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Posts tagged ‘Market’

Sooke Real Estate Update – Fall 2015

One of the many properties that sold in Sooke this summer

One of the many properties that sold in Sooke this summer

Sales up, listings down. Prices…?

It has been a busy spring and summer market for real estate in Sooke and all over the greater Victoria region. In the overall Victoria Real Estate Board trading area, sales as of August 31 showed a 21.7% increase in number of sales for August 2015 over August 2014, and the highest number of single family sales in August since 2007. At the end of the month, there were 3688 active listings on the MLS® system, representing nearly 15% fewer than were available in August last year. All of this is pushing the overall market into sellers’ territory fairly strongly. Prices in Victoria overall are on the rise, with the benchmark home up nearly 7% over the same home last year.

So how is Sooke looking this year?

Read more

A Return to a Seller’s Market in Greater Victoria?

Photo credit: zedzap on Flickr

Photo credit: zedzap on Flickr

Yesterday, the Victoria Real Estate Board released statistics for February 2015. While the rest of the country contended with a seemingly never-ending winter, the cherry blossoms were out early in Victoria and vicinity, and so, apparently, were the buyers.  Read more

My B.C. Assessment Value Went Up – Will My Taxes Increase?

 

Ah, January – A time to start anew. Maybe you’ve resolved to save more money, start eating healthier, or take up a new hobby. New Year’s resolutions are one thing many people dread this time of year. Another sure sign of the new year is your yearly B.C. Assessment notice, arriving in your mailbox the first week of January.

B.C. Assessment is the provincial crown corporation charged with valuing all the real property in the province, for the purposes of completing an assessment roll, which in turn your municipal government uses to calculate your property tax bill, due in July.

What does your B.C. Assessment value mean? Well, BCA says that it is supposed to represent your property’s market value, that is, the amount at which it would likely sell for given an arms-length transaction and reasonable exposure to the market, as of July 1 of the previous year. In actual practice, this is probably not accurate. Historically, you’d find that B.C. Assessment values were quite a bit below the actual market values, but I’ve noticed in recent years that they’ve been increasing to a more true-to-market level.

This year, in Sooke, I’m hearing from clients and colleagues that values have increased, some dramatically (including mine). But I’m not worried too much about increased taxes. Just because your B.C. Assessment value goes up, does not necessarily translate to increased taxes.

The question of whether your taxes will go up or down is up to your municipality. Each April or so, the municipality finalizes its budget. They take the amount of money (which also includes levies from other jurisdictions that your municipality pays on your behalf (ambulance, school, CRD, Transit, recycling, etc) and then divide it into the total assessed value of all properties in the municipality (which they get from B.C. Assessement). This gives them the mill rate, which is expressed in dollars per thousand dollars of assessed value.

Let’s take an example. Whoville’s staff and council have calculated a total tax bill of $2M. The total assessed value of all properties in Whoville is $320M (as per Seussland Assessment, of course!)

$2M/$320M = $0.00625 (per dollar) x 1000 = $6.25 per $1000 of assessed value.

Cindy-lou Who’s house is assessed at $200,000, therefore she pays 6.25×200 = $1250 in taxes this year.

Now, when you get your assessment in the mail, you’ll want to pull it up online at BC Assessment’s website and compare it to similar houses on your street. If you find your assessment to be out of line with your neighbour’s whose home is similar to yours in age and size and condition, then this might be a case to dispute it. It’s only when your property assessment is proportionally different, ie, much higher or lower than similar properties, that your taxes will increase or decrease more than the normal annual increase.

It’s also important to note that when you hear in the news “Sooke taxes to be up 5% this year” That is often only the municipal portion. This doesn’t necessarily mean your WHOLE tax bill will go up that much. For example, a couple years ago, they said Sooke’s taxes were going up 20% , but Sooke’s portion of my taxes was the smallest portion of the tax bill. The total increase was about $50.

As for assessed values vs home prices? They often have very little to do with market value. Assessed values are supposed to reflect market value as of July 1st of the previous year, but BC assessment doesn’t physically visit each home in the province. They use sales data, municipal building permit records (an addition, for example would add value to your home) and computer models to adjust the assessment rolls each year. I’ve seen houses sold for far under their assessed values, and far over. There is certainly no “rule-of-thumb” percentage above assessed value that you should ask for your home. Any REALTOR® that tells you that is either lazy, unskilled, or both.

If you have any questions, contact me, or put them in the comments below!

Happy New Year!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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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

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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

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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

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

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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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How to Sell Your Langford or Victoria BC Home In A Day

Fast-Sale-East-Sooke

Call your REALTOR®, and list it now.

Of course, not every home is going to sell overnight, but supply of good, moderately-priced homes is tight, and seems only to be getting tighter. I’ve been tracking listings of single family homes in Sooke, Langford, and Colwood for a client of mine. Check out this spreadsheet (I’ll keep updating it, so feel free to bookmark it). Listings are up a little bit this week, but often conditions come off on Fridays, so you can expect quite a few drop off before the week is out.

From a days on market standpoint, I’m simply amazed at how quickly well-priced, mid-market homes are selling. Out of all sales (80 total) in Langford, since September 1, the average time to sell is 36 days. There were a few 100+ days on market listings that drag the average up a little. To better illustrate my point, there were fully 32 single family homes that sold in 14 days or less. Keeping in mind that conditions on an offer usually take a week or longer, you can comfortably assume that homes that sell in 14 days or less have an accepted offer within a week.

During the same period, it seems that most of the core areas of greater Victoria are experiencing similar time to sell. Next door, Colwood had an average of 45 days on the market, with 31 sales. The central core of Victoria (Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt, Oak Bay) saw 307 homes sell in an average of 36 days.

Interestingly, Sooke, which has much more moderate prices, had 36 sales in an average of 76 days on market. This is not unexpected – Sooke’s market has always been a little slower than the rest of greater Victoria. Still – well priced, mid-market homes are selling quickly in Sooke.

At a time of year when things are usually expected to start slowing down, this market is as busy as ever. If you’re thinking of selling your home, now would be a very, very good time. There is still time to move before Christmas, or start the new year off in a new home.

I’m always available to answer questions, run stats, and of course I’d love to evaluate your home and show you my marketing plan. I can be reached at 250-885-0512, Tim@TimAyres.ca, or you can fill in my contact form.

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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