Editorial - County Voice Thursday, August 12th, 2010

The current edition of the County Voice has an interesting editorial pertaining to many local issues in our community.  This is the link to the website:  http://www.countyvoice.ca/  This editorial includes various quotes from Andrew regarding real estate.

This is a copy of the text for those who may be unable to access this article.

Editorial VIEWPOINT by Stephen Patrick, County Voice, Thursday August 12th, 2010.

Business, Parades, Smiles, and... Real Estate

This summer's weather in the Highlands has been a rather wonderful mixture of perfect, long sunny days, a good dash of real plus 30 C heat, monsoon like rains, and humid nights.  The early summer - remember how April and May felt like July, with almost no rain?  - saw the Haliburton watershed lakes fall to some of their lowest recorded levels, only to rebound to challenge the highest recorded levels a week or so ago.  Anecdotal evidence: our family's swimming rock on Koshlong Lake has never been under water this late in the year, at least for the last 60 years or so.  Drag, Kennisis, and Redstone levels have touched or exceeded those high levels as well.

Businesses all over the County have generally had an above average summer.  The main street of Haliburton Village has been booming, and public events have seen huge attendance figures.  The Rails End Gallery's Arts and Crafts show hosted 7000 people a few weeks ago.  Last week's Rotary Parade was a boffo success, and this weekend's Smile Festival enjoyed a great beginning.  Haliburton's restaurants have also been overflowing, aided in no small part by the presence of the Haliburton Summer Festival's well-attended shows.  Highlands East's Plein Air Festival on the August long weekend was a great success too, just in its second year.  The Minden Kinsman's Truck Pull and Shine was a terrific event, as usual.

Just what long-term impact this summer's businesses and cultural/entertainment success stories will have on the County as a whole is hard to determine.  But Andrew Hodgson, Broker of Record at Century 21, told the Voice that this summer's real estate stats are very encouraging.  From January 1st to July 31st sales across the board (recreational, residential, business and vacant land) have gone up some 20 percent over last year's.  June figures were a little down, but that had more to do with the fact that , due to the amazing April and May weather, lots of sales were pushed up.  Interest rate hikes, and the July 1st introduction of the HST were also factors.

Hodgson also noted that, year to date, waterfront sales of properties selling for over $500,000 had more than doubled over 2009, from 19 to 39.  "There's no doubt that more smart money is coming to Haliburton than ever before,"  said Hodgson.  "The demographics are changing:  some of our biggest business is from couples coming up and wanting to buy existing cottages, or vacant waterfront lots, and renovate or build permanent ones so they can conduct at least some of their business up here, say from Thursday to Monday.  From our perspective, the so-called creative economy is definitely a factor:  and the business incubator model in Dysart will prove to be a very good move, I am certain."

Hodgson admits there are still challenges to be faced as the economy struggles to recover from the 2008-2009 meltdown.  Action in residential properties is sluggish, although there has been some significant increase in the average price of recreational, waterfront listings.  But Haliburton's eclectic mix of traditional recreational opportunities coupled with its burgeoning and active arts and arts/business presence may just be exactly what the early 21st century "smart money" is looking for.

Andrew Hodgson

Andrew Hodgson

CENTURY 21 Granite Realty Group Ltd., Brokerage*
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