Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven February 2016   

Hi Paul,

The fresh start of a new year brings lots of possibilities making it the perfect time to embrace something new at home.  This month’s main article outlines some popular home and garden trends for 2016.

There are also a few tips on how to improve your home’s air quality as well as some surprising uses for baking soda!

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 would be great to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report 
The local housing market kicks off 2016 with strong sales!

The Vancouver Island housing market kicked off 2016 with strong sales, continuing the momentum created in the last quarter of 2015.

Last month, 258 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) compared to 196 in January 2015, an increase of 32 per cent.

Sales activity was down slightly from December 2015’s tally of 276 single-family homes sold.  Inventory levels are continuing their downward trend, with active listings down 21 per cent compared to one year ago.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir notes that 2016’s strong start is being bolstered by a robust fourth quarter in 2015.  That year-end momentum – combined with limited inventory, a strong provincial GDP, improved job growth, and higher wages – will continue to fuel our local housing market.

Muir does expect sales activity in the VIREB area to edge back about three per cent in 2016, with softer demand coming in the latter half of the year.  However, that decrease is normal in light of 2015’s robust sales.  Other factors likely to have a positive impact on VIREB’s housing market are low oil prices and a weak Canadian dollar, notes Muir.

“It’s going to take some time for the oil patch to recover, which could result in some interprovincial migration from the provinces most affected by the drop in oil prices,” says Muir.  “Some Albertans close to retirement will likely decide to cash in, and B.C. is a popular retirement locale for our Prairie neighbours.  Moreover, a weaker Canadian dollar has a net positive impact on our economy because it makes Vancouver Island a more attractive tourist destination.”

VIREB President Margo Hoffman notes that limited inventory is the biggest challenge for REALTORS® and home buyers in the VIREB area.  Our housing market is now in seller’s territory, primarily caused by inventory levels that steadily declined month over month in 2015.

“Inventory has been decreasing for over a year now, and in most markets, there are more buyers than sellers,” says Hoffman.  “If you’ve been waiting for an opportune time to put your home on the market, now would be an excellent time to sell.”

Despite current market conditions, however, pricing your home appropriately for your neighbourhood is still a vital aspect of the sales process.  “The fact is that overpriced homes take longer to sell no matter how busy the market is,” says Hoffman.  “A REALTOR® can help you set a fair price to ensure the best chance of a sale.”

In January 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $341,100, up 6.21 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 in January was $365,850, a seven per cent increase from January 2015 and up slightly over last month.

The January 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $270,900, virtually unchanged from last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $331,700, up 3.64 per cent from 2014.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $311,100, an increase of 9.47 per cent over the same month in 2014.  Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 6.44 per cent to $359,100 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 10.73 per cent to $390,400.  The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $187,100, an increase of 10.84 per cent since January 2015.

Home and Garden Trends for 2016 
Curious about what’s trending in homes and gardens this year?

As another year is launched, so too are the latest design trends.  If you’re thinking of a home refresh or just wondering what’s new, here are a few popular trends to look out for in 2016:

  1. Tiny Homes - This trend is especially popular in areas where affordable housing and space are at a premium.  Although tiny homes are definitely not for everyone, the trend has piqued people’s interest in living more simply and in smaller spaces.

  2. Spaced Out - Designers are discovering new ways of making small spaces appear larger by using glass, sliding walls, curtains or room dividers.  Adding loft space and getting creative with storage are other great ways to maximize limited spaces.

  3. Green Fingers - Not everyone’s born with a green thumb but it’s easy to get advice with the tap of a finger!  Vegetable planting apps make it easy to grow your own and they’ll even help you pick plants based on your particular climate zone.

  4. Smart Security - There are various ways for homeowners to keep tabs on things while they’re out and about.  Monitoring sensors, wireless cameras and smart locks are affordable, easy to install and connect directly to a smartphone.

  5. Sustainability - The environmental theme is still going strong from healthy building materials and energy-efficient designs to decorating with organic materials.  Re-purposing is also very popular as it’s an eco-friendly way to create stylish and unique furnishings.

It’s important to be aware of trends, especially if you’re sprucing up your home to sell but one of the best “trends” this year appears to be enjoying and decorating your home the way you like.  Some trends have more staying power than others but keep in mind that investing in sustainable living is definitely something that’s not going away anytime soon.

Put a Damper on Dampness 
Dampness is one of the most common causes of poor indoor air quality.

Mold and mildew are serious problems that shouldn’t be ignored as damp homes can cause serious health issues as well as peeling paint, wood rot and structural damage.

It's important to deal with dampness immediately because the longer it's put off, the worse things will get.  Here are a few things you can do to get started:

  1. Inspect - Check your attic and basement for signs of moisture.

  2. Crack Up - Repair cracks and plug holes to fix any leaks.

  3. Blow Out -  Exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms are a must.

  4. Drip Dry - Set up a dehumidifier and remember to empty it regularly.

  5. Venting - Make sure your clothes dryer vent isn’t clogged.

We spend so much time relaxing at home but we don’t often consider our air quality.  If you take steps to eliminate the dampness in your home, you’ll significantly reduce the chance of respiratory illnesses making it a much happier and healthier place to live.

The Magic of Baking Soda 
The uses for baking soda around the home are endless!

Everyone knows baking soda helps keep the inside of your fridge smelling fresh but did you know it’s also an amazing environmentally friendly cleaner?  Here are a few other things you can use it for:

  • a dry cleanser to clean tubs, tiles and toilets

  • wash your hands with baking soda to eliminate the smell of onions or garlic

  • sprinkle on your carpet then vacuum after 15 minutes to eliminate bad smells

  • pour a little down the sink followed by some vinegar to clear clogged drains

Once you’ve finished cleaning your home, you can go and enjoy a nice, relaxing soak in the tub.  Before you climb in though, add half a cup of baking soda to soften your skin!



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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