Thanks to Point2Homes for the amazing opportunity to conduct an interview about the Georgina Real Estate Market!
What do you get when you combine local real estate experience learned as the family trade with millennial social-media savvy and a keen mind? You get a great overview of the Georgina real estate market from a young broker who can offer expert insights in the most congenial, genuine manner. Meet born and bred Georgina realtor, Daniel Foch.
Daniel Foch is building on 25 years of shared family real estate experience.
Tell us about Foch Family Real Estate and your role as a Broker. Is a family business suited for the real estate industry?
As a broker I’m responsible for everything from generating leads and maintaining business, to conducting market reports, going on buyer and seller appointments, writing deals, and doing everything I can to ensure that our clients have a fantastic experience from start to finish.
I think that being a family, and actually behaving like a family, gives us an advantage in the respect that we don’t treat each other like a “team” or “associates”. We have a very personally tailored service model, we trust one another, and operate on a very relationship-driven basis.
What do you love most about your job?
I like being given the ability to help people make a decision that will bring them happiness for an extended period of time. I love the feeling of putting together a tough deal or solving a challenging real estate problem.
What were the biggest challenges that you/your family faced when you first entered the real estate industry?
I think my mom and I both experienced the same thing, but from different perspectives. 25 years ago, she struggled to be taken seriously as a young female agent in a male-dominated industry. Now, at 25 years old, I find that it is a challenge for me to be taken seriously as a young broker in an industry that places such a high value on experience. I have to leverage my education to communicate my value to clients until I’m more experienced.
Marketing is a powerful tool that can help overcome difficulties like this. Browse these real estate marketing tips for some inspiration.
What are the major trends in Georgina’s real estate market currently?
I would say the biggest trend right now has been a gradual increase in the price floor. Where you used to be able to get a barely-livable 2- or 3-bedroom bungalow in town for $275,000, you’re now looking upwards of $325,000.
Urban economics will tell you that’s caused by an increase in the land cost due to demand. This makes sense, because the structures contribute very little value to the transaction price. But we haven’t really seen any shovel-ready building lots sell in town for upwards of $260,000, because inventory is so scarce.
It will be interesting to see where building lots sell in the coming months. A few of the more objective trends are:
- The popularity of double-lots on the canal system in Keswick South among foreign home buyers;
- The migration of first-time home buyers to more rural areas in Georgina, away from subdivisions, into larger lots with smaller homes which have more upside potential for renovation or redevelopment;
- Prices seem to be pegged to the new-build supply prices that builders are charging;
- Retail and commercial services finally seem to be catching up to the massive increase in population.
The report you published in July shows a decrease in homes sales in Keswick South, paired with an increase in homes sales in Keswick North and Sutton & Jackson’s Point. Why do you think the interest dropped in Keswick South, and why did it increase in the latter two areas?
I never really thought about it as a drop, but more of a settling. I think that Keswick South rallied so hard in the spring market because its inventory epitomized what the market was seeking at that time: family homes.
I think that once the spring market settled a little, we started to see a more relative prominence in those other areas, which may have been catalyzed by buyers re-entering the market in the summer, once they were no longer dwarfed by the power of the buyers in Keswick South.
I also think that new construction plays a major role here. Simcoe Landing (the largest development in Keswick South) was just breaking ground on its new phase in the spring. When buyers see that kind of development, it shows promise for investment potential. It helps them rationalize growing prices and it creates a general sense of urgency.
During the summer, those units started reaching the pipeline. I think that essentially stopped the perceived scarcity of resale homes, while simultaneously filling the demand for units.
Did you notice any major fluctuations in Georgina’s home prices over the last months?
The most substantial was from April to May 2016, a jump from approximately $475,000 to $538,000 average sale price in Georgina. Nothing major has happened since then in regards to house prices.
It appears that we’ve reached an equilibrium average price in Georgina, at least for the summer. I’m actually working on my September Market report now and I do expect that to change a little bit.
What makes Georgina special? What is the town’s strongest point and what is the main reason someone new would decide to buy a home and move here?
Most people will tell you the lake, and I do agree. Being on the shores of Lake Simcoe does play a huge role in the vitality of our town. The fresh nautical air feels different and it smells different.
Our town becomes a completely different place in the summer. It’s full of life and energy, tourists visiting the beautiful beaches and waterfront areas. It doesn’t surprise me that most people would say that Lake Simcoe is what makes Georgina special.
Photo by Lauren Roberts
In my opinion though, it’s the people, the community. You meet some of the most salt-of-the-earth people in this town. Hard working people, individuals of all different walks of life, different perspectives. For some reason this town just brings everyone together.
You’ll routinely drive down roads in Keswick and see garages full of neighbours watching the hockey game, or a hundred people at the outdoor rink in Pefferlaw playing shinny on a weeknight until the lights shut off.
We all get along, for the most part. We hold the door for each other at the grocery store, let people cut in line at Tim Hortons, and smile when we pass one another on the sidewalk. I could be wrong, but I don’t think you find that much south of Ravenshoe.
Is there a particular neighbourhood that home buyers are most attracted to?
Depends on the buyers. Most people migrating to Keswick prefer Simcoe Landing. The majority of people throughout Georgina are happy where they are, I think, but most people migrating to Georgina like the new build areas.
In Sutton those would be Jubilee, Summers Meadow, Fairgrounds and Cedar Ridge, and eventually Hedge Road Landing. In Keswick the only major new home supply is in Simcoe Landing.
Investors really seem to like the small old cottages between Metro Road and Lake Drive. They do make for great rental properties, and could have a huge redevelopment upside in the future.
Our 2016 home buyer profile shows that most of the home searches in Ontario targeted homes with at least 3 or 4 bedrooms. Does this trend apply to Georgina real estate? Are home buyers interested in larger homes?
I think this is one of the reasons we saw such a substantial price growth from April-May 2016. It was sort of a selection bias, because the buyer pool became overrun with people looking for large family homes, and it’s seemed to stay there. We do have a demand for larger homes, but realistically I think a good portion of that is filled by new housing stock.
What is the main challenge for the Georgina real estate industry at this time?
The biggest challenge, without a doubt, is for our municipality to put some serious effort into getting new-builds into the pipeline. We have so much housing stock on hold. I won’t speculate on who is to blame, but the scarcity of inventory in our municipality will not stop driving prices up until we have a greater inventory. It’s that simple.
Scarcity south of here is pushing people north. Being in the northern part of the GTA, we have sort of landed as the end of the roll in the GTA real estate market for buyers to “drive ‘til they qualify”. That’s why our price and volume have been changing more consistently than anywhere else.
Daniel Foch is continuing his family business with Foch Family Real Estate. Building on 25 years of shared experience in real estate and business networking, his strongest assets are his genuine passion for Gerogina real estate, and a keen eye for the shifting patterns of the market.
Thinking of heading north? Here’s an itinerary:
Toronto | Markham | Richmond Hill | Newmarket | Georgina