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Here is a snippet from the Vicoria Real Estate Board...

Strong Victoria Real Estate Market Continues

November 2, 2015, Victoria BC - The Victoria Real Estate Board today released its report on real estate activity for October 2015. A total of 734 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this October, an increase of 21.9% compared to the 602 properties sold in the same month last year.

There were 3,170 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of October, 19.3% fewer than the 3,927 active listings in October 2014. 

"This is the twenty-ninth month in a row that we've seen monthly sales increase over the year before," Victoria Real Estate Board President Guy Crozier says. "This month we also saw sales numbers surpass the total for last year - in 2014 there were 6,698 sales and as of October 31, 2015 there are 7,257 sales on record with two months to go in 2015! We're looking down the home stretch of 2015 and there is no sign of a market slow down." 

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core last year in October was $555,900. The benchmark value for the same home in October 2015 has increased by 9.4% to $608,200.

What's President Crozier's advice to buyers shopping for their perfect home? "It's critical to work closely with your REALTOR® to stay on top of the market. With home sales almost at the pace of new listings, the market is moving quickly and some homes in high demand areas like the Victoria Core are selling in days. Working with your Realtor on a plan of what you require over the course of the transaction can remove stress and risk from the process." 

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Thank you again for all of the referrals, everyone! Veronica and I are so appreciative of your trust in us and for the opportunity to work with new clients.

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BUSY TIMES AHEAD?

Based on the activity at the end of 2014 and even over the holidays, it looks like the Victoria real estate market is going to be quite active at the beginning of 2015. No major changes in prices are forecasted, but a steady strong year is expected.

Is this a good time to buy? If you are buying a property that you can and will likely keep for AT LEAST five years, then yes. Prices are not expected to fall but no major peaks are expected either.

Pricing is easier these days too, as we have been in this balanced market for a few years. There are lots of comparable listings and sales to look at when we are recommending asking prices for sellers and offer prices for buyers. Listings must be priced competitively and buyers are not willing to overpay which has been a theme for the last few years in Victoria.

All this makes for a pretty predictable time to buy or sell which should please even the most cautious of players in this marketplace.

Please feel free to email with questions about pricing and inventory in specific neighbourhoods in Victoria. If you would like a market update on your home or you know someone who is thinking of buying or selling and wants more information, I would be so pleased to chat.

Happy 2015!

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Thank you so much to all of the people who bought or sold with me and my team in 2014. It was a steady year and your trust in our advice, help and service means the world to us!

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Congrats to our sellers who have now moved out of their waterview property on Willis Point. We were very pleased to get a deal together for them on that unique property.

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NEW LISTING - 2710 Jacklin Rd #113 - $245,000 – Two bed, two bath 2009 built, ground floor condo with its own little yard space! Nice layout and rentals and pet allowed!

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Congrats to our mainland buyers who found a charming home in Deer Park in Mill Bay which ticked all of their boxes after a thorough house hunting trip in the Fall. Thank you so much for letting us help! 

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MARKET UPDATE

Happy Autumn! The leaves are starting to fall from the trees but the real estate sales and prices sure aren’t falling!

"Here we are again, a month in 2014 ending with more sales than in 2013," Victoria Real Estate Board President Tim Ayres says. "This year has been a solid year for local real estate - indeed we are only 154 transactions away from meeting the total number of sales from 2013 - and there are two more months left in the year!"

To discuss whether this is the right time for you to buy or sell real estate in this market, please get in touch to chat Innocent

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SOLD - Congratulations to our out of town seller who sold his North Park townhome for a solid price, in a very reasonable amount of time, with ease. Veronica handled this listing and transaction almost entirely online which worked wonderfully for our client. 

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FOUND - Congrats to our Edmonton buyer escaping the winters and buying a well priced two bed, two bath condo in the Jubilee area. She is very happy to be in Beautiful Victoria and with her investment and new home.

FOUND - Congratulations to our Vancouver buyers who purchased a Gorge area gem with many extras. They got an excellent price on this house thanks to the amazing Veronica.

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SUMMER 2014 MARKET UPDATE

Please check out the latest stats to see the proof positive of the recent Victoria real estate market. Houses, townhouses and condos are all up in price from this time last year and sales volume is too. This was the best August in the last 5 years! The increases are not dramatic, however, so these results are in keeping with our predictions of modest improvements in market conditions over the few years.

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Hello and Happy Spring! 

The blossoms are blooming and flowers are popping up everywhere in Victoria, as are the For Sale signs! 

The real estate market has certainly picked up in 2014, as we expected with the shift to a more balanced market last Fall. Sales volume is up over previous months and over last year and prices are holding steady with modest increases. My prediction is for prices to continue to rise slightly over this coming year and the next few years with less of an increase for condos and outer lying areas and more for single family homes and closer areas to town. 

Surprisingly, interest rates dropped recently which is spurring on smart buyers who plan to take advantage of this low point in prices and rates. The buyers are out there and many of them motivated. However, they are still slower to act and are very careful with every dollar they are spending. Most of the transactions Veronica and I have facilitated this year so far have been painful at times to negotiate for both buyer and seller. Sellers are hopeful with the activity their listings see, but when it comes down to it, buyers are still very cautious and want a deal if they are going to put pen to paper. Buyers are extremely well educated on the market and know value when they see it. Sellers who price right will see action quickly. Overpriced listings may get some attention, but will not sell at the higher price. Offers will come in low and negotiations may take days or more to come together or may end up dying on the table. 

So needless to say Veronica and I have been working very hard this year so far. Our efforts have paid off and we have successfully helped many buyers and sellers meet their real estate objectives in 2014 already. A huge thank you to all of the clients we have been able to help recently and the many we are still working with to achieve their goals. 

Veronica will be handling more of the day-to-day coming soon as I gear up for our 2nd baby’s arrival. Our clients are all thrilled with Veronica’s service, advice and expertise. She really is an exceptional agent and I feel so fortunate to have her on board. 

As we move into Spring and Summer, please do not hesitate to get in touch with either of us directly for any of your real estate needs, questions or queries. She is Cc’d on this email. One of us will respond ASAP as usual and the service offered will be the same as what you have been used to. 

In the meantime, I will keep you posted on Little Miss Larkins’ arrival and will certainly be staying in touch. 

Enjoy the beautiful bloomings and all the best from me!

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TESTIMONIAL OF THE MONTH – “Thank you so much....We LOVE our new house! We couldn't be happier to have had you and Veronica as our realtors :)”

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THANKS AGAIN!

I just wanted to announce that Iplaced in the Top 25 Agents at Pemberton Holmes for 2013! I’m quite proud of this as there are hundreds of professional REALTOR®s working at PH. I also won a Silver MLS award for 2013. So thank you to everyone who worked with me and my team last year and who refered their friends and family our way as well!!!

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NEW LISTING – 848 Melody Place - $612,800 – Serene ocean view .82 acre lot with a 2600 sqft house, two cabins, a yurt, abundant parking, decking, trees and tranquility only 20 mins from town on Willis Point! 

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NEW LISTING - 1137 View St #402 – $364,900 - 2 Bed plus loft, 2 bath with lovely updates, nice outlook and top floor corner location on quiet downtown location!

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SOLD - Nicely updated 5 bed, 2 bath home in Lake Hill with mortgage helper and super convenient location. Our sellers made a great choice with having the upstairs of this home professionally staged. We had 8 showings the first day and solid interest. Veronica and I helped them sell this one firm within 3 weeks J

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SOLD – Lovely 3 bed, 2 bath home on a quiet street and a fabulous lot in Saanich J Our buyers got a great price on this house the first day on the market thanks to Veronica’s expertise ;) Congrats to some of our loveliest clients ever!

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SOLD – Spacious harbour view 2 bed, 2 bath condo at Laurel Point! Veronica and I sold this one within days for dollars off the asking price. Congrats to our sellers and kudos to them for their presentation efforts inside the suite and perfect pricing decision!

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NEW LISTING – 225 Belleville St #1003 - $470,000 - Spacious harbour view 2 bed, 2 bath condo at Laurel Point!

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NEW LISTING – 4030 Century Rd - $559,000 – Nicely updated 5 bed, 2 bath home in Lake Hill with mortgage helper and super convenient location!

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MARKET UPDATE – Here are the latest stats from the Victoria Real Estate Board. You can see that prices are on the rise again. I personally believe that we have hit bottom now and will see modest increases in the next year. Also, interest rates have just gone down, so the stage is set for an active Spring in the Victoria real estate market. If you or someone you know are thinking of making a move in 2014, Veronica and I would love to help advise you. Please page us at 250-384-8124 or email at Info@HomesByNaomi.com .

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December 2013 - Recapping the year 

Happy holidays!! 

As 2013 comes to a close, I am hoping to quickly update you on the real estate market in Victoria and also some business and personal news from me...

In the second half of 2012 the market started to shift in Victoria. The mortgage rules changed and the economic news was still fairly bleak; consequently, buyers pulled back, while sellers felt the pinch and either pulled their listings off the market or significantly reduced the price to get them sold. This trend continued into the first half of 2013 and we saw prices fall further. What felt like a horrible market for sellers and a very challenging market for REALTOR®s was really just a shift to a more balanced and realistic market.

The entire Victoria area has experienced lower selling prices in all types of property over the last year, with the most significant softening in the condo market and in the outer lying communities. In general, the further the location from the core, the softer the market and the stronger the downward effect on selling prices.

The first 6-8 months of 2013 for me and for many of my clients were quite frustrating. This was certainly the most challenging year I have had in real estate sales. I was busy as usual, but getting the results for my clients that I was used to, was much tougher and in some cases impossible.

Finally in the late summer, the clouds seemed to part and both I and my clients were happily starting to get results. This also coincided (coincidentally... maybe?) with my new business partnership with Veronica Crha (see below for a pic.)

Veronica and I have worked together for the last two years at Pemberton Holmes, but decided in the summer that we would work more closely with her helping some of my clients alongside me. From the moment Veronica and I agreed to work together, I felt as though I had won the lottery. She is an amazing human being. Her professionalism and standard of service is very closely matched to mine and my clients have been thrilled with her help thus far. We bring slightly different experience to the table and we complement each other in a few ways, but mostly are virtually identical in the way we work with buyers and sellers.

This fall we have collaborated on many successful transactions and our clients have described us as a ‘Dream Team.’ All of the feedback has been fantastic and we have had a very busy past few months. We both continue to service clients on our own, but will be working together with most of my clients moving forward.

2013 looks like it will be a strong and steady year. We anticipate a balanced market with moderate price increases and fairly strong sales numbers. In other words, no major shifts, spikes or slumps this year, for which I will be quite glad! 

Also, this year I will be quite glad to welcome another little Larkins into the world. We are expecting a baby girl in early May. Big-brother-to-be, Nathan, will be 3yrs by then and is quite excited about the addition. He told me yesterday that he wishes the baby would just COME OUT! But he is also quite concerned about her ‘stealing his toys.’ I’m sure it will not be dull and boring ;) 

I know my business will continue to flourish and I will only be completely out of touch for a short time. Meanwhile, I have full confidence that Veronica will be dedicating herself to creating client satisfaction as I have – if not even better! 

I look forward to connecting with many of you over the phone or via email during the holidays and into the New Year. Also, please stay tuned for details about our Client Appreciation Party slated for early February 2014!! 

Thank you for reading this and also for your continued support. Your business and referrals mean the world to me and are very much appreciated. 

Wishing you the happiest of holidays and all the very best from me! 

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NOVEMBER 3rd 2013

BUSINESS UPDATE: As most of you know, Veronica Crha and I are now working together to service the HomesByNaomi business. We are working hand-in-hand with many clients now and are able to provide a very consistent experience for clients as we are extremely alike in our skill sets, personality and work ethic. I feel like I have won the lottery having Veronica’s help. She is such a fabulous agent and an amazing person. The feedback is in from the clients and they love her as much as I do! No surprise. We were recently described as a “Dream Team.” Here is a quick bio on the lovely Veronica:

VeronicaA proud lifelong Victoria resident, Veronica brings extensive local knowledge and a reputation for exceptional service in every facet of buying and selling real estate. Priding herself on helping clients make wise decisions when buying or selling their home, Veronica offers the highest level of integrity, a keen understanding of the local market, and honest, sound leadership. Veronica and her family live in the Maplewood area of Saanich and she is actively involved at Cloverdale Traditional Elementary School where her daughter attends grade five.    

MARKET UPDATE: The Victoria Real Estate Board is now reporting Victoria’s stats in a different way. Please have a look at this article which explains it well. I am pleased with this new change as it reflects the actual affect of market changes on pricing, rather than reporting average pricing numbers which can be so easily skewed with high and low end sales each month.

This October’s Victoria real estate sales #’s were up 37%! I certainly felt this in my business as buyers became more motivated and (unfortunately for them) the supply of properties decreased. In many areas of Greater Victoria, we are no longer in a buyer’s market. In fact, Veronica and I found ourselves in more than a few multiple offer situations this past month!

Veronica and I are still working with motivated buyers who are trolling our custom MLS® searches for new quality listings and we are out seeing places regularly. Meanwhile, our listing inventory is way down.

More than ever, I am recommending to sellers that they list NOW rather than waiting for the Spring. The New Year is when everybody lists, so there is abundant competition. Right now, there is very little competition and buyers are wanting to write offers before their interest rates rise again. There is unlikely to be any significant movement either way in pricing in the next few months, so there is not much strategy in waiting for a higher selling price. In fact, when buyers are motivated, as they are now, especially with their rate holds only lasting another month or so, they may be willing to pay more than they would be in the New Year once the purchase will actually be more expensive and there is more choice for them. Think about it sellers ;)

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FEATURE LISTING WITH NEW PRICE - $259,000!!! Our 2 Bed, 2 Bath condo is now priced below what it was purchased for before many improvements were made. This is an opportunity for a buyer who wants the security of a strata who has a HUGE contingency fund, yet low strata fee. UG parking included and an extra spot available. Children and pets are welcome and 950 sqft to enjoy. 

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FOUND! A solid 60’s family home on a gorgeous street in Mt. Tolmie. Our clients will need to put in some work for this one to be perfect, but they saw HUGE opportunity with this gem and ended up securing it for over $118K under assessed value – right on! We are sure after a few months of improvements our clients family will be very happy for years to come in this fabulous home Smile

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FOUND! An amazing house prime for renovation in Central Saanich. This is the second home my clients have purchased with me with the goal of to improving it. They are savvy and handy and we got a fabulous price of $20K under asking price even though we were in multiple offers!! This is a rare situation, but we were able to take advantage of the opportunity and I know it will pay off for my wonderful clients!

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SOLD!! 1270 Johnson St #206 – This was a quick sale which is hard to come by in the condo market right now. Our clients worked with stagers to perfect their already magnificent 2 bed, 2 bath corner condo located super close to downtown and they got an offer within a few days. The place looked amazing in the pics and really appealed to a variety of buyers. Well done to our sellers and thank you for letting Veronica and I help!

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SOLD!! Turnstone Estates – Another tough Westshore sale. Veronica brought a fresh perspective to this listing when she came on board in August and it paid off. We got the price in the perfect range and got an offer within the month. It is now SOLD and my clients can make their move to the mainland – congrats to them!!

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OCTOBER 2013

Here are the latest stats where you can see the marked improvement in the market from this month last year! Sales #’s were up 16% and # of listings was down 9.5%.

Finally sellers are either removing their overpriced listings from the market or reducing the prices to reflect the reality of the recent market correction. Meanwhile, buyers are motivated to get their next home secured before interest rates rise again. We are again in a more balanced market where serious buyers and sellers can come to terms more easily.

OTHER NEWS

I was #6 in my company last month! (That’s out of over 200 agents.) Thank you so much to my loyal clients who have bought or sold with me this past month. The support of ALL of my clients – past, present and future means so much to me and you are all so wonderful to work with!

I owe much of my September success to my new associate Veronica Crha!! Veronica and I have been working together for the last two years, and we have recently decided to work together on some of our transactions. Knowing that everyone needs time off once in a while (even REALTOR®s ;) ) we will be covering each other when needed. We are able to provide a very smooth transition for clients as we are extremely alike in our skill sets, personality and work ethic. I feel like I have won the lottery working with Veronica. She is such a fabulous agent and an amazing person. Thank you Veronica!!

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FEATURE LISTING - $1,190,000 – 4900 La Bonne Rd in majestic Metchosin! Exceptionally designed 2008 Mountain Craftsman rancher with many locally sourced building materials on a 5 acre parcel with supreme privacy! Living features impressive wood burning FP, 22' ceilings, & oversized windows to flat grassy yard, all day sun, superb water feature & 1500sqft deck w/hot tub & covered outdoor living rm w/cozy FP! Main house also has chef’s kitchen,  4 beds and 3 baths plus bright media/flex rm above dble garage. Detached  additional 3Bay garage/shop with amazing potential above!

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SOLD 551 Bezanton #21 – My clients have now successfully sold their beautiful townhouse in Colwood. Madrona Creek is one of the nicest townhouse developments in the $500K range in all of Greater Victoria. As with much of the Westshore, this complex was hit hard by the market downturn. However, I was able to sell this one for only $5000 less than they paid brand new in 2009 whereas the AVERAGE comparable townhouse was selling for a maximum of $50,000 less than when they purchased. (Yes, average – meaning some have lost even more!) I am quite proud of this and my clients were pleased as well.

