Monday, April 26, 2010

BCREA pushes house affordability

It is good to see the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) supporting some of the views that I have put forward in this blog of mine primarily being the issue of home affordability.  With the highest home ownership costs in the country our province's ability to attract the skilled labour and professionals is threatened, and, the current Property Transfer Tax (PTT) regulations and the looming HST will only serve to worsen what is already a bad situation.

BCREA offers some very practical suggestions not just complaints, one, I have put forward in the past that some form of regional program in this province be implemented to help those communities still feeling the bite and sting of struggling local economies.  One size fits all macro policies have their time and place but right now this province needs a more delicate hand in our different regions.  Have a look by clicking this link BCREA Encourages Housing Affordability and let's hope the province listens.

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not Subscribe to be notified of the next one? 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.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Picture of the Week - Lights, Camera, Action!

Chilliwack, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs are familiar locations for movies and TV series. Through the years this eastern part of the valley as served as site locations for movies such as X-Men 2, Rambo "First Blood", Stakeout, The Pledge, Partition, In the Name of the King A Dungeon Siege Tale, The Last Mimzy, White Chicks and television series such as Eureka, Smallville and host of others.  This week I stumbled upon some filming underway in Agassiz a "movie of the week" set in Alaska with a tentative name of "Ice Quake".  It just surprised me to see Christmas decorations up on Pioneer Avenue with tulips in full bloom across the street.  You just never know what you will find in the eastern Fraser Valley - what an interesting place to live!




If you enjoyed reading this article, why not Subscribe to be notified of the next one? 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.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Quiz: What Kind of Chilliwack Homeowner Are You?

If you had to put your Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs home on the market tomorrow, how ready would it be for showing? It is estimated that Canadians move every 7 years on average, so whether you're preparing to sell or happily staying put, it's important to keep in mind what you'll need to do when the time comes:



1) After finishing your dinner do you? :
a. Leave everything on the table and return later to clean up. You've got better things to do!
b. Take dishes off the table and put away leftovers. The dishes you piled in the sink can wait until your favourite TV program is over.
c. Clean the table, put leftovers in the fridge and wash the dishes. You want to be free to enjoy your evening.

2) Your home office has a desk that is:
a. Covered with papers and random objects. You can never seem to find important documents when you need them.
b. Somewhat organized with enough free space to do work. It may look slightly messy, but you know exactly where everything is.
c. Extremely clean and organized. Librarians would admire the efficiency of your filing system.

3) In your household you have:
a. An indoor pet who seems to shed non-stop and a smoker who often smokes indoors.
b. One of the above.
c. None of the above.

4) How do you accessorize your home?
a. With mementos, souvenirs and family photos. You like being surrounded by lots of memories.
b. With eclectic artifacts and antique items. Your style is uniquely you.
c. With few decorative or personal items. Less is definitely more.

5) Which best describes your home?
a. You haven't had the time to decorate or organize. In fact, you're using the guestroom for storage.
b. The main areas are decorated, furnished and organized, but you haven't had the chance to do the same in the basement or guestroom yet.
c. Each room is properly furnished and decorated. You are currently planning your next renovation.

Mostly As
Your home may need a deep cleaning and de-cluttering to prepare it for sale. Pack unnecessary items away, making sure counters and tables are free of appliances and personal items. If pets or smokers reside in your home, have the carpets, draperies and upholstery professionally cleaned to rid the house of undesirable odours.

Mostly Bs
There are a few easy steps you can take to make your home more appealing. Clean your home from top to bottom, paying special attention to kitchens and bathrooms. Organize closets and storage areas. Brighten and lighten your home with a fresh coat of neutral coloured paint and fix any minor repairs that you've been neglecting.

Mostly Cs
Your home is in top shape and will only benefit from a little added flair to bring in that sale. Place fresh flowers on the mantle and set the dining room table for a formal dinner. If it's a cool day, light a fire in the fireplace. Look at your home through the buyers' eyes and create an atmosphere that will help them envision themselves living there.

Before any work begins, I would be happy to help you see your Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Spring home through the objective eyes of a prospective buyer. Making the right impression is critical. It will help you sell your home more quickly and at a better price. Please contact me and let me put my expertise to work for you.

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not Subscribe to be notified of the next one? 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.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Picture of the Week - The Waiting Chair

The Waiting Chair

These chairs wait for whom? I was attracted to the light that sense of an age gone by the rich wood floors and of course the white chair by the window, all I needed as a ghost to stand behind it.

