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Posts tagged ‘2009’

Victoria BC Real Estate Buyer’s Profile – Where are the Buyers Coming From?

An initiative we started late last year at the Victoria Real Estate Board is giving us some excellent data on market trends in the Victoria BC real estate market. As a director and chair of a Communications Task Force, I helped devise a market survey that is sent out via email at the end of the month to each Victoria-area REALTOR® who sold a house to a buyer that month.

The data that comes in is an invaluable snapshot of the situation for the average agent ‘on the street’ as to where the buyers are coming from, what they’re buying, and other interesting data.

I just received this past month’s results this morning. Some interesting facts:

  • 31% of buyers last month were first-time buyers
  • 51% of buyers purchased with a conventional (ie, more than 25% downpayment) mortgage.
  • 15% of buyers were single females, a trend that has been noticeably increasing in recent years
  • Nearly three-quarters of buyers were moving within the Greater Victoria area, and 3.5% were from outside of Canada.
  • 82% of buyers found the property through information provided by a REALTOR® (client portal, PCS, phone call, etc.), or through REALTOR.ca

I’ll continue to post this information on a monthly basis, as it is a “real world” snapshot of activity in our marketplace. You can read the full survey results here.

If you have any questions about buying or selling real estate, I am always available to chat. Call me any time, directly,  at 250-885-0512, email Tim@TimAyres.ca, or find me on Twitter.

If 2010 is the year to buy your first home, I invite you to an informative, free seminar on February 9. Hear from a financial planner, mortgage broker, and me about creating a plan to save for a down payment, get a good mortgage and find a great home. More details and sign-up can be found at TimAyres.ca/seminars

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke Spirit Festival was a Success – Sailpast Video

This past Saturday saw the 2nd annual Sooke Spirit Festival which was a resounding success. What started as a small event in a snowstorm last year, grew into a well organized and well attended family affair this year.

I was driving the lead boat (the Coast Guard Auxiliary boat) in the sailpast, and managed to shoot a little bit of video to give you an idea what it looked like out there if you missed it. What a perfect night to be on the water. A little chilly, but the wind held off until after the sailpast, which was a big plus. There were lots of people on the boardwalk watching the dozen-plus decorated boats sparkle on the crystal-clear and calm evening on Sooke Harbour.

Check out the video I shot below. It’s mostly of the boats getting ready and of the beautiful harbour before sundown, as I was driving the boat during the actual sailpast. If anyone has any better video, shoot me an email and let me know and I’ll post it!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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All Sooke Arts and Crafts Christmas Show is this Weekend

Driftwood Santa Christmas Ornaments

Driftwood Santa Christmas Ornaments

One of the oldest and biggest craft fairs on the Island goes this weekend, November 20 – 22, 2009. The All-Sooke Arts and Crafts Fair is taking place in the Community Hall building in Sooke. Over 60 exhibitors on two floors will be there, along with food and entertainment.

Come on out and get some Christmas shopping done and get ready to deck your halls this coming season! Admission is free and the show runs 10:00 – 5:00 on Saturday and Sunday and 1:00 – 8:00 on Friday.

On a side note – while we won’t be at the fair (couldn’t get a table!), my wife Margaret still has her famous Driftwood Santa Christmas Ornaments for sale. You can call her at 250-508-9122, or order online.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Tim Ayres at NAR 2009 Conference San Diego Day 3 [Video]

I had a busy day at the convention today. I caught the last part of a session on social media, but I’m glad I missed most of it. It wasn’t a really good session – the presenters were unprepared, and didn’t really seem to understand social media. For example, when talking about blogging, they didn’t even mention platforms like WordPress or Blogger. There were much better social media sessions at the conference than this one. I also spent some more time on the trade show  floor and attended Tara Hunt’s presentation on Whuffie for Real Estate. Tara has some interesting ideas about social capital and how you can use it to grow your business. David Knox’s session on overcoming pricing objections was very entertaining and informative. I also met with the people from Obeo, a virtual tour and listing marketing company. They have an innovative and interesting product and you should check it out.

Check out the video below:

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Tim Ayres at NAR Conference 2009 San Diego – Day 1 – Social Media and Gender Differences [Video]

Day 1 of the NAR Convention in San Diego was very productive – I saw two sessions today and unfortunately was shut out of a third due to it being full. The Introduction to Social Media session was great. As a REALTOR® who puts himself out there online using social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, I was very pleased with the session. It was facilitated by three practicing agents, just like me, and they nailed it. Ginger Wilcox, Kelley Koehler, and Mariana Wagner were excellent – it was refreshing seeing a social media presentation by three working real estate professionals who actually, as they put it, do this to feed their kids.

Check out my video update from Day 1:

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Tim Ayres at NAR 2009 Conference in San Diego with VREB [Video]

We arrived today in San Diego for the NAR (National Association of REALTORS®) Conference 2009. There will be approximately 20,000 delegates from all over the world at the convention, which is bound to be exciting, fun, and informative.

