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Dream Team Guelph @ RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc
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The Truth As To Why Guelph's Real Estate Market Is So Crazy!
As I am busy working away this hot summer I find I am getting asked almost constantly by my local friends and clients alike what is going on with the Guelph Real Estate Market and why are prices going up so fast. This is usually followed by another question or even a statement of...how long can it last or...It won't last. I hear the media speak rather naively or even ignorantly about real estate bubbles. I hear and see politicians speak about foreign buyers because while it might not be true it certainly grabs headlines (and a crusade against those evil foreigners buying Canadian real estate is a current can't miss hot button that puts said politician in a great light in the eyes of voters). Soooo....here is the truth!!! First of all, political affiliations aside, most politicians manipulate the truth for self serving needs....or outright lie Lol. Media?...please see comment about politicians :) The truth is less interesting and less provocative but hey, why get in the way of a good story. The truth is for years now Guelph city council has not had a progressive plan in place to adapt to the massive growth happening in Ontario and to a large extent our region. While other municipalities have been building expressways, Guelph shut down alternative routes and built the only expressway in Ontario (that I am aware of) with STOPLIGHTS!!! How in the heck can you have an expressway with stop lights....it is called a street not an expressway. Please see Kitchener/Waterloo to see how this is done properly. While other municipalities built roads with round-a-bouts to keep traffic moving...Guelph reduced lanes, got a deal on asphalt and went speed bump traffic calming crazy and...put in more lights. While other cities planned urban development around schools, shopping, parks and wildlife...Guelph...well...Guelph didn't. No releases of detached permits for years, no high density building to accommodate families and an aging population. No transit plan to account for the city growing in size every year for decades. Well you get the point. So...what happens then when 160,000 people per year come to Southern Ontario to live and one of the best places to live in the area has stopped all aspects of growth planning in the unicorn driven dream of keeping the status quo. Well, what happens is eventually you run into a supply problem when more people want to move here than there are decent places for them to live available. A supply problem when local builders were, and are forced to build more detached family homes and high density homes in other cities like Kitchener/Waterloo, Cambridge, London, and even Barrie than they can here in their own backyard. Ooops...we didn't see this coming some would say. I say poopy talk. The Feds told, and even warned all Ontario large and mid sized municipalities of this in 2007. How do I know....because I was there listening to what was going to happen in my community for personal and professional reasons. Apparently many with their hands on the wheel locally were not there....or chose not to listen. So now with 2 and 3 buyers for any decent detached home and 2 and 3 buyers for any decent high density home under $400k we have a supply problem which is driving up prices. We don't have a foreign buyer problem, we don't have a speculation problem, we don't have a bubble problem. What we have is decades of bad planning and neglect coming home to bite us in our back side and there is no quick fix that can stop it short of a natural or man made disaster. At which point buying a home will not be a priority for the time being. Guelph has been fiddling at the wheel for a long time as opposed to planning for growth and it is a shame as the new generation of home buyers is paying dearly for it as well as an aging population looking to downsize! In my next blog I will discuss how you can have progressive urban development in an eco-friendly manner...stay tuned :)
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Will Guelph Double In Size By 2036?
I recently have been asked repeatedly what is going on in the market and when will this bubble burst. Welllll... that is an interesting question. You see we are not in a bubble which is actually unfortunate in some ways. I know what you are thinking... is he crazy? What does he mean unfortunate? Well let me explain. You see, a real estate bubble means that essentially the price of homes is going up rapidly driven by speculation, international investment, popular craze for housing etc. However that is not what we are experiencing here in good old Guelph and surrounding area. What we have here is... "a failure to communicate" lol. So let me continue to explain. The federal government... lets call them the "Feds", decided years ago that in order to sustain our slice of Canadiana we needed to replace or replenish the population of younger people in this country due to the fact Canadians were having less kids. So as our country aged, the population age demographic was going to resemble an upside down triangle with the older generations being the wide bloated top end and the young working class tax paying demographic being at the bottom. Sooooo they started implementing policies that would rapidly increase immigration to this country to aid in the replenishment of the younger demographics (to add a good balance of hard working people to be taxed to replace the top heavy aged population that would not be paying much tax anymore but would be increasing their load on the system) which of course is not sustainable. What does this have to do with the title of this post you ask... bear with me. So when the feds began this