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

Hi Paul,

When you’re out having fun looking at homes, the last thing you want to think about are the various closing costs you’ll be responsible for.  This month’s first article details the associated costs so that you can budget accordingly.

There are also a few simple and inexpensive ways to transform your bathroom as well as a look at how drones are changing the way we live and work.

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...
Strong Vancouver Island Sales Kick Off Spring Housing Market 
Strong consumer confidence among Canadians continues to bode well for the housing market in the VIREB coverage area, with 420 single-family homes selling last month compared to 282 in February 2015 and year-over-year sales up 19 per cent.

“It’s been some time since we’ve seen these sorts of numbers so early in the year in British Columbia,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA’S chief economist.  “Sales levels are healthy, and we’re expecting an excellent year overall for real estate.”

Muir stated that although lower oil prices are causing a downward sales trend in other parts of Canada, paying less at the pump has a net positive effect on the housing market in B.C.  The U.S. economy remains stable, albeit growth south of the border has slowed somewhat.  Furthermore, the weaker Canadian dollar is also good news for Vancouver Island tourism as we head into the summer months.

In addition to a positive increase in the number of single-family homes sold, other markets in the VIREB area continue to do well.  Sales of apartment condominiums rose by 49 per cent over last year, with units sold up from 43 to 64.  In March 2015, 34 patio homes sold compared to 28 in March of last a year, a 21 per cent increase.

The number of townhouse units sold increased by 20 per cent, with 49 homes selling last month in comparison to 41 in March 2014.  Year-over-year sales of acreages and waterfront properties also rose, with 50 acreages selling in March 2015 compared to 30 last year and sales of waterfront properties up from 10 to 18.

Active listings in the VIREB area are down approximately eight per cent, yet buyers in some markets are finding their choices are somewhat limited.  “Our inventory levels are lower than last year, but they haven’t dropped enough to cause the dramatic price increases we’re seeing on the Lower Mainland,” said VIREB President Jason Finlayson.  “However, we’re pleased and encouraged by the statistics.  Our housing market remains healthy and balanced, which is excellent news for home buyers and sellers.”

In March 2015, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $326,800, up approximately three per cent over 2014.  Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.  The average price of a single-family home was $351,361 compared to $346,606 in March 2014, an increase of one per cent.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $274,500, up just under five per cent from March 2014.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $323,800, down slightly from last year. Duncan reports a benchmark price of $287,000, up just over one per cent compared to 2014.  Nanaimo’s benchmark price was $346,200, up 4.81 per cent compared to last year.

The Parksville-Qualicum area posted a benchmark price of $356,300, which is a 3.87 per cent increase over last year.  The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $187,500, down a little over one per cent from March 2014.

Calculating Closing Costs 
An unexpected bill is the last thing buyers need at closing time.

When you purchase a home, there are various fees charged by lenders and third parties that you’ll be responsible for at closing time.

Your mortgage and down payment will cover the price of the home but it’s critical you proactively factor in the extra fees involved in buying a home.  Some common closing costs are:

  1. Appraisal Fees - Necessary in order to arrange financing.

  2. Title Insurance - Required by banks to assure a clean title.

  3. Legal Fees - These vary depending on the complexity of your individual situation.

  4. Taxes/Fees - There could be various transfer fees and taxes to pay depending on your situation.

  5. Mortgage Insurance - Necessary unless you have a large down payment but it can usually be worked into the mortgage.

This is by no means a complete list as closing costs vary depending on your situation but they usually represent somewhere between two to four percent of the purchase price.  You’ll also want to allow for post-closing costs which may include connection fees, insurance, minor repairs and maintenance.

It’s easy to overlook closing costs when you’re in the throes of house hunting.  Buying a home can be an emotional roller coaster but you'll definitely enjoy a smoother, less stressful ride if you're aware of what lies ahead.  For a more accurate estimate, it’s best to discuss your individual circumstances with a local expert so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Budget Bathroom Decorating Tips 
Update your bathroom without the hassle of renovations!

It’s easy to update your bathroom even if you don’t have a huge budget or any renovation skills.  Here are a few simple ways to give your tired bathroom a facelift:

  1. Mirror Mirror - A new mirror will make your space appear much larger.

  2. Green Space - Plants breathe new life into any space with minimum expense.

  3. It’s in the Details - Updating small details like hooks, cup holders, towel bars, soap dispensers and curtain rings will make a huge difference.

  4. Lighten Up - Changing the lighting is an excellent way to brighten up your bathroom.  Try upcycling your light fixture with something unique from a local thrift shop.

  5. Towel Service - Purchasing a new set of towels is an easy way to freshen things up.  Display them in a basket or rolled up on top of a vintage chair.

When it comes to decor, bathrooms are an important but often overlooked area of the home.  An updated bathroom will add value without the expense of a full on renovation making it a wise investment.  A huge remodel isn’t always necessary as it’s often the little things that make a big difference.

The Buzz About Drones 
Are drones the high flying successor of the selfie stick?

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are basically flying robots.  They’ve recently been in the news for a variety of reasons so what exactly is all the buzz about?

Drones made their debut in the military but are now used in civilian operations such as wildlife conservation and search missions.  They’re also used in the real estate industry to provide a bird’s eye view of properties.

Drones are however continuously flying into controversy as there are major security and privacy implications.  They’re definitely the way of the future but as the industry is in its infancy, we’ll just have to wait and see how they impact our lives in the years to come.

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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