Such Kind Words

March 18, 2017

Hello Ron and Peggy,

Now that we have happily moved into our new home we’d be remiss in not thanking you for the way you helped us make our dream come true.  We were impressed by your professionalism in all your dealings with us, starting from the thorough introduction to selling a house, the research of current market values, and the expertly done picture gallery and brochure which attracted many potential buyers.  But above all, we appreciated Ron’s quiet and reassuring demeanor in the somewhat stressful situation of selling our beloved property.  And we were equally appreciative of Peggy’s never failing accessibility for any queries we had and her prompt follow-up.  It doesn’t take you long to realize that Ron and Peggy work hand-in-glove and make a very successful team in helping their clients achieve their goals.

Lastly, we are still in awe, and thankful, at how quickly you were able to secure our new home in a highly competitive situation.  Ron and Peggy, you stopped at nothing and dedicated extra hours to see us through the process.  And if that were not enough, you helped us get started on the move.  All in all, we couldn’t be happier with the service you have given us and we would certainly recommend you to any potential clients. 

Yours gratefully, Richard and Marlies Newton

VIREB 2017 REALTORS Care® Award

It was with great honour and pride that Ron accepted the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board’s 2017 REALTORS Care® Award yesterday. One of the highest honours VIREB can bestow upon its members, a REALTORS Care® Award recognizes REALTORS® who give back and improve the quality of life in their communities. We’re all so proud of you Ron. 

Buoyant Sellers’ Market Continues

VIREB – Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 1, 2018

WELCOME MARCH!

NANAIMO, BC – Last month, 316 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 288 in January and 345 one year ago. The number of apartments changing hands in February rose by 28 per cent while townhouse sales decreased by four per cent.

There were 812 single-family homes for sale in February compared to 749 in January and 947 one year ago. The supply of apartments and townhouses also rose slightly from 2017, up three per cent and five per cent, respectively. These modest inventory increases are welcome, but since new listings are snapped up so quickly, this additional supply will not move the VIREB market out of sellers’ territory.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) notes that the housing market in B.C. is still thriving due to the province’s strong economy. However, BCREA forecasts some economic headwinds for 2018. It appears that Guideline B-20 – also known as the mortgage stress test – lay behind December’s uptick in sales as buyers scrambled to purchase before its January 1 implementation. Other risk factors include rising interest rates and new taxes introduced by the provincial government in the latest B.C. budget.

Broadening the scope of the Foreign Buyer Tax to include the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) will not have a significant impact on the VIREB housing market. Only 4.4 per cent of RDN residential real estate transactions in 2017 involved foreign buyers. More troubling is the new speculation tax, which targets homeowners who do not pay income tax in B.C., including those who leave their homes empty but still contribute heftily to the economy.

Kaye Broens, VIREB President-Elect, believes the speculation tax is well-intended, but the government is focusing on the wrong side of the housing equation.

“Instead of increasing supply, the B.C. government is concentrating on dampening demand,” says Broens. “Vancouver Island is a popular destination for retirees, many of whom come from Alberta, and the speculation tax could discourage many of those buyers.”

A more effective solution for combatting rising house prices is to increase supply, which includes streamlining the approval process for developers, adds Broens.

On a local level, buyer demand and limited supply have created a buoyant sellers’ market in the VIREB area. Multiple offers are commonplace, especially for properties in the $400,000 to $500,000 range. She stresses that it is a great time to sell.

“My advice to prospective sellers is to contact a REALTOR® to list their home now and not wait until spring,” says Broens. “Prices are still rising, but that cannot continue indefinitely. At some point, buyers will begin bowing out of the market due to affordability issues.”

In February 2018, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area reached $483,400, up 19 per cent from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month rose to $293,900, up 29 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse hit $376,900, a 22 per cent increase from February 2017.

Last month, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area hit $392,700, an increase of 23 per cent over February 2017. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $476,700, up 18 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $419,000, an increase of 15 per cent compared to February 2017. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 18 per cent to $524,400 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 19 per cent to $540,400. The cost of a benchmark home in Port Alberni reached $270,500, up 25 per cent from one year ago.

VIREB www.vireb.com

Ron Mehan, RE/MAX First Realty, Parksville, B.C.

 

RE/MAX #1 6 Years Running

 

RE/MAX continues to shine in the annual Entrepreneur Franchise 500 ranking of top franchises.

In addition to being the No. 1 ranked real estate franchise for the 15th time, RE/MAX climbed into the survey’s Top 5 for the very first time. It joined McDonald’s, 7-11, Dunkin’ Donuts and The UPS store in the elite five of household brand names.