I am here as part of the delegation from the Victoria Real Estate Board. I am a director on the board, and we are here to represent our board and to attend conference sessions and the trade show on behalf of the membership. When we return, we will be reporting on the sessions we attended and posting them to REALTORlink, and using what we’ve learned to plan the future direction of our board. Here is a quick video I shot this afternoon. I hope to shoot several videos each day and post the content nightly to the blog.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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BC Election: Sooke All Candidates Meeting – May 4th, 2009

bc-flag

I received an e-mail from BC Liberal candidate Jody Twa‘s campaign office informing me of an all candidate’s meeting here in Sooke. The meeting will take place at Edward Milne Community School on Monday, May 4th, at 7:00pm.

The panel will consist of Jody Twa of the BC Liberals, John Horgan (incumbent) of the BC NDP, and James Powell of the Green Party of BC. The moderator will be local Sooke lawyer Peter Faulkner.

Jody Twa, James Powell, and John Horgan

Jody Twa, James Powell, and John Horgan

I’d encourage all Sooke residents to attend and hear what the candidates have in mind for our region. The Juan de Fuca riding is very diverse, stretching from the urban centres of Langford and Colwood all the way out to the sparsely populated areas of Port Renfrew and Jordan River (map). The needs of our residents are as diverse as their communities, and you should be asking the candidates what their plans and vision are locally if they are lucky enough to be elected, instead of giving too much thought to the spectacle that is the leaders’ campaign provincially.

In my view, the party vs party, leader vs leader portion of the campaign has thus far been an unmitigated disaster. It’s been a boring, childish, name-calling affair, with no real issues. Both major parties seem more content to sling mud and dig up dirt on each other’s candidates on Facebook and the Provincial Court Registry than talk about real issues. It’s painful and it doesn’t do us, the electorate, any good.

Hopefully, voters will get involved at the local level and give their candidates some issues to take to Victoria. This is the way our system is supposed to work – regional representatives actually representing their constituents instead of spewing party gibberish.

How do Juan De Fuca constituents feel about the campaign? Care to share who you’ll be supporting? Both Langford and Sooke mayors have endorsed Jody Twa – do you agree?

What about BC-STV? Do you think this is a solution to our voting system’s flaws?

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Bank of Canada Cuts Interest Rate To Lowest Rate In History At January Meeting

SNIP!

SNIP!

Hello Google Searchers! A post about the March 3, 2009 announcement can be found here!

This morning, the Bank of Canada lowered its key overnight lending rate (the rate at which it lends funds to Canada’s commercial banks) to 1%, slashing it a further 0.5% and taking to 3.5% the total amount shaved off the key overnight rate since the current trend of trimming it started last year.

The Bank believes that the Canadian economy will contract 1.2% this year and we will experience two quarters of deflation and expects the economy will start to turn around in 2010, with a healthy growth of 3.8% as changes to policy take hold. The Bank also noted that the lower Canadian dollar will make Canadian commodities cheaper to other countries.

Because the Bank doesn’t foresee core inflation returning to its target 2% until 2011, you can expect interest rates to remain low for all of this year and next.

Canada’s big banks have already indicated that they would be matching the full 0.5% rate cut, trimming their prime rates to 3%. I believe this is a good sign that the availability of credit has loosened up somewhat. In recent months, when the Bank of Canada has made a cut to interest rates, the big banks have been hesitant to match the cut in their prime consumer lending rates, opting to keep the savings to themselves to offset higher credit costs.

As a result, anybody on a variable rate mortgage is now saving more money, and anyone shopping for a new mortgage just increased their buying power. With inventory on the MLS starting to ramp up, this combination is great if you’ve been thinking about buying.

The full Bank of Canada news release can be found here.

For more information and sound advice on real estate in Victoria and Sooke, please contact me.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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BC and Vancouver Island Recessions, Potholes, Flooding, Gas Prices, And Other Things Amiss

storm_clouds_over_swifts_creek

What the hell? I leave the Island for 10 days and it falls apart on me?

I got back on late Sunday night from a week in Mexico to attend my cousin’s wedding and generally unplug from the world for awhile. On that note, an all-inclusive resort with 40 friends and family and really expensive internet connections is a great stress reliever. Before that I spent a couple days on the mainland with (different) friends and (same) family to ring in the new year (kinda lame) and go skating at Richmond’s fabulous new Olympic Speedskating Oval (totally sweet).

flood

So, being unplugged for a week (well, that and not being geographically co-located with the weather system) caused me to miss most of the weather chaos. It would suck to live in Port Renfrew about now, what with the main highway being washed out and all. Sooke Road (aka Provincial Highway 14), for those not in the know, is a complete disaster all the way along. Sooke Potholes no longer refers to the swimming hole on the Sooke River, but I bet there are some on the road big enough to swim in. I managed to ruin a perfectly good rim and tire on my car by hitting a huge one on Tuesday evening. Mainroad Contracting is going to get a nice letter.

pothole1

Tonight, the kind folks from the Provincial Emergency Program were at the Sooke Council Chambers to offer information and applications to residents who suffered uninsured damage to their homes during 6-8 January, 2009.

gas_prices

Can somebody please explain to me why gas prices have increased by $0.15 while oil prices have decreased to below $40/bbl again? Somebody is gouging, I don’t care what they say.

