Nanaimo Real Estate Blog - February 2008

G.S.T. reduced on real estate sales

The GST rate will be reduced by one percentage point from 6% to 5%, effective January 1, 2008. This will affect the sales price of all new home sales. There will be a reduction of the maximum rebate amount from $7,560 to $6,300 to account for the reduction in the GST/HST rates. There will also be changes to the applicable rebate factor used to calculate the consideration, tax payable, and the new housing rebate when the amount payable for the purchase of new housing includes the tax payable and is net of the new housing rebate.

In Nanaimo this decease in GST may be offset by an increase in the Nanaimo DCC (Development Cost Charge).

Social Networking

Last year I heard the word "facebook" for the first time. I heard it again two more times that week so I looked into it.

There are several web sites that are social networking in nature the most popular are;

Facebook

Facebook

Twitter

Twitter

LinkedIn

LinkedIn

Pinterest

Pinterest

Facebook is a place where the user gets to create their own web page. You can link your page to your friends page and share pictures, video or a new joke. You can also use the sites internal data base to find old friends that you have lost touch with (similar to Classmates.com) This new social medium makes it easier to be tuned in to the Grape Vine as they say. It is also a great way to communicate or share with your entire friend base all at once.

LinkedIn is social networking with only business in mind. Professionals can network and refer business back and forth.

Twitter is a site that you can announce something in 140 charachters or less.

Pinterest is a web site that you create your own profile page and share images you have seen on the web with the link to the site.

Elecrical Saftey

Knob and Tube' Wiring

Knob and Tube wiring is now on the radar of the Insurance Industry. They have issued this in the Broker Underwriting Guide that specifically states 'We do not insure risks with knob and tube wiring or aluminum'. It is apparent to me that the Insurance Industry of British Columbia may follow the lead of other provinces and reject all knob and tube wiring, regardless of the status of the installation, and only insure a residence once it has been replaced.

Knob and tube wiring is found in older dwellings around 60 years of age and was used for the 120 volt general lighting and receptacles. This wiring may not be apparent in an updated and renovated home, even at the main electrical service panel. Knob and tube is a two wire system consisting of a 'hot' and a 'neutral' wire. There is no bond (ground) wire and it is readily identified by the old style receptacles having only two prongs, where the ground (bond) prong on most modern appliance cords cannot be inserted. Where you have access to the actual wiring itself (usually an attic) both insulated wires are separated and each wire is supported on the wood structure by non conducting insulators, spaced accordingly throughout the runs.

In my previous employ as an Electrical Safety Officer with the electrical regulatory authority of British Columbia, the B.C. Safety Authority, we came across a great array of installations involving knob and tube. It was very rare to find a complete system that had not been altered in some fashion. If found not to be in compliance with the Canadian Electrical Code, we referred to them as safety hazards, they were ordered to be rectified (made safe) by a Registered Electrical Contractor. We found most homeowners were not qualified to deal with the complexities, or understanding, of making this system safe. Most of these non complying installations are what we and the BCSA refer to as 'handyman' alterations, and they were deemed illegal.

Once knob and tube has been tampered with the insulation can be brittle and the cables may show signs of damage, situations where excess heat can create a potential fire, or shock hazard. The Canadian Electrical Code, in Section 26, rule 26-700-8 deals with the use of three prong receptacles used in place of the old two prong. If the wiring is deemed defective, or it does not meet the electrical circuit loads required in the dwelling, (other CEC rules such as Rule 2-200 and 8-104-2 then apply), it must be replaced. All this is to be done under a permit, issued by the BCSA, and a subsequent inspection process is then put into place. At the very least the Insurance Bureau of Canada, in bulletin # AM 96-04, suggest a safety risk inspection by a qualified electrical agency before insurance is denied, but this is only a recommendation. Even if a qualified electrical agency signs off on the installation as safe and in compliance with the BCSA, there is no guarantee the insurance broker has to accept it.

Written by Kenrick Electrical Solutions Ltd.

Power Smart Appliance Rebate Program

Are you thinking about buying new appliances?
Save both money and the environment when you buy ENERGY STAR® appliances.

The Power Smart Appliance Rebate program offers you a mail-in rebate when you purchase ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators and freezers between January 15 and December 31, 2008.

Save money for a limited time, the following rebates will be available on ENERGY STAR labeled appliances:

Appliance Rebate amount
ENERGY STAR labeled clothes washers $100
ENERGY STAR labeled refrigerators $50
ENERGY STAR labeled freezers $25

Save energy and the environment
You will benefit from using less energy, reducing your energy bill and contributing to positive environmental impacts. Look for the ENERGY STAR label on appliances; it identifies the most energy-efficient appliances.

