April 20, 2020 Update

Another regular update on changes in local market due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As I talked about last week, sales volume continues to decline as expected and shows the local Real Estate industry and market is doing what it can to flatten the curve.

Guelph Real Estate Sales Representative, Michael Bennett, talks about the impacts of Covid-19 as reflected in local statistics and sales information.

March 2020 shows an increase in Guelph home values.

Many Realtors like myself look at statistics to help us value and market properties. These stats are the same ones we look at to gauge the individual markets we represent. A community like Guelph can often show different trends from those in Toronto or even Waterloo Region. So, to provide a more intensely local look at Guelph real estate, the information below focuses on Guelph.

At the beginning of each month, the Home Price Index gets updated to reflect sales written in the months previous. This along with some other stats that we have access to gives us an indication of how to price a property relative to what the market is doing. It also allows us to understand where the market might be going in the future.

So, here are the facts as I see them, from data made available to me as a member of the Canadian and Ontario Real Estate Associations.

As I’ve mentioned previously, we came into this with very strong demand and a continuation of low inventory numbers. This trend continued early in March and has helped the average single-family home in Guelph rise by about 1.8%. Apartments, townhouses and single-family homes all saw increases in value in March. April is going to be hard to predict, but I suspect we’ll see modest changes if any in Value.

The statistic that should show the most variance from normal activity throughout this global pandemic is Sales Volume. March 2020 showed a very modest increase in sales activity with only 9 more transactions than February. Comparatively, March 2019 had 55 more transactions than the month prior. I expect April 2020 will show a decline in the number of monthly transactions compared to normal years. This isn’t a bad thing, this means that my colleagues and consumers are doing what we are being asked to do, STAY HOME.

There are many more statistics that I have access to, however, these are the two that I felt would most indicate what is happening right now, and what to expect moving into April. As always, I can be reached at 519-820-6979 or michaelbennett@royallepage.ca. If you would like to chat real estate, statistics or otherwise, please just reach out.

OMG, What a Community!

Guelph is a community that demonstrates tremendous kindness at the best of times, and last night a group of people showed that it can be incredibly kind in the most difficult of times. Over Zoom a group of like-minded and philanthropic people together raised over $8,000 for the Guelph General Hospital Foundation.

Here’s how it happened. Less than a week ago, Beverly-Ann Woods and Michael Bennett were discussing that one of the things they miss about this time of year, is getting dressed up, and gathering with friends to support the community. Then the lightbulb went off. A discussion ensued regarding whether or not they could pull off a Virtual Fundraiser in a week to support the Guelph General Hospital Foundation.

Now, the idea of a Gala/Non-Gala originated with David Halls and his wife Robin-Lee Norris, but the concept of using technology to virtually connect in our finest evening wear was untested. Untested at least by anyone they knew. With David and Robin-Lee on-board, plans were quickly set in motion.

Auctioneer, Dan Stenning

To add a real Gala feel, a friend of Beverly-Ann’s and Professional Auctioneer Dan Stenning jumped at the opportunity to put his skills to work and help us from the comfort of his home in Downtown Toronto. This element alone upped the stakes and saw several items go for well over their posted value.

As people parted and said goodbyes, the Zoom Room left many with the warm comforting feeling that we can all use at this time.

Please, use this time as an opportunity to find new ways to connect with your community. Kindness is is, after all, one of the ingredients that make our community #GuelphProud.

There is still an opportunity to donate at www.galanongala.com.

Self-Isolation Story II

Beverly-Ann Woods and Michael Bennett, stop while out for a drive during the initial self-isolation period of Covid-19

Michael Bennett and his partner Beverly-Ann Woods started recording their thoughts, and adventures during the self-isolation period of Covid-19. What started as a way to stay connected, yet physically distant with friends turned into a regular fun and upbeat video series.

Self-Isolation Story I

Beverly-Ann Woods, and I, started videotaping our thoughts during the initial self-isolation period. Gathering lots of feedback and encouragement from friends on facebook for their upbeat, and positive outlook, we kept it up. This is edition I, which lead to many more.

Michael and Beverly-Ann out for a hike and talk about staying social, while staying physically distant.

What to do during the Covid-19 Self-Isolation Period

Take a look at your home from a buyer’s perspective.

Well, you are stuck at home, and solitaire gets boring after a while.  One of my suggestions is that you take the self-isolation time to start thinking about how a potential buyer would view your home?  Even if you aren’t planning on selling today, tomorrow or as one client puts it… “that’s for my trustees to worry about”  It’s a good perspective to take as you purge and evaluate your home?  

There had been a lot of social media banter on what to do during the Covid-19 Self-Isolation period. Taking the time to give your home a deep clean will have lasting benefits, and of course, free up more time for social activities when this is over.

