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The lie of the averages

I found this article by N. Falcomer interesting and eye opening. I hope you find it too and more. She speaks volumes on false expectations and misguided ideas about the market if one does not search out in full what is going on in the real-estate market. -dP

By Natalka Falcomer July 31, 2018

Real estate pundits point to the average sale price to conclude whether the market is crashing or hyper-inflating. Some go as far as to use the average sale price as an indicator of a recession or a healthy economy. The problem is that averages don’t tell much of a story.

For example, Canada has experienced five recessions of varying degrees between 1972 and 2018, yet the average sale price never dipped below the previous year, except between 1995 to 1996.

The odd thing is that there was no recession in 1995 to 1996, but there were recessions in the mid 1970s, early ’80s, early ’90s and 2008; yet, the average sale price didn’t dramatically crash during these times. Rather, it increased. To put it another way, if you relied upon “the average”, you’d be led to believe that: (a) we never had a recession until 1995; (b) recessions last only a year and (c) you’ll always make a profit house flipping if you simply just wait a year.

If you bought a home right before the 1974 crash, the early 80s or 90s crash, you know this is not the case. You also know that house flipping isn’t always a guaranteed success – costs in maintaining the property, construction, changing zoning bylaws and even changes in demographic tastes can certainly make a flip a financial disaster.

When you peel back the layers of the “average” provided, you discover a more complex story. Averages mislead when a distribution is heavily stacked at one end, with a small number of unusual outliers weighing the average in their favour. It also misleads if you don’t know the story behind how that number came to be.

Consider the example provided by New York Times guest columnist Stephanie Coontz, When numbers mislead: “In 2011…the average income of the 7,878 households in Steubenville, Ohio, was $46,341. But if just two people, Warren Buffett and Oprah Winfrey, relocated to that city, the average household income in Steubenville would rise 62 per cent overnight, to $75,263 per household.”

The same logic can be applied to our housing market. Take, for example, the GTA’s average sale price to date in 2018 ($805,230) versus 2017 ($862,149). Some people conclude that the average price has decreased because we are in the throes of a housing crash. Nobody wants to buy. And, if they buy, they’re buying it for less than what they would’ve paid for the same property last year because there’s no demand and because last year’s prices were completely unsubstantiated.

Any millennial trying to buy a condo in South Riverdale, Mount Pleasant or Little Italy, however, would beg to differ. Condos in these areas saw an increase in sale price and most condos have sold above asking. Dig deeper and you find an even more complex story.

Those who want to buy larger homes in Toronto – young families or couples – cannot afford the millions that such homes command. And those who can afford it already live in those homes and aren’t interested in buying another multi-million-dollar home.

This more affluent (and older) demographic doesn’t want to sell because they know that demand for their properties isn’t as great as it was in our anomalous record setting-market of 2017 (the multi-million-dollar homes are still selling, it’s just taking slightly longer than it did during the hype of the market; nonetheless, our market turnover is still much faster than in other high-demand markets such as London and Paris). And for those who are looking to downsize, they’re not necessarily selling their primary home. Rather, they’re holding onto their primary homes and buying a cheaper and smaller second home, putting more pressure on the same market in which the millennials are competing for some territory (literally). This has the obvious outcome of creating more competition in the cheaper market than in the multi-million-dollar market. The average is skewed because it is heavily stacked with lots of smaller rather than larger price points.

Purchasing power has further eroded not because of an economic crash or lack of demand, but because of changes in the law. Young families or young couples – the backbone of house purchases – were most affected by the changes in mortgage rules. This means that, due to bad luck, today’s buyers can afford less than they could’ve afforded last year. In turn, people are buying cheaper and smaller homes even if it isn’t the best fit for their lifestyle (large bedrooms for each child, play room). Again, it’s not that demand is down or that prices are plummeting, it’s that the type of demand has shifted because who is buying has changed and how much they can spend has changed.

Digging beyond the average shows that this is a supply problem, not a demand problem. Perhaps our government is focused too much on the average and should re-shift its focus from curtailing demand to increasing supply.

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K-W June Real Estate NEWS

After two consecutive years of extraordinary activity where we saw home sales exceeding 700 units in June, some normality has returned to the market,” says Tony Schmidt, KWAR President. “The approximately 600 units that sold last month is in line with the ten-year average for June.”

