Friday, February 28, 2014

New Apple App Makes House Hunting a Breeze!


I gave this new apple iPhone/iPad app a look and, I have to tell you that I like it and recommend it. Five stars! Easy to use and great functionality.  Looking for a home in Canada this is the must have app. Trust Royal LePage to lead the way!



Imagine you could highlight your favourite neighbourhood and then get updates about those properties, without constantly monitoring the “For Sale” signs? With the new Royal LePage App, it’s not just a possibility it’s a reality! 

Draw Tool
Use the Draw Tool to outline an area you like, and then refine your search by price, location, property type, number of beds and bath, and more to receive information on properties within your drawn area. Alternatively, search by street, address or intersection – the app will automatically save these searches to your history so you can check them again later. 



Save Searches
Users can save drawings and listings in the Royal LePage App for future reference and to receive notifications and updates.

Push Notifications
The Royal LePage App will notify a user of new listings, removed listings, open houses and price changes in their saved drawn areas or refined searches.

Find an Agent
Users can geo-locate a nearby Royal LePage Office or contact an Agent directly in app to get their questions answered immediately.

In the eastern Fraser Valley communities of British Columbia, Chilliwack, Sardis, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs contact Stephen Mullock with your inquiry.  Type the location of interest, say "Chilliwack" then "Mullock" in the agent search field to find me.



Imagine living here....it just got a lot easier


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, February 21, 2014

Chilliwack's Irwin Building faces the Wreaking Ball

UPDATE:  The demolition of the IRWIN block has been postponed to March 13, 2014.  Here is an interesting link to the acquisition expenses the City of Chilliwack is incurring from a new Chilliwack Times story.  Let's just hope buildings having some charm, elegance and functionality will replace these heritage structures.



The City of Chilliwack's plan to revive the core of the city comes with a few causalities.  On Monday, February 24, 2014, the IRWIN building will be demolished. In recent years, we have seen other Chilliwack landmarks such as the Empress Hotel and the Paramount Theatre destroyed but their sites have yet to be developed.  To some, levelling the downtown core is a "bold step" but then again, as Sam Rayburn said, "Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one." No slight meant to the City Council, but when does building begin?  Do you have a carpenter in mind?




The Irwin Building is situated on the southwest corner of Young Road and Yale Road, part of the downtown's core famous "five corners" intersection.  Obviously a lack of planning created this problematic intersection.  Perhaps when the "building" process begins this road issue can be handled once and for all.

The empty site shall be used in the interim as a courtyard.

Yesterday, I took a moment to get some photographs before it disappears and captured a "ghost" in the window, see the top picture.


R.I.P. 
IRWIN Building







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.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

If Vancouver is the Most Expensive City in North America - What is the Alternative?



As I flew away from YVR this month, for an all too brief vacation, I snapped the picture below not realizing that Vancouver would soon be known as the most expensive city in North America.  Had I known, I would have likely taken a couple more photographs.

Vancouver © Stephen Mullock

The "Economist" Intelligence Unit, has just released its annual review of cities based on the 2013 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey and Vancouver jumped into the top spot ahead of New York City!
This survey is built on a bundle of 160 items that people buy for their everyday life.

This steep climb has been attributed to a number of items including investment from China.  

I predict,  that as the Canadian dollar loses strength against its American currency counterpart this ranking will be corrected in a years time and New York will once again head the chart. The federal government decision to end the Investor Immigrant Program will also help to soften prices in 2014. Still, it provides Vancouver residents with one more achievement however dubious.

It does signal that Vancouver remains an international destination and is increasingly becoming one of the most influential cities in the world.  It does have a great location on the Pacific Rim and one of the best harbours in the world.  All that is lacking now, is a stronger post secondary system and a serious research and development culture.

It should be pointed out that Vancouver is still only 21st globally but that was up 16 places from its 37th ranking a year ago.  Tokyo holds onto the top position as it has done for most of the last couple of decades.

One alternative to the high cost of Vancouver is to leave the GVRD and locate your company and family east of the new Port Mann Bridge.  There is a big if not huge housing price differential as shall be illustrated and Vancouver is not so far away.  Weather is pretty much the same, in fact, in may be better, Chilliwack was ranked as having the "warmest year round temperature" in Canada" as noted in a recent MacLean's article.