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FOUND! A unique ocean view home on a half acre lot in Mill Bay. I was excited to help my new buyers purchase only a few minutes from where I grew up! The Mill Bay market has been slow, so we were able to get a good price for this awesome house and property. Congrats to them and welcome to the Island!

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NEW LISTING $279,900 - 3010 Washington #109 – This 2 bed, 2 FULL bath condo with in suite laundry only a few mins drive from downtown and on transit routes has been treated to many updates. Underground secure parking and storage plus children and pets welcome!

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SEPTEMBER 2013 MARKET UPDATE

Finally some action this past month! Personally this has been the toughest year in real estate I have ever had. Buyers and sellers are on different pages, rightly so in many cases. For both me and my clients during this past Spring and Summer we have felt like we have been spinning our wheels. Here are the stats which don’t quite do the reality of the Victoria Real Estate Marker justice. It really is a great opportunity for buyers right now with an abundant selection of homes, sellers reducing their priced and prices on average down. With mortgage rates likely to rise in the next few months, it could be the right environment for a market improvement.

SOLD!! 1977 Valley View Place – My clients were very pleased to hand their fabulous home over to the next family to love it. Staging helped this empty home feel warm and inviting, showed off the many updates and allowed it to appeal to all sorts of different buyers. Congrats to my sellers and thank you to my other past client for the referral!

FOUND!! A fabulous townhouse in my neighbourhood which my clients can happily downsize to! What a pleasure it was helping these wise clients with their move. Welcome to the ‘hood!

SOLD!! 1291 Eston Place – I’m not going to lie, this wasn’t the quickest sale. The Bear Mountain market was slow and we had to reduce in order to entice buyers. Just as my clients were about to give up on their move, we got some last minute interest and everything fell into place. I had a feeling it would!

FOUND!! My savvy past clients found an awesome house in Gordon Head with bells and whistles coming out of its... you get the picture. This 6 bed, 3 bath home with a suite had had extensive upgrades and the owner had spared no expense. Congrats to them for securing this place for their family and thanks again for letting me help!

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JUNE 1st 2013 MARKET UPDATE

Here are the most recent stats where you can see that it is clearly still a buyer’s market. Prices are down, more than these graphs accurately depict. The Westshore is particularly challenged as some buyers chose to move further in, given the reduction in prices closer to town.

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NEW LISTING - $600,000 – 1977 Valley View Place in View Royal! This 6 bed, 3 bath home offers beautiful upgrades and easy care lot and a location to die for on a quiet cul de sac within walking distance to Thetis. This one has been professionally staged and shows beautifully!

SOLD!! 1068 Costin Ave – A successful sale for my lovely clients in under two months meant they could make a smooth move up island, exactly as planned. It wasn’t without some hard work getting this property picture perfect for sale and even after the offer to keep everything together, but now they are off to start the next chapter of their lives!

SOLD!! 1597 Midgard #104 – In only 8 days we sold this two bedroom condo in Mt. Tolmie. The condo market has been a battle this year, and my clients were well prepared to know a good opportunity to sell when they saw it. What a pleasure working with this client again and congrats again on a quick and successful sale J

FOUND!! After a long search of condos and townhouses in Oak Bay, Saanich East and Victoria, my charming clients moving from Edmonton found and secured an amazing deal of a condo with over 1500 sqft right on Oak Bay Ave. Walking distance to everything, close to family and all the space they needed, over a hundred thousand less than alternatives. Yahoo!

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NEW LISTING – $350,000 - 1068 Costin Ave in Langford is a lovely half duplex with beautiful updates and a great fenced yard. 3 beds, 2 baths and close to schools, parks and amenities. 

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FOUND!! After courting this spacious top floor condo in Fernwood for a few months, I helped my client secure it with a subject to sale offer. We pulled off what others thought was impossible and now she is happily moved and will be staying put for the long haul!

SOLD!! 928 Southgate #102 – My happy client was able to sell her beautiful condo across from Beacon Hill Park in under two months at 96% of asking price. Condos have been a tough sell with the introduction of depreciation reports for stratas this year, so we are very pleased with this success Smile

MAY 1st Market Update now available! More to follow...

FOUND!! My fabulous past clients moving back to Victoria were here for a whirlwind buying trip and we found the The One – a charming 1949 Bungalo in Cedar Hill with a suite for $576,500! Nice yard, detached garage, quiet street and almost no work to be done. Congrats and welcome back to Vic!   

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MARKET UPDATE MARCH 2013

The Victoria Real Estate Board sales stats for February weren’t too promising – for sellers that is. That being said, I am starting to see the first trickles of water breaking through the winter dam... Lots of buyers starting their searches, lots of sellers wanting updates on what their home is worth now and whether this is a good time to buy and sell.

I have four accepted offers right now – three subject to the sale of another property. Some for my sellers and some for my buyers. This trend explains why things are feeling much busier, but the numbers aren’t reflecting the increased pace of the market yet. Once those homes sell, along with many others, the flow of transactions will start to pick up and I think we will see much higher sales numbers in a month or two, compared to this past month and 2012.

Prices will likely remain very steady this year. They are definitely down from a few years ago. (How much? I'd be happy show you what the specific price graph looks like for a particular type of home in a particular area. Just email me the request.) Plus interest rates just keep getting lower. It’s unbelievable really, and unbelievable that more first time home buyers aren’t taking advantage of the current market conditions. Activity from the first timers would be the push that this market needs to get moving again.

Otherwise, the holding pattern will continue as homeowners wait to make their moves, even though they can see what they want on the market at the right price, because they are hesitant to sell in this market.

This is smart thinking, and for some people it really does make sense to wait right now. For others, and with the right advice and representation on selling and buying, this is a great opportunity. There are some killer deals out there right now and it is basically cheaper to buy than rent in many cases with the rates this low.

Some other factors at work in the Victoria Real Estate market right now are... The end of HST – I think the whole thing is totally ridiculous and quite confusing for buyers of new construction, however, the idea of this change may spur on more purchasers contemplating big ticket items this coming Spring. New construction taxes won’t be improved much at all in reality though, because the BC government has implemented a two year 2% Transitional Tax. I can provide more details on this if you’d like. The good news is that I only have to charge 5% GST on my commission now on any sales closing after April 1st – yay!

Please remember, that any contact I have with buyers and sellers is time well spent. If you are wanting to discuss a move in the future and want to start ‘just looking’ at what’s out there, or if you want some advise on getting your home ready to sell, I’m your gal! Call or email any time!

Thanks so much again for the referrals I keep getting from my past clients. Your recommendations means so much to me!!

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FEATURE LISTINGS

1291 Eston $850,000, Stunning 6 Beds, 4 Baths, 4000 sqft with a sweet suite and beautiful synthetic lawn – no mowing!

1146 View st #402 $300,000, Fully updated, top floor, corner, S/W facing  2 Bed condo!

928 Southgate #102 $350,000 Beautifully updated, sunny, 2 Bed, 2 Bath condo across from Beacon Hill Park!

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MARKET UPDATE FEB 2013

So... the fact that it is the 11th of Feb and I have hardly had a chance to provide a market update this year is a good sign for the Victoria Real Estate market!

To give you a few good news stories: I requested showings on 14 different houses on Sunday and I could only get into 8 because the others had accepted offers. That wasn’t the best news for my buyers of course, but it is a welcome change in the market from 2012. This was houses in town under $600K in the most sought after areas. Whereas sales on the Westshore are still slower. Showings are picking up significantly on my Westshore listings, however. And normally when things start to pick up in town, the areas further out of downtown are soon to follow.

Another surprising turn: After a few months on the market, many showings and one offer, my acreage in Metchosin is expecting multiple offers! Very exciting and very 2007esque Wink  Will keep you all posted on that one.

So if you know any potential sellers, please pass on this good news and let them know that I think the next month or so will be quite active. The first few months of the year in Victoria tend to be one of the best times to sell because many homeowners tend to wait until Spring to list, but the buyers start to get serious much sooner.

For buyers, you will certainly have more choice come Spring and with interest rates staying low for the next many months and prices down from last year – the stage is set for an excellent time to buy. There are some deals to be had out there right now. As demand increases, prices may creep up a little this Spring, but I predict they will stay pretty level... for quite a while.

Hope this helps!

Please pass my name along to those you know who are considering a move in 2013. I am never too busy for your referrals!  

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NEW LISTING – 928 Southgate #102 Beautifully updated 2 bed, 2 bath condo - $350,000

Incredible LOCATION & outlook onto Beacon Hill Park! This SOUTH FACING 2BR, 2Bth condo has been treated to over $50K of recent UPGRADES & offers an exceptional layout! Stunning engineered Oak flrs, sunny FULLY RENOVATED KITCHEN, semi-open concept dining (a welcome change to the usual L-shaped plan) & spacious living featuring cozy GAS f/p opening to bright sunrm w/lovely garden & park views. Master overlooks private grass, has chic marine inspired FULL ENSUITE & loads of closet space. 2nd BR is HUGE w/ample space 4 kids, guests or your DREAM OFFICE! No neighbrs on 3 sides! Abundant closets w/great organizers plus 3 storage spaces, parking included & IN SUITE LAUNDRY! Very stroller/wheelchair friendly, some rentals, CHILDREN & PETS welcome!

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Exciting news – I am thrilled to announce that I was in the Top 25 Agents in my Pemberton Holmes office in 2012. Let’s be honest – I barely squeeked in at #24, but out of 220+ agents, I’m pretty honoured!Cool

I ALSO won a Silver MLS Award for 2012. This means I was in the top 20% of REALTOR® across Victoria and area. Yay me!

And more importantly, thank you very much to all the buyers and sellers who worked with me in 2012. Better than awards are the happy faces on my clients when we successfully secure the right home or the right buyer for their home. I mean that very sincerely. Smile

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NEW LISTING – 1291 Eston Place, Gorgeous 6 bed, 4 bath, 4000 sqft home $850,000

Exceedingly well blt 2007 home w/majestic Mt views, spectacular flrplan, & fabulous legal 2BR suite! 4000 sqft of living featuring gourmet appointed kitchen open to airy family rm, bright eating space & skylit formal living & dining. Upstairs is roomy master w/spa ensuite (heated flrs, his&her sinks & relaxing Jacuzzi) huge wlk-in closet & deck w/serene views  plus 2 more BR's & den (easily used as 4thBR up) Large laundry up for convenience plus sep laundry for 2BR suite, sep entry & patio - perfect for extended family, nanny or solid mortgage helper. Oversized 2car garage w/13ft ceilings & large storage/workshop. Extremely low-care yard w/$27K of upgrades. Quiet, safe cul-de-sac close to all amenities plus world class dining, spa & golf!

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HAPPY 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are the stats recapping 2012http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php It definitely was not the best year for Victoria Real Estate!

I predict more activity in the next few months. I am already getting more and more calls. January and more so February could be good months for sellers!

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HUGE HAPPY HOLIDAYS to my clients past, present and future!!!!

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QUICK MARKET UPDATE Dec 2012 

The updated Sales Stats for Dec 1st 2012 are ready for you to view here.  http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php You will see a message from the Victoria Real Estate Board’s president and you can scroll down to the links at the bottom to view the graphs showing prices over the last 2 years and listings and sales #’s as well. The last two links depict the current state of the market best visually.

As you can see, the Victoria real estate market is really slow right now. There are currently about 4200 listings on the market – wow! And sales numbers are quite low. Prices have also been on a downward trend over the last 4 to 9 months, depending on the type of property (see second to last graph on the newsletter page.)

My opinion is that this is further slowdown is largely due to the mortgage rule changes. Please see my rant about this below.

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NEW LISTING – 1146 View St #402 – 2 Bed, Gorgeous Downtown Condo - $300,000

Exceptionally spacious S/W facing penthouse suite, updated from top to bottom! Kitchen features stainless GE appliances, new cabinetry, backsplash, island with breakfast bar & granite counters. Bathroom offers all new fixtures, tile flooring & granite vanity! Beautiful new flooring, trim, doors, lighting & paint throughout! Enjoy gorgeous sun sets overlooking the city out to Sooke Hills from this bright, top floor corner home on a very quiet part of View st away from the bustle, yet minutes to grocery, theatres, coffee & the ocean! 1350 sqft of living space including airey sunroom for year round enjoyment, huge dining, living & master with walk-in. Large seperate storage, guest suite, bike storage & parking!

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NEW LISTING – 551 Bezanton Way #21 – 3 Bed, 3 Bath Townhouse - $525,000

Privacy assured! This quiet, pristine townhome looks onto treed ravine - enjoy natural views from the large sunny deck & spacious great room, open to dining & gourmet kitchen with elegant granite, eating bar & upgraded stainless appliances. No need to do stairs every day - generous master on the main level with deluxe ensuite featuring heated floors, soaker tub & sep. shower. Lovely separation of space with two bdrms & a large full bath down plus a family rm & office space! Abundant storage on lower level, two car garage, smart wiring, gas stove & BBQ hook-up plus air conditioning thx to heat pump! Minutes to golf, amazing trails, Red Barn Market, new pharmacy & medical. Enjoy this tranquil setting nestled in a blossoming community.

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NEW LISTING – 3769 Duke Rd – 4 Bed, 4 Bath, 2600 sqft house, multiple garages and an amazing 2000 sqft shop! $725,000

Location, location! Enjoy Red Barn Market, Pharmacy & medical within minutes plus upcoming Royal Bay waterfront village while relaxing within the rural setting of Metchosin with beach a few mins away! On this sunny 1.6 acre parcel sits a solid 1970's house updated & extended in the 90's with carport, plus garage (perfect for hobby vehicles) detached two car garage with small attached studio & 2000sqft shop at the back of the property with 14ft ceilings & 200amp! House has 3 bdrms & 3 baths up with large functional eat-in kitchen, sunroom plus formal living & dining! Downstairs has family room, 4th bdrm, bathroom & storage. Improvements in last few years include: furnace, roof & heat pump! Loads of room for boat, RV, toys & a home business!

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MARKET UPDATE October 2012

A re-cap of the current Victoria real estate market is now available athttp://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the links to see the new stats.

You can see that average prices for single family homes and condos has stayed fairly steady over the last few months. Townhouse averages have dropped a little. I have certainly found townhouse prices being affected on the Westshore where price reductions are abundant and sellers are often coming down lower than when they purchased a few years ago.

Strangely enough, I find that many active buyers, especially those who are downsizing, are actually looking for a townhouse as their next home. Most of these buyers want a one level home, ideally. However, I think the “standoff” that the Victoria Real Estate Board president is referring to, comes into play here because these buyers almost always have to sell a house in order to buy the townhouse. They are perfectly happy in their home, they don’t need to move, AND they feel the market is weak. Therefore, they stay put for now and the townhouses stay on the market. Meanwhile, the other end of the townhouse buying market (the first time buyers) have slowed down as well, in part due to the recent mortgage changes (see below.)

More than ever it is important to have a home looking its best for sale and presented as well as possible online. This is where 96% of buyers will view the home they eventually buy first. Staging, fix-ups around the home and exceptional online presentation almost always lead to a quicker and more lucrative sale. I have lots of tips, so please ask!

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NEW LISTING – 2120 Harrow Gate #130 – 3 Bed, 3 Bath, 1750 sqft Townhouse with Master on the Main Level!! $450,000

Bright 3BR, 3BTH townhouse in quiet, safe established neighbourhood on Bear Mt. Spacious, sunny open concept living, dining & kitchen w/abundant cupboard & counter space, plus laundry w/storage, 2 pc bath & MASTER ON MAIN w/walk-in closet & full ensuite. Master & living open to LOVELY BACKYARD w/patio, privacy wall & lots of grass. Upstairs 2 nicely sized BRs & full bath - perfect for kids or guests. Full crawl space & additional enclosures provide BOUNTIFUL STORAGE. Generous DOUBLE GARAGE, built-in vac, brand new water tank & low flow toilets. Views & surroundings established, great neighbours & close to all amenities plus world class dining & golf! Pets, rentals & children welcome, easy, well run strata. Priced to sell in current market!

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MARKET UPDATE August 2012

I think the Victoria Real Estate Board president sums up the current Victoria real estate market best with “stable pricing, low interest rates and good selection.” This Summer has seen very similar sales numbers over last with actually slightly lower inventory overall.  

I predict similar sales numbers for the rest of the Summer and into September with an increase in activity come mid-September and definitely an increase in inventory at that time also.

Remember, it is always tempting to list when everyone else lists: January-March or September. However, there are advantages to sellers who list at less predictable times of the year. I have further advice on this, so please ask. Buyers, however, are smart to ramp up their searches at these times of the year because inventory is at its highest. The next few months are excellent for buyers as many sellers have been waiting all Summer to sell and/or are trying to sell before Winter.

Here are the price and inventory graphs for you to pour over. Please call or email to discuss any specific questions re the market and timing of buying or selling.

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MY TAKE ON RECENT MORTGAGE CHANGES

In July there were further changes made in the mortgage lending world with tightening qualification and re-finance parameters, lowered amortization periods and more.

My colleague, Fernando Zilli at TD has offered the following details on the changes and what is behind them.

