KITCHENER – WATERLOO CONDOS & LOFTS FOR SALE

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CMHC Raises Insurance Premiums for Highest Risk Purchasers – Kitchener Waterloo Condos and lofts

Are you looking to buy your first home or condo?  Do you have less than 10% as a down payment?

If so then you need to be aware of recent changes to the mortgage insurance premiums that are offered through CMHC   (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation)

It was announced a few days ago that Canada’s federal housing agency is raising mortgage insurance premiums as part of a plan to boost its capital reserves.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said it is raising premiums on the highest-risk mortgages – borrowers who have down payments of less than 10 per cent – by 15 per cent starting June 1.

What does this mean for buyers?

The increases only apply to new mortgages for borrowers with small down payments. Those who put down more than 10 per cent of the purchase price aren’t affected. Premiums will also remain unchanged on CMHC’s portfolio insurance, which lenders take out on bundles of uninsured mortgages so they can securitized them, as well as the agency’s insurance for apartment buildings.

The effects will be modest for affected borrowers. An average Canadian borrower who can afford to pay the only the minimum 5-per-cent down payment typically takes out a mortgage of $252,000, CMHC said. Premiums for those borrowers would rise $5 a month, or about $1,500 more over the course of a 25-year mortgage.

CMHC predicted the changes would “not have a material impact on housing markets,” suggesting the agency isn’t looking to cool the housing market. Senior vice-president Steven Mennill stressed in a call with reporters that the changes were a “business decision” related to higher capital requirements and “not in any way related to a change in policy or approach.”

One thing is clear: By limiting increases only to borrowers with less than 10-per-cent down payments, the federal corporation is concerned that it was underpricing the risk on the most indebted borrowers.

Mortgages with lower levels of equity are typically more vulnerable to a housing shock and require higher levels of capital reserves to account for potential losses, which means higher premiums for riskier borrowers.

My advice would be is if you are thinking of buying a home or condo this spring and have less than a 10% down payment that you take advantage of the lower premiums offered before June 1st.

For more details or questions please email myself at kevinbaker@kwhometeam.ca   or give us a call at 519-579-4110

Enjoy your week!

Kevin


Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate Market Update for March 2015

It was another solid month of home sales in March here in Waterloo Region. Residential property sales through the MLS system continued to climb month over month with 619 properties sold. This represents a 15.1 percent increase compared to the March of 2014 which was the second lowest March on record since 2006.

During the first quarter of 2015, there were a total of 1,343 home sales, 3.6 percent above last year’s total for the same period and 8.4 percent below the 5 year quarterly average, which is again great news and shows continued strength of our local housing market.

Sales activity in the $300,000 – $349,999 increased significantly in the month of March with 151 homes sold in that range, a 49.5% increase from the same time last year. Pushing the average sales price up for the month were increased sales in the $500,000 – $749,999 range which posted a 61.5% increase equating to 63 sales compared to 39 in March 2014.

March’s sales included 436 single detached homes (up 25.3 %), 95 condominium units (down 2.1 %), 41 semi-detached (down 8.9) and 41 freehold townhouses (down 6.8%).The average sale price of all residential sales increased 7.4 percent to $347,722 compared with March 2014. Single detached homes sold for an average price of $384,635 an increase of 4.0 percent compared to last year. In the condominium market prices were up 12.1%, with the average condo unit selling for $238,846.

Overall the market is still moving forward and prices remain stable. We are expecting another busy spring market which seems to be well underway at this point.

If you have any questions about the local market or would like more information on home prices for your neighborhood, please feel free to give me a call or email direct at kevinbaker@kwhometeam.ca

Thanks and have a great week!

Kevin


June Condo Update for Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate

It was another solid month for home sales in Waterloo Region. Although the number of sales was down compared to last year they were up compared to the 5 year average. Prices were also up which is  a great sign that the buyers are still out there and looking to make a move. If you have any questions or would like more specific pricing on your home please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

 

STEADY STREAM OF HOME SALES FOR THE MONTH OF MAY

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (June 4, 2014) –– Residential property sales through the Multiple Listing
System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) in May were down
5.6 percent compared to last year’s record setting month of May.
A total of 725 residential properties were sold in the month of May compared to 768 the same time
last year. This was only the second time since 2007 that residential sales in May have exceeded 700
total sales. Comparing the 5-year average for the month of May shows a 5.7 percent jump in
residential sales.
“The spring home buying season was in full swing this May” says Lynn Bebenek, President of KWAR.
“Strong sales and price gains reflect the confidence homebuyers have in regional housing market as
a great place to live and invest.”
May’s sales included 514 single detached homes (down 3.4 % from last year) 101 condominium units
(down 17.9 %), 60 semi-detached (up 3.4 %) and 43 freehold townhouses (down 2.3 %).
The average sale price of all residential sales through the KWAR’s MLS® System increased 3.5 percent
last month to $345,323 compared with May 2013. Single detached homes sold for an average price
of $386,474 an increase of 2.1 per cent compared to last year. The average sale price for a
condominium was $226,157, an increase of 6.4 percent compared to May 2013.


