Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Chilliwack* Real Estate Market Analysis and Review: December 2011



This, the first post of the year, looks at the performance of the December 2011 real estate market in the Chilliwack* & District area which extends from Boston Bar to the Vedder Canal west of Chilliwack an area I call "Fraser Cheam" British Columbia, Canada. This analysis will be of interest to homeowners, people considering a purchase in 2012, real estate professionals and the curious.  Every real estate property is unique, and consequently, if you are thinking about acquiring or selling a property in the Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs Fraser Cheam communities I would advise that you get the professional services of a member of the Real Estate Institute of BC (RI or REIBC) or a Realtor®.

Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Housing Sales Report for December 2011

MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Dec 2011 80 $314,500 82 722
Nov 2011 95 $306,000 71 956
Dec 2010 79 $288,000 67 n/a




Median SALE Price of Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Homes (SFD): December 2011 - $314,500

Median LISTING Price of active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Homes: January 3, 2012 - $369,000

2011 Market Strength

Single Family House Monthly Unit Sales as % of a 10-Year Monthly Sales Average

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2011 85% 91% 75% 70% 68% 93% 74% 86% 86% 70% 86% 92%

A couple of comments, the first is that December was a good month for Chilliwack single family detached house sales - with a strength of about  92% of what we would expect sales to be for the month of December.  That is quite encouraging.  I also see that the listings of homes for sale has dropped significantly from 956 to 722 reflecting that many sellers elect to take their property off the Chilliwack real estate market for the holiday season.  Average sale prices have bounced upward once again and are up significantly from the poor showing a year ago.  All in all everything is looking good for 2012.


STRATA HOMES


The sale of strata units (townhouses, apartments) with 39 for the month is also a respectable result; we would expect the ten-year average of 43 for the month of December. Still there is a large inventory of townhouses and apartments and less than 10% of them are selling each month. Sellers should to show some flexibility in their negotiations.

Chilliwack* Strata Housing Sales Report for November 2011


MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Dec 2011 39 $215,000 100 445
Nov 2011 39 $193,000 63 566
Dec 2010 41 $218,500 88 n/a

Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Strata Homes: December 2011 - $214,000

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: October 1, 2011 - $206,500


Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time Realtor® with 30 years of experience and a professional member of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Holidays



And shall I ask at the day's end once more
What beauty is....
 
Edward Thomas (1878 - 1917)

 Imagine living here...


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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Almost Dawn...


Almost Dawn © Stephen Mullock

Wisps of fog cling to the frosty farm fields as dawn approaches in a sky of pinks and blues.  Another December day is about to begin in the beautiful Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area.   

In the distance, we see Mount McGuire and Mount Sleese raising their heads in readiness for the sun.


Imagine living here....


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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Chilliwack* Real Estate Market Analysis and Review: December 2, 2011



This post looks at the performance of the November 2011 real estate market in the Chilliwack* & District area which extends from Boston Bar to the Vedder Canal west of Chilliwack an area I call "Fraser Cheam". This analysis will be of interest to homeowners, buyers and sellers of real estate, but, readers are advised for reviews of specific real estate properties the services of a real estate professional member of the REIBC or a Realtor® (Royal LePage in Chilliwack) should always be used.

Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Housing Sales Report for November 2011

MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Nov 2011  95 $306,000 71  956
Oct  2011  95 $357,000 87 1014
Nov 2010 109 $341,000 84 n/a




Median SALE Price of Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Homes (SFD): November 2011 - $300,000

Median LISTING Price of active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Homes: December 2, 2011 - $374,500

2011 Market Strength

Single Family House Monthly Unit Sales as % of a 10-Year Monthly Sales Average

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sept Oct Nov
2011 85% 91% 75% 70% 68% 93% 74% 86% 86% 70% 86%

The number of sales remained unchanged at 95 from a month ago and that is a positive sign, as in general, the number of sales drop off, just a little, during the late fall and winter markets.  If we look at November sales of single family detached homes (SFD) for the decade prior to this one we see monthly sale totals as low as 38 in 2008 (financial meltdown) and as high as 160 in 2005.  On average, over this ten-year period there were 111 single family home sales in the month of November.  So for November 2011 we are at about 86% (95 divided by 111) of what could be considered as a normal Chilliwack* single family attached real estate market. Not bad but a market still having a large upside for improvement.

There are 10 sales of single family homes per 100 houses listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service.  The number of listings is dropping as would be expected for this time of year, down from 1014 to 956 currently.

You will notice that the average house price seems to have taken a steep dive downward from an average of $357,000 in October 2011 to $306,000 and I would caution reading too much into these numbers.  With a smaller number of sales average prices tend to bounce around more than if a larger number of sales were being analyzed.  Do I think that prices have softened -yes- but not too the scale these numbers suggest.  If you would like to find out the value of your property I would suggest, once again, the use of a 
real estate professional member of the REIBC or a Realtor® (Royal LePage in Chilliwack). The best way to evaluate a single family home is compare it to recent sales and listings of similar dwellings in the neighbourhood a process that requires local knowledge, experience and a lot of skill.

There are as of this date good selections of single family homes for sale in the Chilliwack area - in fact there are 956 of them.  The low interest rates, the fine selection of homes and motivated sellers make this an excellent time for a purchase of Chilliwack real estate.