ENERGY STAR clothes washers

Use 35 per cent less energy than standard models.
Use 30–50 per cent less water than standard models.
Spin two to three times faster than standard models during the spin cycle and extract more water, which means less time and energy is used in the dryer. ENERGY STAR clothes washersENERGY STAR refrigerators and freezers
Use 10–15 per cent less energy than standard models.
Have high efficiency compressors, improved insulation (in doors and exterior walls), more precise temperatures and defrost controls.
For more information on ENERGY STAR appliances, visit the Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency.

How to apply for a rebate
Download and print the Power Smart Appliance Rebate Program application form [PDF, 193 Kb] and complete.
Attach copies of all invoices or receipts showing the appliance purchase.
Submit your application within 90 days of the appliance purchase to: BC Hydro Power Smart Appliance Rebate Program, PO Box 9090, Station A, Surrey B.C., V3T 5W4

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What You Don't Know About Your Home Electronics Can Cost You

Home electronics are a luxury British Columbians enjoy on a daily basis. But many of us don't know that our computer monitors, battery chargers and other electricity-dependent items continue to use power even when they're turned off. The result: millions of dollars worth of electricity are wasted every year. The amount of energy home electronics consume in BC in one year alone is equal to the electricity needed to power Whistler-Blackcomb resort for the next 43 years.

There’s a simple solution. Unplug and switch off your home electronics at the power source. This includes unplugging your cell phone, camera, portable video game and other battery chargers once charging is complete. Remember that, even when a device is removed from a charger, the charger itself continues to use electricity—phantom power—if you leave it plugged in.

Battery chargers aren't the only culprit. A computer left on for 24 hours a day can add up to $120 to your electricity bill each year. If all families in BC that normally leave computer monitors on all day turned their screens off when not in use, enough energy would be saved to power every arena in the entire NHL for 62 seasons.

Consider replacing your old electronics with ENERGY STAR-labeled TVs, VCR's, DVD players and computers. When turned off, they automatically enter sleep mode, consuming 60 to 70 per cent less energy than non-certified models.

To learn more about Power Smart and Power Smart’s residential programs, such as mail-in rebates, the refrigerator buy-back program, ENERGY STAR windows, PST exemptions and Power Smart New Homes, visit www.bchydro.com/powersmart.

REMAX Nanaimo

RE/MAX Report: Canadian Prices Almost Double in Decade

The past decade has been one of the best on record for housing in Canada - and RE/MAX wasted no time spreading the good news.

The RE/MAX Decade in Review Survey shows that average home prices nationally have nearly doubled in the past 10 years, from $154,606 in 1997 to $307,265 in 2007. The three RE/MAX regions in Canada worked together to research data for the report, which surveyed 19 different markets. The survey's Feb. 21 release to the news media generated prominent coverage for RE/MAX and its Associates.

Marie Selby, Advertising and Public Relations Coordinator for RE/MAX of Western Canada, says the exposure illustrates advertising dollars at work. "In Canada, RE/MAX has more than 50 percent share of voice," Selby says. "We release five or six market reports each year. We do it to get Associates' names in the paper and make RE/MAX the most trusted name in real estate."

Nearly 20 national and regional newspapers such as the Calgary Herald, the Vancouver Sun, the Edmonton Sun and the National Post ran stories about the report. That exposure, coupled with TV, radio and Web reports resulted in 3.6 million media impressions within a few days.

Several news outlets localized the story by interviewing RE/MAX Associates in their areas.

Lowell Martens, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Real Estate (Mountain View) in Calgary, was pictured and quoted in the Calgary Herald, saying, "The booming energy sector and a business-friendly environment have lured people to Calgary and added to house price increases."

Another Broker/Owner, Cliff King of RE/MAX Executives Realty in Winnipeg, was interviewed by the Winnipeg Sun, saying the local market favors sellers.

The report itself quotes Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President of RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada and Elton Ash, Executive Regional Vice President of RE/MAX of Western Canada. "Never before have we seen such a continuous run-up in Canadian real estate," Polzer says. "Clearly, strength in all markets has been directly linked to solid growth in local, provincial and national economies. Low interest rates, job security, and consumer confidence have all served to further bolster home-buying activity across the nation." Ash says that sales volumes have increased concurrently with climbing house prices, but will see a leveling off this year. "Realtors here are prepared for a flattening of the market and have expressed an expectation for overall real estate volumes to be roughly equal to 2005 volumes," Ash says. "We'll see a return to balance in many of our markets."

Copyright © 2008 RE/MAX International Inc. 3/4/08

Minister responsible for Housing announces BC will increase protection for tenants and landlords

Landlords and tenants who fail to meet their responsibilities under the law will face tough consequences with new administrative penalties, Minister responsible for Housing Rich Coleman announced today.

