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Visit My New Site

I’ve had a blast blogging here for the past three months and have started to build a bit of a following.  Unfortunately, this site is hosted by WordPress (free site) and has several limitation inherent in the platform.

Quickly, I realized that I needed to put this blog into its on space and give it a unique unique and address.

With that said, I’m pleased to announce that the second generation of this blog is now live, www.AboutParrySound.com . The new blog will carry the same editorial content of its predecessor, but will several new features, including a simpler interface.  It should also score higher in the Google ranking scheme, having its own unique URL.

I’ll keep this site up for the time being, but will not  be updating it after this date.

Enjoy the new site, and I’ll see you in cyberspace.

Jim

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Price Reduction

126003bNewly renovated four bedroom home only minutes from Dunchurch and within walking distance of public access on Whitestone Lake. Large country kitchen with tile floors and new cabinets, 2 full baths and pine-lined sunroom.

Asking only $164,900.  Clicking the photo to the left will take you to my website, where you can view additional pictures and download a feature sheet for this home.

Market Update

We’ve finally made is through January, and only have 6 more weeks of winter to endure (according to Wiarton Willie, anyway).

I just compiled the sales statistics for last month, and surprisingly, the number of sales were exactly the same as they were in January 2008.  While the waterfront market is still pretty quiet because of the time of the year, the residential market remains strong.  Supply is tight, and I’m looking forward to seeing more product coming onto the market soon, especially homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 range where most of the demand is.

Ottawa – January 27th, 2009 – The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) welcomes the federal government initiatives to stimulate economic growth outlined in the 2009 budget, especially those that will encourage home ownership in Canada. The Association applauds the government for recognizing the economic importance of the housing industry in some of the budget measures.

“The change announced to the popular Home Buyers’ Plan will help Canadians who want to own their own home, and do it in a responsible way that is not a major drain on taxpayers,” says the President of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), Calvin Lindberg.

Research conducted for CREA by the Altus Group shows that each residential real estate transaction in Canada generates $32,200 in ancillary consumer spending. The study also reported that 94,700 full time direct jobs were generated annually by that ancillary or spin-off activity. The study is posted on the http://www.crea.ca website.

“The federal government has found a way to introduce economic stimulus and housing initiatives for specific groups, and for Canadians who want to buy their first home.” Mr. Lindberg added. CREA had proposed the federal government do that by increasing the limit of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) to help stimulate the housing market.

Introduced in 1992 by a Conservative government and made permanent by a Liberal government in 1994, the HBP has broad political and consumer support.  It will now allow first time homebuyers to withdraw up to $25,000 from their RRSP to be used in a down payment on a residential property. The Plan has not had the same impact and relevance it did 16 years ago, when the original $20,000 limit represented 13.3 per cent of the average house price, versus about 6.5 per cent in 2008.

The Association also believes that the success of the proposed home renovation tax credit program will depend on effective administration and promotion.  “The use of tax credits will make the program of interest to many Canadians who own their own home,” adds the CREA President, “but the success will be tied in part to the availability of savings or credit, since the expense has to be paid before the tax credit is issued.”

A survey conducted for CREA by IPSOS Reid in October 2008 revealed that only 12 per cent of homeowners had ever applied to some type of government renovation or energy efficiency program. In that same survey, 36 per cent said they would consider replacing windows as a priority to improving home energy efficiency, while another 27 per cent said it would be adding insulation.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) also welcomes federal government initiatives that will encourage home ownership and better communities in Canada.  “The announced measures for aboriginal and social housing are welcomed by REALTORS® as steps to help house those who may be in need, and to modernize existing housing resources,” adds CREA President Calvin Lindberg.

CREA first called on governments to address various issues affecting native home ownership during the World Urban Forum in Vancouver in 2006. The Association’s analysis of native housing issues is available in a booklet posted on the http://www.crea.ca website. “The budget spending initiatives help address the issue of the quality of native housing, and quality of life on Canadian reserves.Equally as important is the transition to market-based housing on reserves, and the government in the budget has committed to the transition to that as well,” adds Mr. Lindberg.

Most Recent Articles

I found this interesting blog posting this morning:

Real estate and the technological world are like peas and carrots, they just go together. We live in a world of MLS photos, virtual tours, internet directories, press releases, and article submissions.  It is entirely feasible for a buyer to see every room of a home, in high quality vivid color, from the comfort of their own home, a coffee shop, or just about anywhere they can get an internet connection.  I recently read that as high as 86% of home shoppers will view available homes as well as find their Realtor on the Internet.Most Recent Articles, Jan 2009

You should read the whole article.

This blog entry in a response to Carli Whitwell’s excellent article in the most recent Parry Sound North Star,  www.parrysound.com/press/1232574466/

 
The truth of the matter is that the downtown core has been on the decline since the 1970s, when the Parry Sound Mall was built.  Since that was 35 years ago, it is absurd to assign the entire blame on the south end stores (really people, last time I counted there were only a handful of store there…it isn’t the south end of Barrie).

 I keep hearing about “preserving” the downtown, and rarely if ever, about expanding it.  The downtown core is exceptionally small when compared to the population of the town as a whole (Huntsville downtown, for example, is noticeably larger.  A fire in the 1980s destroyed a large block of storefronts that were replaced by a parking lot and The G.M. Taylor Building.  The actual stores were never really replaced.  Perhaps there is a critical mass required as a prerequisite to the success of a downtown?

 If the Town and the business association are really serious about ensure a healthy, prosperous Downtown, then they need to do something about it, instead of the usual whining and complaining.  Events like the ever popular “Art in the Park” brings people and consumer spending into the downtown core, but these types of events seems to be few and far between and typically occur only in the summer months.

 James Street itself is anything but pedestrian-friendly, clogged with vehicles in the summer months and choked with snow in the winter.  It is also very tricky (or treacherous) to cross the street as there is only one pedestrian signal at the corner of James and Seguin Street, and no other crosswalks along the entire length of the street.

To compound the problems, parking is a nightmare…12 months a year.  With ample free parking and no snow banks to hurdle at either the mall or at the south end of town, it is little wonder that consumers and our ever-growing senior population avoid the downtown.

The downtown can prosper once again but only if people and the town are willing to invest in the infrastructure necessary to attaining this goal.  The town, business association and indeed the merchants themselves need to “think beyond the box” and consider all the options, including remain open on Sundays, expanded store hours, and perhaps even taking cars off James Street and making a portion of it a pedestrian mall…a smaller version of Ottawa’s Sparks Street.

The recent weather we’ve been experiencing in Parry Sound (and most of central Canada, for that matter) is the coldest stretch we’ve experienced in several years.  The past two mornings, I’ve awoke to thermometer readings of -31 C., unable to get a certain Bruce Cockburn (or was that Coldburn?) song out of my thoughts.

Everyone is staying indoors as daytime temperatures struggle to reach -18 C. and looking out on the main street from the cozy comfort of my office, I see puffy cumulous clouds of exhaust being beached from vehicles left idling by the curb….more cars than people, actually.  School buses have been cancelled for the second consecutive day, but I yet to see any kids walking around enjoying the impromptu holiday.

This week’s real estate market has been as cold and frozen as the weather.   Not that I can blame people, after all, who wants to see homes or cottages in this type of weather?    The weather will eventually warm, and remember, spring is only….errr…nine weeks way.