June 1, 2017 - "This month we have seen an increase in inventory - which means that buyers have more choice - and it means that now in some areas sellers are competing for buyers," says 2017 Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian.
There were 1,896 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of May 2017, an increase of 12.2 per cent compared to the month of April, but 21.2 per cent fewer than the 2,406 active listings for sale at the end of May 2016.
A total of 1,006 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this May, 22 per cent fewer than the 1,289 properties sold in May last year. The ten year average for sales in May is 815 properties.
"There are many different market conditions in Victoria, because we have so many different neighbourhoods and different levels of demand for those neighbourhoods," adds President Balabanian. "The market won't change immediately, but we can track a shift as more inventory enters the market to meet the demand from buyers.Overall, pressure on pricing is easing because of the increase in inventory and the rate of increase of price is normalizing. As we have predicted, we are seeing the beginning of a gradual return to a balanced market in the Victoria area. In conditions such as the ones we see now, it's more important than ever to have an expert REALTOR® on your side whether you are buying or selling a property."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in May 2016 was $706,500. The benchmark value for the same home in May 2017 has increased by 16.8 per cent to $825,500.
Victoria Real Estate Market Sees Slow Increase in Inventory
June 1, 2017 - "This month we have seen an increase in inventory - which means that buyers have more choice - and it means that now in some areas sellers are competing for buyers," says 2017 Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian.
Victoria Real Estate Market Inventory Edges Up in April 2017
Sales Still Constrained
May 1, 2017 - "The numbers we saw in April are a further indication that the market is gradually moving towards a more balanced state compared to the record setting pace of 2016." says 2017 Board President Ara Balabanian.
A total of 885 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this April, 31.2 per cent fewer than the 1,286 properties sold in April last year. The ten year average for sales in April is 772 properties.
"We are starting to see hints of a more traditional spring market. Local agricultural production has been delayed due to the late spring, and so has the local real estate market," adds President Balabanian, "More sellers listed their homes for sale over the month of April compared to the month previous."
There were 1,690 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of April 2017, an increase of 8.6 per cent compared to the month of March, but 34.8 per cent fewer than the 2,594 active listings for sale at the end of April 2016.
"Inventory is still low, which means that buyers may encounter multiple offer situations in some of the high demand areas - there is still more demand than supply," adds President Balabanian.
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in April 2016 was $684,900. The benchmark value for the same home in April 2017 has increased by 17.6 per cent to $805,100.
What’s Better? Buying vs. Renting
Should you rent, or should you buy?
It’s a question that most Canadians will ask themselves at one point or another in their lifetime. Those who choose to rent often wonder if they’re wasting money. Those who buy may wonder whether or not their investment will be worth it in the long run. Though it’s clear home ownership offers many benefits, the decision to buy or rent is a personal choice that should be based on several factors.
4 Factors to consider:
1) Market Conditions – What is the price of real estate in your local market? It’s important to understand the market conditions and how they may affect prices before you decide to buy or rent.
2) Job Stability – Do you have a stable job and roots within your community? If your plan is to continue living in your community for the foreseeable future, home ownership may be the best option for you.
3) Time of life – What stage of life are you in? If you have a family, home ownership can provide a stable living situation without some of the uncertainties that are associated with renting.
4) Down payment – Do you have enough money saved up for an adequate down payment?
3 Benefits of home ownership:
1) Financial investment – Your monthly mortgage payment creates equity for you, not your landlord.
2) Quality of life – Owning a home can provide a sense of stability and control that you don’t often get from renting. There is a great feeling about coming home to a place that you own.
3) Do what you want – When you own your own home, there’s no need to get approval before you paint a wall or hang a piece of art. You can choose what minor and major renovations you make to the place you live in.
How I can help
As a licensed and expereienced REALTOR I can help you out if you’ve decided that home ownership is the next step for you. I can help you find the house most suitable for your needs.
Victoria Real Estate Market Continues Trend of Low Inventory, High Demand
April 2, 2017 - A total of 929 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this March, 17.1 per cent fewer than the 1,121 properties sold in March last year.
"We predicted early in the year that we wouldn't see a continuation of the record sales numbers that we saw in 2016," says 2017 Board President Ara Balabanian. "However, we are still in a very active market, as evidenced by the fact that this is second highest March on record if you remove that record breaking 2016 data. We saw nearly 200 more transactions last month than March 2015, when 734 properties sold."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in March 2016 was $663,300. The benchmark value for the same home in March 2017 has increased by 19.1 per cent to $790,100.
