The Riz Team Blog

Posts Tagged ‘real estate market’

Slower Home Sales In July

Friday, September 8th, 2017

July Market Update KWAR

Flooring choices on the greener side!

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

What goes under foot is seldom an easy decision. Colour, surface texture, room usage and price all come into play. Today, greener options abound, adding to the myriad of choices already available.

Increasing interest in incorporating renewable resources into the home has resulted in many beautiful eco-friendly flooring options.

For homeowners looking on the greener side, it’s worth a look at the many sustainable products available today:

• Give a tree another lease on life with salvaged wood flooring. A rustic look can be created with reclaimed wood. Buying reclaimed lumber continues to get easier, and in some instances, less expensive relative to the cost of new hardwoods.
• Bamboo is a good option for rooms with low humidity. High abundance and a natural look make sustainable bamboo an attractive flooring option. Bamboo grows to maturity in three to five years, about a quarter of the time it takes to grow trees used for hardwood.
• Linoleum flooring has retained its popularity over decades. Unlike vinyl flooring, which is a synthetic product made of chlorinated petrochemicals, linoleum is manufactured from natural compounds including linseed oil, cork dust, tree resins and ground limestone. With natural, renewable elements used in its manufacturing, this eco-friendly flooring option continues to remain a popular option.
• Cork flooring has many eco-friendly attributes. Like bamboo, cork is quickly renewable. It is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree and grows back every three years. Cork has anti-microbial properties to reduce allergens, is fire retardant and provides a comfortable feel under foot. Cork flooring can be finished in a variety of paints and stains to complement any room setting.
• Polyester (P.E.T.) Berber carpet is a sustainable option made of recycled plastic bottles. Anytime we can reuse these materials, we reduce the amount of new materials being manufactured and we reduce non-biodegradable materials in our landfills. Polyester Berber is spill resistant and comes in a variety of aesthetically – pleasing colours and patterns.

Whatever your home’s style or design, an eco-friendly flooring option exists to complement the desired look and existing patterns.

Looking to Make a Small Room Appear Bigger??

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Helpful hints in making a small room appear bigger!

Small rooms are the bane of the home decorator. How do you achieve a pleasing look that doesn’t feel cramped and claustrophobic? Short of building an addition or knocking down walls, you are limited to a few, but effective, decorating tricks that create the illusion of space.

The strategic use of colour and light is the best way to achieve this. Choose light shades of paint or wallpaper for the walls. Lighter colours reflect light making for a brighter room. Use an even lighter shade of the same colour or white for ceilings and floors. A darker colour on the ceiling will make the ceiling look lower and tends to make the walls look as though they are closing in.

Avoid harshly contrasting colours. In fact, a monochromatic colour scheme that carries throughout the room into fabrics and accessories is very effective. Steer away from too many patterned items. The goal here is to blur perspective.

Anything you can do to bring light into the room will also give the effect of increased space. A corner wall sconce that casts light up onto the wall works well. Try to vary lighting effects for interest. A skylight is a great way to add light to a room, but isn’t always practical or affordable. Mirrors are a great solution for small rooms. Place mirrors directly across from another for maximum impact. A mirror placed across from a window is also effective. Place a lamp in front of a mirror to add more light to your room.

If you have wood or patterned flooring, have it installed so that the lines run diagonally across the room. This makes for longer lines, which give the appearance of a larger space. When furnishing the room, pick objects that are proportioned to the size of the room. For example, opt for a loveseat over a full-sized sofa. Lastly, keep the clutter to a minimum. Avoid using a lot of knick-knacks and keep the room tidy and well organized.

Viewing an Open House with Open Eyes

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

open house two

Remaining objective can be a difficult task when viewing an open house. It is easy to fall in love with a home’s appearance, blind to problems that may make it unsuitable. While aesthetics can be an important consideration, it is necessary to look beyond window-dressing.

Aqualified home inspector should be hired before purchasing a home, but there are areas that consumers can examine on their own. This will shorten your list of potential homes and reduce the likelihood that a home inspector will reject it as unsafe or unsuitable. Here are some considerations and common problem areas to look for when touring an open house:

General Upkeep

Much can be surmised from the general state of the home. Is the home clean? Are lawns left uncut? Are the walls chipped and in need of paint? If smaller chores have been ignored it may be an indication of a broader disregard for home maintenance.

Water Leaks

Check ceilings and drywall for stains, bulges and other signs of water damage. Water that works its way inside via a leaky roof or a cracked foundation can rot wood, create mildew and mold, destroy possessions and can be expensive to repair.

Does it Work?

Test lights, faucets, the heater, air conditioning, major appliances (that are to be included with the home) – even flush the toilets to ensure everything is working as it should.