Most locations within the Fraser Valley can be accessed by car within 1 to 2 hours. Vancouver sights, sports, entertainment and shopping, are truly only a quick trip away, have a look at some numbers.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association in its' January 2014 Housing Forecast Update predicted that the average housing cost in BC will be $547,300 in 2014.

What sort of detached house will sort of money buy you in Vancouver?  I had to look.

Well that didn't take very long - there are ZERO detached houses for sale in East and West Vancouver for that amount.

If the cash from the most "affordable" house in the City of Vancouver was used to purchase a property in the Chilliwack real estate market, what would it buy?

The "cheapest" detached City of Vancouver house, if you wish to call it that, on a non-leasehold lot is offered for sale (as of February 18, 2014) for $628,000. It  provides 700 square feet of living on a 3,547 square foot lot. More details on this property at 3447 Williams Street, Vancouver can be found at this property detail link it is being marketed by RE/MAX Select Realty.

Vancouver House for Sale $628,000

Vancouver House Prices

VERSUS

Chilliwack House Prices

Chilliwack House for Sale $629,900

Well, to start the pictures are a lot sharper out in the eastern Fraser Valley and apparently so are the prices.

The Chilliwack property shown above offers 3,032 square feet of living on a half acre lot of 23,958 square feet with an in-ground swimming pool!  While the pictures tell the tale more details, on this property located at 46489 Hope River Road, Chilliwack, can be found at this property detail link it is being marketed by RE/MAX Nyda Realty.  If you would like an appointment to view this property give me a call I would be happy to set one up.

This price differential is not a surprise to me, as each month I look at the Chilliwack* Real Estate market and provide my own real estate market analysis. The goal of this real estate analysis is to be of assistance to all my clients both sellers and buyers and up to date local knowledge is essential to the task.

By the way, this past month, January 2014, the average Chilliwack* single family detached home was $344,000 or almost half the price of the cheapest house in Vancouver!


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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chilliwack's Swans

Chilliwack, Agassiz, and the eastern BC Fraser Valley each year welcome home large flocks of Trumpeter Swans that have flown down from parts as far north as Alaska in an effort to escape the cold and find food in our fields and farms.  

At one point this fine bird was almost hunted into extinction so it reassuring to see groups (or bevy) of swans in some numbers returning each year to Chilliwack, Agassiz and the eastern Fraser Valley. Mahatma Gandhi once said "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Perhaps there is hope for us yet.

A second type of swan called the Tundra Swan may also be found but is difficult to distinguish from the Trumpeter Swan.



Trumpeter Swans


The Trumpeter Swan shown in the photograph below in flying "V" formation is the largest native water fowl in North American and can weigh over 33 pounds. These birds mate for life - so long as eggs are produced otherwise, "divorce" may occur.  An adult male is called a "cob" and a female a "pen".  Their offspring is known as a "swanling" or a "cygnet".



A Wedge in Flight


There is a third type of swan that never leaves Chilliwack.

"Sardis Park" is a 14 acre park nestled into a southern part of Chilliwack in an area called Sardis. Its' large pond is  home to the Mute Swan.  A walk around Sardis Park provides "birders" a wonderful opportunity to view many different types of fowl  at close range. 


For some birds "Sardis Park" is just a temporary home on a flight path further south but others are permanent guests such as the Mute Swans; which were imported into the country.  The Mute Swan is distinguished by its' white plumage and an orange and black bill. 

Chilliwack and eastern Fraser Valley communities such as Agassiz, Harrison or Hope offers a special closeness to the wild. The arrival of the Trumpeter Swans in November signals that late fall has begun and the winter season approaches.


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, February 3, 2014

The Village Green, Higginson Gardens, 6498 Southdown Place, Chilliwack, V2R 0K3


The Village Green,6498 Southdown Place, Chilliwack (Sardis), V2R 0K3

The ViLLAGE GREEN, 6498 Southdown Place, CHILLIWACK, V2R 0K3


Before we begin - to find other "Higginson Gardens" townhouses like the Village Green described below or detached homes for sale in the vicinity just click on this Mobile Friendly View .