10 Things to Think About When Buying a Condo – Kitchener Waterloo Condos and Lofts

 

kitchener Condos and lofts

 

So you are thinking about buying a condo and don’t know where to start.  Before you buy, know the following:

  1. Condo fees-Know how much they are and what they cover. When are they due and what happens if another owner falls behind? Is there a separate fee for garbage disposal or snow removal? Is landscaping included in the condo fees if there are common yard areas? Ask as many questions as you can. You don’t want to be stuck with, “hidden” expenses after you buy.
  2. Know Your Neighbors-What are the approximate ages of the other condo owners/tenants? Do they have little kids or teenagers? Are they college kids who come home late and play loud music? Ask the other condo owners about any issues with noise before you purchase
  3. Check the Reserve-Make Sure the Association has adequate funds to pay for emergency repairs.  When you own a condo you should always have an emergency fund. If there are assessments you’ll be responsible for paying for your “share”, whether the damage or repairs impacted your unit or not.
  4. Condo Association-Does one owner like to throw his/her weight around and dictate how the building is run? Is there a condo association president? Why is his/her role? How often do all of the owners meet to discuss building issues? Is the meeting virtual (skype) or in person? Do you have to host the meeting in your home regularly?
  5. Read the Association’s Rules-If the association has formal written rules, read them. Many of the important things you’ll need to know about living in the building will be included in the association’s rules. Want to know the policy on pets, allowing renters, and who’s responsible for what? Read the rules.
  6. Ask About Pets-Does your future neighbor own a dog that barks all the time? Isn’t house-trained and has accidents on the carpet in the common areas? Is aggressive and scares your kids? Our neighbor’s German Sheppard has lunged at survivor dog. Now we know to pick him up whenever, Karma (dog’s real name, go figure!) is around.
  7. Security-Do your neighbors keep the front doors of the building closed and locked at all times? Is there a security system or a doorman?
  8. Maintenance-If your condo association doesn’t contract with a maintenance company, be sure to ask about who does routine maintenance i.e. who changes light bulbs in the common areas, who salts the sidewalks during snowstorms, and who vacuums the common areas.
  9. Cosmetics-Does the association care about the cosmetics of the building? Do they continuously make improvements to the common areas of the building (which can be expensive)? Or do they let things slide until things are in a bad state of repair and need a total overhaul (also expensive). Are most of the units owner occupied or rented? Typically owners take better care of the building than renters.
  10. Unwritten Rules –sometimes there are ridiculous, “unwritten rules” that pop up once you’re an owner. For example, “We don’t do laundry when it’s raining because the water from the rain combined with the water from the washer floods the basement apartment” or, “We don’t put our air conditioners in the middle window of our units because some air conditioners drip water down the front of the basement and onto the basement apartment’s entrance”. Ask about this unwritten rules and be prepared for them (because inevitability one of these with catch you by surprise.

At the end of the day it is important to know as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision. Remember to use a reputable Real Estate Sales Person who understands the Local condo market here and can assist in showing and taking care of negotiations etc. If you need any advice or are looking to purchase a condo or loft in the Waterloo Region please don’t hesitate to give me call at 519-579-4110 or email direct to kevinbaker@kwhometeam.ca

Kevin


May 2014 Update for Kitchener Waterloo Condo Market

The nice weather looks like it is finally here to stay which is great news for the local Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate Market. Over the past months we have been experiencing a slight slow down in sales mostly due to the abnormally cold weather we have been having. The weather man is promising nicer weeks ahead and a warm summer so that is great news.

Although sales in April are up over March of this year, we are down year over year approximately 6%.  The condo market here is Kitchener Waterloo is growing at a fast pace with many new building projects underway but the sales there have remained flat.

The great news is that prices are still climbing. Average price is up 2.9% or almost $344,000.  That means that even with the low inventory levels that we have been experiencing the buyers are still out there and willing to pay to get the home of their dreams.

