Saturday, January 30, 2010

Picture of the Week - Mount Slesse

Mount Slesse (Fang) by Stephen Mullock

Mount Slesse, is situated in the Cascade Mountains just north of the US-Canada border near Chilliwack B.C.  The Chilliwack area for the most offers only a peakaboo look a Mount Sleese as shown in the picture above.  A better view from the Ryder Lake area is below.

Its name in the Halkomelem language means "fang",a perfectly apt name for a mountain with a notorious history.  

In December of 1956, a Trans Canada Airlines Flight 810, crashed near the peak of the mountain, killing all 62 people aboard. Amongst the dead were CFL team members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders, returning home from an East-West All Star football game.  More about this tragic crash can be found at this excellent site GenDisaters , I recommend having a look.  Fang.


Mount Sleese "Fang" view from Ryder Lake, Chilliwack

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Adult Living in Agassiz



This post answers the question is Agassiz of the District of Kent, British Columbia a good retirement relocation option (?) with a detailed look at the Cypress Park, Maplewood, Elmwood and Woodridge Adult communities within the area.



A bit of background first, the District of Kent has an estimated 2009 population of 5,515 people the majority living within the town site of Agassiz.

With respect to the Agassiz location, it is situated within the Fraser Valley on the north side of the Fraser River about 130 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, 20 kilometres northeast of Chilliwack and 40 kilometres southwest of Hope. This means that day trips to major shopping and other amenities within the Valley and Vancouver are readily accessible. As Agassiz is a small town some driving to services should be anticipated but there is a medical clinic, dentist, credit union, grocery, hardware and drug store etc. available.

To the north the area is bounded by the beautiful Harrison Lake and the Village of Harrison Hot Springs. A 7 minute car trip to the Village provides Agassiz residents with world class vacation dining and dancing or in contrast a place to stroll along the lake into pristine wilderness. It is a real bonus to have such facilities so close at hand.

Kent is partly comprised of rich arable farmland and a number of hills and mountains. Extensive dyking is in place to protect the area the dykes were propelled into construction after a major flood some 60 years ago.

Often overlooked is the Agassiz town site positioning, situated in the middle of farmland it receives good sunlight (except on rainy days) throughout the year, this is in stark contrast to many communities abutting the base of a mountain slopes. It also has the best view in the Valley of the towering, majestic Mount Cheam. It never hurts to have something good to look at.

The other positive feature of Valley floor is that it is relatively level providing easy walking or biking and as the town is fairly compact that means that you can truly walk uptown for a cup of coffee with a friend.

The prices within Agassiz are some of the best within the Fraser Valley meaning that many residents have been able in their retirement to sell their, say Langley home, buy a new or near new retirement house in Agassiz and pocket a couple of hundred thousand dollars in the process.

The average sales price of a single family detached house in Agassiz during the past 6 months was $314,000 as compared to the Langley average sale price of $525,000 for the same period.

Of course, the vast majority of purchases made of these adult retirement homes go to local residents as they like living here.

With respect, to specific age restricted developments, there are 4 adult communities to satisfy nearly ever need. However, there are no adult developments within Agassiz that have a Club house or gated entry.  The lack of these amenities helps keep monthly fees at a very reasonable $65-$75 (grass cutting included). A community senior centre is located off of Morrow Road.


View Larger Map


Cypress Park, 7354 Morrow Road, Agassiz










The Cypress Park complex comprised of 21 freehold bareland strata single family detached houses that range in size from 2 to 3 bedrooms and a square footage of 1330 to 1450 square feet. One of my favourite communities it does have some RV parking but it is limited a current times. No rentals are allowed, pet restrictions apply and a 55+ age requirement is in place. I do have a current listing in this park at this date it is listed for sale at $264,900.


Maplewood Place, 7292 Elm Road, Agassiz












Maplewood Place, Agassiz consists of 72 freehold bareland strata single family detached 2 bedroom houses with a size of 1510 to 1540 square feet on the main floor and having a double garage. There is RV parking. An age requirement of 45+ is in place and there are some restricts concerning pets. At the time of writing there is one property available through my office for $289,500.


Elmwood Place, 7330 Elm Road Agassiz











Elmwood Place, Agassiz is a sister development in many regards to Maplewood Place. There are 58 freehold bareland strata single family detached 2 bedroom houses with sizes that range from 1450 to 1540 square feet on the main floor. There is one exception however that lays outside this range a dwelling with a size of 1152 square feet. Like Maplewood Place all houses are built above a 5’ crawlspace. A 55+ age restriction is in place.


