I FOUND MY CRYSTAL BALL!

As the end of the year rolls around I yet again find myself looking back on the year and thinking about what surprised me and what didn’t. As my crystal ball never has provided a clear picture for the coming year I have done my homework again this year to find out what all the ‘experts’ think is going to occur in the next 12 months. Why we always rely on these folks I am not sure. They are always right to some extent, but we never can be sure where they will be wrong. I know I always try to temper their positive predictions and emphasize the negative to try and come up with a guess that won’t be too disappointing if they are really wrong.

In our business of helping people buy and sell homes, we are often asked whether it’s a good time to buy or sell. We all move for different reasons so a good time for one individual may not be as good for another. One thing I do know for sure is that the coming year will see any number of people moving to accommodate a growing family, or downsizing as the last child finally moves out. Or perhaps it’s the newlyweds, or the family that has been transferred for a new job. There are always families moving for one reason or another. The ‘experts’ tell us that this year will be another good year in the Hamilton real estate market. That’s one prediction I hope they have right.

The ‘experts’ again say that 2012 will be a good year for employment in the Hamilton area. Another group of ‘experts’ says that the Canadian economy is going just fine thank you very much … no change in sight. (they are notoriously short sighted). Jobs are growing, interest rates are steady, immigration is continuing at a great rate. We must be living in Utopia!

As I mentioned before, a grain of salt is really necessary with all these Pollyanna ideas. I am sure each prediction for 2012 is true to some extent. I am definitely holding on to the jobs and strong economy ones, as they will drive many of the others. But… I also look at what is happening in other parts of the world, and know that we are not insulated from what is occurring globally.

So, I have polished up my crystal ball and it’s showing me that 2012 will be a good year. Couples will get married, children will be born, they eventually will leave home, (well maybe not all of them), folks will be offered better jobs elsewhere and some will be happy with the status quo. Regardless of all the predictions, the one thing I know for sure is that I will be sitting here in a year’s time, again deciding what surprised me.

I’m always interested in other people’s predictions, so let me know how you see the coming year.

Your Grateful List

The Holiday Season is a very emotional time for people. Children get excited thinking about all the gifts they may receive, people get excited about helping others in need, getting together with family, celebrating the religious holidays and so on.

For some people it is a time to reflect on the past year, what they have accomplished in their lives, relationships, careers, etc. For others it can be a lonely time of year. I have a little tip for everyone who may think their lives, relationships, or even their business is not going their way. You can do this exercise anywhere and at any time throughout the year and it will always work to improve your attitude and your perspective. It will help you to achieve the positive results you’re looking for.

This is what you do:

Whenever you’re in fear of something (professional, emotional, financial or whatever) all you need to do is make a GRATEFUL LIST!

You need to write down 25 things you are grateful for. Your list can contain many different things. Here are some suggestions to help you think of what you may be grateful for:

Having good health – Your family having good health – Having a job– Being in a position to help others – Your ability to enjoy a good meal today – To be able to afford that good meal – Having faith in your God – Being blessed with good friends – Working for a company where everyone helps one another be successful – Having a home to go to – Being able to help my children achieve their goals – Residing in a country where you can become anything you want – Being able to read and write.

These are just a few ideas to help you get started. Since I am in sales I have to remember it is not about me but what I can do to help people achieve their goals and make their life better.

Take my advice, when you are feeling a little discouraged, sit down and write your grateful list. You will realize how full your life is and you will remember what you’re here for – to add value to others lives.

To all my family, friends, clients, co-workers, fellow REALTORS®, and everyone else out there I would like to say THANK YOU for your ongoing support and wish you all the VERY BEST this Holiday Season and continued good health and success for the coming year.

Urban / Suburban

The HGTV show has it right. There is a lot of difference between these two choices of lifestyle, with both having great things to offer. Gary and I are no doubt on opposite sides of this discussion, as we have both chosen very different neighbourhoods to call home. Neither choice is the right one for everyone, as we all look for different amenities and entertainment.

The Hamilton area definitely offers both choices for our residents.

I have spent my life living in the suburban world, namely Ancaster, and wouldn’t move to an urban setting for anything. The Hamilton area offers more than just Ancaster to would be suburban buyers. Consider Dundas, with it’s great sense of history and community just minutes from downtown, or Flamborough, truly rural living still only 15 to 20 minutes from the centre of the city. Both of these areas share with Ancaster the beauty of living surrounded by nature, with conservation areas, trails, parks and more at your doorstep.

Urban dwellers have been known to comment on the lack of public transportation and shopping malls in the suburban areas. As a resident, I can assure you we don’t miss them.  The bus goes through town a few times a day to take you to the city, and the malls lie just 15 minutes away, keeping all the busy traffic and the congestion away from our homes. As for entertainment, movie theatres are nearby, arenas and playing fields for sports are within our neighbourhoods, and if the urge to get culture strikes, Hamilton Place and Theatre Aquarius are just a 15 minute drive away. And like all other areas we have more restaurants than you can shake a stick at.

Suburban living isn’t perfect (pretty close though). If you have children, they likely will be bused to school, you do have to put up with commuting into the city, with what would be a 10 minute drive outside rush hour being a 30 minute trip somedays. Also, housing is more expensive, as homes are generally larger and sit on larger lots. Of course, taxes are higher too.

