Thursday, December 16, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays


This blog will be at rest until 2011 but I'd like to give my thanks to regular viewers of www.frasercheam.com and hope that you have enjoyed it.  It has been a creature of invention for me and as the year closes I realize that it still needs a lot of work; but then, what would life be without a challenge?

All the best to you and yours,



Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Murder of Crows


The Fraser Valley is home to a vast number of black crows; when grouped together they are known as a murder of crows. Today, I found this murder that was startled by my approach.


The beautiful sky above this Keith Wilson Road, Chilliwack acreage also caught my eye.






Imagine living here.


Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Real Estate Review and Analysis - December 1, 2010


Review and analysis of the Chilliwack* real estate market from the armchair of Stephen Mullock a 30 year Chilliwack real estate agent and a professional member of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia.
This review and analysis looks at two areas of the Chilliwack* residential real estate market, that of single family detached houses, and, strata homes (apartments, townhouses, duplexes) for the month of November 2010.  This post will be of interest to buyers and sellers in the Chilliwack real estate market, real estate professionals and the curious.

Quick Aside: We went into Vancouver this past weekend and took in the Vancouver Eastside Cultural Crawl ;I snapped off a few pictures of the wonderful architecture in the Strathcona area, the oldest residential section, of the city.  If you enjoy art and craftsmanship the Vancouver Eastside Cultural Crawl is an event you do not want to miss - I'll be going back next year. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

SINGLE FAMILY HOUSES


Strathcona Victorian

I have been trying for some time to develop a better measure of real estate market performance and believe at the moment that comparing the month under review against a 10 year average for that same month seems fair.  

So for example the statistics for November 2010 get compared to an average for the 10 Novembers previous (2000-2009).  This tells us if a month has over or under performed and by how much.

There were 83 sales of Chilliwack* single family houses in the month of November 2010 as compared to a 10 year November average of  110 sales for November (2000-2009).  To put it another way, this November was operating at about 3/4 speed.  November 2010 was the third worst November in the field with only the years 2000 and 2008 having lower single family detached Chilliwack* sale numbers. This under-performance in the Chilliwack real estate market is something we have been seeing in recent months.

If we look at 2010 we see, at the beginning of the year, a very game Chilliwack real estate market operating at about 85-98% efficiency and then a huge drop off starting in July when all of a sudden the market plummets, to a 60% efficiency rate. A number of concerns were raised by this column in March, which included, the then still to be implemented, federal initiatives designed to cool off the market: tougher new lending requirements, rising interest rates and the HST.  This blog thought that the Chilliwack real estate market was still too fragile and felt that these policies designed to cool off real estate markets in the major metropolitan areas would have an adverse local effect; sadly, this appears to have been the case.




Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Housing Sales Report - November 2010
MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
November 2010  83 $341,000 83 914
October 2010 106 $350,000 60 973
November 2009 113 $340,000 61 n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Listings: December 1, 2010 - $375,000




STRATA HOMES




Strathcona Row Housing
MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Nov   2010  39 $201,000 77 524
Oct  2010  50 $214,000 74 531
Nov   2009  79 $236,000 70 n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: December 1, 2010 - $219,900

The Chilliwack real estate market for Strata Homes saw only 39 sales in November 2010 compared to a 10 year (2000 - 2009) November average of 54.  Three years had worst Novembers for Strata sales however 2000, 2001 and of course the year that began our woes 2008.

Summary Thoughts


The Chilliwack real estate market continues to struggle with less than buoyant times, there is at present, an 11 month supply of single family houses on the market and a 13 month supply of Strata homes.  As a result, the "Buyers market" we are in will continue until at least the spring of 2011.  Thinking of selling, be sure to, hire the talents of a full time real estate agent known and active in the local market.  If you are considering buying, this is a great opportunity, but, be sure to be represented properly by selecting a reputable local agent to work for you; they will give you better guidance.

*The analysis above is based on my interpretation of information provided through the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board and does not include private sales. The term "Chilliwack" is used quite loosely to refer to an area serviced by the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board which includes communities such as Chilliwack, Sardis, Cultus Lake, Yarrow, Rosedale, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Mills. Hope, Yale and Boston Bar. The Fraser Valley West embraces the entire Fraser Valley Real Estate Board area from Abbotsford west to Delta.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service; you’ll be happy you did.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

4 p.m. Country Road - Imagine Living Here


4 p.m. Country Road
 Took this picture today just as the sun was fading from the sky and a ground creep of fog was just developing. Peaceful...imagine living here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Snowfall


First Snow © Stephen Mullock
The Chilliwack - Fraser Cheam area, indeed, the entire Fraser Valley experienced its first snowfall this past week, and, all expectations are that we will be seeing a lot of the white stuff in the next couple of months.  We can't complain too much, however, as this part of the country has one of the mildest climates in the Canada - great place to live. 

