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Posts tagged ‘survey’

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

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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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Sooke’s SEAPARC Arena and Pool Expansion/Renovation

seaparc1

We’re lucky in Sooke to have such a nice facility for recreation as the SEAPARC (Sooke and Electoral Area Parks And Recreation Commission) arena and pool. The facility, located on Philips road just off Sooke Road is modern, clean, and a great value.

Since moving to Sooke almost 4 years ago, I’ve enjoyed the pool and arena, but must admit I’d use the facility more if it had a fitness facility. Currently there is a small aerobics room for drop-in and regular classes, but no weight room or cardio studio.

In 2008, the subject of expansion of the facility to include a weight room and aerobics facility came up, and after some public consultation some conceptual drawings (1,2,3,4) were done up and the plan was put forward. This week, I received a survey in the mail outlining some of the details of the project as well as the potential costs involved. It’s planned that two-thirds of the estimated $2.7 million cost of the expansion will be funded through various grants and federal and provincial money as well as other funding sources. That leaves about $1 million to come out of SEAPARC’s budget, which of course is funded by you and me, the taxpayer.

If the project goes ahead, there would be a corresponding increase in property taxes in the District of Sooke and the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, which pay for SEAPARC. What does borrowing $1 million look like on your taxes? About $20 per year for an average home in Sooke and about $14 for an average home in JDF. Not much, really for such an important and exciting project.

The expansion would add a second storey viewing area and expand the existing arena dressing room and aerobics, in addition to the weight room and other fitness facilities.

By adding these new options at the SEAPARC recreation complex, we would also be adding the user base of the facility. There is only one similar gym in Sooke – Odyssey Fitness – and a second option would be great for our town. Plus, I’d love the ability to go for a hard workout and then take a dip in the pool or hot tub! If the user base increases then perhaps the increase in revenue could offset the tax increase someday.

Watch for the survey in the mail, or click here to download it, and then drop it off either at SEAPARC reception, Bill’s Store in East Sooke, Kemp Lake Store in Otter Point, or the Port Renfrew Community Centre. Or, simply scan and e-mail it to seaparc@crd.bc.ca.

It’s your town, your facility and your money – let SEAPARC know what you think!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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First Time Buyer Friday #4 – Closing Costs

Closing Costs

Closing Costs

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.

Q. What additional closing costs are associated with buying property in Victoria, Sooke, or anywhere else in British Columbia?

A. “But wait! There’s more!” This is how it can feel sometimes when you’re buying your first home. It seems sometimes that there is a big vacuum cleaner that is after your money. Welcome to closing costs.

When many first-time buyers start looking at homes, they often very carefully examine their credit, their savings, and calculate out to the penny what their anticipated monthly payment will be. Often, a large oversight is that they do not calculate closing costs or are completely unaware that they exist or just how much money they’ll need.

The largest chunk of the closing cost for most first-time buyers in BC is amount that you have to spend on legal fees. In order to register your mortgage on the title and register the title in your name, you must use either a lawyer or notary public to act on your behalf to convey the property from the sellers to you (often called conveyance or conveyancing).

There are advantages and disadvantages to using either a notary or lawyer. I spoke to Notary Public Sabrina Hanousek of Notaries on Douglas about her side of the story. Recently, Sabrina did an absolutely outstanding job and went above and beyond the call of duty for some of my clients who had a difficult situation arise at closing.

Sabrina says that people who choose to use a notary usually do so because they charge less than a lawyer, which is often the case, but not always. What they find out, however, is that notaries tend to have a lot of experience with real estate conveyance, because that is the bulk of their business in many cases. She also finds that notaries are more “hands-on” and rely less on support staff, and meet directly with the clients rather than delegating this task to secretaries. If things go wrong, she has access to experienced lawyers who can try and fix things. Sabrina charges $795 for a purchase, and $495 for a sale, all disbursements and taxes in. Some items like strata forms would be extra, and a purchase and a sale would sometimes be eligible for a small discount.

I spoke to Rob Connolly of Victoria law firm Jones Emery Hargreaves Swan about how a lawyer is different from a notary. While a lawyer’s fees are sometimes higher, they can deal with issues directly if they come up, rather than having to refer the file to a lawyer if the client used a notary, if, say, a dispute arose about something in the contract. There are also lawyers who specialize in nothing but real estate law, and would be very well equipped to handle any conveyance file. Most people that choose to use a lawyer to handle their real estate transactions do so for peace of mind, and they may already have a lawyer for other legal matters. Rob’s firm charges $800 for a purchase, plus $300-$500 for disbursements (documents, copying, etc). For a sale, it’s $600 plus $50-$75 for disbursements.  A $200 discount is offered if the client does both a sale and a purchase.

It’s best to get a referral from a friend or your real estate agent and to call around to get a few different quotes.

Another source of closing costs are any taxes payable on the purchase. GST is not payable on resale housing, but is payable on new housing, although it’s often included in the purchase price. The provincial property transfer tax (PTT) is calculated at 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance of the purchase price. However, most of the time, first-time buyers are exempt from paying it.

Depending on your financial institution, you may have to pay for an independent appraisal of the property you’re buying. Often, a mortgage broker will pay for the appraisal, that would be a good question to ask before deciding on who to get your mortgage from. If you have to pay, budget around $300-$500 for this.

Again, depending on the financial institution and type of property, you may need to have the property surveyed. In the Contract of Purchase and Sale, the seller has to provide a survey if it’s available, but often, especially with older properties, the survey is gone or outdated. Surveys can cost over $1000, but most financial institutions will accept title insurance instead, which insures the lender against depreciation caused by something that an up-to-date survey would discover, for example, that the house is not where it is supposed to be on the lot due to an error by the builder. A title insurance policy costs around $400.