Inventory levels edged lower, with 1,556 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of March 2017, 40.6 per cent fewer than the 2,618 active listings for sale at the end of March 2016.
2017 Starts with Fewer Listings and Above Average Activity
February 1, 2017 - A total of 478 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this January, 11.3 per cent fewer than the 539 properties sold in January last year.
Inventory levels edged lower, with 1,516 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of January 2017, 38.6 per cent fewer than the 2,471 active listings at the end of January 2016.
"The numbers we saw last year are not the new normal. We know that we are not going to see sales volumes this year that meet or beat last year's record breaking numbers," notes 2017 Board President Ara Balabanian. "When compared to the month of January's ten year average, which is 384 transactions, sales in January 2017 are nearly 25 per cent higher than average. The least active January we saw in the past ten years was in 2009 with 247 sales, and the most active was last year."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in January 2016 was $616,700. The benchmark value for the same home in January 2017 has increased by 24.4 per cent to $767,000.
"It's early in the year to make predictions," adds President Balabanian. "Over the last few decades, the historic cycle in Victoria is longer periods of stable activity and price followed by a rapid rise in activity and property values over a relatively short period of time. The coming months will provide us with a better idea of where we are in this cycle."
BC Assessments: Property values in Greater Victoria
B.C. homeowners are facing the new year with a new reality, property values have gone way up in some areas.
On Vancouver Island Oak Bay has seen the highest increase in value followed by the City of Victoria and Saanich, according to BC Assessment.
“In the Greater Victoria area, it’s about five to 40 per cent with the more typical range being about 10 to 25 per cent,” said Tina Ireland, director of assessment services with BC Assessment.
Victoria Real Estate Market's Record Breaking 2016, Demand Likely to Continue in 2017
A total of 471 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this December, 1.3 per cent more than the 465 properties sold in December last year.
Inventory levels edged lower than last year, with 1,493 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of December 2016, 40.7 per cent fewer than the 2,517 active listings at the end of December 2015.
"As we expected, 2016 broke records in terms of the number of properties sold in our area," notes Mike Nugent, outgoing 2016 President of the Board. "10,622 properties sold, which exceeds our previous high of 9,241 sales in 1991."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in December 2015 was $613,600. The benchmark value for the same home in December 2016 has increased by 23.6 per cent to $758,500.
"We expect sales to continue to be strong but we don't expect to see the phenomenal activity we saw in 2016 for 2017. Inventory continues to be low," adds President Nugent. "You can't sell something that isn't there. There is certainly an ongoing demand for properties. This is reflected in the fact that 25 per cent of sales this month sold over their asking price. The majority of these properties were in the up to $750,000 price point, so your average buyer will face a competitive market."
High Demand Continues as Inventory Shrinks in the Victoria Housing Market
A total of 599 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this November, 4.5 per cent more than the 573 properties sold in November last year.
Inventory levels remain lower than last year, with 1,815 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of November 2016, 38.5 per cent fewer than the 2,952 active listings at the end of November 2015.
"Our current housing market is in a strong cycle due to many factors, including our current positive economic conditions, baby boomers retiring here, millennial buying cycles, a low Canadian dollar keeping folks closer to home and our favourable living conditions," notes Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "These factors and others, in combination with ongoing low inventory mean demand for housing is up, particularly in those areas close to the core and amenities."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in November 2015 was $608,600. The benchmark value for the same home in November 2016 has increased by 23.9 per cent to $753,800.
"Foreign buyers are another factor that affects our local housing market. The provincial government is considering implementation of a local tax on foreign buyers to ensure pressure on pricing from that source remains mitigated," adds President Nugent. "While October data shows an increase in foreign buyers into the Capital Regional District compared to previous months, their 6.3 per cent of property transfers indicate that these buyers are one factor in the marketplace. A much larger factor affecting affordability and availability right now is the lack of inventory. An effective method to address housing affordability issues could be through efforts to increase the supply of housing, either through adjustments to zoning or density."
Finding the perfect neighbourhood to live in
It can be tough to find the perfect place to live.
Each neighbourhood has its pros and cons, and the definition of an ideal neighbourhood can change depending on your stage of life. Young families may want to live walking distance away from the school their child attends. Millennial singles may be more interested in an area that is close to downtown.
We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada—to find out the best advice they give their clients who are seeking out the perfect neighbourhood.
What’s important to you?
