Strong demand continues to fuel the local housing market.
Last month a total of 577 residential properties sold in Kitchener-Waterloo and area though the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR), an increase of 24.4 percent compared to October of 2015, and an all-time high for the month.
October’s sales included 359 single detached homes (up 18.9% compared to October 2015) and 130 condominium type units (up 28.7%) which include any property regardless of style (i.e. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.). Sales also included 41 semi-detached homes (down 105 percent) and 39 freehold townhouses (up 2.6 percent).
Record breaking sales are also being tallied on a year-to-date basis with 5,818 residential transactions compared to 4,920 during the same period in 2015, representing an increase of 18.3 percent. Conversely, inventory levels are low with only 729 active residential listings on the market to the end of October, a decline of 11 percent compared to the previous month, and 53.9 percent below the same period last year.
The average price of all residential properties sold in October was $408,067 a 12.7 percent increase over 2015. Detached homes sold for an average price of $478,685, an increase of 14.3 percent compared to October 2015. During this same period, the average sale price for an apartment style condominium was $225,221, an increase of 5.6 percent. Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $307,294 (up 17.6 percent) and $329,966 (up 23.9 percent) respectively.
Noting an increase in multiple offer situations, and homes selling for above asking price, Charlotte Zawada, president of the KWAR says: “A strong appetite for homeownership in Waterloo region combined with slimmer inventory levels means it’s still a sellers’ market.”
The average price was also pulled upward by an increase in homes selling for a half-million dollars and above in October, compared to the same month last year. The number of sales occurring at or above $500,000 doubled in October compared to the same month last year; and made up a total of 23 percent of all home sales, compared to just 14 percent in 2015.
The median price of all residential properties sold in October increased 17.2 percent to $375,000, and the median price of a detached home during the same period increased 16.8 percent to $438,000.
New measures by the federal government which introduced a mortgage rate “stress test” on all new insured mortgages took effect on October 17, 2016. While the overall impact of these changes is yet to be fully understood, President Zawada says “It is likely that some first-time homebuyers rushed to purchase prior to the stress test coming into effect.”
It’s important to carefully stage your home during the holidays.
Decorating your home for the holidays is a festive tradition but it’s important that buyers are still able to imagine themselves living there. Here are a few seasonal staging tips to keep in mind:
- Curb Appeal Counts - A few lights and a tasteful wreath on the front door will elegantly accent your home. Remember to also display some photos of what you yard looks like during the summer months.
- First Impressions - Hallways are usually quite cramped and dark so remove any unnecessary items, ensure you have adequate lighting and keep decorations to a minimum.
- Deck the Halls (a little) - Too many decorations will make your home appear small and cluttered. Also, never decorate over architectural selling features.
- Bows & Bells - Put away wrapping paper, tape, ribbons, etc. before showings but don’t just stuff them in your closets as buyers usually peek in cupboards to see how spacious they are.
- Holiday Cheer - Seasonal treats such as hot apple cider and holiday cookies will give your home a welcoming feel. It may even encourage buyers to stick around a little longer!
Although there are fewer buyers during the holiday season, they're usually more serious plus there aren’t as many listings to compete with. Your home will show beautifully if you use decorations to draw attention to its best features. Just keep the decorations to a minimum so buyers aren’t overwhelmed, distracted or turned off.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to step back in time!
It’s truly remarkable how time flies but it’s also sad how many precious family memories fade as the years go by. There is a way to turn back the clock though!
Preserving family artifacts in a “time capsule” is a fun and easy way to relive the past! Here’s all you need to do:
- Choose a Capsule - A simple box decorated by your children is a great choice as it keeps them involved.
- Choose Your Treasure - Add items such as photos, trinkets, school papers or stuffed toys and mark dates/descriptions so you’ll be able to easily identify them.
- Choose Your Spot - Once you’ve filled the capsule, seal it tightly with thick plastic and decide where and for how long you’re going to stash it.
This project is a simple, unique and effective way of preserving the past. Don't put it off though -- the key to seeing the past in the future is to start today! There are endless ways to make a family time capsule but the most important thing is to just have fun.
Simple appetizers are the way to go during the busy holiday season.
It's not always easy to impress holiday guests but the delicate, mellow taste of roasted garlic paired with creamy Brie is sure to be a huge hit. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 whole garlic bulbs
- 2 tsps olive oil
- 1 round of Brie cheese
- red pepper jelly
Slice the tops off the garlic bulbs and drizzle them with olive oil. Then wrap the bulbs in foil, place on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.
While the garlic is baking, slice the thin rind off the top of the Brie and add to the oven for the last 15 minutes. When it’s done, transfer the Brie and garlic bulbs to a platter and serve with crackers and red pepper jelly. Enjoy!