Woodridge Place, 7291 Morrow Road Agassiz









Woodridge Place, Agassiz is the most recent adult retirement development within the community built in 2005 - 2006. It consists of 30 freehold bareland strata single family detached 2 bedroom dwelling built above crawl spaces with some having bonus rooms above. Their size ranges from 1330 to 2010 square feet. Here the age restriction drops to 19+ years.


Summary



Agassiz offers good value comfortable adult community rancher style living in a “walkable” and friendly community. Priced to attract retiring people or those looking to realize some equity from their existing property it is one of the best Valley options.

All property needs to be explained if I can help you in your search for real estate property in this area please contact me for my local expertise.


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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Median Listing Prices Chilliwack and Fraser Valley Real Estate Board Area

Median Listing Prices


Chilliwack Real Estate Median Prices
Month/Day House Inventory 25th Percentile Median 75th Percentile
01/18/2010 634 $279,900 $369,900 $499,000

A new year and a fresh outlook on the market, a question posed by my brother was about median prices and general affordibilty, hence the above table. Plus, the exercise forced me to learn how to make a table using HTML. What the numbers in the above table tell us is that the value of the property right in the middle of the 634 single family detached houses available on the multiple listing service of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board is $369,900 and that 50% of the property asking prices fall between $279,900 and $499,000. These numbers give purchasers and sellers a little better idea about affordability and respective competitiveness.

How does the median price of real estate offerings in Abbotsford to Delta area compare to the Chilliwack real estate area? At present time there is a $195,000 advantage to living in the Chilliwack area compared to the Fraser Valley west of Chilliwack.


Fraser Valley (West of Chilliwack)Real Estate Median Prices
Month/Day House Inventory 25th Percentile Median 75th Percentile
01/18/2010 3413 $439,900 $565,000 $745,000

The analysis above is based on my interpretation of information provided by the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board and does not take into account private sales. The term "Chilliwack" is used here quite loosely to refer to an area serviced by the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board which includes communities such as Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, Yale and Boston Bar. The Fraser Valley West area embraces the entire Fraser Valley Real Estate Board area which extends from Abbotsford to Delta.

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright January 18, 2010 by Stephen Mullock.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Mount Cheam Legend in Audio




Winter Twilight in Chilliwack

I received an interesting email this week from Darren Patrick who put me onto a great online resource concerning my favourite peak Mount Cheam.  To hear an audio story told of the transformation of Mount Cheam just click Mount Cheam.  This telling is similar in some regards to the legend outlined in my previous post but there are significant differences and it provides a much more interesting explanation of the tears of Bridal Falls. Thanks Darren

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Learn More About An Affordable Adult Rancher $264,900

Copyright January 16, 2010 by Stephen Mullock.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Assessments Time - To Appeal or Not, That is the Question



White swans wintering in our area

Last week I received my 2010 Property Assessment Notice from the BC Assessment and read with interest that my property value had dropped by 3.5 percent since it was last assessed as of July 1, 2007. 

You might think that I would be pleased that I might expect a lower tax burden. Not so, tax payer, regardless of whether your assessment values are up or down your tax bill is determined primarily by the mill rate that your "tax authority" the city (Chilliwack) or municipality (District of Kent, Village of Harrison Hot Springs) applies to the assessment figures.  I expect the mill rate to go up so no silver lining is expected to be found here.

You might think that I was disappointed hoping that my property value the "golden egg' was greater than it had previously been.  Well maybe a little but so long as all the residential values rise and fall at the same rate I am okay with that.  The question is did they?  My review of Chilliwack Real Estate Multiple Listing average prices for single family houses in the May to July period of 2007 (the last time the assessment roll was prepared) indicate a selling average of $339,000 compared to $343,000 for the same May to July period in 2009.  Prices up, but, only marginally. How to explain the drop in my assessments?  Two years of depreciation on my house is probably the reason for the decline and that seems reasonable.  Seeing as I am fundamentally opposed to spending more on taxes than is my share overall so far so good.

What is important is ensuring that the Assessment Authority has up to date information on your property.

