Home Ownership Budget Measures Will Help, But Not Reignite, Real Estate Sector

The recently announced federal budget gives some relief to homeowners, but it is not expected to change the current condition of the real estate market in Kamloops, provincially or nationally. The number of listings on the market not only in Kamloops but nationally are up and the number of home sales are down. It would take a number of factors to change before this ratio adjusts.

The federal budget offered the following:  first time home buyer’s RRSP allowance was increased and tax credit was increased. There are also tax write-offs for home renovations.

In an uncertain market these allowances and tax cuts most likely won’t change the rate at which real estate is selling in B.C. but it will encourage current home owners who are on the fence about renovating their home to take the tax write-off as it will not be available forever.  The positive aspect of the new home renovation tax write-off  is it will keep people working. Some trades people in Kamloops have felt a slow down in their business. This stimulus should encourage home owners to consider hiring a professional to help with renovations.

Below I have included an article from the Vancouver Sun.

Potential home buyers won some small gains out of the federal budget that won’t necessarily re-spark activity in the declining residential real-estate sector, but do go along with the theme of offering incentives for consumers to spend.

In Tuesday’s budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty raised the limit for how much first-time home buyers can withdraw from RRSPs to make a down payment to $25,000 from $20,000 for individuals and $50,000 from $40,000 for couples.

Also for first-time purchasers, Flaherty included a 15-per-cent tax credit on home-purchase closing costs to a maximum of $5,000, which would be worth $750 off a buyer’s federal tax bill.

“Perhaps none of these things in and of themselves will be the turning point, or whatever,” Jim Murphy, CEO of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, said in an interview. “But they all help, and really it’s the issue of government trying to deal with the whole issue of consumer confidence.”

Murphy said the RRSP home buyer program, first initiated in 1992, has been a very popular program, and that more buyers “than you might think” take advantage of it.

The program allows buyers to withdraw money from their retirement investments tax free for use as part of their down payment so long as they pay it back into their RRSP accounts within 15 years.
The federal government has estimated increasing the limit will cost $15 million a year over the next two years.

The tax credit on closing costs is expected to be more expensive, costing the federal treasury $30 million in fiscal 2008-09, $175 million in 2009-10 and $180 million in 2010-11.

Increasing the limit on RRSP withdrawals to keep step with rising home prices is something the mortgage industry and realtors have been advocating for a long time, Murphy said, and he expects there will be buyers who do use the extra money.

And while the $10,000 increase in the limit for a couple might not be a huge increase, Murphy said it can help reduce the principal of mortgages buyers take out, or help push them over the threshold for not requiring mortgage insurance on their transaction.

“Every little bit helps,” Murphy said.

Dave Watt, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, added that home sales have considerable spin-offs in terms of the furniture new homeowners tend to buy and home improvements they tend to make.

And the whole thrust of Flaherty’s budget was to encourage average people to spend, says Lincoln Schreiner, a Vancouver-based tax-practice partner in the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“When you go into a situation where people start to talk socially about whether their job is going to be there or not, you’re going to be more cautious,” Schreiner said. “People start cutting back on spending, and it becomes like a tidal wave.”

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Community Profile: Logan Lake B.C. Real Estate

For up to date Logan Lake and surrounding area homes for sale click here.

Welcome To Logan LakeThe district of Logan Lake is located in the Highland Valley between the City of Kamloops, the city of Merrit and the village of Ashcroft. Logan lake originally was a mining town set up in the early 1970’s. It was set up to support the expanding copper mine development, Highland Valley Copper, located 15 kilometres west. Logan Lake developed into more than just a mining town over the following decades and became a beautiful rural community boasting a population of over 2300. Mining is still the main industry in Logan Lake. Highland Copper has the largest open pit copper mine on the North American continent.

There are numerous outdoor activities to do in Logan Lake such as: cross country skiing, fishing, golfing, hiking, snowmobiling, horseback riding, ATV  riding, dirt biking and pond hockey. With over 30 lakes in the immediate area Logan Lake is know for amazing fishing including Lac le Jeune with it’s famous fighting rainbow trout.

Golfing is a popular activity, Meadow Creek Golf Club just east of Logan Lake located in the lush pine and aspen forest is a nine hole course (3,124 yards, par 36). The golf course is within walking distance of downtown.

Logan lake also has a recreation centre with an ice rink, curling rink and weight room. There are also other seasonal sports fields such as ball diamonds, soccer fields, tennis courts and a swimming pool. This is also an elementary and high school located within the city centre, completing this family orientated community.

