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

Hi Paul,

Searching for your dream home is supposed to be fun but it's an emotional journey that can quickly become overwhelming, unless you’re prepared.  Our feature article offers some great advice that’ll help make your house hunting adventure much more enjoyable.

There are also some simple tips on how to wash your dishwasher (because they need a clean too!) as well as a few of the latest tech trends from the Las Vegas Electronics Show.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you ever 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 
Housing market shows no signs of slowing down!

The housing market in the VIREB area showed no signs of slowing down in February, with sales activity continuing in the same vein as January.

In February 2016, 407 single-family homes sold compared to 282 last February, an increase of 44 per cent.  Month over month, sales were up by 58 per cent from the 258 sales processed in January 2016.

Last month’s active listings totalled 1,527, down 23 per cent from the 1,990 reported in February 2015.  Townhouse and apartment sales also posted healthy sales increases in virtually every market.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir states that the entire south coast of British Columbia is witnessing a robust real estate market.  Record levels of consumer demand are fueling sales, bolstered by British Columbia’s strong economy, which continues to lead the country due to sluggish economic conditions in the rest of Canada.

“Some of what we’re seeing is pent-up demand spilling over from 2015, which saw record sales,” says Muir.  “We’re anticipating that 2016 will be another busy year, but do expect activity to taper off somewhat in the latter half.”

VIREB President Margo Hoffman reports that the VIREB market is firmly in seller’s territory, with limited inventory continuing to be a challenge.  Savvy sellers should take advantage of market conditions and consider putting their home on the market now.

“We’re seeing multiple offers in many transactions throughout the board area because there are more buyers than sellers,” says Hoffman.  “If you’ve been thinking about selling, it’s a perfect time to do so because there are lots of people who will want your home.”  Despite robust market conditions, Hoffman notes that the VIREB housing market is still very affordable compared to other parts of the province.

“We’re beginning to see some migration from Vancouver that isn’t retirement-focused,” says Hoffman.  “An interesting development we’re watching is younger professionals who are trading in their homes for a significantly nicer property on Vancouver Island and then commuting to their jobs on the Lower Mainland.”

Although this development is nowhere near a trend, Hoffman notes that commuting options are making doing so a feasible alternative to the expensive real estate on the Lower Mainland and in the Fraser Valley.  “We have the ferry, float planes, and Helijet, so getting to and from the Island is much easier than it used it to be,” says Hoffman.

In February 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $340,900, up 5.78 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 February was $386,974, a 16 per cent increase from February 2015.

The February 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $272,300, virtually unchanged from last year.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $342,900, up 7.02 per cent from 2015.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $303,800, an increase of 6.95 per cent over the same month in 2015 and down slightly from last month.

Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 4.87 per cent to $356,900, down slightly from January, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 8.27 per cent to $379,600.  The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $190,300, an increase of 8.37 per cent since February 2015.

Finding your Dream Home the Easy Way 
House hunting’s exciting but if you’re not prepared, it can be stressful.

It’s easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed when you’re looking for a home which is why it’s important to properly prepare in advance.  Here are a few points to consider before you start your search:

  1. Finance Forward - Get pre-qualified so you know exactly how much you can afford as well as how much you’ll need for expenses such as legal fees and taxes.

  2. Know Your Needs - Make a list of the features your new home must have and features you would like to have.  Think about how long you plan on living in the home and whether or not it has to be in move-in condition.

  3. Location, Location, Location - Determine whether the location of your home is more important than the home itself.  Investigate different areas to determine what amenities are available as well as the location of schools.

  4. The Bold & the Beautiful - Don’t be put off by the orange shag carpet or floral wallpaper as they’re relatively easy fixes.  On the other hand, don’t get distracted by an incredibly well staged home.  The key is to visualize the home with your items in it.

  5. Old vs. New - Older homes have character and enjoy prime locations but they're less efficient and require more maintenance.  Newer homes on the other hand are designed with functionality in mind but they’re often in unestablished areas with ongoing construction.

Preparing yourself for house hunting will make the experience much more enjoyable so do your best to get everything in order.  In the meantime, start getting yourself acquainted with the market so that when the perfect home comes along, you’ll be ready to act with confidence!

Washing the Dishwasher 
Leftover food and soap scum can really gunk up your dishwasher.

Cleaning the dishwasher isn’t something we tend to think of but debris builds up over time which reduces its performance.  Here are a few tips that’ll help keep your dishwasher in tip-top shape:

  1. Get rid of Gunk - Clean the filter to get rid of caked on food and other debris to help with drainage and general cleaning.

  2. Clean Up - Pour a cup of white vinegar into your dishwasher to wash away grease, grime and calcium deposits.

  3. Freshen Up - Sprinkle a cup baking soda along the bottom of your dishwasher before running it on a short, hot cycle.

  4. Accessories - Don’t forget about the racks and cutlery baskets as they can also accumulate grease and food pieces.

Your dishwasher needs to be properly maintained in order to perform at its best.  If you follow these tips, your dishwasher will run more efficiently which will extend its lifespan plus your dishes will be extra clean and sparkly!

Exciting Tech Trends for 2016 
There are lots of ground breaking ideas that are shaping our world!

The annual CES show in Las Vegas is one of the largest consumer technology shows in the world.  Here are a few of the coolest tech products to keep an eye out for this year:

  1. Sky High - Drones are playing a huge role in search and rescue efforts as they minimize response times and reduce the risk of injuries for rescuers.

  2. Really Real - Virtual reality has a wide range of uses from video games and business applications to even reshaping healthcare by treating stroke victims.

  3. iHelp - Social robots are changing the way we live and the newest ones can even read our facial expressions.  It’s said that one in ten households will have a home robot by 2020!

These are just a few of the coolest technologies to hit the market this year.  Hi-tech fitness gadgets, smart connected homes and self-driving cars are also big themes that will continue to grow in popularity.

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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