Ottawa Market Update for March 2014

Posted on: April 5th, 2014 by Chris Scott
The spring home buying and selling season is coming into bloom.

Members of the Board sold 1,189 residential properties in March through the MLS® System, an increase of 2.5% over March of 2013. Things are heating up.

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in March in the Ottawa area was $358,741, an increase of 0.3 per cent over March 2013. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $251,580, a decrease of 2 per cent over March 2013. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $386,553, an increase of 0.2 per cent over March 2013.

Every area is, however, slightly different so please give me a call if you are interested in knowing the value of your property.
 
I hope you will call me if you are thinking of buying or selling.  By the way, referrals play a huge role in the success of my business so please think of me and do mention my name if you hear of any family, friends, neighbours or colleagues who are considering a move. I’d be delighted to have the opportunity to provide them with my real estate services.
Chris

A Bank Robbery & A Showing

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by Chris Scott

It was a beautiful sunny morning in the capital. I was driving on a quiet Centertown street with a speed limit of 40km/hr. heading to show a house to a great client.

As I approached the house I saw my client and waved. I checked the mirrors and went to make a three point turn.   Out of nowhere, a car smashed into the side of my SUV.  It was travelling at over 130 km/hr. The only reason I survived was because their back end smashed my front end as they were swerving out of control.

What happens next is shocking.  The car that hit me crashed into other parked cars. I expect them to finally stop but no, they start speeding away! That is when the police cars fly by. About 8 in total. Guy had just robbed a bank and was in a police pursuit. One cop stopped to make sure I was ok then went off in the chase.

Felt like I was on a movie set. Except I had a job to do! Takes more than a high speed police chase and accident to stop me from doing what I do. I showed my buyer the house as we waited for the police to come back.  Clients come first!

FYI-cops got their man a few blocks away in a foot pursuit.

Bank Robbery Picture - CS Blog

The Move Will Happen!

Posted on: April 1st, 2014 by Chris Scott

The move of DND to the Nortel campus has a green light.

The review is over and it has been formally announced that upwards of 9,000 Ottawa Military members will be moving their place of employment to the old Nortel Campus in Bells Corners.  The campus will, eventually, be renamed.

The first wave (approx. 3,300 people) will move in late 2015.  The entire move will take about 6 years.

For Bells Corners and west Ottawa – this is HUGE – the incoming numbers are more than were lost with the collapse of Nortel.

This consolidation will reduce DND’s current footprint from 40+ offices to 7 major locations in the National Capital Region – 3 in Ottawa (one west, one downtown and one east), and 4 in Gatineau.

Many military members will consider moving west from their current place of residence.  For those who don’t want to move, there will be a shuttle bus service between the 7 locations.

There are rarely a lot of homes for sale in Bells Corners so there will likely be a spike in home values – and perhaps the development of at least one condo tower, apartments or row homes.

Ottawa house hunting trips for military personal posted to Ottawa will now be potentially west-end focused. Areas like Kanata, Stittsville, and Bells Corners will see an uptick in activity for sure.

If you know your job will be one of those moving – and you want to consider moving to be closer to your place of work, now is the time to take action!  Give me a call if you’d like to chat about this.

Chris

Should I Buy First or Sell First?

Posted on: March 9th, 2014 by Chris Scott

Strong Network of IRP Approved Services

Posted on: March 5th, 2014 by Chris Scott

It has been a pleasure helping so many military families transition into and out of Ottawa. Being the Nations capital we are a very popular destination for service members during posting season.  

Having the right service providers is an integral part of the house hunting process. I have been fortunate over the years to align myself with like-minded individuals who are at the top of their respective fields. I have partnered with the best home inspectors, water specialists, septic inspectors, lawyers, mortgage brokers, and anyone else who might be required during the HHT. They are all a part of the program and bill Brookfield directly. Ensuring success on the HHT requires having these type of professionals on call and in many cases pre-booked.

