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.

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.

What’s going on in the world

….of Real Estate in Guelph?

I’m sure you’ve been inundated with the news of what to do during Covid-19.  It’s really the only topic on any of my news feeds.

So, if you are wondering how all of this is going to affect the world of real estate, I can assure you that right now, things are still trucking along.  Clients are still asking to see homes, and deals are still getting done.  There were several instances of multiple offers this past weekend.  I do say that with caution because I expect that if everyone does as we are being asked, we’ll see a couple of weeks where that will slow down. Above you can see how February looked, but for the good of all of us, I hope it does pause so we as a community can “flatten the curve”.

Today we had an office conference call (the new normal) about the hourly changes to our processes, policies, and procedures to protect our clients, staff and the community at large. After all, the community is our clients, staff, friends, and family. It’s “Business NOT as usual,” says Des Von Teichman, our Broker/Owner. Royal LePage Royal City Realty is continuing to support us as Realtors and you as home buyers and sellers 100%, we just have to do it differently.

Here are some of our current adjustments. There are many more and the change daily/hourly at times.

  • Offices closed to the public, but still serving the public.
  • Electronic Communications/procedures to be used wherever possible.
  • Social distancing in the office includes a request to work from home if at all possible.
  • Most support staff working from home, but still providing our clients with the same great service.
  • Private Showings are preferred to Open Houses as this possibly reduces exposure.
  • All showings to include sanitization kits/wipes for any contact with doorknobs etc.
  • All showing instructions to cooperating Realtors to include reminders of sanitization practices.
  • Deposits and other transfers to be done electronically whenever possible.

So, yes, I expect that a superheated market that has defined January and February will change. But, after a very calm next few weeks, what will that market look like? I don’t know, but I think the 1% reduction in prime lending rates announced last week will certainly help many remain in the market and find a home in the months following this dramatic change to our lives.

Go Train Service in Guelph

With my current listing only an 18-minute walk from Guelph Central Go Station it has caused me to ponder all of the benefits of this service. By my count, we now have 8 Go Trains into Union Station every day. This is up from an original 2 or 3 trains each way.

Back when there were only 2, I was still able to get to New York City without the stress of driving a car. It was as easy as, walk to the train station, Go Train to Union, shuttle to Billy Bishop, ferry of course, and a Porter flight to Newark followed by a train into Penn Station. It was easy, relatively inexpensive, and I arrived more relaxed than if I had driven through morning traffic to YYZ.

Now with more trains, it’s convenient to grab a train in for a matinee at any of the theatres, or even the Blue Jay’s opening day, and still take a train home. You just might have to stop for dinner or lunch too. You can even grab the 3:15 pm train, watch a game or concert and get a 10:53 pm train home.

So, while all of this will make our lives more convenient, it will also increase the desire for downtown homes and condos. Which is why you see RiverHouse, RiverMill and Metalworks doing so well. It also means that the downtown Guelph businesses like Tomme Cheese (pronounced like home) that embrace this increased traffic will prosper, and we’ll see some more great restaurants and cafe’s looking to feed and quench the thirst of commuters and tourists getting off the train.

Now if only we could get some weekend service and a connection between Go and the UP Train at Brampton Station. Then, I could just take the train to YYZ and never have to try to remember which level and letter I parked on after a week in the sun. Yes, I’ve walked around Viscount Parking Garage pushing the alarm to find my vehicle!

94-240 London Road West, Guelph

First Time home buyer, downsizing to a townhouse or looking for an investment, you need to read below.

London Lane is a community located near the intersection of London Road West and Edinburgh Road in Guelph. According to Google Maps it’s only a 4-minute car ride or a leisurely 18 minute walk to the Go Train for commuters or a similar walk to the beautiful cafes and restaurants of Carden Street and Downtown Guelph.

If you have little ones, it’s not far to either St. Joseph’s Catholic School or Central Public School, and both the catholic and public high schools are right around the corner.

This particular Unit is one of the two-bedroom options with a bedroom in the basement and features a bright sunlit kitchen and dining nook, and spectacular main bathroom upstairs that you will definitely want to check out for yourself. A fully finished basement presently serves as an extra bedroom but could easily be used as a media room, lounge, or games room.

Call Michael Bennett today to learn more about this townhouse listed for only $425,000. It’s clean, updated and a pleasure to show, so just ask, I’ll arrange a tour for you. Click here to see the Realtor.ca Listing

Starbucks on Edinburgh Road now open

Life as a Realtor often leads to meeting clients in various public spaces to discuss business, or just to catch up on life. While Tim Hortons are plentiful in Guelph, they are often loud, busy and not as well equipped with outlets to allow MLS searches and document preparation. So, when a new place to meet opens, a morning coffee to see if it fits my needs is in order.