More than 115,000 agents enjoy the competitive advantages of being with the industry’s top franchise brand. And who benefits from the skills of those agents? Homebuyers and sellers in countries around the globe.

Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX, as measured by residential transactions. There’s a reason for that. And it starts with productive, hustling, all-in agents who strive to be the best at what they do.

VIREB Posts the Strongest December on Record

January Raindrops

NANAIMO, BC – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that on a seasonally adjusted basis, the board had its busiest December on record, with 667 housing units changing hands last month.

Sales of single-family homes increased by 35 per cent from December 2016. Annually, 5,612 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in 2017 compared to 6,059 the previous year, a decrease of seven per cent. However, this reduction reflects the market returning to more normal levels from the unprecedented sales activity generated in 2016.

Inventory of single-family homes dropped to 762 in December, the lowest recorded since VIREB began tracking inventory in 1999. The supply of apartments and townhouses dipped by 13 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively. Diminishing housing supply and high consumer demand are driving rising benchmark prices of single-family homes, apartments, and townhouses in all markets.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) notes that the housing market in B.C. is thriving due to strong economic fundamentals, such as robust retail sales, job growth, and population growth. BCREA’s Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast states that the provincial economy is on track to expand by 3.8 per cent in 2017, the fourth consecutive year of three per cent or more real GDP growth. The cumulative effect has fuelled employment growth to its strongest performance in almost 20 years, with the provincial jobless rate at its lowest level in nearly a decade.

However, while provincial economic conditions appear to be on a sound footing, BCREA expects economic growth to slow in 2018, expanding at a respectable 2.8 per cent, but lower than we have seen in some time. The province’s housing market will face additional economic headwinds in 2018, with rising interest rates eroding affordability and Guideline B-20 making it harder for some buyers to qualify for a mortgage.

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, notes that VIREB’S record December shows that consumers are still highly motivated to buy a home, but she encourages sellers to list their property now before mitigating economic factors have an impact on housing activity.“My advice to prospective sellers is not to delay listing their home until the spring,” says Stromar. “The VIREB area has been a sellers’ market for a long time, but we know that it cannot continue indefinitely.”

That said, since the current VIREB market still favours sellers, connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.

“REALTORS have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the buying and selling process to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients,” says Stromar.

In December 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area reached $466,400, up 17 per cent from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month rose to $284,400, up 28 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse hit $370,700, a 23 per cent increase from December 2016.

The December 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $375,100, an increase of 20 per cent over December 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $467,400, up 19 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $418,000, an increase of 16 per cent compared to December 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 17 per cent to $500,500 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 16 per cent to $524,900. The cost of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $249,800, up 16 per cent from one year ago. 

Lack of Inventory Continues to Drive Housing Market

December 1, 2017 – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that single-family home sales last month dipped by seven per cent from October but rose 23 per cent from November 2016.

Last month, 426 properties sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 346 one year ago and 458 in October. Inventory of single-family homes decreased by 13 per cent month over month and four per cent from one year ago. Although the supply of single-family homes for sale has been steadily rising each month since VIREB hit a historic low of 859 in December 2016, inventory dipped in October and once again in November.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) notes that the housing market in B.C. is thriving due to strong economic fundamentals, such as robust retail sales, job growth, and population growth. British Columbia’s economy continues to lead the country, with GDP in 2018 expected to hit 3.8 per cent. Government policy decisions, including slightly higher interest rates and the new mortgage stress test (Guideline B-20), could affect the housing market in 2018, but it is too early to say in what way.

Introduced by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Guideline B-20 – which takes effect on January 1, 2018 – extends the requirement for a mortgage stress test to all home buyers, even those who have more than 20 per cent as a down payment. However, some mortgage lenders – including credit unions such as Vancity, Coast Capital, and Prospera – do not come under OSFI’s jurisdiction, as they are provincially regulated by the Financial Institutions Commission. Unlike banks, which are federally regulated, credit unions in B.C. are not required to “stress test” their mortgage applicants. Therefore, buyers can get a mortgage with a credit union and income-qualify at the rate they will be paying, which may give them more purchasing power. But they would still have to pass the usual debt-service tests.

Don McClintock, VIREB President-Elect, reports that sales are still brisk throughout the VIREB area. Lack of inventory continues to drive home sales, and there are no apparent signs of buyer fatigue. However, multiple offers have decreased slightly in some markets, which could be good news for buyers.

