News Articles & Blog

Mortgage Stress Test Thoughts 

 Thursday, August 16, 2018     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     General Real Estate Advice

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We have seen a lot of articles recently talking about the financial Stress Test imposed when one applies for a mortgage. The words alone make Buyers worry about the implications of affordability. After all, who needs more stress? Let me help reduce the worry and shed some positive thoughts about these new criteria in applying for a mortgage.

For a better understanding, let’s add a little perspective. Think about mortgage markets in previous years, some of us may recall when the interest rate was 22%. The good news is that interest rate did not last too long and we then moved forward to this past year when interest rates were 2%, much better right? Fortunately, or unfortunately, neither of those extreme rates stayed with us. So it is important for the stability of our purchase, our budgeting and our investments that we take a more balanced approach to the possible costs of borrowing. 

From that perspective the Stress Test is helping all of us to be more prudent in our purchases and the long-term costs. By extension the more stability that each of us have in our personal financial commitments, the more stability we will all enjoy in the housing values. Which in many cases form the very foundation of our investment future. Don't be stressed by the Stress Test. 

The information from the Stress Test will help guide your financial decisions for future comfortable living. The house you purchase is your new home and should be your comfort space. The less worry you have with every new interest rate increase announcement the more pleasant your enjoyment of your new home and yes, less stress.

STATS for July 2018

 Tuesday, August 14, 2018     Kirsten McNamee     Local Hamilton Market Conditions Real Estate Trends

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Hamilton Centre continues to be a hot area, it's especially evident when we look at the charts and graphs provided by The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB). Overall we can see how much has changed since 2017 and that the average price of homes in Hamilton have gone up by $35,955, that's 7.6%. 


You can see in the STATS Map shows us where Hamilton centre is. The area is defined by James St all the way to Kenilworth Ave. This image also shows each area in Hamilton and what the average cost of a home that was on the market in July 2018. 


The STATS Chart again is making it clear that Hamilton's market is a hot one. We can see here that the highest percentage of homes sold were $600,000 or more. 

Marketing Activity Chart

By taking a look at the Marketing Activity Chart, you can see the difference between 2017 and 2018. We can again see how much the average price of a home in Hamilton has changed. This is a very important graphic, since it shows us how much the entire The Greater Hamilton Area is doing.

If you're thinking of selling your home and want to get a better idea of what it will cost, you can use our "What's My Home Worth" calculator. Then get in contact with one of our agents and they will be happy to go over what the results with you and what the next steps are. 

Understanding Current Real Estate Market Trends

 Friday, July 6, 2018     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     General Real Estate Advice Real Estate Trends

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There was an interesting article written recently that suggested despite one of the strongest economic business climates, people are uneasy. Our real estate market is reflecting some of this nervous energy.

We have more available properties on the market then we have seen for a while and the demand has also tapered off slightly. These two indicators generally confirm that the market has moved from one of the strongest “Sellers Markets” to a renewed “Buyers Market.” If you are contemplating a move soon, how do these changes impact your decision and your strategies going forward. Let’s break this down in two segments:

  1. Selling your home – make sure you have a well documented evaluation of your home including up to date information. Is your range of value competitive in the current market place and not relying on prices attained last year? Can you identify unique features of your home and property which would attract today’s buyers? Is your home clean and decluttered? Discuss a sound marketing plan, forget all the hype and concentrate on the practical. Understand the various conditions which may be in an offer. Are you purchasing another property? What are the financial considerations in a more volatile market? You want to adjust your timelines in a Buyers market. Homes will be on the market for a longer time period and there are rarely competitive offers or bidding wars. 
  2. Buying a home – decide on an area of the city which you would enjoy living in and is practical for your needs. Do you have children who will be going to school, parks and recreation activities? Do you commute? Where is the GO station or highway access? If you cycle, where are the safe bicycle opportunities? Have you spoken to a variety of financial institutions to have an up to date budget parameter? Have you spoken to a lawyer to establish a readily accessible support system? Have you reviewed all the statistical data to establish your evaluation of a home before you make an offer? Are you knowledgeable about negotiating in this changed market? Understand important clauses and time lines for safe financial decisions.
  3. Commercial Real Estate – Hamilton has attracted a lot of attention and there are numerous opportunities for investment. However, one should approach each segment of commercial real estate with the relevant analysis

Clearly, with all the changes and challenges of the current market, a consumer would be well advised to work with a professional real estate sales representative who has all the data and supporting information to enable the best possible decision. Markets are always changing but recently, changes have been more sudden and require more knowledge and understanding. We are proud of our local knowledge and of all the parameters of good real estate decision making. We are fortunate to have three offices full of hard working knowledgeable people with a wide foundation of knowledge. Please call us, text us, or email us, whichever form of communication works best for you for the latest statistical data.