The average sale price of all residential properties sold in June increased 5.2% to $489,584 compared to the same month a year ago. Detached homes sold for an average price of $575,003 an increase of 7% compared to June of last year. During this same period, the average sale price for an apartment style condominium was $314,180, an increase of 13.2%. Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $378,562 up 10.8% and $391,830 up 2.9% respective

The median price of all residential properties sold last month was up 5.9 per cent compared to June of last year at $450,000, and the median price of a detached home during the same period increased 9.5 per cent to $520,000.

Buyers are wise to avail themselves of a REALTOR® to help them navigate local market conditions and ensure the most successful outcome.”  

 The average days it took to sell a home in June was 22 days, compared to 16 days in June 2017.

For more information on market trends or to trade in real-estate, call me at (519) 577-8181. Denis

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OREA releases five-point marijuana action plan

By Sohini Bhattacharya

Realtors, prospective homebuyers and homeowners are growing increasingly concerned about the ramifications of the legalization of cannabis looming this summer. Recent polling conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of the Ontario Real Estate Association says 36.1 per cent of Ontarians are in favour of growing zero cannabis plants inside their homes, while 7.5 per cent deem it reasonable to allow one plant per home.

To safeguard Ontario homebuyers from the health and safety perils of purchasing former illegal marijuana grow-ops, OREA released a five-point Action Plan for Cannabis Legislation. At a Queen’s Park press conference, OREA president David Reid said, “the key underlying aspect of what we’re doing here is to make buildings safe for homeownership and for homebuyers.”

Current federal legislation would allow inhabitants to grow up to four plants inside their homes, although some provinces, including Quebec and Manitoba, have already decided against allowing home-grown marijuana. As highlighted by CREA CEO Michael Bourque in a recent op-ed article in the National Post, while four cannabis plants might seem innocuous, there’s no regulation on the size or number of crops per year. “With very little effort (proper irrigation and lighting) one could easily harvest three or four crops a year, which could cover a large section of a home, depending on the strain of cannabis,” Bourque wrote.

Echoing the challenges raised by CREA, OREA’s five-point report says “four recreational plants is a lot of weed” and calls for a “reduction in plants for multi-unit dwellings”.

In recognizing that the provincial government is unlikely to reject the federal edict on plant allowance per home, OREA has proposed restricting it to one plant for units smaller than 1,000 square feet.

“Condos in the GTA are as small as 500 to 600 square feet. If you have four cannabis plants in there, multiplied by the number of people in that building that are growing those plants, one can imagine the detrimental health and safety impacts it’ll have on everyone else living in that building,” says Reid.

In its fourth recommendation, “mandatory training for home inspectors”, the report underlines the health and safety threats to families living in, near and around former grow-ops, especially those with young children and seniors.

“Whether growing four plants or 40, marijuana plants are fussy,” says the report. Cultivating and harvesting cannabis indoors leads to mimicking high humidity and temperatures inside – conditions that are ripe for the formation of known breathing hazards, mould and fungus. Apart from the obvious health risks, former grow-ops also present significant structural and chemical dangers that can lead to the production of noxious gasses and explosions.

OREA’s action plan strongly recommends rigorous and mandatory training for licensed home inspectors so they can spot signs of illegal marijuana grow-ops, such as diverted electricity lines; modified ductwork; staining around vents, basement floors or laundry tubs; new plumbing; chunks of replaced brickworks; circular holes in floors or roofs; or moisture-inflicted rotting wood.

“This will better protect home buyers in Ontario from unknowingly purchasing a former grow-op and being forced to pay significant amounts of money out of pocket to properly remediate the home,” the report says.

To ensure proper remediation of former grow-op properties that have been diagnosed unsafe for habitation, OREA’s third recommendation, “registration of former grow-ops” requires municipalities to register work orders on the Ontario land titles system record. This step will guarantee the enforcement of remediation standards. Former grow-ops that pass the standards may make them eligible for removal from the record.

In the past, Realtors have seen homebuyers who’ve been refused home insurance despite having their properties remediated and brought up to building code standards. This is because, according to OREA’s report, The Insurance Bureau of Canada regards marijuana grow-ops as a “high-risk activity”.  For homebuyers to qualify for home insurance on former grow-ops, OREA’s second recommendation in the action plan, “inspect former illegal grow operations,” urges the province to collaborate with the insurance industry and mandate building inspections by municipal officials on buildings that have been designated unsafe. This will “protect future homebuyers from the risks associated with purchasing a former grow-op,” according to the stipulation.

Another important recommendation of the five-point plan is for the provincial government to take the first critical step of “designating illegal grow operations as unsafe”. This would mean an amendment to the Building Code Act, thus blacklisting illegal grow-ops and restricting owners of such drug properties from selling to innocent homebuyers.