STRATA HOMES


The sale of strata units (townhouses, apartments) with 39 for the month is low; we would expect the ten-year average of 55 for the month of November. Only 7 strata homes are selling each month for every 100 units on the market.

Chilliwack* Strata Housing Sales Report for November 2011


MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Nov 2011 39 $193,000 63 566
Oct 2011 64 $204,000 66 566
Nov 2010 39 $201,000 77 n/a

Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Strata Homes: November 2011 - $202,500

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: October 1, 2011 - $209,900


FOR SALE: Abbotsford Custom 2 Storey House - $529,000 (click image for details)

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) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty (Chilliwack) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service.




Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winter Garden Suggestions for Chilliwack Fraser Cheam



I was wondering yesterday if it was possible to create a winter garden equally as fabulous as beautiful summer scenery we all love here in the Chilliwack Fraser Cheam.  With a rich fertile soil base and a longer growing season this area is a rarity in the tough Canadian environment.  We do have seasons though and after the brilliance of our Fall colours, as shown in a recent post, we are left with a lot of overcast days, rain, and snow before Spring begins the cycle of plant regeneration once again.

Too many a garden is a representation of their piece of paradise a place to appreciate the seasons as they unfold but what about winter? Is it possible to transform that barren winter landscape into a place to enjoy? 
  
I visited a couple of Chilliwack’s major nurseries, Minter Country Gardens and the Little Mountain Greenhouses to find the answers.

Poinsettias, Little Mountain Greenhouse

It turns out; there sadly are not a lot of creative solutions to be found at either business. It seems that most people in the Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area come November are pretty happy to put their gardens “to bed” for the winter and concentrate on the holiday interior of their homes.  As I walked down row upon row of poinsettias it also became apparent as to what the most popular flower of purchase is.   

Did you know that they have locally hand-painted poinsettias in a wide range of designer colours: sea foam, grand mariner, Erotica (complete with peacock feathers), Merlot, and purple haze to name a few (Little Mountain Greenhouses)?

Discouraged I decided to create a list of my own, because once December is over there is still January, February and March before we see any significant rebirth of the plant world again.  I also hope that if you have a suggestion that you will add it to this post so that it can be shared.  


Winter Lighting:  It is always a sad day at our house when it seems too late after Christmas to leave outside Christmas lights turned on.  The lights hanging from our house’s soffits get removed and put away until the next December.  It is a dark time of the year and exterior lights add some needed cheer so wrap a tree in LED mini lights or plant some yard lights, they will provide a soft glow in the snow.

Sit Outdoors:  Now the best way to sit outside is in a heated hot tub and let the snow come down.  Hot tubs are great places to relax and there are several stores in Chilliwack that specialize in this product.  A couple of these stores are J. Adams and Sons and Granville Spas. The J. Adams and Sons store provides free spa water analysis which is a real help with hot tub maintenance.

Another possible way to enjoy the outside is with an outdoor patio heater and a chair that is significantly protected from the elements.  The heater will keep you warm and comfortable and provide a nice lighting in the evening.  Grab a cup of tea or hot chocolate on the way out.

Perhaps a fire pit is permitted in your neighbourhood – I’m thinking hot rum toddy in tow but if you insist on marshmallows okay. 

Kale for Colour © Stephen Mullock
Adding Colour:  There are a number of plants like Kale and trees like the Holly, Fir and Cypress that seem peculiarly suited to the winter season and if your yard permits a planting or two accented with lighting will transform a routine backyard into something magical. 

For people in apartments and townhouses small planters can provide a creative outlet for design using bare branches, evergreen boughs and berried limbs.

Taking time to enjoy your winter garden is good for you and keeps you acquainted with the seasons of the natural world. Be sure to carry a camera, you will be surprised at the variety of birds that migrate through this area taking a brief break in your Chilliwack winter wonderland. Snow has a way of making everything look magical so don’t miss out on the special experience of being out and about in your own winter wonderland.

Imagine living here...

Comments:
Sue Williams: bird feeders can also add something nice to a garden...especially when they all come round to feed..if the feeder is close to a window u can take photos without disturbing the birds...a fb friend of mine does this with squirrels...she gets amazing squirrel shots :)

Real Estate Winter Tip
Real Estate in the Chilliwack Fraser Cheam area, is shown more and more after the work day is over and in darkness this time of year, due to our shorter winter daylight.  Accenting your home with lighting to enhance its curb appeal during this season will help your property standout from the other competition.  Always make sure that your interior lights are on and complementary to the room. 


Are you a Langley/Surrey Investor or Developer?

For Sale: 4.785 acre Future Development Site in Clayton West, Surrey NCP - Phase 1 area. Excellent property, key location with 331' of frontage. Call me for more details.
  • Address 18638 74th Ave. Surrey
  • Multiple Listing F1126964 (click)
  • Price $4,200,000

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) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November Skies



There are times in November when it just rains and rains and the last few days have been that way.  I guess that is why it is so green here.  As a result, when the sun breaks through, even for a few moments, it feels like magic. It was near sunset yesterday when the sun, like a jewel, illuminated this Fraser Cheam setting.  Please click on the image to make it larger.