As you walk across the floors be aware of spongy (soft or springy) sections. Excessive squeaking and uneven, bumpy floors may also be indicative of expensive forthcoming repairs.

Doors & Windows

Check that doors and windows fit snugly in their jambs and operate smoothly. Look for flaked paint and loose caulking. If the wood around windows and doors is not protected from moisture, it can rot away. Feel for drafts in these areas too.

Poor Drainage

On a wet day walk around the yard and look for areas where water collects. This can be an especially bad sign if there are soggy areas near the home’s foundation.

Grout & Caulking

If the grout and caulking around bathroom and kitchen tiles is loose and crumbly, there is a good chance that water is finding its way into the wall or under the floor.


Although this is definitely an area where you want the services of a qualified home inspector, you can get an idea about possible structural problems if you see deep cracks in the foundations or loose mortar and bricks.

Miscellaneous Concerns

Naturally, one the most important factors will be determining if the house suits your family’s needs. If you do not want to replace all of your furniture, make sure it will fit into the rooms of the new house. This is difficult to do by eye, so be sure to bring a measuring tape. Also, take note of storage space. If you are moving from a home with large closets and a shed, make sure your new house is able to store an equivalent amount of belongings.


Preparing your home for a sale!

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Are you ready?


When you have decided that the time is right to sell, the first step in preparing for the sale of a home is finding out its worth. Contact me for a comparative market analysis, an informal estimate of value based on the recent selling price of similar neighborhood properties.

Working to ensure your home is in the best condition possible for showing to prospective buyers will position you to receive top dollar. This includes repairing or improving any trouble spots that could deter a buyer, such as squeaky doors, a leaky roof, dirty carpet and walls, and broken windows.

The first impression that potential buyers form of your property as they drive or walk up should not be underestimated. The “curb appeal” of your home is extremely important. You can create a positive first impression by making sure the lawn is pristine – the grass cut, debris removed, garden beds free of weeds, and hedges trimmed.

However, the trick is not to overspend on pre-sale repairs and fix-ups. This is especially important if there are few homes on the market but many buyers competing for them. On the other hand, making such repairs may be the key to selling your home in a down market.

Don’t Put it on HOLD…..Call RIZ to get it SOLD!!!

Real Estate Association Cuts Canadian Home Sales Forecast for 2012 and 2013

Monday, December 17th, 2012

The Canadian Real Estate Association is forecasting that house sales will decline two per cent in 2013

The Canadian Press   Mon Dec 17 2012 11:49:00

OTTAWA – The Canadian Real Estate Association cut its sales forecast for this year and next on Monday as it said slower sales in the wake of tighter lending rules this summer have remained.

The industry association said now expects home sales this year to slip 0.5 per cent compared with 2011 to about 456,300.

That compared with a forecast in September that called for sales this year to rise 1.9 per cent to 466,900 units.

The association also said it now expects sales next year to drop two per cent to 447,400 compared with earlier expectations for a drop of 1.9 per cent to 457,800 in 2013.

“Annual sales in 2012 reflect a stronger profile prior to recent mortgage rule changes followed by weaker activity following their implementation,” said Gregory Klump, the association’s chief economist.

“By contrast, forecast sales in 2013 reflect an improvement from levels this summer in the immediate wake of mortgage rule changes. Even so, sales in most provinces next year are expected to remain down from levels posted prior to the most recent changes to mortgage regulations.”

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty moved in July to tighten mortgage rules for the fourth time in as many years in order to discourage those most at risk of becoming over-leveraged. Flaherty made mortgage payments more expensive by dropping the maximum amortization period to 25 years.

The association said the average price for 2012 is expected to be $363,900, up 0.3 per cent compared with a September forecast of $365,000, up 0.6 per cent.

For 2013, the association said it expects prices to gain 0.3 per cent to average $365,100. That compared with earlier expectations of a drop of one tenth of one per cent to $364,500 in 2013.

The downgrade for the outlook for the year came as home sales edged down 1.7 per cent month over month in November and were back where they stood in August.

The decrease followed a drop of about one-tenth of a per cent in September.

Actual, or non-seasonally adjusted sales, were down 11.9 per cent from November 2011 while the national average home price in November was $356,687, off 0.8 per cent from November 2011.

Sales were down on a year-over-year basis in three of every four of all local markets in November, including most large urban centres. Calgary stood out as an exception, with sales up 10.6 per cent from a year ago.

Kitchener and Waterloo also recorded a sales increase in November, with sales rising 7.3 per cent. Sales in Cambridge fell 14 per cent.

Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver contributed most to the small decline at the national level.

A total of 432,861 homes have traded hands over the MLS system so far this year, down 0.2 per cent from levels reported over the first 11 months of 2011 and 0.8 per cent below the 10-year average for the period.

