Friday, December 18, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Bend

Merry Christmas and all the Best of the Season. Thank you for your support and business in 2009 and I wish you a Prosperous and Happy 2010


Thursday, December 3, 2009

The dreaded HST - the combined federal and provincial, 13% sales tax thats set to come into effect July 1, 2010 continues moving it's way through the Ontario legislature and the Feds including Ignatieff's Liberals passed the necessary federal legislation to allow the provinces of BC and Ontario to procede to implement it. Dalton McGuinty seems bound and determined not to listen to the opposition to the tax, meaning the citizens of Ontario, insisting its good for the economy. Exactly the already overtaxed and overburdened consumer where it really hurts on their day to day living expenses. It's not a done deal yet so write and or e-mail your MPP telling them NO to the HST.

Meanwhile in Grand Bend they have finished rebuilding and repaving Main St. and are vigilantly working on the Sidewalks and Intersections it looks like they will have no problem in getting finished for the spring and summer season. It's looking good out there

Mississauga, ON (December 3, 2009) -- In the midst of one of the most tumultuous economic periods in recent history, residential real estate has proven to be a safe harbour, with sales and average prices expected to post gains in most major Canadian cities in 2009, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.
for more click on the link below


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

HST will increase the costs of homeownership, say local REALTORS

The Government of Ontario formally launched its latest assault on homeowners, purchasers and sellers with the introduction of Bill 218, the Ontario Tax Plan for More Jobs and Growth Act, 2009.

Local REALTORS say the Government of Ontario's plan to introduce a HST on July 1, 2010 will significantly increase the cost of homeownership by increasing taxes on buyers, seller and owners.

Homebuyers and sellers will pay 8 per cent more on legal fees, appraisals, real estate commissions, home inspection fees, and moving costs, adding about $1,500 in new taxes to the average residential real estate transaction in Ontario.
For existing homeowners, the HST will also add hundreds of dollars in additional tax on utility bills, such as gas, electricity and home heating fuel, on home renovation labour, the cost of lawn upkeep or landscaping and the cost of snow removal.
No matter how you sell it, the HST is a big tax increase for local home buyers, sellers and owners, said Joe Hough, President of the London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS. We need government to reduce taxes and help families achieve their dreams of homeownership.
The HST combines the PST and GST into one value added tax, meaning that the 8 per cent PST will be applied to list of goods and services that were previously exempt.

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) estimates that the new tax will add $1,449 in new taxes to an average resale home costing $302,354. OREA also estimates that the HST will add an estimated $262 million in new taxes annually to residential resale real estate transactions.

Homeowners will also have to pay an additional 8 per cent on many services required to maintain their homes. These services were previously exempt from PST and include utilities, home renovation labour, landscaping, snow removal and many others. OREA estimates HST on these services will add $480 in annual tax to the homeowner (based on a family that budgets $500 per month for such costs).

London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS        LSTAR

342 Commissioners Rd. W., London, Ontario N6J 1Y3

Phone: 519.641.1400 or 519.641.1434 x244

Fax: 519.641.4613

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Downtown Grand Bend Changes

Construction is well underway on the upgrade and rebuild of Main Street
This is a new two storey building replacing Kazwear near the Beach
Looking West  toward the Lake

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An eventful month in Grand Bend this October

There is a big dig in front of Macs Milk and Back in Time , on Ontario St N ( hwy 21 ). Most of the parking lot is dug up perhaps looking for contaminated soil as this once was a Sunoco gas station .
Earlier this month gale force winds came thru town and quite a number of large trees came down
Just last Sunday  a fire caused by a burning cigarette destroyed most of the back end at Whitecaps, formerly Bikini Bobs and Gordies Beach House before that on the Main Street

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Summer continues in the Bend. With this great weather weekends and weekdays are busy. Lots of bargains in the stores.
This Fall Grand Bend's Famous strip will undergo a facelift and makeover tying it in with the Fabulous Beach makeover last year, enjoyed by many thousands this summer.
Photo is of Police vehicles in front of the Bonnie Doone ( still there) in 1959

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Beach is OPEN and its spectacular !!

