November 1, 2017 A total of 664 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this October, 9.7 per cent fewer than the 735 properties sold in October last year.
"As expected, we saw fewer sales than this time last year," notes Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. "Looking at the longer term picture however, sales last month were 17.1 per cent above the ten year average of 567 properties for the month of October, so the market is still very active here in Victoria, and this is in spite of the ongoing low inventory levels."
There were 1,905 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of October 2017, a decrease of 3.6 per cent compared to the month of September and 1.7 per cent fewer than the 1,938 active listings for sale at the end of October 2016.
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in October 2016 was $752,000. The benchmark value for the same home in October 2017 has increased by 9.3 per cent to $821,900, but is lower than July's value of $834,200.
"The fact that we've seen such a controlled levelling off in the market directly following a year which felt so uncontrollable in terms of demand and pressure on prices illustrates the depth and stability of the Victoria market. An unstable market may have experienced a heavy correction or shift, whereas in our market sales are moderating at a reasonable rate." adds President Balabanian. "In the coming months we expect to see less inventory on the market, because the year end changes buyer and seller behaviours, their focus shifts to holidays and winter weather. One unknown influence that may play on the winter market is the upcoming mortgage stress test. Some buyers may move their purchasing timelines forward to make their home purchases before the stress test on uninsured buyers (those with a downpayment of 20 per cent or more) becomes required January 1."
About the Victoria Real Estate Board - Founded in 1921, the Victoria Real Estate Board is a key player in the development of standards and innovative programs to enhance the professionalism of Realtors. The Victoria Real Estate Board represents 1,364 local Realtors. If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, connect with your local Realtor for detailed information on the Victoria and area housing market.
You never want to smell smoke in your home and realize there’s a fire. That’s why it is important to be diligent about fire safety. Experts recommend that homeowners be especially careful with the following common household items:
• Portable heaters. Never leave one in a room unattended. Make sure paper and other combustible materials are well away from these units.
• Electronics chargers. We all want our computers, tablets and smartphones to charge quickly. The price we pay for that convenience is chargers that pull in a lot of power, making them very hot. Keep them away from combustible material, as well as other wiring.
• Smoking materials. Be careful with cigarettes, pipes, cigars and other such
items. Bedding and upholstery, which burn slowly and dangerously, are the
source of 75% of smoking-related fires.
• Candles. Never leave candles unattended for any reason. If you must leave the room, extinguish them.
• Flammable liquids. These can include paints, thinners and some brands of
cleaning products. Read labels carefully and follow the safety instructions.
To paraphrase a famous expression: An ounce of prevention is worth not
having to deal with a house fire.
Oct 2, 2017
A total of 640 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this September, 18.1 per cent fewer than the 781 properties sold in September last year.
“We can certainly feel the difference in the current market when we compare to last year’s record breaking numbers. Last year the pace of the market was intense, there was a lot of pressure on pricing and demand,” notes Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. “Now the tempo of the market is trending slowly – very slowly – towards more balanced conditions. Recently we’ve seen overall price increases level out, which can indicate slightly less demand, and inventory is building.”
There were 1,976 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of September 2017, an increase of 3.1 per cent compared to the month of August and 4.1 per cent fewer than the 2,061 active listings for sale at the end of September 2016.
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in September 2016 was $742,200. The benchmark value for the same home in September 2017 has increased by 10.9 per cent to $823,100.
“Simply because we’ve seen sales drop from last year is not dire or unexpected news for our local real estate market.” adds President Balabanian. “The ten year average for sales in September is 573 properties and the month exceeded that average by more than ten per cent, which indicates we’re still in an active market. And of course there are neighbourhoods that are still tracking up in terms of value from last year. It’s for reasons like these that now more than ever it makes sense to seek the assistance of a local REALTOR® to sell or buy your home.”
Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.
1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)
2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate.
3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change.
4. There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.
5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs.
6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.
7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.
8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.
9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.
10. You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently located near work, family and hobbies.
Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.
You’re at work when the thought hits you, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning?” You check your smartphone, see that you didn’t, and click the “LOCK” button. Now your house is secure.
That’s home automation for you!
But, is home automation a good idea? That depends on a number of factors.
On the pro side, home automation can improve your quality of life. There are automation products that will adjust heating/cooling depending on whether or not you’re home, make your morning coffee when you get out of bed, and the list goes on and on. These conveniences save you time.
Home automation can also give you peace-of-mind. It’s comforting to be able to remotely see the inside of your home and check that everything’s okay.
Home automation can also make your property more appealing to buyers. Traditionally, buyers like homes with security systems, and will appreciate other automation gizmos, too.
The only downside is the cost. Like most new technology, home automation products can be pricey and may become out-of-date within just a few years.
