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.