Imagine living here...


Are you a Langley/Surrey Investor or Developer?

For Sale: 4.785 acre Future Development Site in Clayton West, Surrey NCP - Phase 1 area. Excellent property, key location with 331' of frontage. Call me for more details.
  • Address 18638 74th Ave. Surrey
  • Multiple Listing F1126964 (click)
  • Price $4,200,000
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) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty (Chilliwack) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fall Colour - Agassiz B.C.



All pictures © Stephen Mullock
Towering Beech, Elm and Oak trees are the leaf holdouts today when three of these photographs were taken. Pioneer Park, Agassiz is quite unique in respect to providing a public place with giant sized trees; it is very nice to take a walk under their canopy.

Picture two, is of the Norwegian Maple I planted 21 years ago specifically for its fall colour.

Picture three shows Mount Cheam from alongside the Fraser River a gentle sweep of clouds and the moon rises above this beautiful part of the Fraser Valley.


Imagine living here....

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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

CMHC 17th Annual Housing Outlook Review


The health of the BC real estate market is of vital importance to buyers and sellers and, a barometer, of sorts, on the economic health of the province.  The Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) every year presents hard numbers, graphs and charts galore in an endeavour to make sense of both what has transpired and what is about to unfold. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending CMHC's 17th Annual Housing Outlook in downtown Vancouver, BC.

© Stephen Mullock
The morning, before the coffee break, has two major presenters Carol Frketich, Regional Economist CMHC and Robyn Adamache, Senior Market Analyst CMHC.  Carol's job is to present the Provincial Outlook and Robyn is left with boiling down the market to look specifically at the Metro Vancouver area.

There is a problem of course, with this approach, the Provincial Outlook is so heavily weighted by Vancouver real estate sales it winds up looking like not much more than a watered down Vancouver outlook of not much assistance.

Perhaps, it would be better to have a Beyond Vancouver (+90 kilometres) Outlook to get better sense of what is happening in that 95% of BC existing beyond the bright lights and bike lanes of Vancouver.

The Vancouver Housing Market 2011 - 2012

It is very clear that the Vancouver market, fuelled by a world class reputation and an onslaught of Asian investors, is moving in isolation from the remainder of the province.  Did you know that there are more Chinese millionaires than there are Canadians?  The good news is these Asian investors are long term holders of real estate and so are quite unlike the speculators of the run-up of Vancouver values prior to the financial meltdown in 2008.   They are looking for properties of good design close to universities, quality schools and transit corridors.  Stories, or urban legends, abound about Mainland Chinese investors arriving by airplane and over the weekend purchasing a half dozen properties valued in excess of 6 million dollars each.  It is reported that 74% of luxury housing is being purchased by Chinese buyers driving values in this niche market upward.

The average housing price in Greater Vancouver is expected to be worth 17% more in value by the end of this year!  This Greater Vancouver housing price average have been driven largely by sale prices of single family homes, up  26% ,from a previous peak in 2008 prior to the meltdown, townhouses by 12% and apartments only 1%.  The crazy part is that no one there seemed worried about sustainability for local families.

Bidding wars are common occurrences in the Vancouver market and CMHC has developed a new index that is comprised of sales in excess of listing price - one figure I heard yesterday was as high as 36% in the west side of Vancouver.  Wow.  Are these properties grossly under-priced or is this a marketing strategy?

Many Bright Spots for 2012
  • 2012 - A Balanced market will result in provincial average prices growing by 2%
  • 2012 - A 9% increase in provincial home sales
  • 2012 - New housing unit sales will grow moderately from 16,000 in 2011 to 17,000
  • Interest rates are expected to remain stable, one year posted rates in the 3.4 - 3.8% range and 5 year posted rates to be 5.2 - 5.7%
  • Employment gains mainly centred in Vancouver in 2011 will spread throughout the province
  • More full time jobs will be created

What does this mean?

My take away from the Vancouver Housing Outlook is that 2012 will be slightly better than 2011 with more employment being created in the province.  It is worth noting that the unemployment rate fell from 8.2% at this time in 2010 to 7.3% currently.  I will not try to paint the Beyond Vancouver Market in 2012 as anything but a market that continue to require a lot of work, time and expertise to achieve a sale. In contrast, areas from Langley to Vancouver will continue to see happy days although maybe not as sunny as in 2011.

It also means that it is a great time to cash out of Vancouver and head into the Fraser Valley.  According to BCREA the average housing price, year end, in Greater Vancouver is expected to be $782,000 while the Chilliwack average is only $297,000!  Move out into the nearby, beautiful Fraser Valley and put some money in the bank.

Imagine living here...

Forecasting Resources : a must read -  BCREA Housing Forecast November 2011
                                                        - CMHC depth and analysis

For any specific BC real estate property questions you might have it is recommended that you consult with a professional member of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia or a Realtor®. 


  
Are you a Langley/Surrey Investor or Developer?

For Sale: 4.785 acre Future Development Site in Clayton West, Surrey NCP - Phase 1 areaExcellent property, key location with 331' of frontage. Call me for more details.
  • Address 18638 74th Ave. Surrey
  • Multiple Listing F1126964 (click)
  • Price $4,200,000
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) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077, for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chilliwack Farmland Sun Ray Magic


Beam of Light © Stephen Mullock
For a moment, this dark weekend past, the clouds parted and a beam of light reached down to the Chilliwack soil - magic in a fleeting moment.