Imagine living here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Enlightenment - Picture of the Week


Enlightenment © Stephen Mullock
With spectacular scenery such as this sunrise over the left shoulder of Mount McGuire, it is hard to imagine that there would not be a profound effect on the souls of Chilliwack residents.  At times the entire valley becomes bathed in beauty.

Imagine living here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, November 12, 2010

CMHC Vancouver Outlook 2010 - Grading the Market Ahead


Statistics, charts and predictions all formed part of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) "Vancouver Outlook Conference 2010".  That means excitement to an "armchair analyst" like me and plenty of insights.

The CMHC 2010 conference was presented to another "sold out" crowd, Wednesday, at the Hyatt Hotel.  I was there as a  a representative of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia eager to find out whether our Foundation's finances will improve in 2011 after a couple of disappointing years. Being a working real estate agent I was also looking for advice to share with my clients in the Chilliwack, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Spring real estate marketplaces.

I could develop a bunch of charts and graphs but for this blog I just want to keep it simple so I have elected to give a letter grade to a variety of factors affecting real estate in Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley as if they were in school.  To get a "C" is average, a "B" better than average and an "A" well that is exceptional.  If you are getting a "D" or "E" well then you have some explaining to do.

                                                                                 2010                  2011*
Mortgage Rates                                                            B                       B-
Long term rates good until 2012 but expect short term rates to edge upward.

Sales Volume                                                               C-                     C
The last half of 2010 has been quite a disappointment but 2011 will see a stronger sales uptake.  This uptake is the result of more employment, attractive mortgage rates, migration, family formation and the absorption of newly built projects.  2011 will remain very much a "working market" my advice here, if selling, is use the resources and skills of a professional real estate agent.

 Sale Prices                                                                  C-                     C
 The price of housing declined in 2010 and a small decline is expected again in 2011 but not too significant.  The CMHC "Fraser Valley" predicted final average estimate for 2010 is $438,000 and they are expecting a 1% drop to $435,000 for 2011.  Please note the Chilliwack market average sale price will be significantly less than the "Fraser Valley" average. Currently, the single family detached average is $350,000. This price difference makes Chilliwack a smart place for boomers to relocate to for a number of reasons; Chilliwack is still in the Valley, pocketing some cash and a great wilderness setting.

Market Conditions
The Fraser Valley market will hover in the Buyer to Balanced market territory.  There should be plenty of choices for buyers.  I have, however, observed that "prime" houses that are well kept and priced still can attract multi-offers be prepared to move on these properties.

As you can tell from the letter grades above it looks like 2011 will be a little stronger than 2010 but there will still be a lot of room for improvement.  I hope that the "letter grade" idea has not brought back too many bad memories for anyone.

* 2011 Predictions from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. A more in depth document on Vancouver and Abbotsford Housing, dated October 2010, this can be found at this address - click here.

If you would like to find out what I thought last year after the same event click here

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Steller's Jay and Stellar Jays - Picture of the Week



You can almost check the seasons by the flocks of birds in the Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area.  This week, I noticed the Steller's Jays working their way around the house and took a moment away from my leaf raking to snap this picture.  The contrast between the autumn leaves and the Jay's deep blue to midnight black plumage is startling.  These birds hop around from branch to branch a lot so this picture was the best I could do.

It wasn't all good news, in the backyard, I also found a few features left over, no doubt, from an encounter with a house cat.  One of these was scanned and is shown above.

I was also surprised and disappointed to learn that I had been calling this bird by the wrong name for years.  It was like one of those moments, like when you realize that you have been singing out the wrong song lyrics for years, like the Hendrix  "Purple Haze" lyric  "Scuse will I kiss this guy". A little shocked and embarrassed  I have always called this bird a Stellar Jay - please let me explain.

With a colouration that begins dark blue at the feet and the changes into a midnight black at the head I always thought this bird was named "Stellar" to conjure up a poetic image of the earth's stratosphere turning into space and stars.