House Decisions for Boomers

 Friday, June 1, 2018     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     General Real Estate Advice

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The "Baby Boomers" as they have been affectionately labeled in history representing the largest demographic in North America are at an interesting stage of life…. aging according to birth years but feeling young at heart. How do these two factors influence their housing decisions? The options often explored are: a) do they stay in their home and upgrade to accommodate mobility issues or b) do they sell their home and move into a condominium? c) do they sell their existing home and downsize to a bungalow or smaller property?

Let's explore the first option – staying in your home: The benefits of remaining in your family home are many –1) comfort with familiar surroundings; 2) no upheaval of moving; 3) mortgage is generally paid off. The negatives: 1) mobility up and down stairs; 2) finding the right support people to cut the grass and shovel the snow; 3) potentially dated mechanical equipment needing constant service. Let's explore the second option – purchasing a condominium: The benefits of purchasing a condominium: 1) no worries about constant upkeep and maintenance; 2) some social interaction with other owners; 3) no stairs – generally an elevator for the upper levels and parking garage. The negatives: 1) Condo fees and the constant discussion about the condominium board's priorities. 2) Feeling isolated at times from the neighborhood where one was comfortable. 3) Noise from other condo units and people.

Clearly, there is no right or wrong answer. Everyone must consider their own lifestyle and physical capabilities to make the decision that works best for them. However, it is a discussion which should involve participation from family, accountants, and real estate professionals. What is your home worth? Would it be better to stay put? Would it be cheaper to pay someone to cut the grass and shovel the snow? Or would it be better to consider moving? Decisions…. decisions. Please call us to help you with this process. We will provide you with a "no cost" Opinion of Value on your home which may enable a better decision going forward. We are here to provide the necessary information to assist you and your family. Call us, email us…. whatever works for you.

If you would like a free no obligation estimation of your home's value please complete our simple online Home Evaluation Request form.

Bay Observer Article – written by Judy Marsales, Broker of Record, Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd. Judy is a frequent contributor of articles on the Bay Observer website.

Spring Market Considerations

 Friday, March 23, 2018     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     Local Hamilton Market Conditions

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The Real Estate Market this year is an ever-changing landscape. Depending on your source of information, the market is crazy busy or falling off the charts. What does all this variation mean to you the consumer? How do you interpret all the economic swings which have potential to impact the real estate market?

The first tip which I will offer in your analysis is to ensure that the information which you are relying upon is relevant to your marketplace… i.e. The national media use data which may have originated in Vancouver or Toronto and while this information may create interest in the readers/viewers, it does not contribute to a reliable foundation on which to make a decision about your real estate future in the Hamilton Burlington market.

The dynamics of our regional real estate market are different based on our population base and our demographics. For example, in January 2018 the average Sale Price in the Hamilton Area was up by 6% where as many other major cities were identifying a reduction in the average Sale Price. However, having said that, another significant statistic was the 64.8% increase in "End of Month Listing Inventory" for February 2018. You may recall that last year, we identified one of the key elements to the dramatic increase in value was the very low listing inventory. The basic economic principal of "Supply and Demand" then created multiple offers and bidding wars.

Given our current listing inventory status, the market balance has now changed. Home owners will want to review their time lines for selling as some homes may take longer to sell and Buyers will engage in more negotiating. My second tip is to suggest that if you are considering selling your home in this marketplace, you may want to keep your initial list price within market range of value… and what is that value??

Our knowledgeable team of Sales Representatives are here to help you with the analysis whether you are selling, buying, or considering some future change. Our knowledge is your power in this ever-changing real estate market. Call, email, or drop by one of our offices.

Bay Observer Article – written by Judy Marsales, Broker of Record, Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd. Judy is a frequent contributor of articles on the Bay Observer website.