they really didn't ask the provinces what they thought since it didn't matter as they do what they are told (because they want their transfer payments from the feds). Much needed as their people were slowly retiring and not paying into the system as much as they were taking out. The cities were not informed as they also have no say since they need their transfer payments from the provinces for the same reasons as above. Soooo we are adding about 160,000 people a year to Southern Ontario with most of them settling in South Western Ontario. This has been going on for years now and what is happening is these families need a place to call home... literally... a house. Well no one really thought that over a twenty year period we would actually run out of places to live.... but thanks to lack of communication from "ALL"  3 levels of government (plus really bad urban planning on behalf of many city councils over the years) we now are seeing for the first time a real shortage of affordable family housing. Soooo what we have here is no bubble... no, what we have hear is a real serious problem that cannot be solved by momentary market fluctuations and interest rate tampering. We have a supply and demand problem. Now that is a problem! When supply takes months and in many cases years to create and demand is being created to the tune of 1.6 million people per decade. Oh poop... I forgot... they actually don't make any more land... who knew. So now we have to ask everyone to build higher density living areas as we a running out of land... well land in areas that people would actually want to live that is... this is Canada after all and while the term "frozen tundra" sounds like a part of our youth... we don't actually want to live on the frozen tundra ;)  A recent Toronto Star article stated that the "Feds" have stated that we are being mandated to grow by as much as 3.5 million people in the next 20 years in the GTA... which now encompasses Guelph, KW, Cambridge and even London. Well... in terms of what the "Feds" are calling the GTA anyway.  So that would mean all cities west of Toronto will need to double in size in the next 20 years to accommodate that type of urban growth. Guelph therefore will need to make some drastic urban planning and policy changes... yesterday! No more going years with few detached home permits. No more skyline that isn't dotted with condo buildings... and if not high rise condos then plenty of low rise. No more pretending we are a quaint little town. We haven't been since I was knee high to a grasshopper (always wanted to say that) but we have still kept up the pretension. No more fighting at or with the OMB. No it is time Guelph grew up... oh wait...we did years ago but some like to pretend we are still tweens. So the next time you hear of an East Side town home selling for $50,000 over list price... you will know it is a not a speculator, or foreign investor or some crazy person. It is most likely a family trying to find a decent home to live in, because there just aren't as many as there used to be. This of course is just my opinion :)
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Silicon Valley…… North!
In my business I am asked to help sell or consult on the purchase of real estate all over the region. While much of my business is done in the Guelph area I find in recent years I am doing more business in other parts of the region. Notably Kitchener/Waterloo…. the twin cities as they are known to locals. In the summer of 2014 I was given an opportunity to buy a home in the Forest Heights area of Kitchener and while I still owned property in Guelph I decided I would make this new home (to me) my primary residence. In the past couple of years I have begun what will likely be a lifetime educational process on all things real estate in the K/W area. What has come as a pleasant surprise is the economic boom that is taking place in this part of the region. Waterloo in particular is a vast hub of brilliant minds merged with hard work and community consciousness. With Blackberry’s struggles over the last few years many outside the area wrongly assume there is not much to be excited about. The complete opposite is in fact the truth. While Blackberry may have a struggle on their hands they seem to be staying relevant in software and security if not hardware. While all around BB has sprung up an entire eco-system of tech companies such as Google, Communitech, OpenText, McAfee and many more. Almost 1100 more to be precise. Think about this for minute, BlackBerry has unfortunately let go of around 10,000 people in the last few years. A large amount for any area and it should have been devastating to the area. It wasn’t, frankly many of those people found employment at many of the other tech companies in the city. While many more have started their own businesses. The result is a vibrant community of hard working well educated people who live and contribute heavily to the local economy. From the real estate perspective it has seen a boom in construction to service all of these growing companies as well as the appreciation of the new and resale housing market to serve the families in the rapidly growing area. I won’t even mention the compounding effect that the two universities are having in the centre of all of this. The picture I took shows a typical Friday morning in late April. I was watching my daughter play soccer at the fields on the Waterloo campus when I looked up and saw 6…. count them 6 cranes performing construction tasks over the Waterloo area. Cranes at work is a fabulous sign of a city that is vibrant and booming. Mostly thanks to the tech sector here no doubt. Guelph and Cambridge are literally 15-20 minutes away and booming cities in their own right. We live in a great time and alas, a great area!
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A STATE OF URGENCY!
