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Posts tagged ‘data’

Population of Sooke Now 11,435 – Growth of 18% Since 2006

The data from the 2011 Canadian Census was released this week, and, not surprisingly, the greater Victoria region continues to grow. Also not surprisingly, growth tended to centre on areas with available land for new houses to be built. Read more

Victoria BC Real Estate Buyers Profile – April 2010

Modern homes in Victoria, BC. Photo: pnwra on Flickr

It’s once again time to look at our “on the street” snapshot of Victoria-are real estate buyer activity. April’s data from our Member Market Survey has just been released by the Victoria Real Estate Board. Each month, agents who’ve completed a transaction while acting for a buyer are polled on various questions about their buyers. The goal is to get a snapshot of the situation on the street directly from agents who are actively involved serving their clients.

Highlights from this month’s data:

  • The trend of decreasing number of first-time buyers continued, with  19.23% identified as such
  • Nearly one-third of buyers were moving from one property to a similar one. Perhaps this correlates with the lower number of first-time buyers in recent months; after they sell their smaller homes to first-timers, this set of buyers is now shopping for their ‘move-up’ house.
  • This month, single females bought fewer houses than single males.
  • As usual, the fast majority of buyers (67%) moved within the greater Victoria area. The next largest group came from within Canada, but outside B.C.
  • The Western Communities were more popular with buyers than the Saanich Peninsula.

As our inventory of properties on the market increases, there continues to be more choice in the market for buyers. Not surprisingly, most agents were reporting fewer instances of multiple offers (54 vs 12 reporting more multiple offers).

Check out the full details of this month’s survey here.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Victoria BC Real Estate Buyers Profile – March 2010

Last month’s data from our Member Market Survey has just been released by the Victoria Real Estate Board. Each month, agents who’ve completed one ore more transactions while acting on behalf of a buyer are polled on various questions about their buyers. The goal is to get a snapshot of the situation on the street directly from agents who are actively involved serving their clients.

Highlights from this month’s data:

  • First-time buyers did not represent the largest segment of the buying population, with 27.85% identified as such
  • More people moved into a condo or townhouse from a single family home than vice versa (10.76% vs 8.23%).
  • Once again, single females bought more properties last month than single males. (23 vs. 16)
  • One in five buyers were classified as empty-nesters/retired.

Check out the full details of this month’s survey here.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
Just use the form or link below this post.

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Victoria BC Real Estate Buyers Profile – February 2010

The Johnson Street Bridge, Victoria. Photo credit: Sylpherware on Flickr

The latest data from our Member Market Survey has just been released by the Victoria Real Estate Board. Each month, agents who’ve completed a transaction while acting for a buyer are polled on various questions about their buyers. The goal is to get a snapshot of the situation on the street directly from agents who are actively involved serving their clients.

Highlights from this month’s data:

  • First-time buyers represent the largest segment of the buying population, with 36.5% identified as such
  • Interestingly, the number of people moving from a single family home to a condo or townhouse was nearly the same as those moving from one property to a similar one.
  • Single females bought more houses last month than single males.
  • Only one buyer came from outside of Canada last month.

Check out the full details of this month’s survey here.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
Just use the form or link below this post.

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or subscribe to this blog for free updates using the big buttons on the sidebar!

Victoria BC Real Estate Buyer’s Profile – January 2010

The Railyards in Victoria, BC (Vic West)

The Railyards in Victoria, BC (Vic West) Credit: pnwra on Flickr

Last month, I started a new series about buyer activity in the greater Victoria real estate market. The data comes directly from the “man (or woman) on the street” by way of a survey sent out by the Victoria Real Estate Board to agents who worked with a buyer to complete a transaction in that month.

Key highlights from this month’s data:

  • 25% of buyers used high-ratio (more than 80%) financing to purchase their home
  • Sooke, Langford, Colwood and Metchosin accounted for 20% of all purchases last month
  • Only three buyers found out about the property they bought via print media like a classified ad or real estate newspaper/magazine.
  • Agents are reporting more traffic at open houses, and more instances of multiple offers on the same property.

Check out the full details of the survey here.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Think Realtor.ca Sucks? It Will Get Better Soon

Actual Users, Maude and Bill

Actual Users, Maude and Bill

Since the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) replaced the much-loved MLS.ca with the (so far) much-maligned REALTOR.ca last month, they’ve had nothing but complaints from everyone who uses it (consumers) and everyone who benefits from it (REALTORS® in Canada).

I can understand the domain name switch. Since its inception, MLS.ca has never been all that clear that it is a service provided by REALTORS® in Canada, and the switch to REALTOR.ca takes care of that. And I do believe it was time for a technology update – MLS.ca was pretty old-school.

But it worked, and it was simple. CREA threw the baby out with the bathwater on this one.

Yesterday, I noticed an update on our REALTOR® intranet, which outlined a few changes that will take place later this month, which should help to improve the overall user experience.

Users may have noticed that there is a limit on how far you can zoom into the interactive map. You can zoom only so far, and then it sort of bounces back to the limited zoom level. Effective November 20th, this restriction will be removed. This should help alleviate the “500 property” warning because you will be able to zoom down to reduce the number of properties displayed on the map. The map will also stop “yo-yo-ing”  as users reach the zoom limit and it snaps back to a wider view.

