Real Estate in Victoria BC


Staging You Home Yourself? DIY Tips

Human beings are wired to have an emotional response to physical surroundings. There is a lot to be said for the ancient Chinese philosophical system of Feng Shui which makes a study of arranging environments to create or reinforce harmony and comfort. Even colours have a measurable effect on psychology, leading to that moment a buyer walks into your home and says, “It feels just right”!

A professional stager can help you feature your home in a way that can add thousands of dollars to your asking price, but if you feel you can do a good job staging your home on your own, I recommend these five simple staging ideas:

Remember Personality Doesn’t Sell

This is almost always the biggest mistake home sellers make, so if nothing else in today’s blog makes an impression, please understand this: The personal touches you love in your home are all about you and may not be universally appreciated.

Corral the clutter

The coveted collection and family photos are distracting clutter that takes the buyers attention away from the flow of the rooms, and any interesting architectural features. For the cost of a roll of tape, boxes and possibly renting a small storage space, get your treasures pre-packed. Doing so will depersonalize the space and automatically increase the perceived dimensions of your home. Prepacking is also a simple step towards emotionally preparing for your inevitable move.

White it out

Are you prepared to paint? Fabulous! You can’t go wrong with white or bright neutral palate. Hotels are well known for using white to demonstrate how clean everything is.
A simple coat of white or neutral paint elevates the perceived value of the property and creates a “move-in-ready” feel that buyers are willing to pay top dollar for. White signifies clean, fresh, and new.

Light it up

Electricity isn’t free, but since you will be turning on the lights for photographs and showings anyway, I suggest you go the extra step by adding accent lights to really set the scene. It’s simple to place them strategically to add drama and to illuminate shadowy corners.
Completely retracting blinds or removing window coverings will let in as much as fifty percent more natural light.
A clear window will enhance the view, and create that sense of openness and space, so pack away any curtains or window-hangings, especially those dated ones, and let the window frame be the highlight.

Mow and Mulch

In addition to a freshly mowed lawn, mulch adds instant curb appeal. Mulch is inexpensive, comes in a variety of lovely shades and textures, and adds cultivated freshness to scraggly, dry, or unkempt garden beds. Ordered by the load or purchased in bags, mulch is lightweight and perfect for a DIY, last minute staging.


These five simple staging tasks will show off your home’s very best features, add both real and perceived value, and maximize returns for you!


Thinking of Purchasing a Condominium?

If you are working to get into the real estate market for the first time, or you want to downsize after your kids have left the nest, a condominium lifestyle can offer freedoms and opportunities beyond the single detached dwelling worth considering at any age. Here are six reasons:

Affordable Lifestyle

Living in a condominium is usually more affordable. It cost less to buy vs. a house, and your mortgage is typically lower. As of June, the benchmark average price of condos as per the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) is $416,281 That’s now less than half the benchmark average price of a single detached dwelling in Greater Victoria now pegged at $885,281. Selling your paid off family home to buy a condominium can provide you with a desirable nest egg in your retirement years. Or, if you’re just starting out, a condominium is certainly a less expensive way to get into the real estate market.

You Live in a Great Location

Condos are often built in densified areas of a city. That means entertainment, restaurants, and shopping are all close by, and you don’t usually need a car to get to your favourite event. If you’re a professional working in downtown Victoria, the time and money you will save walking to work from your condominium versus commuting from the home in your price range well outside of Victoria is certainly worth considering.

Peace of Mind

A condominium provides the additional security of a two-key system – one for the front door and one for your unit – which makes break and entry less likely. Your neighbours are a kind of built in block watch! It’s hard for a thief to remove large items from your home without being seen by someone.

Live Maintenance Free

Because you are living a maintenance-free lifestyle, you have more time to do what you enjoy doing. All those time-consuming tasks like cutting the lawn, weeding the gardens, and cleaning the gutters don’t exist when you live in a condominium. Instead, you contribute to a monthly fee that takes care of maintenance and repairs. Any large, future costs such as roof repairs or window replacements are usually less expensive in a condominium versus a house because everyone contributes to a contingency fund.