“It’s emotionally draining when you continue to find, and then lose, the perfect home in a multiple-offer situation,” says McClintock. “Buyers will certainly welcome any relief on that front.”

However, the VIREB area is still a sellers’ market, notes McClintock, which makes this an optimum time to sell. He adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.

“Our current market conditions can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the process to ensure the best possible outcome,” says McClintock.

In November 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $463,200, up 17 per cent from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month rose to $274,100, up 26 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse was $359,200, a 21 per cent increase from November 2016.

The November 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $366,300, an increase of 18 per cent over November 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $467,200, up 21 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $410,700, an increase of 15 per cent compared to November 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 14 per cent to $497,200 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 16 per cent to $525,600. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $252,700, up 18 per cent from one year ago.

Buyer Demand and Low Inventory Driving Brisk Housing Market

 

NANAIMO, BC – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that single-family home sales in October 2017 rose by 16 per cent from one year ago but dipped 10 per cent from September.

Last month, 460 properties sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 398 one year ago and 511 in September.

When looking at these sales figures, however, it is important to note that 2016 was a banner year for real estate. Some market correction was expected in 2017, but sales activity in the VIREB area is still robust. Further, VIREB attributes most of the decline in sales numbers to ongoing inventory challenges. In fact, although the supply of single-family homes for sale has been steadily rising each month since VIREB hit a historic low of 859 in December 2016, inventory in October was just 1,138, down two per cent from last year and eight per cent from September.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that the housing market in British Columbia (B.C.), particularly in the southern half of the province, continues to thrive due to strong economic fundamentals. B.C.’s GDP is currently tracking at four per cent and is expected to average 3.7 per cent for the year. Government policy decisions, including slightly higher interest rates and the new mortgage stress test, could affect the housing market in 2018, but it is too early to say in what way. These attempts to temper rising home prices – aimed mainly at overheated markets in Vancouver and Toronto – will likely be counterbalanced by demographic factors, such as baby boomers entering their retirement years, millennials purchasing their first homes, and inter-provincial migration.

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, states that sales are still brisk throughout the VIREB area.

“Looking purely at statistics, it appears that the market is cooling, but the opposite is true,” says Stromar.

“Lack of inventory is certainly tempering sales, but what is available sells faster and for more money.” Stromar adds that multiple offers are still occurring regularly, even on condominiums, townhouses, and mobile homes, which is unusual for the VIREB area.

However, sellers still need to price their homes realistically. “Although many properties are selling above list price, sellers must set a reasonable price because consumers are savvy and may not look at an overpriced home,” says Stromar. Connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market, adds Stromar.

“Our current market conditions can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the process to ensure the best possible outcome while mitigating associated risks,” says Stromar.

In October 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area rose to $463,800, up 17 per cent from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month rose to $272,300, up 28 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse hit $360,100, a 22 per cent increase from 2016.

The October 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $366,800, an increase of 19 per cent over October 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $466,200, up 20 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $409,500, an increase of 14 per cent compared to October 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price broke the $500,000 mark, rising 14 per cent to hit $501,400. The Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 17 per cent to $524,900, while the price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $253,600, up 18 per cent from one year ago.

VIREB – Housing Market Shows No Signs of Cooling

October 2017 – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that single-family home sales dipped in September, down to 511 from last year’s 527, a decrease of three per cent. Sales declined by five per cent from August, which saw 540 sales. However, VIREB attributes the slight decline in sales numbers to seasonal market conditions and inventory challenges.

There were only 1,233 single-family homes for sale in September, a decrease of three per cent from 2016. Strong economic fundamentals are underpinning housing activity in British Columbia, particularly in the southern half of the province.

The B.C. economy has expanded at above-trend growth for over three years, with 2017 expected to be the fourth consecutive year of economic growth hitting three per cent or higher. Employment growth is around seven per cent, and consumer confidence is high, with retail sales in the province expected to climb close to eight per cent this year. Add a high level of inter-provincial migration to the mix, combined with the supply of homes for sale dropping to its lowest level in over a decade, and it is easy to see why home prices are rising and sellers’ markets thriving. These economic trends are expected to continue for the remainder of the year at least.

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, confirms that the VIREB area has been a sellers’ market for several months now. “With a sales-to-active-listings ratio of around 32 per cent, the VIREB market is firmly in sellers’ territory,” says Stromar. “A housing market is characterized as favouring sellers when the ratio of home sales to active listings is above 20 per cent, while a balanced market is between 14 and 20 per cent.”