For a complete rundown on the stats you can read them below. If you have any questions on the market in general or specific pricing of your home feel free to give us a call. We would be happy to come over.

 

APRIL HOME SALES UP OVER MARCH, DOWN YEAR-OVER-YEAR

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (May 6, 2014) – There were fewer residential property sales through the
Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS®
(KWAR) in April compared to the same month last year.
A total of 652 residential properties sold in the month of April compared to 691 the same time last
year, a decrease of 5.6 percent. In comparison to March, residential sales grew 21 percent,
continuing the trend of monthly increases in home sales since the beginning of this year.
“We’re continuing to see increasing sales activity month after month,” says Lynn Bebenek President
of the KWAR. “Persistently bad weather seems to have delayed decision to buy or sell homes, but the
combination of increasing monthly sales, lower mortgage rates and some sun should drive increases
in the months ahead.”
April’s sales included 445 single detached homes (down 6.1 % from last year) 121 condominium units
(on par with last year), 38 semi-detached (down 19.1 %) and 41 freehold townhouses (down 2.4 %).
Year-to-date residential sales were 6.6 percent below last year with 1,948 residential homes sold thus
far.
While sales were a little slower this month the average sale price of all residential sales through the
KWAR’s MLS® System increased 2.9 percent to $343,839 compared with April 2013. Single detached
homes sold for an average price of $387,130 an increase of 2.2 percent compared to last year. The
average condominium price was up 9.8 percent selling for $237,008, partially due to the sales of
higher end condominium townhomes alongside traditional condos.


February Real Estate Update for Kitchener Waterloo – Condo’s Leading The Way

With the cold weather still keeping its grip on us here in Kitchener Waterloo, the Residential Real Estate market is starting to  show signs of life. Even though  the volume of sales are down about 4% the prices are still rising steadily. Condos are leading the way for another month in a row up 6.3%.

Have a look at the entire Media release from the Kitchener waterloo real estate board and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to give me  a call.

HOMES SALES STEADY IN FEBRUARY

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (March 5, 2014) –– Residential sales through the Multiple Listing System (MLS®) of the
Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) were down 4.0 percent in February compared to the
same month last year and up 34 percent compared to January’s results which were hampered by extreme
cold and snow.
A total of 431 residential properties were sold compared to 449 the same time last year. Residential sales in
February included 274 single detached homes (down 8.7% from last February), 33 semi-detached (down
13.2%), 28 townhomes (down 3.4%) and 93 condominium units (up 16.3%).
“February sales showed a healthy increase compared to January,” stated Lynn Bebenek, President of the
KWAR. “Low interest rates and a diverse and vibrant regional economy will continue to support a stable market
for the Kitchener-Waterloo area.”
Single detached homes sold for an average price of $387,288 an increase of 5.1 percent compared to last
year. The average sale price for a condominium was $233,657 an increase of 6.8 percent while townhomes and
semis sold for an average of $281,636 (down 0.7%) and $246,171 (down 3.0%) respectively. The average sale
price of all residential sales through the KWAR’s MLS® System increased 3.0 percent to $335,217 compared to
February 2013.
“Following up on what has been one of the coldest winters on record I expect we will see home buyers and
sellers out in full force come the spring time,” said Bebenek.

 


Condo Buying – Finding Your Down Payment May Be Easier Than You Think.

Getting that downmpayment: it might be easier than you think!

For many first-time homebuyers, saving the 5 per cent downpayment is one of the big obstacles to home ownership, especially if you’re paying rent, paying down student loans, and trying to live a life. Here are some programs and tips that can give your downpayment a boost – to get you into your home faster:

  1. The federal Home Buyers’ Program (HBP) lets first-time homebuyers withdraw up to $25,000 each (or $50,000 for a couple) tax-free from their RRSPs. You’ll need to pay those funds back, of course, on a repayment plan.
  2. A financial gift from a parent or blood relative can be used as a downpayment. You’ll need to document in writing that the funds are a gift and that you are not required to pay the money back at any time.
  3. A parent or grandparent could also provide a loan with a modest interest rate and reasonable expectations for loan repayment. Or you could look at borrowing the downpayment through a loan or unsecured line of credit.
  4. If your dream home is out of reach, look for a starter home. Use today’s low interest rates to start hammering down your mortgage, then watch for the opportunity to get the home of your dreams – using the equity and credit rating you’ve been building!