When looking for a home, it’s important that you consider your top priorities in terms of location.
One RE/MAX Influencer put it best, “I always advise to consider distance to work, desired schools and kids’ activities. You can change anything about a home, except its location.”
If a large yard is important, you may want to consider looking in an older neighbourhood. If a newer house is important, you may have to live with the fact that the yard will likely be smaller with less privacy, due to the lack of mature trees.
Driving times to work, proximity to golf courses, shopping and services will also likely be factors that you consider before choosing a neighbourhood to live in.
Your budget will have an impact on your decision as well. Several RE/MAX Influencers noted that they often remind their clients to consider re-sale value.
You may also want to consider air and water quality, busyness of the street, and even how much snow accumulates on average during the winter.
Work with an agent who understands your needs
It’s important that you are working with a real estate agent who understands what’s important to you. Your REALTOR® should be asking you questions to understand your needs as a buyer so they can help guide you through the process.
“I need to know exactly what is important to my clients so I can help with the particular neighbourhood choices. The perfect neighbourhood is different for each client,” said a RE/MAX Influencer.
Although it’s important to think about your immediate needs, it’s also vital that you think about what your needs may be five or 10 years down the road.
If your child has one more year of elementary school before he/she graduates to junior high, the proximity of the middle school to your house is equally, if not more important, than the distance to the elementary school.
“I tell my clients to keep in mind that they will likely be in their new home and neighbourhood for at least 5 years. They should consider what their needs may be within those 5 years.”
Competitive Housing Market in Victoria Continues as Inventory Remains Low
Victoria BC November 2, 2016
A total of 735 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this October, a single property more than the 734 properties sold in October last year.
Inventory levels remain lower than last year, with 1,938 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of October 2016, 38.9 per cent fewer than the 3,170 active listings at the end of October 2015.
"We continue to see low inventory hindering sales in the local market," notes Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "Though our numbers are down from the record setting pace set this summer, the market is still moving quickly and is still very competitive for certain properties. High demand areas like Saanich and Oak Bay continue to see multiple offers and areas in the West Shore are also seeing sales over listed prices. In other areas, prices remain firm because of high demand and extremely limited inventory."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in October 2015 was $608,200. The benchmark value for the same home in October 2016 has increased by 24.1 per cent to $755,000.
"The federal government's change to mortgage lending rules has also impacted buyers," adds President Nugent. "Buyers that require mortgage insurance are able to qualify for significantly smaller mortgages than before the rule change and this is further limiting their options in a very restricted market. Some buyers have postponed their search in order to save up more of a down payment so they can work within these new limitations."
6 ways to make your home ready for fall selling
The summer selling-season frenzy is over, but fall has just as much (if not more) sales-inducing mojo to offer. The crisp autumn weather gives home hunters new incentive to find that perfect house to snuggle into before the rainy season starts. Here are some surefire season-sensitive tips to make sure it’s yours that they choose
Clean up the Yard
Plant fall flowers
Ensure outside lights and doorbell are working
Tune up the furnace
Squeaky Clean Fireplace
Wash the windows
The Strong Real Estate Market Continues
October 3 2016, Victoria, BC
A total of 781 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this September, an increase of 10.9 per cent compared to the 704 properties sold in September last year.
Inventory levels remain lower than last year, with 2,061 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of September 2016, 40.7 per cent fewer than the 3,478 active listings at the end of September 2015.
"This is the lowest level of inventory on the market in September that we have on record [since 1996]," notes Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "This continuing lack of inventory holds up sales. The market is still strong, but not moving at the pace we saw earlier in the year. This slowdown is typical with what we expect in the fall to winter season and may be more pronounced as a result of buyer fatigue, due to the lack of available inventory."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in September 2015 was $607,100. The benchmark value for the same home in September 2016 has increased by 22.8 per cent to $745,700.
"We have already exceeded the number of sales that we saw in 2015, with a full quarter remaining in the year," adds President Nugent. "And there is still strong demand, thanks to underlying fundamentals in our province - the GDP is up, employment numbers are up, retail and population growth is up. All of these contribute to current market conditions. We also see no indication that the new foreign buyer Property Transfer Tax in Metro Vancouver has pushed foreign buyers into our market in a substantial way, though we continue to track that as a possibility."
How to Make Your Home Look More Spacious
A spacious home can be incredibly appealing to potential buyers. No one wants to live in a space that seems cramped and cluttered.
Even if your house is relatively small, there are ways you can maximize the space you do have.
