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

Hi Paul,

Saving up for a down payment can sometimes feel totally overwhelming.  This month’s first article discusses a few budgeting strategies that’ll make it much easier.

We’ve also included some tips on how to reduce stress this holiday season as well as a solution that’ll significantly reduce the amount of junk email you receive.

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 
Local sales activity reflecting typical fall market conditions.

Sales of single-family homes declined in October, reflecting typically slower fall market conditions.  However, due to a robust spring and summer housing market, the board is on target to reach its sales forecast for 2015.

Last month, 369 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) compared to 400 in October 2014, a decrease of eight per cent.

Month over month, sales were down by 14 per cent from September 2015.  When condominium and townhouse sales are factored in, however, sales board wide increased by two per cent.  Inventory levels continue to decrease, with active listings down 16 per cent from one year ago.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir states that the decline in sales is unsurprising, particularly in light of the robust sort of market British Columbia has witnessed throughout 2015.  “The dip in sales activity is not unusual for this time of year and is nothing to be concerned about,” said Muir.  “It’s even less of an issue when you consider how strong the 2015 market has been.  You don’t typically see home sales reach their highest levels in 10 years and then abruptly plateau.”

VIREB President-Elect Margo Hoffman notes that real estate is a cyclical industry sensitive to and affected by a variety of factors, most notably that of consumer preferences and decisions.  “Fall housing markets are typically slower because consumers frequently choose to wait for a more opportune time to buy or sell,” said Hoffman.  “Few individuals like to move during the Christmas season, and households with school-aged children usually prefer to postpone major housing decisions until the spring or summer.”

Despite declining inventory levels and a steadily rising benchmark price, Hoffman notes that the VIREB market is very price sensitive.  “We’ve had a busy year in the VIREB area, but have not experienced the intense sales activity witnessed on the Lower Mainland and in some parts of Victoria,” says Hoffman.  “Buyers are willing to walk away from a deal because they’re confident they can find a home somewhere else.  Sellers should consider using a REALTOR® to ensure their home is priced to sell.”

In October 2015, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $339,100, a slight decrease from September and up 5.60 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 increased to $361,665 compared to $350,661 last month and $349,172 in October 2014.

The October 2015 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $273,600, an increase of 1.76 per cent from last year.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $339,800, up 7.72 per cent from 2014.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $302,300, an increase of 6.40 per cent over the same month in 2014.  Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 5.18 per cent to $358,700 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 3.98 per cent to $372,500.  The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $191,400, an increase of 2.95 per cent since October 2014.

Making Cents of your Down Payment 
Buying a home is exciting but saving up for it can be a challenge.

A home is typically the largest single purchase you’ll ever make so it’s important to be aware of your financial circumstances and have a plan of action.

Once you figure out how much you’ll need, open up a savings account specifically for home ownership so you can automatically transfer a set amount into it each month.  Here are a few ideas that’ll help you reach your goal:

  1. Consolidate Debts - If you carry a credit card balance, consolidate it to a line of credit that offers a lower interest rate.

  2. Government Assistance - Research the various government buyer assistance programs that are available to qualified individuals.

  3. Cut out the Big Stuff - Consider selling your car and using public transit or perhaps look for a roommate to help out with the rent and utilities.

  4. Cut out the Small Stuff - Buying lunch even a few times a week costs thousands of dollars a year so pack a lunch instead and give up the fancy daily latte.

  5. Making Menus - Planning weekly menus means you’ll be less likely to order take out or overspend on groceries.

  6. Dream It - Put a picture of your dream home in a prominent place to constantly remind you of your goal.  Visualization combined with good old fashioned willpower will help turn your dreams into reality!

Saving up for a down payment requires discipline and patience.  Just don’t get discouraged and remember that every little bit you save will help you eventually achieve your dream!  There are various programs available to assist home buyers with their down payment needs so if you or someone you know requires some help, please get in touch.

Surviving the Stress of the Season 
It’s never too early to start getting organized for the holidays!

It’s easy to get stressed out during the holiday season but a little advance planning will help put things right so that you’ll be able to relax and enjoy yourself!  Here are a few ideas that'll help relieve the seasonal stress:

  1. Shop Early - Shopping ahead of time (with a list!) means less stress later on.  You’re also more likely to stay on budget rather than panicking last minute and overspending.

  2. Skip the Stores - Do your shopping online so you don't have to waste time aimlessly wandering around only to end up in huge lineups.  It’s also much easier to do price comparisons online.

  3. Expect the Unexpected - Have a few pre-wrapped "stand-by gifts" for those unexpected occasions where a gift's immediately needed.

  4. Keep it Together - Keep wrapping paper, tags, tape, scissors, cards and stamps organized in one central spot.  Wrap as you go so you’re not rushing last minute and note the contents on a sticky note.

  5. Just Say No! - Don’t commit to parties or get togethers that you can’t manage.  The holidays aren’t a time for unnecessary obligations that chew up your time.

Although the holiday season is full of joy and laughter, it also comes with increased demands that can weigh heavily upon us.  If you manage the pressures by planning well ahead, you'll be able to enjoy the season instead of just surviving it.

How to Win the Fight Against Spam 
Are you scared to check your email because your inbox is bursting at the seams?

Checking email used to be fun but scammers and spammers have turned it into an overwhelming, time consuming chore.

Cloudmark DesktopOne does an amazing job at filtering out junk mail and unlike many of its competitors, it’s extremely accurate at identifying what is and isn’t spam.  If it does make a mistake, you can correct it with the click of a button.

The basic version is free, easy to set up and works with most email service providers.  Without a ton of spam to constantly sift through, you’ll once again look forward to checking your email.  Let me know how it works out for you!

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!
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at or give us a call:  250-468-1498

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