Imagine living here....

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) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty (Chilliwack) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

BCREA 2011 - 4th Quarter Housing Forecast & the 100 mile Real Estate appetite



The hundred kilometer appetite for real estate around Vancouver once again dominates sales and potentially skews thinking about the health of the British Columbian real estate market. 

I always read with interest the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) housing forecasts and was delighted yesterday to receive the fourth quarter housing forecast just released on November 8, 2011.  Cameron Muir, Chief Economist and his team do a great job and I appreciate the depth of analysis but worry that public policy might be developed solely on the basis of these figures without regard for the vast area that lies further than 100 kilometers from the Vancouver downtown core.

According to the BCREA forecast, provincial average BC housing prices will rise by 11.8% to $505,178 by year end 2011 and unit sales increase 3.2% over 2010 totals to 77,000.  No doubt, television broadcasters will soon once again be painting a glowing picture of the BC housing market - but once you leave that 100 km area around Vancouver what does the remainder of this vast province look like?  I was curious, as I am a Chilliwack Fraser Cheam Realtor© working primarily in the eastern Fraser Valley outside of the 100 km radius, I decided to boil down the same numbers given by BCREA but excluded the Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley real estate board areas from the calculations.

You may wonder what that leaves. Well there are 11 member real estate boards in the province the remaining 9 boards are Victoria, Vancouver Island, Chilliwack and District, Powell River Sunshine Coast, Kamloops and District, Okanagan Mainline, South Okanagan/Northern Lights, Kootenay and BC Northern. An area of about 874,000 square kilometers or to put it more simply, 95% of the province.

After the number crunching was over I found that the average sale price drops from the provincial average of $505,178 to $344,482.  In other words, average housing prices are almost a third cheaper in areas outside the 100 km Vancouver real estate area.  Will the "outside the 100 km real estate area" enjoy the 11.8% average house price increase projected for the entire province?  No. The projections once the Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board areas are again removed are that average home prices in the remainder of the province fall from the 2010 average of $350,657 to a projected year end average of  $344,482;  a drop of 1.7%.  Sale unit numbers for this area beyond 100 km also drop by 3% from 29,519 in 2010 to 28,870 projected for the end of 2011.

Quite a contrast from the rosy provincial picture when Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Real Estate Boards are included and something that policy makers need to be aware of. 

If you are wondering what impact the current market is having on the value of your British Columbia real estate property I would suggest that you contact either a professional member of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia or a local Realtor®.

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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Taking Flight - Golden Moments Above the Clouds

My family and I took a much needed holiday two weeks ago, and I packed my camera onto the airplane. Why?  One to avoid any rough handling by baggage people and, secondly, you never know what will come in handy as a Realtor® in Chilliwack the and Fraser Cheam area.  Unfortunately, it was an overcast October morning, but as we climbed, for a few moments, a sky of yellow, orange, sienna, red and gold materialized against a backdrop of majestic purple mountains.  Beautiful.... 

Mount Cheam Above The Clouds © Stephen Mullock
Mount Baker Molten Morning © Stephen Mullock
Imagine living here....

Stephen Mullock RIis 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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chilliwack* Real Estate Market Analysis and Review: November 2, 2011



Every month I have a look at the relative strength of the Chilliwack* residential real estate market using data from the Multiple Listing Services of the Chilliwack & District and Fraser Valley real estate boards.  This approach is quite different from the normal reporting that focuses mainly on sale prices are they up or down.  While sale prices are important, my experience suggests that sellers of real estate are equally concerned about whether they will be able to sell at all, hence, the strength of the market is vital.

This post looks at the performance of October 2011 in the Chilliwack & District area which extends from Boston Bar to the Vedder Canal west of Chilliwack an area I call Fraser Cheam.  The analysis will be of interest to buyers and sellers of real estate, but, readers are advised for reviews of specific properties the services of a real estate professional member of the REIBC or a Realtor® should be used.

My credentials are fairly simple, over 30 years real estate experience in the local Chilliwack-Fraser Cheam real estate market and a sense of humour.

Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Housing Sales Report for October 2011

MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Oct  2011  95 $357,000 87 1014
Sept 2011 116 $333,000 77 1078
Oct  2010 109 $350,000 60 n/a

Median SALE Price of Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Homes: October 2011 - $342,000

Median LISTING Price of active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Homes: November 2, 2011 - $369,900

I have been feeling great of late about the market, and, it seems in the last few days I have noticed more and more "Sold" stickers on real estate property for sale signs, however, the October numbers tell another story.  In the Chilliwack single family detached housing market there were only 95 sales in the 31 days of October.  In the decade before 2011 only one "October" was worse; that was 2008 at the height or depths of the financial meltdown.  As shown below market strength has slipped from a respectable showing in September of 86% to a not so delightful 70%.

Average sale prices of single family houses crept upward but there is a fair amount of volatility around such numbers and a single month's average do not tell the tale.  The successful negotiations that I was involved in this past month required sellers to be very flexible on their list prices, and, with the current list to sale ratio of only 9 houses selling in a 100 that situation is expected to continue.