Not so.  Apparently it was named after Georg Wilhelm Steller a German naturalist who discovered (?) them.  It is also called the Pine Jay, Mountain Jay and the Long Crested Jay but for me, sorry, I'd like to stick with...the Stellar Jay and hope that someday it can be renamed.  It is the provincial bird of British Columbia after all; can't the province look into a more appropriate name? No disrespect intended Georg.

Imagine living  here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Paramount Theatre Chilliwack -The Final Curtain


Paramount Theatre Chilliwack B.C. © Ian Meissner
On November 3, 2010 the Paramount Theatre in Chilliwack, British Columbia, closed its doors for the last time.  Beset by competitive factors including the construction of an 8-plex Galaxy Theatre, underway in Chilliwack's new Eagles Landing, the decision to close early was made this week when the Paramount's boiler gave its last gasp.  A new $20,000 boiler wasn't in the cards so after 61 years this fine building is shut.

The Paramount Theatre opened June 9, 1949 and was billed as being "completely ultra-modern in every respect" including the modern miracle of air conditioning, soft restful spring chairs, sound installation and a popcorn and candy bar in the lobby.  "Six hundred and eight people will be accommodated on the first floor and 292 on the balcony of the new theatre."  Because the floor is curved and the screen mounted high it was boasted that "even the shortest customer will be able to see over the tall lady with the high featured hat".


P2573 © Chilliwack Museum

The theatre was built, as were all the Famous Player Theatres at the time, on a theme  - the Paramount was supposed to look like a cruise ship.  That's why the steps in the foyer are curved like that and why there are circular "porthole" lighting scones in the theatre.  These wall lights used to have fake fish in them to complete the look. 

An immense outdoor sign extending the full height of the building boldly proclaimed the word "Paramount" accented by blinking lights running down the side.  This sign has become a landmark in Chilliwack adding a splash of needed colour to the downtown core.  It will be sorely missed by many.

Solidly built the Paramount featured laminated firewalls, 800 yards of reinforced concrete in the main walls and 60 tons of structural steel. The largest of the cantilevered steel guiders being 24-inch I-beams equal in size to any single steel beam in the Pattulo bridge. 

In 1977 a second screen was added converting the former balcony section into a new theatre.



There have been 22,427 days since the Paramount Theatre opened during which time tens of thousands of films have been shown.  For many people it was the place to take a first date, where new friends were found lining up in the early afternoon for an evening showing of Harry Potter and always a place to be entertained. 

Thousands of personal stories have been started at the Paramount theatre, and that is why I was so pleased, when, I  learned today that the Landmark Cinemas of Canada had made a generous donation of the land and building to the City of Chilliwack. Landmark that was a class act!  Thank you there are too few buildings with any real architectural merit in Chilliwack.  While it is too early to know what the City is planning it is nice to know that Chilliwack to running the coming attraction.



Thank you © Stephen Mullock

Imagine living here.

P.S. I'd like to thank Ian Meissner for the picture he took of the Paramount's last night.  Also, I had a lot of help from Shannon at the Chilliwack Museum Archive and much of the information comes from sources found there - thank you.

 Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Real Estate Review and Analysis - Chilliwack November 1, 2010

My review and analysis looks at two areas of the Chilliwack* residential real estate market that of single family detached houses and strata homes (apartments, townhouses, duplexes) for the month of October 2010.  This post will be of interest to buyers and sellers in the real estate market, real estate professionals and the curious.

Window Message in Gastown
I found the above disclaimer in a Gastown window and thought it amusing. Perhaps it was written a little to harshly for the author as a sign post with the word "Someday" was placed in the adjoining window in an attempt to amend it.  With this message in mind let's delve into the entails of economics and statistics and try to conjure up some rational predictions for the Chilliwack* real estate market.


SINGLE FAMILY HOUSES

I decided a while back that comparing one month's Chilliwack* real estate activity to the previous month was somewhat suspect as there is a seasonal pattern to sales in both strong and weak markets. Usually we see home buying in Chilliwack* peak in the May to July months and then sales will wane a little to a low in December or January. To get a better measure of performance I elected instead to develop a 10 year average for that specific month. So for example the statistics for October 2010 get compared to an average for the 10 Octobers previous (2000-2009). I thought this would tell me if a month was over or under performing.