There are a variety of residential properties for your choosing in Logan Lake. Single family homes, townhouses, apartment units, duplexes and 1/2 duplex homes, farm properties, acreages, and mobile/modular homes.

This area has a home available for every budget. The Kamloops Real Estate Board is reporting that there are 46 listings currently on the market in Logan Lake. There are nine lots ranging in price from $45,000 to $295,000 and ranging in lot size from 0.18 acres (7840 Sq. Ft.) to 75 acres (3,267,000 Sq. Ft.). There are nine apartment listings ranging in price from $69,900 to $128,500, four modular homes ranging from $129,900 to $165,900 and townhouses $159,900 to $172,900.  Finally, single family homes currently on the market; there are 21 single family homes on the market ranging from $169,o00 to $765,000. To view current MLS listings in Logan Lake and surrounding areas click here.

logan lake farmLogan lakeHighland Valley Copper

5th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey 2009

The Demographia 5th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey for 2009 is out. It rates metropolitan markets for affordability of the housing in each market. Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States are all discussed.

The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey employs the “Median House Price to Median Household Income Multiple,” (“Median Multiple”) to rate housing affordability. The ratings are as follows 3.0 or Less is defined as “Affordable”, 3.1 to 4.0 “Moderately Unaffordable”, 4.1 to 5.0 “Seriously Unaffordable” and 5.1 and above “Severely Unaffordable”.

In recent decades, the Median Multiple has been remarkably similar among the nations surveyed, with median house prices being generally 3.0 or less times median household incomes. This historic affordability relationship continues in many housing markets of the United States and Canada. However, the Median Multiple has escalated sharply in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and in some markets of Canada and the United States.

Over the past year, house prices have declined in most markets. This “bursting of the housing bubble” followed an unprecedented increase in housing prices in all markets except some areas in the United States and Canada. The result is that housing affordability has generally improved, though remains at Median Multiples well above the historic norm in many markets.

Vancouver came in at 8.4, Victora 7.4, Kelowna 6.8 and Abbotsford 6.5 to name a few. All the previously named markets are defined as “Severely Unaffordable”. The province of British Columbia was generally described as severely unaffordable based on the calculations employed in this survey. However, many of these severely unaffordable markets have experienced steep price declines in the last year. Among the major markets, Vancouver is the least affordable. The Kamloops market was not specifically cited in this survey, but as a part of the province of British Columbia one can draw the conclusion that we too are at least “seriously unaffordable”.

To read the entire PDF document from The Demographia Survey click HERE.

Lower & Upper Sahali, Kamloops, B.C. Real Estate

Sahali Kamloops View Home for Sale MLS listing Real Estate

Neighbourhood: Lower & Upper Sahali, Kamloops, B.C. Real Estate. The area described as Sahali is on the south shore of the Thompson river. It is bordered by South Kamloops and the Downtown district (to the south), Southgate and Dufferin to the west and Aberdeen to the south west. Lower Sahali is the portion of Sahali that falls below the #1 highway and Upper Sahali is above the #1 with the Highway 5A being the dividing line between Sahali and Aberdeen. Click here to see the map.

 

Properties & Real Estate

68-1605 Summit Dr, Sahali, Kamloops Home For Sale2-1750 McKinley Court, Sahali, Kamloops, BC

Lower Sahali is a very popular residential area with decent sized lots and beautiful views of the valley below. It is within minutes of downtown, schools, including TRU and the hospital. Many of the homes in this area are older with the exception of some areas. There are also a number of multi-family residential units within Lower Sahali such as townhouse complexes and apartment units. The Sahali area always has a variety of properties for your choosing if you are looking for a home.

Upper Sahali has much fewer businesses and is mainly residential. There are a number of different types of residential units in this area anything from apartments to townhouses to single family homes.  There is a mix of newer and older homes throughout the Upper Sahali region.

188 Castle Towers Drive, Sahali, Kamloops Home for Sale

In the Coach Hills and Albert McGowan Park area are a number of the homes are newer than the surrounding areas where the homes are often defined as “old type”. Homes in this area range from 1990’s to early 2000’s.

1942 Tinniswood Court, Sahali, Kamloops Real Estate

In the Sedona Pines area the homes range from late 1990’s to new with Mesa Estates on Azure Place housing the newest construction.

15-460 Azure Place, Mesa Estates, Sahali, Kamloops Home for SaleThe lots in Upper Sahali are also a good size and often have beautiful views. There are some specific regions where homes are located on steep slopes leaving little yard. Retaining walls are often found in the Sahali region as it covers a large part of the south slope of the valley.