Contact Stephen with any questions that you might have about these or other Chilliwack properties.  Imagine living here...

Links updated April 16, 2014


The Village Green, 6498 Southdown Place, Chilliwack (Sardis), V2R 0K3

Memory Lane

There was a time that I walked down a treed lined Higginson Road on my way to Sardis Secondary School.  Those weekday treks included 4 buddies in rain or shine, we'd push and shove our past hop yards to the right and to the left the green fields of the Higginson dairy and sheep farm.  Today that acreage has been transformed into the Par 3 Kinkora Golf Course, a residential development called "Higginson Gardens", and a small residual acreage still being farmed, by a Higginson, and remaining in the ALR.

This article looks at a townhouse complex located within "Higginson Gardens" called Village Green located at 6498 Southdowne Place, Chilliwack (Sardis).

The term Southdowne refers to a breed of sheep that the Higginson's raised to national award winning prominence, and still do, that acreage still remaining in the ALR.

The name "Village Green" was used for marketing purposes; for there is very little that relates to the idyllic concept of an english "Village Green" other than the green exterior siding. That aside this townhouse complex is still a well placed and carefully designed townhouse complex.

Higginson Gardens is well situated and that is important.  For families both elementary and secondary schools are within a short walk as are recreation areas such as Sardis Park and the Kinkora Golf Course.  A shopping mall is located within a 5 minute stroll which includes a drug store, medical clinic, a bank and a Tim Hortons.  Bus transportation is also readily available. This is a recommended area to consider.

PROS:

  • This location is wonderful, close to shopping, golf, transportation and a small commercial centre
  • Tucked in a back corner of Higginson Gardens it is quiet
  • All designs provide a washroom on the main level
  • Affordable


CONS:

  • Limited landscaping and virtually no trees
  • Limited design colours providing a unified but boring appearance
  • Given the location more full basement 2 storey units instead of the three storey townhouses would have been a better fit to this land
  • No place to park larger recreation vehicles
  • Some, not all all, homes have short driveways






Construction of the Village Green townhouse complex by Artco Construction (1984) LTD began in 2007 and finished in 2010.

The "Village Green" consists of 2 - duplex units, 2 - triplex and 13 - fourplex buildings for a total of 62 townhouses.




There are 7 styles of townhouse within this development the principle differences being; homes with a main living area at grade - two storey style with full basement, and,  3 storey units with the main living area above a garage and flex room area.








Square footage of living space ranges from 1,528 to 2108 square feet with the majority having a sizes of 1650 to 1950 square feet.

There are 9 visitor parking stalls and access to a small City of Chilliwack community park with some play equipment.



The Google map below is really outdated but shows some of the streets before construction began and other built areas.


View Larger Map


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.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chilliwack* Real Estate Review and Analysis January 2014


We start the year with some predictions from the British Columbia Real Estate Association - Housing Quarterly January 2014 that includes predictions about activity and pricing for 2014.  The Chilliwack* area which is just one of 12 areas considered in this report can look forward to an increase of 1.8% in activity and Chilliwack house prices to increase by 1% from $301,492 in 2013 to $304,500 in 2014.  This is an interesting report well worth a read.


The Chilliwack* real estate board area (CADREB) which includes the outlying communities of Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope and parts of the Fraser Cascade Regional District recorded 73 sales of single family houses and 42 sales of strata homes such as townhouses, and apartments in January 2014. A total of 115 residential properties.

Sales of Single Family Detached Houses

The Chilliwack* real estate board area (CADREB) which includes the outlying communities of Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope and parts of the Fraser Cascade Regional District recorded a total of 73 sales of single family houses in January 2014.

Go, Canada Go, Sochi 2014


The 73, Chilliwack* real estate board single family detached, sales were more than the December 2013 total of 67 - but traditionally, we expect fewer sales this time of year. I have noticed however the last week in January showed a large increase in public real estate inquiry perhaps but to the incredible weather we have been enjoying.
  
A list to sale ratio of 10 % is up from 9.3% a month earlier maintaining a Buyer's Market for Chilliwack* single family detached homes.

Please remember to use the services of a REIBC real estate professional or a Realtor© to maximize your chances for a successful purchase or sale. Give me a call if you are looking for professional service in the Chilliwack, Agassiz, Kent or Harrison Hot Springs areas.