Wow....to say the real estate market in Guelph is hot is kind of an understatement. Homes, town homes, condos and semi's have been selling this spring at a rapid rate. Now of course media headlines would have you believe that it is a bubble, and many other misinformed would suggest it is everything from low interest rates to great city urban planning......Just kidding Lol....no one would think it had to do with great city urban planning :p The truth is prices are increasing rapidly and at a rate not seen here in a long time. In some areas prices have risen by as much as 15-20% in the last 3 months ...read that again...3 months, not year over year. So if it is not a bubble and it is not low interest rates then what pray tell is the cause? Lack of inventory is the answer. What is happening is simple grade 11 economics ie. supply and demand. Or in the case of this city we have far more people wanting to buy a home in the area then we have people willing to sell one. So if you are a buyer it is a wild, fun, scary and even frustrating time regardless of your price range. If you are a seller it is a great time to sell....as long as you don't have to turn around and buy again in the area....if you do,  please see above statement on what that is like. What to do you ask? Well for buyers just be ultra prepared, for instance have an approval for a loan in hand when you are making an offer. Also don't fall in love with any property but rather fall in like with several....but do it quickly as they will be gone tomorrow. On that note be educated before you go looking....this is not the market to learn as you go. Hiring a great realtor will be a huge benefit (I may know a few :) Lastly don't sleep on anything you do like too long or you could be disappointed. If you are selling,  my advice is easier. Price the home properly and be prepared to have it look its best. If it shows well and is priced right it will sell. How long will this last....no one really knows. What I do know is the average price of a home is 250% higher today in Guelph then when I started 16 years ago. So hot market or not, Guelph is a very desirable area for families from all over southern Ontario. We should be proud of our community :)
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The Guelph area has been robust for sure this spring. If not for total sales then certainly for the price increases we are seeing in most areas. If we were to look at March 2015 compared to March 2016 the numbers are shocking. Keep in mind it is a small sample size and lack of good saleable listings in the marketplace is no doubt a factor influencing some of this, it is still a fact that the Guelph market is moving quickly and those that are waiting to buy will find that it becomes less affordable everyday.  So without further ado The 3 "HOTTEST" Neighbourhoods in Guelph for March are....drum roll please :) At number 3 is the Grange Road/East Guelph area. The median sale price for this area in March of 2015 was $352,450....for March of 2016 it has risen to $399,900 which is an increase of nearly 12% year over year. Coming in at number 2 on our survey is the neighbourhood of Westminster Woods in the South End. Median sales prices in March of 2015 were $425,000....and they have gone up to $508,950 for March 2016. A whopping 16.5% increase in price year over year. Finally coming in as Guelph's hottest area so far in 2016 is the  Downtown neighbourhood helped for sure by the "River Mill" and "Metal Works" projects. The Median sale price in March 2015 was $330,000 for the area, it has risen an astonishing 19.3% year over year to a median sale price of $408,500. What does all this mean to you.....well nothing really if you are not buying or selling at the moment. However if you are looking to buy then despite the rise in values these are great areas to buy as an investment in your home as values are sure to continue to rise in these areas for a multitude of reasons in the market. If you are selling well, you could hold on to get more value for your home but if you are wanting to or have to move I can't think of a better time to reap the benefits of your previous decision to purchase in one of these areas :)
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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!
Hello everyone. I thought I would take a few minutes and respond to the question I am asked most these days which is, “how is the market”. In Guelph that is a complicated question and depends largely on whether you are buying or selling or especially investing. However for the sake of this blog I will make it simple since most people are really just asking in a general sort of way. The answer……. The market for Guelph is HOT! It is even hotter when we only look at detached home sales. Now there are several reasons for this which I will elaborate on in a blog later this month but suffice to say home sales are moving very quickly and prices have started their usual upward trend which happens virtually every spring for the last 16 years. Just this week The Dream Team has been involved in several sales that sold for quite a bit over asking price. The lack of homes for sale in the market is one reason. As of today there are only 38 detached homes for sale in Guelph below $450,000. So as you can imagine competition for decent affordable homes in the entry level market or first time move up market is quite heavy. Don’t just think it is just detached homes though, condos and town homes sales are brisk as well, especially in the south end as the first time buyer and investor market clash over location, location, location. Well that is all for now but stay tuned for a much more in depth look at  the Guelph housing market in future blogs.
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The Importance Of Real Estate Data!
Too often we hear various media outlets talk or write or even blog about what is going on in Real Estate sales. They pick out talking points like the amount of sales increase or The Price increases year over year. If it is a slower time in the market they will use the same talking points only in a negative way. But what does it all mean? For anyone who follows us here at the Dream Team you will recognize our familiar refrain "all real estate is local" lol. What we are really saying is it doesn't matter what happens in Vancouver or Toronto or even Montreal... unless you live in any of those cities. When buying or selling family homes and condos you need to know the data of the area you are looking in. For our clients, we at the Dream Team have always relied heavily on local data trends in order to help advise both buyers and sellers. Furthermore that data can change drastically from one area of the city to another. In Guelph for instance depending on where you choose to live, the price variations from neighbourhood to neighbourhood can be as much as 18% for similar homes on similar properties. So it is important you know that facts about the area before buying or selling. In fact sales data is just part of the story. We also need to convey what social and political trends are happening as well. Are there new schools coming to the neighbourhood... are some closing? What is the average income per household? How about the proximity to Hospitals, places of worship, traffic patterns? Even age and lifestyle demographics all can, and usually do, play a part in ones decisions when buying and selling of homes and condos. So the next time someone shows you the price of the last sale in a building, you may want to consider some of the above before deciding whether to buy or sell anything. Good Realtors should know this stuff and few other do... great Realtors do know it and will already be discussing it with you! Guelph is a great city... but not all parts are equal depending on your needs and desires. So consider what data you need at your disposal before making a six or even seven figure decision :)
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2016!