Last but not least, you’ll need homeowner’s insurance. If you’re buying a condo, you’ll just need contents and liability insurance. These policies cost $300-$500 per year.

So, all told, you’ll want to set aside $1700-$2200 in addition to your down payment to cover closing costs. Remember this when calculating how much you can afford. And don’t forget a hundred bucks or so for pizza and beer for your friends when they help you move!

If you have any questions about buying your first home, or any real estate matter, call me any time at 250-885-0512 or e-mail Tim@TimAyres.ca. Be sure to check out the other First Time Buyer Friday posts!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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5 Things Meme

Since Raul was so “upset” (wink-wink nudge-nudge) that I didn’t mention him in yesterday’s W-5 post, I thought I’d steal a meme I came across on his blog (see, I DO read you). For the uninitiated, a meme is like the blog equivalent of a chain letter, except it just asks simple questions, and not for money to Nigeria, or e-mail forwards so Bill Gates will pay for some unfortunate kid’s new legs or whatever.

5 things I was doing 10 years ago:

1. Living in Tsawwassen (near Vancouver), with my Mom.
2. Going to school at Kwantlen University College (Criminology).
3. Cooking in at least one (maybe two – don’t remember) different restaurants to pay for said edjamakayshun.
4. Waiting to turn 18 so I could take my PADI Divemaster training on the way to becoming a Scuba instructor.
5. Generally being an awkward first-year college/uni student.

5 things on my to do list today:

1. MLS Tour – It’s quite a short one this week, maybe that’s a good thing.
2. Attend an all-candidates luncheon here in Sooke, to hear what the mayoral and council candidates have to say.
3. Post today’s Horrible MLS Photo Of The Day.
4. Follow up on a buyer call I had yesterday.
5. Watch ER tonight with my fiancee.

5 snacks I love:

1. Bananas.
2. Crackers of almost any sort.
3. Those Japanese rice cracker snacks.
4. OH GAWD MACADAMIA NUTS.
5. Nearly anything sweet (cookies, squares, etc). I have a real weakness for sweets.

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire:

1. Buy a larger (but not pretentious) house on or near the waterfront.
2. Invest in rental properties or commercial properties.
3. Donate some money to local charities in the community.
4. Take a few months off work and take my fiancee around the world.
5. Have a huge party for everyone I’ve ever met. Internet people included!

5 places I’ve lived (for various lengths of time):

1. Tsawwassen, BC
2. Richmond, BC
3. Sooke, BC
4. Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
5. Various and sundry tiny boxes aboard large floating steel circuses.

5 jobs I’ve had:

1. Cook/Sous Chef
2. REALTOR®!
3. Scuba Instructor and Dive Shop Manager
4. NCL Dive-In Programme Instructor and Shore Excursions Rep.
5. Courier. The worst 2 months of my life. And my poor truck’s.

5 people I tag:

1. Kye Grace
2. Amanda Nicole
3. Darren Barefoot
4. Stephen Jagger
5. Rodney Bartlett

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Victoria BC Ranked Second-Best Place To Live In Canada

While it’s no secret to those that live here, report contains some surprising data.

Victoria, BC

There was a story in the Times Colonist this morning about a recent survey in MoneySense magazine in which Victoria came in ranked #2, behind Ottawa, for the best place to live in Canada.

But what surprised me most about this survey is that it still took housing costs into account. It would seem that if you left out housing costs, Victoria would be a clear leader, if not a winner. From this survey, however, it seems that high housing prices are offset by all the good things that the region offers.

Examined in the survey were water and air quality, housing, household income, discretionary income, new cars, unemployment, the percentage of people who walk or bicycle to work, population growth and crime.

Based on what’s been going on in the local community in the past few years, we can immediately see where Victoria would have high marks: the population has been exploding in recent years, we have record-low unemployment, and we’re one of the most bike-to-work-friendly regions in Canada. Our supply of water is clean and plentiful, and the constant sea-breezes keep the air quality pristine. Victoria also scored high for number of doctors.

The report examined housing, and stated the average price for Victoria as $465,000 – it must have included condos. Despite the average wage-earner requiring 6.64 times their annual income to purchase a home here, it seems that we’re still a very desirable place to live.

I wonder if Sooke real estate was used in the calculation of the averages? We have many affordable options in this town for working families to get into the market. $300,000 can buy you a decent home here.

Related:

MoneySense Magazine
Best Places to Live Article
The List

Tim Ayres


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Canadian Homeowners Quick To Pay Off Their Mortgages

According to the CMHC in a recent survey, Canadians reported that they were eager to pay off their mortgages as quicklyCMHC - Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation as possible.

Not exactly breaking news – who in their right mind would want to be indebted to a bank longer than absolutely necessary?

Why am I blogging about it then? Despite the duh-factor headline, when one looks further into the survey, some of the numbers are actually quite surprising.

  • 78% of homeowners expressed an interest in paying off their mortgage as fast as possible.
  • 33% had made a lump-sum payment for this purpose
  • A whopping 84% of homeowners who make weekly or biweekly payments on the mortgage are doing so at an increased rate in order to pay off the mortgage quicker. [as little as 10% extra per month can shave years off your mortgage and save you tens of thousands in interest].
  • Half of those surveyed said they would use extra money to pay down the mortgage whenever possible

Other items in the survey included confidence levels about housing debt: 85% of respondents felt comfortable that they could handle their mortgage debt load.

Also, Canadians were overall happy with the mortgage process and the service they received; 85% reported being satisfied. The number of people using the services of a mortgage broker rose from 27% in last year’s survey to 33% this year. I am surprised it is this low, actually. Mortgage brokers provide better rates with better service in most cases, ‘shopping’ your file to as many as 50 different lenders who compete for your loan.

The full CMHC survey can be found here.

Tim Ayres 


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