K-W Real Estate News from Kenny & Lori Chen January 2019   
  Real Estate News

Kenny & Lori Chen
Broker & Sales Represtative

901 Victoria St. N.
Kitchener, Ontario
519-500-3588 or 1-888-615-9231
Fluent in Mandarin, Taiwanese & Cantonese

Pursuing a job opportunity in a new city can evoke a variety of emotions. If you're thinking about relocating, this month's article offers some great advice that’ll help make the transition go smoothly.

There are also a few handy home hacks that will help make your life a little easier as well as some great reasons why you should switch your phone to airplane mode every once in a while.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general. It'd be great to hear from you!

Kenny & Lori

In this issue...
Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Market Update 
Home sales dip in December while prices increase.

There were 5,823 residential homes sold through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® in 2018, a decline of 11.1 per cent compared to 2017.

With 263 transactions taking place last month, December’s home sales were down 13.2 per cent from this time last year and slightly behind the previous 10-year average of 268 sales for the month of December.

“The combination of rising interest rates and the mortgage stress test definitely took some steam out of the market relative to what we saw in the previous two years,” says Brian Santos, President of KWAR. “These types of impediments are most impactful on first-time as well as other buyers entering the housing market.”

Total residential sales in 2018 included 3,355 detached (down 16.2 per cent), and 1,553 condominium units (up 6.4 per cent) which includes any property regardless of style (i.e. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.). Sales also included 417 semi-detached homes (down 23.6 per cent) and 431 freehold townhouses (down 7.7 per cent).

The average sale price of all residential properties sold in 2018 increased 3.4 per cent to $483,537 compared to 2017. Detached homes sold for an average price of $575,412, an increase of 4.8 per cent compared to 2017. During this same period, the average sale price for an apartment style condominium was $304,676 for an increase of 12 per cent. Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $373,307 (up 5.5 per cent) and $396,391 (up 4.7 per cent) respectively.

The median price of all residential properties sold last year increased 3.6 per cent to $445,304, and the median price of a detached home during the same period increased 6.1 per cent to $525,000.

The average time it took for a home to sell in 2018 was reflective of demand continuing to outpace supply. The number of months of inventory remained at under 2 months of supply throughout the year (3-4 months is historically normal for Waterloo region) and the average days to sell in 2018 was 24 days, compared to 19 days in 2017 and a previous 10-year average of 40 days.

While we may be seeing fewer buyers coming down the 401, Santos believes they are still a component of the Waterloo region real estate market, just not as speculative as what we saw in the previous two years. Santos says, “2018 continued to be a seller’s market in the region with stable sales activity and homeowners realizing solid gains in their property values.”

Santos points out that, “Even though prices increased more moderately overall compared to the last two years, they continue to respond to strong demand and the desirability of our area. For those would-be buyers who have been sitting on the fence these past two years, home prices are only getting further out of reach, as supply remains low and demand strong.”

$289,900 Welcome to Queens Place, unit# 201- 150 Queen St. S, Kitchener. This is a great corner unit featuring 1174 Sq Ft with a large master bedroom with 4 pcs ensuite and 2 good size bedrooms. Needs some TLC but great value for under $300K in today's market for 3 bedrooms. Great view of city core with large windows surrounding the unit. Short walking distance to downtown Kitchener, LRT, Shopping, Bus Station, Tech Hub, Victoria Park. Condo fees include Heat, Water, Central Air, Building Insurance, Parking, and Maintenance. Perfect for the 1st-time homeowner, investor, and the mortgage helper. Hurry to book your viewing before it is sold. 

$149,900 Welcome to #705- 64 Benton St. Condo in the "Heart of the City". Perfect for the Investors or First-time buyers! Why pay rent when you can own your own condo. Well Maintained building. Large beautiful living room with an amazing view, four-piece bathroom, kitchen and large bedroom. Water, heat and hydro are all included in the condo fees. Only a minute walk from new LRT station. Right in the downtown core near countless restaurants like The Tannery and bars like Abe Erb, entertainment areas such as Centre in the Square, The Museum, and close to major shopping attractions like the Kitchener Farmer's Market. Close to tech employers like Google and Desire2Learn. Perfect to buy for first time buyers, as an investment and/or rental income property. Condo Fee $613.00 Included: Building Insurance, Common Elements, Exterior Maintenance, Heat, Hydro, Water. Call us to book your private showing today!