We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers—a panel consisting of RE/MAX Sales Associates from throughout Canada—to find out their top tips for making your home seem more spacious to potential buyers.
Declutter and stage
Clearing countertops, removing knickknacks and getting rid of oversized furniture are key first steps to make your space appear as spacious as possible.
Several Influencers mentioned “less is more” when it comes to furniture and accessories. Your best bet is to leave only a few subtle, decorative items.
“Keep in mind that when showing your house, there could be four or five people wandering through at once. Make sure they can go from room to room without bumping into anything,” said a RE/MAX Influencer.
Hiring someone to stage your home will likely be a worthwhile investment. It may also be worth it to rent a storage space during the period when your house is being shown.
Brighten it up
Walls that have light colours and good lighting can go a long way toward making your home look more spacious. It’s also a good idea to have window coverings opened to allow as much natural light in as possible.
Eliminate mats and certain area rugs to help focus on floor area; remove large photos to help the space on the walls stand out.
“It’s simple: Clean, crisp colours, open spaces, open window coverings, brighter lightbulbs and less clutter will showcase the space within your house.”
Smaller furniture = larger room
Bulky pieces of furniture are often the culprit for making spaces appear smaller than they are. Depending on the layout, a large sectional couch may be better in the basement than in a main floor living space.
Arranging furniture in groupings, away from walls, can have the desired effect of making your room seem bigger. Also, if your dining table has leafs, remove them to maximize the space. Add crown molding to heighten the stature of the room.
“A great rule of thumb is: The more wall space and floor space that is visible, the better.”
Victoria Real Estate Market Continues to Sizzle in Summer Months
August 2 2016, Victoria, BC
A total of 972 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this July, an increase of 22 per cent compared to the 796 properties sold in July last year.
"Though we saw the seasonal slowdown that we expect this time of year, we had another record breaking month," says Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "The last time we saw a July this busy was in 2009 when 933 properties sold."
Inventory levels remain lower than last year, with 2,161 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of July 2016, 45 per cent fewer than the 3,942 active listings at the end of July 2015.
"Late last week the provincial government approved new legislation that may affect the real estate market in our area, though at this time we can only guess how a foreign investor's tax in the Metro Vancouver region will impact sales here in Victoria," adds Nugent. "Recent data released by the government shows that nearly ten per cent of property transfers in Metro Vancouver involved foreign nationals. This is part of the rationale for applying a fifteen per cent tax on transactions only in Metro Vancouver at this time. Does this mean international demand will spill over into Victoria and other areas of BC? We won't know until we see the data.The Capital Regional District saw two per cent out of country buyers in the year of 2015. Although this is a small percentage of our buyers, anecdotally foreign buyers do tend to favour the same core neighbourhoods and therefore can have an impact on those areas."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in July, 2015 was $599,800. The benchmark value for the same home in July 2016 has increased by 23.6 per cent to $741,100.
Find the Statistics Package as released to media here.
The full Stats Package will be posted on the website early afternoon.
Wilkinson Road closure
A section of Wilkinson Road will close for six months June 6, diverting up to 15,000 drivers a day to alternative routes. Wilkinson Road will be closed between Mann Avenue and Greenlea Drive for construction of a new bridge — part of a $6.5-million infrastructure project.
The new bridge replaces the 1935-built Lindsay Street Bridge with a seismic and safety improved design, according to the District of Saanich. The project upgrades utilities in the area and adds bike lanes, pedestrian walkways, a foot bridge and 200 new trees. Local access to the area is limited to residents, emergency services and municipal services, from each end of the closure to the bridge.
Saanich is asking the public to plan alternative routes and avoid the area if possible.
Feverish Pace of Sales Continues in Victoria Real Estate Market
June 1, 2016 Victoria, BC
A total of 1,289 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this May, an increase of 42.4 per cent compared to the 905 properties sold in the same month last year.
Inventory levels remain lower than the previous year, with 2,406 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of May, 40.5 per cent fewer than the 4,043 active listings at the end of May 2015.
"These are very interesting times in local real estate," notes Mike Nugent, 2016 President of the Board. "The market we are experiencing has exceeded our expectations. There are influences in the marketplace that we do not fully understand yet, like the impact of out-of-town buyers and millenials moving into the market, and the seemingly sudden international attention our island city has started to receive. And some folks may be buying now because they are concerned that the market is going to continue to increase in value. Traditionally spring is the most active season for real estate, so it will be interesting to see if this feverish pace continues into the summer months."