There were 106 sales of single family houses in the Chilliwack* October 2010 real estate market compared to a 10 year average of 134.  Therefore we have an under performing market.  No surprise but at least you can see that the market is operating at 79% strength. Another way I thought of thinking about this was to look and find how many of October months, during the last ten years, were worse than this past October and two were 2008 and 2000.  What can I say - poor company indeed.

In months with low sales we expect to see the "average" sale price bouncing up and down quite a bit. This October was no different when it shot up to $350,000 from the September 2010 average of $314,000.  Earlier in 2010 we had a 5 month period when the average sale price for a single family house was in the vicinity of $360,000.  This October's average sale price is pretty similar to that of a year ago when the average was $348,000.  My take is that the average of $350,000 this October is closer to where the market is actually reflecting a decline in price from the spring but not a collapse.  While encouraging it really suggests that valuation of any particular house or property requires the market analysis skills of a local real estate professional. 

The inventory level of single family houses for sale has dropped off only slightly down to 973 from 987 a month before and that is to be expected this time of year.

MONTHSalesAverage Sale PriceDays on MarketActive Listings
Oct  2010 106$350,00060973
Sept 2010 105$314,00066987
Oct  2009 131$348,00071n/a
Oct  2000  90$147,00080n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Listings: November 1, 2010 - $369,900 (more or less the same as last month).

My impressions "gut feel" of the Chilliwack* real estate market this month was that it has started a recovery but will remain weak until the spring market begins. Good calibre well kept properties do not seem to be having any difficulty in attracting offers. (This could be coloured by the success I had this past month in securing the purchase and sale of a couple of properties - hey, I'm human.) Prices tend to be "sticky" on the downside of a market but expect to see some real bargains in the months ahead.

 
STRATA HOMES

MONTHSalesAverage Sale PriceDays on MarketActive Listings
Oct   2010 50$214,00074531
Sept  2010 32$213,00075550
Oct   2009 78$207,00059n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Listings: November 1, 2010 - $219,000

Townhouses and apartments make up the bulk of Chilliwack's* strata market and in October there were 50 sales up from 32 the month before.  A ten year average number of sales is 59 so while still under performing this market is operating at 85% strength.  Not good but not bad.  This decade has seen 4 poorer "October" strata sale performances in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2008 and as mentioned an average "October" strata market should see nearly 59 sales in the month. The average sale price rose from a dismal August average of $199,000 to a more respectable $213,000 in September and held steady in October at $214,000.

Strata owners thinking of selling in a market like this are wise to maximize their exposure through the expertise and resources that a professional real estate agent offers.  I am available. The good news for Buyers is that there are plenty of units for sale in fact there are on this date 531 strata properties one could chose from in this Buyer's market.  Mortgage rates are very attractive.

*The analysis above is based on my interpretation of information provided through the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board and does not include private sales. The term "Chilliwack" is used quite loosely to refer to an area serviced by the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board which includes communities such as Chilliwack, Sardis, Cultus Lake, Yarrow, Rosedale, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Mills. Hope, Yale and Boston Bar. The Fraser Valley West embraces the entire Fraser Valley Real Estate Board area from Abbotsford west to Delta.

Steve Mullock RI,
is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cheam Lake Wetlands - Pictures of the Week


Cheam Lake Wetlands© Stephen Mullock
 Not only cars honk I found out this past week.

A unique corner, in the Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area, to take a walk and contemplate the wonderful diversity of life is at the Cheam Lake Wetlands. Suitable for all ages this 93ha park offers a number of raised platforms for viewing and a relatively level trail system that is about 2 km in length.

The Cheam Lake wetland is located close to Exit 135 off Highway No. 1.  This park was created in 1990 and is a birder's paradise, to date, 184 different types of bird species have been reported. This past week I took the opportunity to observe the changing fall conditions in the park. A chorus of honking from large flocks of Canadian Geese echoed throughout the marshy wetland much to my delight.
 
Here are some of the images that I liked that day.


Fall Reflected © Stephen Mullock

Red Leaf Fire © Stephen Mullock

Imagine living here.
 
 
Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Yale, British Columbia | Gold, Alchemy and Yale Today

 

It is hard to imagine that the sleepy little town of Yale, British Columbia I visited this morning was once known as "the wickedest little settlement in British Columbia" "a veritable Sodom and Gomorrah" of vice and violence and lawlessness".