Well the New Year is almost upon us. With that will come new hopes and ideas and even dreams of where we want 2016 to take us. Most of us have made decisions to make changes in at least one aspect of our lives. I hope that it is something you deem worthwhile and therefore see through to its satisfactory conclusion. My goal for 2016 is about my retirement... no I am not going to, lol. However I would like to position myself for the decades to come and it will likely take me 15 -20 years to do so. In my thinking real estate is the most safe and practical way to build ones wealth and security. Most hope to pay off their home which is an excellent start. The theory of free and clear would be a large stressor removed from daily life. Most will need a bit more however. An investment property that someone else pays the debt off and provides you with passive income is almost a necessity for all who wish to be "comfortable" into their later years. If you have been thinking along those lines yourself then 2016 is a good time to put that plan into action. Yes so says the Realtor lol... I know..... biased right? Well maybe... but stats show that for all the savings and RRSP's and mutual funds that most of us invest in, the vast majority of what little wealth building we have is actually the result of paying down the debt on the family home (along with the appreciation of said home). So don't take my word for it... look around... even at your own situation and I doubt I am wrong. So with Guelph home prices on the rise (like everywhere else) 2016 will be a better starting point than 2017 or 2018 or... well you get it. Good luck on your goals whether they be real estate related or not this year. Here is hoping your end result is what you wanted :)
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Not The Downtown It Used To Be......Good :)

Downtown Guelph has changed much over the years, heck when I was a kid there was a crown hanging in the square and Quebec Street went right on through where Quebec Street Mall now is (the Eaton Centre rings a bell ). However it is now the end of 2015 not 1975 and despite fond memories I think the downtown of Guelph is a pretty awesome and often overlooked place to be.

There has been so much that has been renewed in the core that it would take too long to go over everything but let me touch on a few highlights. The obvious of course are old standby's like "The Bookshelf" or "Apartment 58" for fun food, drinks, and even film, but over the years new pubs and eatery's have sprouted up. Have you checked out "The Works" or "The Western" for a great burger or steak.....delicious :). How about "On The Verge" for a very fun and unique shopping experience? The New restaurants and shopping areas over the last few years is plentiful, and should be enjoyed. My personal favourite for Indian food is "Bollywood Bistro". With the new condo developments being built to A+ design standards from "The Metalworks" by Fusion Homes or the Tricar buildings, the area is about to go through an even more rapid expansion and development than ever before. Expect to see a Starbucks or the like soon ;)... and I won't even mention the go train... okay I did lol. So next time you are thinking of heading to Stone Road to do some shopping and grab a bite... maybe take a quick turn and head Downtown... you will likely be very pleasantly surprised but what you find and the experiences you will have.
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Chchchchanges!!!
I have been in Guelph for most of my life. I remember when Paisley Road west of the Hanlon was Known as “The Pits”. We would ride dirt bikes out there and have parties (far enough off the road that the police wouldn’t usually bother to chase us out). Where Costco now sits was a water hole we young ones eloquently named “Bare Ass Beach”. The South end was developed mostly only to Kortright and again we had bush parties out in the Hanlon Creek Conservation Area… there were no big expensive homes backing onto it back then (then being the mid 80’s by the way, Lol). East and North Guelph were nothing like they are now, either in terms of development or population density… the “Dump” now has premium priced conservation lots :o… and lastly Downtown was… well… Downtown. It was home to The Palace, The Chooch and even The King Edward Hotel. Now it has some great new and newer spots to eat or drink or both, Lol. It also has several key condo buildings going up which is changing the entire landscape… from the Cooperators to the old W.C Woods Plants (1 and 2), both of which I once worked at. These changes, all of them, are not only necessary but also encouraging to see. As much as I reminisce about my youth I also am excited about the future for Guelph. The young and old are needing affordable homes, as do people new to Canada, and our region is an excellent place to live for all the above and of course for our lifeblood which is the “family” as well. Bring on the new development I say. Done properly it brings with it new and exciting times, creative and diverse people and of course… the much needed new tax base for our spendy local government, Lol. Kidding aside Guelph is changing… mostly for the better and I am glad I am here to witness it. Now if we could only improve the damn traffic flows in this city… more on that later :)
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