Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Elke Babiuk June 2017   
  Real Estate News

Elke Babiuk

CIR Realty
103, 11012 MacLeod Trail S.
Calgary, Alberta

Smart homes are making our lives easier, safer and more comfortable.  This month’s article highlights some of the latest trends that help provide homeowners greater convenience and control over their daily lives.

There are also some examples of how a strategically placed water feature can evoke feelings of peace and relaxation in your garden as well as a few tips on how to clean your washing machine.

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

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update 
Demand continues to exceed supply on Vancouver Island.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that in May 2017, 632 single-family properties sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 765 last May, a decrease of 17 per cent.

VIREB attributes the year-over-year decrease to continuing inventory challenges, not a weakening market.  Month-over-month, sales increased by 32 per cent from April, which saw 477 sales.  This increase likely reflects seasonal selling conditions since the housing market is typically busier in the spring.

Inventory of single-family homes declined by 28 per cent from May 2016, with 1,210 active listings available last month compared to 1,681 one year ago.  Listings of single-family homes have steadily increased each month since VIREB hit its historic inventory low of 859 in December 2016.  However, demand continues to exceed supply, and well-priced properties are snapped up almost as soon as they hit the market.

“Limited supply, combined with high demand, means it has been a sellers’ market for months.  Sellers are in the drivers’ seat, and the lack of inventory is frustrating buyers and REALTORS® alike,” says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.  “That said, even though we’re in a sellers’ market, homeowners still need to price their home correctly.  Houses can sit unsold for months if they’re priced higher than the market will bear.”

She adds that sellers are not immune to the frustration that buyers are experiencing because it is hard to sell your home if you cannot find another property to buy.  Still, homeowners reluctant to sell due to concerns of housing availability should make the most of this hot market.  “Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar.  “When the market does correct itself – and it always does – it usually happens without warning.”

Stromar also has advice for buyers, stating that patience and preparation are a must in a sellers’ market.  “When you find a property you like, you need to act quickly, so make sure your financing is pre-approved.  Since many homes are selling above list price, you should also decide on a comfortable price point you’re willing to pay.”  She adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.

“This kind of market can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help clarify the situation,” says Stromar.  “We’re also equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help buyers formulate winning offers and ensure sellers receive maximum dollars for their home.”

In May 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area rose to $431,200, up 18 per cent from one year ago.  Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 15 per cent in Duncan to 21 per cent in Nanaimo.  The benchmark price of an apartment in May rose 26 per cent board-wide from the previous year, with Campbell River and Comox Valley posting increases of 37 per cent.  The townhouse market also strengthened in May, registering a price increase of 21 per cent board-wide.

The May 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $346,600, an increase of 21 per cent over May 2016.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $426,600, up 18 per cent from last year.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $366,200, an increase of 15 per cent compared to May 2016.  Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 21 per cent to $473,200 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 18 per cent to $491,500.  The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $232,300, up 18 per cent from one year ago.

Home Is Where the Smart Is 
Smart home technology is continuing to grow at a rapid rate!

Smart home technology has gone from basic security to smart windows that open and close based on the weather and indoor air temperature.  Here’s a look at a few smart home innovations that will revolutionize our lives:

  1. Connectivity is King - The connected home is a huge theme this year that features connected appliances, smoke alarms, lightbulbs and doorbells.

  2. Talk to Me - There’s a huge focus on voice activated products around the home including voice controlled garbage cans, air purifiers and fridges.

  3. Home Help - Robots are being used to offer companionship for seniors and there’s also an innovative, lifesaving cane that sends out an alert in the event of an emergency.

  4. Laundry Lackey - Washing machines that can do multiple loads at once will save us valuable time and there’s even a machine in the works that will fold the laundry!

  5. Breathe Easy - Sensors can monitor your indoor air for Co2, VOCs, allergens and humidity levels and they’ll also be able to expel bad air and introduce clean air to your home.

  6. Robot Cleaners - With intelligent visual navigation, app control and powerful suction that cleans in corners, you’ll never need to push a vacuum again!

Smart home technology is always improving and it’s a major selling point because the higher your home's IQ, the higher the resale value will be!  Who knows what the future will bring but one thing’s for sure; smart home technology can provide you and your family convenience and peace of mind.

Soothe Your Soul with a Water Feature 
Bring new life to your outdoor space by creating a peaceful paradise.

Imagine relaxing after a stressful day at work and unwinding on a backyard lounger while listening to the sound of flowing water.

Your backyard’s the perfect place to take a break from the hectic pace of everyday life, and the addition of a water feature will help transform your garden into an oasis of tranquility, give it a beautiful focal point and may well increase the value of your home.

Water features also create an environmentally friendly haven for wildlife such as frogs, birds and butterflies.  There are a wide variety of solar powered fountains to choose from and by utilizing the sun's rays, you'll lower your electricity bills and won't get tangled up in cords.

Water attractions can be as simple or complex as your budget allows, ranging from a simple tabletop fountain to a full-scale babbling brook.  Safety of course should be a concern if you have small children and if you plan on digging, make sure to contact the utility companies.

It's important to spend a bit of time during the planning stage to ensure your water feature will integrate with your landscape and environment and then once you’ve finished implementing your new water feature, find a comfortable seat, close your eyes and imagine yourself in paradise.

Washing the Washing Machine 
If your washing machine is giving off a musty smell, it’s time for a wash!

Washing the washing machine may seem strange but over time, soap scum and bacteria build up in front loading washing machines which creates a musty smell.

Start by cleaning the rubber door gasket with white vinegar and water.  Next, mix ¼ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of water and add it to the detergent compartment, then pour 2 cups of vinegar in the drum and run an empty load at the hottest setting.

Clean your washing machine every month to keep it in tip top shape.  If you leave the door open between loads, promptly remove laundry as soon as the load has finished and don’t use too much detergent, you’ll help keep your washing machine fresh and clean.

Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.