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All posts for the month September, 2017

Disturbing Trend? 2017 Q2 Saw Canadian Debt-to-Disposable Income Load Rise

Published September 25, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Rising house sales conceptThe term ‘house poor’ is one that nearly everyone will know, as it’s been put out there en masse in reference to the way in which a large number of Canadians have a disproportionately large percentage of their monthly income dedicated to mortgage payments and the like. With that much debt, they’re quite often is position where they’re affording the roof over their heads, and not much else.

Disposable income is entirely a foreign term for these folks, and it seems like there’s ever greater numbers of them these days.

Here at Real Estate Leads, we’ve been pleased to see our online lead generation system for realtors a great success, and we further enjoy sharing perspective on the subject that pertains to everyone who’ll visit here – buying or selling a home. And this particular subject – the debt to disposable income load for Canadians and the fact the numbers are constantly rising – is definitely one to have a long look at.

Statistics Canada latest findings announced that the amount Canadians owed compared with their disposable income climbed higher over the second quarter of this year.

Household credit market debt in Canada – as a proportion of household disposable income- increased to 167.8 per cent, which is a staggering jump of 166.6 %in the first quarter. To put that in layman’s terms, for every dollar of household disposable income, the individual is carrying $1.68 in credit market debt on average.

This increase in the debt ratio arrived just as household net worth on a per capita basis fell by an average of $1,300, down to $285,900. Over that same period household income increased by 1.2%, paralleled by household credit market debt rising 1.9%.

The general consensus is that a decline in household net worth that coincides with a sharp increase in consumer credit growth indicates that the ability of households to absorb higher interest rates is diminishing, and quite significantly at that.

Further troubling is that overall household credit market debt, including consumer credit, mortgage and non-mortgage loans, came out to a total of nearly $2.08 trillion over this time period. Mortgage debt increased 1.6% to $1.36 trillion, while consumer credit levels went up by 2.4% to $609.6 billion.

Ideally – and intelligently – increased mortgage debt should be countered by decreasing consumer debt levels, not the other way around. And keep in mind as well that household indebtedness poses a significant risk to the economic health of the country. This is particularly true in regions that have greater sensitivity to higher interest rates, like B.C. and Ontario.

Experts agree that the forecast is one where the ‘spending environment’ (and not just for consumers, businesses and governments too) will be much more of a challenge in the fact of recent interest rate hikes instituted by the Bank of Canada. We can expect further deterioration in the debt service ratio in the coming quarters it would seem, and that in itself has the potential for major repercussions in the housing market.

Naturally, a healthy and active housing market is of great benefit to those of you who are realtors. Sign up with Real Estate Leads here and supercharge your prospecting efforts with qualified online-generated buyer and seller leads delivered to you exclusively for your exclusive region of the country. Take the opportunities they provide for you and turn them into clients!

Canadian Home Sales Likely to Drop to Lowest Level in 3 Years

Published September 19, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Residences in South Richmond BC a close neighborhood.Despite certain suggestions to the contrary and the assurances of others, it appears that 2018 will see Canadian home sales dropping to their lowest level in three years, driven in large part by a measurable decline in Ontario. All of this according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, and a forecast that comes with both troubling and promising aspects depending on which side of the owner / buyer fence you’re on.

Here at Real Estate Leads, we understand that predictions of this variety will weigh heavily with those of you who make up the bulk of our audience and registrants – realtors. Our online lead generation system for realtors has been a big success, and we feel that sharing relevant information regarding the national market and facilitating discussion around it benefits everyone.

So let’s look at this forecast in greater detail.

A Noticeable Dip

The association’s expectation is that a number slightly in excess of 495,100 will indicate the number of homes to be sold next year, downgrading its sales forecast for 2017 with a 9.9% drop in August as compared to a year ago.

