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…Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate In Review 2015”
Last night, I piled the family in the car and went out in search of the best Christmas lights displays in Sooke. While I didn’t have time to drive every street in Sooke, I think I covered a lot of ground, from up Otter Point Road, over to Broomhill, down Whiffen Spit, and Sunriver Estates. I’d love to share what I found with you! Continue reading “Sooke Christmas Lights Map 2015”
Happy October, and Happy Hallowe’en! The big night is almost here, and it’s nice that it is on a weekend so we can all enjoy it. I’m not sure the weather is going to cooperate for the little ghouls and ghosts trick-or-treating, but there are still lots of fun family activities going on. Read on… if you dare… Continue reading “Hallowe’en 2015 In Sooke”
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.
This gorgeous, luxurious home has been built from the ground up using all natural materials to protect the health of the environment, and its inhabitants. Read on to find out more about it, and more about natural homes. Although this home is now sold, you can find out more about the builder and his upcoming projects at KCNaturalHomes.com.Continue reading “SOLD | Natural, Healthy Home in Sooke”
August was much busier this year than in 2012 – not only in Sooke, but all over the Capital Region. Personally, most of the business I did was carried over from July, and was finished by the first week. From there on it was rest and relaxation the rest of the month, while managing the listings I have. One of the most relaxing Augusts I can remember in recent memory. The Thursday before the Labour Day long weekend, my phone, like clockwork, started ringing for appointments for the first week of September. It is those appointments which kept me from posting August stats until now. Let’s have a look at the numbers:Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – August 2013”
I know summer is drawing to a close and school is back in next week, but I noticed this morning that the forecast had changed – where rain was called for on the weekend, it now looks like the sun will be out on Saturday and Sunday. This could be one of the last weekends of the year to enjoy some beach time on our beautiful island. While sandy beaches seem to be few-and-far-between in the Sooke Region, when you find one you’ll want to return again and again. Continue reading “Sooke Beaches: Fishboat Bay Park”
Sales activity in Sooke was nearly the same as it was in 2012, with prices remaining fairly flat overall. It is still my opinion that while prices seem flat, they are actually declining. This is to say that although the average and median prices seem to hover in the high $300,000s and low $400,000s, a buyer in 2013 is probably getting a nicer, larger and/or newer home for the same money as in 2012 or 2011. Sales activity continues to be better than last year in most cases, and it is good to see the number of houses for sale continue to decline.
Here we are, a third of the way through July and I’m just getting around to posting the June stats! I’ve been a bit busy lately, with listings and with buyers. The market seems to be ticking along, though no sales records are likely to be broken. The weather in June was the best in recent memory, despite a rainy period mid-month. How did the real estate market stack up? Read on…Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – June 2013”
May 2013 overall was a relatively busy month for real estate in the greater Victoria region. While the number of sales for the whole area was exactly tied with May of 2012, Sooke did better than in 2012. Let’s take a look at the numbers!Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – May 2013”
Ah February, we hardly knew ye! The shortest month of the year has come and gone – and not including my trip to Winnipeg, I didn’t see a single snowflake – it looks like we’ve escaped winter this year in Sooke. But how did the real estate market do this month? Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – February 2013”
What a beautiful day we had in Sooke this past Sunday. Sunny, warm, and still just mid-February. It’s no wonder my Saturday was spent showing folks from Alberta around our gorgeous region! My wife (who is 8 months pregnant), our 2-year old daughter and I decided we’d get outdoors and do a hike.Continue reading “Hikes in Sooke – Bluff Mountain Ridge Trail”
It’s Valentines Day – are you stuck for ideas for romancing your sweetheart? Here are 5 top places and activities to ignite the candle of romance in your life. Even if you’ve already got plans, bookmark this page for the next time you’re looking to impress that special somebody.