MONTHSales/Average Sale Price/Days on Market/Active Listings
Jan  201473$344,00096747
Dec  201390$368,00067643
Jan 201377$343,50092n/a




Median SALE Price of Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Homes (SFD)
  • January 2014 - $348,000
  • December 2013 - $334,500
  • November  2013 - $334,000
  • October 2013 - $321,000
  • September 2013 - $336,000
  • August 2013 - $309,500
  • July 2013 - $347,500
  • June 2013 - $349,500
  • May 2013 - $339,500
  • April 2013 - $338,000
  • March 2013 - $364,000
  • February 2013 - $315,000
  • January 2013 - $329,500
  • December 2012 - $349,500
  • November 2012 - $317,000

       
    Median LISTING Price of active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Homes:
    • February 1, 2014 - $349,900
    • December 3, 2013 - $359,900
    • November 1, 2013 - $359,000
    • October 1, 2013 - $364,900
    • September 3, 2014 - $358,000
    • August 1, 2013 - $349,900
    • July 2, 2013 $359,900
    • June 4, 2013 $365,000
    • May 2, 2013 $369,900
    • April 1, 2013 $359,900
    • March 1, 2013 $369,900
    • February 1, 2013 $359,900
    • January 3, 2013 $369,500
    • December 1, 2012 $363,500


      2013 - 2011 Market Strength for Chilliwack* Single Family Houses

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

      MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
      201494%










      201397%68%60%75%82%83%82%87%105%79%83%80%
      201281%67%77%77%83%70%88%54%70%88%91%80%
      201185%91%75%70%68%93%74%86%86%70%86%92%


      Go Canada Curling in Sochi 2014!

      


      Sales of Strata Homes (Apartments, Townhouses etc.)

      The Chilliwack* real estate board area (CADREB) which includes the outlying communities of Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope and parts of the Fraser Cascade Regional District recorded a total of 42 sales of strata homes (apartments, townhouses) in January 2014.

      The 42, Chilliwack* real estate board strata sales were similar to the December 2013 total of 41 reflecting normal market activity.
        
      A list to sale ratio of 10.5 % indicates a Buyer's Market for Chilliwack* strata homes.

      Once again, please remember to use the services of a REIBC real estate professional or a Realtor© to maximize your chances for a successful purchase or sale. Give me a call if you are looking for professional service in the Chilliwack, Agassiz, Kent or Harrison Hot Springs areas.


      
      MONTHSales/Average Sale Price/Days on Market/Active Listings
      Jan  2014 42$222,00088404
      Dec  2013 41$231,000114385
      Jan 2012 47$207,00071n/a


      Median SALE Price of Chilliwack* Strata Homes:
      • January 2014 - $216,000
      • December 2013 - $232,500
      • November 2013 - $202,000
      • October 2013 - $199,500
      • September 2013 - $212,500
      • August 2013 - $209,900
      • July 2013 - $231,500
      • June 2013 - $211,000
      • May 2013 - $211,000
      • April 2013 - $204,000
      • March 2013 - $229,000
      • February 2013 - $208,000
      • January 2013 - $198,500
      • December 2012 - $200,000
      • November 2012 - $188,500



        Median LISTING Price of active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings:
        • February 1, 2014 - $219,900
        • January 2, 2014 - $212,500
        • December 3, 2013 - $214,900
        • November 1, 2013 - $214,900
        • October 1, 2013 - $214,900
        • September 3, 2013 - $194,500
        • August 1, 2013 - $212,000
        • July 2, 2013 - $213,900
        • June 4, 2013 - $214,900
        • May 2, 2013 - $210,000
        • April 1, 2013 - $212,500
        • March 1, 2013 - $209,900
        • February 1, 2013 - $217,500
        • January 3, 2012 - $198,000
        • December 1, 2012 - $212,000


        2011 - 2013 Strata Market Strength

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

        MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
        201490%










        2013100%81%89%73%87%99%84%85%79%108%68%90%
        201293%78%96%70%87%85%97%67%89%76%114%82%
        2011100%105%85%86%84%66%66%91%



        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.