – $849,000

Vacant Land
New Listings:  5 (9, 14, 15)
Number of Sales: 10 (10, 13, 6)
Range of Sale Prices: $47,800 – $450,000

Price Changes this week:  13

Notables this week:  

  • 14 Single Family residences sold for more than the asking price and 2 sold at the asking price
  • 5 Condos sold for  more than the asking price and 2 sold at the asking price
  • 4 Vacant Land listings sold at the asking price and 2 sold for more than the asking price

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

Collingwood and Area Real Estate Barometer April 21-27/17

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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) in brackets.

Single Family ResidentialMarket Report Icon

New Listings:  47 (55, 61, 56)
Average List Price: $522,638
Range of List Prices: $149,900 – $2,895,000
Number of Sales: 40 (45, 37, 46)
Range of Sale Prices:  $100,000 – $1,777,000

Condominiums
New Listings:  17 (14, 17, 18 )
Average List Price:  $421,759
Range of List Prices:  $114,900 – $799,000
Number of Sales:  21 (6, 16, 13)
Range of Sale Prices:  $125,000 – $650,000

Vacant Land
New Listings:  9 (14, 15, 14)
Number of Sales: 10 (13, 6, 16)
Range of Sale Prices: $92,500 – $975,000

Price Changes this week:  13

Notables this week:  

  • 20 Single Family residences sold for more than the asking price and 1 sold at the asking price
  • 12 Condos sold for  more than the asking price and 2 sold at the asking price
  • 2 Vacant Land listings sold at the asking price and 3 sold for more than the asking price
  • When you look at the number of sales in each category, versus the number of sales that were at or above the listing price, it is interesting to note that more than 50% of the sales are at or above the list price.  Single Family – 40 sales, 21 of which were at or above the list price.  Condos – 21 sales, 14 of which were at or above the list price.  Vacant Land – 10 sales, 5 of which were at or above the list price.

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

The Painterie in Collingwood

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2017-04-02 15.10.24Even though The Painterie in downtown Collingwood opened last fall, I only just recently was able to stop by for my first visit and I LOVED it!  If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind gifts or unique furniture pieces, you’ve just got to stop in.2017-04-02 15.10.49

Set in a century home, the store brings together the vision of owner Jody DeCoste who says she is passionate about salvaging almost any piece of furniture that passes her way.  With a recycle conscious mind, she paints and reinvents unique, quality, preloved furniture as well as selling off PRIOR TO PAINT pieces for all the “do it yourselfers” and “budget conscious” people out there. Even just chatting with Jody briefly, her passion is indeed evident and contagious.

The store includes prior to paint used furniture, furniture paints for the DYI crowd, completed painted pieces as well as wonderful gifts, collectibles and décor items from over 90 local artisans.  There are beautiful works of art in every corner from soaps to paintings to fibre art and everything in between.2017-04-02 15.13.29

Additional services found in the building include C Beauty which provided aesthetic services using natural, local products on the 2nd floor and, a yoga studio on the 3rd floor.

A peek through Jody’s Facebook page gives examples of some of the great things you’ll find at the shop and includes information on workshops and more.2017-04-02 15.15.24

The shop is located on Elgin St just down from the Collingwood Library and opposite All Saints Anglican Church and is open Monday to Friday from 10-6, Saturdays 10-5 and Sundays 12-4.

The Fair Housing Plan and How It May Affect Grey and Simcoe Counties

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According to it’s recent press release, The Province of “Ontario is taking action to make housing more affordable for home buyers and renters by introducing the Fair Housing Plan. This set of 16 comprehensive measures would help more people find an affordable place to call home, while bringing stability to the real estate market and protecting the investment of homeowners.”

One of these measures includes introducing a 15 per cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax on non-Canadian citizens, non-permanent residents and non-Canadian corporations who buy residential properties containing 1 to 6 units in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.2017-04-21_14-50-19

Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan wishes to expand rent control to all private rental units, including those built after 1991, thereby strengthening protection for renters against dramatic rent increases.

