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Posts tagged ‘prices’

Sooke Real Estate In Review 2015

One of the 300 sales in Sooke in 2015

One of the 300 sales in Sooke in 2015

Overall, 2015 was a great year for real estate in Sooke. Sales were up markedly, and prices also increased across the region. I’ve compiled a few statistics, and also the top five most-and-least expensive single family homes in Sooke this year. Finally, I’ll talk about predictions for 2016. Read on… Read more

Real Estate Prices Victoria BC vs Sooke

I’ve been working with quite a few first-time buyers in Victoria lately. It’s become somewhat an exercise in frustration, as the homes that are available in their price ranges (typically under $400,000 without a rental suite/apartment, or under $500,000 with one) have been mostly disappointing, sometimes very much so. In one case, in a beat up currently rented place near Mayfair Mall, the smell in the basement was so unbearable, we left through the side door.

You’ll find the odd gem, but then you’ll often be competing with other buyers when it comes time to make an offer. This is very stressful for first time buyers, and often it pushes the price beyond where they’re comfortable.

My solution: move to Sooke. It’s not that far, yet prices are much friendlier, and the selection of homes is greater. Of course it won’t work for everyone – the couple I was out with this evening both work in Victoria, and she’ll be going back to school to UVic, and he often bikes to work, which are both a bit of a trek from Sooke. Plus they really enjoy the in-town lifestyle, so it just won’t work for them to buy in Sooke. Not that they aren’t tempted!

And for good reason. Let’s compare a couple of houses currently on the market:

House for Sale in Victoria

House for Sale in Victoria

$385,000 – Built in 1948, 3 beds, 1 bath, 950 sqft, 6800 sqft lot in Saanich West. Hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks OK, needing a few updates, and probably a roof too.

House for Sale in Sooke

House for Sale in Sooke

$379,900 – Built in 2007, 3 beds, 2 baths, 1660 sqft, 7300 sqft lot in Sunriver Estates. Essentially a brand-new home, with garage, warranty, gas fireplace, and all sorts of other modern features, in a new subdivision in Sooke.

Searching Sooke, there are 46 other single family homes on the market under $400,000 – ranging from older homes with suites, to brand new homes yet to be built, to rural acreages. This compares with 20 for sale under $400,000 in Victoria (6) Saanich East (7) and Saanich West (7) – which in total is a larger and more dense geographical area than Sooke.

If you don’t mind the drive to work, or if you happen to be self-employed, you really should check out the value for your dollar in Sooke.

That being said, there are still good houses in the first-time buyer price ranges in Victoria proper, and I know I’m going to find this couple the right home. It just so happens that there are more options in Sooke.

If you’re looking for an experienced, dedicated agent to help you buy or sell a home in Sooke, Langford, Colwood, or Victoria, I’d love an interview! Call me any time at 250-885-0512, email Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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First Time Buyer Friday #6 – What Does My Money Get Me?

In my continuing series, First-Time-Buyer Fridays, I answer a common question from a first-time buyer. If you have a question to submit, first-time-buyer or experienced investor, put one in the comments below, or fire me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca.

house-money

Q. I want to spend about $400,000 on my first home – what can I buy for that kind of money?

A. Let’s break this down and see what $400,000 would cost first. To buy a $400,000 home, you’d need 5% down at a minimum, which is $20,000. The remaining $380,000 would need to be mortgaged. If you were to get a 5-year fixed rate at 4%, amortized over 35 years, your monthly payment would be about $1675. A two-income family should be able to afford that payment.

Keep in mind that you should think long-term. While interest rates today are at historic lows, you need to think about what happens in 5 years when it’s time to renew. No one knows where interest rates will be at that point, and you should build in a comfort zone by calculating the payment at a higher rate of interest. At 5%, the same mortgage estimated above would be $1905 – at 6%, $2150, and at 7%, $2401. The risks of this can be offset by choosing a shorter amortization period (25 or 30 years, instead of 35), which would allow you to pay off more of the principal before it’s time to renew, or you could make extra payments where your budget (and mortgage terms) allow.

So, now that we’ve established what $400,000 looks like on a monthly basis, let’s have a look at what that sum would buy you in today’s market.

In the Victoria core area (Victoria, Oak Bay, Saanich, View Royal and Esquimalt) there are 27 single family homes under $400,000 as of writing this post. Most are small, and old, but there are always a few gems in this price range. There are plenty of condos under $400,000 – 384 to be exact. In the higher end of the range, there are brand new suites at The Juliet, The Ovation, The Monaco, and other brand new high end developments in the core. At the lower end of the range, older buildings (which usually mean larger suites) offer stability and peace-of-mind for less than $250,000. There are 45 townhouses in Victoria and vicinity under $400,000 as of writing, with lots of variation in style, age and location.

