Sept 1, 2017

 

A total of 736 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this August, 16.6 per cent fewer than the 883 properties sold in August last year.

 

“I admit to being a little surprised by the August numbers,” notes Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. “I expected inventory numbers to be climbing by now, but instead we’ve seen even lower numbers of listings on the market. This is likely leading to some buyer fatigue along with pressure on pricing in high demand areas.”

There were 1,917 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of August 2017, a decrease of four properties compared to the month of July, and 8.5 per cent fewer than the 2,094 active listings for sale at the end of August 2016.

 

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in August 2016 was $743,200. The benchmark value for the same home in August 2017 has increased by 10.8 per cent to $823,100.

 

“Though much too early to call a trend, we do see that the August HPI benchmark value for single family homes in the Victoria Core area has decreased by 1.3 per cent when compared to July. This is the first time we’ve noted a decrease in HPI values since August 2015.” adds President Balabanian. “That said, this is not an indicator of a huge change in property values across our region. We’ve seen a phenomenally busy two years in real estate for our area and we are likely heading towards a period of more balanced activity. Note too, that though the overall HPI value shows a small month over month decrease – specific areas and specific types of product have seen increases. For example, condominiums across the entire region are up by half a percent compared to the previous month and single family homes in North Saanich have increased in benchmark value by almost one per cent. It’s for reasons like these that now more than ever it makes sense to seek the assistance of a local REALTOR® to sell or buy your home.”

 

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Have you driven down Yates Street lately? It’s a bit of a gong show with all the construction going on. In fact, the entire downtown Victoria seems to be awash with construction cranes and cement pumper trucks. What the heck is going on? Well…a whole lot of building, that’s what.

 

With Victoria’s rental vacancy rate hovering around 0.5% it’s no wonder Victoria’s mayor has proposed relaxing the city’s bylaws that prohibit people from sleeping in their vehicles. But that’s not going to help for the long term. Thousands of purpose-built rental units have been added to the Capital Region’s housing stock since 2010 and thousands more are on the way. Over the last seven years alone some 700-units of subsidized, affordable and supportive housing were created throughout Greater Victoria while hundreds more are currently under construction or planned for completion by 2019.

 

Part of the solution has been the transition of aging hotel accommodation to both luxury and subsidized rental accommodation. The Queen Victoria Inn and the Dominion Hotel were transformed into rental apartments in 2014 and 2015 yielding 124 and 97-units, respectively. Another 200-odd hotel units are in the process of being upgraded into rentals at the Harbour Towers hotel complex in James Bay, while several hundred-former motel and hotel suites along Gorge Road East and upper Douglas Street were also transitioned into various strata of rental housing. Esquimalt’s EconoLodge Inn & Suites on Craigflower Road at Admirals Road is currently undergoing a phased conversion into 96-units of rental housing, and the former Tally-Ho Hotel complex on Douglas Street near Finlayson Street will soon be turned into over 50-units of supportive housing for hard-to-house individuals.

 

Even though more rental housing is coming on-line all the time, demand continues to push rental prices higher and higher. Costs for new-build market housing are currently pushing above $1,500 per month for one-bedroom, 500 square foot apartments. New-build two-bedroom units are priced in the $2,000 per month range. Luxury rental penthouses in the city centre are now reaching $3,000 for two-bedroom suites.

 

So, when travelling down Yates, let’s all try to be patient and give ourselves a little more time to negotiate congestion. You’ll be happy you did.

 

Data supplied © by Citified

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The lack of homes listed for sale is driving up competition — and prices — on Greater Victoria’s real estate scene.

 

According to figures released Wednesday by the Victoria Real Estate Board, there were 478 properties sold last month. Although that was an 11 per cent drop from the 539 sold in January last year, the board said sales were reasonable considering the low-inventory levels.

 

The number of active listings on the Victoria board’s Multiple Listings Service hit the lowest point on record in January, with 1,516 properties for sale, a 38 per cent drop from the 2,471 on the market in January last year.

 

The low-inventory levels continue to drive up home prices.

 

The benchmark value for a single-family home in Greater Victoria was $636,100 last month, a 21.1 per cent increase from $525,100 recorded in January 2016.

 

“The numbers we saw last year are not the new normal. We know that we are not going to see sales volumes this year that meet or beat last year’s record-breaking numbers,” said Ara Balabanian, president of the board.

 

Balabanian said when January’s numbers are compared with a 10-year average for that month — an average of 384 sales — this year’s numbers are almost 25 per cent higher.

 

“The least active January we saw in the past 10 years was in 2009 with 247 sales, and the most active was last year,” he said.