“We’re really concerned that unsuspecting families are going to step into a nightmare scenario whereby they take ownership of a property with a whole bunch of health and safety issues as a result of being the site of a former grow-op,” says Matthew Thornton, OREA’s VP of public affairs and communications.

The Canadian marijuana industry is estimated at $7 billion. To assume that the legalization of marijuana will eliminate organized crime is “naive”, according to RCMP assistant commissioner Joanne Crampton, who in September 2017 warned the House of Commons Senate Committee of operators becoming more sophisticated in running clandestine grow-ops in residential areas where families are enlisted as “crop sitters”.

The bottom line is that former grow-ops come with significant insurance and financing problems. With the release of their recommendations, OREA says there is urgency to protect vulnerable homebuyers when buying a home. The association has worked with MPP Lisa Macleod, who introduced two private member’s bills on the issue.

“I think now that the province has completed their work on the distribution and sale of cannabis in Ontario, they are ready to turn their attention to these important issues,” says Thornton.

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The Best Annuals For Butterflies, Bees & Other Pollinators

With temps to high 10C today I’m getting excited about spring and my flower garden. Recently I posted about perennials, here is a list of annuals. Go to Davy Russell’s site for illustrations by Davy Russell. I hope you enjoy them!

by Davy Russell Leave a Comment

While native perennial flowers are the foundation of my pollinator garden, annuals add pizzazz and lots more pollen and nectar sources to draw more butterflies, bees, and other pollinators to your garden.

These are the top-performing annuals in my zone 5 pollinator garden.

1 – Cosmos

Cosmos

Cosmos rank #1 in my garden for attracting a wide variety of butterflies and bees. Plus, I love the feathery foliage. Cosmos come in shades of pink, as well as white and orange.

Light: Full sun.
Height: Up to 24″.
Bloom Time: Spring/Summer/Fall.
Best For: Butterflies, moths, bees, syrphid flies, beetles.
 

 

Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistocles) on CosmosHalictid bee (Agapostemon virescens) on Cosmos.


2 – Zinnia

I LOVE zinnias because they send up a profusion of blooms all season long until frost ends the show. There are a lot of Zinnia varieties, but the ones that performed the best in my garden so far have been the Profusion series and State Fair.

Profusion zinnias send up, well, a profusion of blossoms, making easy (and highly visible) masses of color that last all season. Mine never exceeded 12 inches in height and bushed out, so they are great for front of the garden.

State Fair gets tall – about two feet, and are perfect for middle of the garden.

Light: Full sun.
Height: Up to 24″.
Bloom Time: Spring/Summer/Fall.
Best For: Butterflies, moths, bees, syrphid flies, beetles.

Peck's Skipper (Polites pekius) on Profusion Zinnia. “Peck’s Skipper (Polites pekius) on Profusion Zinnia.”

 

Profusion Zinnia.Fritillary sp. on Profusion Zinnia

 

 

 Profusion Zinnia.Longhorn Beetle (Euderces picipes) on Profusion Zinnia.“Longhorn Beetle (Euderces picipes) on Profusion Zinnia.”


3 – AlyssumAlyssum “These low-growing masses of honey-scented white blossoms are a pollinator magnet! They are an excellent border plant in a pollinator garden.

Light: Full sun to part shade.
Height: Up to 10″.
Bloom Time: Summer.
Best For: Butterflies, moths, bees, syrphid flies, beetles.

Syrphid Fly (Toxomerus marginatus) on Alyssum.“Syrphid Fly (Toxomerus marginatus) on Alyssum.

4 – SunflowersSunflowersIt doesn’t get better than sunflowers when it comes to attracting pollinators and other wildlife. With tall plants and giant blossoms, sunflowers are highly visible and irresistible to butterflies, bees, and all sorts of pollinators. As an added bonus, the seed heads attract chickadees, gold finches, titmice, nuthatches, and woodpeckers after the blossoms have been spent.

Light: Full sun.
Height: Up to 6+’.
Bloom Time: Late summer.
Best For: Butterflies, moths, bees, syrphid flies, beetles.

 – PetuniaPetuniaPetunias look great in hanging baskets as they send out cascades of trumpet-shaped blossoms all season long (as long as you deadhead them regularly).

You can also put them in large clumps at the front of the garden, or in window boxes.

Light: Full sun to part shade.
Height: Up to 12″, but may spread out.
Bloom Time: Spring/Summer/Fall.
Best For: Butterflies, bees, bee flies. Hummingbirds may also visit.