Located on the banks of the Fraser River 175 km east of the Port of Vancouver the community of Yale hugs the north bank in an attempt to maximize the sunlight allowed into the canyon it resides.  Morning light comes late in October and the picture above shows low cloud still lingering in the mountain shadow.

Yale B.C., has a deep history with First Nation people and attracted early settlers as a fur trading post. Fort Yale was as far as a boat could navigate up the Fraser River; providing you had a capable captain and good water. From here adventurers took the Caribou Wagon Road which extended into the province's interior another 380 miles all the way to Barkerville. A bit of a transportation "hub" that one was forced to go through.


"Gold fever" struck the area in 1858 and the fur post was quickly converted into a boomtown with no less than 14 saloons as tens of thousands of surged into the area with "gold fever" (and it would seem a great thirst).

Sadly, the Aboriginal people were pushed aside in haste to find gold. Rape, whiskey and even armed conflict between a regiment of the American militia and the First Nation people stains this period of time.

Attracting the wrong sort of American made Governor James Douglas decide that it was necessary to ensure that the "New Caledonia" territory was not annexed by this rush of American fortune hunters and in 1858 the Colony of British Columbia was quickly proclaimed. Alchemy of a political nature brought about by the pressures emanating from Yale British Columbia.  Very soon after a second major transfiguration the creation of a land reserves for the colony's First Nation people. 

Today, not much remains of Yale's heyday the dockside services have been removed and the former commercial core of the town was torn down when the Canadian Pacific Railway was built.  The Anglican Church of St. John the Divine is quite lovely and on a good day, such as I had, Yale is very picturesque. So pack a lunch, wander down to the river's edge, and imagine the pivotal role this town had in shaping British Columbia's history.

St. John the Divine, Yale B.C.


St. John the Divine, Yale B.C.


Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Picture of the Week - Aerial Ballet


Aerial Ballet © Stephen Mullock
Sunday, I rounded the corner on my way to Chilliwack and found an aerial ballet of clouds and light in full procession off the shoulder of Hopyard Mountain.  Imagine living here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lending Money to Family for a House Purchase


A lot of families want to financially help a daughter, son, or grandchild with their first house purchase in beautiful Fraser Cheam* area British Columbia, Canada.  How to best go about helping them build equity in their "nest egg" is up to each family but I heard an interesting suggestion a week ago and thought that I would pass it on.

Building a Nest Egg © Stephen Mullock

This solution involved the family loaning monies, say $100,000 interest free (or could be at a low rate of interest) in the form of a registered on title second mortgage with the same term as the first mortgage.  In the event of the first mortgage being renegotiated the second was to come due and take on an interest rate of 8 percent.  This bump up to 8% does a couple of things, first, there is a disincentive by those borrowing the money to take additional equity out the property by increasing the first mortgage amount and secondly it may make them want pay off the second mortgage sooner particularly, assuming they can afford it, if first mortgage rates remain below the 8 percent stipulated in the second mortgage.

What sort of savings would such a situation offer a young couple?  With a 25 year amortization and a zero percent rate of interest they would pay back the second loan $333.33 a month.  At the end of 5 years they would have built $20,000 of equity into their property.  If they were to finance the $100,000 on a 5 year term, 25 year amortization at say 4% their payment would be $526.02 a month.  They would see a reduction in principal of $12,896 after 5 years and they would still owe $87,053.  In summary the benefits are a monthly reduction of close to $200 a month ($12,000 over 5 years) and over a five year period an equity gain of $7,000 not too bad.  Those loaning the money eventually get it back not foreseeing any disaster.

Now everyone's situation is different so it is important that strength of the loan is considered against the people involved, the employment background and the particular real estate investment being purchased.  A professional real estate agent should be able to give guidance in these matters.

If your family has a better solution I would like to hear about it, please send me a message.

* The Fraser Cheam area is found in the eastern section of the Fraser Valley about 100 Km from the Port of Vancouver and includes the communities of Agassiz/Kent, Chilliwack, Cultus Lake, Kent, Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Mills, Hope, Rosedale, Popkum and Yarrow.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Empress Hotel Chilliwack - Final Days


The Empress Hotel built in 1908 just off "Five Corners" in the heart of the City of Chilliwack is no more than a pile of rubble now.  The property purchased by the City of Chilliwack in July this year awaits redevelopment.