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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.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

B.C. Fraser Valley Home Values and Property Tax Analysis: 2010

My sister-in-law, asked me a good question the other day that I didn’t have an answer for, “where are property taxes the cheapest in the Fraser Valley”? Now, I am not suggesting that the first criteria of a house hunting trip should be the property tax situation but there are soon going to be record number of seniors as the boomers enter retirement, and, with fixed incomes and small pensions financial consideration such as property taxes will become more important. This post will help people in or approaching retirement as it shows the real costs of home ownership and the tax burden for all Fraser Valley communities.

The problem was that I really did not have any ideas of how to solve this question without devoting a lot of time and resources to it - so I created an approach. You can judge if you think it works.

Looking at a set period from April 9, 2009 to April 9, 2010 and the residential detached single family sales the median sale was located for each area and the gross taxes of that sale examined. Only in one case was this process not followed and that was when the median sale turned out to be a partially assessed newly constructed home; then the next closest fully assesses property was selected.

I have ranked them in groups from the cheapest to the most expensive.

This reveals a lot about the cost of taxes in these Fraser Valley communities.  The chart may help those planning for retirement as the median sale price for this past year is indicated - relocation may be a very viable option. It does need to be mentioned that the handling of public utilities such as sewer may add an additional annual charge. I only hope my sister-in-law will like this work and feel that her question has been answered.


Property Taxes and Median Values 
April 9, 2009 to April 9, 2010


$1,500 to $2,000
AREASalesMedian Sale PriceGross Taxes
Agassiz63$309,000$1,823
Chilliwack City442$303,500$1,932


$2,001 to $2,500
AREASalesMedian Sale PriceGross Taxes
Hope99$245,000$2,357

$2,501 to $3,000
AREASalesMedian Sale PriceGross Taxes
North Delta588$474,000$2,540
Coquitlam1381$616,750$2,567
Surrey2321$490,000$2,637
Mission799$395,000$2,816
North Surrey1048$450,000$2,878
Sardis592$368,750$2,889
Cloverdale983$505,000$2,979

$3,001 to $3,500
AREASalesMedian Sale PriceGross Taxes
Richmond2026$748,000$3,039
Port Coquitlam563$515,000$3,194
Harrison Hot Springs26$359,000$3,230
Maple Ridge1277$450,000$3,394
Tsawwassen323$594,000$3,405
Ladner269$575,000$3,489

$3,501 to $4,000
AREASalesMedian Sale PriceGross Taxes
Pitt Meadows197$472,000$3,586
White Rock1366$715,000$3,619
Vancouver East2137$675,000$3,681
Abbotsford1463$424,000$3,668
Burnaby East219$612,000$3,750
Langley1781$532,000$3,810

$4,000 to $5,000
AREASalesMedian Sale PriceGross Taxes
Burnaby North589$726,200$4,060
Burnaby South547$718,000$4,260
Whistler84$820,000$4,521
Port Moody294$767,000$4,593

Over $5,001
AREASalesMedian Sale PriceGross Taxes
West Vancouver772$1,228,000$5,223
North Vancouver1195$834,000$5,307
Vancouver West2078$1,580,000$6,973

The analysis is based on my sole interpretation of multiple listing information gleaned from the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board and does not take into account private sales. It is up to you to decide on the validity of these results and if necessary seek further information.

Copyright April 15,2010 Stephen Mullock RI

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Picture of the Week - Tulip Time



It's Tulip Time in the Fraser Cheam area and there are a number of growers, which allow for a small admission, people to take a stroll amongst the flowers. They are open on the weekends.

My favourite spot is located on Seabird Island about 4 km east of Agassiz along the Haag Highway. Turn left on Chowat road just past the service station.

View Larger Map

These are some of the pictures that I have taken this and last year, I hope you enjoy them or come out and take a few of your own.  The fields opened for admission this weekend.




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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.


Fraser Valley Real Estate Trends 2010

 Cameron Muir, Neil Jennings, Brad Currie and Stephen Mullock

One task of a real estate agent is to keep informed so that you can capably advise your clients, and, predictions about the future value of real estate in the Fraser Valley is always a hot topic of discussion.

Fortunately, the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia (REIBC) provides some great sessions and on Tuesday I caught one entitled "Fraser Valley Real Estate Exposed" featuring Cameron Muir, the chief economist of the British Columbia Real Estate Association  (BCREA), and Neil Jennings a commercial/industrial appraiser with the BC Assessment.