Petunias are popular with beesPetunias are popular with bees” “aligncenter”


 

 

6 – Lantana

LantanaLantana adds a splash of deep red, orange, and yellow in your garden. These drought-resistant, hot-weather plants are the perfect additions to your summer garden.

Light: Full sun.
Height: Up to 36″.
Bloom Time: Summer.
Best For: Butterflies, moths, bees, and syrphid flies.

Lantana with fritillary butterfly.Lantana with fritillary butterfly.”

 

7 – Annual Daises

DaisiesAnnual daisies draw in pollinators of all types thanks to their big, showy blossoms.

Gerber daisies are the most common ones found in garden stores. I planted Arican Daisies in 2015 and loved them. They brought in bees and butterflies. The blossoms close up at night and on cloudy days, only opening when they are bathed in full sun.

Another daisy I planted in 2015 was Butterfly Marguerite Daisy (Argyranthemum frutenscens), which is pictured above. It was constantly covered in interesting insects including moths and beetles.

Osteospermum (also called African or Cape Daisies) are a big hit with bees and butterflies. They also tolerate cooler, early spring weather, taking a break during the hottest part of summer before giving an encore of blooms in the fall.

Light: Full sun (some varieties tolerate part-sun).
Height: Depends on variety and can range between 12″ and 36″.
Bloom Time: Summer/Fall.
Best For: Butterflies, moths, bees, beetles, and syrphid flies.

Red Admiral butterfly on African Daisy.Red Admiral butterfly on African Daisy.”


8 – Pansies

Pansies are great very early-season annuals that will provide a nectar source to bees and other pollinators emerging from hibernation in the spring.

Light: Full sun/part sun.
Height: About 8″.
Bloom Time: Spring/Early summer.
Best For: Butterflies, moths, bees.

Pansy with pollinator.Some of the tiniest pollinators visit pansies.


9 – Ageratum (Floss Flower)

AgeratumAgeratum, also known as “floss flower”, is another blue flower that is supposed to attract pollinators. I pretty much only saw tumbling flower beetles on mine.

Light: Full sun/part shade.
Height: 6″.
Bloom Time: Summer.
Best For: Butterflies, moths, beetles, bees.

Banded Longhorn beetle (Typocerus velutinus) on AgeratumBanded Longhorn beetle (Typocerus velutinus) on Ageratum.

 10 – Lobelia erinus

Lobelia erinusI’m a sucker for blue flowers, so when I saw lobelia erinus in the garden center, I couldn’t resist. Plus, the tag said they attracted butterflies.

While they looked great in my garden, I didn’t really see any activity to them all season except for a few brief visits by a bee fly.

Light: Full sun/part shade.
Height: 8″.
Bloom Time: Spring-Fall.
Best For: Butterflies, moths, bee flies, bees.

  11 – Pentas

PentasI love the look of Pentas (also known as “Star Flower” because of their star-shaped blossoms). I have also read that they are pollinator magnets, particularly attractive to butterflies.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see hardly any activity on the pink and red ones that I planted in my pollinator garden. Rain storms also knocked the blossoms off, and they never looked as good all season long as they did when I first planted them.

Nevertheless, I’ve heard great things about them and they are worth a try in your own garden.

Light: Full sun.
Height: Up to 15″.
Bloom Time: Summer.
Best For: Butterflies, moths, bees.

 12 – Calendula

Also known as “pot marigold”, Calendula is notorious as a bee magnate.

I haven’t grown Calendula in my garden yet, but I have seeds starting right now and plan to enjoy them in 2016.


13 – Lavender

Not only does lavender smell heavenly, it’s a bee and butterfly magnet. I haven’t grown this one either yet, but plan to in 2016.


14 – Borage

I have never planted borage before, but I plan to for the 2016 season. Borage is a rich nectar source for bees, and it’s one of the favorite flowers for bumblebees. Borage is an edible herb, and can be added to salads.

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SPRING Equinox – It’s on your door step

Spring – Tuesday March 20 2018 at 12:15 pm
On the vernal equinox, day and night are each approximately 12 hours long (with the actual time of equal day and night, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring a few days before the vernal equinox). The Sun crosses the celestial equator going northward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west. See First Day of Spring page.

Published: March 20, 2017

The birds sing,
Bugs cling,
Butterflies flutter,
Water drips from a gutter.

A beautiful day,
Here I stay,
Bathing in the sun,
I start to hum.