Enjoy More Freedom

When you want to travel, you don’t have to make your plan around house maintenance considerations. Someone else is doing it for you. All you might need to do is ask one of your trustworthy neighbours to water your plants while you’re gone, and you can come and go as you please.

Gain Instant Community

Condominium living offers great opportunities for a vibrant social life in a friendly, close-knit community. You’re going to meet at least one of your neighbours in the halls or by the mailbox every day. If you’re moving to Victoria from another city, being able to access a ready-made community

A condominium lifestyle might be the right choice for you for these and other reasons. If you’re thinking about purchasing a condo, I’d be pleased to guide you through all the factors you need to consider before making your decision and to help you find your perfect next home.


Sales Steady Throughout June

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.”

See more details on VREB’s website


Short-Term Predictions for Canada's Real Estate and Household Debt

Last week, the Bank of Canada reviewed the financial system and downplayed fears that the Canadian economy was in serious jeopardy from a potential real estate market correction.

About time!

We are NOT going to suffer a U.S.-style melt-down. If a big drop in home prices were to occur in the Vancouver and Toronto regions, (which Is unlikely), it wouldn't drag the rest of the country down with it. As the Bank of Canada sees it, a full-on bust in the Toronto and Vancouver regions would have only “modest direct spillovers to housing markets in the rest of the country.”

Most experts do not see anything like a full bust coming, albeit sensationalist reporting from, for example, CTV news quoting David Mandani, senior Canadian economist of Capital Economics on Monday continues to scare home owners who haven’t done their research.

In the interview, Mandini stated, "I see a correction between 20-40 per cent in the Canadian housing market in five years," He suggests “there will be a slight dip in Toronto housing prices before the end of the year, but that's all it will take to scare many homeowners into cashing out of the market.”

His proof? The latest housing data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Toronto Real Estate Board. He says the ratio of sales to new home listings is falling, which would indicate that a large decline in prices is on the way.

I’m no economist, but a little common-sense thinking demonstrates why his predictions are very unlikely. A normal family is not going to be scared into selling their homes as Mandini suggests. Rather, they are going to take on the “hunker down and weather the storm” attitude, simply because selling their current home would mean they then need to buy a new home. Uprooting your family to move is a big undertaking!

A more likely scenario is many families will decide to access their home’s equity to increase their family’s financial liquidity while the opportunity exists. That will lead to a big bump up in household debt coming by Q2, and a short-term increase in economic consumption through Q3 and Q4.

There may very well be a “soft” landing for real estate prices in Vancouver and Toronto, which will have a cooling effect on provincial economies in British Columbia and Ontario as home owners who remortgaged to sustain their current lifestyle find the “bank of house” drying up, coupled with the decline in consumption related to home purchases like furniture and appliances.

The central bank’s financial review detailed concerns over household debt and the housing markets, but allayed fears that a U.S.-style meltdown and broader Canadian crisis is part of the equation. They believe Ontario’s recent measures - the 15-per-cent tax on foreign purchases to tame the scorching-hot housing market in and around Toronto - should ease the risk. (But remember, Vancouver is now on the rebound after slumping in the immediate aftermath of B.C.’s implementation of a tax on foreign purchases).

In their list of threats and vulnerabilities, a moderate risk for B.C. and Ontario includes “the fall in house prices leading to negative wealth and collateral effects, which further weigh on consumption spending,” but Benjamin Reitzes, Canadian rates and macro strategist at BMO Nesbitt Burns feels the overall finances of Canadians are nonetheless in decent shape.

“Admittedly, households are vulnerable to higher rates, but it doesn’t look like big rate increases are coming any time soon,” he says.

the Canadian Real Estate Association releases its May report on sales and prices, BMO expects the report to show home sales down 5.5 per cent from a year earlier, and average prices up 6.5 per cent.

There’s no doubt Canadian families’ fortunes are closely tied to their homes. Watch for Statistics Canada quarterly report on household debt and wealth later today which, among other things, measures household debt to disposable income. It will be released later today.