2011 Market Strength

Single Family House Monthly Unit Sales as % of a 10-Year Monthly Sales Average

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sept Oct
2011 85% 91% 75% 70% 68% 93% 74% 86% 86% 70%


STRATA HOMES



The sale of strata units (townhouses, apartments) with 64 for the month was a great improvement over a sluggish strata market in September with its poor showing of 40 sales.  Still only 11 strata homes are selling each month for every 100 units on the market.





Chilliwack* Strata Housing Sales Report for October 2011


MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Oct  2011 64 $204,000 66 566
Sept 2011 40 $223,000 61 591
Oct  2010 54 $214,000 74 n/a

Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Strata Homes: October 2011 - $194,000

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: October 1, 2011 - $214,900


Using a Realtor® or professional member of the REIBC with local knowledge and experience is the best way to navigate through these difficult times.



 NEW LISTING - DEVELOPERS TAKE NOTE

Just listed a 4.785 acre parcel in the West Clayton area of Langley (Surrey) British Columbia for the price of $4,200,000.  This parcel is in Phase One of a development process currently underway by the City of Surrey. The property is located at 18638 74th Ave. Langley.  Appointments are required to view please give me a call if you are interested.


Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time Realtor® with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sale.  He is a professional member of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia (REIBC). Stephen, works out of the Chilliwack office of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, 604-792-0077.  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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.


Friday, October 28, 2011

A Chilliwack Ghost Story - Part Two


Let Me Rest for a Spell © Stephen Mullock

 A Chilliwack Ghost Story - Part One begins with a bang or shall I say a hammering that will not stop.  

Please read Part One, first before proceeding further with this article.


It is 1951, and the knocking continues night and day like a jackhammer pounding on the exterior of 150 Brooks Ave. Chilliwack, undermining the health of its occupants, a middle aged woman called Anna Duryba, and, her 14 year old niece Kathleen.

A deputy sheriff is posted in the house at night hoping to find the prankster. Spot lights are brought in and a series of experts. The banging continues, sometimes 30 times a night and as close as six feet away.  Rev. Clarke suggests that perhaps a poltergeist is present and the niece Kathleen is sent away to Vancouver.  For three weeks the house is quiet.

Below is the story as it unfolded in the local newspaper, The Chilliwack Progress.  It shows a family and community struggling to come to grips with what appears to be the supernatural.


December 12, 1951     The Chilliwack Progress

First indication of the approach of the "ghost" came Monday night when a small dog in the basement started to bark" said Mr. Duryba.

Alec Duryba, the brother of Anna, had been staying at the house since the banging on the exterior walls had begun in October.  Kathleen, it seems, had returned from her sojourn in Vancouver. "I went outside with my gun but there was nothing there," Alec said. "I told my niece it was just rain dripping on the leaves that the dog had heard.  Then a few minutes after we heard the banging.  It went on for an hour on the east wall and on the south wall."


January 2, 1952      The Chilliwack Progress

A kitchen window, protected by a metal screen, is broken from the outside. "A creamy stain remained on the shattered glass" said Alec.  The screened window is repaired to be broken again Saturday afternoon. The dining room window was smashed on Monday.

 "The window- hammering went on in daylight while members of the Duryba Family stood watching, unable to discover the source of the hammering."

"I think that I'll have to go to the doctor again. Every time I hear that hammering I just go all to pieces. My nerves are all gone," Anna tearfully says.


January 12, 1952      The Chilliwack Progress

Water diviner, Peter Hiebert suggested that the "ghost" consists no more than an unfortunate combination of hardpan, quicksand and air under the home of Anna Duryba.  The quicksand lies under the hardpan and a "vein" of water snakes through the quicksand directly under the Duryba home close to all four walls.  Above the quicksand is a thick layer of hardpan upon which the house has been built. "A combination of drought last summer, cleaning out of the nearby Semiault creek and a new drainage ditch has lowered the water table.  When the water flowed out of the quicksand, it left low pressure pockets.  Air rushes into these pockets causing the hammering which shakes the home and breaks the windows." "It will stop again", he said, "with the spring rains".

February 13, 1952      The Chilliwack Progress

After a two week quiet spell the Duryba ghost started pounding again Friday putting to an end speculation that the hammering would stop when the water table rose once again. - you see, the Duryba basement is flooded at the time.

A new theory from Alec Duryba is that some malicious prankster has a hidding place on the north side of the residence as all sound since the snow had fallen had come from that side of the home. He suggests that as soon as the snow melts, and, no footprints can be left, the banging on all sides of the dwelling would resume.  They do.


March 5, 1952     The Chilliwack Progress

This is the final reporting of this story in The Chilliwack Progress. The article reads:


Discovery of various metal objects, held together with wire, in flowerbeds beside the home of Anna Duryba, has raised speculation as to whether the "Duryba ghost" is the work of a mechanically minded prankster.

Pounding on the outer walls of the home have been heard since early last fall without explanation.

During the past two weeks, six objects have been dug up in flowerbeds around the house by Alex Duryba, uncle of the owner, who lives next door at 150 Brooks avenue.

Police, however, state they know of no way in which the objects could cause the pounding.