Making a song
With spring,
The grass clings
To me.

I stand up,
Brush myself off
And cough.
My eyes caught the beauty of spring.



Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/my-way-to-relax

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Start Planning now for Spring Planting

With the Spring Equinox nearing, planning now will give you the joy you desire not just this season but the beautiful perennial flower bed will be with you for years to come.

Planting perennial flowers means that they’ll be a food source for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators for years. Here are some great pics for your flower beds.

Aster

There are many, many varieties of aster to choose from. The star-shaped flowers come in purples, pinks, and whites and often bloom in the fall, making it a great nectar source when many springtime flowers have stopped blooming.

Cranesbill Geranium

This is not the neon-bright geranium your grandma used to grow. Cranesbill geraniums are delicate looking, low-growing perennial flowers that attract bees with their pink and purple blooms.

Echinacea

Also known as coneflower, you might be more familiar with Echinacea as a health supplement. Turns out, that supplement is made from this plant that sports gorgeous pink flowers that attract bees.

Lavender

You know it for its fragrance; bees love it for the flowers. The flowers differ in shape from variety to variety, but all are attractive to honey bees. Lavender is also considered a culinary herb and can be used to flavour some of your kitchen creations.

Mint

While humans are generally more interested in the leaves of mint, the flowers are desirable to bees.

Mint can be invasive, though — be sure to plant it in an area where it can run rampant or in a pot where it will remain contained.

Monarda

Commonly known as Bee Balm, Monarda is a member of the mint family. In addition to attracting pollinators to your garden, Monarda can be used to flavor drinks and is used medicinally. There are both annual and perennial varieties of bee balm and many different types of flowers that attract bees.

Salvia

There are both annual and perennial varieties of salvia. They’re all great for attracting bees, but if you choose a perennial variety you’ll enjoy the benefits for many seasons.

 Scabiosa

This low growing perennial attracts pollinators with purple or pink flowers that seem to float above the leaves on long stems. They’re a great cut flower, too — just be sure to leave some for the bees and butterflies.

Thyme

You know this as a go-to herb in your spice cupboard, but the small flowers on thyme are very attractive to bees. Thyme grows low; try the variety “Mother of Thyme” for a great ground cover that will make the bees happy and be useful to you as well. Basil is another herb that really attracts bees. 

Bonus

Buckwheat is not a perennial; in fact, it’s a very fast to bloom annual that’s kaput in just a couple of months. But if you want to attract bees to your yard in a hurry, it is highly recommended that you add it to your repertoire.

NEXT: annuals that please – watch for it – Denis P. (519) 577-8181, dPellerin@coldwellBankerPBR.com

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A cooler Market for February – Credits to the Government’s new rules

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (Mar 5, 2018) –– In February, the 377 residential properties sold through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR), were an increase of 40 per cent compared to last month and a decrease of 20.5 per cent compared to home sales a year ago. A typical February compared to the ten-year average.

The median price of all residential properties sold last month was practically on par with February of last year at $436,143, and the median price of a detached home during the same period increased 4.8 per cent to $524,000.

The average days it took to sell a home in February was 22 days, compared to 18 days in February 2017.

Not all is the same for properties to know what yours’s is worth, I can provide you with a comprehensive or short market valuation. Contact me, Denis Pellerin at Dpellerin@ColdwellBankerPBR.com or by phone at (519) 577-8181.

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Thinking Spring??

On a beautiful day like today are you thinking Spring? Well perhaps not but perhaps in a week or two you may wish to beginning planning for a flower garden that will attract honey bees. Below is a tidbit of information. I will be suggestion flowers that you may consider for your “Bee a Pollinator” garden.

A bee is said to make three journeys in order to bring one drop of nectar to the hive; 25,000 foraging trips are said to be necessary to gather the raw material for one pound of honey.

A honeybee will visit 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip, and a hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles to collect 1 kg of honey. During the average worker bee’s lifetime, she will produce only about 1/12th teaspoon of honey and it takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bees’ flight around the world.

Give the bees a hand by planting flowers, trees and bushes that will make these trips easier, and provide all the nectar they need to create a thriving, healthy, productive hive.

Some flowers produce more nectar than others, others are great honey flowers, and some just intoxicate the bees. Choose a variety of plants that flower at different times so there is always a snack available when bees are out and about.

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And we grow

I hope you like this read – D. Pellerin

https://www.therecord.com/news-story/8123343–80-million-development-expected-to-boost-kitchener-downtown-s-east-end/