By the numbers

April 2020 Real Estate statistics

A recent news article in Guelphtoday.com speaks of the furious pace of Guelph Real Estate sales in March 2020. I can assure you that due to the worldwide pandemic, April turned out quite a bit different. There is some good news in the end, as home values have either stayed the same, or increased slightly. In fact, if our economy is up and running by the beginning of summer. Royal Lepage Corporate house price forecast is predicting an increase in house prices at the end of 2020.

Local Sales Volume

Sales volume in April 2020 saw a total of just over $41 million of real estate transactions in the City of Guelph. Broken down, we saw 75 sales, which is a 68% drop from the number of sales 1 year ago in April 2019. We also saw a 57% drop in new listings compared to a year ago.

Some might say this is a crappy market, but other numbers show us it isn’t. It’s just not what we are used to. Then again, nothing is what we are used to right now.

Days on the Market

It took an average of 17 days on the market (DOM) for a home to be sold firm in April 2020. This is down from 21 days in April 2019 and up slightly from March 2020’s 15 days. To put this in perspective, the only time in the last 12 years that houses have sold faster than 15 days on the market, was the spring 2017 frenzy.

Housing Price Index

The Housing Price Index (HPI) is a tool I use quite a bit to understand what is happening to the value of the average home in various categories, neighbourhoods, and communities we serve. For Guelph in April 2020, the HPI for the composite category rose 0.9% over March 2020. So, this is the good news, despite a global pandemic that has caused the brakes to be applied to markets around the world, your real estate investment has likely maintained it’s value. The category that continues to shine is the average apartment condo which rose just over 3%.

I expect continued demand on reduced listings through May and a busier summer than we would normally experience. Demand for homes remains strong and pent up demand coming out of this pandemic should continue to to push the local market forward.

April 20, 2020 Update

Another regular update on changes in local market due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As I talked about last week, sales volume continues to decline as expected and shows the local Real Estate industry and market is doing what it can to flatten the curve.

Guelph Real Estate Sales Representative, Michael Bennett, talks about the impacts of Covid-19 as reflected in local statistics and sales information.

March 2020 shows an increase in Guelph home values.

Many Realtors like myself look at statistics to help us value and market properties. These stats are the same ones we look at to gauge the individual markets we represent. A community like Guelph can often show different trends from those in Toronto or even Waterloo Region. So, to provide a more intensely local look at Guelph real estate, the information below focuses on Guelph.

At the beginning of each month, the Home Price Index gets updated to reflect sales written in the months previous. This along with some other stats that we have access to gives us an indication of how to price a property relative to what the market is doing. It also allows us to understand where the market might be going in the future.

So, here are the facts as I see them, from data made available to me as a member of the Canadian and Ontario Real Estate Associations.

As I’ve mentioned previously, we came into this with very strong demand and a continuation of low inventory numbers. This trend continued early in March and has helped the average single-family home in Guelph rise by about 1.8%. Apartments, townhouses and single-family homes all saw increases in value in March. April is going to be hard to predict, but I suspect we’ll see modest changes if any in Value.

The statistic that should show the most variance from normal activity throughout this global pandemic is Sales Volume. March 2020 showed a very modest increase in sales activity with only 9 more transactions than February. Comparatively, March 2019 had 55 more transactions than the month prior. I expect April 2020 will show a decline in the number of monthly transactions compared to normal years. This isn’t a bad thing, this means that my colleagues and consumers are doing what we are being asked to do, STAY HOME.

There are many more statistics that I have access to, however, these are the two that I felt would most indicate what is happening right now, and what to expect moving into April. As always, I can be reached at 519-820-6979 or michaelbennett@royallepage.ca. If you would like to chat real estate, statistics or otherwise, please just reach out.

OMG, What a Community!

Guelph is a community that demonstrates tremendous kindness at the best of times, and last night a group of people showed that it can be incredibly kind in the most difficult of times. Over Zoom a group of like-minded and philanthropic people together raised over $8,000 for the Guelph General Hospital Foundation.

Here’s how it happened. Less than a week ago, Beverly-Ann Woods and Michael Bennett were discussing that one of the things they miss about this time of year, is getting dressed up, and gathering with friends to support the community. Then the lightbulb went off. A discussion ensued regarding whether or not they could pull off a Virtual Fundraiser in a week to support the Guelph General Hospital Foundation.

Now, the idea of a Gala/Non-Gala originated with David Halls and his wife Robin-Lee Norris, but the concept of using technology to virtually connect in our finest evening wear was untested. Untested at least by anyone they knew. With David and Robin-Lee on-board, plans were quickly set in motion.

Auctioneer, Dan Stenning

To add a real Gala feel, a friend of Beverly-Ann’s and Professional Auctioneer Dan Stenning jumped at the opportunity to put his skills to work and help us from the comfort of his home in Downtown Toronto. This element alone upped the stakes and saw several items go for well over their posted value.

As people parted and said goodbyes, the Zoom Room left many with the warm comforting feeling that we can all use at this time.

Please, use this time as an opportunity to find new ways to connect with your community. Kindness is is, after all, one of the ingredients that make our community #GuelphProud.

There is still an opportunity to donate at www.galanongala.com.

Changing Role of a Realtor

How my job went from being in front of people to avoiding people.