The $3.5 million dollar Beach enhancement is completed and open, receiving excellent comments from everyone . Grand bend Beach has also received the Blue Flag designation along with the Grand Bend Harbour and the Port Franks Harbour.

The Grand Opening ceremonies are scheduled for June 30 and on Canada Day, July 1 the usual Fireworks are planned. The Town and beach have been busy this past month and with some consistent warmer weather it will be a great Summer in the Bend;

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

RE/MAX 2009 Recreational Property Report

Gen X to flex new purchasing muscle in recreational property markets across Canada, says RE/MAX
Mississauga, ON (June 2, 2009) - Generation X purchasers are poised to replace aging baby boomers as the major force in recreational property markets across the country, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.
The demographic shift was noted in the 2009 RE/MAX Recreational Property Report highlighting sales, pricing, trends and developments in 50 Canadian markets. The report found demand from Gen X (those born between 1965 and 1980) has nearly doubled over one year ago. Seventy-four per cent of markets surveyed this year reported a marked trend toward thirty-something buyers snapping up affordably-priced product, ranging from waterfront cottages to resort condominiums, compared to just 40 per cent in 2008.
"After being priced out of most markets for the better half of the last decade, Gen X purchasers now have the financial wherewithal to buy recreational product at virtually every price point," says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President, Regional Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. "Gen X is ideally positioned to pick up any slack in recreational property markets caused by softer demand from baby boomers and retirees. They represent the next wave of recreational property owners in Canada and they know it."

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

.....tis the season

Spring is finally well entrenched and Grand Bend is quickly coming alive.

Construction on the $ 3.5 Million dollar Beach enhancement is progressing quickly to meet the June 1 completion date. The picture above shows a new seating area underway at the old turn-around which now will be more of a lay by or drop off area with a new turn-around further south

New and old stores are opening up on the strip. Housing sales are fairly brisk with prices at or just below last years levels. The good news is there are lots of new listings in all areas.

Summer rentals are filling up and only 1 week in July and 3 in August are availble at 44 Walker in the downtown area. For info on that

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

First Time Buyers Keep it Moving

There's Good News in parts of the Real Estate Market especially for 1st time buyers. Read the following from
Kristine Owram, The Canadian Press on April 15
April 15, 2009 Kristine OwramThe Canadian Press
Real estate experts say low mortgage rates and more affordable homes in many markets are drawing out first-time home buyers in droves, but one independent analyst says the correction in Canadian home prices hasn't been nearly as dramatic as some believe.
Phil Soper, chief executive of Brookfield Real Estate Services, which operates under the Royal LePage banner, said prices are falling and lenders are lowering their rates, making the market more attractive to people looking to buy their first home.
"The uptick in first-time home buyer purchases across the country is quite astonishing,'' said Soper, speaking yesterday at a BMO conference on Canada's housing market.
"Affordability in places like Vancouver has improved for the first time in a very long time.''
BMO senior economist Sal Guatieri said the average mortgage payment has fallen by one-third, or $600, a month from its peak, while average resale home prices have fallen 14 per cent from their highs.
Guatieri said he expects resale prices to fall "moderately further'' this year for a cumulative decline in prices of approximately 20 per cent.
But Peter Norman, a consultant with independent real-estate adviser Altus Group, said the dramatic drops in home prices seen in places like Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary are the exception rather than the norm.
"This is not a housing adjustment period in Canada,'' Norman said in an interview.
"Certainly, housing demand has slowed down because the economy is the pits, but housing supply has slowed down a lot as well as a result.
"Outside of a couple of submarkets, there hasn't been much of a downward adjustment on price.''
Still, other changes in the market are making this a good time to buy a first home -- as long as the buyer can afford it, Norman said.
"There are a lot fewer of those stories of really rapidly selling houses, bidding wars, all that kind of stuff, so I think it can be a bit more of a sane market for somebody who's trying to buy right now,'' Norman said.
"It may take away some of the anxiety or it may help you make a better decision.''
And most important, overall affordability in the housing market has improved.
"If it wasn't for the recession and the aversion to financial risk that people have right now, it would probably be a very active market and a very good market,'' Norman said.
The Canadian Real Estate Association reported that house prices and sales continued to slide across Canada in February -- the latest month for which data are available -- compared with the same time last year, but activity was up for the first time since September.
The association said resale home prices fell 9.2 per cent across Canada in February to an average of $281,972, while sales fell 31 per cent to 25,373 units, the smallest year-over-year decline since October 2008. Seasonally adjusted sales fell 26.8 per cent.
Meanwhile, the number of homes that traded hands on the multiple listing service, or MLS, was up 8.6 per cent above seasonally adjusted levels in January.