Several years ago I listed a farm for sale and discovered that the empty house assessed at $100,000 or more was totally uninhabitable.  To make matters worse the elderly lady owner was "land rich" but "cash poor" so paying more taxes than was needed posed an economic hardship. The house had open holes in the roof and several floors were rotten.  For the safety of my client and prospective buyers no access to the house was allowed.  Fortunately, the assessment people were very understanding and within a week had made the necessary adjustments to prevent a nasty tax bill. The house has since been removed but sadly this lady can never recover the excess taxes she paid through the years.

Does the assessment authority have the right information on your property?  The way to check that is to go to http://www.bcassessment.ca/ and click on the "e-valueBC-compare assessments online" tab found on the right hand side of the home page.  You can access your residence information by entering a PIN number that can be found at the top of the BCAssessment property form thay sent to you through the mail.  I checked mine and apparently I have 5 bedrooms and not 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and not 3, plus the square footage of the main floor of the house is 124 square feet larger than it should be. I decided to call the Assessment Authority.  An automatic answering system came up, pressing "0" and I was quickly assigned to an appraiser.  I did receive a response the same day but unfortunately I was out in Chilliwack showing properties to clients.

How do your assessments compare to my neighbours?

I have great respect and confidence in the BC Assessment Authority based in part on my own analysis done in October 2009.  Amazingly the assessment values and the multiple listing sale figures for that month were within 1% of each other.  Does this mean that errors do not get made? No.

If you are concerned that your property assessment value is wrong check out what neighbouring properties have been selling for. This can be done until March 15th, 2010 through the BC Assessment then this information will be withdrawn.  I had a look at the online information provided and was a little disappointed that there were not more house style classes - a 1 storey house could be a rancher over a crawl space, a rancher over a full basement, and a ground level entry full basement house with a main floor above for example. This lack of information makes it hard to compare apples with apples or swans with swans (okay I am shamelessly trying to tie that picture at the top of the post in).  The best idea - take a drive and snap off a few pictures of these properties of your own. This will give you a better idea as to how well your property is valued in comparision to others and whether you should appeal.

The What To Do

Whether you are unhappy with the information surrounding your property or the value as based on sales results in the neighbourhood the first call to make is to the BC Assessment Authority; these numbers can be found on your property assessment notice. If you can not come to an agreement you need to ask yourself  "Is this worth all the time and trouble I would have to go through in an appeal".  If yes, it will be time to talk to a professional or collect enough information of comparable properties to make your own case. Here is a warning - be well prepared the professionals at the BC Assessment Authority will be.

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.



Copyright January 12, 2010 by Stephen Mullock.

Monday, January 4, 2010

DECEMBER 2009 CHILLIWACK HOUSING REPORT

The following report looks at the Multiple Listing sale results within the Fraser Valley, British Columbia for the month of December 2009.  The Fraser Valley is divided into two sections along the lines of the two real estate boards that operate within the area - they are the Chilliwack Real Estate Board (east of the Vedder Canal) and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Boards (west of the Vedder Canal, Abbotsford to Delta).

SINGLE FAMILY DETACHED SALES - December 2009

                                                         Chilliwack                 Fraser Valley

Sales                                                        90                            636

Average Sale Price                                $353,000                  $563,000
Average List Price                                 $359,000                  $584,000
Price Sale to List                                    98%                         96%   

Days on Market                                    71 days                      57 days

Active Listings                                       579                            3027   

Ratio Sale to List                                   14%                           18%


STRATA ATTACHED (apartment, townhouses)

                                                        Chilliwack                   Fraser Valley

Sales                                                50                                439

Average Sale Price                           $227,000                     $276,000
Average List Price                            $232,000                     $283,000
Price Sale to List                              98%                             98%

Average Days on Market                 69                                57

Active Listings                                 333                              1934

Comment:

With respect to single family detached dwellings it is interesting to note that the average sale price in both Chilliwack and the Fraser Valley west area increased in value by 3% over that of November 2009. The Fraser Valley market continues to be hot with 636 sales in the month thumping the 2007 December sale numbers of 486.  Chilliwack had the second best sale numbers since 2006 - not too shabby.

The strata attached market follows very similarly to the single family detached market with respect to market sales without the uptick in average prices, instead, a seasonal cooling of prices is observed.

The analysis above is based on my interpretation of information provided by the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board and does not take into account private sales. The term "Chilliwack" is used here quite loosely to refer to an area serviced by the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board which includes communities such as Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope, Yale and Boston Bar. The Fraser Valley West area embraces the entire Fraser Valley Real Estate Board area which extends from Abbotsford to Delta.




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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright January 4, 2010 by Stephen Mullock.