These mortgage changes are supposed to help maintain economic stability in Canada. I certainly believe that many Canadians are in too much debt, however, these changes specifically seem to inhibit first time buyers and some up-sizers unnecessarily.

The number of foreclosures in BC is miniscule overall. So the Bank of Canada sees that many Canadians are in debt and decides to adjust mortgage approval parameters rather than addressing credit card and unsecured bank lines of credit. I think this is a shame.

It is also, in my opinion, especially unwarranted in Victoria where property values are traditionally more stable than other areas of the province and country. Even in the past few years of ‘downturn’ prices have hardly dropped here.

My prediction is that prices will continue to stay steady for some time. Therefore mortgages are actually much safer loans for the banks (vs. unsecured and credit cards) and real estate is quite a safe investment long term for buyers. It’s too bad that some first time buyers are now holding back from making a purchase because the Bank of Canada’s recommendations have affected their affordability so severely. E.g. I had buyers looking up to $400K, now can only look up to $375K. Whereas before they could consider a small newer house on the Westshore or a townhouse in town, their options now are an in-town condo, Westshore townhouse or up-island house. Many buyers would rather continue to rent and save than compromise, so they wait. Now how does that effect the economy?  

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WELCOME TO THE TEAM!

For the past seven years Alicia Moravec of Pemberton Holmes has been involved with a number of high profile Victoria law firms delivering real estate conveyancing services to their clients. She began her real estate licensing in 2011 and is now full time in the business.

She is also working with me as my licensed associate.

This allows my clients to have me fully focused on their real estate objectives utilizing my experience and knowledge, while Alicia manages the business, takes care of the admin and keeps everybody organized!

She already has a number of successful sales under her belt and is working first hand with some of my clients as well.

Alicia has become an invaluable member of the team. Her organizational skills, attention to detail, tireless motivation and professionalism are a boon to my business!

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LATORIA CREEK

Alicia and I have been working with Greg Long of Pemberton Holmes to sell the beautiful condos at Latoria Creek. These 2 bed, 2 bath, aprox 1100 sqft homes have a townhouse feel with their own exterior entrances and corner orientations, yet are all on one level! There are only 12 homes in each building and the first building has only three left! We are now selling the second building with a few improvements and new pricing. Please visit http://www.latoriacreek.com/ for more info and please contact me for more details.

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I have a new Homes By Naomi FACEBOOK page where you can join in real estate discussions, keep informed of changes to the housing market and be generally entertained.

Like me, oh please like me!

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BABY PIC ANYONE? 

Okay, maybe he’s not a ‘baby baby’ anymore, but here is my 17 month old, Nathan, taking a momentary break from frolicking on a hot afternoon. What a hilarious age this is as every day he seems to improve his communication (both in words and animal noises,) increases his climbing and running speed and generally seems more like a little boy than a baby. What a guy and what a time. And yes, I am taking lots of time to enjoy it :)

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STUNNING WESTSHORE TOWNHOUSE $425,000

Tell your friends, folks, my listing at 470A Royal Bay Drive is such a catch!!!

3 bed, 3 baths, 2 decks and a patio, 2 car garage and tonnes of additional parking, pets & children welcome, views, trees, trails, shopping within mins. Pics and plans here.

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SOLD!!! 68 Songhees #308 – congrats to my out-of-town sellers who took my advice to stage their condo for sale. We priced it perfectly and it looked beautiful in the professional photos and in person. Sure enough we got an offer in just over a month whereas most of the units in that building are on for many months or don’t sell at all. Thanks again to my past client for the referral!!!

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SOLD!!! 486 Royal Bay Drive #38 – This was a beautiful townhouse that my lovely sellers had looking absolutely perfect for the market. We sold it in only 16 days for the highest price (for same floorplan) since 2007 – go sellers, go team!!

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Please let me know if you know anyone who is thinking of SELLING their home. I would LOVE to show them how I sell my listings for higher prices and in a shorter period of time :)

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TESTIMONIAL of the MONTH:

“Naomi, thank you again for your enthusiastic, professional service. We are thrilled that you and your team worked so hard to sell our condo. We will certainly recommend you to our Victoria friends.” 

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July 2012...

NEW PRICE – Gorgeous Views - 68 Songhees #308 - $580,000

We are getting lots of showings thanks to the staging, beautiful photos and open houses, but no bites yet... this price adjustment ought to bring further attention...

Floorplans

More info & pics 

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NEW LISTING – Back on the market - 2908 Corrine Place – 4bed, 2 bath, beautifully renovated house in Goldstream - $459,000!!!

Floorplans

More info & pics

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SOLD!!! 2752 Peatt Rd #200 – Congrats to my sellers who switched up the paint colours and invested in some staging in order to compete with the brand new construction across the street. Their efforts in prepping for sale and all the previous upgrades they put in paid off!! They sold for an excellent price in this tough market – yahoo!

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NEW LISTING – 68 Songhees #308 – 2bed +DEN, 2 bath ocean view condo in the Songhees! - $585,000 

Sunny, OCEAN VIEW 2BR, 2BTH home plus DEN! Gorgeous, bright living w/GAS FIRE, dining & gourmet kitchen w/GAS STOVE, wall oven, GRANITE & eating bar. Spacious master w/walk-in closet & serene SPA ENSUITE. Nicely SEPARATED 2ND BR, full bath & DEN! All principle rooms w/views to ocean, Olympic Mt's & Victoria harbour! Shutters has undergone further upgrades & is truly the sought after destination address it was born to be. Sun yourself on your enormous 36ft SOUTH FACING DECK, relax by the POOL, enjoy a HOT TUB, steam or sauna or book a MASSAGE downstairs! Visit the private fitness centre or STROLL INTO TOWN along the water! STORAGE locker & u/g SECURE PARKING incld. plus visitor parking. PETS, rentals & ALL AGES welcome. Very well priced!

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JUST SOLD!!! – 710 Massie #102

Alicia’s listing got an offer within 2 weeks and is now SOLD!! This girl knows what she is doing I tell ya!! 

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NEW LISTING (My colleague, Alicia Moravec, just listed...)

710 Massie #102 – June 15th 2012 - 3bed, 3 bath Townhouse in Langford - $359,000

Beautiful, BRIGHT townhome w/the indoor & outdoor SPACE you need! This 3BR, 3BTH home offers a large kitchen w/eating bar, NEW COUNTERS & APPLIANCES, open to spacious dining (room for whole dining set!) Updated bthrm on main plus sunken living room w/bonus cozy fireside nook overlooking deck & SUNNY, FULLY FENCED backyard w/patio! Upstairs are 3 nicely sized rooms includ. generous master w/vaulted ceiling, walk thru closet & FULL ENSUITE! Basement provides HUGE multi-purpose family room. FRESH PAINT, NEWER FLOORING, lighting & much more! Low strata fee & well run complex. PETS, rentals & ALL AGES WELCOME! Walk to ALL amenities & enjoy a quick commute to town. Full GARAGE, plus driveway parking & an ADDITIONAL SPOT! Amazing value - act fast!

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SOLD to my BUYER - Logan Ave – Lovely 4bed, 2 bath home in beautiful Gorge - $520,000 – Gorgeous upgrades, nice floorplan, perfect backyard, attractive street, close to town, the list goes on and on!! Congrats to my clients who recognized the value – I know they will be so happy with their investment :)

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SOLD  to my BUYER – Sayward Hill Cres – Incredible 3 bed, 3 bath condo in Cordova Bay - $910,000. One of the most impressive condos I have seen (and I’ve seen some beauties!) And by far the nicest condo I have seen under $1mill! Congrats to my client who trusted her instincts and took a leap of faith!!

And another HUGE thank you to the unnamed past client who recommended me as her agent!

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NEW PRICE – 470A Royal Bay Drive - $425,000 – Priced same as last comparable sale – Excellent value – Come and see!!

Floorplans

More info & pics

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HOT NEW LISTING!!

2752 Peatt Rd #200 – June 1, 2012 - 3 bed, 2 bath loft style townhome in Langford! - $325,000

FAR better value than buying new! 3BR, 2BATH, 1230+sqft, 2 level above-ground townhouse in downtown Westshore! Main has 2 nicely sized bdrms, full bath w/DOUBLE SINK & ensuite cheater door, loads of CLOSET SPACE & SUNNY open concept living, kitchen & dining (room for your table!) Top floor has trendy LOFT style bdrm w/its own 4pc bath, private deck & skylight, perfect for home OFFICE or family. UPGRADES include gorgeous hard flooring thu-out main, modern backsplash, STAINLESS appliances. Private entry on street level! Balance of warranty, PETS & RENTALS welcome, UNDERCOVER PARKING plus extra available! Super LOW strata fee - only 4 units in complex! Compare to competition & appreciate the STORAGE, PRIVACY, PARKING & ROOM SIZES!

Open Sun 1-3

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SOLD!!!!!!

505 Cook #404 – Congrats to my sellers who (I believe) used the power of intention and visualization to attract the perfect buyer to their condo within a week of being on the market!! It didn’t hurt that their place showed beautifully of course!

HIGHEST SELLING PRICE in the building EVER!!!!!!! I’m feeling pretty chuffed about that – and my sellers should too!

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PRICE CHANGE – 470A Royal Bay Dr – NOW $439,000!!!!

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NEW LISTING – 505 Cook #404 – May 1, 2012 – 2 Bed +LOFT, 2 Bath condo in Cook st village!! $350,000

Fresh updates and a clean floorplan make this condo stand out! Offering 1363 sqft, two nicely sized bedrooms & two bathrooms PLUS a loft - perfect for THIRD bedroom, office or flex space, this bright, sky-lit, TOP FLOOR home features vaulted ceilings, fabulous CORK flooring throughout principle rooms & travertine in baths, all new paint, trim, kitchen counters, shower surround & modern lighting. Enjoy relaxing sun sets from the sunroom year round plus loads of organized closet space including master WALK-IN, plus LAUNDRY in unit! Secure u/g parking (including guest & additional spots) & a storage locker. All in a solid, updated building located minutes from the Cook st Village, downtown, Dallas Rd & the BEACH! Largest one in building!

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NEW LISTING – 470A Royal Bay Drive – April 2012 – 3 bed, 3 bath Townhome in Colwood’s prestigious Royal Bay - $450,000

Perfect family neighbrhood & best location in complex! With sunny ocean & city outlook & natural treed backdrop, this townhome offers living w/gas f/p & full dining PLUS eat-in kitchen overlooking family rm w/majestic forest views. Sunny deck in front looks over common grass for kids & dog, private deck & bonus patio in back (rare in complex) for BBQ & play. 3BR's up incl.master w/ensuite & huge front BR for kids, guests or primo office w/views! Upgrades incl.hard flooring thru-out main, laundry sink, ceramic top range & skylight. Loads of storage, 2 car garage (in tandem) plus HUGE driveway. Great strata, incredible location - 20mins to town, 5 to beach, park & RedBarn. Excellent schools & on bus route. Nature walks start at your doorstep!

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MARKET UPDATE Feb 15th

Almost 600 real estate listings have sold since January 1st in Victoria and area. Over half have been in the last two weeks or so. Things are picking up, folks!

Despite there being over 3700 listings in total right now, this is a pretty good time to list (if you are wanting to sell this year) as many buyers have recently become more serious and the influx of listings we expect in the Spring has not yet hit.  For some houses close to town I would go so far as to say it is a slight seller’s market. The condo market closer to town, however, is more balanced right now. For most properties further out of town, it is a buyer’s market. With new many developments springing up, it can be hard for older properties to compete and values have come down for many of these re-sale homes. There are some amazing opportunities on the Westshore right now, for example.

In my opinion, for buyers, it is all about looking for a deal right now and they are out there! If you can look past some shag carpeting and outdated lighting, there are some great properties that have been sitting around waiting for an offer. If you want new, there are some steals at new projects in and around town, as developers have felt the pinch in the last few years as well.

For sellers, it is all about staging (making home look spacious, clean and crisp and appealing to a wide audience,) proper presentation of the listing online and pricing strategically. I have many tricks up my sleeve when it comes to making my listings stand out and getting the most money for my clients at the end of the day. When you do it right, you never have to wonder if your listing is getting a fair shot. Let me know if you’d like more info and advice specifically for selling or buying.

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Here is a recent picture of our little Nathan  

He is almost 11 months and has been walking for a couple of months now – phewf! He is starting to look less like a drunk as he teeters around and more like a rascal that I have to run to keep up with! He is so much fun and learning new things every day. Who knew time could go so fast – almost a year – unbelievable! 

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TESTIMONIAL of the Month:

Thank you Naomi, you were AMAZING to work with!  This was our first time selling a house and Naomi walked us through the whole process.  We followed her guidance and were able to sell our house in 5 days in a weak market for very close to asking price!!  I was referred to Naomi through another happy client and would highly recommend her to anyone.  She is smart, professional, motivated and works hard to make sure that she gets the best possible outcomes for her clients. 

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SOLD – 3120 Quadra - Feb 1st

My clients were thrilled to get an offer within a few days of being listed. They smartly priced their home just a hair above market value and got a full 99% of their asking price. Pricing at the round figure of $500,000 allowed their listing to show up on more buyer searches. Simple updates to their home’s decor and following all my team’s staging advice made the home show perfectly for all buyers. Their hard work, smart decisions and trust in me paid off! Thank you again to my past clients for the referral!

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NEW LISTING - 2908 Corrine Pl. - Jan 27th - 4 bed, 2 bath beautifully renovated house in beautiful Goldstream, Westshore $475,000

Freshly renovated 4 BD home in a well established family neighbourhood. Close to schools, parks, lakes, shopping, buses & a short commute from town, this home sits on an aprox .20 acre lot & has been treated to many recent upgrades! Two stunning fully remodelled bathrooms, fabulous new flooring, contemporary paint colours, new trim, alluring lighting, expanded closets, newer windows, updated kitchen w/attractive, super functional eat-in island equip w/storage, wine rack, bar seating & custom pot lights! Plus new high efficiency gas furnace & upgraded electrical & plumbing.  Outside enjoy new deck w/access from both kitchen & sunroom, patio & huge grassy, landscaped side yards perfect for kids & gardening. Quick possession easily arranged.

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NEW PRICE - $399,000 – 3211 Ernhill - Jan 25th - 3 bed, 3 bath townhome off the beaten path in Langford

Gorgeous upgraded townhome in Creekside Village. Full appliance package upgrade! Spacious sky-lit open concept living w/15 ft vaulted ceiling, 3-way gas f/p, bright dining, large kitchen w/bar plus pantry/storage. All freshly painted. Sunny, private patio space w/room to relax & BBQ plus grass! Large master fit for King bed w/walk-thru closet to full ensuite. Two other beds & full bath up plus main floor den for home office! Two ext. parking plus garage (260 sqft included as sqft fin) provides optional addit. living space (rec room, gym or storage!) Better than new home in safe, quiet, family neighbourhood w/parks, schools & ALL shopping close, yet tucked away on no-thru street! Priced right w/recent sales in complex. Come and see!

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JUST LISTED - 3120 Quadra - Jan 23rd - 3 Bed, 3 Bath 1930’s home in Mayfair area of Victoria $500,000

Character meets updates big & small! Entry leads to spacious living w/charming coved ceilings & inlaid oak floors. Nicely sized separate dining flows to attractive, recently updated kitchen. 2 good sized BR's up & 2.5 baths. Main bath beautifully modernized! Down is abundant storage & recently reno'd 1BR accommodation w/own laundry & side entrance - does not overlook backyard. Outside enjoy West facing, ground level deck, grassed area & lots of space to park off street! Newer stucco, ext paint, high efficiency furnace, electrical, plumbing, windows & roof! Quiet part of street & double pane thermals mean peace & quiet. This home is spacious, comfortable, delightful & move-in-ready plus only a short walk to town, buses & shopping! Priced right!

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Happy New Year!

The new stats are out re-capping 2011’s Victoria real estate market trends.

http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php

Scroll down to the graph links at the bottom of the page above. The last two will show you, respectively, average prices over the last two years by month and listing/sales figures.

Nothing too exciting to report...  It was a balanced year with high inventory but fairly healthy sales figures as well. Likely this stable environment will continue this year and for the foreseeable future.

Read full post

Dec 7th, 2011

WHAT THE HECK is happening in the real estate market in Victoria!?

One thing is for certain, buyers and sellers are finding it harder and harder to agree on price because in general, their perspectives on the market are very different...

Many buyers feel right now that this is the worst market we have seen and that things may get worse before they get better. Therefore, they either want to get a deal on their purchase or stand back and wait to see what will happen before they make any offers at all. Their feelings are likely bolstered by scary financial news from Europe, by mixed reports and predictions about our local economy and by the shear amount of product they have to choose from.

Often when there is too much choice, people opt not to make a decision at all. It really is a fascinating psychological phenomenon... in the market of 2005/6/7 (when I was newer to the business) we would see people waiting anxiously to buy and when even one listing came up that generally fit their criteria they would be in the door the first day and writing an offer against five other buyers that night. The list price wasn’t as scrutinized as it is today, buyers were just trying to get the house before the other buyers.

Now, buyers can start their search and see 10 properties that fit their criteria. They will visit each one over a few weeks or months and little by little their criteria tightens as they learn that different homes offer different things and maybe, just maybe, they can find the absolute perfect place if they wait long enough for it to come on the market! When the perfect place does present itself, then the real analysis begins... they have seen 10-20 other homes, some of which were priced lower, doesn’t that mean they should get the lowest price on this one? How can the sellers think that their home is worth so much more than these others? Just because we like it better doesn’t mean it IS better... does it?