A big complaint has been the clunky way that neighbourhoods are handled. CREA assumed everyone would enjoy zooming down into the specific neighbourhood that they were interested in. This is in contrast to the old static MLS.ca maps where you could drill down to the specific MLS zones set up by the various real estate boards. For example, you could click BC–> Vancouver Island/Smaller Islands –> Victoria–> Sooke–> Broom Hill to see all the listings in that MLS zone. The Realtor.ca experience so far has been limited. The site was launched before many of these neighbourhoods could be defined in the database. So when somebody searched for Broom Hill, they might get the actual geographical feature rather than the MLS zone of the same name – clearly a problem. CREA has identified and added some 3500 of these areas since October 2nd, and will continue to add more as the local real estate boards provide the data. The Victoria Real Estate Board has been on this since day one and many of our MLS sub-areas are already in the CREA database. This is probably the largest issue with the site, and it will get better.

The issue of limited/no compatibility with non-Internet Explorer web browsers (Firefox, Safari, etc) is also being worked on. Thank-you, CREA, for no longer excluding some 47% of browser market share 😉

2008 IE7 IE6 Chrome FireFox Moz Safari O
October 26.9% 20.2% 3.0% 44.0% 0.4% 2.8% 2.2%
September 26.3% 22.3% 3.1% 42.6% 0.5% 2.7% 2.0%

There have also been complaints that photos are too small (I agree!), thumbnail information that pops up when you mouse over a property on the map is insufficient (probably), and that the listings are just too hard to find. There are changes that are being tested to address these issues as well.

Specifically in our marketplace, one of the problems has been that too many listings have appeared in the “not mapped” column which makes them extremely hard to find. This was caused by our previous MLS back-end software, which had an antiquated procedure for placing properties on a map. Also, the default data setting was to not supply an address to MLS.ca. With our new MLS system, the default is reversed, and all of the old listings were automatically mapped by address and postal code as they were imported into the new database, so that should solve most of the problem.

We want REALTOR.ca to work. Believe me. CREA spends millions of our (the REALTORS®) dollars to create and operate that site for the benefit of consumers. Canada is lucky to have it. There is no equivalent in the U.S., where MLS data is sometimes split across different websites for one city, let alone the entire country like we have here. I believe that once the bugs are worked out, REALTOR.ca will be far superior to MLS.ca

Questions? Comments? Post them below (or click through to the post if you’re reading this in a reader).

If you’re still having trouble with REALTOR.ca or would like more detailed information than it provides,  I can set up a private client portal for you to view the Sooke or Victoria MLS listings. Give me a call any time at 250-885-0512, fill in my buyer’s form, or shoot me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca. My services are available to buyers at no cost.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
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Lessons Learned From A Near Disaster

When’s the last time you backed up your data?

As most of you readers know, I’m pretty good with computers. I’ve built a few and it’s no big deal to be to swap out components, install new equipment or repair something that’s not right. Saturday I went to my computer to check e-mail, and it wasn’t working. The screens were blank, and nothing I did brought the computer back to life. So I opened up the machine and looked inside, and noticed that the only thing that was getting power was the fan. No power to the main board or drives. Only one thing can cause this – and the burnt-electronic smell emanating from it confirmed my suspicion – dead power supply. No big deal – they go every now and then and they’re cheap and easy to replace. I managed to find a computer store open on a Sunday – Mother Computers in Victoria.

So I got home, happy to be fixing my problem so easily and cheaply. I installed the new power supply, plugged in all the drives and powered it up. Something wasn’t right. My main hard disk wasn’t being recognized and the computer wouldn’t boot Windows. So I tried re-booting and changing some settings.

Then – it happened. With a sickening pfizz-sound, a bright flash, and the acrid smell of burning electronics, The UnthinkableBurnt Hard Drive Controller Chip happened. My primary hard drive had died a horrifying death. I quickly unplugged the computer and pulled the drive from its bay in the computer, but it was too late. The circuit board on the back of the drive (this controls the drive and tells the computer how to access the information on it) was fried.

So. On this drive was: Windows, and my real estate folder, which contains files and contact information for every one of the clients I have worked with in the last 3 years, personal photos, music, games. And now it’s gone.

What are my options? Eat the loss, and move on. Or, I could pay a professional forensic data service to recover my data, but this is prohibitively expensive, at around $2,000.

Luckily, most of my data was backed up. I only lost about 3 months worth of files. And of course all client information and contracts, documents, etc, are in paper form anyway, so there’s another backup. All of my Outlook contacts were backed up in my PDA, as well as my calendar and schedule of appointments. Basically, the only stuff I can’t get back right now are the new portraits, advertisements, and marketing material I have done since the last backup. But I won’t give up: I researched my particular drive, and found a company that sells the controller chips identical to the one that burnt out on my drive for $20. According to all the information I read, I should be able to access the drive once the new chip gets here. I’ll keep you posted.

Besides the backup, what really saved me was Gmail. Google’s free webmail service has so much storage capacity (and it’s constantly increasing) that you never have to delete an e-mail. Coincidentally, I started using Gmail about the time of my last backup of my e-mails. So, combined with my backup data and Gmail, I ended up not losing a single e-mail (and all of the contacts, leads, and other important stuff contained therein). I can’t speak enough praise about Gmail. In fact, I’m going to write a separate post about it sometime.

All in all, the worst part of this disaster was restoring all the data. I bought a new hard drive Monday morning, and by Monday evening, I had most of my software re-installed (it’s very time consuming to install Windows and MS Office and all the other stuff that you’ve got).

So how can you avoid disaster? BACK. UP. How can you back up your data easily? You can buy or even download some backup software. Do a Google search for it. Or, do what I did. Costco had a smokin’ deal on a 500gb Western Digital MyBook external hard drive. 500GB is huge! (I was there the other day and they had a 1 terabyte version – twice the size of my 500 gigabyte) It even has built-in software. All you do is plug it in and it automatically installs the software and runs a wizard to help you back up your files. When the unthinkable happens, run the file on the external drive, and you’re back in business.

Don’t delay – back up your stuff today.

Tim Ayres