Found have been a small wrench with wire wrapped around it, a valve and wire, and nails wired together in an unusual manner.  Several of the objects have had lengths of copper wire attached to them.

Discovery was originally made by Mayor T.T. McCammon, for whom Miss Duryba formerly worked.  He noticed the copper wire projecting above the ground while visiting the Durybas.


Mr. Duryba says that as each of the objects was discovered and removed, the hammering stopped at that section of the house.


Some ghost stories just fade away - as did this one, thankfully, for Anna and Kathleen.  I wish that I could write a Hollywood ending to these events one that would including them finding an ancient burial site and putting to rest a troubled soul. This story however is real and not Hollywood and so a lot of questions are unanswered.  I leave it for yourself to decide.

Were these metal objects the source of torment?  If so, how could they be without a power source? Do curses work?  Was the haunting the result of a poltergeist?  A ghost?  What was the material found on the broken window, could it be ghost ectoplasm?  Was it just a poor foundation?  I can tell you after 30 years of selling real estate in the Chilliwack area I have never heard of foundation problems that sounded  like this one.  A clever and malicious prankster?  Some individual determined to drive Anna Duryba and Kathleen from their home so that it could be purchased at a bargain price?

I did look in the telephone directory to see if anyone with the family name of Duryba still lived in the area but there were no entries.  The house is long since been removed and a church built on the site - home to the holy spirit. 

If you were living in the area at the time and have some information to add, please send me a message.

Imagine living here....


HAPPY HALLOWEEN



Chilliwack Halloween Joke 1951 - 1952



Knock, Knock
Who's There
  
Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock, Knock


Sources:  All quotes may be found in the articles of The Chilliwack Progress as dated above in the article.








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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Chilliwack Ghost Story - Part One



The "Thing" began its incessant pounding on the exterior walls of 150 Brooks Ave. Chilliwack in October 1951. It was so strong that it shook the building. Inside this home lived Anna Duryba, who formerly worked doing domestic jobs around the town, and her 14 year old niece, Kathleen.  The niece had moved to Chilliwack in May from Saskatchewan to be her aunt's companion.  They were convinced that someone was playing a prank on them.  They did not believe in ghosts.

A quick check around the home found nothing that would explain the banging.

The pounding continued, sometimes with the ferocity of a jackhammer boom - boom - boom for as long as an hour at a time.  Day and night the violent knocking kept them from getting a good rest.

Five weeks later Anna Duryba had lost 20 pounds and women were suffering from a mental strain, few can imagine, that was when the local Chilliwack Progress newspaper got hold of the story.

A bit about the property, this wasn't some sort of Gothic mansion or chilly castle rather it was almost the opposite. The property was a small little house with four rooms and a simple asphalt shingle siding exterior.  It stood on 4 acres of carefully tended raspberry canes and was close to another Brook's Ave. home owned by Anna's brother Alec Duryba.

November 25, 1951, The Chilliwack Progress

Alec tells of one eerie experience: "We heard it banging one night and I ran outside.  I ran outside and looked around and couldn't see anything. I turned around and just then I felt sort of a wind go by me but I could not see anything."

Other times Alec and his niece would try and catch their tormentor in the act.  "We run outside when we hear it." he said.  "Nothing there.  Then we hear it on the other side of the house and we run around there - nothing there either.  Sometimes we go in opposite directions around the house but we never see anything."

Kathleen adds "I heard him once and ran to the window. I yelled "Go ahead, do it again, you silly fool." Right away I heard it again - bang - bang - bang - right under the window.  I was standing right there and see there was no one there."

Alec adopted a tougher strategy "One time I fired my shotgun twice into the raspberries." "I thought that might scare him away but right after that I heard it again". "I was standing there right in front of the window and I could hear it and the window rattling, what was I suppose to do - shoot the gun into the window?".

Day and night the pounding continued, spot lights were installed, the house was surrounded by neighbours but as always nothing was seen. Possible culprits such as an electrical problem or something wired into the service of the dwelling were tested by shutting off the power - but the knocking continued.

In a search for an explanation, Anna seemed to remember a man dropping by and asking her how much she wanted for the place. "We told him it wasn't for sale but he said he wanted to buy a little place and he liked this. He came back another time when I wasn't home."  Reader please always use a Realtor®.

November 28, 1951, The Chilliwack Progress

Reverend W. J. T. Clarke, pastor of St. Thomas Anglican Church suggested that the strange happening at 150 Brooks Ave. Chilliwack might be the work of a poltergeist. "Strange noises and objects moving through the air - in this case stones* - are the most common. Usually, there is little damage done and there is no apparent logical reason for it all." Rev. Clarke said.  He went on "The inexplicable occurrences are usually associated with one person. When that person leaves the scene, the happenings usually stop."

A deputy sheriff, Al Edwards became the special investigator of this case and was posted every night in the house.  He said, "No explanation has so far been made as to how the noises in the home are caused.  These bangings have occurred as many as 30 times in a single night and have been heard by people standing within six feet of the spot.  The bangings, violent enough to shake windows visibly, move rapidly about the outer walls of the house".