Stromar adds that multiple offers are still occurring regularly, even on condominiums, townhouses, and mobile homes, which is unusual for the VIREB area. However, although many properties are selling above list price, sellers still need to price their homes correctly because consumers are savvy and will not purchase an overpriced home.

She offers the following advice for buyers. “When you find a property you like, you need to act quickly, so make sure your financing is pre-approved,” says Stromar. “You should also decide beforehand on the price you’re willing to pay if you find yourself in a multiple-offer situation.”

Connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market, adds Stromar. “Our current market conditions can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the process to ensure the best possible outcome while mitigating associated risks,” says Stromar.

In September 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area rose to $462,500, up 18 per cent from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) The benchmark price of an apartment last month rose to $270,600, up 30 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse hit $357,200, a 23 per cent increase from 2016.

The September 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $370,700, an increase of 22 per cent over September 2016. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $461,700, up 22 per cent from last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $410,500, an increase of 16 per cent compared to September 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 18 per cent to $498,300 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 16 per cent to $518,000. The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $254,700, up 18 per cent from one year ago.

Hey – We’re Still Affordable

 

MEDIA RELEASE

June 16, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VANCOUVER ISLAND REAL ESTATE BOARD RELEASES 2016 BUYER PROFILE

NANAIMO, BC –             The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) has released its 2016 Buyer Profile, tracking the who, what, and where of residential property purchases north of Victoria on Vancouver Island.

The 2016 Buyer Profile provides statistical information summarizing “home characteristics” for VIREB’s overall board area, as well as for the various sub-areas within its boundaries. These include Duncan-Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo, Port Alberni-West Coast, Parksville-Qualicum, Comox Valley, Campbell River, North Island, and the Islands.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir notes that the profile reveals interesting demographic trends.

“At 81.5 per cent, owner-occupiers continue to be the primary buyers in the VIREB area. Investment purchases rose slightly from 2015 but still represent only 2.7 per cent of the market. Purchases of recreation homes dipped slightly in 2016 compared to the previous year, comprising just 1.3 per cent of home sales,” says Muir.

Despite rising prices in the VIREB area, housing is still more affordable compared to the Lower Mainland and Victoria, notes Muir.

“In 2016, 26 per cent of homes that sold were under $250,000, 51 per cent were under $350,000, and 68 per cent sold for under $500,000, “says Muir. “Only 1.4 per cent of homes in the VIREB area sold for more than $1 million dollars.”

At 58 per cent, single-family detached homes represented the majority of purchases in 2016, with condominium apartments accounting for 10 per cent of purchases and townhomes garnering 7.2 per cent of total home sales. The percentage of first-time buyers in 2016 was 17.5 per cent in the Cowichan Valley. 17.9 per cent in Port Alberni-West Coast, and 22 per cent in Nanaimo. Just 8.4 per cent of purchasers in Parksville-Qualicum were first-time buyers, not surprising since this area is a particularly attractive location for retirees. For the overall board area, home purchases by retirees remained brisk but did drop to 57 per cent last year from 62 per cent in 2015.

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, notes that the data presented in the buyer profile is not surprising. The range of residential property options is tremendously appealing to both local and out-of-province buyers, as are the Vancouver Island lifestyle, climate, and amenities.

 

“Vancouver Island delivers the best of West Coast living in a more affordable and relaxed setting than what you’ll find on the Lower Mainland,” says Stromar. “And, whether you’re a first-time home buyer, a retiree, or an investor, you’re sure to find a property that works for you.”

Other trends noted in the report include the following.

  • Nearly two-thirds of home buyers (65.7 per cent) found their property through a REALTOR® and/or REALTOR.ca.
  • The number of Alberta buyers increased slightly, growing from 9.7 per cent in 2015 to 10.4 per cent in 2016.
  • In terms of aggregated buyer origin, home purchasers break down as follows: o 31.6 per cent from Vancouver Island;
    • 41.6 per cent from elsewhere in British Columbia (Vancouver and the Fraser Valley make up 27.8 per cent of that figure);
    • 24.2 per cent from elsewhere in Canada; and o 2.6 per cent from outside of Canada.

VIREB’s 2016 Buyer Profile also highlights regional differences. The report is available online at www.vireb.com. – 30          -

ABOUT VIREB

VIREB represents approximately 1,000 REALTOR® members in nearly 90 member offices on Vancouver Island, from the Malahat in the south to the northern tip.

For more information, please contact:

Nora Cserny

Communications Department

Vancouver Island Real Estate Board

250.390.4212

ncserny@vireb.com