Meanwhile, sellers decide to list their home. Their agent looks around at the comparable listings for sale... yikes, there are 10+ homes on the market that are in direct comparison to theirs and there is 4-5 months of inventory on the market in that type of home. BUT, looking at the stats, average prices have remained steady. They are still up from the pre-recession market “high” that everyone talks about in 2008/9. Sales are still occurring and we can see that most of them are at a stable value. There is the occasional sale out of desperation where the house sells for a lower than average price, but these sellers aren’t desperate, so they may as well price the place with the bulk of the competition.

Along comes the buyer... this home is their favourite of all the available homes. They decide to write an offer. They inevitably compare it to the home that sold in the same neighbourhood under a court ordered sale, with trash in the front yard and no pictures of the interior on MLS. ‘Why should we pay more than the buyers did for this one? Let’s write at the same price as that one,’

Seller receives the offer... happy to get it, as they have waited for a couple of months on the market and have reduced their price once already. Everything about the offer is great... except of course for the price. ‘Yikes! How can they think our house is worth that much!? Don’t they know we bought it in 2007 for $xxxK and are now selling for the same price? Prices are UP on average since then, what gives?!’

And so the negotiations ensue... agents working tirelessly to convince the other side that their price is fair. Buyer's agent: ‘Look at how much there is to chose from on the market, and surely things will get worse in 2012. My managing broker said so.’ Listing agent: ‘But the stats show that prices are UP, that they are steady. My clients aren’t desperate, they don’t need to sell themselves short. They will just rent it out. We are still getting showings, you know.’

Many of these offers do not come together at all.

However, even with these polar forces acting against each other, last month the number of sales was unchanged since the month before and both months were about the same as last year. So why the doom and gloom? Why are some people saying this is the worst market they have experienced in years? I believe the reasons are as I mentioned at the beginning of this BLOG – the amount of listings on the market and the global financial unrest. The world just feels a bit unpredictable right now. When we have watched the US housing market come crashing down and we are seeing countries in Europe in such financial turmoil, it feels like nothing is stable or reliable.

That is not the climate in which the average person feels comfortable investing large sums of money. But it is because of this climate that interest rates are still ridiculously low. One can still get a variable rate mortgage below prime and fixed can be 2.9% or lower as well.

As usual when rates are low and opportunity to buy high, investors are making their moves. New housing starts are also up, which is a positive reflection of the local economy.  

What does it all mean? The market is slower, but steady. Balanced.  The experience of each buyer and seller in this market will probably incorporate some of the perspectives above. But the stats show healthy activity.

Here is a recent Times Colonist article that articulates the Victoria market's current position quite well:http://www.timescolonist.com/business/Housing+expected+hold+steady+2012/5823636/story.html

You can also view the updated graphs of prices and inventory vs sales over the past two years. Just scroll down and click on the links at the bottom... go on, everybody loves a good graph!http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php

For personal advice on whether this (or the new year) is the right time for you to make a move, please slip me an email or give me a ring. I love helping people navigate Victoria’s market. Sometimes my advice is to stay put, sometimes it’s specific for a particular timeframe. I’ve got lots of ideas and would love to discuss them with you.

In the meantime, enjoy the beginning of the holidays!

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Happy November!

I am starting this on another crisp sunny autumn day in Victoria – how lucky we are!

Victoria’s real estate market has also been fortunate lately. Although inventory levels are still high, new listings decreased last month while sales increased! As we head further into Fall, the number of listings will continue to drop off as it always does, but sales will likely hold fairly strong in proportion. In other words, there is hope for sellers who are motivated to move this Fall/Winter!

Average prices are down according to the Victoria Real Estate Board in single family homes, condos and townhouses. This isn’t a surprise with the slower year we have had. It is tougher than ever to help buyers and sellers agree in this market.  Everyone wants a deal and their interests are more and more at odds.

The reality is, if you are moving again after buying within the last few years, you will have a tough time getting your money out of your current investment. However, if you are able to move up a few rungs on the property ladder or get a great price on a longer term home, this could be a smart move right now. I have lots of advice on what to look for and what to avoid when buying. I also would advise some people to just stay put for a while. Let me know if you have questions about your particular circumstances.

Big picture – with Europe’s finances in chaos and things still grim south of the border, we likely won’t see a lot of pick-up in our market in the next year or so, likely longer. However, Victoria has fared better than almost any other area of North America throughout the financial crisis to date, and I see its resilience continuing. With the global uncertainty, it is always great to be a first time buyer. Prices aren’t likely to go down much, but not up either and inventory will likely stay high offering lots of selection to buyers.   

Congrats to my clients who bought and sold this past month: A fabulous Fairfield house with a large lot, lovely updates and still some potential for the savvy buyer... A luxury Songhees suite boasting over-the-top finishings and quality of construction at a bargain of a price... A spacious, bright, newer Esquimalt condo at an excellent price too! Well done, folks!  And thank you for working with me and my amazing  colleagues.

My current listings can always be found at . My 3 bed, 3 bath plus den townhome has been re-listed. Sellers are asking a very reasonable $400,000. It has upgrades galore and is in a very safe and quiet location. Know anyone? Email me please 

Have a wonderful November!

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A client has nominated Homes By Naomi on CityHUB!

If you would like to support my business, please take a moment and vote for me at: http://cityhub.ca/chek/i.php?n=4755&c=26  You can vote once per day.

Thanks so much for your support and especially for the anonymous nomination.. whoever you are...  ;)

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September 2011  

Market

Prices are up again on average in Victoria and the market is starting to wake up a little after a sleepy Spring and Summer. Traditionally September is a fairly active month when people return from holidays and start their property search with the goal of moving before the end of the year. There is usually a small spike in the number of new listings as well. These expected trends are definitely playing out as this September speeds by.

There are over 4600 listings on Victoria’s MLS system right now making this an excellent time to be a buyer (as it generally has been for the last two years.)   Positive forecasts for real estate in BC have been making headlines and I believe Victoria will definitely see these predictions come true - prices staying steady or rising and demand steady as well.

Please click on the following linkhttp://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php and check out the links at the bottom of the page for graphs showing prices and inventory. Gotta love a good graph, right!? 

My listings

The fabulously upgraded home I have listed in Langford for $400,000 has new pictures! Check them out along with floorplans and additional info at http://www.homesbynaomi.com/single.php4?id=298446 . There will be an OPEN HOUSE there Sat & Sun 11-1 this weekend 17th & 18th

Me

I am working part time, helping mostly sellers right now while my amazing colleagues help me service my buyers. Thanks to all of my clients for staying in touch. I am always eager for your real estate questions and welcome your inquiries.

Meanwhile, little Nathan is almost 6 months, which is hard to believe. He is commando crawling, working on sitting and sampling his first foods. Exciting and wonderful times! 

Enjoy the rest of the month and thanks for reading!

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August Victoria Market Update

Hello real estate enthusiasts!! For a market update check out the last two links at the bottom of the page here. As you can see, prices are down for all types of homes across Victoria. This can partially be blamed on more affordable properties being the ones that are selling (young families tend to move in the summer plus first time buyers and investors are making up a decent proportion of the buyership and they buy small/less expensive.) However, that is only part of the story, with an actual downturn in prices being a true factor as well.  

This is the first time we have seen prices truly coming down in the past two years. We had a slow spring which created major motivation for some sellers, which means some have been accepting lower prices. There are still some very motivated sellers out there, but there are some not-so-motivated ones too. It is important to have an experienced buyer’s agent on your side right now to help you navigate this dynamic market if you are making a purchase.

Although things are still slow and prices are down, my listing at 120/122 Cambridge already has an accepted offer after 2 weeks on the market! This quick sale can be attributed not only to my tricks as a listing agent but also to my seller’s superior efforts perfecting her home for sale. Staging of the home, online presentation and smart pricing (as I always say) are the recipe for a quick sale every time!

Please let me know if i can help someone you know purchase or sell in the next little while.

Happy weekend!

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OPEN HOUSE 

3211 Ernhill Pl Sat August 6th 2-4pm. Hosted by Richard Gadoury.

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NEW LISTING

3211 Ernhill Pl $410,000 http://www.homesbynaomi.com/single.php4?id=297508

Gorgeous upgraded townhome in Creekside Village. Full appliance package upgrade! Spacious sky-lit open concept living with 15 ft vaulted ceiling, 3-way gas fireplace, bright dining, large kitchen with bar plus pantry/storage. Sunny, private patio space with room to relax & BBQ plus grass! Freshly painted in neutral scheme with custom feature wall. Large master fit for King bed with walk-thru closet to full ensuite. Two other beds & full bath up plus main floor den for home office! Two ext. parking plus garage provides optional additional living space (rec room, gym or storage!) Better than new home in safe, quiet, family neighbourhood with parks, schools & ALL shopping close, yet tucked away on no-thru street! Priced bang on with last 2 sales in complex.  

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Recommendation for homeowners

We just had our exterior windows cleaned by The Moss Man. They also did our gutters last year. Both times we have used them we have been very pleased with their service, pricing and especially the results. Check out their services at http://www.mossman.ca/ if you are readying your home for sale or would just rather enjoy the sun in a recliner than on a ladder this summer!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

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OPEN HOUSE

120/122 Cambridge Sat July 23rd 2-4pm. Hosted by Richard Gadoury.

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NEW LISTING

120/122 Cambridge $950,000http://www.homesbynaomi.com/single.php4?id=296594

Owned by interior designer & it shows! Stunning freshly renovated home blocks from Cook St Village & ocean! Airy open concept living with spacious rooms. New baths feature heated floors, custom wenge vanities, vessel Duravit sink, glass walk-in shower, marble surround & Grohe rain shower head! Refinished solid wood floors, Stainless appliances, new custom laundry, gas fireplace, custom his & hers built-in closets with organizers. New doors, hardware, window treatments, & lighting. 1911 charm without the worry: full vermiculite abatement complete & knob & tube removed by Seller. Duplex zoned with fully legal suite approved by city! 1 bed & den, own laundry & big storage, stainless appliances & new floors! Plus awesome legal detached studio with heat, electrical & storage! Come & see!

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July 4th, 2011

The July 1st Victoria real estate stats are now available through my website at http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php . Scroll to the bottom of the page and check out the last two links for graphs depicting price changes over the last 2 years and also inventory (supply) & sales (demand) for the same time period.

To summarize, there is not much to report in terms of changes over the last few months. This Spring has seen high inventory and fairly low sales levels. This is great news for Buyers, but as usual when the market stagnates a bit, buyers are scared to do anything. This is a fabulous time for first time buyers or investors to make a move.

Let me know if you know anyone who is thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Victoria area this Summer / Fall. Thanks again and enjoy the sunny week that is forecasted!

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In other news...

I have made a decision to change brokerages. I have immensely enjoyed my 5 ½ + years with Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty, my business has flourished and I have made many wonderful friends in my fellow agents. However, with a new baby comes a new pace and Pemberton Holmes seems to be the best fit for me moving forward.

Pemberton Holmes is a family run company and was the first real estate company in Victoria, its roots dating back to the 1850's. This history has always interested me as I am told that I am the great great (great?) granddaughter of the first mayor of Victoria. Indeed the mayor, Thomas Harris may have been chumming around with J.D. Pemberton back in the 1860's. Now 150 years later, I am proud to be a part of the Pemberton Holmes office on Cloverdale.

I am still working closely with the agents at Royal LePage that I selected to help my clients while I take some time out of the office to be with baby Nathan. My chosen RLP colleagues have been highly praised by my clients over the last few months and I am continuing to work with them to make sure my clients are very well looked after - whatever their real state objectives and timeframes.

My website www.HomesByNaomi.com has not changed, and nor will my email: Info@HomesByNaomi.com. My fax # 1-866-806-6462 is the same as well (who the heck uses fax anymore anyway!?)

****Changes include: my new office # is 250-384-8124 and toll free 1-800-665-5303. My office address is Pemberton Holmes #150-805 Cloverdale Avenue, Victoria, BC V8X 2S9. Please update your address books / contact folders for me right now while you are thinking about it.... That's right... don't put it off.... Do it now!!!.......... Ok, thanks :)****

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Quick June Market Update... 

On paper, there is not much to report in terms of changes to the Victoria marketplace for the beginning of June. Prices have been pretty steady in all types of property and demand has also stayed steady, with supply still high. The word on the street, however, is much more positive than that of the last few months. Interest from buyers has picked up again and many listings (if properly priced) are selling quickly.

 My clients listed their home with one of my colleagues this past month and received an offer within 4 days. It is now firm and they have a firm offer in on the home they are moving to.

Let me know if you also want to get the ball rolling on a move this Summer or if you know someone who does.

 

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May 17th 2011

May is flying by already - I can't beleive it!

Firstly in real estate news, the market is quite soft right now in Victoria. Now, when we describe our market as soft, we often mean soft in comparison to a few years ago, which in a way ‘spoiled' us as sellers and as agents. In reality, the market conditions we have been experiencing overall for the last two years and specifically since last Summer could accurately be described as ‘balanced' compared to most market places in North America.

In recent years in Victoria we often anticipate our real estate being so desirable that our properties should only be on the market a short time and will sell for full asking price or close to it. We also have an expectation that prices always go up. The latter will be true over the long term, and actually in the last few years we have still seen a moderate increase overall with a few soft peaks and valleys. However, when people try to sell their home soon after buying it, they seldom are able to see a profit in a balanced market, if break even.

Time on the market and percent of asking price, is harder to predict from season to season here in Victoria. Sometimes we are surprised by the velocity of the market place (like the first few months of 2010) and sometimes when we are predicting a brisker market, we are disappointed (past few months.)

To get an idea of where we are sitting right now, the stats for May 1stcan be found via the links at the bottom of this page:http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php

You will see that average prices are up, but that the number of sales is quite low. Often average prices appear higher due to a few very high price point sales. This is likely the case, especially in terms of townhomes and condos, last month. I am not surprised to see some peaks in pricing, as it is often the case that when sales are down and inventory is high, the smart buyers with money take advantage and make larger purchases.

I believe when you see the high price point properties selling, it is a good indication that opportunity is out there, and that it is a good time to act as a buyer. Hint hint - especially for first timers.

Some reports show that things are picking up so far in May. This may be due to the normal Spring/Summer interest but also due to the election being over (a majority government can also instil consumer confidence) and to people finally seeing the opportunity over the last few months.

I will keep you updated as we head into Summer to let you know if things are picking up and if it is a better time to put a property on the market. To be clear, desirable houses, condos and townhomes that are priced properly are still selling successfully.

In fact, two of my clients have sold their condos in the last few weeks with the help of my colleagues who are covering for me while I am spending time with my new baby. Rosemarie and Hayley have worked so hard for my clients and have helped them achieve a successful sale despite the poor market conditions. Here is a quote from one of my clients:

"It sold really fast and Hayley was great, she was on top of everything with [the] relocation company and she was available whenever we had questions or concerns. Thank you for referring her to us"

If you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling in the next little while, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me and I will help match you/them up with one of my hard working colleagues. They will act as the main representative and will help you/them achieve the specific real estate objective set out. I am still in the background, but will be taking a little more time away.

Which leads me to the next topic: Nathan Peter Rae Larkins. Born on March 24th at 8 lbs 11 oz, he is a lovely baby who has stolen Darren's and my hearts. We have had a few challenges with feeding and are still working through them, but Nathan is actually quite a laid back, easy baby. He is now weighing in at over 11 lbs and is doing really well. Some sleep would be nice though! Here's a recent pic.

Thanks to all who have chosen my team to work with in 2011 and congrats to the buyers and sellers who have achieved their recent goals!! A huge thank you to Rosemarie and the other agents who have been looking after my clients so fully while I have been out of the office. Folks, your referrals are very much appreciated. If you have colleagues, friends or family that are hoping to buy or sell this Summer, my team and I look forward to helping. They will get amazing advice, attention and service.

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March 1st, 2011

Hello all, I tried to keep this short, but realized I had so much to tell you before I take time off to be with our new baby (who could be here any day now!)

As most of you know, I will be taking some time away from business. I have been in touch with many of you with contact info for my fabulous replacement agents, but if you are unsure and need anything at all, please email or page me and you will be directed to the right person to help you with your real estate needs.

I look forward to checking back in with you all and seeing what has happened over the busy month of March!

On that note, here are the updated stats as of March 1st ... SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE and CLICK ON THE LINKS:http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php

The Victoria market has been picking up steam since the beginning of the year, as expected. The number of sales rose significantly in February over January, and I expect this to continue again into March. These trends are nothing to be surprised about, as early Spring is always known for an increase in listings and sales activity.

Prices have stayed quite level over the last month, with a general upswing over the past two years. This is definitely telling of a balanced real estate market and more ‘normalized' conditions vs. what we were seeing 2005-2009. If interest rates go up, we may see a further levelling, but always remember that Victoria is a unique niche market. Our area is always going to be highly desirable due to climate, scenery, government and industry (tech industry not to be discounted, BTW.)