“Most tenants and landlords in B.C. respect the law, but some deliberately flaunt the rules,” said Coleman. “We will not tolerate those who repeatedly violate rental laws.”

Effective today, the Residential Tenancy Branch can levy administrative penalties against people or companies with repeated and serious violations of the Residential Tenancy Act or the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act. Administrative penalties may be as high as $5,000 per contravention and additional penalties may be applied every day the problem goes uncorrected.

“With more people than ever making their homes in B.C., it’s important that we have tools in place to ensure landlords and tenants meet their responsibilities,” said Coleman.

Administrative penalties are designed to respond to a variety of situations. For example, landlords may face administrative penalties if they do not maintain their rental units to appropriate standards, or if they repeatedly do not return security deposits at the end of a tenancy. A tenant may face an administrative penalty if they frequently leave their rental unit without giving proper notice or damage their rental units.

Before administrative penalties are applied, the Residential Tenancy Branch will consider the seriousness of the infraction, how often it happened, what efforts were made to correct it and any financial benefit gained from the infraction. Those facing administrative penalties will have an opportunity to review evidence against them and respond before a decision is made. As with dispute resolution decisions, those who receive an administrative penalty have the option of applying to the Residential Tenancy Branch for a review of the penalty.

Bank of Canada lowers overnight rate target by 1/2 percentage

OTTAWA, Ontario, March 04, 2008 — The Bank of Canada today announced that it is lowering its target for the overnight rate by one-half of one percentage point to 3 1/2 per cent. The operating band for the overnight rate is correspondingly lowered, and the Bank Rate is now 3 3/4 per cent.

Information received since the January Monetary Policy Report Update (MPRU) indicates that economic growth in Canada through the four quarters of 2007 was broadly in line with expectations. Domestic demand has remained buoyant, as rising commodity prices and high employment have continued to support income growth. Canada's net exports weakened further in the fourth quarter, reflecting the slowing U.S. economy and the impact of the past appreciation of the Canadian dollar. Overall, the Canadian economy remained above its production capacity at year-end. Core and total CPI inflation – at 1.4 per cent and 2.2 per cent, respectively, in January – have also been consistent with the Bank's expectations.

At the same time, there are clear signs that the U.S. economy is likely to experience a deeper and more prolonged slowdown than had been projected in January. This stems from further weakening in the residential housing market, which is adversely affecting other sectors of the U.S. economy and contributing to further tightening in credit conditions. The deterioration in economic and financial conditions in the United States can be expected to have significant spillover effects on the global economy. These developments suggest that important downside risks to Canada's economic outlook that were identified in the MPRU are materializing and, in some respects, intensifying.

The Bank now judges that the balance of risks around its January projection for inflation has clearly shifted to the downside, and, as a result, the Bank is lowering the target for the overnight rate. Further monetary stimulus is likely to be required in the near term to keep aggregate supply and demand in balance and to achieve the 2 per cent inflation target over the medium term.

The Bank will publish a new projection for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, in the Monetary Policy Report on 24 April 2008.

Information note:

The Bank of Canada's next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is 22 April 2008.

News source: Bank of Canada

Bank of Canada Rates

New mapping technology added to DougBelcher.com

I have made it even easier to locate where in Nanaimo my real estate listings are located. You can view a map built into the listing page that is dynamic (you can view either as a satellite view or as a map).

You can click on green points to see active listings or red points to view sold listings. Each point when clicked has a small pop up with the property description and a photo of the home.

Nanaimo Real Estate Listings Map

Red pins are sold listings
Green pins are active listings
Click on pin and a small description of the home and photo appear.

First time Buyers pay less Tax

Under the new budget, as of February 20, 2008, first time home buyers can purchase real estate priced up to $425,000 without paying the Property Transfer Tax (PTT). Property Transfer Tax is a tax of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance of the purchase price. The ceiling under the previous budget was $375,000. Home buyers of real estate priced up to $450,000 can claim a proportional exemption.

In Nanaimo new homes start around $329,000 (single family home non strata) and go up as high for luxury acreage at $999,000.

Google Eats Nanaimo

Time Magazine (Google Eats Nanaimo)March 10th Time magazine wrote am article about Nanaimo being one of the most cutting edge cities in North America.
-See Article Online
- , The reason Nanaimo is being noticed is because for the last several years Nanaimo has been integrating city information into Google Maps and Google earth. Nanaimo has it's own url; earth.nanaimo.ca . Google Earth

To download Google earth go click icon

This type of publicity is good for the economic development of Nanaimo and tourism.

Have a questions? Need to Buy or Sell? Give me a call.

I post both my cell and office number so my clients can reach me anytime. I am always happy to discuss your real estate needs.

Office 250-751-1223

Cell 250-619-6012

Fax 250-751-1300

Office 1-5140 Metral Dr. Nanaimo