A host of natural causes were considered including, radio station, aircraft beam transmissions and possible subterranean effects from minerals and the nearby mountains without success. Hundreds of spectators began to turn up on the street and the driveway to 150 Brooks Ave. Chilliwack was blocked off.

Kathleen, was taken to Vancouver both for her health and to test this notion that the work of a poltergeist was the cause of the strange knocking, window tapping and window breaking.  For three weeks the Thing was quiet.

Check back by October 28th for the conclusion of the Chilliwack haunting.

Notes
       *  All members of the family had by this time  been struck by small stones.

Sources:
  • The Chilliwack Progress November 25, 1951
  • The Chilliwack Progress November 28, 1951

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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mount Cheam's Peak View


As mentioned in a previous post living in the Chilliwack* area comes with the added bonus of incredible natural beauty right at hand.  There is always something interesting to see or visit.  A week ago, I took a hike to the top of Mount Cheam, the most revered mountain in the eastern Fraser Valley but unfortunately my camera ran out of battery power.  I was able to take some shots from the top with the camera of a generous fellow hiker.  It was a remarkably clear day and some hikers said that they could see the ocean.

This is the view from the top of Mount Cheam at 2,112 m (6,929 feet) looking westward over Agassiz and Chilliwack. You can see Harrison Lake to the right, the muddy Fraser River the town of Agassiz through the centre and Chilliwack and the Cheam ridge to the left.  Please click on the picture to make it larger.

Mount Cheam View © Stephen Mullock
Mount Cheam I have recently learned from a reading of "Sepass Tales Songs of Y AIL MIHTH" means high. The notes in this book tells how the English ear has turned Mount Tsee-am (meaning high) to Mount Cheam  (pronounced Chee - am).  Many times locally I hear it pronounced She - am.

Of course, hundreds of pictures were taken on this hike - that is the beauty of a digital camera isn't it. That is, so long as it has power.

Here are a selection of some other photographs taken by myself and others, I hope you enjoy them.

Hermann Hikers on the Mount Cheam peak ©
Stag © Helle Hansen  
Mount Baker from Mount Cheam © Stephen Mullock
Stephen Mullock & Lady Peak © Helle Hansen


Imagine living here...

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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chilliwack* Real Estate Market Analysis and Review: October 1, 2011


This post looks at the relative strength of the Chilliwack* residential real estate market in the month of September 2011.  This "armchair analysis" of mine uses data from the Multiple Listing Services of the Chilliwack & District and Fraser Valley real estate boards. Each real estate market is comprised of a number of neighbourhoods and reviews of specific properties should involve the services of a real estate professional member of the REIBC or a Realtor®.

My credentials are fairly simple, over 30 years real estate experience in the Chilliwack real estate market and an active curiosity.

Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Housing Sales Report for September 2011


For Sale: 6432 Wilson Road - New Price

MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Sept 2011 116 $333,000 77 1078
Aug 2011 127 $349,000 78 1128
Sept 2010 104 $313,000 66 n/a

NEW - Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Homes: September 2011 - $331,000

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Listings: October 1, 2011 - $379,900

There are a number of areas I regularly explore and the first is one that answers the question "How is the market".  A few years ago, I realized that seasonal influences impact the Chilliwack* market and so comparing sale numbers with those of a month earlier only told part of the story.  In the present situation we see that September 2011 had 116 single family sales down from 127 in August.  This may seem bad but we expect sales to taper off this time of year.

A better measure is one that compares sales volume with a 10 year average for the month.  Looking at the previous 10 year of Septembers we can derive an average sale volume of 135 for the month of September.  So the September 2011 was operating at about 86% of that average (116/135).

A level of comparative sales volume similar to that in August 2011.

2011 Market Strength

Single Family House Monthly Unit Sales as % of 10-Year Monthly Sales Average

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sept
2011 85% 91% 75% 70% 68% 93% 74% 86% 86%

What's happening with single family house prices?  The market for single family houses in the Chilliwack* area remains in Buyer Market territory with a sales to listing ratio of about 11%.  This applies downward pressure on prices and we see that the average sale price did slip from $349,000 in August 2011 to $333,000 in September 2011.  I would once again caution relying on this information for a specific property as not all types and neighbourhood rise and fall at the same rate.  If you are interested in determining value employ the services of a real estate professional with a local knowledge and expertise.

STRATA HOMES


Chilliwack* Strata Housing Sales Report for September 2011

MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Sept 2011 40 $223,000 61 591
Aug 2011 64 $211,000 86 553
Sept 2010 31 $210,000 70 n/a

NEW - Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Strata Homes: September 2011 - $229,000

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: October 1, 2011 - $215,000

September 2011 was a disappointing month for the sale of strata homes (apartments, townhouses, duplexes) with only 40 sales compared to a 10 year September average of 61. Inventory levels have shot up as a result.

FORECAST

On August 25, 2011 the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2011 third quarter housing forecast which calls for a moderate growth in sales for the coming year, but at a rate still well below activity levels recorded in the previous decade. Page two of the document deserves a closer look as it breaks down the province into the 11 real estate board areas that serve it and their specific results. From this table it is easy to understand that while as a province, home price might be increasing, this is due almost completely to the heated markets in Vancouver and the western Fraser Valley.

