Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven October 2015   

Hi Paul,

If you're thinking about renovating your home, you'll want to be sure your updates are worthwhile.  This month’s article discusses which renovations produce the highest return on investment.

There are also some Halloween homeowner safety tips as well as a few tricks to help you remember people’s names.

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!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report 
Healthy housing market continues in September

Sales in the VIREB area edged back slightly in September, but the housing market remains robust, a trend expected to continue for the rest of the year.

Last month, 431 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) compared to 405 in September 2014, an increase of six per cent.

Month-over-month, sales decreased by 1.8 per cent from August 2015.  Inventory levels are still declining, with active listings down 15 per cent from one year ago.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir states that the marginal decrease in September sales activity has not affected the overall strength of the housing market.

“Our provincial economy continues to be healthy, bolstered by a hefty infusion of tourism dollars over the summer,” says Muir.  “Last month’s slight backwards tick in housing activity is no cause for concern.  We expect strong sales momentum for the rest of the year, fueled by job growth, consumer confidence, and low interest rates.”

Nationally, the Canadian economy appears to have emerged from the doldrums caused by the malaise in the oil patch, says Muir, which bodes well for the B.C. housing market.

“Although we expect a slight downturn in the housing market in 2016, activity will remain strong,” says Muir.  “You don’t typically see home sales reach their highest levels in 10 years and then plateau.”

Muir emphasized that the services of a REALTOR® are especially valuable in an active housing market to ensure consumers make smart decisions when buying or selling a home.  Although September is traditionally one of the busiest months for REALTORS®, VIREB President-Elect Margo Hoffman says that last month improved upon the norm.

“Our members aren’t run off their feet, but they’re doing a lot of business,” says Hoffman.  “Inventory throughout our area continues to decline, and the smaller pool of potential homes for sale will eventually place upward pricing pressure on certain property types in some markets.”

In September 2015, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $340,200, a slight increase over August and up just under six per cent from one year ago.  Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.  The average MLS® price of a single-family home decreased marginally from $352,042 one year ago to $350,626 in September 2015.

The September 2015 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $276,100, an increase of 1.41 per cent from last year.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $340,600, up 6.23 per cent from 2014. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $303,300, an increase of 7.85 per cent over the same month in 2014.  Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 5.75 per cent to $358,100 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 4.21 per cent to $377,200.  The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $190,600, an increase of 1.81per cent since September 2014.

Reaping the Rewards of Renovations 
It’s critical to consider resale when renovating your home.

When it comes time to sell, it's important that your home stacks up well against the competition.  In order to have it look its best, renovations are sometimes necessary.

The key to generating a decent return on your investment is to renovate in line with other homes in your area.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re thinking of renovating:

  1. Get Cracking - The kitchen will often yield the greatest return on investment.  A welcoming kitchen that’s functional and up-to-date will be very attractive to buyers.

  2. Clean Up - The bathroom is the second most important room in the home in terms of valuation so renovating an existing bathroom or installing an additional one pays off.

  3. Go Green - An eco-friendly home is a healthy home so if you’re thinking about replacing flooring for instance, use environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo or cork.

  4. Landscaping - Adding a few perennials is an easy way to improve your home's curb appeal.  A few well-placed trees and shrubs will reduce utility costs by providing shade and shelter.

  5. The Convert - If you converted a bedroom into a home office, consider returning it to its original state.  Buyers are more concerned with the number of bedrooms than having a home office they’ll never use.

Homeowners should try to achieve a balance between their individual wants/needs and making sure they don’t pour money down the drain.  Your improvements should be an investment, not an expense so if you ever have any questions on how renovations will affect the value of your home, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Halloween Safety Tips for Homeowners 
A quick safety check before Halloween will help prevent injuries.

There will be a sharp increase in foot traffic around your property on Halloween night so you’ll want to put safety first.  Here are a few tips that will help keep the kids safe when they come knocking:

  1. Loose Ends - Repair any loose railings on your porch and steps.

  2. Think Ahead - Have a spare light bulb on hand in case your porch light burns out.

  3. A Safe Glow - Use a light stick or flashlight in your jack-o'-lantern instead of candles.

  4. Frightened Fido - Halloween is a scary time for dogs so keep them secured in a separate room.

  5. Lighten Up - Although Halloween is a dark and spooky time, it’s important to ensure the path to your front door is well lit.

It’s easy to get caught up in all of the fun and festivities that surround Halloween but don’t forget about safety.  Halloween's an occasion where children form lifelong memories so as homeowners, it's important that we do our best to ensure they have a safe and happy time.

Remembering "What's His Face" From Down the Street 
It feels great when someone you hardly know remembers your name!

Halloween’s a great time to learn the names of people in your community as everyone’s out trick or treating.

We usually forget names because we’re too busy figuring out what to say next so pay attention and immediately work their name into the conversation, i.e. “I’ve seen you at the school before Jim”.

Another trick is to visualize an image that relates to the sound of their name so if you meet someone called Abby, picture a bee.  You can also try to associate a celebrity with their name.



PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised 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!
 
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