Home prices in the Sahali area tend to be more expensive than other residential areas of Kamloops. Being such a desirable place to live, home buyers are willing to pay a premium to live in Sahali.

For up to date Kamloops real estate listings click here.

Schools

Beattie School of the Arts and Sa-Hali Secondary School are both located in Lower Sahali. St. Ann’s Academy, a private catholic school is on Columbia Street, also located in Lower Sahali. Lower Sahali is a great family neighbourhood close to numerous amenities.

There are a number of elementary schools in Upper Sahali including McGowan Park Elementary, the french immersion elementary school South Sahali Elementary and Summit Elementary.

Thompson Rivers University is located in Southgate. The campus is positioned at the intersection of Summit Drive and McGill Road. TRU is a fully accredited University and offers a variety of programs and courses to students in many different areas of study. Sahali is often a very popular area for University students to stay due to the close proximity to the University.

Shopping & Services

Lower Sahali houses a number of Kamloops grocery stores and shopping. Save-on-foods, Superstore, Safeway, Toys-R-Us, Bed Bath & Beyond, Winners and Homesense are a few of the major stores in the Sahali area. There are a number of restaurants and popular shopping destinations in this area as well.

There are a number of professional offices in the Sahali area. Sahali Centre Mall, Tudor Village and Sahali Professional Centre to name a few. You will find lawyers, doctors, mortgage specialists, banks, insurance brokers and much more in this area. Click here to view the map.

The uptown area of Kamloops which is defined within the borders of Sahali has everything that you could need on a day to day basis.

Recreation

At the top of Summit Drive, there is a very popular water park called Albert McGowan Park, which is a popular place for neighbourhood kids to cool off in the summer and toboggan in the winter.

Albert McGowan park Kamloops Real Estate Century 21 Kirsten Mason Team

Throughout Lower and Upper Sahali there are a number of parks and green spaces. The Sahali area has everything close at hand, shopping, entertainment, schools for all ages, and park land. This is why it is one of the most popular regions of Kamloops.

Peterson Creek Park runs through most of Sahali from top to bottom. This is a 423 hectare park that is a natural creek corridor. There are over 30 kilometers of trails in the park and many sites to enjoy including panoramic valley views and Bridal Veil Falls. There are numerous access points and the park is equipped with picnic tables and grassy areas to enjoy.

Peterson Creek Park Kamloops Hiking Real Estate Kirsten Mason Team Century 21 Best top #1 agent realtor

Tournament Capital Centre is located in Southgate which is only a five to 10 minute drive from any Sahali neighbourhood. TCC has many different facilities all in one building such as gymnastics, swimming, indoor track, fitness facility, courts and much more. There are also a number of sports fields that surround the facility.

Click here to see Kamloops parks on a map.

Transportation

Sahali is serviced by BC Transit buses on a frequent and regular schedule. Click here to view the BC Transit website. Highway #1 is easily accessible to Sahali as it runs through the middle of it splitting the area into upper and lower Sahali.

To view current listings for the Sahali area click here.

To read more about other neighbourhoods click the link below:

Aberdeen                                          Barnhartvale                          Batchelor Heights

Brocklehurst                                    Campbell Creek                      Dallas

Deloro/South Thompson Valley      Cherry Creek                       Dufferin/Southgate

Heffley                                                Knutsford                               Juniper Heights

North Kamloops                           Paul Lake/Pinantan Lake        Pineview

Pritchard                                            Rayleigh                                  Sahali

South Kamloops/Downtown         Sun Rivers                               Sun Peaks/Whitecroft

Valleyview/Rose Hill                      Westmount                             Westsyde

Surrounding Communities

Barriere                                        Mclure/Vinsula                         Savona/Tobiano

Open House Day – Sunday January 25th

1. Open House 693 St. Paul Street, South Kamloops 11:30am-12:30:  South Kamloops home on a corner lot. 2 bedrooms on the main and 1 partially finished bedroom & den down (needs flooring).  Large Kitchen with newer flooring. Basement is partially finished. 693 St Paul Street

2. Open House 1143 Surrey Ave, North Kamloops 1:00pm-2:00pm: Priced to sell! Nicely updated 3+2 bedroom, 2 bath home.  Original hardwood floors on main. Newer kitchen w/laminate floors. 5 appliances included. New hot water tank.  Bathrooms are being reno’d & will be finished.

surrey-ave-front

3. Open House 1725 Clifford Ave, Brocklehurst 2:30pm-4:00pm:  RIVERFRONT fixer-upper mini estate w/indoor pool. Over 5,000 sf,  4 bdrms plus den.  Bachelor suite w/sep entrance.  Needs TLC, Definitely worth renovating. clifford-pool

Financial Post Article: No Real Estate Crash Here?…

I found this article recently by the Financial Post and thought it was worth posting…..