This is a great time for those in Vancouver and the western Fraser Valley take advantage of this price arbitrage by selling and then buying in another part of the province - I hear that properties in the eastern Fraser Valley are pretty nice.

Imagine living here....


Featured properties as of October 1, 2011
1645 No. 9 Hwy. Agassiz - $249,900
34856 Marshall Road, Abbotsford - $529,000
6432 Wilson Road, Agassiz - $599,000

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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Mount Cheam BC - Legend and Sin

 Chilliwack* is encircled with a necklace of mountains but none capture the attention and imagination of residents more than Mount Cheam (pronounced locally as "She-am").  This is a landmark that the eye seeks out perhaps because of its pyramid shape or the way light and shadow move across her face. Morning sunlight comes from behind her as the day begins.  I have gazed at her thousands of times each time finding a new expression.  This week, with the Hermann Hiking Group, I went to her summit for only the second time in my life - a great privilege. 

Dog Face (Lady Peak) explained

The previous day an onslaught of rain and wind had blasted the eastern Fraser Valley but when I awoke except for a veil of clouds lightly concealing Cheam from view the skies are remarkably clear.




We muster at stops in Agassiz, Popkum and Sardis with a group of 20 being assigned to the 4x4 vehicles necessary to climb up to the staging area located off the Chilliwack Lake Road; more specifically 27 km from the Vedder bridge.  I am grateful to be placed in Sid's truck both because of his experience driving these rough decommissioned gravel roads and his company.  Along the route Shelley in the back tells us there are 82 dips to cross before we get there and that number 53 is a real bad one.  I start a count and in between the lunging about I reminiscence about the many legends that surround Cheam.


The folklore about Mount Cheam is both beautiful and haunting.  It is the stuff of life and death, transformation and love.  As explained in an earlier post, Mount Cheam, is the wife of Mount Baker and she returned to this place in order to look after both the First Nation people and the Fraser River salmon, fish once essential to their way of life.  Behind her keeping her company is "Lady Peak" but to locals this was always "Dog Face", Mount Cheam's canine companion.

Number 53 lives up to its reputation as the truck grinds over its edge.  We stop a few times to take in the view.  The green hues of the alpine meadows intensify and then recede as light breaks through the clouds. We are almost a mile high.  Magic.

Mount Cheam and Lady Peak,  BC
It is 17.5 km from Chilliwack Lake Road bumping along a gravel road to the top staging area.  Thankfully an outhouse washroom has been built and is properly equipped that is long way to bang about in a truck.

The rain and wind of a day earlier has made the skies crystal clear and a wonderful blue.

I am on the hunt for beauty as we begin our trek.  Beauty it turns out is all around us.


Hermann Hikers and Lady Peak, BC
We pass Spoon Lake which has an interesting impact shape I once thought was the result of a meteor and wrote about it in a post called Cheam and the Great Ice Giant. There is some speculation that Spoon Lake is a kettle lake formed back in the days of the glaciers when a large ball of ice and debris came slamming down from a great height and then melted away leaving the lake.  I look at the embankment it carved away and still think meteor.  Have a look.

Spoon Lake, Cheam Ridge, BC





Back to the hike, the clouds continue to make a quite a show for us on Dog Face and I do my best to capture something awesome in the quickly moving light.


Cloud Play on Lady Peak, BC
I take one more picture of Mount Baker across an alpine meadow and wouldn't you know it my camera runs out of power.  A terrible sin - so sorry.
Mount Baker from Cheam Ridge, BC
The views at the top were captured on another hiker's camera and I will try to get some of these fantastic pictures up soon.  Meanwhile check out the Hermann Hikers Group site.

Living in Chilliwack* comes with the advantage of a having large natural landscape in your backyard.

Imagine living here....

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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The discovery of Hot Springs at Harrison Hot Springs


Harrison Lake BC near Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs was once a marsh full of cranberry bushes and, apparently, never was a habitation site by the First Nation people of the area.  Given today's upscale Village, modern residential subdivisions and lake view apartments that enjoy a location next to both a hot springs and the largest lake in the Lower Mainland it almost seems hard to imagine. The First Nation peoples would have known and believed in the curative effects coming from these strange steaming waters of Harrison Lake. Legend says that white people discovered the hot springs by accident.  Gold prospectors exhausted after a winter of mining fell from their canoe into the lake waters and to certain doom only to discover that they were warm!

There are two hot springs at the south end of Harrison Lake the "Potash" with a temperature of 40° C and the "Sulfur" with a temperature of 65° C.   People from around the world travel here for the curative properties of these mineral rich hot springs.  Of course these waters are cooled to maximize comfort so to ease the aches and stress of bathers.

Over the years I have also heard of a number of natural hot springs up the side of the lake but have never had a chance to see them.

Today, you are welcome to visit the public pool or if staying at the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel enjoy either the two indoor or 3 outdoor pools.  Locals, often take a wander up the west side of the lake to one of the hot springs sources.  I like to think that those gold miners must have splashed into the water close by; I can only imagine the smiles on those weary fortune hunters. That must have been a very good day.

Imagine living here....

To find real estate properties for sale in Harrison Hot Springs just click on the link below.  If you have any questions, contact me, I live close to Harrison Hot Springs.

REALTOR® MLS Residential Listings for Sale

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 and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.