Thinking about it? Experts advise you to do your research first. Check out product reviews online. Then, if you determine that a particular product is going to benefit you, go for it!
Sept 1, 2017
A total of 736 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this August, 16.6 per cent fewer than the 883 properties sold in August last year.
“I admit to being a little surprised by the August numbers,” notes Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. “I expected inventory numbers to be climbing by now, but instead we’ve seen even lower numbers of listings on the market. This is likely leading to some buyer fatigue along with pressure on pricing in high demand areas.”
There were 1,917 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of August 2017, a decrease of four properties compared to the month of July, and 8.5 per cent fewer than the 2,094 active listings for sale at the end of August 2016.
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in August 2016 was $743,200. The benchmark value for the same home in August 2017 has increased by 10.8 per cent to $823,100.
“Though much too early to call a trend, we do see that the August HPI benchmark value for single family homes in the Victoria Core area has decreased by 1.3 per cent when compared to July. This is the first time we’ve noted a decrease in HPI values since August 2015.” adds President Balabanian. “That said, this is not an indicator of a huge change in property values across our region. We’ve seen a phenomenally busy two years in real estate for our area and we are likely heading towards a period of more balanced activity. Note too, that though the overall HPI value shows a small month over month decrease – specific areas and specific types of product have seen increases. For example, condominiums across the entire region are up by half a percent compared to the previous month and single family homes in North Saanich have increased in benchmark value by almost one per cent. It’s for reasons like these that now more than ever it makes sense to seek the assistance of a local REALTOR® to sell or buy your home.”
You might naturally assume that it is most important to talk to a Realtor when you’re selling or buying a home. But there are many other circumstances in which it makes sense to give me a call. Here are a few examples.
1. When you’re at the “thinking about it” stage
If you’re just thinking about selling your home, and haven’t made a firm decision yet, you might feel uncomfortable calling a Realtor. Don’t be. In fact, I welcome your call. We can discuss what your current property will likely sell for on today’s market, and determine the type of home you qualify to buy. That way, you’ll have some clarity and be able to make a more informed decision.
2. If you’re nervous about the selling process
If you haven’t sold a home before, you might be concerned about what’s involved in the process. You might even worry that putting your home on the market is going to be a lot of work and create a lot of turbulence for you and your family.
Fortunately, selling your home doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, a big part of my job as a Realtor is to make the process as smooth and trouble-free as possible.
So if you have concerns about selling your home, you should give me a call.
3. If you have questions
You likely have questions about the local real estate scene from time to time. You might have questions like: “How much did that home around the corner sell for?”; “Is now a good time to make a move, or should I wait until the market changes?”; and, “How much is my current home worth?”
When you have questions like those, you don’t need to dig for answers on your own. You can give me a call. As an expert in the local market, I can give you the answers you need.
According to a recent study, the average homeowner pays more attention to kitchen stove safety than they do BBQ safety. But, the fact is, a BBQ mishap can be just as devastating. So, it pays to know the latest safety tips.
• Keep BBQs at least 8 feet away from your house.
• Check for venture tube blockages regularly. (Spiders are notorious for spinning webs in there.)
• Clean the grill frequently to prevent flare ups. A grease fire on the grill can continue burning even after you’ve turned the BBQ off.
• Don’t position your BBQ close to foliage, such as under a tree or next to shrubs.
• Never BBQ in an enclosed area, such as a garage, even if the space is well ventilated.
• Avoid leaving the grill unattended, especially when cooking greasy foods such as sausages, beef burgers or steaks.
• Do not let children BBQ.
Finally, make sure your BBQ is turned completely off after use. It’s a good idea to double-check this when making the rounds and locking up your home for the night.
Experts say you should treat a BBQ as you would a camp fire — with care.
Aug 1, 2017- “The activity level in the Victoria real estate market continues to be brisk, though we always expect a slow down in the summer months,” says 2017 Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian.“This July,we saw a strong focus on the lower priced end of the market, with condos and townhomes and single family homes listed for under $700,000 in high demand. Many of those properties saw multiple offer situations.”
A total of 790 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this July, 18.7 per cent fewer than the 972 properties sold in July last year.
“The ten year average for sales in July is just over 700 properties,” adds President Balabanian. “So the numbers from last month illustrate an ongoing demand for homes in Victoria. We anticipated at the beginning of the year that we would see another busy market - without the record breaking numbers we saw in 2016 – and we are seeing exactly that. The surprise has been the low inventory levels, with listings for sale consistently below 2,000. The good news is that compared to the start of the year we have 26.7 per cent more listings on the market, but that supply is still lower than we expected, which puts pressure on pricing and availability.”
