Investment in home improvement key in competitive housing market, says RE/MAX

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - An increasingly competitive housing
environment is prompting a significant number of Ontario homeowners to invest
in renovation before listing their homes for sale, according to a recent
survey by RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada.
    The RE/MAX Survey of Home Buying and Selling Trends in Ontario, conducted
by COMPAS Research, in the first half of 2008 found 79 per cent of sellers
said they made improvements to their homes two years prior to listing and more
than one third (39 per cent) of them did so with selling in mind. Further
indicative of how sophisticated sellers and buyers are becoming, 37 per cent
of sellers made upgrades to their home after listing their property for sale.
Home sellers are typically spending $21,000 on average in renovations; the
most popular of which are updating kitchens, hardwood flooring, and new
    "Investing in renovation for the purpose of selling a home continues to
grow in 2008," says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President and Regional
Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. "Changing market conditions are
largely responsible for the upward momentum in residential investment which is
up four per cent to $6.9 billion in Ontario for the first half of this year,
compared to last year at the same time. We are seeing two clear trends
emerging with some homeowners looking to boost resale value by renovating and
others choosing to bring their home up to today's standards by upgrading areas
that are dated. In either case, the end result is a product that will more
likely yield top dollar when it is time to sell."
    Renovations can drastically influence a home's market value. The RE/MAX
Survey found the wealthiest homeowners (those with an income of $150,000 or
more) spent the most on renovation at $37,663 on average, while those earning
under $30,000 spent the least at $8,263. Renovation costs typically increased
with housing values, with the cost of refurbishing a home priced at $500,000
or more topping out at $55,974.
    "With buyers visiting an average of nine properties before settling on
the one they want to call their own, sellers need a distinct advantage over
the competition," says Polzler. "Location is still the primary factor for
buyers, but a property's condition also plays an important role. Our Survey
found properties with updated kitchen cabinetry, hardwood flooring, new
windows, an open-concept and a finished basement appeal most to today's
selective purchaser."

    Most Appealing Upgrades and Gap (Most minus Least)
    All Sellers

                                       Most        Least          Most/Least
    Kitchen cabinet upgrade            18          1              +17
    Hardwood floor upgrade             11          2              +9
    New windows                        10          1              +9
    Removing walls to create
     open-concept living               8           2              +6
    Finishing the basement             8           3              +5
    Kitchen appliance upgrade          5           2              +3
    New shingles                       6           3              +3
    New bathroom taps and plumbing     4           3              +1
    New bathroom tiles                 2           1              +1

    The RE/MAX Survey of Home Buying and Selling Trends in Ontario surveyed
close to 1,000 Ontario home sellers using data provided to COMPAS Research by
RE/MAX. Samples of this size are deemed accurate to approximately three
percentage points 19 times out of 20.

    RE/MAX is Canada's leading real estate organization with over 17,500
sales associates situated throughout its more than 640 independently owned and
operated offices across the country. The RE/MAX franchise network, now in its
34th year, is a global real estate system operating in over 65 countries. More
than 7,000 independently owned offices engage more than 115,000 member sales
associates who lead the industry in professional designations, experience and
production while providing real estate services in residential, commercial,
referral and asset management. For more information, visit:

For further information:

For further information: Christine Martysiewicz, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic
Canada, (905) 542-2400; Eva Blay, Melissa Lucas, Point Blank Communications,
(416) 781-3911

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