With all the Newfoundland cuisine and restaurants in St. John’s and surrounding areas it’s difficult at times to know where to eat. What if there was a website you could visit that provided you with reviews, prices ranges and best of all menus!
Officially launched on July 1, 2008, the locally owned and operated website www.DiningInfo.ca caters to the Newfoundland dining community, tourists, and business travelers. It currently lists restaurants in several major centers throughout Newfoundland. In addition, it has features on local restaurants, chef profiles, current specials and promotions, restaurants that are opening soon and much more!
Wondering where to dine tonight? Check out www.DiningInfo.ca
With the increase in photos and virtual tours for MLS listings for sale, long gone are the days where a buyer has to drive around the neighbourhood searching for a home for sale. Most buyers start their home search online months before actually contacting a Realtor to view an MLS listing. Where do they start? What would be the first website they visit?
The 3 big websites that pop into my mind are
Homesplus Online – www.homesplus.nf.net
mls.ca – now updated to realtor.ca
Of course with the last choice you have the ability to search deeper into individual Realtor websites. This one can also lead you to sites that have nothing to do real estate at all.
What online real estate resources do you use? Homesplus Online and mls.ca are fairly similar in data…..what one do you find easier to navigate?
RE/MAX is once again top of the leader board for real estate market share in St. John’s and surrounding areas. Boasting slighty over 40% over all other competitors for the first half of 2008.
MLS® sales advanced 9.3 percent to 1,084 units compared to last year’s second quarter sales of 992 units.
April, May and June MLS® sales were 308, 346 and 430, respectively
Second quarter average MLS® residential house price surged 16 percent to $169,734 compared to $146,509 during the second quarter of 2007, with additional price growth expected throughout the remainder of 2008.
There were 2,243 new residential listings during the second quarter compared to 2,344 during the same period last year
With sellers conditions, active listings averaged just 1,540 from April to June versus 2,750 during the second quarter of 2007.
Sales to active listings ratio hit 26.3 percent in June and averaged 23.5 per cent during the second quarter, nearly double the 12 percent level recorded a year ago.
Sellers Market Keeps Active Listings Down
High demand for housing has driven active residential listings much lower since mid 2007, making it increasingly difficult for some REALTORS® to obtain listings
Active listings for April, May and June were 1,411, 1,573 and 1,633, respectively
New listings decreased 4.3 percent during the second quarter and are down 4.1 percent so far this year as some sellers hold out for further price appreciation.
Bank of Canada has cut rates 150 basis points (1.50 percent) since December 2007 and will remain on hold for most of 2008
Bank rate currently sits at 3.00 percent with the prime lending rate at 4.75 percent.
One and five-year fixed mortgage rates are forecast to remain within the 6.70-7.25 and 7.00-7.50 per cent range, respectively, in 2008 and 2009, while some variable rate mortgages will remain as low as 4.10 percent
With almost 2 weeks straight with all sushine and no fog (has to be a record) there are lots of activities in and around the St. John’s area scheduled for this weekend.
Check out the St. John’s Farmers Market Saturday at the Lions Club Chalet. Located right behind the Remax Centre (Curling Club). 9am to 2pm. Lots of locally grown veggies, fruits, Newfoundland arts and crafts and paintings. They even have a Facebook Group “I support a weekly farmer’s market in downtown St. John’s”
Every summer in St. John’s at Signal Hill, military drills and music from the 1800s is featured. The Signal Hill Tattoo is now up and running. Check out the re-enactment of 18th Century military exercises with period costumes, guns and cannon fire this Saturday at the Signal Hill National Historic Site.
The Royal St. John’s Regatta is only a few weeks away. This Saturday on Quidi Vidi Pond the Time Trials will be taking place starting at 8am. The purpose of these Time Trials is to determine the makeup of each Regatta Day race based upon the times rowed by the crews participating in the Time Trial heats. Drop down and check out the local rowing crews and see all the hype.
The caplin are rolling! The caplin are rolling around the Avalon bringing hundreds of people to Logy Bay, Middle Cove, Outer Cove beaches. The presence of the caplin brings with them lots of whales! Check out this quick YouTube clip titled “Caplin in Newfoundland“. If you haven’t seen this phenomenon I highly encourage it. But hurry….they will not be around for much longer.
And of course….with this beautiful weather you can always enjoy a couple of hours chasing after a little white ball on a golf course. Newfoundland has a lot of terrific golf courses. My personal favorite is Clovelly Golf Course in East End St. John’s, (in the Clovelly Trails Sub division). Of course you can enjoy a scenic view of St. John’s from Admirals Green in Pippy Park. For a complete list of Newfoundland golf courses visit golfnewfoundland.ca or the Newfoundland and Labrador Golf Association.
The Canadian Government is making it tougher for home buyers to obtain a mortgage and with good reason. Starting October 15 of this year, the new rules will take effect.
We are all familiar with the sub-prime mortgage meltdown in the States the past year but while Canada is not even close to this disaster the government still feels it necessary to secure and maintain a strong mortgage and housing market.
The changes include:
- Cutting the maximum amortization period to 35 years from 40.
- Requiring a minimum down payment of five per cent, whereas loans for 100 per cent of the price are possible now.
- Establishing a requirement for a consistent minimum credit score.
- Introducing new loan-documentation standards.