If you have any questions on the professional network we use or would like to learn more about our services, please feel free to email me at cscott@kwvip.ca or call me at 613-863-6999.

Cheers,

Chris

Condominium vs Co-operative

Posted on: March 5th, 2014 by Chris Scott

Condominium vs Co-operative

In the Ottawa housing market, it is more likely to find condominiums than it is to find co-operatives – but you should know the differences between them before you start to look.

Condominium ownership

  • The homeowner owns the unit and shares ownership of common elements. Condos are usually apartment buildings, but also include townhouse developments and developments of detached buildings on private roads.
  • The homeowner is responsible for the interior area of the unit (everything from the plaster in). The condo association is responsible for the up-keep of the exterior of the building, common interior elements (halls, elevators and parking garages, for example) and the grounds.
  • All condo owners pay a monthly fee to the condominium association to cover maintenance costs and common utility fees and taxes.
  • Condos often have strict rules regarding noise, use of common areas and renovations to units. Condominium residents often enjoy less privacy than residents of detached homes.
  • Condos are usually less expensive than freehold houses.

Co-operative ownership

  • Co-operatives (or co-ops) are similar to condos but instead of owning your unit, you own a share in the entire building or complex.
  • Co-op residents pay for maintenance and repairs through monthly fees and are subject to the rules and regulations of the co-op board.
  • If you decide to sell your shares and move out, the co-op board has the right to reject your prospective buyer.

When you have decided to purchase an Ottawa Condo – or a co-operative, it costs you absolutely nothing to engage the services of a knowledgeable Realtor®.  The seller (whether new or resale) covers the brokerage fees.

Chris

Ottawa Market Update for February 2014

Posted on: March 5th, 2014 by Chris Scott

I think we are all wondering if Spring will ever come or even more– if Winter will ever end!

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 870 residential properties in February through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 903 in February 2013, a decrease of 3.7 per cent.

This year over year decrease in sales is perhaps due to the unusually cold weather or the distraction of the Olympics, but sales ARE up on a month-to-month basis. The market has picked up as we approach the busiest time of the year – 282 more homes were sold in February, over January.”  February’s sales included 197 in the condominium property class, and 673 in the residential property class.

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in February in the Ottawa area was $353,407, an increase of two per cent over February 2013. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $257,752, a decrease of 2.3 per cent over February 2013. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $381,407, an increase of 2.1 per cent over February 2013.   Each area, however, has differences so if you are interested in what your property might be worth on today’s market, give me a call.

Chris

RESP, TFSA, RRSP Advice

Posted on: February 22nd, 2014 by Chris Scott

Controversial Final-Move Policy Up for Review

Posted on: February 22nd, 2014 by Chris Scott

BY KATHRYN MAY, OTTAWA CITIZEN FEBRUARY 21, 2014
OTTAWA — The final-move policy that caught Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie in a political snare will be scrutinized as part of a review of the federal relocation program as the Conservatives prepare to seek bids for a contractor to manage the moves of 20,000 public servants, military and RCMP sent to new postings every year.

Treasury Board officials say the review of the Integrated Relocation Program (IRP) was scheduled anyway when Leslie landed in hot water for claiming $72,000 in expenses by using a benefit that allows all long-serving Canadian Forces members one final paid move when they retire.

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson was quick to jump on Leslie, who is a now an adviser to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, and ordered an immediate review into the military’s relocation program, including its final-move policy.

The review, however, comes as the government prepares a new request for proposal for the IRP contract. The RFP is already late and it’s unclear whether the overall program review will further delay the contracting process.

The existing contract expires this year and the government wanted a new contractor in place by December.

Public Works and Government Services Canada, which is handling the procurement, was unable to explain the delay but said that “the government continues to consider its business requirements and options, as a result of a number of consultations with industry.”