I’ve been hearing a lot of soothing sounds of late coming from the real estate and construction industries. “All is well,” they seem to say. “Don’t panic,” they encourage.

Two days ago, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, a lobby group, insisted “there is absolutely no merit” in drawing a parallel between the U.S. real estate meltdown and the “cooling” market we are currently experiencing.

In mid-December, meanwhile, the Canadian Real Estate Association announced that national averages aren’t down as much as previously thought, and that it would be changing the methodology by which it calculates home prices, taking into greater account the rural homes that haven’t depreciated as quickly.

Taken at face value, these recent press releases might suggest that now was a great time to buy a house — a convenient conclusion for home builders and real estate agents.

But don’t you believe them. Maybe it’s appropriate that the CREA is changing its methodology to be more inclusive, but now seems to be an awfully convenient time to be doing so. And while it’s true that the Canadian housing boom was not propelled by the loose lending practices and low interest rates seen in the U.S., that doesn’t mean our boom was any less heated. In Canada, housing prices skyrocketed alongside a commodities boom that brought enormous wealth, in particular to western provinces.

So what do you suppose might happen when such a commodities boom crashes down to earth, as has happened over the last four months? If you’re still not convinced, take a look at the numbers below. They show six years of annual housing prices, leading up to their respective peaks, in the United States, as well as four Canadian cities. Also included are the most recent prices, to give you a sense of how far we’ve come down so far. Numbers are from the U.S. Census Bureau and the CREA — before they decided to revise their methodology.

United States
March 2002 – US$227,600
March 2003 – US$233,100 (2.4%)
March 2004 – US$262,900 (15.5%)
March 2005 – US$288,500 (26.8%)
March 2006 – US$305,300 (34.1%)
March 2007 – US$322,100 (41.5%)

Vancouver
May 2003 – $319,783
May 2004 – $370,545 (15.9%)
May 2005 – $418,757 (31%)
May 2006 – $518,176 (62%)
May 2007 – $591,722 (85%)
May 2008 – $624,639 (95.3%)
Most recent – $510,465

Calgary
July 2002 – $196,472
July 2003 – $209,932 (6.9%)
July 2004 – $220,978 (12.5%)
July 2005 – $245,704 (25.1%)
July 2006 – $357,831 (82.1%)
July 2007 – $436,739 (122.3%)
Most recent – $384,243

Toronto
April 2003 – $292,783
April 2004 – $321,131 (9.7%)
April 2005 – $342,032 (16.8%)
April 2006 – $366,683 (25.2%)
April 2007 – $379,025 (29.5%)
April 2008 – $398,687 (36.2%)
Most recent – $368,582

Montreal
July 2003 – $190,402
July 2004 – $218,313 (14.7%)
July 2005 – $222,972 (17.1%)
July 2006 – $253,420 (33.1%)
July 2007 – $263,018 (38.1%)
July 2008 – $277,703 (45.9%)
Most recent – $263,734

Understanding Market Conditions

real-estate-market

Numerous factors affect the real estate market. There may be more buyers than sellers. There could be more sellers than buyers. Interest rates, employment statistics and pricing. The supply of resale and new homes are also considerations when selling a home. Generally speaking, there are three types of markets that affect the sale of your home. Understanding each of these can make a difference to your bottom line.

Buyers’ Market
Description: There is an abundance of homes on the market. Supply exceeds demand.
Characteristics: Many homes available for sale. Fewer buyers than homes. Homes remain on the market longer. Stable prices. Prices may also drop.
Impact: Less panic in buying. Buyers shop longer for homes. Upon negotiation, they often have more leverage.

Sellers’ Market
Description: There are more buyers than homes available.
Characteristics: Few homes on the market. Many buyers. Homes are sold quickly. Prices often rise.
Impact: Home prices are higher. Homes prices often rise. Buyers purchase quickly, and tend not to shop as much. Multiple offers are common. Sellers may prefer offers with no-conditions.