Seniors Leaving Vancouver to Take Advantage of Housing Market

According to the Globe and Mail published Sunday, May 21st, Baby Boomers are cashing out with their real estate boon and leaving the Greater Vancouver region in high numbers.  In the tides of people arriving in Vancouver and the tides of people leaving, there has been a net loss of around 3,385 Boomers according to an analysis by University of British Columbia sociology professor Nathanael Lauster.

“It means less people for volunteering, less people supporting arts-and-culture institutions,” says Penny Gurstein, director of UBC’s school of community and regional planning. “Look at the opera now in Vancouver: there just aren’t enough people in that cohort to support it.”
While young people are arriving in droves, the region is losing a lot of people with job, life, and community experience.

Read the full article HERE


2017 April Market Report by Frank Rudge, Remax Real Estate in Victoria, BC


Is the Victoria Real Estate Market Overheated?

CMHC Senior Market Analyst Eric Bond calls Victoria’s Real Estate market “Overheated”. In his opinion, the city of is facing a housing affordability crisis, with the average price of a home reaching $640,802 in March, up 11.3 per cent compared to March 2016. Put another way, the first quarter of 2017 saw the average price for a single-detached home increase by 19 per cent as compared to the same quarter last year.

The Victoria Real Estate Board reported the Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in March was $790,100 -  a 19.1 per cent increase from March 2016.

Despite the presence of strong market fundamentals like employment growth, increased population driven by younger demographics and low mortgage rates, CMHC doesn’t think the market’s price acceleration can be justified by these factors alone.

To assess the states of the housing markets, CMHC looks at four factors. 

To find out more, CLICK HERE


Real Estate Inventory in Victoria Edging Up... A Little

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.

* Properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region includes the southern tip of Vancouver Island up to just south of Cowichan Bay, the Peninsula, the Western Communities along with Salt Spring, Pender, Saturna, Mayne and Gailiano Islands. See map.

If you are interested in reading the full VREB’s report online, CLICK HERE.


Thoughts on the Canadian Housing Bubble

On April 7th, MacLean’s ran an extensive article written by Joe Castaldo entitled, “How Canada completely lost its mind over real estate”.

Right now, Toronto’s list prices are largely meaningless because properties are routinely selling for well over asking price. In his article, Castaldo illustrates with details of the recent sale of a semi-detached home listed in the city’s west end for $699,000.

“To step inside (the home) was to travel back in time to the 1970s. The house was festooned with brown rugs, brown linoleum floor tiles and, in the basement, wall-to-wall wood paneling. After just five days on the market, it sold for $1.03 million in March—$331,000 more than the list price.”

There is an excessive amount of real estate speculation occurring in the city right now – not by foreigners, but by Torontonians! Many feel the party will not end – that housing prices will continue to rise, even though many experts are calling for caution in what many deem to be a housing bubble.

Does Toronto’s escalating prices have any bearing on real estate in Victoria BC? Well, some, but not in the same way.  In British Columbia, real estate and related fields such as construction and finance make up an astounding 40 per cent of GDP! It’s a vital industry, yet in Victoria, there is a massive shortage of supply for the growing demand!

If you're in a position to sell your home, let's talk best strategy to maximize your profits.


Making an Offer in a Competitive Market

Imagine finding a home you love, making an offer, and then finding out there are other competing offers on the table. Ouch! If you’re looking for a property in a competitive market, it is likely that there will be multiple offers. Even just one can create the risk that you’ll lose the home. So how do you make sure your offer is enticing enough to win over the seller?

Here are some ideas:

• Don’t make a low-ball offer. If you do, it might be dismissed and you probably won’t get another chance to bid — especially if the other competing offers are near the listing price.

• Have a pre-arranged mortgage and include that with your offer. This reassures the seller there won’t be any money issues. (Most lenders will provide you with a pre-arranged mortgage certificate for this purpose).

• Go in with a price high enough that the seller will be interested, but not so high as to be leaving money on the table. This is tricky and requires a savvy knowledge of the current market.

• Have a REALTOR® present the offer on your behalf. A REALTOR® will know how to do so professionally, and in a manner that gives you the best chance of getting the home.

In a competitive situation, working with a REALTOR® who is an expert on the local market — and a skilled negotiator — is crucial.

Looking for a REALTOR® like that? Call today.