 

The benchmark price for a condo in Greater Victoria jumped 24.4 per cent to $377,900 last month and the benchmark price of a townhome in the region increased 20.2 per cent to $509,500.

 

The real estate board says its benchmark price is a more accurate reflection of the market than an average or median sale price because it tracks price levels for a typical home in a given community.

 

Balabanian said it’s too early in the year to determine where Victoria’s real estate market is going.

 

“Over the last few decades, the historic cycle in Victoria is longer periods of stable activity and price, followed by a rapid rise in activity and property values over a relatively short period of time,” he said. “The coming months will provide us with a better idea of where we are in this cycle.”

 

- Source: Times Colonist

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you own real property in Greater Victoria, you would have received your Property Tax Assessment notice from your municipality within the last week or so. Because of this, I have recently received a handful of questions from my awesome clients regarding how Property Tax works; how the property tax is calculated; and how they go might about challenge the amount they will be charged?


To assist my clients and others work through the process, I have put together a 10-page booklet entitled the “Tax Fighters Guide for the Home Owner-A guide to appealing your Property Assessment Notice”. The booklet discuss how taxes work; how the assessment authority assesses the value of your home; how do you appeal your assessment if you disagree; along with a glossary of Property Tax terms you need to be familiar with. Remember, you have until January 31st, 2017 to make your appeal.


If you would like your own complimentary copy of the guide, send me a quick note  via the contact link on this website, email or Facebook and I will happily forward a copy along to you.

 

In addition, to sending you the “Tax Fighters Guide for the Home Owner” I will also include a copy of the 22-page booklet “Buying a Home in British Columbia-A comprehensive guide to buying a home in Victoria, BC”. If you’re considering purchasing a home in Victoria, this guide is a great step-by-step guide to the process. Looking forward to hearing from you.


Thanks!

 

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Dear Homeowner,

 

On behalf of your local governments, I write today to remind you that the deadline for paying your 2016 property taxes is July 4.

 

Also, I would like to explain some of the factors affecting this year’s tax bill, which, you might have noticed, is large enough to make Bill Gates spew his Starbucks.

 

  • As a Saanich resident, you might wonder why the taxes on your leaky 1974 Gordon Head split-level with matted orange shag carpet jumped from $2,900 in 2015 to $36,754 this year.

 

That’s because the house next door, also a leaky 1974 Gordon Head split-level with matted orange shag carpet, was just bought for $988,000 by a 55-year-old Vancouver couple who sold their Kitsilano crack shack for $16 million. Your assessment increased accordingly.

 

By the way, your new neighbours play the bagpipes.

 

  • The City of Victoria’s budget pie will be carved up like this: 23 per cent to policing, another 23 per cent to engineering and public works, and eight per cent to parks (non-occupied) and recreation.

 

The rest will go to opening a safe-injection site in the Empress, converting Blanshard Street into a bicycle-only expressway, growing pot in the hanging baskets, and providing evening turn-down service for residents of Tent City. At least, that’s what people are saying on Facebook.

 

  • The cost of Victoria’s Johnson Street Bridge replacement has been fixed at $63 milli… er, $97.4 mill… um, $105.6 million — a figure as solid as the steel with which it’s being built.

 

  • The Township of Esquimalt, not wanting to share a drawbridge with Victoria, will build its own.

 

  • Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, realizing that A) it pays a third of the township’s entire budget, yet B) has its own police, fire, recreation and waste-disposal operations, will break away and become the capital region’s 14th independent municipality. Esquimalt council will accuse the base of having a drawbridge mentality.

 

  • The Capital Regional District board has accepted the provincial government’s help in finding a core-communities sewage-treatment solution (in the same way Czechoslovakia accepted the Soviet Union’s “help” in 1968). Local politicians will be asked to approve one treatment plant site, not two (saving maybe $250 million) and to do so by a Sept. 30 deadline (saving $500 million in provincial and federal grants).

 

Anywhere else, ratifying the recommendation would be a fiscally prudent slam-dunk.

 

So why are we holding our breath?

 

  • On Oct. 1, Saanich will announce it is examining alternative regional sewage-treatment plant sites near Victoria General Hospital, at Clover Point and in Jordan River.

 

  • Also, three days after construction of the $85-million McKenzie interchange begins this fall, Saanich will demand the Transportation Ministry change the design.

 

  • The three Saanich Peninsula municipalities, wary of being drawn into the sewage saga ensnaring their neighbours, will ask voters whether they wish to leave the CRD.

 

Should the Crexit referendum pass, the Peninsula will abandon the Canadian dollar, replacing it with corn and seasonal berries.