Unlike the other Starbucks locations in Guelph, the Edinburgh location is spacious with 4 high tops down the middle and other tables on one side. There are even 8 comfy chairs for gathering with friends tucked into the corner.

Overall, i’m impressed and happy that this location is open, with easy parking, space for clients and outlets for laptops. I’ll be back. Even if it is to just soak in the atmosphere while writing a blog post.

Speaking of Coffee, if you would like to have coffee with me, Michael Bennett, just send me a note at michaelbennett@royallepage.ca. I’m trying out a new application called Calendarly. So, I’ll just send you a link and you pick the time and place. I would love to connect and discuss your real estate needs.

101 Wyndham St. Guelph, ON

Michael Bennett talks about 101 Wyndham Street N. Guelph, Ontario as well as some of the exciting changes affecting downtown Guelph.

Do you have an entrepreneurial side? This downtown Guelph retail space is highlighted by the iconic front awning sheltering passersby and others from the rain, snow, and sleet. While those elements are part of the downtown shopping or dining experience, this location can allow your client’s dry passage to waiting cars and taxis just like some high-end restaurants in Manhattan.

2550 sq. ft. available for lease, this space located on upper Wyndham St. is arguably the best location currently available downtown. It is near the future library, and a rumoured new restaurant up the street as well as only a short walk to the Sleeman Centre, River Run Centre, and Farmers Market. Call Michael Bennett at 519-820-6979 for more details.

Click here for details on Realtor.ca

Cheesy Downtown Guelph Gem!

Every once in a while, a store opens that makes the city, and in this case a neighbourhood so much better and more cultured. Tomme Cheese Shop in Downtown Guelph does just that. A cheese shop, after all, has to provide some culture, right?

Yesterday I picked up my first of 3 Cheese of the Month boxes from Tomme and enjoyed it along with some other appetizers with friends. A quick stop was made easy by parking in the new Wilson Street parking garage and walking across the street. My mystery package was in a nice box secured with a piece of stylish string, presentation reminiscent of traditional retailing.

Those who know me, know that I love cheese, even a simple grilled cheese sandwich. So, as I opened the box of cheese, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning opening the big gift. This was a Christmas Gift after all. Inside, individually wrapped was 3 kinds of cheese, a Chutney, and cue cards describing each cheese along with pairing notes.

Without ruining the surprise for others, all 3 of the cheeses were delicious along with the Chutney and I recommend you check out Tomme Cheese Shop soon. After all, everything tastes better with cheese, and downtown Guelph is better with Tomme Cheese Shop. Thank you Beverly-Ann, it was an awesome Christmas Present. I can’t wait until next month.

Guelph Mercury – My Thoughts 4 Years Later.

Marking the end of an era, the Guelph Mercury’s last edition rolled off the presses 4 years ago today. As someone who identified himself as a “Newspaperman” and advertising Sales Representative for nearly 27 years of it’s existence, it was a very memorable day.

Michael Bennett Photograph The last locally printed edition of the Guelph Mercury rolls off the Guelph press on February 7, 2014. The Mercury would go on to be printed at the Hamilton Spectator until it’s final edition on January 29, 2016

From inside its walls, The Guelph Mercury represented a tight-knit family of employees who continually achieved more. Our journalists often won big awards at the Ontario Newspaper Awards and our local advertising reps worked hard to maintain strong local ad revenues despite a national downward trend. On January 24th, 2016 we found out it wasn’t enough. It was announced that Metroland Media Group would be shuttering the Guelph Mercury on Friday, the 29th, 4 years ago today.

From this writer’s perspective, it was the people who made it last that long. The Guelph Mercury was the underdog. It was the small daily paper in a medium-sized market that continually saw it’s national advertising revenue decline, and yet the local revenues were stable amongst a small group of dedicated sales representatives. The people, sales reps, journalists, circulation, production and support staff together were the heart of the Guelph Mercury.

Some of those same people who made the Guelph Mercury overachieve have gone on to be integral in our community through new jobs at CJOY/Magic106.1, Defined Space, Guelph Sports Journal. the Guelph Tribune, OMAFRA, Guelph Today and more.

In January the following year, I started a career as a Real Estate Sales Representative with Royal Lepage Royal City Realty in Guelph and as much as I enjoy my new colleagues, they will never replace the group that worked late, met deadlines, won awards that the big dogs wanted, and occasionally threw nerf footballs around the office.

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