Come January and the beginning of 2018, the prediction is that sales will fall 2.3% through 2018, and further that the remainder of 2017 will see a 5.3% decline on the original forecast of roughly 506,000 homes to be sold between June 1 and Dec.31 of this year, a number that’s approximately 20K less than what was first forecast in June of this year.

Looking at in greater depth, it’s interesting to note that seasonally adjusted sales in August rose 1.3% from the prior month, in large part due to a 14.3% boost coming from the GTA area. While that in itself will sound promising, the fact that sales in this area are down 35% from a year ago tempers the positivity considerably.

More than a few industry experts believe that the worst may have passed for the GTA, especially following provincially-implemented policy changes restricting foreign buyers, but there’s a lack of anything tangible to bear out that optimism.

Similar Outcomes Elsewhere

The CREA expects sales in British Columbia and Ontario will show themselves to have fallen by 10% or so by the end of 2017, and of course that’s in comparison to record highs set in 2016.

Sales last month were down in nearly 2/3 of all local markets, led by the country’s most populated greater metro area – Greater Toronto and its nearby housing markets.

Meanwhile, out west in Vancouver, August sales were up 7.3% from July and 21.3% higher than where they came in a year ago. Given the ever-hot and fast moving nature of the market in the Lower Mainland, homebuyers are of course watching mortgage rates carefully. Recent interest rate increases are prompting some to make offers before the rates make the scheduled climb, but at the same time others are pulling back.

Housing prices, however, continue to climb and seem unaffected by the dip-in-sales trend, at least for now. The average price for a home sold last month was $472,247, which is up 3.6% compared to a year ago. Greater Toronto was up 3.1%, and Greater Vancouver came in at 17.9%.

The national average price excluding these 2 regions? $373,859.

That number is expected to be up 3.4% to $507,700 come the end of December, which is lower than the prior forecast and that’s in large part because of fewer luxury home sales in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region.

The projected 0.6% drop to $503,500 next year is expected to be a reflection of a record number of high-end home sales around Toronto earlier this year, but the fact that that likely won’t be repeated in 2018 is behind the drop.

Other Projections by Area

Newfoundland and Labrador sales this year are forecast to dip by 8.1%.

Saskatchewan should decline by about 4%.

Alberta is predicted to buck the trend, and projected to have Canada’s largest increase here at 7.4%. While that’s a plus for sure, it’s still below the provincial 10-year average.

Last but not least, sales are forecast to expand 5.4 % in Quebec and 5.7% in New Brunswick.

With all of this understood, we’ll of course have to wait and see if these predictions materialize. Should they do so, it will of course mean a bit of a downswing in the industry but as the old saying goes ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going.’ Put more into your prospecting efforts and apply yourself more stringently and you’ll be able to keep your earnings where they need to be.

Of course, signing up with Real Estate Leads here is a great idea to supercharge those efforts. You’ll receive qualified online-generated buyer and seller leads delivered to you exclusively for your exclusively-retained area / neighbourhood of your home province. From there, what you turn this opportunities into is up to you!

4 Innovative Approaches to Marketing Real Estate

Published September 7, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

one house with a web address bar and a signboard with text: for sale, concept of real estate on the web (3d render)

Ask any realtor what’s the number one engine driving change in the way properties are marketed and he or she will almost certainly reply that it’s technology, and web-based ones in particular. As is always the case, it’s those who adapt to and embrace these new technologies who gain the greatest amount of benefit from them before their use and application becomes commonplace. Here at Real Estate Leads, we’re obviously keen on new technologies too, having brought our own offering to the table with our online lead generation system for realtors in Canada that’s been especially well received.

Technology comes from innovation, and in turn technology is implemented with innovative approaches to using it. These new approaches can give real estate agents and brokers and edge in an increasingly crowded place. Embracing changing technology, generating unique content, and carving out a specialty niche to stand out from the competition is highly recommended.

Here are 4 innovative marketing trends for real estate agents or brokers.