Like everyone, the Job of being a Realtor has changed dramatically and almost hourly over the last month. From focusing on coffee’s, lunches, showing homes and talking Real Estate with people, I’m now doing what I can to avoid face to face contact with anyone. This change happened so gradually, yet so quickly, many of us are trying to figure out how to fill a calendar that used to be booked weeks in advance.

I’m a firm believer that these immediate turns in our lives are actually opportunities. Whether it was when my career with the Guelph Mercury came to a much-publicised end, or now, the opportunities for positive change will exist. We just need to keep an open mind and embrace the ones that make us a better member of our community.

Speaking of opportunity, have you ever said, “If I had more time, I would…..”? I think we all have and I hope you are making the most of this time. One of my goals for 2020 was to communicate more to my clients and friends about the Real Estate world in Guelph. I am trying to do that with even more purpose through my weekly update. These will move to monthly once the Pandemic subsides, but for now, I believe communicating and providing good information is key to everyone feeling less anxious. Not on the list… sign up here

You may have noticed that I have embraced a technology called Zoom. This video conferencing tool allows me to hold coffee meetings, cocktail dates with friends, and hopefully a weekly coffee/round table to answer questions about Real Estate. Please feel free to join me, or even ask for a one on one coffee.

Real Estate Services as an Essential Service

While the Covid-19 Pandemic has most businesses closed and services in Ontario grinding to a halt, why is a Realtor Considered an Essential Service?

Now that’s a question I’ve seen asked on Social Media, and in fact, it is a decision that many in our industry were surprised but thankful for. It’s also a decision that my colleagues and I need to take seriously and not abuse.

Real Estate Services for those who have already purchased a home, and given notice to their landlord, or sold their current home must close on time to allow the chain of moving from one home to the next to continue. As professionals, the last thing we want to see happen is for someone to find themselves the odd domino out of a chain of closings and not have our support to sort things out with them to get into their new home.

In fact, I have spent most of a day this week helping a client sort through an unfortunate hiccup just before closing. Their diligence and a little guidance from me will hopefully allow their house to close next week.

So, with that in mind, we are essential to support our clients through closing their deal and to continue to assist clients that have an urgent need for a home.

The Ontario Real Estate Association takes this perspective seriously and issued a statement to all registered Realtors in Ontario that we were to NOT conduct public open houses until further notice. We are to avoid face to face meetings, and if possible show homes virtually when no one else is in the residence. As an association and an industry, we are taking Social-Distance seriously.

Personally, I stopped showing homes over a week ago, and have maintained a fairly strict self-isolation regime since then. I’ve only ventured near people to pick up groceries at the curbside and fuel my vehicle. But, even though I’ve haven’t been physically in the presence of anyone other than my partner, I have still been engaging clients virtually, even hosting a market update through Zoom.

Self-Isolation Story II

Beverly-Ann Woods and Michael Bennett, stop while out for a drive during the initial self-isolation period of Covid-19

Michael Bennett and his partner Beverly-Ann Woods started recording their thoughts, and adventures during the self-isolation period of Covid-19. What started as a way to stay connected, yet physically distant with friends turned into a regular fun and upbeat video series.

March 23 – Update

Guelph Real Estate Results amidst Covid-19

Well, the world has changed in a week! Many people are returning home from March Break vacations, some of which were cut short. Snowbirds have returned home earlier than normal and Ontario has just announced the closure of all non-essential businesses for the next 2 weeks to further the message of social distancing and self-isolation.

I don’t know how that will impact the Guelph Real Estate Market long term. The market was VERY Hot entering March break with a low inventory of homes for sale and what seemed to be a growing number of buyers. Between March 16 and March 23, 2020 (the last 7 days) we saw a net gain of just 4 homes for sale. In that time period, Guelph itself saw 82 new listings, 19 conditional sales, 31 firm sales along with an additional 28 sales firm up from conditionally sold to sold.

Now, with all of the scrutiny on many businesses to help “flatten the curve” Real Estate is no different. We must as an industry continue to service and do a good job for our clients, whether they are a buyer or a seller. However, we also have an obligation to our communities to take every precaution reasonable to ensure our, our clients and public safety in these unprecedented times.

Royal Lepage Royal City Realty announced several changes early last week. These changes are to allow us to still service existing and new clients while maintaining the utmost sensitivity to the current situation.

  • Not hosting public or agent open houses.
  • Not allowing “shared” showings with multiple Realtors and clients of currently listed properties at the same time.
  • Closing our offices to the public.
  • Requesting that all showings include sanitization procedures, before, during and after.
  • Using electronic signatures whenever possible.
  • Encouraging virtual tours, virtual open houses, and virtual showings when possible.

While this list isn’t complete, and it changes daily if not hourly at times, working for a Real Estate Brokerage that puts our clients, staff and public safety at the forefront is something that makes me proud.

If you would like to discuss how the current situation affects your home value, or how it affects the buying process, I would be happy to set up a phone call, coffee or home evaluation. If you just wanna chat real estate over a virtual coffee… I can arrange that as well. E-mail Me Here

Self-Isolation Story I

Beverly-Ann Woods, and I, started videotaping our thoughts during the initial self-isolation period. Gathering lots of feedback and encouragement from friends on facebook for their upbeat, and positive outlook, we kept it up. This is edition I, which lead to many more.

Michael and Beverly-Ann out for a hike and talk about staying social, while staying physically distant.