(Oakville) – Despite a 15% year-over-year increase in the price of Oakville single family homes, a new study released today shows that housing affordability in the GTA is at its highest level in years.

Oakville home renovations expert Mike Manning credits Oakville’s strong relative affordability in the single-family home segment for helping to buck the Toronto-wide trend of falling sales in March.  Oakville and Milton Real Estate Board statistics for March show detached home sales were up 8% year over year, with 61% of sales in the affordable range of $400,000 to below $800,000.

The President of Refined Renovations of Oakville, Mr. Manning said that older, affordable Oakville homes are sought after because a shortage of GTA building lots means there is also a shortage of new detached homes. As a result, he predicts that even in the event of a Toronto-wide softening in home prices, affordable homes in Oakville will continue to increase in price.

 “A report for the Building Industry and Land Development Association of Toronto that came out today shows the average price of building lots at the edge of the GTA is more than $350,000. So a house in Oakville in the $600,000 range represents good value,” said Mr. Manning.  He pointed out that by the end of 2012, the average price of a new GTA area detached home had risen 16% during the year to $632,000.

 “People are attracted to new homes because the older existing stock lacks the features and space they expect,” said Mr. Manning.  “But with older, and especially unrenovated homes, there is an opportunity to buy right and then renovate to get what you want”. He said his advice is especially relevant to Oakville homes that are well-located on the Toronto-area transportation network.  “These will be the homes that will be in demand in the long-term as it gets harder and harder to commute from the periphery of the GTA, where the new housing is, by car.”

 Refined Renovations helps homeowners and their agents select an affordable home with good structural potential, renovate, and then either enjoy living in it, or selling it at a profit.

 “A highly regarded authority, the Appraisal Institute Canada, says you can’t do add value beyond the cost of the renovation to a house,” said Mr. Manning.  But I have personally done profitable renovations to buy and flip, and have helped clients do a profitable renovation. I now believe I have the experience to advise people on what works and what doesn’t.”

The Appraisal Institute releases a list of renovations items annually, and consistently reports that homeowners can expect a 0-100% increase in home values from their renovation. Mr. Manning explained that Appraisal Institute evaluates items such as bathroom renovations or the addition of skylights on an item by item basis.

“On one hand, I agree with the Appraisal Institute,” said Mr. Manning.  “If you have a dated home and you do just one or two items, you can’t sufficiently change the look and feel of the home.  You have improved it, but by leaving most of the house in its original state you are have a dated house and people coming in to see it can only see all the work that will still need to be done, in order to bring the house up to modern standards.  Doing one or two things on this list will not create value beyond the cost.”

About Refined Renovations of Oakville:  For more than 20 years Refined Renovations has been providing cost effective, high-quality home renovations in Oakville and area. Quality craftsmanship with our “Built to Last” guarantee is delivered to you by a professional and service oriented organization.  We share your passion for home improvements and strive to make your renovation as rewarding as possible.

About Mike Manning: Mike is an Architectural Technologist by training, but has used his knowledge and experience in the building science field for more than 30 years.  He graduated from a three-year diploma course in Architectural Technology from Algonquin College in Ottawa in 1979. Shortly after, he moved to Calgary where he worked for three years in condominium development, reaching the level of Site Superintendent.  Eventually, he moved to a division of the commercial construction giant PCL as a Site Foreman.  In 1983, he began to do renovations on single-family residences in addition to his commercial work. In 1986, he relocated to Toronto, received his carpenter’s licence, and rejoined PCL working on very large commercial developments including Scotia Plaza and Waterfront Place. In 1991 he decided to focus on finish carpentry and started his renovations company.