Last night I attended, with the other directors of the Victoria Real Estate Board, the Canadian Home Builders Association Crystal Ball event, which featured several economists and our Board President, Chris Markham, giving their outlook on the economy and the housing markets for 2009. It was a good event, but obviously a heavy topic. I can’t imagine too many home builders that are thrilled about the recent slowdown in real estate sales.

Über-pessimist economist David Hobden of Central 1 Credit Union gave a grim forecast for 2009 (and 2010 somewhat), stating that the Island and Coast region are already in recession, and will remain so. He forecasts housing value to drop by 10 per cent in 2009. Hobden appeared to want to be anywhere but in that room last night, and his body language screamed doom, gloom, and defeat – it was painful to watch.

Jock Finlayson, BC Business Council executive vice president of policy was slightly more optimistic, and a much better speaker. He delivered his not-exactly-rosy forecast with levity and looked as if he enjoyed informing the room, which he had laughing on many occasions – and his visuals were way easier to read and understand. Finlayson explained that 2009 will be a difficult year, but by mid-year, credit conditions that are slowing the business cycle should improve, along with the U.S. economy, and 2010 should be a much better year. He forecasts housing starts (new construction) to be down by 40 or 50 per cent. Finlayson did a great job of explaining where all this mess came from and how Canada is better positioned to spend its way out of this recession via deficit budgets. Another positive point came in the fact that job losses will not likely be as sharp as in previous recessions because the demographics of recent years (families having fewer children and later in life, and people nearing retirement) will keep heavy losses in check – I’m sure you realize how tight labour markets have been up until a few months ago.

Victoria Real Estate Board 2009 President Chris Markham explained that while sales are slowing, it’s hard to compare 2008 to 2007 because it was an exceptionally strong year. This was emphasized by CMHC market analyst Travis Archibald showing that 2008 sales were actually very close to the 15-year average. The same goes for housing starts. They fell by a large percentage in 2008 over 2007, but are in-line with the historical averages. CMHC will be releasing its full outlook next month.

I think that Vancouver Island, and in particular, Victoria will fare better than the rest of the province, as we have a diversified economy, and stable major employers such as government and military. As for housing, it’s opportunity time out there. Buyers have their choice of many properties, and many would-be first-time buyers from the last few years, priced out by the rapidly increasing prices, will be looking at re-entering the hunt.

So, all in all, maybe the Island isn’t falling apart exactly, and I’m glad to be back. I’m optimistic about 2009, and we’re all in this together, so you might as well be optimistic too.

It’s all you can do.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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B.C. Housing Market Spring Forecast

Expect sales volume to ease, prices to increase more slowly

BCREA Logo

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) has released its semi-yearly housing market forecast for the province. Despite economic troubles elsewhere in the country, B.C.’s economy is expected to remain strong and to outpace many other areas in Canada in terms of growth through 2009.

Provincial sales will dip to 93,800 in 2008 (a 9% drop) and 92,000 in 2009 (a further 2% drop). Eroding affordability and weaker economic growth are cited as reasons for the expected decline. Still, interprovincial and international migration will continue to underpin demand for housing in B.C., with individuals drawn to our province by robust job growth, climate, and amenities. The average residential price in B.C. is forecast ro increase 9 per cent to $479,000 this year, and a futher 4 per cent to $499,000 in 2009.

Regionally, BCREA predicts that Victoria MLS® sales will fall to 7800 units, a decline of 7 per cent from last year’s second-highest-on-record 8403 sales. Sales will remain above the ten-year average of 6750 units. The report notes that 12,000 jobs were created in the Victoria area in the first quarter of 2008. As I’ve said before, as our area diversifies its economy beyond government, military, and tourism, more and more people will continue to move here, attracted by competitive salaries and our Island way of life. The report forecasts an overall 10 per cent increase in prices this year, but notes that most of that growth has already occurred, and to expect single-digit growth for the rest of the year.

I think the most interesting prediction in the report is with housing starts. The report forecasts overall housing starts to drop 9 per cent this year (after a 6 per cent decline in 2007). Citing tight construction labour markets, higher credit costs, and trepidation on the part of developers, the BCREA feels that current new home inventories will be depleted, resulting in a higher level of construction activity in 2009 and 2010.

One thing to remember is that the BCREA’s report is based solely on MLS® data, and would not include sales of new homes by the developer’s private sales team, for example.

What do you think about the report? Comment below!

The full BCREA report can be found here.


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