Also due to the demographics we see predominantly in Victoria - i.e. and please excuse the phrase - "newlywed and nearly dead" we will always see a lot of turn over here. There are lots of first time buyers and lots of people downsizing as well as moving here from other parts of the world to retire. There is therefore lots of opportunity in Victoria's real estate market.

For this reason, I highly caution you not to put weight on real estate articles and stats for Canada as a whole, and even for the province as a whole, let alone the market in the States. Certainly our market is tied to North America, Canada and BC as a whole, but we really do have a special spot here and are much better insulated from the lows other markets face. That's why Victoria and area is always likely to be one of the best places to invest in real estate long term.

I often hear people saying things like "I just read that prices are likely to drop mid-year"... when reading or hearing things on the news, always ask: where did that information come from and which markets are these predictions referring to? Usually they are not Victoria specific, and if this is where you own or want to own real estate, you should be aware of this.

Another real estate related caution I would like to bring up is that of high ratio financing. This is important for both buyers and sellers...

It is important for buyers to be aware of the premiums mortgage insurance companies like CMHC charge for mortgages with less than 20% down. Many buyers will go online to mortgage calculators and do their own math re: affordability. Only a mortgage professional doing a full pre-approval for you can estimate the real costs of what owning your new home will look like. It is important to see a qualified mortgage professional far in advance of your purchase (few weeks) to start the preapproval process. Ideally you should have all of your information submitted to this person before you write an offer on a home (e.g. pay stubs, NOA's etc.) If they do not ask for this info, you have not been fully approved. Remember mortgage brokers will look at numerous lenders for you, their services are free and they generally can offer better rates than the banks. You should also be speaking with them in detail to confirm the costs of buying and selling and therefore what your financial situation will look like once you own your future home. Sometimes numerous conversations or meetings are helpful before deciding on a new home, or even deciding on the price range to search within.

For Sellers, I have a different cautionary message. This is mostly for condo owners. Remember, that Canada's largest mortgage insurance company (CMHC) will not insure mortgages for buyers if the building is age restricted. This is not just for senior's residences, but also for buildings which do not allow children / residents under age 18 or 19. These restrictions DO affect the value of your condo when it is on the market and stratas should be made aware of this.

I dream of a world with fewer condo restrictions. Condo living is always going to include being involved with other residents' business. That is the nature of strata living. I believe that if more stratas lessened their control over things like pets and the age of the owners (and rentals to a certain degree,) condo living would be a lot more desirable and feasible. And condo selling would be a heck of a lot easier. Who really cares if an owner has one or two cats behind their closed door!?

There are also issues with buildings that can affect the ability for a buyer to have their mortgage insured. If there is outstanding work to be done on a building that the strata is aware of, and this is made known to the lenders, often times the building will be ‘red flagged' by CMHC or one of the other insurers. Remember that these decisions are made by people in other cities and provinces who have no real knowledge of the building or the specific situation of each strata.

Overall the best advice I have for strata owners is to get involved with your strata council, get guidance from a good property management company and encourage maintenance work to be done pre-emptively - even if it means spending a bit of extra money in the short term. Usually sharing the costs of additional maintenance work is nothing compared to the affect on re-sale value ignoring maintenance will have on your selling price down the road.

Also be aware that the minutes from strata meetings and associated documentation is what future buyers will use to decide if they are comfortable with purchasing your condo. Stratas who exaggerate issues and are extremely nit-picky with each other are a turn off for buyers. Stratas who deal with problems in a business like fashion and keep good records instil confidence in future owners.

A good property management company is invaluable for stratas as they will guide strata owners through the difficult decisions of where and when to spend their money, will prepare and handle important paperwork and will keep them informed of changes to the strata property act etc. Property managers are licensed and are educated similarly to REALTOR®s.

Hope this has been helpful or at least somewhat interesting. Thanks again for reading my rant - er - BLOG! I will keep you updated on the arrival of baby Larkins!!

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Happy New Year everyone!!! (Jan 2011)

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and that the first few days of 2011 have been good ones.

I want to first recap 2010's Victoria real estate market and then give you my predictions on what is in store for us in 2011. Then I have some news for you all...

2010 started out with pent up supply and demand from buyers and sellers who had been holding back after the economic downturn of 2009. A huge number of listings poured onto the market in Jan 2010 but demand actually kept up quite successfully. In the first few months of 2010 buyers were actually having to outbid each other for the sought after and well priced homes. It was surprising, as prices were actually high at the beginning of 2010 for houses and although the rest of Canada (and certainly the US) was experiencing a slow market, our Winter & Spring 2010 was quite brisk. As Spring turned to Summer, sales numbers dropped and a lot of listings remained on the market. Consequently prices went down. Both sellers and buyers started to pull back in Fall of 2010.

There were some exceptions to this, however. Investors and high end buyers saw the opportunity in the marketplace (record low rates, lots of listings and reduced prices) and they took advantage. There were a number of multimillion dollar sales taking place between October and the end of the year. There were also some great deals being made at the low end. Quite a few fixer-upper / starter homes were listed in the Fall and sold, in many cases, with multiple offers. This type of activity (investment and high-end sales) shows me that select buyers are seeing the opportunity in the Victoria market right now.

Although average prices are back to being relatively high (higher for single family homes in relation to past months, than with condos) interest rates are still extremely low. Some interest rate quotes I have heard of lately range between 2.2 to 2.8% - WOW!!!!

The next few months are going to bring lots of new listings onto the market, as we see at the beginning of every year. I anticipate a lot of buyers ramping up their property searches in the next few months as well. Condo buyers would be especially smart to act in the near future. There are a lot of listings that have been on the market for a while, many of which have been reduced in price. There is great selection and again interest rates are at a historical low (which is very unlikely to last much more than 6 months to a year.) It is going to be a very exciting next few months in Victoria's real estate market!

Please have a peak at the Jan 1st stats and graphs via the links at the bottom of this page: http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php

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Most of you already know my big news, but if not... My husband, Darren and I are expecting! The little guy (yes, we know it is a boy) is due in March!

Of course a lot of people have been asking how my business will be changing once the baby is born. So to let everyone know, I will be taking a short time right after the baby is born completely off with no calls / emails etc. After that and depending on how we are all doing, I will be available to my clients again via phone and email. In person appointments (showings, listing appointments, offer writing, etc) will be arranged by me with one of my chosen trusted colleagues. As you know, I have made arrangements with three award winning agents from my office who I will match up on an individual basis to my customers who are buying and selling based on their needs and personality. Each buyer or seller will work closely with one of the professionals I have selected to help me.

I am so thrilled that my clients will get to utilize the extensive expertise of these professionals and enjoy the same level of service as they would working exclusively with me - if not better because they will have me in the background as well!!

If you or people you know are thinking of buying or selling in the next few months or in the Spring, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I will give you the personalized advice you need to decide on a strategy and timeline for reaching your real estate objectives. If I am away from the office at the time you wish to look for or sell your home, I will make sure you get the very best agent to help you every step of the way.

I'll take this opportunity to give a huge thank you to the three agents I have hand-picked to work with my customers while I am with baby and to my loyal clients who have, and will continue to, support my business. I have already started introducing my clients to these amazing colleagues of mine and I am so pleased with the response from them thus far!

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Finally, I am very pleased to announce that I was the #1 agent in my Royal LePage Coast Capital Downtown office in 2010! I won the Director's Platinum Award from Royal LePage and the Gold MLS award through the Victoria Real Estate Board. Thank you to all of you who worked with me and who referred clients to me last year!!

Wishing you all a successful and happy 2011!!!

Read full post

Does a White-out mean a Write-off for Victoria Real Estate? (Nov/Dec 2010)

I'm writing this from my home looking out over the white winter-scape that is my garden. In true west coast style, much of Victoria threw in the towel at the office to whip out the shovel at home and took a snow day today. A few inches is a lot when you don't have winter tires!

I have a feeling a lot of buyers cancelled their showings today and many sellers cringed as they looked out the window this morning.

We are apparently in for a whiter-than-normal winter this year in Victoria. My feeling is that this may depress the real estate market in the short term, yet will likely cause demand to spike even further come the Spring. There are still people out there who have to move in January, so there is hope for winter sellers. There are also some very smart buyers out there who see the prices already starting to rise again and interest rates still exceptionally low and are planning to take advantage this winter while the other buyers stay put until they can see green lawns again.

In the past few weeks of November there have been 333 sales in Victoria and area which will likely total a number similar to October's sales tally by month's end. These numbers are of course down from last year, but are much more positive than the sleepy summer and September we had.

There were a remarkable number of $mill + sales last month which caused a spike in prices. Even so, the trend is starting upward again. Will I sound like a broken record if I say it is a good time to buy right now?? Sellers are more motivated than ever as they look outside and wonder if anyone will want to see their place in the snow. And there have been lots of price reductions in the last few weeks.

Sellers - this can be a good time for you too as some of the buyers who are on the hunt right now are super-serious, as they secure a place for their January move. Having your place look cozy with tasteful holiday decorations can often make buyers feel even more at home. Nostalgia and offer writing can sometimes go hand-in-hand!

At the bottom of my newsletter page are the links to the stats with fresh ones to follow for Dec 1st in a week or so.

I also wanted to share some really interesting articles I have read recently on RIC.com:

Five Biggest mistakes Home Sellers Make

And The 10 Key Differences that Helped Canada Avoid a US Style Mortgage Crisis

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And now more exciting business news from me...

I am very pleased to let you all know that I am going to be working closely with another REALTOR® in my office, Rosemarie Colterman. Rosemarie has been a licensed agent in Victoria for 7 years and she was the #1 agent in our downtown office last year! I chose to work more closely with Rosemarie because of her incredible client-focused approach to real estate. Few other agents work as hard for their buyers and sellers. Rosemarie is also set up with systems for everything and I trust her to meet any real estate challenge with success.

There are two other agents who I have also decided to work more closely with as well: Stacey English, who is an exceptionally accomplished agent. She started trading real estate in 1997 and has already won a lifetime achievement award, which is amazing! Stacey is super organized and also works extremely hard. She gets results for her clients and makes the process of buying or selling enjoyable while she's at it. Kami Norman is the third agent who I wanted to tell you about. Kami is also a top award winning agent who has been in the business since 1995. She has a huge breadth of experience, consistently finds success for her clients and is extremely compassionate and easy to work with.

I am thrilled that I have been able to establish these relationships and feel so fortunate to be surrounded by these successful, hard working, not to mention delightful people. The support of these agents, along with the invaluable help I get from Anton, makes me more confident than ever in the exceptional service my real estate business can provide for all types of buyers and sellers. If you know anyone who is considering buying or selling now or in the New Year, I would be honoured if you would pass along my name to them, or theirs to me.

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The few and the many - my RANT about opportunity in the Victoria market this Fall!

Average selling prices of single family homes and townhouses in Victoria stayed pretty level last month with small increases, while condos saw a small drop. You can review the October stats athttp://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php . Graphs are at the bottom of the page.

Here goes my rant... Condo sales are definitely down as of late and my theory is based on the temporarily dwindling demand for this type of property. Consider who the condo buyers are likely to be... (a) people downsizing from a house to a condo and (b) first time buyers. The people that are downsizing, in most cases, need to sell their home before they can buy the perfect condo. Since sales of homes are down, especially in the mid-range (between $600-800K) so are sales of condos. Many of these potential condo buyers are holding off on putting their homes on the market until they see prices start to come back up. The other breed of condo buyers, the first timers, are not acting right now (in my opinion) due to a feeling of uncertainty about the market. I strongly believe that these people are going to regret their decision not to get serious about buying this Fall. There are still almost 4000 listings on the market right now in Victoria and area (this is huge!) Prices are down, and officially still falling at the moment. Prices are as almost as low as they were during the worst times in the financial melt down in 2009. Interest rates are still ridiculously low! Rates will rise next year, almost definitely, so now is the time. What a perfect storm of opportunity!

The people who ARE buying right now are investors, flippers and the wealthy. A close colleague and I have been involved in three transactions for property priced over $2million in the last few weeks where there were multiple offers on the listings! Some of these listings have been on the market for months. The people with cash are seeing the opportunities right now and taking advantage of them. I have also seen a number of underpriced fixer-upper type homes selling with 3-6 offers within a few days of being on the market in the last few weeks. They have tended to go for at least $15K over asking price.

The market is not dead. If good listings are priced well, they will sell quickly and easily right now. If buyers are smart, they will get serious about looking for real estate now, before everyone else clues in after the New Year.

Hopefully enough first time buyers will see the opportunity and take the plunge in the next couple of months. This will result in more turn-over, which will spring the Victoria market back into action and we will start to see prices rise slightly again. The smart ‘few' who take the plunge this Fall will happily be watching rates and prices go up next year, snuggled into their new homes. The ‘many' who do not, will be watching their potetntial mortgage payments go up and their dream house sell for a higher price to a competitive buyer in 2011.

That is my rant - call me if you wish to discuss being one of ‘the few' this Fall :)

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To check out updated mortgage rates, visit mortgage broker, Liz Prins' website at http://www.mortgagesbyliz.ca/Rates.aspx

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Hurray for Anton!!

Anton K is an independent licensed agent with Royal LePage who has also been working as part of my team for the last few months. This summer he began helping me and my business, by taking care of my administration and by helping me with many of the important tasks which are auxiliary to my clients' real estate transactions. Although most of my clients don't even see or speak to Anton, they are hugely benefitted from his hard work. Anton's organizational and tech skills have helped me grow my business to the point where I am well into the top 10% of agents in Victoria and have been one of the top agents in my company consistently over the last few months. His help allows me to spend more time meeting new clients and most importantly, servicing my existing clients. I want to thank Anton for all his efforts, ideas and time over the last few months. I am looking forward to Anton continuing to be part of my team as we move forward. Hurray for Anton!

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Mid-September Market Update

The latest stats are available athttp://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php . Scroll down and click on the graphs for an illustration of prices and of inventory over the last two years.

We saw another dip in average selling prices last month along with a decline in the number of sales. The beginning of September has also been extremely slow historically with number of sales projected at approximately half as many as last September, 2009.

The moral to this story is that it is a good time for buyers to snag a good deal (especially first timers who don't have to sell) and for people buying a large home or condo and selling an affordable house.

For those selling a larger home or a moderate to high priced condo right now - not as great a time to sell.

The number of listings will likely decline over the next few months, so for buyers, it is best to get serious now while the choice is abundant. For sellers, there could be a window of opportunity in November (when most sellers remove their listings for winter / Christmas and some buyers are starting to plan their January moves.

Call or email me any time to discuss timing for your own real estate goals. My clients will tell you - I will give you honest advice that is in your best interest, rather than trying to sign a contract with you.

Congrats to all my clients who bought or sold real estate in August:

  • Purchase of a gorgeous fully reno'd family home in Fairfield!
  • Purchase of a nicely sized townhome 5 mins from town at an amazing price!
  • Sale of a chic city townhome with all the bells & whistles!

Available now:

  • One level loft-style condo at Vic West's popular "The Edge" with flexible floorplan and use (live/work zoned, any size of pet allowed, can be two bed, one bed, or open loft.) Plus views into the city and glimpses of the Gorge and Olympic Mt's!! $379,900 It's a beauty!!http://www.homesbynaomi.com/single.php4?id=283989

Me showing off...

I was #4 in terms of sales for my company last month!! (Was #5 previous month... out of a few hundred agents.) I am quite pleased, as many of the agents who hold the top spots are long-time well respected REALTORS® and I am very proud to be amongst them!

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Happy August!!

Victoria has been enjoying some lovely Summer heat, meanwhile the real estate market has been cooling. All the important new stats are linked in below.

Market Update...Prices are down. The average price of single family homes dropped about 5% to $615,004 last month. Condos dropped just 2% to $323,816 and townhomes 2.5% to $420,578.

At the end of July there were 4500 properties listed with the Victoria Real Estate Board! Though this is down from last month, it is still one of the historically highest months for total inventory. There were 527 sales, which means only about 12% of the total listings successfully sold in July. In July 2009 there were over 900 sales. We are definitely in a buyer's market!

With fewer listings coming on the market this month (aprox 1100 vs. 1500 last month) and fewer expected as we move into the end of Summer and Fall, the market should balance out quite nicely.

I believe there could be some opportunity for Sellers come the early Winter months. This is when the Number of listings is historically low. Number of sales is low too, but proportionally, it can work in favour of a Seller if the property is priced appropriately, shows nicely and is presented well presented by the listing agent.

First Time Buyers?? This is YOUR time!! Prices are on a downward trend and negotiations are much more feasible, listing inventory is still high (lots of selection) and you don't have to sell anything to make the purchase which puts you at a huge advantage over people who have to sell in the same market and make an offer subject to their home selling.

Unfortunately when prices start to drop, most first time buyers will sit around and wait for them to drop further. Remember that contrary to common sense and a lot of economist's predictions, prices in Victoria tend only to stay in a downward trend for 1-4 months. Act quickly if you want to be one of the few people to take advantage of the current conditions, rather than waiting to be one of the many who will catch on in the Spring.