Moving further out of the Victoria core area, you’ll get more bang for your buck. In Langford and Colwood as of this writing, there are 30 single family houses and 44 townhouses in Langford and Colwood for sale under $400,000 – including brand new homes in the Happy Valley area, and townhouses at the foot of Bear Mountain. $400,000 would get you nearly any condo, with 215 condos under $400,000 in Langford and Colwood to choose from. Only 21 are above $400,000, mostly on Bear Mountain, or in that new development on the waterfront in Colwood at Esquimalt Lagoon.

Further out west to Sooke is where many first-time buyers are choosing to go (here are 10 good reasons to move to Sooke.) The drive to Victoria is a little longer (but it’s nice!) and the town smaller, but that means that you get a lot more for your money. There are 49 houses for sale in Sooke under $400,000, including many brand new beautiful houses in new subdivisions. If you buy in Sooke, there is also the option of buying an older home to renovate to your liking. Older homes will most likely have a larger lot, too. There are not many condos or townhouses in Sooke, but more are being built all the time. Almost all of them are under $400,000, including the brand-new townhouses at The Pointe in Sun River Estates and waterfront condos along Kaltasin Road. As of writing, 29 condos and townhouses in Sooke under $400,000 are for sale.

I have found that first time buyers are often surprised by 1) How much they can afford, and 2) What that money will get them. There’s plenty of product out there, prices are declining, and with the Bank of Canada reporting that interest rates will remain low until at least the second half of 2010, there hasn’t been a better time to buy in a long time – if it’s right for your situation.

It may or may not make sense for you to buy right now. To get a clearer picture, or for more information about any of the homes mentioned in this post, give me a call at 250-885-0512, e-mail me at Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form. Connect with me on Twitter at Twitter.com/TimAyres.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Strata Mondays #2 – Which floor is worth more?

A large patio is one reason ground level condos are more expensive

A large patio is one reason ground level condos are more expensive

In my continuing series about strata property, Strata Mondays, I answer a different question about condos, townhouses and other strata property in Victoria, Sooke, and British Columbia. Make sure you subscribe via RSS or E-mail to get each new post!

Q. I was looking at a new condominium project and I noticed that the same floor plan was available on all four floors, but the top and ground level were more expensive. Top floor I understand, but why would somebody pay more for a ground level suite?

A. This is very common – all other things equal, the top and ground floors of a condominium building will typically see higher sale prices per square foot. Most people can understand why somebody would pay more for a top-floor condo. A better view, and no noisy neighbours from above are a couple of reasons. Top-floor condos also often have extra-high ceilings or even lofts, skylights, and so on.

But when many people think of ground-level suites, the immediate concern is always security. Being ground level, an undesirable doesn’t have to break in the front door or scale the outside of the building to break in. Some ground level suites are also somewhat below grade, so lack of light can be a concern.

However, there are also significant advantages to a ground level suite. You may see the term garden-level suite, which as the name suggests, emphasizes one of theses advantages. Ground or garden-level suites often come with extra large patios and sometimes even a fenced courtyard. Lack of outdoor space is one of the biggest drawbacks to condo living. It’s possible to have a thriving, lush, beautiful garden with a large patio perfect for entertaining with a ground-level suite. This also enables you to walk up to your home and enter through the patio door if you desire.

Another advantage is that being on the ground level, you won’t have any neighbours below you to disturb, so you can probably install hard surface flooring such as wood or tile. It’s not uncommon for strata councils to have by-laws in place to prohibit units above the ground floor from having hard surface floors, since noise is more easily transmitted to the unit below.

So, it’s for all these reasons that ground-level suites are often more expensive than similar-sized ones on the between floors in low-rise buildings. High-rise buildings would be a different story – with prices increasing as you go higher in the building.

If you have a question about strata property, or any other real estate matter, please e-mail me at Tim@TimAyres.ca. I can also be reached by phone at 250-885-0512

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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First-Time-Buyer Friday #2 – Needs vs Wants

house-shoppingQ. There are lots of potential homes in my price range. How can I narrow down the field so I don’t waste time viewing homes I really have no interest in buying?

A. Many first time buyers are hit with this problem. Often, because they’re just starting out and want to make sure they don’t miss any potential homes, they search REALTOR.ca for all homes under a certain price level, and go from there. This is what I would call a shotgun approach. Sometimes, a buyer will get so many results it’s overwhelming. So an exercise I like to have my first time buyers do is the Needs vs Wants Inventory.

It’s simple really. Just take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns, one entitled Needs, and the other Wants. Then think of all the home features or attributes of your lifestyle and put them in the appropriate column. For example, if you have pets and intend on taking them with you to your new home, then obviously “pets” goes on the needs side.

