Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rockwell Bay, Harrison Hot Springs, B.C. Winter


Great choice and variety in housing is what the Chilliwack, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs area offers but for exclusive look to water edge of Harrison Lake.

Harrison Lake is a beautiful glacier fed lake some 77 km in length.  Tucked into the Coast Mountains it offers evergreen wilderness and the quaint charm of the Village of Harrison Hot Springs at its southerly end.  Harrison Lake turns a pretty turquoise colour this time of year thanks to mineral deposits that come with the glacier fed runoff.  A magnet in summer for adventurers looking to leave the city, Vancouver is only 2 hours away; there are many quiet months in between. This is how it looks in February.

Rockwell Bay Estates, Harrison Lake © Stephen Mullock

The picture above shows a snowy Rockwell Bay Estates a small community of 40 properties located on the east side of the lake. Prices in Rockwell Bay Estates, Harrison Lake, range tremendously depending on view, lake access and fore-shore rights. To have a look at what is available currently in Harrison Hot Springs click here .  More and more exciting listings are expected in the coming months if there is anything you would like to inquire about, please contact me, I live quite close to this area.

These are a few snaps from my walk beside Harrison Lake, I hope that you enjoy them.










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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, February 24, 2011

Port Mann Bridge Tolls and Unexpected Consequences


No Toll Port Mann © Stephen Mullock
Anyone living in the Fraser Valley has driven over the Port Mann Bridge, spanning the Fraser River and giving access to the Greater Metro Vancouver area, hundreds if not thousands of times, Trucks, Buses, Cars, Motorcycles, vehicles of all sizes, shapes and colours commuting for pleasure, family and commerce.  The Port Mann built in 1964 is the most important and busiest bridge in British Columbia.

The new Port Mann at a price tag of $2.46 billion is expected to open in 2012 replacing the orange arches of the existing bridge which is to be torn down.  It will be a marvel of engineering and will charge a toll to cross.

Lately, I have been wondering about unexpected consequences, take the Non-toll Sea to Sky highway linking Vancouver to the ski resort of Whistler for instance.  One day last spring, post Olympics, on a planning retreat in Whistler I fell into a conversation with a taxi driver. In a friendly fashion I asked the driver how business was.  He answered "terrible, the new Sea to Sky highway is so good, more and more people simply drive back home after the day saving restaurant, hotel and taxi expenses - an unexpected consequence indeed.

What will change with a new Port Mann toll bridge in place?

My theory is that, not all, but a significant percentage of people will start to look for local Fraser Valley alternatives to the splendors of Vancouver, pulling revenue out of that centre and strengthening Fraser Valley communities.  This could be very good for Fraser Valley businesses.  A better business environment means more employment and that provides the groundwork for real estate demand.  

Better yet, we can only hope that the "all roads lead to Vancouver" mentality will finally be broken and that Valley communities will start to develop linkages between themselves.  How about a transit system linking Langley and Surrey?

I am not suggesting that all Port Mann bridge traffic is about to stop, but, there is going to be resistance to the proposed toll bridge scenario.  Whether you think this will be good or bad may depend upon which side of the bridge you are on.  What do you think?

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, February 17, 2011

Isa and Doug Taylor - The Gift


Yesterday, I was given a painting from the estate of Isa and Douglas Taylor; two exceptional people that were an important part of the fabric of Agassiz and who will always be sadly missed.

The oil painting shows a very active Slesse creek in the rugged wildness that forms part of the Chilliwack River Valley.  A tall evergreen, located in the mid-ground, stands bravely next to a torrent of water rushing by against a backdrop of our Cascade Mountains.

Sleese Creek ©

Isa and Doug Taylor brought an artistic sensitivity to the small town of Agassiz and when I was called to sell their property of 50 years in 2010 I wasn't surprised to find it full of Isa Taylor paintings.  Nor was I shocked to find a home with artistic sensibilities in a majestic grove of trees.  I tried to capture these with my camera in homage to Isa and Doug. They are still some of my favourite pictures click here to have a look.

Isa painted, for all the right reasons, to please her family and to quell a creative drive somewhere deep inside her.

Like that tree in the painting above Isa and Doug were easy to pick out in a crowd, as, they would have friends swirling around them while they radiated an air of elegance, beauty and calm...evergreens.

I am very grateful to the Isa and Doug Taylor family for this painting and the opportunity I had to represent them as a 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, February 15, 2011

Chilliwack, BC from the Air


Chilliwack from the Air © Stephen Mullock

When I flew back to Chilliwack, at the end of January 2011, the fields were still wet but, the skies were clear giving me chance to take a couple of pictures.  This one shows Chilliwack in the foreground and the massive Mount Baker along the horizon. The bright spot on the right hand side is Cultus Lake.  There are other aerial views (Agassiz, Chilliwack) at an earlier article of mine (click here).

Slowly, the Chilliwack area is starting to see the first signs of an approaching spring with snowdrop flowers blooming and some of early buds beginning to stick their heads out.  The Chilliwack real estate market is also coming awake and activity in listing and sale activity is growing.  My impression is that people are a lot more positive about the economy than they were in 2010.  The past two weeks, have been busy ones, with me giving advice on staging and pricing for the upcoming selling season.

