Andre Smit's Real Estate Round-up

Thursday May 14th, 2020

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Hi Folks,

As the Covid – 19 pandemic continues to ravage our industry, I have still been fighting in the trenches for my clients! With current mortgage interest rates, at a very low %, at the moment, a whole new category of first time buyers is starting to emerge. Groups of family members and friends, are pooling their credit scores and earnings, in order to qualify for mortgages, so that they can buy moderately priced homes, as first tentative steps, into the real estate market. I was particularly gratified, to help such a group of 4 young clients, secure a cozy, well maintained, 3 bedroom condominium townhouse in Milton, after a multiple offer situation!

However, the bigger picture, is not all that rosy, at the moment. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, (the largest in Canada), compared to April last year, total new listings were down by 64%, while total actual physical sales were down by 67%! However, this decreased activity, still resulted in the average price for all homes, remaining static from the same month, the year before. The average days that listings spent on the market, before selling, has also remained static at 19 days, from the same month, a year ago.

Average detached house prices have decreased by 3.5%, compared to April, 2019. This can be mainly seen in the + $1 million price range. The number of total new listings, reduced by 68%, compared to the same period, last year. Active listings decreased by 66% from the same month, a year ago.

As the government slowly opens up our economy again, and with the weather improving, we are expecting both listings and sales activity to start increasing again. In fact, physical showings have already increased in numbers, over the last 2 weeks! There is definitely pent up demand, and this will lead to a bumper summer and fall real estate season. With vacations being converted into stay-cations, we will not see the traditional activity drop in July.

With this in mind, now is the time to start readying your house for sale, in order to get the best possible price.

So this month, I will be exploring flooring options in your home, excluding tiles and linoleum, which will be covered in my kitchen and bathroom renovation segments.

The most common floor covering, in this category, is still wall to wall carpeting, due to it's versatility, warmth, ease of installation, sound reducing properties and cost effectiveness.

There are basically two broad types of carpeting, pile and looped pile. Cut pile is the most popular and the cheapest. There are 4 types of fibres used in carpet manufacture. Wool is the most expensive, and provides a soft, luxurious feel, while being naturally stain resistant. Manufactured fibres like nylon and polyester are crush resistant and are great for high traffic areas. Polypropylene is the most economical fibre, but provides a hard underfoot feel.

Colour choices are very wide. However, a general rule of thumb, is to reserve the lighter shades for more formal areas, and the darker shades for high traffic areas.

Stain and abrasion resistance, as well as texture retention warranties offered, normally reflect the quality of the carpeting, and range from 5-25 years.

A very important part of the installation process is selecting the carpet pad. A good foundation for your carpeting can extend it's life as well as adding a luxurious underfoot feel. There are two types of pad made out of urethane foam. The first is a blend with thicknesses varying between 8 & 11 mm and density varying between 7 & 8 lbs. The second, and my personal favourite, is the new generation memory foam pad. I have used this pad in a number of installations and, even though it is more expensive than the blended pad, it provides much better height to the pile and better sound reducing properties. You should always buy the best pad your budget can afford.

The cost of this carpeting varies between $4 - $15 / sq ft, including installation and carpet pad, with good quality available at around $ 6 / sq ft, excluding HST.

The modern trend, however, is to use a wooden type of floor covering. Here the choice revolves around 4 basic types, genuine hardwood, compressed and glued bamboo, engineered hardwood and laminate flooring.

Genuine hardwood, is still the most sought after floor covering, as it can be resurfaced multiple times and therefore has a life expectancy of +50 years. However, it cannot be used in a basement environment, due to it's instability to moisture level changes. It is very aesthetically pleasing and provides a natural, warm feeling to any room. Of the popular woods used, maple is the hardest, with a group containing oak, birch, beech and ash, not far behind. Cherry and walnut are the softest of the popular woods. Care needs to be taken in installing hardwood flooring on stairs, due to the smoothness of the product and the inherent danger of residents slipping and falling. Prices installed, vary from $6-$15 / sq ft, excluding HST, dependent on the quality of the sub floor and the shape of the room.

A fairly new competitor has now emerged in the form of compressed and glued, bamboo flooring. It can be installed in any area, including basements, as it remains stable even in moisture content changing environments. It is a durable and sustainable product, easily installed, but cannot be resurfaced, so it has a limited life. It costs about $5.00 - $7,00 / sq ft installed, excluding HST.

Another cost effective flooring option, is engineered hardwood, which consists of a veneer of hardwood, applied to multiple layers of plywood. This flooring can be applied over any type of existing flooring, including ceramic, concrete, laminate and linoleum and is also great in basements. It can only be resurfaced up to twice. It is easy to install, and can be used over a radiant floor heating system. It costs about $5.00 - $6.50 / sq ft, installed, excluding HST.

The most cost effective flooring system is laminate flooring, which consists of a photographic image of hardwood, laminated onto a fibreboard substrate. It is fairly hard wearing and can be installed in basements and over radiant floor heating systems. It, however lacks the warmth and natural feel associated with genuine hardware. It is also easy to install, and costs about $3.00 to $5,00 / sq ft installed, excluding HST.

Another modern floor covering, which is taking the home market by storm, is the luxury vinyl plank segment. These vinyl planks provide a soft feel, with modern colours, and simulate hard wood planks. They are totally waterproof, and therefore ideal for kitchens, bathrooms and basements. They are also easy to install, and cost between $4.50 to $6.50 / sq ft installed, excluding HST.

SMIT'S TIP OF THE MONTH

Check and trim vines or shrubs that may affect airflow around your air conditioner. Trim tree branches that are touching or overhanging your roof or siding. On brick homes, ensure that weeping holes are unobstructed, and that the soil is well below the brick line. Check all exterior mortar, masonry and stucco for cracks and repair where necessary.

Please remember, that if you, your friends or family, have any questions regarding real estate, or indeed, require the services of a good realtor, do not hesitate, to contact me, at 416-898-2852, at anytime. I also run a cash referral system for any referrals to me, that result in a buy or sell transaction.

Enjoy the flowers,

Stay cool, safe and healthy!

Kind regards,

André

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