If you like stainless steel appliances, but are willing to cope with harvest gold, then that goes in the wants column. Thinking about this further, you could put the commute time to work in both columns. Put the maximum commute time you’d allow on the needs side, and the ideal commute time on the wants side.

Continue down the page and you should be able to come up with a pretty good summary of what you’re looking for. Talk to an agent and ask him or her to search for listings that match your criteria. This will really help narrow it down and will ensure that you find a home that will be the perfect balance between what you really need and what you want.

If you’re a first- second- or twenty-time buyer and have a question you’d like answered, contact me and I’ll get you a prompt, accurate response!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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It’s Official: October Sucked. Victoria BC MLS Real Estate Statistics October 2008

October 2008, personified. (Pumpkinified?)

October 2008, personified. (Pumpkinified?)

The stock markets crashed. Billions were pulled out of mutual funds. Banks were bailed out. We were all subjected to hearing Sarah Palin speak. And now this reminder of the worst month in history, ever ™.

The monthly real estate statistics from the Victoria Real Estate Board were (mercifully) delayed by a few days due to the final changeover from our old MLS system (Quest’s Ambiance) to our new MLS System (Tarasoft’s Matrix). When I saw the numbers I thought maybe there was a problem with the software. Sadly, no.

In the first week of October, when the world seemed to be coming to an end, it scared the daylights out of everyone. Can you blame anyone for not wanting to contemplate a major purchase when the words recession and depression are being bandied about left, right and centre by the news media?

Now, it’s not fair to blame the media, although they certainly didn’t help the situation. People were scared, and they still are, although I’d suspect less so now that it seems that the world is taking steps to get the economy back on track, and economist after economist and expert-of-this after expert-of-that has reassured us that Canada, and in particular British Columbia, is in better shape than many areas to weather this storm. Thanks to our boring banks for that.

The point is that our market fundamentals are still sound. Household debt is overall manageable, mortgage rates are low and expected to remain that way, the number of mortgages in arrears is the lowest in the country. We still have interprovincial migration, job growth, low unemployment, and remain the retirement capital of Canada.

I truly believe that we’ve already seen the most of the decline in our real estate market here in Sooke and Victoria. The professional world has already stopped panic-selling their investments, and once the consumer world catches on to the fact that this isn’t the end of the world, I think we’ll start to see stability in the marketplace. Buyers that had been sidelined essentially by fear alone will come out of the woodwork and we’ll have a healthy balanced market come the spring. We won’t see crazy price increases month-to-month, but that’s a good thing.

It really is a good time time to buy – as long as you’re planning to live in your home for a minimum of 3-5 years (good advice in any market). Interest rates are low, and sellers are a little more willing to be flexible on their prices. Get out there and make some offers!

Here is the press release, and related graphs courtesy the Victoria Real Estate Board:

The number of property sales throughout Greater Victoria declined in October while prices remained stable.

A total of 316 homes and other properties sold in October through the Victoria Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) down from the 512 sales in September. There were 708 sales in October of last year. The number of properties available for sale at the end of October was 4,680. That represents a 41 per cent increase compared to October of last year but a slight decline from the 4,754 properties available for sale at the end of September.

Victoria Real Estate Board President, Tony Joe, says despite the decline in the number of sales, it is important to keep the market activity in context. “The last six years have seen extraordinary growth. Last year in particular was truly exceptional both in terms of sales and prices so comparisons must be made with care. A more realistic comparison would be with 1998 — a year in which sales and inventory levels were comparable to today and a time when the market was considered to be strong and stable.” Joe noted there has been a total of 6,012 sales in the first ten months of this year compared to 4,571 in the corresponding period in 1998. There were 4,057 active listings at the end of October, 1998

The average price of single family homes in Greater Victoria last month was $565,741, up from $549,284 in September; the six-month average was $574,848 though the median price in October was considerably lower at $495,000. There were seven single family homes that sold for over $1 million in October, including two in Oak Bay, one of which sold for between $2 million and $3 million.

The average price of all townhomes sold last month was $389,731, down from $405,287 in September; the six month average was $425,866. The median price in October was $369,500. The overall average price for condominiums at $323,028 last month was up from $319,562 in September. The average for the last six months was $316,644. The median price for condominiums in October was $280,000.

MLS® sales last month included 184 single family homes, 76 condominiums, 26 townhomes and eight manufactured homes.

Summary Report and Graphs

Monthly Sales Summary
Average Selling Price Graphs
Active Listings, New Listings and Sales Graphs

Do you have any questions on buying or selling in today’s market? Interested in creative marketing methods to make your home stand out from the crowd? Fill in my contact form, give me a call at 250-885-0512, or e-mail me at Tim@TimAyres.ca and I’d love to meet you for coffee.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke RCMP Warn about Stolen Locksmithing Equipment

This is a little alarming! Apparently, a Price’s Alarm Service van was stolen in Victoria over the weekend of April 19th. The van was recovered in Metchosin today, but ALL THE SECURITY AND LOCKSMITHING EQUIPMENT WAS GONE.