The MLS Home Price Index, which is not affected changes in the mix of sales, showed prices up 3.5 per cent nationally on a year-over-year basis in November.

However, it was the seventh consecutive month in which the year-over-year gain shrank and marked the slowest rate of increase since May 2011.

The MLS HPI rose fastest in Regina, up 11.6 per cent year over year in November, though down from 13 per cent in November.

Among other markets, the HPI was up 4.6 per cent year over year in Toronto, 1.9 per cent in Montreal and 7.1 per cent in Calgary. In Greater Vancouver, the HPI was down 1.7 per cent year over year.


Residential Sales up in November

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

By Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) admin   •December 5th, 2012

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (November 5, 2012) –– Residential real estate sales through the Multiple Listing System (MLS®) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) were up 7.3 percent last month compared to November of last year.

There were 486 residential properties sold in November, bringing the year-to-date total to 5,931, just nine more home sales than during the first 11 months of 2011. The total value of homes sold last month was $151 million, up 11.3 percent over last year.

“In terms of total unit sales, it was a better than average November” says Dietmar Sommerfeld, president of the KWAR. “Our figures show that residential transactions in November were 6.8 percent above the previous 5 year-average.”

November’s residential sales included 318 detached homes (up 8.9 percent), 33 semi-detached (down 17.5 percent), 26 townhouses (up 4 percent), and 103 condominium units (up 14.4 percent).

There was a jump in the number of home selling in the $500,000 to $750,000 price range — 41 homes compared to 23 in November of last year. This put some upward pressure on the average price range.

The average sale price of all homes sold in November was $311,604, compared with $300,447 a year ago, an increase of 3.7 percent. Single detached homes sold for an average price of $359,439, compared with 346,044 last year, up 3.9 percent.

The median price for all homes sold in November was $287,750 compared with $275,000, an increase of 4.6 percent. Single detached homes sold for a median price of $326,500 compared with $315,000 last year, up 3.7 percent.

Sommerfeld says that despite talk of cooling markets in some Canadian cities, continued low borrowing costs, confidence in the local real estate market, and a well-diversified local economy are keeping Kitchener-Waterloo’s housing market steady and stable.


Canada need not fear U.S.-style housing crash: CIBC

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

National Post CIBC says the U.S. market bubble was partially fuelled by speculative buying — something that has been less of an issue in Canada

Canadian Press, National Post Wire Services | Oct 30, 2012 10:16 AM ET | Last Updated: Oct 30, 2012 12:14 PM ET

TORONTO — The news out of Canada’s real estate market isn’t good, but the country will avoid a U.S.-style real estate meltdown, CIBC said Tuesday.

Economist Benjamin Tal said in a report that even recently released data about high levels of Canadian consumer debt aren’t proof that there were be a sudden, big drop in home prices.

“To be sure, house prices in Canada will probably fall in the coming year or two, but any comparison to the American market of 2006 reflects deep misunderstanding of the credit landscapes of the pre-crash environment in the U.S. and today’s Canadian market,” he wrote.

Tal noted that Canada’s debt-to-income ratio has just broken the U.S. record set in 2006, but said other countries have had even higher levels without a crash.’

Statistics Canada, in revising how it estimates household credit market debt, earlier this month reported record household debt of 163% of disposable income in the second quarter.

However, Tal said the U.S. market bubble saw U.S. homeowners with little or no equity value in their homes making them vulnerable when prices fell.

As well, many buyers in the U.S. benefited from low introductory teaser rates on their mortgages only to be caught short when rates increased and they were faced with increased monthly payments.

“The introduction of the teaser rate, a low introductory rate for a period of two or three years that would adjust upward at the end of the initial period, worked to effectively neutralize U.S. monetary policy,” Tal wrote.

“The practical implication of that was that when the teaser period expired, millions of Americans felt the full impact of two years’ worth of monetary tightening virtually overnight.”

Home sales in Canada have been falling amid uncertainty about the economy and Ottawa’s tightened mortgage lending rules.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, September home sales fell 15.1% from a year ago, while the national average price was up 1.1% to $355,777 in September from a year earlier.

The association said excluding Vancouver, the country’s most expensive market, the average price was up 3.4% from a year ago.

Tal said home prices in large cities like Vancouver and Toronto are overshooting their fundamentals and will likely slip as sales fall.

“But the Canada of today is very different than a pre-recession U.S., namely as far as borrower profiles are concerned,” he wrote.

“Therefore, when it comes to jitters regarding a U.S.-type meltdown here at home, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

The Canadian Press


A Good time to Look for Investment Property

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Now is a good time to enter the rental property market for both residential and commercial buildings

 By Mark Weisleder |                 Fri Oct 19 2012

If the real estate market is headed for a correction, then it presents a historic opportunity for buyers of investment properties. The main reason is that interest rates should continue to remain at historic low levels, even as prices fall. The key thing to remember is that the property must have positive cash flow.

