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

Hi Paul,

It’s hard to believe that 2015 is finally here!  This month’s first article highlights a few of 2015’s most exciting home and garden trends.

If you enjoy adding your own personal touch to your photos, then you’ll want to check out the review of PicMonkey.  There are also a few tips on how to take care of your hardwood floors.

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.  Here’s wishing you all the best throughout 2015!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Housing Market Finishes Year On a High Note 
Sales activity across Vancouver Island finished on a high note in December, capping off a year that saw consistent monthly gains.

Yearly sales were somewhat stronger than anticipated at the outset of 2014, reflecting the renewed consumer confidence observed in the retail sector.

Overall, the housing market remains balanced, which continues to be good news for buyers and sellers.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that 4,335 single-family homes sold in its area on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in 2014.  This signifies a 10 per cent increase over the 3,940 sales recorded in 2013.  The average sale price in 2014 was $345,108, up five per cent from 2013’s average sale price of $329,144.

BCREA’s chief economist, Cameron Muir, is optimistic heading into 2015, commenting that consumer demand is up, with five per cent retail growth year over year.  Housing prices continue to reflect that confidence, as well as an inflation rate of approximately two per cent.

“The spirit of renewed consumer confidence, combined with lower housing inventory levels, is placing upward pressure on house prices,” says Muir.  “We anticipate that we’ll continue to see slow and steady growth throughout 2015.”

Blair Herbert, VIREB President, notes that the yearly figures mirror what REALTORS® have observed on the ground for the past several months.  “We’ve seen continued improvement in monthly sales throughout the year, which is an encouraging trend heading into 2015,” says Herbert.  “However, as always, individual markets can vary considerably, so it is important to consult a local REALTOR® for the best pricing picture in your neighbourhood.”

A total of 257 single-family homes sold in the VIREB coverage area in December 2014, a 22 per cent increase over the 210 sales recorded in December 2013, and a 14 per cent drop from last month.

In December 2014, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $313,800, up 1.94 per cent from 2013.  Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.  The average price of a single-family home was $355,600 compared to $314,367 in December 2013.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $267,200, up slightly from December 2013.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $319,400, marking an increase of 1.79 per cent over last year.  Duncan reports a benchmark price of $280,800, an increase of 1.05 per cent over the same month in 2013, while Nanaimo’s benchmark price was $338,300, up 3.28 per cent compared to last year.  The Parksville-Qualicum area posted a benchmark price of $359,400, which is a 4.60 per cent increase over last year.  The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $175,800, down slightly from December 2013.

Home and Garden Trends for 2015 
Curious about what’s trending in homes and gardens this year?

There’s really no place like home, so it’s always interesting to discover what design trends you can incorporate in order to update your home and garden.

A mix of old and new ideas abound this year as homeowners seek to balance concerns over the environment along with the prevalence of 24/7 technology.  Here are a few popular trends:

  1. Green Thumb - Homeowners are enjoying casually styled outdoor spaces so we’ll see more native plants and food gardens and less of the larger manicured lawns.

  2. Lighten Up - Devices that automatically lighten up dark spots in drawers and cupboards are increasingly popular so you don’t need to turn on an entire bank of lights to find your keys.

  3. Glass Galore - Beautiful floor to ceiling windows and glass sliding doors are in demand as they allow the natural light to filter in while integrating indoor and outdoor spaces.

  4. Old & New - Homeowners are balancing technology by upcycling and incorporating natural materials into their decor. Rustic barn boards for instance add a warm contrast to modern lines.

  5. Talk the Talk - Some TV’s change channels or record shows by voice command but you’ll soon be able to turn on lights, adjust the heat and program your music all with your voice!

Decorating trends continue to evolve but it’s important to determine which styles resonate with you so that they’ll compliment your personality.  Whether you’re selling your house now or in the future, you’ll definitely want to “green up” your home as buyers are demanding healthy and environmentally friendly houses.

Stop Monkeying Around With Your Pics 
Edit your holiday snaps with filters and text using PicMonkey!

PicMonkey is an online drag and drop photo editing tool that’s fun and easy to use.  There’s no software to download and best of all, it doesn’t cost a cent!  Here are just a few things you can do:

  1. Edit - Images can be easily cropped, resized and sharpened or you can add professional looking filters and gradients.

  2. Touch Up - You can whiten teeth, remove blemishes and even give yourself a tan all with the click of a button.

  3. Design - It’s simple to create your own place cards or invitations.  Just pick out a background, add a border, some text, an image and voila!

  4. Collage - You can arrange several photos together to create one big picture.  Just select a layout and then edit your creation to add your own personal touch.

There are so many things you can do to add pizazz to your pics – your only limit is your imagination.  Photo editing isn't always easy but PicMonkey makes it so simple that, you guessed it, even a monkey can do it!

Your Hardwood Floor's Worst Enemies 
Hardwood floors look beautiful but they take a real beating!

It can be a hard knocks life for hardwood floors.  Scratches, dents and dulling all ruin their natural beauty over time.  Here are a few common enemies to be aware of:

  1. Liquids - Mop up spills immediately as they can warp the wood and cause it to swell.

  2. Furniture - Place felt pads underneath furniture to avoid scratches when they’re moved.

  3. Sticks & Stones - Grit acts like sandpaper so place rugs by the doors and vacuum thoroughly with a brush attachment (not a beater bar) before washing.

Prevention is key to keeping your hardwood floors beautiful.  Many cleaners will actually ruin your finish so make sure you use the correct cleaner for your floors and if you own a dog, make sure their nails are regularly trimmed.



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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