Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Karen Hayes & Susie Mattner October 2019   

If you’re finding it hard to save up for a down payment, you may have considered purchasing a home with a friend or relative. This month’s article offers some great advice on co-ownership.

There are also a few tips on how to keep your furnace in tip-top shape as well as some cool uses for mismatched socks!

No Thanksgiving would be complete without thanking the people who make our job so special, we are thankful to have you as a client. Working with you has been a pleasure, and we can only hope our relationship continues for many years.  May you have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter. Please reach out if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general. It'd be great to hear from you!

Yours Truly,
Karen Hayes & Susie Mattner

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update 
Housing market shifts focus to multi-family properties.

Sales of single-family homes in September were virtually flat year over year but dipped by 16 per cent from August. However, apartment and townhouse sales rose by 15 per cent and 11 per cent year over year, respectively.

Last month, 345 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 413 the previous month and 347 in September 2018. In the apartment category, 85 units sold last month, while 51 townhouses changed hands in September.

In the VIREB area, inventory of single-family homes in September rose by 14 per cent from one year ago (1,283 to 1,466). Active listings of apartments increased by 43 per cent (293 to 419) year over year while townhouse inventory dropped by 18 per cent (171 to 140).

The September statistics indicate that some buyers are turning to multi-family properties, but it is too early to say whether this is an anomaly or the beginning of a trend. As for the reasons behind this shift away from single-family homes, it could be a combination of factors, including affordability, Guideline B20, and the speculation tax in Nanaimo.

Prices in the VIREB area are still rising year over year, but the magnitude is decreasing. The benchmark price of a single-family home board-wide was $523,100 in September, a four per cent increase from one year ago and up two per cent from August.

In the apartment category, the year-over-year benchmark price rose by two per cent, climbing to $298,900 but slightly lower than in August. The benchmark price of a townhouse rose by four per cent board-wide, hitting $411,100 last month, which was two per cent lower than August’s benchmark of $417,300.

Regionally, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area last month was $451,400, an increase of 11 per cent over September 2018. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price reached $523,900, up by five per cent from one year ago.

Duncan reported a benchmark price of $482,100, an increase of three per cent from September 2018. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by two per cent to $569,200 in September while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by three per cent to $591,700. The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $327,400 in September, an eight per cent increase from one year ago.

Trend-wise, VIREB’s housing market has transitioned from one favouring sellers to one that is balanced, and, in some areas, conditions are better for buyers. Kaye Broens, 2019 President, reports that sellers now recognize the market has changed and are pricing their homes accordingly. Although real estate is cyclical, the one factor that remains constant is that well-priced homes sell faster.

“Whether you’re a buyer or seller, the advice of a REALTOR® is beneficial in any housing market,” says Broens. “We have access to tools and market analytics that empower us to dig deeply into sales data and comparatives. That knowledge allows us to determine an optimal selling price for your home and find a house that fits your needs and budget.”

Co-ownership -- Will Your Friendship Survive? 
Planning is key if you’re thinking of purchasing a property with a friend!
If you’re tired of renting but can’t quite scrape together a down payment for a home of your own, you may need to get creative. One option is to purchase a property with a friend or relative.
Co-ownership makes it so much easier to buy a home as you’re able to share the down payment and monthly expenses. It’s a partnership you don’t want to enter into lightly though as there are pros and cons.
On the plus side, it’s much more affordable, so you’ll be able to start building up equity instead of constantly throwing your money away on rent.
The drawbacks, however, include a lack of privacy and the potential loss of a valuable friendship. You may like and trust each other now, but things could change once you start living together.
Determine first whether your personality styles are a match. If you’re a neat freak and your friend doesn’t know one end of a vacuum from the other, then problems may arise.
Also, think about how you like to spend your leisure time. If you prefer spending quiet nights at home, but they’re more of a party person who loves to host, it may not be a great match.
If you’ve determined that you're a good fit, the first thing you’ll want to do is visit a mortgage broker to get pre-approved and lock in the lowest rate to protect yourself in case they rise while you’re out house hunting.
Next, draw up a list of essential items such as location and parking. Seemingly small issues, like who’s getting the master bedroom, may create future tension so sort out these types of details ahead of time.
Finally, draw up a contract that addresses potential problems and spells out maintenance issues. This is a business deal, so discuss worst-case scenarios such as death or how to proceed if one person wants to sell, but the other doesn’t.
Building up your financial security through co-ownership can work well for both parties if you have an open line of communication before, during and after you buy a home. A solid plan will help eliminate future problems so you can enjoy the benefits of co-ownership while remaining friends for life!

Not Just a Bunch of Hot Air 
Check your furnace now to save on costly repair bills down the road!

When we're poking around in the basement, we don’t give the furnace a second thought; that is until the weather turns cold and it’s time to fire it up!

The last thing you want is for your heat to fail on the coldest night of the year when service calls cost a fortune. Here are a few tips that’ll help keep your furnace in tip-top shape:

  1. All Clear - Keep the area around the furnace clear of dust and obstructions and never store any kind of flammable material nearby.

  2. Fix the Filter - Make sure to regularly clean or replace your air filter as dirty filters block airflow, which causes the furnace to work overtime.

  3. Seal & Save - Seal up air leaks with caulking or weather strips and always open your drapes on sunny days and close them at night to keep the heat in.

  4. Go Pro - Have your furnace serviced by a licensed technician as it will run more efficiently and help you avoid costly repairs.

Regular furnace maintenance will increase efficiency, reduce energy use and prevent general wear and tear. Think of it as an investment rather than an expense as it'll help you avoid huge, unexpected repairs down the road.

Knock Your Socks Off! 
These handy home hacks give new meaning to the phrase “put a sock in it!”

We all have those odd, mismatched socks kicking around at home. Instead of tossing them in the trash, here are a few clever ways to put them back into service:

  1. Sock Puppet - Throw a sock on your hand and start dusting. It works especially well on blinds!

  2. Fog is Lifting - Fill a sock with kitty litter and place it in your car to keep the windows from fogging up.

  3. Icebreaker - Reusable ice packs are extremely cold against bare skin, so cover them with odd socks to make them more tolerable.

Don’t let single socks get you off on the wrong foot. Hunt down all those mismatched socks that have been kicking around for years and put them to good use!

PS We always appreciate any introductions or referrals.  If you know of anyone you think we could help, please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc., please email us at or give us a call any time! 

Karen: (250) 927-9798 
Susie:  (250) 228-1960

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