What I mean by positive cash flow is that after you make your down payment, the income you receive from tenants is more than what it costs for your mortgage payment, property taxes, maintenance and utilities (if not paid by your tenants). Budget an additional 10 per cent for unanticipated repairs, as these always come up.

If you’re going to take a dip into commercial real estate, make sure, you must have the right team of people working with you. Who do you need? Here are some suggestions:

The right real estate agent: You want to find a real estate agent who specializes in this area and preferably owns investment properties themselves. They can introduce you to their contacts, such as insurance brokers, home inspectors, mortgage brokers and property managers, to protect you when making this investment.

A knowledgeable mortgage broker: You need someone who understands your personal financial situation in advance so that you are aware as to how much you can afford on any mortgage needed to finance any property.

A home inspector: You want a firm that specializes in the type of property that you are interested in. Ask for references and check them out. You need to have an unbiased opinion as to how much you may have to invest in the property itself after taking ownership.

An experienced lawyer: Depending on the type of property, you may need special clauses to protect you regarding verification of income, tenants or even the condition of the property. You will also need advice as to whether to hold title to the property in your own personal name, a partnership or a limited company.

An accountant: Besides tax advice, if there are commercial tenants involved, then you will need to be registered for HST purposes.

Private planner: If you are considering any changes to the property, whether it is an addition, basement apartment, to bring in more income, you need to know before you buy as to whether this is permitted under the local zoning by-laws and what applications may be necessary to get this done.

A building contractor: Renovations to improve your cash flow require someone experienced who can bring any project in on budget. Make sure that you check references and that a proper building permit is applied for in advance on any job. Put everything in writing so that there are no arguments later.

An arborist: Sometimes there are trees on the property that will have to be removed in order to do the renovations that are needed. There are many restrictive tree by-laws out there that may prevent taking down a tree. A lot depends on the diameter of the trunk of the tree. You need an experienced arborist who can advise you in advance how difficult it may be to remove any tree from the property.

A local property manager: You do not want phone calls in the middle of the night to fix something on the property. You need to hire an experienced manager with local ties to where the property is to make sure that your investment is well cared for and that all tenants are properly qualified in advance. Again, ask for references and check them out. Budget approximately an additional 10 per cent of your total expenses to pay for the manager.

By having the right team assembled, you can do the homework you need to do in advance of making such an important investment decision.

Mark Weisleder is a Toronto real estate lawyer. Contact him at



Canadian housing sales revive somewhat; up from August, down from September 2011

Monday, October 15th, 2012

THE CANADIAN PRESS   Monday October 15, 2012

OTTAWA – The Canadian Real Estate Association says there was a slight improvement in the resale housing market last month, although it’s still slower than a year ago — mainly due to a slowdown in Vancouver.

The association said Monday sales in September were up 2.5 per cent from August — the first month-to-month gain since March.

Compared with September 2011, however, the number of deals across the country last month was down 15.1 per cent.

The association said there was still a balance between the number of homes for sale and the number of buyers in September but conditions have eased.

CREA attributed the slowdown to new rules brought in by Ottawa that make it harder for first-time buyers to qualify for mortgages.

However, other observers have noted that reduced affordability after years of rapid price increases — particularly in some markets such as Vancouver and Toronto — and an uncertain world economy have also dissuaded buyers.

“National activity is likely to remain down from year-ago levels over the fourth quarter of 2012,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.

“While some first time home buyers may no longer qualify for mortgage financing under the new rules, it is likely that many others are stepping back and reassessing how much house they can realistically afford, which is one of the things new mortgage rules were designed to do.”

The national average home price was up 1.1 per cent in September from a year earlier.

But the MLS HPI home price index, which also takes into account other factors, showed its smallest gain since May 2011, rising by 3.9 per cent in September.

The association said Vancouver, the country’s most expensive residential real-estate market, skewed the national results.

Excluding that city, the national average price was up 3.4 per cent from a year ago.

The MLS HPI in Vancouver posted a 0.8 per cent decline year-over-year in September. In contrast, Calgary had a 6.5 per cent increase in the index, the Toronto area was up 5.7 per cent, the Montreal area was up 2.2 per cent and the Fraser Valley in southern British Columbia was up 2.1 per cent.

Regina had the biggest increase among markets measured by the HPI, with a gain of 14.2 per cent from September 2011.

The national sales-to-new listings ratio, a measure of market balance, stood at 49 per cent in September 2012, remaining near the midpoint of a balanced market.

Based on a sales-to-new listings ratio of between 40 to 60 per cent, a little less than two thirds of all local markets were in balanced market territory in September


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