When I bought my house in Sooke – in the Otter Point area, one of the things that attracted me to it was its cozy Pacific Energy wood stove. Having never heated with wood in the past, it was a bit of a learning curve to figure it out. I learned that a modern wood stove isn’t just a steel box you burn wood in – it is actually a complex system with many variables that need to be accounted for in order for it to function safely and efficiently. Luckily, my stove came with a fairly detailed manufacturer’s manual from which I was able to learn some valuable information.Continue reading “Rural Living In Sooke: Heating With Wood”
I guess December got away from me – as it turns out I was quite busy during the last half of the month with two separate buyers, and of course that little holiday and all the associated eating and drinking that goes along with it! I actually compiled all the November stats early in December and they sat on my desk all month because I kept forgetting to post them. So here is a double stats post and a year-end wrap up – let’s see where we’re at…
In 2009 the Provincial Ministry of Transport announced an improvement project on Highway 14 between Jordan River and Port Renfrew. Since then, there has been about 22 km of new roads, bridges, and other improvements on the Pacific Marine Circle Route. The Route, which allows motorists to travel between Sooke, Port Renfrew, Lake Cowichan, Duncan, and Victoria in either direction, is a major driver of tourism and local economic growth. It is one of the reasons Port Renfrew is quickly developing as a getaway destination similar to other West Coast ports like Tofino and Ucluelet.Continue reading “New Sombrio Bridge is Now Open – Watch Its Construction [Video]”
With all this dreary, wet, rainy weather, it’s hard to believe that scarcely 2 months ago it was still gorgeous and sunny. I watched this video last night and was instantly warmed as I smiled from ear to ear at the sheer awesomeness of this rock we call home. This video is from a Nanaimo-area pilot and is an 18-minute account of his one-and-a-half-hour flight from Nanaimo airport, south over the Gulf Islands, up the Saanich Peninsula to Victoria, out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca past Sooke and Jordan River, and finally hanging a right at Nitinat Lake and following it towards Cowichan Lake and Copper Canyon towards home.Continue reading “Take a Gorgeous Flight Over Southern Vancouver Island [Video]”
Were buyers spooked in October? Maybe. Overall across Greater Victoria, it was not a great month for real estate sales outside the core municipalities. Outlying areas, especially the West Shore experienced serious declines in sales, including Sooke, which saw roughly 33% decline in overall number of homes sold of all types, and 28% fewer single family homes than October of 2011…
September 2012 brought with it some great, dry weather, and also a bit more activity in the Sooke housing market than both August 2012, and September of last year. Prices remain fairly stable year-over-year. While it’s not booming, there was a noticeable uptick in activity and 50% more single family dwelling sales than last month. Let’s dive in and look at the numbers.Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – September 2012”
While it doesn’t happen too often in the current Sooke real estate market, occasionally, you might find a property that you love which already has an accepted offer on it. Or, maybe you saw the property a few weeks ago, and finally decided to make an offer and were too late. At this point, you have two options: wait and see if the first offer becomes unconditional (and the property is sold), or you can sometimes write a back-up offer.Continue reading “What is a Back-Up Offer And How Does It Work?”
In British Columbia, you cannot legally sell a manufactured/mobile home (sometimes known as a trailer) without either a CSA (Canadian Standards Association) or BC Electrical Safety Authority (BCESA) certification. When a trailer is manufactured in Canada, its manufacturer applies a decal, usually on the exterior near the front door, with its CSA number, and sometimes inside the home in the kitchen or electrical panel. Read on to find out what to watch out for if you’re buying or selling a manufactured home. Continue reading “Manufactured/Mobile Homes and CSA/Electrical Safety Stickers”
Coming up this Saturday, July 7, starting around 11:00 is Stick Fest Five, put on by David Evans and his coffee crew down at The Stick In The Mud Coffee House in Sooke. David officially opened the stick on 07/07/07, and every year since he’s thrown an anniversary party to celebrate and give back to his loyal following of caffeinated customers. I had a chance to ask David a few questions about coffee, success, and celebration, and he was kind enough to step away from the roaster for a few moments to answer.Continue reading “Stick Fest 5 – The Stick In The Mud Celebrates 5 Years In Sooke”
Wow – so much house for such a great price! This immaculate, 2003-built family home boasts 1900 sqft of well-laid-out family living space. Set on a quiet cul-de-sac, the home is just steps away from elementary and middle schools, and convenient walking distance from Sooke village, shopping, trails, parks, and more.