Monday, March 30, 2009

At a time when the government should be helping consumers these brainiacs have hammered another nail in the coffin of the average citizen attempting to cover it up by offering a $ 1000.00 BRIBE.
People will quickly realize that their monthly costs for electricity, natural gas, phone, cable, satellite, internet as well as their already overtaxed automobile gasoline and countless other items that are now only taxed 5% GST ( not +8% PST ) will very quickly use up that BRIBE when they all jump up 8 % more.
The following news release is from the Ontario Association of Realtors

News Release
Sales tax harmonization will hurt resale home market

(Toronto, March 26, 2009) Ontario’s REALTORS® say the McGuinty governments plan to harmonize the GST and PST will add over $2,000 to the cost of a real estate transaction, hurting the resale home market and prolonging the housing industry’s recovery from the current economic downturn.
"Now is not the time to be erecting barriers to homeownership," said Pauline Aunger, President of the Ontario Real Estate Association. "We need consumers to invest in housing to help get our economy going again."
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, home sales in the province of Ontario were down 29 per cent in February, compared to 2008.
Under a harmonized sales tax (HST), home buyers and sellers will have to pay extra tax on a range of services associated with real estate transactions such as legal fees, moving costs, real estate commissions and home inspection fees. Currently, consumers only pay the 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on these services.
"These additional taxes could price some homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, right out of the market," explained Mrs. Aunger. "Harmonizing will not help homebuyers in any way."
For a resale house priced at $360,000, a HST could add over two thousand dollars in new taxes to closing costs. In total, a HST will add $313 million annually in new taxes to resale home transactions.
"In the last decade, Ontario’s homeowners have faced a barrage of new costs," said Aunger. "From municipal land transfer taxes to sky rocketing property taxes, homeowners are being pushed to the brink to accommodate increasing demands from government. A harmonized sales tax is yet another cash grab on Ontario’s already overtaxed homeowners."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

London Free Press Article from March 7, 2009

Never been a better time to buy that home .
Combined with falling house prices, real estate experts say now is the time to buy

OTTAWA -- Jim Rawson says it's a great time to buy a house.
The regional manager of Invis mortgage brokerage firm in Toronto has been in the business since 1978 and has never seen interest rates, both variable and fixed, so low. Pair that with falling housing prices and it's a no-brainer.
"People have to have somewhere to live and whether you are paying for a mortgage or paying rent, you still have to be paying to live somewhere," Rawson explains.
But something is missing in the equation. As prices for most consumer goods, cars and homes decline -- in some cases plunge -- and the cost of borrowing falls, Canadians have been hesitant to buy.
The Bank of Canada did its part this week to lure consumers and businesses out of their fox hole, dropping the overnight rate down to an unheard of 0.5% -- virtually zero.

Canada's chartered banks lowered their prime rate to 2.5% on Tuesday, shortly after the central bank moved, and by the end of the week were lowering other lending rates.
TD Canada Trust is reducing several of its posted fixed-term mortgage rates today. TD's biggest decrease was with its two-year mortgage, which falls to 5.0% from 5.75%.
Scotiabank lopped nearly two percentage points off the advertised price for its 10-year mortgage, which fell to 5.25% from 7.15%, yesterday.
Canadians have slowed down borrowing and spending, most visibly in the auto sector, which saw sales volume crash by 28% in February.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Should I Buy or Should I Go

When do you think the best time to buy might be????
When the prices are rising ? When selection is limited because things move fast ? When Sellers are getting multiple offers ? When Realtors are phoning looking for something to sell ? When you have to decide immediately and you don't dare add conditions to your Offer in case of losing out ?