A tax on vacant homes in Toronto and potentially other interested municipalities will hopefully help to encourage owners to rent or sell  unoccupied units.

The province will also work with municipalities/other partners to identify provincially owned surplus lands that could be used for affordable or rental housing development.

Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan includes an additional twelve measures, such as introducing a $125-million, 5-year program to encourage construction of new rental apartment buildings by proposing to rebate a portion of development charges.

Other items of note:  the government is looking to understand paper flipping, and tax avoidance in relation to speculation in the housing market.

According to the press release, “Taken together, these new policies represent a substantial, multi-faceted plan to address Ontario’s rising housing costs so that families can access housing that meets their needs.  Making it more affordable to buy or rent a home is part of Ontario’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives. ”

Read the Ontario Fair Housing Plan here.

So what are the take-aways from this?  Naturally there is mixed reaction from various corners and, it is too early to say if these measures will have any significant impact on the Ontario housing market.  A few things of note though:

  • The new NRST does not apply across the Province but only in the Golden Horseshoe.  For our area, that includes Simcoe county (so places like Collingwood, Wasaga Beach and Clearview Township) but it does NOT include Grey County (Blue Mountain, Meaford).  While it is possible that the new tax could drive non-resident speculators to Grey County, I’m not convinced it will as that has not been a driving factor in our market
  • In my opinion, the new tax WILL have a greater impact on the Toronto market than pundits are saying and if it impacts that market, the trickle down effect will impact our market.  The caveat is that there are several loopholes in the legislation so it is possible that creativity will outrank any true dampening effect on the markets.
  • Many investors, foreign and domestic, are driven by potential rental income and we’ve seen buyers lining up to buy multiple new units in new housing developments.  The new cap on rental rates will almost certainly have the greatest effect on the markets.  Having said that, I don’t see it having a direct impact on our market where rents have not been a run-away train like they have been in the GTA.  Again, any impact is more likely to come from the trickle down effect if it softens activity south of us.
  • There really is a huge problem in Ontario with access to affordable housing and while I laud the government’s attempt to address that, I fear the long term effect may be the opposite.  By making it harder for investors to own, rent and make a profit, the fewer people there will be buying properties to create rental housing stock.  The short term may look good but long term I think it is a short-sighted policy.  Time will tell.  I would rather have seen financial incentives given to homeowners to create accessory apartments in existing residences which could quickly have created new and more affordable rental housing stock.

I’d like to add something else.  Real estate will always have ups and downs as it is cyclical in nature.  In the long term, it is always up but the key words here are, long term.  If people are buying to speculate and flip. There is always risk and it may be greater now with the unknown effect of these new measures.  If however your purchase is longer term and, it includes personal use and enjoyment during that time, then you are in a position to ride both ups and downs. Real estate is and always will be, one of the best long term investments available.

Those are my thoughts.  What are yours?

 

Collingwood and Area Real Estate Barometer Apr. 14-20/17

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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) in brackets.

Single Family ResidentialMarket Report Icon

New Listings:  55 (61, 56, 30)
Average List Price: $502,500
Range of List Prices: $169,900 – $1,350,000
Number of Sales: 45 (37, 46, 44)
Range of Sale Prices:  $210,000 – $2,250,000

Condominiums
New Listings:  14 (17, 18, 15)
Average List Price:  $386,257
Range of List Prices:  $254,500 – $650,000
Number of Sales:  6 (16, 13, 7)
Range of Sale Prices:  $140,000  – $611,000

Vacant Land
New Listings:  14 (15, 14, 8 )
Number of Sales: 13 (6, 16, 7)
Range of Sale Prices: $35,000 – $350,000

Price Changes this week:  2

Notables this week:  

  • 19 Single Family residences sold for more than the asking price and 5 sold at the asking price
  • 3 Condos sold for  more than the asking price and 1 sold at the asking price
  • 3 Vacant Land listings sold at the asking price and 1 sold for more than the asking price

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

Airbnb Rules in Collingwood, Blue Mountain and area

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airbThere are about 300 Airbnb units being advertised for rent in the Collingwood-Blue Mountain area.  What may surprise you is that most of these are an illegal use.  We’ll get to that in a moment but first some food for thought.