 

  • In the Sooke school district, where brand-new Royal Bay Secondary is already bursting and enrolment is expected to rise by 1,800 students in the next five years, students will be bused to Vancouver, where a dozen schools are scheduled to close.

 

Problem solved.

 

  • View Royal residents will notice a Gravy Train Derailment Contingency Fund, which will compensate for the loss of casino revenue should a competing gambling den be set up in Victoria or Saanich.

 

  • Metchosin has added a special levy to offset the failure of its Trump-style “We’re going to build a wall and make Langford pay for it” initiative. Turns out Langford didn’t want to pay.

 

  • Concerned about heritage homes being shipped off to foreign lands, Oak Bay will move to end the practice. By “foreign lands” it means Fernwood and Fairfield. “We’re going to build a wall and make Victoria pay for it,” council says.

 

That’s it. Remember that should you miss the July 4 property tax deadline, your power and water will be turned off on July 5.

 

Just kidding. This is an example of the madcap humour for which we at the tax department are famous.

 

We’ll just sell your property instead.

 

 

See complete article by Jack Knox in Times Colonist.

 

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I wonder if there is just too much Buyer fatigue in the Victoria Marketplace to support this kind of sales structure. I spoke with a visitor to my Open House yesterday, he has been looking for a home for the past six months and has made 14 offers without success. People who attend auctions are looking for a deal and I'm sorry to say that there just aren't that many out there in today's market.


Read Article.


The Grierson Mansion, built in 1910, was marketed for sale via live auction.

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Real Estate Auction format comes to Victoria.

 

 

This is a popular way to sell Real Estate in other parts of the world but has never really caught on in Victoria. It will be interesting to see how well attended this is and where the final number falls.

I will be there. If you are interested in attending with me just let me know.

 

The Rockland house is known as Grierson Mansion. Contractor E.D. Grierson lived in the house from 1910 to 1922, according to the Victoria Heritage Foundation, which describes it as a “stunning example of the British arts and crafts tudor revival.”

 

It has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, re-leaded stained glass windows and a 32-foot-long ballroom. There’s a billiards and media room, 2,000-bottle wine cellar, mahogany panelled walls and ornate fireplace. Maclure also designed the garden.

 

The home was originally built on one acre, which has since been strata-titled with other homes built on the original site. The house is used as a single-family property, but consists of two strata titles, meaning that a buyer could divide it, subject to approvals,

 

Bidders must register in advance for the June 22 auction, which starts at 5 p.m. in the ballroom of the house, at 206 Pemberton Rd. A $100,000 bank draft will be due from the successful bidder. -

 

Click here for the June 10th article in the Times Colonist.

 

 

 

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There was an article in yesterday’s Times Colonist regarding the proposed regulation of Vacation Rentals in Victoria.

 

Vacation rental sites like Airbnb make it easy for folks to earn a little income with their property. But…before you welcome your first guest to your home, there are a few things you may wish to know first before operating an Airbnb.

 

Airbnb is a company and website for people to list, find, and rent lodging. It has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries. The original name Airbedandbreakfast.com was shortened to Airbnb.com, and the site's content had expanded from air beds and shared spaces to a variety of properties including entire homes and apartments, private rooms, castles, boats, manors, tree houses, tipis, igloos, private islands and other properties.

 

While the status of your property changes once you begin renting a portion of it, there are some important distinctions you should be aware of. For example, a hosting property may still be considered a principle residence if the rental area is reasonably small, in terms of the total area of the property. As I understand it, two out of five rooms is an acceptable proportion of your total property. That 2/5ths represents 40% of your total expenses, which is what you should claim. More than that and your principle residence status changes. It’s important to note that I’m not an accountant…So please contact your Accounting Professional to learn more and verify the previous information.

 

It’s very important to ensure your property is zoned correctly for the use you are intending. In addition, if you own within a Strata Complex you will want to check your Bylaws and/or check with Council to ensure there are no rules that prohibit usage.

 

How about Taxes?

 

Contrary to popular belief, Airbnb hosting is not “free money”. In the eyes of the taxman, it’s rental income. That status, however, depends on a number of factors. Canadians must report any income earned anywhere in any way when filing taxes, including any money made through these part-time or full-time ventures. Even bartering for services or crowdfunding aren't exempt from taxes.

 

Another important consideration for hosts is determining whether monies earned from the rental property will be viewed as rental or business income. The CRA will take into account services rendered. How many of these and the nature of the services offered can change the status of your hosting income in the eyes of the Agency. Rental income includes standard services common to all rentals, like electricity, heat, in suite laundry facilities and parking. But if you provide services like security, meals, or cleaning, you will most probably be considered a business under the tax code. When it comes to HST/GST, if your income from hosting exceeds $30,000 you have to register and pay the applicable tax. When it comes to PST, things vary from province to province.