Brad Currie RI introduced the guest speakers with Neil Jennings heading off the program, some highlights include:
1.  That there is pressure from large capital pools that have been sitting on the sidelines since the 2008 meltdown and they are starting to make large purchases again.
2.  Parts of the USA have experienced an oversupply of retail space and now some of these large box stores are empty and becoming known as "ghost boxes".  Apparently, the previous occupants leave them empty rather than welcoming a competitor into the area.
3.  Chilliwack has seen a number of important recent purchases that will add further retail to that existing or underway in the 700,000 square feet at the Eagles Landing.  I had to wonder if we might see our own "ghost boxes" appearing before too long in Chilliwack.

 Cameron Muir offered a number of observations:
1.  First, that "domestic demand", the stuff we buy, only affects our Canadian Economic Output by 8 percent. Larger impacts come from the USA economy 46%, Financial Markets 33% and Oil Prices at 8%; the cost of oil affecting our overall cost of production.  The big US economy is seen with a little more optimism but is still a long way from a return of the consumer confidence needed to bolster the economies of either country.
2. BC exports have bottomed out and are going up particularly since US inventories have been reduced to low levels in recent years.
3. BC is quite competitive with respect to personal taxes and that the HST tax will reduce corporate taxes making BC a more attractive place to set up shop. The cost of labour and housing however are more expensive despite very low minimum wages.
4. He anticipates that the prime rate, which will affect mortgages, to climb 75 -100 bases points by the year end and return to 5% in the next five years.
5. For the Chilliwack real estate market Cameron Muir expects moderate sales with very little upward pressure on prices reminding us that house prices are function of incomes - expected to erode with the HST, and interest rates - expected to rise.

Looking for real estate professional always look for the RI or RI(BC) behind the name it means that they taken extensive education and training to reach a professional member standing.  These professionals are active in all real estate vocations and can be found at the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia. This year the Institute is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. Happy Anniversary!


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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.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Picture of the Week - 15 days later


I came upon this old Prairie Central Road, Chilliwack farm house on March 18th 2010 and my attention was immediately taken by a couple of things  First, the three eagles in the tree to the rear and then the house itself. Unusual for the Chilliwack this residence was built of a fairly ornate blocks with an attractive Ionic column supporting the front porch. In an area where wood frame farm houses are the rule considerable expense was paid to have these blocks shipped into the area and then transported to this site. Perhaps, the farmer and wife were then content that a "proper" house and home was theirs to enjoy.

It wasn't so long ago that this house was occupied but telltale signs of abandonment were evident, broken windows hastily boarded up and chalk drawings on the front. Neglect everywhere, abused but still proudly standing, seemingly, as solid as the day it was built.


Fifteen days later ... obliteration.

 
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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.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Real Estate Analysis and Review - Chilliwack March 2010

A review and analysis of the Chilliwack single family detached real estate housing market showed 136 sales in March 2010 a nice improvement when compared to the 116 sales in February the month before. In contrast to the paltry 108 transaction in March 2009 the market looks even better but looks can be deceiving, digging a little deeper we find that the ten year average number of sales for the month of March is 159 a 15% improvement over the March 2010 numbers. Still this market is gaining strength and the average sales price is strengthening up $6,000 over the February 2010 average. View this “BALANCED” real estate market with some cautious optimism as it is about to face a number of obstacles in the form of a HST tax and a re-jigging of Federal lending requirements.

Chilliwack Single Family Detached Housing - March 2010

Month/Year           Sales     Average Price    Days     Active Listings
March 2010            136        $366,000             51          928
February 2010        117        $360,000             57          753
March 2009            108        $335,000             64          n/a

With respect to the Fraser Valley market (Abbotsford to Delta) the average sale price on 886 purchases of single family houses for March 2010 was $561,000 a difference of $195,000 from the Chilliwack average.

To put it into a mortgage equivalent, another $1,230 a month would be needed to purchase the average priced house there at a 5.85% interest rate based on a 25 year amortized mortgage. Go Chilliwack!

Thinking of relocating your business perhaps the Chilliwack - Agassiz area should be shortlisted.

Chilliwack Strata Housing (apartments, townhouses) - March 2010

Month/Day       Sales     Average Sale Price     Days    Active Listings
March 2010        67         $221,000                     73         514
February 2010    60         $226,000                     48         474
March 2009        66         $223,000                    100        n/a

The Chilliwack Strata housing market has seen only a moderate increase in activity this past month with prices sagging a little perhaps as a result. Somewhat surprisingly, the 10 year average number of sales for the month of March is only 73 so the 67 sales recorded last month are not far off. This market remains firmly in BUYER market territory with a sale to listing ratio of 13.6%. If interested in purchasing find a real estate agent with local knowledge and strata experience – these purchases tend to be a bit more complicated and needing professional oversight.

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.