***

A quick overview of the last few years' market conditions, the causes and the lesson to be learned:

  • 2008 Financial meltdown causes buyers to stop buying and listings to hang around --> Inventory rises, prices drop
  • Mid 2008-2009 Sellers realize this is not the time to sell and put off their plans for moving
  • Mid 2009 Buyers begin to realize that opportunity knocks with lowered prices and great rates (especially first timers) --> Inventory falls, prices rise
  • Late 2009-Early 2010 Sellers realize opportunity knocks and a huge # of listing pour onto the market
  • Spring 2010 Increased inventory, confusing introduction of HST, mortgage rules changing, rates rising --> Buyers hold back.
  • Summer 2010 Inventory rises, prices drop.
  • Hmmm... what next?

The lesson? Be one of the first people to take a chance on the next shift. It is risky, but almost always pays off. E.g. the brave buyers of Summer/Fall 2008, the brave Sellers of Winter 2009/10. People who take the risk and act first, not when everyone else is doing the same thing tend to reap better rewards.

Call or email me if you want to discuss how you might be able to ‘reap' and how to avoid being a real estate follower...

***

Rates... Here is a rate update from Prime Mortgage Works (Kerry Patten and Susan English.) Kerry and Susan are also able to secure some amazing quick-close rates for buyers right now. If your closing is within 30 days, talk to them to see if they can get one of the new daily-offered specials. One of my clients is doing this and will be saving a few hundred dollars a month on his mortgage payments!

***

Thanks... I would like to thank all of my clients who bought and sold firm with me in the month of July. Those sales allowed me to be named in Royal LePage Coast Capital's "Top 25" again this Summer. I was #5 in July :) My repeat and referral clients have been the mainstay of my business, which is great, because they are such a pleasure to work with! Thanks everyone for letting me help!!

Testomial of the Month... "Naomi has been our realtor since we moved back to the island six years ago. We have sold and purchased two homes with her since then and have been thrilled with the results. In a tough Bear Mountain market, her negotiating strategy was able to get us top dollar for our home. 
We have recommended Naomi to numerous friends who have also had great success and wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to anyone looking for a committed realtor with a passion for the business and for her clients."

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July 1st Market Update in Victoria

Happy Canada Day everyone!! The new stats are out athttp://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php and links to the important graphs are below.

Home sellers in Victoria right now may be feeling as disappointed with the market as they are with the weather! The inventory stats tell us that both # of listings on the market and sales dropped last month. We are proportionally looking about the same as in May with aprox 40% of new listings selling in one month. The average # of days on market for houses selling in the Victoria area last month was 45.

These properties are selling at aprox 97% of their asking price, 95% from their original price.These figures are definitely down from the early Spring of this year. Strata properties took an average of 52 days to sell and also sold at 97% of their asking price, 95% of their original price.

Prices actually rose slightly last month, however. The average price of a single family home last month across Victoria and area (Sidney to Sooke) was $649,280 - one of the highest average prices EVER in Victoria! Condo average was $331,131 and townhomes, $431,247.

I am still seeing many sales go through for my Sellers and Buyers but am finding that negotiations have been tougher (buyers writing lower offers and a price eventually being decided upon sometimes days later depending on the motivations of both parties.) I am also hearing about many transactions falling apart due to financing. More than ever, it is imperative that all buyers get pre-approved fully by a mortgage professional before they begin their property search and consider writing an offer on a property. On that note...

Did you know that new mortgages on age restricted condos are no longer being insured by Canada's largest mortgage insurer, CMHC? Other insurers are thinking of following suit, I am told. If you are in an age restricted condo building (age 19+, 40+ or 55+) and you are thinking of selling, please consider approaching your strata council to discuss the negative ramifications on re-sale value. Many condo owners could lose tens of thousands of dollars on their sales because of these new changes and because of the obvious restrictions it places on potential buyers who may have or want children some day.

If you have questions about the market or timing for your own sale or purchase, please page me through my office at 250-384-7663 or email me at Info@HomesByNaomi.com . Fingers crossed for some warmer weather!!

***

Check out updated mortgage rates on Liz Prins' website athttp://www.mortgagesbyliz.ca/ Also Liz has provided a copy of the HST guidelines.

Remember, HST is only applicable on brand new homes and there arerebates available. Unfortunately it is also applicable on real estate commission and on things like building inspections, so every buyer and seller will be effected by it to some extent. The media was implying that HST would be on all home sales, however, and this is absolutely false.

***

The following was sent to me by my colleague, Brock Harris, who is a REALTOR® in L.A...

Good thing nobody listened to these guys:

"The prices of houses seem to have reached a plateau, and there is reasonable expectancy that prices will decline." -Time Magazine, 1947

"Houses cost too much for the mass market. Today's average price is around $8000 - out of reach for two-thirds of all buyers." -Science Digest, 1948

"The goal of owning a home seems to be getting beyond the reach of more and more Americans. The typical new house today costs about $28,000." -BusinessWeek, 1969

"The median price of a home today is approaching $50,000...Housing experts predict price rises in the future won't be that great." -Nations Business, 1977

"The era of easy profits in real estate may be drawing to a close." -Money Magazine, 1985

"The golden age of risk-free run-ups in home prices is gone." -Money Magazine, 1985

Financial planners agree that houses will continue to be a poor investment." -Kiplinger's Personal Finance, 1993

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Victoria's Early June Market Update...

The Victoria Real Estate Board stats are in from last month and they reveal a startling number of new listingsPrices of condos and townhomes are down, while single family homes still saw an increase in price last month.

All in all, this market is characterized by a very high inventory of listings (especially in strata properties) and lower buyer confidence.. This is caused by a pent-up supply over the last year due to the economic downturn and the winter months. Now Victoria sellers have finally decided it is a good time to sell - all at the same time! This means a lot of choice for buyers. However, buyers are not choosing. They are, for the most part, sitting on the sidelines and waiting to see how things like interest rate rises, increased inventory, Europe's economy and HST are going to effect the real estate market in Victoria.

Many feel that prices will come down this Summer. If sellers continue to list right now, and buyers continue to put off their purchases, then this is likely to happen. Likely we will be looking at a 5% drop in prices, and not much more.

I am advising my sellers that if they do not have to sell immediately, then stay put for now. I am advising buyers to get out and take advantage of increased selection, and not to be afraid to try an offer on a place if they really like it.

I have been involved with 10 offers in the last few weeks and many of them have come in considerably lower than asking price, unless the property is underpriced. We are still seeing multiple offers on homes that are extremely desirable and very well priced.

Call or email to chat about your real estate goals for 2010. I'd be happy to give you some personalized advice.

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New Listings

Nicely updated 3 bed, 3 bath home in Colwood with 1BR suite, detached garage and ocean & city glimpses, $525,000

Private 4 bed, 3 bath Cordova Bay home with loads of outdoor space & parking and spectacular ocean views, $750,000

Congrats to my successful sellers and buyers this month and thank you for the numerous new referrals from my past clients and contacts as well!

I would like to mention one client in particular... they tirelessly kept their home looking clean and beautiful with ultra-modern decor, everything tidy, pleasant music, all lights on and fresh flowers for every showing and even in a tough market in an area with tonnes of listings - their home sold!! Congrats again, you two!

***

Changes...

As many of you know, my office administrator, Amanda, is on maternity leave. In fact, she just had a baby boy a couple of weeks ago! Congratulations to Amanda and her family!!

Introducing Anton... Anton is a licensed REALTOR who works out of the same office as me. He is now working as my licensed administrator doing much of the work Amanda was doing, and a bit more, since he is fully licensed. I am thrilled to have Anton's technical expertise, organizational skills and go-getter attitude on my team - helping me to help my clients even better.

If I take a couple of days off, Kelly will still be helping my clients with Anton by her side for support. Go team!

In other news, I just wanted to share with everyone that I am no longer working for the developers of 601 Herald. While working with them over the past few years, I learned a tonne about selling new construction projects and enjoyed my time working with Trevor Linden and the Airey Group. After much thought this past month, I have decided to focus my energy fully on working with buyers and sellers of re-sale real estate in Victoria. I thank the developers for giving me such a wonderful opportunity and I wish them the very best with the rest of their sales and build. It is going to be a fantastic addition to downtown Victoria's Design District and I know that the buyers will be so proud of their homes. If anyone is interested in learning about 601 Herald, I am still able to help you with research and a purchase in the building as a buyer's agent.

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May Market Update!!

Without further delay... here are the Victoria real estate board stats for the month of April... Check out average price graphs (levelling),inventory graphs (rising with slightly fewer sales this month than last) and neighbourhood breakdowns for different types of homes.

Also, check out this interesting depiction of average home prices graphed since 1978 in Victoria. I predict we are nearing a period more like between 1997 and 2002 (steady and balanced) rather than highly favoured towards sellers with prices increasing dramatically every year.

Again, it is actually quite a relaxed market in which buyers have a great deal of choice and Sellers are having to wait a bit longer for a sale. This will have a levelling effect on prices, so likely no drops or rises in the next few months, maybe years.

The rest of 2010 will be fuelled somewhat by rising interest rates, I believe. Many buyers will smartly want to get into the market while rates are still near historical lows.

Please let me know if you need any advice on timing for making a purchase or for selling your home :)

Also, for an interest rate update check out Liz Prins from Mortgage Depot's updated website!

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New Listing Update...

Just listed luxurious, South facing, 1528 sqft oceanfront condo with incredible mountain and ocean views! $750,000

Just listed open concept, 1000 sqft condo with awesome city views - even water and mountain glimpses! $395,000

Price just reduced on this GORGEOUS 5BR Westshore home bordering greenspace with lovely views! $844,900

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May Congrats...

To all of my clients who successfully bought or sold this past month... the seller of a lovely Marigold split level, the sellers a gorgeous Gordon Head rancher, the buyers of a Cook Street village condo (at a cracking good price), the buyers of a lovely Esquimalt half duplex, and to the two new buyers at 601 Herald - you all know who you are! Congrats on your real estate success and thank you for working with me!!

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April 2010 Victoria Market Update & HOT Real Estate topics...

Prices remained steady with moderate increases in March. See average prices for houses, townhomes and condos here. Listing inventory climbed last month, and fortunately, sale volume followed suit. See graphical depiction here (my favourite graph!!)

The first quarter of 2010 has definitely been characterized by a lot of activity in the Victoria Real Estate market. Single family home sales, especially within 20 mins of Victoria's downtown, priced under $600-650K have been extremely active. Affordable condos have also been selling rather well. Luxury condos, higher priced homes and homes further from downtown Victoria are taking a while longer to re-bound, but I do expect sales to increase in these areas as the Spring and Summer unfold.

Interest rates are already climbing and we will definitely see further increases (likely in the Summer.) I believe this will prove motivating for Buyers to act sooner than later. (See below for a rate update.)

HST coming into effect on July 1st will only be applicable on brand new homes. We are expecting that there will be rebates which will make the tax on new home sales of under aprox $500K be almost unchanged. Homes in a higher price bracket will be subject to more tax which is very unfortunate. I am personally very opposed to this new tax and am especially disappointed by its effect on developers - having to pay an additional 7% on all of their materials and then turn around and sell the house for 7% more to the buyer. Very sad.

Also, regarding the media's reporting of the MLS® system and REALTOR® fees, etc, I am offering here a link to a helpful doc provided to me by Royal LePage which gives a great outline of the Competition Bureau's complaints, the role of REALTORs® and some Q&A's for consumers.

I attended a very informative seminar at the Victoria Art Gallery hosted by TD Waterhouse's Grant Ackerman. It was all about retirement. I brought my Mum along and we both learned a thing or two. Here is aninvestment market update from Grant and to make sense of it all, you can contact Grant at grant.ackerman@td.com or (250) 356 4142. I am so impressed by Grant's knowledge and professionalism and I would recommend that anyone who wants an opinion on their investments contact him.

Here is a mortgage rate sheet from Kerry Patten of Dominion Lending and Prime Mortgage Works. Kerry's contact info is on the bottom of the sheet. She has proven to be a ‘miracle worker' in the mortgage field and has helped many of my clients obtain financing while avoiding some of the many pitfalls of mortgage qualification.

I also met a new mortgage specialist from RBC Royal Bank, Tony Preziuso. I liked Tony's level of professionalism, confidence and knowledge and also felt he was easy to talk to. I feel very confident referring him to my clients. If anyone is looking for a new mortgage approval, Tony can be reached at 250-661-5969 ortony.preziuso@rbc.com .

Finally, CONGRATULATIONS to my clients who bought and sold this past month!! One of my Sellers made an extremely smart decsion to spend a little bit of money in staging and downsizing inside their home (I offer to pay for a staging consultation for all my Sellers) and probably netted out an additional $15K because of it! What an investment!! And another long-time client finally found a fantastic new home in Fernwood after an extensive search. I think she'd agree this one was worth waiting for and congrats to her for winning in multiple offers!

Is there any info that you would like to see discussed on this BLOG? Please email me at Info@HomesByNaomi.com for any real estate related questions or suggested topics.

Thanks everyone!

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March 1st Victoria, BC Market Stats & Discussion

Looks like First Time Buyers are at it again! Check out the average prices and other graphs at http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php . Notice the downward shift in prices! This is certainly not my experience in the actual current marketplace. If anything, we have seen most homes rise in price due to pent up demand in the last few months. The stats tell a different story, however. This is likely due to the type of home that is selling, rather than the actual price of each home going down. (E.g. affordable / starter homes rather than luxury.)

The number of sales is WAY up, almost double the number from Feb 2009. There are also a lot more listings on the market right now. It seems that Sellers are hearing the good news about the market and are finally deciding to list. This is great news for Buyers, as there should be more and more selection as we move into Spring.

The pre-sale / new construction market has seen a solid come-back in 2010 so far as well. 601 Herald along with many other projects are reporting strong interest and steady sales activity.

All in all, this is a very healthy market with many sub-categories shifting to a Seller's market and many others in a balanced state. More than ever, I am predicting a very steady market for 2010. Both demand and supply seem to be abundant right now and interest rates will likely lay low until at least the Fall, which will keep buyers motivated. The influx of buyers from out-of-town has dropped since 2008/9's recession, but hopefully we will see some post-Olympic interest in our beautiful city! My prediction is that prices will stay virtually unchanged for the next few months. Please feel free to email me with your own comments about the market...

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UPDATES:

March 7th: Client Apreciation Party

March 18th: Networking Event

March 30th: Investment / Retirement planning with TD ( Seeevent flyer from Investment Expert, Grant Ackerman)

May 15th: Royal LePage Garage Sale (An opportunity to downsize for charity! Check out the details!)

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I just re-listed a rare Bear Mountain BEAUTY!! Check out floorplans and pics. Open House date TBA...

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Feb 16 Discussion around upcoming changes to Mortgage rules...

Celeste Magnusson of TD Canada Trust has summarized the changes:

"Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced prudent changes to mortgage insurance rules intended to come into force on April 19, 2010. The changes are as follows:

  • 1) All borrowers must meet the standards for a five-year fixed rate mortgage even if they choose a mortgage with a lower interest rate and shorter term;
  • 2) The maximum amount one can withdraw in refinancing their mortgage will be reduced to 90% from the current 95% of the value of one's home;
  • 3) Non-owner occupied properties will require a minimum down payment of 20%.

There were no changes to down payment requirements or length of amortizations for owner-occupied residences. For more information, please see the attached documents."

In speaking with many mortgage brokers, the general feeling is that most of these changes will not affect the majority of home buyers or the market significantly at all.

Note that the 90% limit on borrowing is only on RE-financing (not new mortgages) and that most people have 10% equity in their home upon refinancing.

Kerry Patten of Prime Mortgage Works / Dominion Lending says that the changes to non-owner occupied property mortgages will mostly affect flippers, not people buying long term rental properties.

Here is the Dominion Lending Newsletter (care of Kerry Patten and Sarah Corfield) with a nice re-cap of the changes.

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Feb 1st CRAZY Victoria, BC Real Estate Market Update

The new stats are out at http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php... click on the links at the bottom for graphs. Interestingly, I would say that this month's official stats seem to be somewhat incongruous with my experience and many of my clients' experiences in the market place. You will see on the final graph in link #3 that only 1/3 of available homes on the market sold last month. I'm sure this is true... but certainly there are certain types of property where nearly 100% are selling - some of which in a matter of days if not hours! Just today, I had requested to show two different clients houses in two different areas (Broadmead and Fernwood) in two different price ranges ($700's and $500K's) and both had listings that had sold the day before - 1st day on the market! It is a frustrating time for buyers who are purchasing in desirable areas. I have heard many instances of multiple offers, which is refelective of a high Sellers market. There is a lack of product in the market in areas close to town, specifically in single family homes - especially affordable ones that have been updated, with suites.

There are many people out there (my clients included) that are waiting patiently for homes they like to come on the market before they sell their home. There is very little for them to look at, and therefore they do not list their home, and thus the cycle continues for the potential buyer of their home!

I have one client who bravely sold her house with me before finding the right place to buy. She got full asking price within a few days of being on the market and was able to negotiate long closing dates to give her time to find the right place to move to. I have other clients who are considering this approach due to the tight market conditions we are in. Call me to chat about a strategy if you are finding yourself in this position.

Congrats to all of my clients who moved into or out of their homes this month and thank you again for working with me :)

Other News...

My Client Apreciation party has been moved to the afternoon of Sunday, March 7th. More details to follow...