Ian Meissner © Empress Hotel Final Days
The panoramic pictures above show the before and after views of the Empress Hotel, Young Road block in Chilliwack.  These photographs were taken by Ian Meissner a well known photographer and Realtor with Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty.  For video footage of the demolition click here after a brief ad the destruction begins.

It is a little ironic perhaps that in 1965 Victoria's Empress Hotel (circa 1904-1908) was threatened with demolition and new high rise hotel was slanted to replace the Francis Rattenbury masterpiece. A massive public outcry turned the tide and the Hotel was saved, restored, refurbished and remains a crown attraction on Victoria's inner harbour.

In Chilliwack the little country namesake Empress went, not with an outcry, but, with a boom.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Picture of the Week - Simon Fraser University Woodward's


SFU Woodwards © Stephen Mullock
This week I had the privilege to attending the Gaining Ground 2010 Ecological  The Power of Green Cities to Shape the Future and the plenary sessions were held at the newly opened Simon Fraser University Woodwards Wong Theatre.  I took this picture during a break and liked the composition.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Picture of the Week - Autumn Leaf


There has been a notable change in the weather and daily our deciduous forests are being transformed in their waltz into winter's slumber. In other words it is Fall.

 

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Real Estate Review and Analysis - Chilliwack October 1, 2010


My review and analysis looks at two areas of the Chilliwack* residential real estate market that of single family detached houses and strata homes (apartments, townhouses, duplexes) for the month of September 2010.

SINGLE FAMILY HOUSES
H1003488 - $259,900
I decided a while back that comparing one month's Chilliwack* real estate activity to the previous month was somewhat suspect as there is a seasonal pattern to sales even in the Fraser Valley.  Usually we see home buying in Chilliwack* peak in the May to July months and then sales will wane a little to a low in December or January.  To get a better measure of performance I elected instead to develop a 10 year average for that specific month.  So for example the statistics for September 2010 get compared to an average for the 10 Septembers previous (2000-2009).  I thought this would tell me if a month was over or under performing.

The average number of single family house sales in the Chilliwack* September real estate market using a 10 year average is 134 unfortunately September 2010 under performed with only 105 sales.  The Chilliwack* real estate market continues to struggle despite very attractive financing.  Only yesterday I had a young couple qualified for a mortgage with a 5 year term at a rate of 3.5%!  This is Buyer's market territory that we are in and while the median list price has not changed a whole lot, in fact it when up this month, the average sale price remains low at $314,000 for September 2010.  This is a dramatic change from the $360,000 average sale price we were seeing in a 5 month period between February to June 2010 period making it a much better time to make a first time purchase particularly when financing rates are considered.

The inventory of houses for sale has dropped off slightly down from 1029 at the beginning of September to 987 but much of this is seasonal as well.

Sellers are advised to keep in contact with their real estate representatives to adjust pricing as required. 


MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings  
Sept 2010  99 $314,000 66 987
Aug 2010 99 $294,000 67 1029
Sept 2009 124 $345,000 72 n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Listings: October 1, 2010 - $369,000



STRATA HOMES




MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Sep 2010 32 $213,000 75 550
Aug 2010 45 $199,000 77 552
Sep 2009 65 $218,000 80 n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: Aug 1, 2010 - $224,900

Townhouses and apartments make up the bulk of Chilliwack's* strata market and in September there were 32 sales.  This decade has seen 2 poorer "September" strata sale performances in 2000 and 2001 but an average "September" strata market should see nearly 60 sales in the month.  The average sale price rose from a dismal August average of $199,000 to a more respectable $213,000.  Last September the average strata Chilliwack* sale price was a slightly higher $218,000.  The good news for Buyers is that there are plenty of units for sale in fact there are on this date 550 strata properties one could chose from in this Buyer's market

*The analysis above is based on my interpretation of information provided through the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board and does not include private sales.  The term "Chilliwack" is used quite loosely to refer to an area serviced by the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board which includes communities such as Chilliwack, Sardis, Cultus Lake, Yarrow, Rosedale, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Mills. Hope, Yale and Boston Bar.  The Fraser Valley West embraces the entire Fraser Valley Real Estate Board area from Abbotsford west to Delta

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Emily Mullock Children's Book - SFU Woodwards


 A day trip to Vancouver is a relatively easy journey from the eastern Fraser Valley especially if you are carpooling with friends as my wife and I did this Sunday. Vancouver's "Word on the Street" was underway at the beautiful Vancouver Public Library and our daughter Emily was on hand to sign her new children book "Go Away Unicorn".  Do you believe in unicorns?  Well neither did Alice until one showed up at her birthday party. This is the third book Emily has illustrated and the first she has written.  It is a gem and can be found at Amazon books.