How about when there are lots of choices on the market ? When the market is slower ? When ( unfortunately ) Sellers need to downsize for fear of not making their payments ? How about when Mortgage rates are the lowest in History

National and Local housing sales are down, new constuction is almost at a standstill and according to the Canadian Real Estate Association ( CREA )National MLS® home sales activity is expected to decline in 2009 before rebounding in 2010.

On top of this; part of the federal budget, Canada's "Economic Action Plan" includes a first-time home buyers' tax credit of 15% on closing costs (to a maximum of $5,000), which would be worth $750 off a buyer's federal tax bill. They have also increased the amount that first time buyers can withdraw from an RRSP to purchase a home from $20,000 to $25,000 for individuals, and from $40,000 to $50,000 for couples.

Keeping all this in mind the answer is staightforward.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SUMMER Rental Season Is upon Us

Large 3 bedroom 3 bath Executive Rental
in the heart of Grand Bend Ontario
Located on Walker St in Downtown Grand Bend
just 3 blocks to the excitement, restaurants,bars and shopping on Main St. Close enough to enjoy but quiet when you come home.
Front Rear and Side decks allow you to enjoy the Great Outdoors.
Both the busy Main Beach and the quiet North Beach ...Your Choice, are just minutes away.
Sleeps up to 10 with 2 double beds, 1 Queen and two Pull Out couches. Two separate Living Ares ideal for Families. Parking for up to 4 cars

Friday, February 6, 2009

Grand Bend Winter Carnival Underway

Winter Carnival is now on and its the last weekend
February 13 to 15.

Winter Carnival
this year has the theme

"Benguin Goes Hollywood "

for a full list of events and activities.

Pictured here are
2 of this years

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winter in Grand Bend

Winter Carnival will be held over 2 big weekends February 6 to 8 and February 13 to 15.

Winter Carnival
this year has the theme
"Benguin Goes Hollywood "


for a full list of events and activities.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Whats Happening in 09

There have been many thoughts and opinions published on what 2009 will be like, most are less than positive for most sectors of the economy. I naturally get asked about housing and mortgages.

In the resale market along Lake Huron the last two months of 2008 definitely slowed and while that normally happens there was a noticeable lack of activity this past year.

What then for 2009.

If you listen to or read our friends in the media you might be inclined to dig a hole and hide in it especially if it is US media and to a large extent Canadian media using negative headlines on US stories.

New house starts are definitely down, but down from record numbers since the start of 2000. Re-Sales are also down but again down from record numbers in this century.

Listings are up creating an adjustment to the marketplace resulting in a more balanced marketplace and turning from a Sellers market to a moderate Buyers market.

In our area along Lake Huron a large number of properties were bought in the last few years by Americans taking advantage of the huge difference in Buying power the Us dollar had, as much as 40% at one time. This surge drove Lakefront prices to more than double. This past year we've seen many of these properties come up for re-sale as many Americans facing uncertainty back home cash out. This has virtually eliminated further large increases in Lakefront values and in many cases lowered previous asking prices. The upsurge in Lakefront prices dragged other resort properties up and the drop in Lakefront prices is now moderating those prices as well. How much.... 5 to 10%. Will they continue to fall....... Not likely as there is still a demand for Vacation and Retirement properties and as long as there is water in Lake Huron there will be demand. Insofar as Lakefronts many may be waiting for further drops but remember they're not making any more of it so there is only a limited supply and prices will continue to reflect that.

Mortgages are at a 50 year low and there is money to lend. The factors that created the US mortgage crisis largely do not exist in Canada. Underwriting standards have been and are tougher and Canadians generally do not borrow or leverage their homes as much as Americans. The average Canadian homeowner has a 69% equity stake in their home The US homeowner 45%. So called "teaser" mortgages ie lower initial interest rates that reverted to much higher rates later, were not offered here. The percentage of Canadian mortgages in default is .3 % while its 4.5 % and rising in the US.

In short it is now a very good time to Buy. Inventories of resales are high offering a better selection than in the past, prices have moderated, and mortgage rates are unbelievably low and most of all don't forget properties on or with access to the Lake are limited in supply and they are not making any more.