There have been some changes to the Strata Property act (not all that exciting) ... but here is a summary here. Call me to discuss any of the changes and how they might effect you. I took a course on them this morning ;)

Here's a review of CMHC role in Canada's Credit Crisis recovery sent to me by Liz Prins of Mortgage Depot

601 Herald BLOG is about to have more added... check in a few days athttp://www.601herald.com/blog/ .

Networking Event at our 601 Herald Show Suite... late Feb / early March.. will keep you posted.

*******

Happy 2010 everyone!!

Thank you to all of the people who trusted me to represent them in selling or buying property this past year. I feel very blessed to have such a dynamic group of people in my life. Thank you also for passing along my name to your neighbours, family and friends as well!

I'd like to say a big thank you to my colleague, Kelly Leach, who looked after all of my clients while I was away on my honeymoon in December. Kelly along with my assistant, Amanda, have allowed me to take some time to recharge and have contributed greatly to my business and to the experience of my clients in 2009 and I thank them very much!

Victoria, BC Market Recap 2009 and Predictions 2010

Check out a full write-up athttp://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php . Click on the graphs at the bottom and note the rising prices in ALL types of property in Victoria last month. In fact, we are sitting at an all time high in average single family home prices at $651,316! This is a surprising rebound! Also, note in the last graph, the high proportion of number of sales to the number of listings in December. The last two Decembers saw very similar active listings on the market, but the number of sales has not been so high in years - if at all.

So, what does this mean to you? If you are planning to sell this year, now is actually a great time. If you are planning to buy, it may actually be a good idea to wait until Spring for certain types of product, as there will likely be more to chose from.

Want to know how the price of your home may have changed since you bought? Email me at Info@HomesByNaomi.com or page me at 250-384-7663.

Want to see listings for a specific type of property to see what's selling and at what price? I can hook you up with that too ;)

I had the opportunity to hear Chief Economist, Cameron Muir, speak yesterday on the economic forecast for BC, and specifically, Victoria. I will link to his materials once I receive them, but to summarize, we have seen a very quick and strong rebound this past year in our real estate market, which will likely not be sustainable. Prices and sales volume are expected to level out this year. We may even see a down turn at the end of this year. See my advise above for Sellers and Buyers, based on these predictions.

If you are interested in seeing what's going on in the real estate markets over the rest of Canada, check out this link:http://docs.rlpnetwork.com/rlp.ca/PressReleases/100107_hps.pdf

Other News...

It looks like 601 Herald will be breaking ground in the next few months!! Stay tuned for updates and let me know if you know anyone intersted in buying a downtown condo between $259-459K, completing Spring 2011 :)

My Annual Client Party will be on February 6th. I will contact you with more info and please call with any questions if you dont hear from me by the end of the month.

I made the Top 25 in my company of 180 agents again this month, thanks to the clients I worked with and to Kelly and Amanda. I also won a Master's Sales Award this year, so thanks again to you all!! Okay, that's enough about me.

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601 Herald has launched! New Condos in Victoria, BC

Our 28 homes at the corner of Herald and Government streets in downtown Victoria's Design District are now available for purchase! With completion forecast for Spring 2011, prices very reasonable and amazing interest rates held until completion, demand for our homes has been significant :) It doesn't hurt that our developers have a fantastic reputation! Check out more at: http://www.601herald.com/ If you know anyone who is interested in buying a new flat or loft in downtown Victoria at a good price for themselves or for investment, please let me know :) We have a show suite at 619 Broughton Street which is open by appointment. Call me through the office at 250-384-7663 or on the 601 Herald line at 250-383-1725 to come and take a look.

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For all Condo or Townhome owners or buyers.... I have written an paper called Things to be Aware of when Buying a Strata Property.Check it out and let me know what you think or if you have any questions about the subject matter 

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NEW Seminar coming up..

We are planning a seminar specifically for anyone who has ever considered buying a brand new home. We will cover topics such as:

  • - GST / HST
  • - Warranties
  • - Interest rate holds
  • - Construction timelines
  • - Deficiencies
  • - Legal rights of the buyer

Dates are still being hammered out, but please email me ASAP if this interests you.

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Nov 1st - Victoria Market Update and Real Estate Predictions...

Check out the new stats at the bottom of this page:http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php .

Prices of all types of property appear to bethe same or slightly down in comparison to last month - on average. The activity level with sales of affordable single family homes, close to town has been extreme. We are still seeing multiple offers and homes selling for as much as 8% over asking price (e.g. $40K!) However, the activity level with most types of property listings is average (not as active as say 2007, or August / September of this year.)

As always, the late Fall and Winter brings opportunity for Sellers to be one of the only homes on the market (less competition,) however the season brings less choice for Buyers.

My prediction is that in the New Year we will see a huge increase in the # of listings on the market - perhaps more so than previous years, and that demand will increase as well. It may not increase to meet the supply, which actually might cause prices to stay flat for a while, or even go down slightly.

However, with rates still being extremely low, affordablility is improved vs. previous years and this will likely keep activity high.

It definitely seems as though the investor buyers are back in action. This reflects very positively on the market as well.

********

Celeste Magnusson has posted an article..

Please see this month's TD Economic Housing Outlook. A very interesting read as we start to wrap up 2009 and begin looking ahead to 2010, says Celeste.

Also Celeste says: As always, if you have any questions about financing or know anyone who would like some assistance with their residential mortgage needs, please do not hesitate to send them my way. I'm never too busy for your referrals! Celeste Magnusson - Mobile Mortgage Specialist - TD Canada Trust - T: 250-884-4347 - F: 250-590-3714 - E:celeste.magnusson@td.com

PLUS, Grant Ackerman of TD (B.Comm, CFP, FCSI, FMA, Ch.P. Strategic Wealth
Investment Advisor) wants to share this article with us! Thanks Grant!!

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Victoria, BC Real Estate Market Update Oct 1st, 2009

Check out the stats at http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php --> Graphs are at the bottom of the page. You will see that:

  • Prices are up in condo sales and quite significantly in Single family sales. (We are actually back to record highs, similar to Spring 2008.
  • # sales at highest level since 1992!
  • Luxury / higher end market coming back to life (24 homes over $1 mill sold in Sep!)
  • Inventory levels are very similar to last month, still high for this time of year, but sales are very high as well.
  • We are in a fairly balanced market, with affordable quality product selling very quickly in choice areas.

Call me anytime to chat more about how this affects your upcoming purchase, sale or current real estate investment 

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Another Seminar Coming up:

Best Kept Secrets of the Bond Market

Thurs Oct 8, 2009

4:30-5:30 PM

TD Waterhouse Investor Centre

1070 Douglas Street, Main Floor

Victoria, BC

or visit us online at www.tdwaterhouse.ca for more seminar listings in your area.

Grant Ackerman, B.Comm, CFP, FCSI, FMA, Ch.P. Strategic Wealth
Investment Advisor

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www.601Herald.com is live!! 28 residences in downtown Victoria's Design District... sales to begin in last two weeks of October. Check out the site and let me know what you think!

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Coming soon... my Facebook Group: Naomi Melhuish Larkins Real Estate... feel free to become a member :) Everybody's doing it...

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We are very close to launching our 28 unit condo project at 601 Herald Street!! It is at the corner of Herald and Government streets and will be a heritage-style brick building with super modern interiors. Suites will be priced starting at around $259,000.. up to $459,000. Keep checking www.601Herald.com as we will be live soooon!!!

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Calling all Proffessionals, Services, Trades etc!!

If you or someone you know offers a great service (anything from photography to plumbing, landscaping to hair dressing, massage to hand-made cards, vaccum install to car repair) - please tell me about them!

I would like to put all the names together to create a one-stop-shop for everything a person needs :)

Please email me the person's email +/or website, phone number and business name at Info@HomesByNaomi.com

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Seminar on Sept 24th:

A business colleague of mine, Grant Ackerman, who is an Investment Advisor for TD Waterhouse, will be hosting an informational seminar downtown on September 24th. He will be speaking on how best to manage your money in uncertain times and had asked me to pass this along to anyone that might be interested. Grant puts on a great show and I think his British chef friend Dan will be preparing the hors d'oeuvers, so it should be a fun event if you can find the time. I have attached the formal invite which outlines the time, location and RSVP details etc.

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Sep 4th, 2009: SPECIFIC INFO ON SINGLE FAMILY HOME SALES IN THE HOTTEST VICTORIA MARKETS (Saanich East, Oak Bay and Victoria proper)

Recent sales of homes priced below $575K...

Average list price: $510,303

Average selling price: $511,415

% Sell to List price ratio: 99% (highest in a few years)

Average Days on Market: 13 (this figure shocked even me!!)

This includes subject removal period, therefore offers are coming in on average within the first 5 or 6 days.

Wow!

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A TID-BIT FOR RESIDENTS OF THE WESTSHORE:

In case you haven't seen it already, there is a new restaurant at 832 Goldstream. It's called Basilico Ristorante and it is fabulous! I ate there two days in a row because the food was so good :) Plus I think the prices are very reasonable.

As of this week they are still waiting for their liquor license, which is coming soon, but I don't think you'll be disappointed. Lunch on the patio is especially lovely on a nice day.

Finally some more good dining options in Langford / Colwood! Here's the website: http://www.basilicoristorante.com/

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EXCITING Real Estate MARKET STATS...

For all those waiting till the prices go down before they buy this year - you may have missed the boat! Prices have generally been on the rise in 2009 in Victoria, but this past month saw further price increases bringing the numbers back to where they were pre-decline. However, they are still down from earlier in 2008 when the prices were at an all-time high.

Some info on increases thus far in 2009:

Houses have seen a 13% increase in price since the bottom of the market in winter 2008.

Townhomes have increased in price by 19% since the bottom price in Feb 2009.

Condos have increased by 22% officially since the lowest month, Jan 2009.

Please try and spread the word to people who own property right now. It is a good time to sell, especially if you own a house under $550K, townhome under $400K or condo under $300K.

The more homes that come on the market, the more prices will stabilize. So if you are still waiting for prices to decline this year, telling your friends and colleagues and family to sell is the smartest thing you can do!

And of course, please tell them to call me to list their properties :) I will do a great job for them and get them the very best price possible in the shortest time with the least amount of stress ;)

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HOT NEW LISTING

I just listed a beautiful 3 bed, 2 bath, ONE yr old home in Shawnigan Lake. Here are all the exciting details:http://www.homesbynaomi.com/listings.php

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CONGRATS..

Congrats to my five clients who successfully transacted property this month - you know who you are ;) A two bedroom investment condo on Begbie has gone to a new owner, and four buyers are settling into their new pads.. a fantastic find in Langford (3 beds, top floor, brand new under $315K!) ... a perfect patio suite for two - also in Langford... a fantastic fixer-upper in Central Saanich ... and a terrific townhouse in Saanich East - a lovely home and savvy investment I recon!

Well done folks!! The way the market is looking - you'll likely see an increase in price within the next few months :)

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NEW LISTING

I just listed a one bedroom, one bath condo in Fernwood, near the Oak Bay border for $239,000. This one likely wont last long as the last listing in the building sold in multiple offers. Here's the info:http://www.homesbynaomi.com/single.php4?id=265537 . Let me know if you know any interested Buyers! Thanks!

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MARKET UPDATE JULY 1ST 2009

Check out the new stats athttp://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php . Single family home sales are up along with townhomes. This is likely reflecting the strong demand from Buyers interested in getting in while rates are low and prices are reasonable and the trickle-up effect that this new bouyancy is having on higher end properties. Condo sale prices are down on average, likely because it is student-condo-buying-season and these units tend to be smaller and more affordable on average.

If you are curious about a particular type of real estate product (i.e. condos under $300K or houses under $550K,) please email me for more specific stats on any corner of the market that intrigues you.Info@HomesByNaomi.com .

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MARKET UPATE JUNE 2009

The June 1st stats athttp://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php (bottom of page) dont even do this crazy market justice...

Prices in single family homes and condos are on the rise - mostly in the under $300- $500K range. Interest rates are amazing (!!!) and inventory is still low after the winter economic melt-down. This is a recipe for some hot competetion between buyers.

In fact, in the past two weeks, 79 houses have sold between $300-500K with the average price sold / price listed ratio at 98%. Almost half of homes sold for 99% or more of their list price, 18 of them over asking price by as much as 6%!!

For anyone looking at homes under $500K, townhomes under $400K and condos under $300K, I highly suggest getting out to see as much as possible now - even if you are not ready to buy. This will allow you to get a feel for what exactly you want and need, so that when the right one comes on the market - you can hopefully be first in line without competing!

Call to chat strategy any time ;) 250-384-7663. Page me and I'll call you back ASAP.

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CONGRATS to all of my clients who have bought and sold with me in the past month:

Susie and Kent found a beautiful townhome at Madrona Creek - can't wait to have them as neighbours!

Amber and Dana have moved into their lovely little Langford house with a not-so-little yard and amazing updates inside!

Ashley and Ryan are making Bear Mountain home - enjoying the new golf course and the incredible amenities at Finlayson Reach!

My Mum has successfully sold her house. She had 9 showings and 5 offers - pretty good odds!! She is looking forward to moving into her new suite and being closer to us :)

Margaret has chosen a fantastic water-view condo in Cordova Bay which will be even more fantastic when her reno is complete!

Melinda and Al will be getting possession of their fabulous town house soon which they cant wait to put their stamp on as well :)

Brenda and Bob chose a great condo for their daughter - close to everything and in a great building. They won in multiple offers - yet still got a great price - Conrats!!

Remember, all these people are in the draw for the 3 X $1000 gift certificates for travel - to be drawn in January plus the wonderful people who referred them to me. There is still 6 months to get your name in the draw. Please let me know if you know of anyone who is thinking of buying or selling. Nobody should be going-it-alone in this unpredictable market!

Thanks to you all for your amazing support!

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MARKET UPDATE MAY 2009

Wow, the market has heated up so much in the past few months - some people are getting burned!!

Check out the most recent stats by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page: http://www.homesbynaomi.com/newsletter.php The last link depicts the sales vs. listings, which is a great indicator of market conditions. If you have a look at this past April compared to April 2008, you will see that there were actually more sales in relation to listings in April 2009. This shows the balance shifting towards a Seller's market, which is an unexpected surprise in this economic climate.

My clients have been experiencing this market first hand with many multiple offer situations (I have personally been involved in 5 in the past month!)

Message to Buyers (especially those purchasing homes under $500K and condos under $300K) - things are moving quickly, prices are still down 5-10% from last year abd are currently steady if not rising again, rates are fantastically low - consider this as a great opportunity to buy or move up in the market!

Any questions?? Want to chat? Please page me anytime at 250-384-7663 or email me at Info@HomesByNaomi.com .

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NETWORKING NIGHT IS ON!!!

This is an open invite to anyone who is in business who wants to meet other poeple in business. It could also be for people who are looking for a job, or for employees, or just want to meet people in the city.

It is on Friday April 17th from 6-8:00 pm at the Sandman Inn at 2852 Douglas St. There will be wine with a cash bar and chese and crackers. Invite your friend, pass the invite along. Call or email for more details: 250-384-7663 or Info@HomesByNaomi.com

CONGRATULATIONS RYAN AND ASHLEY!!!

They just removed final subjects on their condo purchase at Bear Mountain! There are some beautiful suites still available in the Finlayson Reach building at a reasonable price, by the way... call me for more details. Ryan and Ashley were referred to me by Amy & Al Larkins and by Mortgage Broker Extraordinaire Christine Campbell of RBC (250-415-8779) so all of them will now be entered into the 2009 Client & Referral Draw!! (See below for details..)

OPEN HOUSE April 11th

This Saturday from 2-4 pm I'll be holding an Open House at 3266 Renita Ridge Rd in Duncan. If you're down in the valley, come and check it out!

NEW LISTING (April 7th)

I just listed a lovely updated condo in Fernwood for $259,900. Here are all the details and pictures:http://www.homesbynaomi.com/single.php4?id=260967&ct=

NETWORKING EVENT COMING UP...

Stay tuned for more details on the networking night I'll be holding on April 17th. It is for anyone who is in business, to meet other people in business. Anyone who offers a trade, service or is even looking for employees or a job, should come and mingle :) More to follow...

NEW LISTING (April 2nd)

I just listed my Mum's home in Duncan. Check out the details here:http://www.homesbynaomi.com/single.php4?id=260587&ct=

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SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!

After much research and brainstroming and advice from all of you, we have decided on the prizes for the 2009 Client Apreciation Draw!! (Drum roll please...)

Everyone who buys or sells with me in 2009, or refers someone who buys or sells with me in 2009, will be entered in the draw.(E.g. Two transactions of your own and one referral transaction = 3 names in the draw.)

Then in January 2010 at my Client Apreciation Party, I will draw THREE names, each of whom will win a $1000 GIFT CERTIFICATE FOR TRAVEL!!!

This is my way of saying thank you to all my clients and to everyone who helps me make a new client connection.

So start looking through your contact list for friends, co-workers, neighbours, family etc who are considering buying or selling property in or around Victoria this year. Please call me to discuss the best way for me to get in touch and hep them gather info and hopefully achieve their goal

Please call me with any questions about the draw or the prizes :)

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March 19th MARKET UPDATE:

Here is a snapshot of what is happeing in the Victoria Real Estate market right now:

There are currently 3353 listings on the market as of today (across Victoria Real Estate Board, including some Cowichan Valley, but not Gulf Islands.)

