Monday, June 25, 2012

Beyond the Dykes


The Fraser River is at a 40 year high and so, yesterday, I went in search of photo opportunities of properties outside of the extensive dyke protection that the communities of Chilliwack and Agassiz offer to most residents.  I did not see any buildings that were in trouble but there was plenty of water lying in the fields as shown above, a Great Blue Heron mirrored in the water with some blue mountains and a Red Barn. Please click to enlarge.

More about the historic floods of 1894 and 1948 and the elaborate dyking system that protects our riverside towns and cities.

Imagine living here...

Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist 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, June 21, 2012

Federal Government Revamp Mortgage Lending Regulations

Effective July 9, 2012 new Federal Government measures will serve to restrict the amount of mortgage credit available to borrowers.  These changes are significant and include:

  • The maximum amortization period on most mortgages will be reduced from 30 years to 25 years.  Banks will still be able to offer 30 year amortization periods but a 20% downpayment will be needed.
  • The Gross Debt Service (GDS) and Total Debt Service (TDS) will be reduced to a maximum of 39% and 44% respectively.  Currently, GDS does not apply to qualified borrowers with credit scores over 680.
  • Refinancing has been reduced from an 85% to an 80% loan-to-value maximum.
  • Properties values over $1,000,000 will not be able to get mortgage insurance through CMHC and a 20% downpayment will be required.

What will be the impact in the Chilliwack real estate market?


Ironic Window Message

  • Currently, the average single family house sale price is $340,000.  Reducing the amortization period from 25 to a 30 year period will add a carrying cost of  $179 a month using an interest rate of  3%.  The good news is that thousands of dollars will be saved by the consumers by paying off their mortgage sooner.
  • The Chilliwack real estate market area only has had one sale above $1,000,000 in the last 12 months - no significant impact is expected here.
  • THIS is not the first time that the Federal Government has moved to counter a growing trend of household debt in Canada; which reached a 152% of income in the last quarter of 2011. These sorts of measures seem to take place every time the Chilliwack real estate market seems to be reviving. Last month sales of single family houses were at about 83% of a 10-year monthly average. It will be interesting to see if the very fragile market we have here in Chilliwack in negatively impacted. Last time, February 2011 there was a bit of a strengthening of market for a month with consumers getting in before the changes could take place and then a sudden cooling of the real estate market for the next three months. We'll have to watch what happens after July 9, 2012 when the new regulations take effect. It's difficult to predict the future.

Sources:
  1. Financial Post June 21, 2012
  2. BCREA Economics



Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist 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.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Freedom in Departure

The only certain freedom's in departure.
Robert Frost

This week marked a departure for me and it came complete with a plaque presentation by the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia (REIBC) on Thursday June 14, 2012.   The event was the REIBC recognition dinner held at the Terminal City Club in downtown Vancouver B.C. It marked the end of a "leadership" passage in life for me  with a whole litany of titles, once mine, now held by younger men and women.  The latest was as the REIBC representative at the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia 2006-2012.

You come to these positions of your own accord.  Sometimes with a great deal of soul searching and work, other times you simply stumble into an opportunity.  It was easy for me, in a way; I grew up believing that volunteering is a duty of being a citizen. Still do. I happily started volunteering soon after I had established a career in real estate. Taking a director position at the YM-YWCA in Chilliwack as it was then known and becoming a director of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board.

Thursday, as I walked up towards the podium to receive the plaque I heard Nathan Worbets President of the REIBC read out the many groups that I have been involved with: the YMCA, the Agassiz Library Society, Canvassing for the Heart and Stroke, Director and President of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board, Chapter Director and Chair of the Fraser Valley Chapter of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia, Governor and President of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia, and finally Governor and Chair of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia,  If you have read all this you can understand the torture the audience must have been suffering.  I had my own cross to bear, an odd feeling of inadequacy and a nagging thought that I could/should have accomplished so much more.

Thank goodness, they were not expecting me say anything, a brief shake of the President's hand and a photo-op and I was heading back to my table, plaque in hand. The plaque was a very classy gesture on the part of the REIBC and my grateful thanks go out to this fine organization.

I have greatly enjoyed this "leadership" time period for adding dimension to my life and introducing me to some fascinating people - the best of these in the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia (RI); an organization I would recommend you join if you meet their demanding qualifications.

My friends tell me that it is not the end of my volunteer involvement; I just have this feeling, that's all - I've made my way through the departure gate.  I'm on my way again looking for the answers.


Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist 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.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hayward Lake

Located within a quick driving distance of Chilliwack is the man-made Hayward Lake.  This lake was created in 1929 when the Stave River was damned by the Western Canada Power Company Ltd. to create hydro electric power. The Superintendent of Operations, Mr. Hayward lent his name to the newly formed body of water. Hayward Lake.  BC Hydro now maintains this facility and the trails that surround it in a fine way.

One of the advantages of living in the eastern Fraser Valley is the tremendous access to the wilderness and natural beauty of the province.  The trails around this lake lead to some pretty scenery and a wonderful waterfall brimming with water this time of year.



I took a trip with the Hermann Hiker's this week and captured the wilderness photographs above. Currently, Hayward Lake has been drained for maintenance and a surreal dead forest scene of lines and shadows has emerged from the bottom, trees still standing since 1929.

Hayward Lake's Drowned forest © S Mullock



Imagine living here....

Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist 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.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sasquatch Word Origin

This is the land of the Mighty Fraser River, the Cascade Mountains, Douglas Fir and King Salmon, it is also home to the mysterious Sasquatch. 

Sasquatch©Stephen Mullock
Yes, the word "Sasquatch" originates right here in the eastern Fraser Valley.  A word that has been given to the world to become part of our common English language.  Certainly it is a lot more respectful than the "Bigfoot" moniker used elsewhere, but where, did the word "Sasquatch" come from?

Turns out, the term Sasquatch has First Nation origins and was popularized by J.W. Burns, a principal, who while working at the Morris Valley Chehalis Reserve school (1925 - 1941).  J.W. Burns began a series of articles concerning the "wild men" of the woods that received wide publication **. 
Before this, it appears that there were many word derivatives in the area: sokqueatl, soss-q'tal, sesq'ec***, and suhsq'uhtch.   It appears to me, that the J.W. Burns spelling of "Sasquatch" most closely follows the Susquatsch word usage found in Sepass Tales The Songs of Y- Ail-Mihth (recorded by Eloise Street 1911-1915 p.12)*.   This supports the word's common usage amongst the First Nation people on both sides of the Chilliwack - Agassiz part of the Fraser river.

Could the word have come from the Sasquatches themselves?

Chief Sepasse of Tsilli-Way-ukh (Chilliwack) is recorded as saying that they could "talk to the Susquatsches"- the Hairy Giants said to range the Cascade Mountains. He had seen a giant skeleton in Chilliwack.* 

The excellent book by Daphne Sleigh called The People of the Harrison (page 253, 1990) recounts how "one enthusiastic raconteur went so far as to claim that, being part-Douglas himself, he could understand the language of the Sasquatch, because, it had the Douglas speech."

Over the years I had have the pleasure of getting to know and have worked with a number of people from the Chehalis Reserve, it seems, that the Sasquatch is taken with a great deal of seriousness but, today, no one admits to having talked to one.

Imagine living here...



Resources used:
* Sepass Tales The Songs of Y- Ail-Mihth (recorded by Eloise Street (1911-1915 p.12)
** The People of the Harrison by Daphne Sleigh (1990) Available at the Agassiz-Harrison Museum
*** Tracking the Man-Beasts by Joe Nickell 2011



Want to learn more about the Sasquatch and have some fun as well?

SASQUATCH  DAYS

Harrison Hot Springs, B.C.

June 9 - 10th, 2012






Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist 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.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Chilliwack* Real Estate Market Conditions and Sales Analysis - May 2012

Chilliwack* SINGLE FAMILY HOMES - for May 2012



The Chilliwack* real estate market took a seasonal upswing this past month recording 167 sales of single family detached houses, a total well above April's and that of a year ago.  Comparing this month's real estate activity with a 10 year average gives a respectable 83% strength reading.

The average sale price crept upward ever so slightly from $336,000 in April to $340,000 in May; this is normal as well - prices increase with seasonal activity. 

While there is a healthy inventory the market is moving into balanced territory with a little over a 6 month supply of houses compared to the May sale numbers.

This is the time of year for sellers, serious about moving to consider placing Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs residents on the market.  It is important to use the services of a REIBC real estate professional or a Realtor© to maximize your chances for a successful sale.  My services are available for qualified sellers and buyers.



Sales
Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
May 2012 167 $340,000 70 1070
Apr 2012 130 $336,000 82 1015
May 2011 128 $355,000 66 n/a






Median SALE Price of Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Homes (SFD)


  • May 2012          - $328,500
  • April 2012         - $327,500
  • March 2012       - $340,500
  • February 2012   - $332,500


Median LISTING Price of active (1070) Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Homes :


  • June 1, 2012    - $374,900
  • May 1, 2012    - $368,500
  • April 2, 2012   - $365,000
  • March 2, 2012 - $369,900

2012 - 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
2012 81% 67% 77% 77% 83%
2011 85% 91% 75% 70% 68% 93% 74% 86% 86% 70% 86% 92%





Chilliwack* STRATA HOMES for May 2012


Reduced to $197,900 - 3 bedrooms


The May sales of Chilliwack* strata homes (apartments, townhouses) had a strong month result (74 sales)  following a softer month in April (57 sales).  This is a pattern that has been observed (see 10 year monthly average chart)  all through 2012 - it may mean that June will once again have lower results - we will have to see if this oscillation continues to persist. Looking at the 10-year average there was 87% strength in the market - not bad.

There is still a buyer's market for strata homes in general with over 8 months of supply.

MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
May 2012 74 $215,000 94 617
Apr 2012 57 $213,000 80 599
May 2011 70 $220,000 82 n/a

Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Strata Homes:


  • May        2012     - $230,000
  • April                    - $230,500
  • March                  - $210,500
  • February              - $204,000

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings:


  • June 1, 2012     - $220,000
  • May 1, 2012     - $220,000
  • April 2, 2012    - $218,900
  • March 2, 2012  - $216,000



2012 - 2011 Strata Market Strength



Strata Home Monthly Unit Sales as % of a 10-Year Monthly Sales Average



Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
2012 93% 78% 96% 70% 87%
2011 100% 105% 85% 86% 84% 66% 66% 91%


Notes:This review and analysis looks at the residential markets in the Chilliwack* British Columbia area for the month of May 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 and risk.

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.


Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist 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.