Go out to the street…. look at your house?  Compare it to houses you’ve driven past that you liked.  Is there something simple you can do during this break to improve the “curb-appeal?

Next, pretend you are me, showing a prospective buyer, your home.  Walk in the front door, turn on the light and look around.  Is it clean, tidy, and inviting?   After all, this is the first impression of your home.

Take this same approach room by room, along with doing that deep clean you’ve wanted to do for a while anyway, and soon your home will feel like a model home.  

Please don’t do too good of a job, I don’t want you to love your current home and decide you are staying until the 50th anniversary of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

When the dust settles, and we look back on this chapter in our lives, I hope we look at it with a sense of, that wasn’t so bad. Either way, give me a call, I’d love to see how your cleaning and purging worked out.

Starbucks on Edinburgh Road now open

Life as a Realtor often leads to meeting clients in various public spaces to discuss business, or just to catch up on life. While Tim Hortons are plentiful in Guelph, they are often loud, busy and not as well equipped with outlets to allow MLS searches and document preparation. So, when a new place to meet opens, a morning coffee to see if it fits my needs is in order.

Unlike the other Starbucks locations in Guelph, the Edinburgh location is spacious with 4 high tops down the middle and other tables on one side. There are even 8 comfy chairs for gathering with friends tucked into the corner.

Overall, i’m impressed and happy that this location is open, with easy parking, space for clients and outlets for laptops. I’ll be back. Even if it is to just soak in the atmosphere while writing a blog post.

Speaking of Coffee, if you would like to have coffee with me, Michael Bennett, just send me a note at michaelbennett@royallepage.ca. I’m trying out a new application called Calendarly. So, I’ll just send you a link and you pick the time and place. I would love to connect and discuss your real estate needs.

Cheesy Downtown Guelph Gem!

Every once in a while, a store opens that makes the city, and in this case a neighbourhood so much better and more cultured. Tomme Cheese Shop in Downtown Guelph does just that. A cheese shop, after all, has to provide some culture, right?

Yesterday I picked up my first of 3 Cheese of the Month boxes from Tomme and enjoyed it along with some other appetizers with friends. A quick stop was made easy by parking in the new Wilson Street parking garage and walking across the street. My mystery package was in a nice box secured with a piece of stylish string, presentation reminiscent of traditional retailing.

Those who know me, know that I love cheese, even a simple grilled cheese sandwich. So, as I opened the box of cheese, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning opening the big gift. This was a Christmas Gift after all. Inside, individually wrapped was 3 kinds of cheese, a Chutney, and cue cards describing each cheese along with pairing notes.

Without ruining the surprise for others, all 3 of the cheeses were delicious along with the Chutney and I recommend you check out Tomme Cheese Shop soon. After all, everything tastes better with cheese, and downtown Guelph is better with Tomme Cheese Shop. Thank you Beverly-Ann, it was an awesome Christmas Present. I can’t wait until next month.

Guelph Mercury – My Thoughts 4 Years Later.

Marking the end of an era, the Guelph Mercury’s last edition rolled off the presses 4 years ago today. As someone who identified himself as a “Newspaperman” and advertising Sales Representative for nearly 27 years of it’s existence, it was a very memorable day.

Michael Bennett Photograph The last locally printed edition of the Guelph Mercury rolls off the Guelph press on February 7, 2014. The Mercury would go on to be printed at the Hamilton Spectator until it’s final edition on January 29, 2016

From inside its walls, The Guelph Mercury represented a tight-knit family of employees who continually achieved more. Our journalists often won big awards at the Ontario Newspaper Awards and our local advertising reps worked hard to maintain strong local ad revenues despite a national downward trend. On January 24th, 2016 we found out it wasn’t enough. It was announced that Metroland Media Group would be shuttering the Guelph Mercury on Friday, the 29th, 4 years ago today.

From this writer’s perspective, it was the people who made it last that long. The Guelph Mercury was the underdog. It was the small daily paper in a medium-sized market that continually saw it’s national advertising revenue decline, and yet the local revenues were stable amongst a small group of dedicated sales representatives. The people, sales reps, journalists, circulation, production and support staff together were the heart of the Guelph Mercury.

Some of those same people who made the Guelph Mercury overachieve have gone on to be integral in our community through new jobs at CJOY/Magic106.1, Defined Space, Guelph Sports Journal. the Guelph Tribune, OMAFRA, Guelph Today and more.

In January the following year, I started a career as a Real Estate Sales Representative with Royal Lepage Royal City Realty in Guelph and as much as I enjoy my new colleagues, they will never replace the group that worked late, met deadlines, won awards that the big dogs wanted, and occasionally threw nerf footballs around the office.

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