There have been 978 sales so far this year. Exactly 400 of them occurred in February and there have been 301 so far in March. (This includes all product - farms, manufactureds, condos, houses etc.)

The average price of a single family home selling in March so far is just over $546,000. Average Days on Market is 50. Averae Selling Price / List Price as a percentage is 96%.

These figures are a slight improvement from last month's where average price was $11K lower, days on market 13 days longer, and sell/list price 1% lower.

In my opinion, these stats bode well for the Spring market, where we will likely have lots of activity with prices staying steady (perhaps slight increases as we've seen the last few months) and homes selling a bit quicker. There will still be a gluttony of homes on the market, I recon, with only the best priced and/or nicest looking listings selling.

Call me or email me with any questions, or to obtain stats for a particular type of home or area!

250-384-7663 or Info@HomesByNaomi.com (P.S. I will be out of town March 20th, 21st and 22nd, returning March 23rd.) My wonderful colleague, Kelly Leach will be taking care of my clients and all inquries during that time. She can be reached at the same # above or atKellyLeach@RoyalLePage.ca . Have a great weekend!!!

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PRICE CHANGE

We just reduced the price of 983 McBriar Ave in Lake Hill (http://www.homesbynaomi.com/single.php4?id=259259&ct=) to $569,000. If you know anyone who might be interested in this house, please let me know.

NEW LISTING

Kelly Leach and I have just re-listed a luxurious 2 bed, 2 bath, ocean view suite at Swallow's Landing. It is priced at $639,900 which is an extremely competetive price. Please call for more info 250-384-7663.

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INQUIRIES?

Please always feel free to call me with any and all real estate related questions. For example, people call me regarding home insurance, home maintenance, to find out what a neighbour's house sold for, to talk about the possibility of a move in a few months or even years, to get advice for updates or renos, to discuss real estate investments, etc etc. Dont be shy!! And if I dont know the answer, I will do my bet to find out 

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BEST NEW RATES from Liz Prins

Hello! Happy Sunny Tuesday.

My best rate today for a five year fixed is 4.09% and for variable rates I now have Prime + 0.50%. This 3% variable rate is excellent considering the expectation from Bank of Canada is that the Prime lending rate will remain low for some time.

I read an article last week that pointed out that on average most Canadians redo their mortgages every three years whether it is due to a move and purchase, refinance or change in personal circumstance. My best three year rate is currently 3.89%!

Warm regards,

Elizabeth Prins, Mortgage Consultant

Mortgage Depot / www.mortgagecanada.com / Phone: 250.475.1166

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I just posted the latest testimonial from some of my clients at:http://www.homesbynaomi.com/about.php

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We had a HUGE turn out at the Open House on McBriar today!! Looking forward to another busy OPEN at Swallows Landing tomorrow. See info below..

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This Week's OPEN HOUSES:

Saturday March 14th at 983 McBriar Ave (2:00 - 4:00 pm)

Sunday March 15th at 847 Dunsmuir Rd (2:00 - 4:00 pm)

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MARCH 1st MARKET UPDATE!!

The new market stats just came out. Check out this Newsletter for a summary and some graphs (who doesn't love a good graph!?) More analysis to come...

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Feb 26th - THANKS TO ALL 2008 CLIENTS AND SUPPORTERS!

I was just up in Duncan receiving my President's Gold Award for sales achievment today. I also am proud to announce that i won a Silver MLS Award for 2008 as well. So a BIG thank you to everyone who worked with me in 2008 or who referred soneone who worked with me in 2008.

If you know anyone who is buying or selling this year, please give me a call and we can discuss how I can help them.

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NEW LISTING!!

I am thrilled to tell you about the home I just listed for my clients... It is a beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bath home in Lake Hill. It is fully renovated and has a one-bedroom suite. Pictures, floorplans and virtual tours at:http://www.homesbynaomi.com/listings.php . Please call or email me for more info or if you think of someone who might be interested.

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For Home OWNERS and Potential Home BUYERS:

Sarah Corfield from Dominion Lending has an important message for you:

"Have you been thinking about getting an investment property or upgrading to a bigger home? With rates at historical lows these days it is a great time to buy. Every day the media reports about the "horrible economy" and "declining housing market". What they don't tell you is right now there is an excellent opportunity to take advantage of current low interest rates in our market place. Now more than ever reaching your goal of owning a home is attainable - even for those without a down payment. Lenders are offering 5% cash back for the down payment on closing or you can borrow the money from your line of credit or credit cards.

If you are happy in your current home have you thought about rewriting your mortgage?? If you are currently in a fixed rate mortgage then it's a perfect time to refinance in order to take advantage of the low rates. Just because you locked in at a time when rates were higher doesn't mean you are stuck with that rate for your entire term. You can save thousands of dollars over and above what your penalty would be to pay out your current mortgage. Who doesn't want to save thousands of dollars?!

Call me now for your free mortgage analysis and let me tell you about some of the exciting new products that are available."

Sarah Corfield - Dominion Lending Centres Western Communities Mortgage Group
Tel: 250.896.6320
Fax: 250.590-3051
Email: scorfield@dominionlending.ca 
Web: www.sarahcorfield.ca

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Announcement:

I am excited to announce that coming April 1st, 2009 I will have mySeller's Book ready for reading! I am writing a book specifically for people who want to sell their home in Victoria, BC. It will have all sorts of tricks and tips and review some of the pitfalls as well. I will keep you posted on the progress. Let me know if you'd like a copy once they are available 

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Congrats to Jenn and Dale! February 16th

They successfully sold their home on Carroll Street (in 13 days!) and are moving to the beautiful South Valley development at the end of the month! By having their home in tip-top show-home condition (and of course by hiring a fabulous agent like me.. hehe) they were rewarded with a quick sale and are thrilled to be moving to their dream home 

(Jenn and Dale also learned to speak with a mortgage specialist (broker) rather than just their bank before moving. For a list of fabulous brokers, please see: http://www.homesbynaomi.com/services.php )

Happy Packing Jenn and Dale!!

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Home Renovation Tax Credit

Kerry Patten from DLC Prime Mortgage Works Inc says:

"Hi Everyone

You may have heard about the Home Renovation Tax Credit recently announced by the Federal Government. Here is a release with a few details you may have wondered about: Home Renovation Tax Credit.pdf.

Please feel free to ask Kerry if you have any questions regarding this document."

Kerry Patten: 250-708-2063 or email: kerrypatten@shaw.ca

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Statistics for January 2009

Here are the key numbers for January's Real Estate market as reported by the Victoria Real Estate Board:

Total Active Listings 1 Feb 09

3678

Total Active Listings 1 Feb 08

3027

New Listings for month of January 2009

1055

Average Days on Market

77

Average Days on Market for January 2008

60

Number of Sales YTD 09

247

Number of Sales YTD 08

464

Average Sale Price Jan 09

421,158

Average Sale Price Jan 08

493,000

Overall appreciation or depreciation year over year

-15%

*Sell/List Ratio Jan 08

.35

*Sell/List Ratio Jan 09

.27

*represents the number of listings sold YTD over the number listed YTD, expressed as a percentage.

My personal take on the current market:

- # of sales is already picking back up for the year

- First time buyers and folks moving up the property ladder are realizing the benefit of buying in this market, which is spurring sales #'s.

- Sales of first-time homes and condos is making up a large proportion of the total sales right now, which actually brings down the average sale price. This does not mean the average home is worth a huge amount less, it means that a lot of less expensive homes are selling. (To be clear: the average price of a home in Victoria has dropped in the last 3 months, just not as much as the averages may suggest.)

- I think prices will stay fairly level this Spring, perhaps with a small decrease. All I know for sure, however, is that we will not know when we have hit the bottom until prices start to rise again.

Please email or call me anytime with questions 

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Congratulations to Ingrid!

My wondeful client, Ingrid, finally found and bought the perfect new home for her! It is a beautiful one bedroom townhome on Deville Rd. We were able to negotiate a great price for her and she is taking advantage of the amazing interest rates too. Congratulations Ingrid and welcome to the Westshore!

Of course Ingrid will now be entered in my 2009 draw, along with my two past clients, Dan and Erik, who introduced me to her!

(More info soon on the trip give-away for this coming year!!)

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A Chad Wood Blog (CHOG) February 2nd, 2009

"Moving Forward with the new Budget 2009"

Chad Wood, from Desjardins Financial Security, chad.wood@dfsin.ca250-708-3376 ext.228, wants you to know that...

"With the new budget announced on January 26, it seems like there is some good news on the horizon for Canadians wishing to purchase a new home. Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, has laid out a stimulus package totalling about $40 billion in measures over the next two years. Canadians can certainly benefit from some of the proposed tax measures outlined in the plan. For example, we will see the basic personal exemption amount increase by $720 to $10,320. The two lowest personal income tax brackets have increased by 7.5% from 2008 levels. For those individuals or families looking to purchase a new home - pay attention... The Home Buyers Plan withdrawal (from RRSP) limit has increased from $20,000 to $25,000. This means that a couple could potentially pull out a total of $50,000 tax-free towards a down payment on a home. (The withdrawal will need to be placed back into the respective RRSP over a 15 year period, but this strategy is still a winner!) As well, first time home buyers can receive a credit worth $750 of closing costs. Looking to renovate your current home? The Home Renovation Tax Credit could provide an amount up to $1350.

Many Canadians are looking to discover the power of the new Tax Free Savings Account. Now, FTHB's can use another vehicle for saving towards their first home. Combined with the Home Buyer's Plan, more savings can grow tax free in order to provide maximum growth for a down payment. For a review of your savings strategy or a free consultation regarding your Financial Plan, please contact me for an appointment."

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Accepted Offer! January 29th

Exciting news - my clients already received an accepted offer on their home after 4 days on the market! The property that the Buyers of their home are selling was only on the market for 2 days! Many other agents in my office are talking about how active the market has become in the past few weeks, compared to the time between Nov and Jan. Perhaps this spells good news for the Spring Real Estate market..?

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New Listing!! Jan 25th, 2009

I just listed this beautiful like-new 2001 built home, within 5 mins of downtown! It is completely move-in ready with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, skylit staircase, smart layout and tons of charm. There's a bright eat-in kitchen, gorgeous sunny deck, fully fenced easy-care yard, large single garage, even a laundry chute! It's close to parks, schools, walking trails, theatres and all shopping, yet located on a safe and quiet street. Offered below assessment at $475,000, there are no other homes in all of Saanich, Vic, Esquimalt etc at or below this price that are built within the last 10 years.

If you know someone who might be interested in this house, please call me at 250-384-7663. For more info, check outhttp://www.homesbynaomi.com/single.php4?id=257884

Thanks!

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January 22nd, 2009 Market Update

As of today there are 3541 active listings on the Victoria and area MLS system. 679 of these have been listed since Jan 1st. So far this month/year there have been 126 properties sold through the MLS, which, as expected, is significantly down from last year's tally of 289 and 2007's 276 (Jan 1st - 22nd)

of the properties that have sold, there have been 64 condos ranging in price from $100K (co-op condo in Oak Bay) to $850K (penthouse in The Belvedere downtown.) The average price for condos this year to date is $278,853 (unchanged since December.) Average days on market for these sales is 73 (to be expected at this time of the year). And on average condos are selling for 93% of their list price, which is historically quite low.

71 single family homes have sold so far in Jan 2009. Price range includes everything from a home on Walter Street sold for $316K to an impressive Ten Mile Point waterfront abode for $1.95 mill. Average price: $549,552 (slightly up from December) Average DOM 76: Sell to list price ratio: 95%.

There have been 15 townhome sales since Jan 1st, ranging from a lovely one bedroom on Deville in Langford at $238,500 to a 3000 sqft Broadmead home at $600K. Average price: $393,262 (unchanged since Dec), DOM: 81 and Sell/List price: 95%.

There were also three mobile homes sold in the $120K range, 2 half duplexes at $417K & $450K and a vacant lot for $55K on Pender Island.

For more details on market activity, never hesitate to email or call me at (250) 384-7663 or Info@HomesByNaomi.com

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Come and Visit!

Finally, I am doing an Open House with my colleague, Kelly Leach and my administrator, Amanda Palubiski, this Saturday at my listing at Swallows Landing. Suite #506 at 847 Dunsmuir Street is open between 12:00 and 4:00 pm. There will be a few snacks available as well. This is a gorgeous ocean, mountain and marina view condo offered at $699,900. For more details or to send the info to a friend, please click on: http://www.homesbynaomi.com/single.php4?id=255629&ct= .

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Latest Rate Update

Lending Expert, Liz Prins, from Mortgage Depot, 250-475-1166liz@mortgagecanada.com Wants you to know that...

"On January 20th the Bank of Canada lowered their interest rate by ½ percent. Major lenders followed their lead and lowered Prime to 3.0%! This means this is an excellent time for home financing. As of today my current best rates available are 3.8% for a 5 year variable rate mortgage and five year fixed rates are as low as 4.39%! Come in for a pre-approval and rate hold as soon as possible even if you aren't quite ready to buy. Call me for a confidential appointment so we can discuss your plans for the future."

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January 2009 Annoucements

Thank you so much to all who came to my Client Apreciation Party on the 11th!! It sounds like a great time was had by all 

Congratulations to the winners of the lovely prizes my colleagues brought, and thank you to all of them for their support.

For the names and contacts of any of the professionals (Christine from RBC, Liz from Mortgage Depot, Sarah from Dominion, Loukia from Studio L and Chad from Desjardins) please refer tohttp://www.homesbynaomi.com/services.php or get in touch with me for their info.

And of course a huge CONGRATULATIONS to the winner of the big trip: Maxine and Steve!!!!! They were thrilled to hear the news that they had won the 2008 client and referral draw.

Remember, I will be deciding this month what type of incentive to offer for this coming year: either the Mexico trip again (7 days at an all-inclusive with air fare all paid etc) OR four or five smaller scale trips (e.g. 2 days in Vegas, Tofino, San Fran etc)

I am asking for everyone's opinion on helping me decide. Please email me at Info@HomesByNaomi.com with your opinion: 1) One big trip or 2) A few smaller trips. These prizes will of course be drawn in Jan 2010 for everyone who buys or sells in 2009 or refers someone who buys or sells in 2009. (Sale must close before Dec 31st 2009.)

Thanks again to everybody! Looking forward to seeing more of you all in 2009.

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Annoucing Amanda!

As of January 2009, Amanda Palubiski will be joining my Real Estate team as a part time administration expert. Amanda will be in my office a few days a week maintaining organization, providing client care and covering a multitude of admin tasks. I am thrilled to have her aboard and can't wait for you all to meet her!

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December 2008 Market Info

To begin, I'd like to shed some light on the question on everybody's mind. "What is happening in the Victoria real estate market now, and what might happen next?"

I have attached an article here that I think gives an excellent analysis of the information we have about the figures for 2008 and a reasonable forecast for 2009.

Please keep in mind that nobody (not even these chief economists) KNOWS what will happen in the future. Nobody predicted the huge increase in demand for Victoria's real estate in 2004 which started the massive spike in average selling prices we've seen in the last four years. Nobody predicted that this trend would continue so solidly, and for as long as it did. Each year many economists' estimates were exceeded.

Also, please keep in mind that a "drop in sales" is not a drop in prices. "Sales" or "Number of sales" is the number of MLS listings that successfully sell in a particular area within a period of time. A drop in sales usually means a drop in price, but the two occur at different rates. Sales fluctuate throughout the year quite drastically (higher in spring and summer, drooping in the fall and low in winter.) Sale prices usually stay more consistent during these yearly ups and downs, unless the market is making a bigger shift.

Here is the excerpt from the BC Real Estate and Housing's report, specifically regarding Victoria: Link to PDF.

So as you can see, this report is forecasting the number of sales to be down by the end of 2008, but up again in 2009, whereas the prices will have overall seen a rise this year, and will likely fall slightly on average next year.

In my opinion, we live in an area that, for many reasons, is quite resilient from economic slow-down. Our economy is not overly resource based (e.g. Government and the tech industry are huge employers,) we enjoy the most desirable climate in the country and our city is a nice medium size - both factors which attract residents from other areas both rural and urban.

So what does the current and future state of the market mean for you?

I think it means different things for Buyers and for Sellers and I would advise differently on timing for each type of property as well.

I advise my clients like I would advise my friends and family. I don't want you to make the wrong decisions, and will help you to achieve your real estate goal whenever the timing is right. Please let me know if you have a question in this regard.

Thanks for reading!

Naomi

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Without further delay... here are the Victoria real estate board stats for the month of April... Check out average price graphs (levelling), inventory graphs (rising with slightly fewer sales this month than last) and neighbourhood breakdowns for different types of homes.

Also, check out this interesting depiction of average home prices graphed since 1978 in Victoria. I predict we are nearing a period more like between 1997 and 2002 (steady and balanced) rather than highly favoured towards sellers with prices increasing dramatically every year.

Again, it is actually quite a relaxed market in which buyers have a great deal of choice and Sellers are having to wait a bit longer for a sale. This will have a levelling effect on prices, so likely no drops or rises in the next few months, maybe years.

The rest of 2010 will be fuelled by the rising interest rates, I believe. Many buyers will want to get into the market while rates are still near historical lows.

Please let me know if you need any advice on timing for making a purchase or for selling your home :)

 

 

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