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BLOGS prior 2011

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.

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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...

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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!

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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!!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 :)