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.