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 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.

We Get Outside In Guelph

One of our guests stops to read an interpretive sign while Gayle Labuz of Sometimes Eventful leads an informative hike through the trails in Pine Ridge Neighbourhood.
Michael Bennett loves Guelph and it’s outdoor spaces

We’ve all heard that getting outside is important for our mental and physical fitness. Have you considered that there is another benefit to getting outside which we don’t often hear about? A stroll around our neighbourhood, a wander along urban paths or a hike on a rural trail on the outskirts of town can do wonders to strengthen your knowledge and connection to our community.

Time spent outside can take you along pathways through historical parts of our city that were (and still are) critical to giving Guelph it’s unique personality. You can also experience an almost hidden wilderness where plants and animals flourish just steps away from our busy roads, our schools and our very urban homes. 

Preservation Park is a well-known natural oasis in the city. But did you also know the south-end communities of Pineridge, Westminster Woods and Clairfields have a connected network of trails and greenways?  Known as the Westminister Woods Subdivision Wetlands, the trail system was designed to be a storm water management area and to preserve some sensitive conservation lands. These outdoor spaces provide a flourishing habitat for flora and fauna that are as much a part of the community as any of the humans and domestic pets living in the suburban neighbourhoods. The trails allow urban hikers to walk for hours, leading them around a kettle lake and through wetland and forest. Remnants of pioneer fences and stone walls can be found just off the trails. And if you are very fortunate and walking the trail at the right time of year, you may be able to pick luscious raspberries from long-abandoned vines or possibly spot a deer. 

Last summer Michael and a group of friends and colleagues spent an hour on a portion of the Westminister Woods Subdivision Wetlands trail and experienced an incredible taste of the urban wildlife living there. Birds were singing, frogs were croaking and the breeze rustled the leaves of the tree canopy.  It was interesting to see how a modern subdivision used the natural environment for both practical reasons and recreation for the people living in the city.

In Guelph, we are fortunate to have access to the Westminister Woods trail, in addition to over 1000 hectares of parks and open space; more than 70 km of trails and paths, two rivers and Guelph Lake which is maintained by Grand River Conservation Authority. We also have the renowned University of Guelph Arboretum offering an incredible natural space to anyone looking for a place to get a taste of nature. Ranging from maintained, stroller and wheelchair friendly pathways to wilder trails left almost in their natural state, there is get-outside option for everyone in this town.
Helpful links:

Official City of Guelph Trails

The Arboreteum, University of Guelph

Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA)

Sometimes Eventful Outdoors Blog

Village by the Arboretum – Guelph



The Village by the Arboretum is a quiet neighbourhood nestled off Stone Road in Guelph’s South end. Neat and tidy homes rest along tree-lined streets in this tranquil part of our city. What really stands out in this pretty neighbourhood though, is the presence of community. More than a quaint name for a neighbourhood, “The Village” lives up to that title for the people who live there.

This is a very caring community, where we all look after each other and help each other out, even with simple things like making soup or take out the garbage for a neighbour.

one resident told us recently.

Developed specifically for the needs of Guelph’s 55+ citizens, The Village welcomed its first homeowners 25 years ago. It is a carefully planned community offering single family homes, townhomes and condominiums with amenities to meet the needs of its residents. A medical centre, spa and general store also call The Village home. Most notable is a community centre that is a hub for an impressive number of clubs and activities.

While buildings, trees and streets make-up the bones of a community, we all know that the heart of that community is made by those who live there. We chatted with a few of the people we’ve helped purchase homes in The Village to find out how they feel about their neighbourhood and why they chose to live in this special part of Guelph.

We chose the village for two main reasons: To be closer to our grandchildren and for the multitude of activities that the Arboretum offers, of which we have taken advantage of. We have been welcomed with open arms in the condos and at the recreational activities.

a happy, active couple shared with us.

The Village offers an array of activities for residents to join, covering the arts, fitness, sport and games as well as quieter leisure activities like a book club and bible study group. Social get-togethers are planned regularly, but quiet enjoyment is also always welcome in the library or café.

“We are so happy and contented here. In the few months since we moved in, we’ve already made some great friends and enjoyed social times at the Village Center. We go swimming at the indoor pool and enjoy walking on the many pathways and routes available,” commented one couple who recently moved to The Village. “Rarely do you go out through the “Village” without bumping into at least one or two people with a cheery “good morning” or “lovely day”.

Everyone we know who lives there, agree that The Village by the Arboretum is a special gem for seniors in our lively city. We love to show it off to people who are considering a move to a community suited to retirement living. Give us a call to find out more about owning a home in The Village within the city.