Nanaimo Real Estate Blog - October 2005

Home Affordability

Affordability to Hold Steady in 2006 as Listing Inventory Improves in Most Major Markets, says RE/MAX

Kelowna, British Columbia -- After shattering existing records from coast-to-coast in 2005, housing values are expected to moderate in most major centers in 2006. More balanced conditions should emerge in the year ahead, characterized by healthy inventory levels and less urgency in the marketplace, according to a report released today by RE/MAX.

The RE/MAX Housing Market Outlook 2006 found that the vast majority of major Canadian markets surveyed are expecting modest price appreciation ranging from two to five per cent in 2006. The only exceptions are Vancouver, Kelowna and Calgary, all of which are forecast to experience price increases in the area of 10 per cent next year. Projections for average prices range from a low of zero in London-St. Thomas (Ontario) to a high of 10 per cent in the heated Western Canada markets. Unit sales are forecast to demonstrate solid momentum again in 2006, with all but seven markets (Victoria, Kelowna, Toronto, London-St. Thomas, Kitchener-Waterloo, Montreal and Halifax) expecting activity to either exceed or remain on par with record 2005 levels.

Nationally, home sales are forecast to climb two per cent by year-end 2005 to 472,100 units—the best year ever for housing in Canada. Average price appreciation will post a nine per cent gain, bringing the value of a Canadian home closer to the $250,000 threshold at $246,600.

"Affordability has certainly been a major concern, particularly in markets in British Columbia and Alberta, where average price has experienced strong upward momentum throughout 2005 due to tight inventory levels," says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. "An influx of new listings in the marketplace should ease some of the upward pressure on housing values and allow purchasers the luxury of time when buying a home."

The highest percentage increases in unit sales are expected to occur in Western Canadian markets next year. Edmonton and Regina are predicted to lead the country with a five per cent increase over 2005 levels. Sixty-one per cent of all markets forecast activity in 2006 to be on par the previous year’s figures.

Strong economic fundamentals will contribute to healthy residential real estate activity yet again in 2006. Western Canada, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, in particular, are expected to benefit from thriving oil and gas-related industries. Nationwide, billions of dollars have been earmarked for non-residential construction. Immigration is also forecast to play a greater role in housing markets across the country. Canada is opening its door to as many as 255,000 new immigrants in 2006 and that figure may be ramped up in the future. Typically, household formation among new immigrants takes place within five years of arrival.

"Canada’s economic engine continues to fire on all cylinders, outperforming expectations at every level," says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. "Consumer confidence levels are strong. Even the Bank of Canada’s effort to put the brakes on the economy – boosting interest rates one half of one percentage point in a two-month period -- only served to bolster home-buying activity. Interest rates could climb as much as two percentage points before we see any real impact on the housing market."

Highlights:

RE/MAX is Canada’s leading real estate organization with over 15,500 sales associates situated throughout its more than 605 independently owned and operated offices across the country. The RE/MAX franchise network, now in its 32nd year of consecutive growth, is a global real estate system operating in over 58 countries. More than 5,800 independently owned offices engage 113,000 member sales associates who lead the industry in professional designations, experience and production while providing real estate services in residential, commercial, referral, relocation and asset management.

(Source - WWW.RE/MAX.CA)

www.dougbelcher.com becomes Nanaimo's Top Ranked REALTOR Site

I have been monitoring my sites statistics for the last several months and was cautious about any making any claims about being the top ranking site. Google in the last month did 3 major updates (dubbed Jagger) it seems to have cleaned up allot of sites with poor content. My site has gained strength month after month and I feel confident I can now say it is finally the # 1 ranked site

Successfully marketing your home requires getting the most exposure to the market place. My site is consistently ranked as the top ranked real estate site in Nanaimo and one of the top sites in the RE/MAX system world wide. I am also found in most of the top ranking directories. The three main search engines Google / Yahoo / MSN. all consistently rank me higher than any other REALTOR ® in Nanaimo under most searches.

Opinions from the west

In August, 565 people from BC and Alberta responded to Ipsos Reid’s Voice of the West Interactive Forum. Here are some of the responses:

If money and space were no object:

36% said they would purchase a new home
14% would renovate their homes
13% would take a trip or vacation
12% would purchase vacation property
11% would buy a new vehicle
7% would buy a boat or yacht
65% feel they receive poor value in the services provided by the federal government for the taxes they pay. In BC, 67% feel they receive poor service from the provincial government for the taxes they pay.

When asked which city or metropolitan area in BC or Alberta offered the best quality of life, 10% of BC residents listed a place in Alberta as the best. 20% of Albertans listed a place in BC as the best place to live.

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.
BCREA makes no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of this information.

Maximize the resale value of your property

It is widely accepted that making the right renovations and upgrades to your home improves the resale value. RE/MAX has identified the 6 smartest renovations priorities to maximize the resale value of your home.

1. It all starts at the curb. Everyone knows the value of a first impression. Landscaping the front and backyard of your home will give you a 7% better return on your renovating dollar over the average return of other popular renos. Increasing your curb appeal can be as simple as adding containers of brightly colored flowers.

2. The kitchen is the hub. Ever wonder why kitchen parties naturally occur every time you have a get-together? Well, it's because the kitchen is the hub of every home. Kitchen upgrades can really deliver, with a 44% higher return on investment than the average return on other popular renos.