There were 1,921 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of July 2017, an increase of 0.3 per cent compared to the month of June, but 11.1 per cent fewer than the 2,161 active listings for sale at the end of July 2016.The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in July 2016 was $737,800. The benchmark value for the same home in July 2017 has increased by 13.1 per cent to $834,200.
Imagine this scenario...
You purchase a new home and move in. A few weeks later, you hear a strange rumbling sound. It’s the furnace. It’s only a year old, yet it’s sputtering like it’s twenty. You realize you’ll have to call in an HVAC contractor to get it fixed.
You’re thinking, “Ouch! This is going to be expensive.”
Well, maybe not. You see, since that furnace is relatively new, it might be covered by its original warranty — even for you, the new owner.
But a warranty is useless if you don’t know it exists.
Recent studies suggest that upwards of 50% of people pay to get items fixed that were actually covered by a warranty. So, when purchasing a new home, be sure to ask this simple question: “What warranties do you have for items, materials or workmanship in this house?”
Warranties are common on new stoves, fridges, washers, dryers and other big ticket appliances. Some such warranties are transferrable, which means they are still in force when the items pass from one owner to another.
Even less expensive items, such as electronic thermostats and automatic garage door openers, may be covered by a transferrable manufacturer’s warranty.
If the home you’re purchasing is relatively new (say, less than 10 years old), the builder’s warranty may also still be in force. That can be handy if a structural problem arises.
Even recent renovations, may have come with a labour and/or installation warranty of some kind.
As you can see, warranties are everywhere! The more you’re aware of them, the more you’ll save when something needs repair or replacement.
If you want to transform a room into something that’s functional, beautiful and perfectly matched to your taste, then you might want to hire an interior designer.
It’s an interior designer’s job to come up with imaginative ideas that will wow you.
It’s a myth that interior designers just deal with paint colours, décor and furnishings. In fact, according to the Interior Designers Institute, these professionals have the training needed to handle all aspects of a renovation or remodeling project, including selecting and managing contractors. They can direct a project from beginning to end.
If you want to renovate your basement into a stunning home theatre and gathering place, an interior designer can:
• Draw out several concepts for you to choose from,
• Purchase the best building materials,
• Hire the contractors, and
• Manage the project.
He or she can even pick out classic movie pictures for the walls!
There are many professional associations that have “Find an Interior Designer” links on their websites. In Canada, check out the Interior Designers of Canada (www.idcanada.org).
July 4, 2017 - “This year may feel a bit steady and less exciting when compared to last year’s record-breaking market. People are getting used to this new tempo of brisk sales,” says 2017 Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. “However, when we look at the longer term numbers, we’re in a very active market. This June we counted over one thousand properties sold, while the ten year average for sales in the month of June is 798. If we remove 2016 sales, this June would have been the record breaker.”
A total of 1,008 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this June, 14.1 per cent fewer than the 1,174 properties sold in June last year. There were 1,915 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of June 2017, an increase of one per cent compared to the month of May, but 16.3 per cent fewer than the 2,289 active listings for sale at the end of June 2016.
“The good news for buyers is that inventory is slowly starting to build,” adds President Balabanian. “But buyers can still anticipate multiple offer scenarios in certain high demand neighbourhoods where inventory is being bought at a more rapid pace. It’s never been a better time to be a seller, with MLS® Home Price Index prices at a record high for the Victoria Core.”
The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in June 2016 was $721,000. The benchmark value for the same home in June 2017 has increased by 15.1 per cent to $829,600.
Some people don’t give hallways much thought when painting and decorating. Instead, they focus on rooms.
The fact is, a great looking hallway can have the same, if not more, impact than the most eye-catching family room or bedroom, especially when you need to go through the hallway to get there!
Here are some painting tips that can bring a dull hallway to life:
• Paint the hallway the reverse of the rooms around it. If the rooms are dark, use light colours in the hall. If the rooms feature simple colours, consider being more dramatic in your choice of hallway paint.
• In a longer hallway, using two shades of the same colour on perpendicular walls can make the space seem less tunnel-like. (The darker shade goes on the shorter walls.)
• Darker colours can work well if the space is well-lit and there are few, if any, shadows cast.
• If you decide to paint the halls white, select an off-white or eggshell white. Avoid stark white as it will reflect light in a way that’s unpleasant.
One more tip: Pictures can go a long way in making a hallway look inviting,
regardless of the wall colour.
Good luck with the painting!
Imagine there’s a neighbourhood you’d love to live in someday, but, every time you drive through, you rarely, if ever, see a For Sale sign. It’s as if homes get gobbled up by buyers the moment they get listed.
It’s true, properties do tend to sell quickly in desirable, in-demand neighbourhoods. Does that mean you’re destined to either hope for a lucky break or miss out on ever living there?
Fortunately, no. There are practical things you can do to increase your chances of getting into that neighbourhood.
