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

Hi Paul,

Saving energy around the home isn't just good for the environment -- it's great for your finances too!  This month’s feature article shares a few simple energy saving tips to help you increase your home's efficiency.

There are also some tips on how to communicate effectively with your real estate agent so you’ll be able to receive the best possible service as well as a few ideas on how to host a successful clothing swap!

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...
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report 
Vancouver Island home sellers still in the driver’s seat.

Sales of single-family homes in September were lower than in August but rose significantly over September 2015.

In September 2016, 531 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 431 last September, an increase of 23 per cent.  Month-over-month, sales decreased by 14 per cent from August, which saw 623 unit sales.

Inventory also dropped to a new historic low, dipping to 1,265, a nine per cent decrease from the previous month and down 40 per cent from one year ago.  The last time inventory was this low occurred in 2005 when the supply of single-family homes for sale dropped to 1,629 units.  VIREB began tracking inventory levels in 1999.

Robust sales in the VIREB area and throughout much of B.C. are being driven by a combination of economic factors that are creating a sound foundation for housing sales.

“This is the third year that British Columbia’s GDP and employment growth have been above three per cent, and GDP is currently tracking at 3.5 per cent,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.  “Year-over-year retail sales are at six per cent, so consumer confidence is obviously high.”

Although a moderating trend in activity and prices is occurring in the Vancouver market, that slowdown is not affecting the VIREB area thus far.  Prices in Vancouver and on the Lower Mainland have not dropped by much, but sales have taken a hit.  This moderation might have been accelerated slightly by the Foreign Buyer Tax introduced at the beginning of August, but it is still too early to say whether this is a temporary cooling in sales activity or indicative of a larger trend.

However, foreign buyers are not turning to Vancouver Island in lieu of the Lower Mainland and are not the impetus behind VIREB’s robust housing market.  As shown in our 2015 Buyer Profile, 54 per cent of purchasers were from Vancouver Island, 22 per cent from elsewhere in B.C., 22 per cent from elsewhere in Canada, and only two per cent were international buyers.  Those demographics have likely not changed in 2016.

Limited inventory continues to be the major challenge for buyers and REALTORS® in the VIREB area, with agents fielding multiple offers on a regular basis.  Margo Hoffman, 2016 VIREB President, is encouraging potential home sellers to take advantage of these market conditions.

“Sellers are in the driver’s seat right now, and sales would be higher if there were more homes available,” says Hoffman.  “But consumers need to realize that sellers’ markets don’t last forever, so if you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, now is the time.”

In September 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $389,200, up 14 per cent from one year ago.  Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 11 per cent in Campbell River to 17 per cent in Nanaimo and the Parksville-Qualicum area.  As in August, the benchmark price of an apartment rose approximately 15 per cent boardwide, with Duncan and Parksville-Qualicum reporting 21 and 29 per cent increases, respectively.  The townhouse market also strengthened, posting an 11 per cent increase board-wide.

The September 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $305,200, an increase of 10.51 per cent over September 2015.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $385,200, up 13 per cent from 2015.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $340,500, an increase of 12.25 per cent compared to September 2015.  Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 17.38 per cent to $420,500 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 17.48 per cent to $447,400.  The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $215,500, up 13 per cent from one year ago.

Reduce your Bills and Chills 
It’s important to do everything we can to reduce our energy use.

A few small changes can make a huge difference to your monthly energy bill.  For instance, adjusting your “smart” thermostat by just a few degrees can produce major savings!

Also, don’t forget to lower the thermostat on your water heater or better yet, get an "on demand" system that only heats up water as it’s needed.  Here are a few other ideas to consider:

  • switch over to LED bulbs
  • install energy efficient shower heads
  • clean out your dryer’s lint tray after each use
  • seal up air leaks around your windows and doors
  • use ceiling fans to save money on both heating and cooling
  • service your air conditioner and furnace each year to maintain efficiency

Landscaping is a naturally beautiful way to keep your home comfortable.  A few strategically placed trees or shrubs can save a fortune on heating and cooling as they shelter against the cold winter winds and provide shade during the summer months.

Higher energy bills are a harsh reality for the rising number of people who work from home.  To help minimize this expense, power down your computer when it’s not in use and shut it off completely at the end of the day.  You can also cut costs by positioning your desk to take advantage of natural light.

It doesn’t take much to implement a few energy saving solutions around the home but oftentimes, it's the simple things that are overlooked.  It’s important to do whatever we can, not only to save money but also to help conserve the environment.

When Pushy Comes to Shovy 
Clear communication is an important element in any relationship.

Nobody wants to deal with a pushy real estate agent.  At the same time, you don't want an agent who's never in touch and fails to service your needs in a timely fashion.

In the early stages, many home buyers shy away from asking too many questions as they don’t want to waste the agent's time.  The truth is, your agent wants to hear from you on a regular basis so they can grow with you as your house hunting journey matures.

Everyone's different.  Some require daily property updates while others prefer a more relaxed approach.  Circumstances may change as time goes on so it's important to constantly reassess how often you'd like to receive market updates and what your preferred method of communication is.

Effective communication is essential when it comes to forming and maintaining any relationship and a client/agent relationship is no different.  As long as you and your agent regularly communicate with one another during your house hunting journey, you'll feel neither pressured nor abandoned.

How to Host a Successful Clothing Swap 
It’s time for a change – a change of clothes that is!

If your closets are bursting at the seams, you may want to organize a clothing swap.  It’s a great local event to host in your ‘hood!  Here are a few tips to ensure its success:

  • organize clothing by size
  • create space for a few private change rooms
  • have a few full length mirrors with decent lighting
  • refreshments, appetizers and music are a nice touch

If you're looking to clear out the clutter in your closets, meet new people and update your wardrobe, a clothing swap might just be the answer!  It’ll be a win-win situation if you donate the remaining clothing items to a local homeless shelter as well as ask attendees to bring along a small food bank donation.

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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