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in May, 2015 was $593,200. The benchmark value for the same home in May 2016 has increased by 19 per cent to $706,500.
Are You A Pet Owner Selling Your Home?
Pets are considered members of the family.
But when selling a home, our four-legged family members can cause additional challenges.
Limit the impact
Pets tend to leave a mark; however, by limiting their impact, you can make your space appealing to any buyer. Dogs should be removed from the home, or kenneled, during showings. Cats should also be removed, if possible. Bird and reptile cages should be covered. The idea is to effectively reduce the impact that a pet would have on people who are not receptive to pets.
Those who have rare or exotic pets—such as snakes, spiders or rodents—may also want to consider removing them during showings, as these pets may, literally, scare off potential buyers.
Clean up the mess
Scoop the poop! The last thing you want an interested buyer taking away from your showing is a bad smell on his/her shoe. Regularly clean up after your pet to make sure there aren’t unpleasant surprises hiding under your grass.
Have a plan to stash away pet toys, scratching posts and food dishes during showings. By having these items around, potential buyers may be more sensitive to pet-related odours, as well as wear-and-tear that would perhaps otherwise be overlooked.
Wipe down the walls and vacuum up any sort of pet hair. You may be used to a shedding pet, but those attending the showing might not be as receptive. Be sure to also clean any cages, aquariums or litterboxes!
Freshen up the smell
Don’t forget that the smell is part of the experience of viewing a home. People who aren’t used to pets will likely detect the smell of a pet much quicker than someone who is used to the scent. It may be a good idea to have a friend come by and ask them to objectively explain their experience to you.
One of the most harmful smells is often a cat litterbox. During the time your home is on the market, the litter should be changed frequently to avoid this form impacting the sale. Scented candles and plug-ins may not be enough to completely mask the smell.
“Smell is a major factor that can help or hinder a sale. Fresh baked bread can make the home feel like home; animal scents can cause a buyer to feel like it may take a lot of money to get the smell out of a home,” said a RE/MAX Influencer.
“All buyers use their noses when shopping for a home.”
Create a plan
Creating a plan for showings will ensure that your home is always at its best when potential buyers have a look. Create a checklist of items you need to put away, or things you need to clean prior to the showing.
If you have a pet that you can’t remove for showings, be creative about how you acknowledge its presence.
“A client had a cat that wanted out, so I put a sign on the entrance for showings to warn buyers. The sign said: ‘Jewels will be your furry showing assistant today. She’s very friendly. Please don’t let her out. Her Mom would be very upset as she’s so cute. She won’t be included in the sale of the home.’”
Many millennials expect help with downpayment from parents
Toronto and Kelowna, April 7, 2015// Canadian millennials are optimistic about the future, including their homeownership prospects, according to a new poll by RE/MAX. The survey, conducted by Leger, found that 78.5 per cent of Canadians 18-34 agree that owning a home they love is attainable. In all provinces, Canadians overwhelmingly agree that homeownership is attainable, despite price appreciation in cities like Toronto and Vancouver.
The survey also found that 81.6 per cent of Canadians 18-34 agree that finding a good job in their field is attainable, demonstrating overall optimism about their future.
While millennials are optimistic about homeownership, many expect help in order to make their dreams a reality. Of Canadians 18-34 who are considering buying a home, 37 per cent expect help with their downpayment from a family member or friend. Of those who are expecting help, 60 per cent anticipate that it will come from their parents.
“The older generation has seen significant appreciation in the value of their homes, while the younger generation is entering the market at a higher price point,” said Gurinder Sandhu, Executive Vice President, RE/MAX INTEGRA Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region . “This means first-time buyers in Canada’s higher-priced markets often need a little help, which many parents are in a position to offer.”
Unsurprisingly given the higher home prices in these regions, prospective buyers in all age demographics in British Columbia are most likely to expect help, followed by those in Ontario.
The survey also found that when asked about their financial priorities, 68.2 per cent of Canadians 18-34 agree that saving for a downpayment is a priority and 78.4 per cent agree that saving for retirement is a priority.
“We’ve found that for many young Canadians, homeownership is an important milestone that they are actively working toward,” said Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “Furthermore, while Canadians continue to value and aspire to homeownership, they are not doing so at the expense of other financial considerations, such as retirement savings.”
The survey, conducted by Leger, surveyed 1,516 Canadians between Monday, March 28, and Thursday, March, 31, 2016.