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BLOGS 2011

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!!!