Your first step is to find out the kind of new home you can afford. You want to get your financial ducks in a row so when a listing does come up in the area, you’re able to respond quickly. Find out the average price range of homes in the neighbourhood. Then, if necessary, talk to your lender or mortgage broker.
The second step is to get your current property ready for sale. You don’t necessary need to list it now, but you want to be in a position to do so quickly, if necessary. You may need to clean up and declutter, get repairs done, and spruce up your home in other ways.
The third step is to talk to me. You see, listings in popular neighbourhoods often move fast. By the time you see them advertised on the internet, they may be gone. I can closely monitor listings in that area for you, so the moment one comes up that meets your criteria, you can be alerted. This greatly increases your chances of getting that home.
So if there is a dream neighbourhood you’d love to get into, give me a call.
Imagine buying a product from a store, taking it home, and then discovering there’s a problem with it. Disappointing, yes, but not a catastrophe. You can simply take it back for repair or exchange. But, what if it’s moving day, and you discover there’s a problem with your new home? Whoa. A house isn’t so easily returned!
What are the most common problems encountered on moving day?
• A delay in getting the keys.
• The seller not having completely moved out.
• An item expected to be included with the property is missing.
(For example, the window blinds.)
• Something needs repair that was not disclosed by the seller, nor did it come up during inspection.
(For example, the dishwasher not working.)
• Damage to the property caused by the seller.
(For example, a heavy item dropped during the move and cracking a floor tile.)
Fortunately, these are rare events. In most cases, you can expect no serious issues when you move into your new home.
But, if something is wrong, you have options. So, call me immediately. In all likelihood, I will be able to quickly resolve the issue.
If it’s a serious matter, such as missing items, I may get your real estate lawyer involved to arrange for the return of the item(s) or compensation.
So don’t worry. Let the professionals handle it. You can just enjoy your new home!
There has been a lot of emphasis lately on the importance of “going green”. That simply means being environmentally-responsible. You likely already recycle, use energy-efficient lights, and turn down your thermostat when no one is home.
Yet, most of us don’t think about the garden or flower bed when we “think green”.
We should. Here are a few practical things you can do to tend to outdoor plants — without negatively impacting the environment.
• Pull weeds instead of using a weed killer.
• Avoid strong pesticides. (Products that target only one or two types of insects tend to be less harsh.)
• Don’t use flower bed ornaments (i.e. gnomes) that might bleed colour dye into the soil. (Ask your garden centre before you buy.)
• Be careful not to leave hand spades, trowels, and other garden tools lying around, especially over winter. They can rust, which contaminates the soil.
These tips may seem minor, but if you want to be environmentallyconscious,
every little bit helps!
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 percent 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 percent 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 percent to $825,500.
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.
Imagine finding the perfect home, only to discover there is serious interest from at least a dozen other buyers. It’s like scrambling for the last piece of cake at a buffet!
Fortunately, there are things you can do to help get the home you want, even in a highly competitive market. Here are just a few ideas:
• Only view a few ideal properties at a time. If you see too many, and thus spread yourself too thin, you risk homes slipping through your fingers.
• Be realistic about price. Focus on finding a great home that you can afford, rather than trying to find a bargain.
• Consider homes that need some work. They get less interest than perfectly staged properties, yet can turn out to be a dream home.
• Be prepared to make an offer with as few conditions as possible. An offer conditional on passing inspection is usually fine, but in a competitive situation, offers with other conditions will likely be turned down.
• Make your decisions quickly. If there are likely to be other interested buyers, you want to get your offer in early.
• Make the right offer. To win the deal, you want your offer to be as enticing as possible to the seller — especially when it comes to price.
Yes, it can be tough finding an ideal home in a hot market, but I can help. Give me a call and I’ll show you how.
When you suffer damage to, (or the loss of), your home or its contents, you expect your insurance company to help you out. And, most do a good job of doing just that.
Still, it’s a good idea to review your policy with your insurance advisor and find out what’s covered and what isn’t. You don’t want to discover that your policy will not cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by a flood in your laundry room.
Pay particular attention to coverage in the case of water damage. Some insurance policies don’t cover floods and sewer backup unless an additional rider is purchased.
Also, check liability limits. Ask your advisor to recommend an appropriate level. Finally, make sure you know exactly how much your home is insured for. Are you covered for the full replacement cost? Are you comfortable with that coverage or the actual cash value?
Having the right insurance gives you peace-of-mind and is an important part of enjoying your home. Keep in mind that experts advise you to review your insurance with your advisor. Ask lots of questions. Make sure you understand your coverage fully.
By the way, if you’re looking for an insurance advisor, I’m well-connected in the local “home” industry. I have a couple recommendations of good, reputable professionals located under my website's "Service Providers" tab.