I have added a new tab "Photos" at the top for my photography gallery I hope that you will enjoy them. My plan is to add pictures there on a regular basis.




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, February 10, 2011

Picture and Place: February Flight


February Flight © Stephen Mullock
Yesterday was one of those days....  My Chilliwack real estate work found me cruising prospective 2 storey houses in Sardis to show this weekend.  A quick outside view of a property is still better than all the maps and pictures the Internet can throw on a website. I am happy to do this to find the best "fit" for my clients, I can discuss with them what I have found and this saves us from wasting time. This time my trip was unsuccessful but it did give me time to visit friend in hospice care and provide her a copy of my daughter's book Go Away, Unicorn.  I could not help but wonder about the metaphor of finding elusive unicorns and faith.  Check out Emily's blog if you like (click here).

A quick coffee with a buddy of mine and a heated discussion about social media, like this blog (is it was waste of time), completed my spiral into a deep funk.

I was almost home when I noticed some ducks and decided to grab the camera.  Apparently I am lousy at sneaking up on water fowl and they quickly took flight.  The heart shaped tree and the waning light however were enough to lift my mood and restore my appreciation for this place, this time, in which we live.  Imagine.

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, February 8, 2011

Take a Walk in Garrison Crossing, Chilliwack BC


Garrison Crossing is a 153 acre mixed residential real estate development located on the former lands of Canadian Forces Base Chilliwack an address I once called home.  Since 2003, a transformation has been taking place and perhaps more importantly an introduction to Chilliwack of new real estate development ideas that embrace new urbanism principles.  Take a walk in a Work, Play, Live setting of Garrison Crossing. Have a look. 


I have written about the real estate at Garrison Crossing, Chilliwack a number of times here are a couple of my links:

Part One: What makes Garrison Crossing the best residential development in B.C.
Part Two:  Garrison crossing takes a fitness test

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, February 1, 2011

Chilliwack* Real Estate Market Review & Analysis: Feb. 1, 2011

This review and analysis looks at the residential markets in the Chilliwack* British Columbia area for the month of January 2011.  It is divided into two sections: single family houses and strata homes (apartments and townhouses) and is based upon my armchair analysis work.  Use it at your own discretion.

A Rocky Start to the Month of January 2011

Rocky Terrain

The month of January 2011, started out, a little on the rocky side, as speculation had the Federal Government toying with the idea that a further tightening of mortgage lending requirements, might be needed, given record high personal debt levels in the country.  I have to admit, I was alarmed, a similar tightening of Federal mortgage regulations in April 2010 had taken about a 1/3 of the real estate market activity away, all at a time that it was just limping along. A healthy real estate market is needed for the well-being of a local economy and especially for the Chilliwack* economy.

As mentioned in my earlier post it was anticipated that the length of time, or amortization period, of a mortgage would be reduced from 35 years to 25 years increasing the monthly mortgage payment burden.  They did make a change reducing the amortization period to 30 years.  It was also feared that a 10% down payment, up from 5% would be demanded and this would affect Buyers, particularly, first time purchasers. Fortunately this dreaded change did not occur. They have stopped insuring lines of credit such as home equity loans, and HELOCs backed by homes.  Quite frankly, they should never have never been insuring these, lines of credit, in the first place.

As a result after the Federal announcement on January 17th my hope for an efficiently working real estate market in the Chilliwack* - Fraser Cheam area was restored.  Hurray and phew...or is it phew and hurray?

Single Family Homes

Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Housing Sales Report - January 2011
MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
January      2011  68 $331,000 79 774
December 2010  79 $288,000 67 707
January     2010  73 $335,000 86 n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Listings: February 1, 2011 - $369,900

A couple of comments are needed you will notice that the average price has increased from $288,000 in December 2010 to $331,000 in January 2011.  As mentioned last month this was anticipated as many of the purchases in December were made by first time buyers hoping to avoid an increase in mortgage interest rates.  Consequently, more houses in the lower price ranges were purchased than normal and this drove the December price average down.  The average for January 2011 is a more accurate measure of average single family detached value.

As to the "health" of the Chilliwack* real estate market, as shown above, there were 68 sales of single family homes in January, this is about 85% of the normal 10 year sale average, (2001 - 2010), of 80 transactions.  The velocity of the real estate market slowed down from the December pace I would suggest by uncertainty and the lateness of the Federal mortgage lending announcement on January 17th.  That is past us now and I would expect market sale numbers to continue improving.



STRATA HOMES


MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Jan     2011  42 $208,000 76 411
Dec   2010  41 $208,000 88 416
Jan    2010  47 $216,000 68 n/a

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

The Chilliwack real estate market for Strata Homes saw 42 sales in January 2011 compared to a 10 year (2001 - 2010) January average of 42. Right on target. These sale numbers are very similar to those found in December 2010.

Notes:
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.

Copyright February 1, 2011 by Stephen Mullock.

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.