So, some crook or group of crooks is now in possession of a key-cutting machine, lock pin sets and other locksmithing gear. The RCMP has asked anyone with more information to contact them, and to be extra careful with security until the equipment is discovered.

-Tim Ayres


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How to Sell Your Home in Black and White

Now here is somebody who tells it like it is

This video is by Daniel Rothamel, a REALTOR® in Charlottesville, Virginia. If there is one thing that I am constantly trying to express to my clients when listing their properties, it’s to try and look at the place from a buyer’s standpoint. This is especially hard when you’ve got Mr. and Mrs. Smith, who built the house 30 years ago (and haven’t updated it since!) and are now selling. They are unable (or in some cases, unwilling) to take the emotion and wonderful family memories out of the formula for arriving at a reasonable listing price.

Although our market in the Sooke and Victoria area is still going strong, it is no secret that the main enemy to sellers today is an overpriced home. Sure, there are plenty of buyers out there, but there are also lots more listings; the forces of supply and demand take over and the overpriced listing sits there, overpriced.

So here is the video, and extra credit to Daniel for “why didn’t I think of that?

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=hOrKLs0QJkA">http://youtube.com/watch?v=hOrKLs0QJkA</a>

Record prices, Sales up from 2006 – Victoria MLS® Statistics November 2007

As expected, the surprisingly busy November numbers reflect a continued strong market.

 

December 3, 2007

The Victoria area real estate market continued to show exceptional strength last month with strong sales and record average prices for single family homes and townhomes. There were 623 sales through the Victoria Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in November, up from the 571 sales in the same month a year ago. There were 708 sales in October of this year.

Victoria Real Estate Board President, Bev McIvor, noted that 16 sales of over $1 million pushed the average price of single family homes in Greater Victoria to a new record high of $596,586. “As always, it’s important to note that high end sales have a significant impact on the average price and that the median, or mid-range price, was considerably lower at $510,000.” McIvor noted there were also three sales over $1 million on the Gulf Islands last month and that the average price of all townhomes sold also reached a new record high of $473,758. “The high demand and robust prices show continued strong consumer confidence in the market,” added McIvor.

The six-month average for single family homes was $576,230. The average price of all condominiums sold in November was $311,844; the average for the last six months was $324,255. The median was again lower at $292,000. The six month average of all townhomes sold last month was $411,262. The median price was $421,750.

MLS® sales last month included 335 single family homes, 179 condominiums, 63 townhomes and 14 manufactured homes.

There were 3,196 properties listed for sale on the MLS® system at the end of last month, up slightly from the 3,158 properties in the same month a year ago.

Summary Report and Graphs

Monthly Sales Summary
Average Selling Price Graphs
Active Listings, New Listings and Sales Graphs

Tim Ayres

 

Home Prices Rise Modestly in Victoria, Vancouver: BCREA

News Release from the BC Real Estate Association:

For immediate release

Home Prices Rise Modestly in Vancouver and Victoria Vancouver, BC – November 21, 2007. British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports residential sales volume on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC climbed 23.5 per cent to $3.40 billion in October, compared to the same month last year. Residential unit sales increased 12.8 per cent to 7,358 units during the same period. The average MLS® residential price hit $462,912, up 9.5 per cent from October 2006.*

“While home sales continue at a brisk pace, prices in Vancouver and Victoria are climbing at a more moderate rate,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. Compared to October 2006, the average sales price increased 7.8 per cent in both markets. Fraser Valley and Chilliwack prices climbed 6.2 and 6.3 per cent, respectively, during the same period. “Eroding affordability is providing less upward pressure on home prices in both Victoria and the Lower Mainland, as many first-time buyers no longer have the financial wherewithal to bid up prices,” added Muir.

In contrast to the South Coast’s major urban areas, home prices in the interior and northern markets continue a rapid ascent. “The Okanagan, Kamloops and Kootenay markets are benefiting from strong demand from retiree, investor and recreation buyers,” noted Muir. “Abundant natural amenities and relatively low prices are drawing considerable attention from empty nesters around the province and across the country.”

“Housing markets in the north that are receiving new investment in resource extraction and transportation are performing well,” added Muir. “However, sluggish US demand for softwood lumber is impacting housing demand in many communities.” The average sales price of a home in the BC Northern Real Estate Board area rose 11.3 per cent last month compared to October 2006. In the Northern Lights Real Estate Board area, the average home sales price climbed 18.5 per cent during the same period.For the complete news release, including detailed statistics, follow this link: www.bcrea.bc.ca/news_room/2007-10.pdf .