About Airbnb

In this new age of the “sharing economy”, services such as Airbnb have gained traction very quickly. According to the company, there are currently about 15,000 active Airbnb hosts in Ontario, including 8,600 in Toronto.

An Airbnb report released in September 2016 highlighted positive factors about the company saying that everyday people are being helped to make ends meet, and that it is an affordable way to travel and live like a local. What they don’t talk about are the downsides.

The Concerns

Not surprisingly, the hotel industry has fought against the program on the basis that these units are in fact commercial units but they are not paying commercial tax rates in many cases.  In fact, how many owners are reporting their Airbnb income at all?  While hotels must meet certain standards such as cleanliness and safety, private homes are rarely subjected to the same scrutiny.

Many home owners who participate in the Airbnb program, are not aware that in most cases, their home owner insurance policy does not cover the rental usage and, there are also issues that can arise around liability. 

A growing area of concern is about the practice of renting these short term units out in condominiums.  In many cases, condo rules prohibit occupation by third parties and for short term periods.  A landmark ruling in December regarding condos being used for short term rentals  is worth reading if you’ve been thinking of taking the chance.

Regulations Are Coming.  With all of this, municipalities in Ontario are starting to look at developing new regulations around the short term accommodation industry.

What You Can and Can’t Do In Southern Georgian Bay

So, let’s look at the local situation here in Southern Georgian Bay.  In a well publicized and heavily challenged decision, the Town of the Blue Mountains was one of the first municipalities to tackle the issue head on by developing regulations around short term rental accommodation.  This was driven by years of complaints from residential property owners who had issues with garbage, noise, parties and such.  The thinking is that these uses are not compatible in many cases with a predominantly residential neighbourhood.  As a result, the Blue Mountains now has a complex licensing program for short term rental accommodations and owners wishing to do an Airbnb type use, must first obtain a licence to do so.  Details can be found here. 

In Collingwood, the only short term accommodation allowed in a residential zone is a Bed & Breakfast.  The B & B definition is in the Collingwood Zoning By-law and its provisions are found in General Provision 4.25 found on page 4-6 of this document.  Note that it generally requires that the owner live in the property and that food can be served.  When we asked the town how this is enforced, the reply is that it is complaint driven.  The Town will then first seek voluntary compliance by the owner to cease the use failing which they turn to prosecution.

In Wasaga Beach, the Zoning By-law only permits short-term accommodation (rental for less than 30 days) in Tourist Commercial (CT) and Tourist Accommodation (CA) Zones. Short-term rentals are not permitted in Residential Zones. These accommodations must be licensed under the Town’s Business Licensing By-law, which is managed by the Town’s Municipal Law Enforcement Department. The rules are similar to Collingwood and fall under the Bed and Breakfast category which can be found here starting on page 124.

In Clearview Township, short term rentals are also considered to be a Bed and Breakfast  which are permitted in the Agricultural and Rural Zones only.  Other zones require a zoning by-law amendment.  The Zoning By-law requires that the dwelling shall be occupied by the owner or tenant when guest rooms are available to the travelling public.  So if the Airbnb does meet these and the other standard requirements of the zoning by-law then it is not legally operating.

While we have not had any response to our formal queries from the Town of Meaford, I do know they are far less stringent on this topic and generally, it would appear from their Zoning By-law, that an Airbnb type use would be permitted with certain criteria being met as shown in the bylaw found here and starting on page 62.

The Bottom Line

If you are purchasing a property or own one in our region and are assuming you can run an Airbnb, you are going to be in for a surprise.  You’ll need to comply with the zoning requirements of the municipality and in most cases, your use is not easily permitted. It’s important to consult with the municipality before proceeding.

RE/MAX four seasons realty limited, brokerage  ♦  67 First Street Collingwood, ON L9Y 1A2  ♦  705-445-8500