 

You can review a bulletin regarding PST in British Columbia here.

 

 

 

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THANK YOU

To ALL the wonderful people I've been so fortunate to assist with their Real Estate needs AND to all the folks who trusted me to help their friends and family through their referrals!

 

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Police Officers are tag-teaming to catch drivers who cannot put their phone down when in their vehicle. Even if drivers dispute it...they're gonna have to go to court to prove their innocence.

 

The driver refuted the claim saying he wasn’t on his phone. Cst. Andy Dunstan handed over a ticket – the distracted driving fine alone is $368, but with the penalty points, first time offenders have to pay a minimum of $543.

 

“We don’t debate it at the road side. That is what the court is for and I trust my colleague on the evidence he passes to me to write a violation ticket,”

 

If you need to check your messages or reply to a text it just makes sense to pull over. If not...it's probably going to cost you!

 

Read the entire article here.

 

 

 

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Back in February, in an effort to curb the ever rising cost of Real Estate, the Federal Government raised the requirements for the down payment with respect to the mortgage on the home you're buying. 

 

As it is now, a home buyer must have the cash to place 10% of the purchase price for homes over $500,000 in addition to the 5% under $500,000. For example...if the home you're buying is $680,000 (the median price for a single family home in Victoria) you must have a minimum of $43,000 in cash to place down on your mortgage.

 

Is it helpful to raise the amount of cash required to purchase a home? If the purpose is to protect the home buyer...perhaps it is. 

 

"The rise in home prices has forced Canadians to go deeper and deeper into debt in order to access the accelerating market. Household debt hit yet another record high in the final quarter of 2015, with the ratio of debt to disposable income averaging 165.4 per cent; meaning the average Canadian held $1.65 in debt for every dollar they made in disposable income last year." BNN

 

Interest rates are at historic lows and there are no indications at this time of any change coming in the near future. This is one factor that is driving the market...cheap money. BUT, what happens when that interest rate bumps up, even a little, all of the sudden home owners that are already stretched can no longer afford their homes and may default on their mortgages. This exact scenario was a driving factor that caused the meltdown in the US housing market in 2007 and we all know what the trickle down effects of that were.

 

The chief executive of Bank of Nova Scotia told BNN he is “a little concerned” about price activity in Vancouver and “maybe pockets” in Toronto, where the average price of a home has surged 41 per cent and 45 per cent respectively over the past five years, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Higher down payment requirements appear to have made little difference since they took effect in February, but Porter believes that remains Ottawa’s best option. Read the article and watch the interview with Brian Porter here.

 

Debt load is a fact of life in 2016. Most of us have it and do a pretty good job of managing it. However, we need to keep looking to the future to ensure that the choices we make today guarantee a roof over our heads tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

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The current Real Estate market in Victoria is a "Sellers Market". This means that due to the historically low inventory of home options for Buyers to select from, home prices are on the rise. This is not a new topic of conversation for Victorians. If you live here, you probably know the challenges faced by someone in the market for a new home to purchase. 

 

What might not be immediately apparent, is the impact this market has upon those not currently interested in purchasing a home. We all need a place to lay our head at night. For some, it makes better sense to rent rather than buy. But this is not an easy task by any means. Especially for a family with pets. For these folks the housing options are currently very, very slim.

 

According to the latest figures from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Commission (CMHC) Greater Victoria's average apartment vacancy rate dropped to .6% in October, down from 1.5% in October 2014. The national average is 3.3%. A healthy vacancy rate would be between 5-7%. Competition is fierce for available rental units. According to the Tenant Resource Advisory Center in BC it's not uncommon for 30-40 parties to show up to view one vacant rental unit.

 

Affordability can also be a concern and a big issue. In the CRD 34% of households are rentals. Of those, 47% spend more than 30% of their income on rent with 24% spending more than half their income on rent.

 

The cost of a home is one of the main factors driving demand. The benchmark price for a single family home within Victoria's core is $684,900 in April 2016, that's up almost 18% from the same period last year.

 

If you're in the market to purchase an investment property, I can help. Finding the right property is key. To be successful you have to be prepared. Have your financing in place, have a clear understanding of your objectives and ensure you are in a position to make a quality decision in a timely matter.

 

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The American Actor, Comedian, Producer and Writer Will Ferrell is moving to Victoria! A desire to live around "Real People" and within a community that cares has driven Will to our town.

 

Will reveals that he is tired of the LA Lifestyle. Read the full article here.

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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.