The people effected are the purchasers with less the 20% downpayment for a property as they are the people that require mortgage insurance with the purchase of real estate.
Mortgage insurance protects lenders (ie Royal Bank, Scotia Bank etc) when a borrower (the Purchaser) defaults on the loan if the sale of the property doesn’t cover the debt.
I for one am in agreement with this change. The zero down, 40 year mortgage that was introduced a couple years ago allowed home buyers the ability to purchase a home yet become heavily in debt. There was a lot of buyers that entered the real estate market in Canada during this time and probably shouldn’t have.
It will be interesting to see the public’s reaction to these changes.
Read the Globe and Mail Article – Ottawa tightens mortgage rules to avoid ‘bubble’
Read the CBC News release – Ottawa tightens mortgage insurance rules
Norm Fishers Saskatoon Blog Article – Canadian Government Says, “No More 40-year Mortgage for You!”
Edmonton Real Estate Blog – No More Zero Down, 40 Year Mortgages
Released from CMHC Housing Now publications, the starts press release for Newfoundland and Labrador.
Provincial urban housing starts were up during the first half of this year, despite a slight decrease during the month of June, according to preliminary data released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). June’s total housing starts dipped seven per cent, with 212 posted within the province compared to 228 a year ago. A total of 172 of the 212 starts were within St. John’s metro versus 180 last June.
Year-to-date, there have been 738 new homes started across the province versus last year’s total of 623 homes, an increase of 18 per cent. A total of 628 of these starts occurred within St. John’s metro, for a year-to-date increase of 20 per cent.
“The demand for newly built homes remains very high within the local housing market and the solid increase in housing starts during the first half of this year was driven by a low level of existing homes for sale,” said Chris Janes, Senior Market Analyst with CMHC in Newfoundland and Labrador. “With a buoyant economy and positive net migration, tight market conditions are expected to continue and strong demand for housing will drive prices higher throughout the second half of 2008,” added Janes.
While we don’t directly deal in the renting (month to month) of apartments or condos in St. John’s and Mount Pearl (other than long term leases) we are constantly emailed looking for such information.
Below I have compiled a list of the more popular websites that cater to people/students looking for St. John’s homes for rent:
The most popular is St. John’s local newspaper – The Telegram. Their rental classified section has lots of apartments for rent and is broken down by the areas. East End St. John’s homes for rent being the most popular as well as downtown apartments for rent.
Island Property Management is a property management company who take care of 1000′s of investment properties in St. John’s and surrounding areas. They have a great selection of houses for rent in all areas of Newfoundland. You can narrow your search by area, price and by rental type (basement apartment, main floor apartment or by a fully detached home). Complete with address and google map interface.
Kijiji is becoming more and more popular for classified ads. While I find this site VERY unfriendly due to all the advertising, it does provide a fairly large list of apartments and condos for rent
Northern Property Real Estate Investment (publicly traded on the TSX as a REIT- Ticker:NPR.UN) manages a number of apartment buildings/complexes in St. John’s. I stumbled across gscrentals.com which appears to be managed by NPR. Titled “Apartments for rent in Toronto and Apartments for Rent in Canada” it has a good selection of homes for rent in St. John’s.
If you Google “apartments for rent in St. John’s” you can find many more websites to assist you.
For the last few years 2-apartment homes have been increasing in demand and in price, particularly in the past 6 months. The majority of investment properties in the St. John’s, Mount Pearl, Paradise real estate market have been selling in days, with multiple offers and selling well over the asking price. This time last year your standard 2-apt home was around $180,000 to $199,000. Currently they are $220,000 to $240,000 (East End St. John’s) and can be built new for approx $260,000.
The bases behind people purchasing a 2-apt is obviously as an investment, to have the rental income greater then the expenses and create a positive cash flow. Last years price of $180,000 your monthly mortgage would be approx $1050 (assuming a 5% mortgage rate). In today’s market, your $240,000 investment mortgage payment is approx $1400. (again assumed 5% interest rate). That’s a $350 dip into your cash flow.
When will the rents increase locally? I haven’t seen them increase in quite some time. Average rentals are approximately $900 for a main floor 3 bedroom unit and about $600 for a basement apartment. At those rentals, you are left with a $100 positive cash flow and you haven’t included property taxes and other investment property expenses.
Another factor is the average price in St. John’s and surrounding areas have increased for a single dwelling. June MLS stats show the average price for a single dwelling home in St. John’s is approx $190,000, considerable higher then the average price from 2007. First time buyers are being pushed out of the real estate market and are being forced to rent, creating an even further demand for investment properties. St. John’s vacancy rate was 2.6 per cent in December 2007 compared to 5.1 per cent in 2006. (Forecast for 2008 is slightly lower vacancy rate according to CMHC). This marks the first decline in the vacancy rate since 2003 and largely reflects the impact of a decrease in the home ownership rate among first-time buyers and increased economic activity.
It’s only a matter of time….but the rents have to increase.
310 Hamilton Ave
Close to downtown St. John’s
4 bedroom home on deep mature lot close to downtown. Hardwood throughout most of the main floor. Kitchen with attached pantry and exterior door leading to patio deck. Formal dining room and separate living room. Three fireplaces in property (no liners). Most of the original character still remaining in the property. Rear access to backyard. Asking price is $149,900. Call Fraser or Stephen Winters for more information.