Relocating federal employees costs the government an estimated $500 million a year — on top of what it pays moving companies to move furniture and household possessions. The government relocates between 15,000 and 20,000 federal employees a year, with military moves accounting for about 85 per cent of those moves. The cost of the average move ranges between $20,000 for a tenant and $35,000 for a homeowner.

The Integrated Relocation Program contract has been a thorn in the government’s side since it came to power in 2006.

A bombshell auditor general report in 2006 sparked a long court battle that culminated last year when an Ontario Superior Court judge found that bureaucrats rigged two of the contracts to favour Royal LePage Relocation Services — now Brookfield Global Relocation Services — and ordered the government pay an unprecedented award of $40 million in damages to the losing bidder Envoy Relocation Services.

The Conservatives let Brookfield manage the contract despite the report and called new tenders in 2009 that were also dogged by controversy. Auditor General Michael Ferguson is now investigating awarding and management of that contract.

The government manages the relocations of employees under the umbrella of the Integrated Relocation Program but the specific benefits, services and assistance differ between public servants, RCMP and the military. The responsibility for the overall program rests with Treasury Board.

Stephanie Rea, a spokesperson for Treasury Board President Tony Clement, said the relocation directive governing the moves of public servants is reviewed every three years and is currently scheduled for negotiations at the joint union-management National Joint Council.

“The Integrated Policy Program for the public service is part of the ongoing NJC review and traditionally the RCMP and the Canadian Forces mirror the policies we negotiate and approve,” she said.

The IRP program was created in 1999 to ensure military and other public servants are moved with minimal disruption to their lives. The program has been tweaked over the years but the overall approach has remained unchanged.

Outgoing military ombudsman Pierre Daigle, who had long pressed for significant changes to the military’s relocation program, said he would be disappointed if the review failed to address his priorities for change.

Transfers are the biggest stresses on military families who can face half a dozen moves or more over the course of a career. A major study conducted into the well-being of Canada’s military families found the relocation program is “a source of vigorous dissatisfaction among CF members and their families.”

Daigle said the biggest complaints are over the IRP’s Home Equity Assistance policies, which some members blame for huge losses they face on home sales when forced to move to a new posting. He said the directives are highly complex, dense and are written in bureaucratic language that members don’t understand.

He said the DND promised to rewrite and simplify the relocation directives for the military for the 2013 posting season, but he has now been assured it will be ready for the 2015 posting season.

Bruce Atyeo, whose company Envoy Relocation won a lawsuit against the government’s handling of the 2002 and 2004 relocation contracts, said the IRP is a fair and “forward-thinking policy” but is so badly written that it is open to loopholes and abuses.

“Policies have to be reviewed. Times change and influence them,” he said. “This is good policy but badly written, and the problem is that it is easier for people to come up with schemes to beat the system. The policies have to be clear and focused on transferring employees.”

Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson defended the principle of the final-move policy but acknowledged a policy “acceptable in one era may have to be tightened down in others.”

“There are benefits that a nation decides to afford their men and women in uniform, their men and women in the public service, the men and women in the RCMP, and they will swing one way or the other. In times they can be very generous, in other times they need to tighten up,” he told reporters.

Ottawa Market Update, January 2014

Posted on: February 6th, 2014 by Chris Scott

In spite of the very cold weather, residential sales in January were virtually identical to last year. This is good news. One would have thought the bitter cold would keep folks snug in their homes.
Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 589 residential properties in January through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 594 in January 2013. The number of properties listed in January more than doubled the amount in December – a normal occurance after the holiday season.
The Ottawa resale market has remained steady. There have been no major increases or decreases in sales or prices notwithstanding the government’s intervention in mortgage rules over a year ago.
The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in January in the Ottawa area was $346,744, an increase of one per cent over January 2013. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $265,775, a decrease of 1.1 per cent over January 2013. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $368,779, an increase of 0.9 per cent over January 2013.

Every area is slightly different so please give me a call if you are interested to know the value of your property.  I’m happy to help.

Chris