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.