All in all though, urban living, with all the convenience of shopping, transportation schools and everything else in your backyard can’t come close to suburban living, at least in the opinion of this suburbanite.

Check back, as I am sure Gary will be only to happy to tell you why I’m shortsighted as to all the things I am missing by not living in the city.

How about you – do you have a preference? Join in and let’s share what we enjoy about our choice as to where we call home.

November Real Estate Statistics for Hamilton-Burlington Area

Information provided by the REALTORS Association of Hamilton-Burlington

Residential condominium market continues to shine

(December 6, 2011 – Hamilton, Ontario) The real estate market in the Greater Hamilton, Burlington and outlying areas* continued to show increases in listings, sales and average sale price when compared to the same month last year, according to Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) statistics released today by the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB).

The residential condominium market saw the largest gain with an 11.2 per cent increase in the number of sales when compared to November of last year. The same market also saw a 6.1 per cent increase in average sale price over the same month last year. The 189 condominium sales were better than the ten-year average of 179 sales for the month.

In the residential freehold market, sales were up slightly less than two per cent over the same month last year and average sale price was up 8.7 per cent.

Listings were up over both last year and the 10-year average in all sectors.

“We are continuing to see a strong condominium market this year,” said RAHB President Ann Forbes Arndt. “Year to date, condo sales are just over five percent higher than during the same period last year, and the average sale price is 3.4 per cent higher than last for the same 11-month period.”

Other year to date figures show that while the condominium market is stronger than last year, the residential freehold market is just over one per cent lower than the same period last year. Average sale price in the freehold market, however, rose 4.8 per cent over the same year to date period last year.

“Every community in our marketing area has their own localized residential market with larger swings than we see in the overall numbers,” said Arndt. Waterdown, Glanbrook and Dunnville (area 61) all saw significant increases in numbers of sales, while Caledonia and Grimsby showed the largest drops in sales compared to November of last year.

Dundas and Caledonia saw the greatest decrease in average sale price compared to the same month last year while Grimsby, Flamborough and Waterdown had the greatest increases in average sale price.

“These results should not be taken as trends as they are merely snapshots of the market at a particular time,” added Arndt.

Figures quoted are for sales and average sale prices of units located in the jurisdiction* of the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington and processed through RAHB’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®). Unit sales reflect “all property types” including residential, condominium, commercial property, farm, vacant land and business, unless otherwise specified.

*RAHB’s jurisdiction includes Burlington, Waterdown, Flamborough and Dundas in the north; Hamilton, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, and Grimsby along Lake Ontario; and extends down to the shores of Lake Erie, including Glanbrook, West Lincoln, Smithville, Dunnville, Cayuga, Caledonia, and Hagersville.

Giving Back

I can’t believe it has already been four years since I joined Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate. As an active volunteer in my community, it was important for me when deciding to make a change of company, to belong to an organization that supports and gives back to the community where they do their business. What I discovered was, the people at Coldwell Banker Pinnacle, staff and sales reps alike, were a very generous group. As individuals many of them volunteer on an ongoing basis in various organizations such as Rotary, Lions Club, Optimist Club, churches, schools, coaching amateur sports, community theatre, Neighbour-to-Neighbour, and the list goes on and on.

We have a blast all year long organizing FUNdraising activities such as bar-b-ques, chili cook off competitions, 50/50 draws, used clothing sales, confectionary and snack sales, to name but a few. The bar-b-ques are the most fun as people from the surrounding businesses show up for lunch. I never knew there were so many different ways to BBQ a burger! Sometimes people driving or walking down the street stop in for a burger or two. One time we even had some contractors who were working down the street drop in for a bite. You just never know who is going to show up!!

As a group we decided a few years ago to do away with the large corporate Holiday Party and turn it into a fundraising luncheon. At this years’ luncheon, through the generosity of all my co-workers we raised almost $4,000.

What do we do with the funds we raise, you might ask? Well, over the last several years we have supported and brought a little joy to more than 30 families with more than 60 children during the Holiday Season.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Coldwell Banker Pinnacle for their tireless work and generosity and to say how proud and fortunate I am to belong to such a caring group of individuals.

I would like to wish everyone a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season!

Hamilton is not JUST a Steel City

It really ticks me off when people ask where I am from and when I say Hamilton, they go, oh, that’s where all the steel factories are… making it obvious they think I live in a dirty, undesirable city.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and I don’t waste any time letting them know!

I don’t deny our city got its start as a steel centre, and no one driving along the bay waterfront in our central city can miss the smokestacks. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, and many of our families rely on income and pensions from our steel companies,

BUT…

No other city can claim to have the most waterfalls within its boundaries, or the amount of land dedicated to conservation, or how about our Pier 4, or the Royal Botanical Gardens? THINK AGAIN FOLKS.

We live in a beautiful city situated in the heart of the Niagara Escarpment. Our number one employment sector now is Health Sciences and we are world renowned for our Children’s Hospital.

Don’t be dissing my city… I’m proud of my city, and if you doubt my word on its attributes, check out some of the websites below… they are just a taste of what Hamilton is all about.

http://www.cityofwaterfalls.ca/hamilton_falls_list.html

http://www.conservationhamilton.ca/conservation-areas/conservation-areas/welcome-to-the-hamilton-conservation-areas

http://www.rbg.ca/Page.aspx?pid=351

http://www.ontariotrails.on.ca/trails-a-z/pier-4-park-trail/