If you want to start an argument on the Internet, or anywhere else, for that matter, start talking about the pros and cons of owning vs renting your home. It’s guaranteed to get people fired up on either side of the argument. Of course, depending on your level of debate, you might never get invited out with that group of friends again. There are points on both sides that make a lot of sense. Let’s take a look:Continue reading “What Is Your Home Worth?”
Chances are, if you live on an acreage in Sooke, or anywhere else in greater Victoria for that matter, you have a well. If you’re considering buying an acreage property, this may be your first experience with your own water supply. Water in our region is plentiful, thankfully, and we enjoy abundant, cheap, good-tasting municipal water supply from the CRD. How is it different to own a well and what considerations do you need to take to ensure a reliable, safe, and tasty water for decades? Read on to find out!
First, the easy part: your 2011 property taxes are due July 4, 2011. If your property is in the District of Sooke, you can pay in myriad different ways. There is a drop box for your cheque at municipal hall, or you can visit and pay in person. You can pay in person or online with most banks, or you can mail a cheque. If your property is in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (Otter Point, Shirley, Jordan River, Port Renfrew, or parts of East Sooke), your taxes are payable to the provincial Minister of Finance and can be paid in person at a Service BC office, dropped off at the Surveyor of Taxes in Victoria, or online or in person at most financial institutions.
Many home owners will have their taxes paid automatically by their mortgage lender. Lenders will estimate your taxes owing and you’ll pay, along with your mortgage payment, into a side account from which the taxes are paid every year. Lenders do this because they want to be sure the taxes are paid – property tax debt takes priority before mortgages should the borrower default!
However, even if your lender pays the taxes, you’ll want to apply for the Home Owner Grant. The Home Owner Grant is a yearly grant from the provincial government to help offset your property taxes. If you qualify, that’s $570 off your property taxes! You’re eligible for the grant if :
you are the owner (or spouse/relative of the deceased owner) of the property;
you are a permanent resident of British Columbia
you occupy the building on the tax notice as your principal residence
you have not applied for or received a home owner grant on any other property in the Province during the calendar year; and
no other person can have received a home owner grant on the property for the calendar year.
Most property owners in Sooke will qualify as long as it is their principal residence. The grant is less for properties over $1.15M in assessed value. There is also an additional grant for seniors and other groups.
The thing that confuses people the most is the timing of your taxes. Even though you pay your taxes on or about July 2 of every year, you’re paying for that whole calendar year (ie, January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, not July 2, 2011 to July 2, 2012). Where this can come up is when you sell your house. People sometimes assume that if they sell their home in the spring, they’ve already paid their property taxes. Not true, because they haven’t been levied yet. When you sell your home, no matter what time of year, your lawyer or notary will have to adjust for the taxes on the statement of adjustments at closing.
For example, If you sold your home and it closed on March 31, 2011, the adjustment would be negative (a debit) to compensate the buyer for the time you occupied the house in 2011 (90 days) – since they will be responsible for paying the property taxes in July. If you sold your home and it closed on August 1, 2011, you would have already paid the taxes, so the adjustment would be positive (a credit) with the buyer compensating you for the time the buyer enjoys the house in 2011 (152 days).
Where does your tax money go? In the District of Sooke, it is interesting to note that only 42% of your tax bill funds municipal services directly. The rest is paid on your behalf to other taxing authorities, including BC Transit, Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Capital Regional District, schools, hospitals, and fire and police service. In the Juan de Fuca Electoral area, it depends on which unincorporated community you live in.
Some other Sooke property tax tidbits:
Sewer parcel tax is $515, included in the total payable taxes on your property tax notice, if you live within the sewer specified area.
Taxes in Sooke remain among the lowest in the Capital Regional District
The District of Sooke has a 5-year financial plan which it updates yearly