Video or Live Streaming of Property or Neighbourhood Walk-Throughs

Most of us can take quality 1080p HD video with our smartphones, and video has the potential to be an enormous marketing asset. People by and large pay more attention to videos than text communications and, as of this year, video constitutes 74% of all web traffic.

Short, bite sized videos let real estate agents quickly and easily share the appeal of a specific property. Many brokerages or individual real estate agents will have a prominent section of their website dedicated to video real estate listings.

What’s exploded in popularity these days among realtors, however, is live streaming. It’s a fact that people spend 3x longer watching live streaming video than they are willing to give to other forms of video.

That should sound plenty good to real estate agents: they can live stream videos to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or other social media platforms to allow potential clients an in-person look at available properties or neighbourhood hot spots.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to ‘go live’ on YouTube –

Target Specific SEO Keywords Highlighting Your Real Estate Niche

In real estate, 9 times out of 10 your buyer or seller will come from a targeted audience. Keep in mind though that the website of an individual real estate agent won’t able to compete with the well-paid SEO efforts of MLS giants like Zillow.com or Realtor.com. That’s not to say you can’t increase the visibility of your site for search engine like Google and the like, and the key to doing so is by identifying related keywords that are specific to your niche or location – whatever or wherever that may be.

The key here is to NOT attempt these revisions to the text on your website – unless you’re an SEO professional or experienced web copywriter. If you’re not familiar with SEO optimization, meet with one of these experts and share what it is that makes YOU unique in your capacity to serve SPECIFIC customers in YOUR area. He or she will then incorporate these changes to your web copy, without ‘stuffing’ the content – which is the common mistake made by anyone who attempts to DIY upgrade their search engine optimization. It needs to read naturally for 2 reasons; first, keyword stuffing really reads awfully, and second, Google and other major search engines will actually penalize you for it – meaning it will actually harm your website’s SEO!

Zoom in on hyper-local keywords such as neighbourhoods or even postal codes. Are you an expert in neighborhoods like Kingsway or Spruce Grove, for example? Content marketing that’s developed according to specific neighborhoods is getting big. Smart real estate agents or brokers make their targeted locations clear, so as suggested above go ahead and ask around and be open to paying for the services of a professional.

Use a Real Estate Website Building Service

The majority of you won’t have hours or thousands of dollars to spend constructing and maintaining a real estate website. Most realtors will have a website, but the technology associated with web development has grown in leaps and bounds and you stand to benefit immensely if you upgrade to one of the much more dynamic websites that are available these days.

Much the same as above, don’t hesitate to pay a web developer to build you a website that’s both a reflection of the calibre of your business and one that’s particularly engaging for would-be clients that visit it.

Here is a list of the top web developers in Canada.

Many of these new super dynamic real estate sites are MLS integrated and easily customized to target a variety of audience types, generate leads, and more. Your developer may also be able to incorporate building pages, which show a specific development’s unique story. Speaking of stories…

Tell & Sell the Real Estate Story

As is the case in every industry now, content marketing in real estate is more powerful by the day. Realtors can and should be able to sell the experience and tell a great story, whether on their own (you’re likely a much better writer than you’re aware) or with the help of a content marketing specialist. Create content that focuses on the neighborhoods you cover; for example, what are the 3 best schools in that area? What sports or recreational pursuits are available in the nearby vicinity? You get the idea.

Also, when you’re putting together your content make sure you’re not simply rolling out one ‘fact’ after another. The best stories create a bond between you and your prospective clients. Research has shown that 92% of consumers want marketing materials that share some type of story where they can imagine themselves in the experience, rather than being told ‘it’s like this, it’s like that’ . Be creative, especially with your real estate blog posts. Share an engaging bit with them about what their experience could well be in their new home.

These are but 4 examples of ways you can harness the power of new digital media for your benefit with your real estate business. Of course, signing up with Real Estate Leads here and enjoying online-generated qualified buyer and seller leads delivered to you exclusively each month will be similarly beneficial, and we bet you’ll be plenty intrigued with our service once you dig into the details of it a bit.