Balanced Market
Description: There are roughly the same amount of buyers, sellers and number of homes on the market. Supply equals demand.
Characteristics: Demand equals supply. Sellers accept reasonable offers. Homes sell within a reasonable time period. Prices generally remain stable.
Implications: There is less tension among buyers and sellers. There is a reasonable number of homes to choose from.

We have seen exponential growth in the Kamloops real estate market over the past five plus years. Often buyers would have little time to place an offer to purchase a property because of the sense of urgency in the market. Multiple offers was commonplace at that time. This fortunately for buyers has changed recently with the economic downturn. Buyers have time on their side and an abundance of homes to chose from. Today in the Kamloops real estate market we are seeing a strong buyers market. It will not be a buyers market forever, but it is expected that it will be this way for a while. Eventually, the market will cycle into a balanced market, which we have not seen in quite a number of years.

Selling Your Home: For Sale By Owner

What is your home worth? Click here for a free online home evaluation.

FSBOMany people don’t realize that selling a home is a complicated, time-consuming process. With numerous factors to consider such as open houses, advertising, pricing, negotiating and handling the numerous kinds of inquiries, it can be very exhausting and even worse – unfruitful. Many homeowners report the familiar grief after an open house: “I got lots of people, but most were just looking.” “They wanted it for next to nothing.”

You may be thinking, “Why would I need a Realtor to sell my home?” Let me give you just a few of the key reasons why a For Sale By Owners need Help in today’s difficult market:

1. Without working day in and day out in the real estate market it is quite unlikely that a FSBO will have complete understanding about pricing. Often a seller is forced to reduce the price and may have to accept less money for the home than the seller would have received had he or she started at the right price. When a Realtor goes to work with you, they ensure you will receive the most current market stats along with a thorough market analysis report to place your home  in a solid market position.

2. A property depreciates the longer it is on the market. Many owners fail to take advantage of this excitement by limiting the market to their immediate contacts and advertising.  Ensure your home is advertised 24 hours a day until it is sold. Realtors use a home selling system that is constantly being tested and improved to ensure your home is exposed to the largest pool of QUALIFIED buyers.

3. The two most common people who prey on FSBO’s are:

– #1. Investors / Bargain Hunters: these are people who are looking to capitalize on a FSBO’S lack of negotiating experience and market knowledge to score their next deal. Any time a buyer doesn’t buy from a store or through a sales person they expect to pay substantially less. In a sense they would expect to save the sales commissions or profits that would normally go to a sales person or store owner. Why should someone do all the work a salesperson would do and still pay the same price? For example if the seller is trying to save six percent and the buyer is trying to save six percent, now they are 12 percent apart!

– #2. People who can’t qualify to buy your home: These people will often approach FSBO’s because they have had previous financial difficulties and would want the owner to finance them. While for the right person, this could be a profitable investment, most sellers need to pull as much equity out of the property as possible to be able to move on with their next home.

4. It is important to ensure that only prospects who can qualify are introduced to your home. This eliminates the hassle of “lookers” and non-serious buyers and reduces the chance of strangers who may have activities in mind other than buying a house will come. Realtors often also have some of the best mortgage brokers in the industry working with their team who can pull the necessary strings to help finance a purchase.

5. Did you realize that any time a private seller is away from home, the home is off of the Market? It is important that someone will always be available to handle and follow up with inquiries during both peak hours and off-peak hours.

6. A seller selling privately can expect to put a minimum of 80 hours “work” into the project, without a guaranteed result. This does not account for out-of –pocket expenditures such as advertising, lawn signs, etc. Selling a home can be extremely stressful! Often FSBO’s don’t have the time available to take care of the details, from the first step of marketing to the final sale, because you have a life outside of the sale of your home.

In past markets it was very easy for a For Sale By Owner to sell their home. By all means, if you can do it on your own, go for it! Don’t wait around for a prolonged period of time and For Sale By Ownerhope for that qualified buyer to walk in your door. I have found in the past few months many FSBO’s have had a lot of inquiries about Rent to own options. This sometimes is possible and works for the seller, but not often.

For Sale By OwnerThere are a lot of sellers trying to sell their homes today, that have the advertising power and exposure behind them because they are listed on the MLS with a Realtor. The majority of buyers begin their search on the internet, including FSBO sites, unfortunately the bulk of the current listings exist on the MLS. Once buyers begin their search they often pick a Realtor to help them, they do this because Realtors are free for buyers. Buyers do not have to pay a fee to work with a Realtor and often Realtors have the most qualified buyers.

Selling your home For Sale By Owner is difficult, but can be done. Give it a try and if you get frustrated interview Realtors and find the right one for you.

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