We also took in a public open house at the new SFU Woodward's Visual Arts centre and enjoyed our introduction to this "State of the Art" :) facility.  Oh, to be twenty again...




Imagine living in a lush valley where real estate prices are still affordable and cities like Vancouver are readily at hand - that is Chilliwack Fraser Cheam living.

All pictures © Stephen Mullock 2010.


Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Picture of the Week - Upon a Foggy Morn


Several times in the past couple of weeks I have awaken to a world blanketed in a deep fog as was the case this morning.  I hope this photograph captures this essence a world a little wild on the edges a country road disappearing into a profound silence.


Upon a Foggy Morn ©
The Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area is full of daily beauty imagine living here.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Agassiz Fall Fair 2010


Agassiz Fall Fair Midway © 2010
The Agassiz Fall Fair is an important day on the calendars of the local Fraser Cheam people. Sure the midway opens the night before but the real excitement is on the Saturday. Maybe it is because so many people have a hand in it as a volunteer.  This Fair has been going strong since 1901 and has always required the assistance of an army of helpers.  If you do find yourself "duty-free", well, strolling around and catching up with neighbours and friends seems to be the order the day. The fair grounds are full of 4-H shows, lumberjack exhibitions, tractor pulls, midway fun, crafts but my favourite event comes from the madcap men and women of lawnmower racing. I guess people were born to test the limits of just about everything even a ride-on lawnmower.




Sure there are spills as the drivers push these ride-on lawnmowers to their limits.  It makes for some exciting viewing. Techniques vary between drivers not all are successful.






Every weekend there seems to be something wonderful happening in the Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area. Imagine living in a community like this.

All pictures © Stephen Mullock 2010 All Rights Reserved

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Picture of the Week - Fraser River Island Foggy Morning


Fraser River Island Foggy Morning ©

Fraser River Island in Half Light ©

Yesterday was a fog filled morning common this time of year and I was heading to Chilliwack when I noticed that along the Fraser River the sun had momentarily broken through the fog banks and was lighting the river in a most exceptional way.  It was quite a show.  I had to race about a bit to get these pictures in a quickly shifting light environment.  I hope that you like them. The Mount Cheam summit can be seen in the first picture.  A dreamy glow seems to come from the half light on the island in the second photograph.  The Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area is one of incredible beauty; can you imagine living here all the time?

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Picture of the Week - "chuck's service" and "long light"


"chuck's service" © Stephen Mullock 2010
This week I found this old Ford tow truck with "CHUCK'S SERVICE" painted on its' side tucked into the back corner of a 1.77 acre parcel, I am just listing for sale at $295,000.  With blackberry bushes growing through it and nature doing its best to reduce it back to a pile of rust I was fascinated by this reminder of days gone by.

As you can see the great design lines, of Ford trucks of this era, are very much evident and if this one could talk, I am sure, it would caution us that it was always "Chuck's Service" and never "Chuck Service".

"long light" © Stephen Mullock 2010
I've had this image called "long light" as my screen saver for a week and rather enjoy it. It was taken from the Annis Road area of Chilliwack looking west over our rich Fraser Valley farmland. What a place to live!

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Real Estate Review and Analysis - Chilliwack September 1, 2010


SINGLE FAMILY HOUSES



The Chilliwack real estate market for a second straight month proved to be an under-performer with only 99 sales of single family houses recorded for the month of August 2010.  To put that into perceptive with other August months this past decade to reach an "average" sales target we would have expected around 150 sales. Sales numbers as you can see were off by a third. 

The average sale price of a single family house dropped pretty dramatically in August from prices achieved earlier this year and from those of a year ago.  The average sale price of the single family house that sold in August 2010 was less than three hundred thousand.  The last time the Chilliwack* area had an average less than $300,000 was in December 2006.  Is this a sign that a mystical housing bubble has broken?  My conversations with other real estate agents indicate that some erosion in price has occurred but significantly less than the 14% drop suggested between the July 2010 and August 2010 averages. All the same, Sellers are advised to keep in contact with their real estate representatives to adjust pricing as required. 

MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings 
Aug 2010  99 $294,000 67 1029
July 2010 100 $341,000 61 1078
Aug 2009 145 $350,000 71 n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Listings: Aug 1, 2010 - $359,000



STRATA HOMES



MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Aug 2010 45 $199,000 77 555
July 2010 44 $228,000 79 552
Aug 2009 66 $210,000 82 n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: Aug 1, 2010 - $229,900


Townhouses and apartments make up the bulk of the strata market and they also had a second poor monthly showing in August registering only 45 sales for the month.  This decade has seen 3 poorer "August" strata sale performances but an average "August" strata market should see nearly 60 sales in a month.  The average sale price dropped to $199,000 following a curious jump up in value in July to $228,000 perhaps due to a small statistical sample size.


*The analysis above is based on my interpretation of information provided through the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board and does not include private sales.  The term "Chilliwack" is used quite loosely to refer to an area serviced by the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board which includes communities such as Chilliwack, Sardis, Cultus Lake, Yarrow, Rosedale, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Harrison Mills. Hope, Yale and Boston Bar.  The Fraser Valley West embraces the entire Fraser Valley Real Estate Board area from Abbotsford west to Delta

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This Old Heritage House 101


Hochalaga

One of the most gratifying things I see as a Realtor(TM) is when a old residence is purchased and transformed back into something glorious.  It's then I think "the right buyers bought this property". Such a property is the home of Greg and Lorna Mills.  This week I took a trip there to see what they had done to the old place they bought in June 2000 and to learn what lessons they might be willing to share.

Back in 1909, this two-storey house was built for the newly married Evan and Alice Probert.  Evan was helping run the nearby Bella Vista Hotel in Agassiz and Alice was teaching in the Harrison Mills, Agassiz and Rosedale communities.  An upper middle class dwelling just a little shy of 2100 square feet over two finished floors with a basement beneath it provided a comfortable home reminiscent of the Montreal and Victoria communities they had grown up in.  They would call the house "Hochalaga" a word meaning "Montreal" in the language of the Mohawk.  A stained glass window above the main entry area with this word "Hochalaga" still greets visitors to its doorstep.

Hochalaga 1909
Successive generations of Proberts would live here until 2000 trying to modernize the structure.  The house would be lifted onto a new foundation at some point, low maintenance vinyl siding would be installed, the upper balcony on the front of the house would be eliminated and the front veranda enclosed.  Still this was a house with many problems: aging heating, electrical and plumbing systems, no insulation and an ancient kitchen and mildewy bathroom.  A lot of work.  Back in 2000 I wrote this ad "Built in 1909 to celebrate a new marriage and move to Agassiz, this house is called "Hochalaga". This fine lady features 9' ceilings, original door casings, 8" baseboards, a pantry. Looking for someone to restore her".  Happily Greg and Lorna Mills responded were they wanting to be renovators?

Hochalaga 2000

When I asked Greg and Lorna why they purchased this house.  Their response was "it was the only house we could afford". You have to love their honesty.

Problems began for the Mills almost immediately the plumbing froze and then flooded the main floor from the bathroom above.  When the front porch foundation was inspected carpenter ants were discovered busy at work.  Infestations of flies dive bombed the place.  The lack of insulation meant you cooked in summer and fought drafts all winter. 

The first order of business for the Mills was to fix the plumbing and get an operational bathroom. Next the carpenter ants were dealt with. To do this the vinyl siding was removed, and, much to the delight of the new owners, the original wood shingles were revealed to be in good shape just needed a paint job.  Since that time a new heavy shingle asphalt roof has been installed, the front balcony restored, exterior trim accents added, a modern kitchen installed and room by room the house has been thoughtfully improved.  Here are the stunning results:

Hochalaga 2010

Front Room

Dining Room

Dining Room Interior positioned fireplace


Kitchen




Upstairs Bedroom

Upper Floor Bathroom

Upper Floor Bedroom

You may be wondering about the caption for this post "This Old Heritage House 101" well as it turned out the dwelling is 101 years of age and looking good for the next century.

A follow up article will talk about the lessons learned by Greg and Lorna Mills and perhaps they will help you with your old house.  It will also feature before and after pictures.

All pictures except original photograph of dwelling (cc) copyright Stephen Mullock.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent with 29 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) for experience, local knowledge, friendly service that is usually on time; you’ll be happy you did.