3. Rekindle your passion for living. Nothing beats the feeling of curling up around a fire on a cold winter's night. Not to mention the comforting feeling of hearth and home that a fireplace adds to a room. Installing or upgrading the fireplace in your home will generate an 11% greater return on investment than the average return on other popular renos.

4. Try a fresh coat of paint. Simple repainting of walls gives you a 29% better return than other popular renos. Whether you go neutral with splashes of colour, or warm and dramatic, trends include mixing strong colours with nature-inspired neutral-energy colours like orange, aqua, sage and blue, along with neutral palates leaning toward bisque, fawn, grey and walnut.

5. Disappear in your personal spa. Making your bathroom the best it can be will generate at 56% better return on investment than the average popular reno. The goal should be to create a spa-like environment in your bathroom by installing a soaker tub with relaxing jets, or perhaps a new steam shower stall.

6. Great ideas underfoot. Great-looking floors are a strong feature of any home. This upgrade can generate a 22% better return on investment than the average.

Start by ripping out that dated wall-to-wall carpet. Then sand your existing floors down and refinish them, or choose one of the many easy-to-install affordable laminates now available. A darker stain gives an elegant yet up-to-date look.

More detailed information on the importance of maximizing your renovation dollars in relation to the price point of your home is available at www.remax.ca

- Source News Canada

Maximize Resale value of your home kitchen

As the clock turns: Homeowner's autumn checklist

Forget the weatherman — we know the warm season is over when we turn back our clocks for standard time. Mornings are dark and colder, and winter's just around the corner. Protect your investment in your home and garden now –make those important repairs before the snow flies!

1. Your roof and fences: Clear leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts; if a clog forces melting ice back against the shingles, it could cause an ice dam – a serious hazard to your roof. Look for loose or broken shingles or damaged vents on the roof while you're at it. Check your chimney for loose brick or crumbling mortar, which is harder to repair once it gets colder. Remember — always have a strong adult to steady the ladder for the person on the roof. Now is also the time to repair fences, lattices, or trellises.

2. Yard and garden tools: First, remove any dirt with a wire brush or the wire whisk attachment on a power drill. Sharpen blunted tools like hoe's, spades, pruners, loppers and saws, and check them for any loose screws or nuts. Finally, spray any metal parts and cutting edges with a penetrating oil like WD-40. And wipe wooden handles with boiled linseed oil to prevent cracking and drying.

3. Power tools: Change the oil and sparkplugs of any equipment, and have blades sharpened. (This can be done professionally.)

4. Hoses and irrigation systems: Straighten and drain your hose, and store it in a loose coil or on a reel – not hanging from a nail. Don't leave an opportunity for water to enter the hose over the winter months. Blow out the lines of your irrigation system to ensure that ice can't split and break the waterlines below ground. Turn off any outside taps at source, then drain them at the faucet.

5. Wheelbarrows, carts and wagons: Touch up any paint chips and treat any rust spots. Spray wheels with oil to keep them running smoothly.

6. Outdoor lights: Replace bulbs and ensure that switches and timers are adjusted for the shorter daylight hours.

Found major repairs that you should have done before the winter? A mortgage consultant, like one of the 800 plus Mortgage Intelligence consultants across the country, can outline how to use the equity in your home to get the money you need, at today's attractive mortgage rates.

Information provided by Mortgage Intelligence. For more information: www.mortgageintelligence.ca   or 1-877-308-4892.

- Source News Canada

Homeowner's autumn checklist

Avoid the winter chill and save money

As the weather starts to cool, Canadians will be firing up their furnaces and heating systems. When the wind starts howling and the temperature drops, homeowners are often surprised by their skyrocketing energy costs, cautions Andy Goyda, Insulation Expert, Owens Corning. Fortunately, there's a simple solution – upgrading your home's insulation is one of the easiest ways to reduce your energy bills while keeping your family warm and cozy this winter.

The following are a few simple do-it-yourself projects that can significantly reduce the amount you spend on household heating and cooling:

Insulate your attic

Many Canadians use blown-in insulation in their attics to keep heat from escaping, but yearly check-ups to ensure that insulation is evenly distributed and proper ventilation is maintained are important. Up to 8% of your home's energy is lost through the attic and, much like a toque, during colder months insulation and sealing keeps heated air from escaping outside. Think PINK and make sure the attic is the first place you insulate.

Insulate pipes and ducts

Not surprisingly, water pipes and ventilation ducts are often quite different temperatures from the inside environment. By insulating these areas well, it will get the hot water and warm air into the farthest rooms and in turn reduce your house's energy bills.

Eliminate drafts

Anywhere there's an exchange of air with the outside environment, there's an exchange of temperature. To minimize air leakage and reduce household energy bills, replace old windows, seal windows that you don't open and block drafts under doors. To seal large cracks around windows, cut strips of PINK FIBERGLAS insulation batts and insert into cracks, then seal with red construction tape using strips of poly vapour retarder (if necessary) or seal smaller cracks with a foam sealant.

Don't be caught off-guard by your heating bills this winter, reminds Andy Goyda. By eliminating drafts and upgrading insulation, homeowners can significantly reduce the amount spent on heating and cooling year-round.

For more information on household insulation, call Owens Corning at 1-800-GET-PINK or visit www.owenscorning.ca.

- Source News Canada

Insulate your home

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