Waterloo's Wonderful Winterloo 
Mark your calendar for this incredible annual winter event!

Uptown Waterloo is celebrating all things winter this year on Saturday, January 26th and Sunday, January 27th. This year’s theme is “Winter Survival!”

This exciting, annual event is packed with a variety of winter-themed events including dog sled rides, an outdoor obstacle course, world-class ice sculpting, a polar plunge in support of the Special Olympics and the famous Winterloo chili cook-off!

This year, locations for Winterloo include Waterloo public square, the Button Factory Arts building (Sat only), the Waterloo Public Library, the west side of Waterloo Park and the Princess Cinemas.

Be sure to bundle up and get outside to rediscover the joys of winter with a variety of activities that offer something fun for the entire family. Hope to see you there!

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation 
Relocating to a new city can be an exciting yet overwhelming time.

The prospect of a work relocation means you'll need to be well organized as there’s usually not much time to get acquainted with your new area.

First off, determine what the cost of living will be in the new location. There's no point in relocating for a higher salary if the extra income will be eaten up by increased living expenses.

Make sure to also consider factors such as workload, expense accounts, travel expectations, job opportunities for your spouse and schools for the kids. Here are a few other points to keep in mind:

  1. Time is Money - Create a budget and a detailed timeline to help you stay on track.

  2. Recon Mission - Plan a trip to familiarize yourself with the local area or check out a few community websites if it's too far to preview in person.

  3. Check Yourself - A detailed checklist will help ensure everything goes smoothly which will reduce the stress that’s associated with a major move.

  4. Smooth Move - Select a real estate agent to sell your home and ask them to refer you to an agent in your new city who can help familiarize you with the local market.

  5. Take the Credit - Employers often provide relocation packages to help offset expenses such as temporary housing and moving costs. There may also be certain tax credits available.

Deciding whether or not to relocate can be very stressful. Not only are you trying to negotiate a career move but you'll also be starting a new life in an unfamiliar place. However, if you approach this process by paying close attention to all the details, you'll enjoy a much more positive relocation experience. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions or need any real estate advice!

Handy Home Hacks 
These simple yet genius tricks will make your life so much easier!

Hacks are uncommon yet creative solutions for everyday problems. Here are five simple hacks for the home that will help make your life a whole lot easier:

  1. Towel Tip - Adding a dry towel to a load of wet laundry significantly reduces drying time which also cuts down on energy use.

  2. Sharpie Stain - If your child has decorated your hardwood floors with a magic marker, apply a bit of toothpaste with a damp cloth and watch it disappear!

  3. Blend Away - To remove stubborn stains from your blender, mix lemon juice and warm water with a tiny bit of dishwashing liquid and then blend for a minute.

  4. Watch Your Step - We all know that sinking feeling when a glass shatters leaving tiny shards everywhere. To make sure you get every last sliver, press a slice of bread over the entire area.

  5. Silence Squeaks - If your creaky wooden floors make you feel like you’re living in a haunted house, just sprinkle some baby powder between any open seams to lubricate the wood and stop the squeaking.

We all want an easier life and home hacks are a great way to accomplish that as they allow you to bypass and overcome some of life’s little problems. There are literally thousands of hacks out there so watch this space for cleaning, organizing and other life hacks that we’ll be sharing in future newsletters!

Switching to Airplane Mode 
If you think airplane mode is only for flying, then think again!

Airplane mode blocks your connection to cellular networks when you take to the skies but there are many other lesser known benefits to this often ignored feature.

Airplane mode also saves battery life, charges a phone quicker and it will even stop those annoying ads from displaying when you’re playing Candy Crush!

Smartphones can also be extremely distracting so if you’re down to the wire on a project, simply switch over to airplane mode for a quick notification detox so you can focus and get your work done.

Finally, if you’re concerned about electromagnetic field radiation, set your phone to airplane mode when your smartphone’s not being used for wireless transmissions as it will completely cut off any form of radiation.

PS Are you sick of scouring the paper and MLS sites looking for homes?  Tired of playing telephone tag with agents only to hear the home's already sold?  Sit back, relax and let me do the work for you!  Just visit my website and check off the features you're looking for. Whenever a home matching your criteria hits the market, it'll be automatically flagged and emailed to you so you'll never have to worry about missing your dream home.

Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.