Sunday, July 29, 2007

Condo Prices at the Railyards

June 19th I mentioned how a price review was underway for phase 4 of the Railyards development, titled "The Gateway." The price review has been completed, and prices have gone up. Increases are between $0 and $30000. This increase is a pretty big surprise to me, because of the 62 units available, only 28 have sold thus far. I believe the building is nearing completion. I'm sure that building costs have increased, justifying the price increase, in their minds. But I can't see them becoming more competitive and selling more units in today's condo market through upping the prices. Someone responsible for the increases needs to give their head a shake!

The Julia condo development has been completed. There was a lot of back patting in Saturday's TC for this accomplishment. It's a good thing they are 50% sold already! Get ready for the fire sale! Did anyone get a chance to attend the grand opening?

I think it would be fun to be in the market for a new condo these days. I'd definitely be low-balling the new developments. I wonder what sort of deals could be found!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What is news... Part 2

Real estate has again made it on to the front page of the Times Colonist. Jack Knox has made an attempt to present the "other side" of the coin. He did bring up the affordability issue caused by today's prices, which can be appreciated. And, of course, the old cliches "Victoria is the place people want to be" and "It's paradise here" were thrown in. I can't totally disagree with those cliches, but they do discourage me. If the housing market does not change, Victoria may become a modern day setting of the apocalyptic movie "Children of Men", where the youngest person in the city is around 20 years old. Families can't afford to live here, and yet, having been caught yesterday afternoon in the horrendous Colwood crawl, I'd hate to live in the Western Communities or up Island if a daily commute into downtown Victoria were required. Better mass transit or a couple overpasses on that highway are long overdue! What a sad state of affairs.

Quick check on what level of income is required to purchase that house. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. With an asking price of $325000, how about a 20% down payment ($65000) to avoid CMHC. Then using an amortization period of 25 years, with a 5 year fixed term of 6.18% (from RBC), on a mortgage of 260000. This equates to a monthly payment of $1687.

If the mortgage payment is 32% of pre-tax income, monthly income required is $5272. Annual income required is $63264. It looks like it would be possible for a young family to purchase that home, but I can't see them being happy there for long.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What is News?

After spitting my morning coffee all over the front page of today's Times Colonist, I decided that my vacation was officially over. I could be silent no longer. It was time to get back on the blogging horse.

What is news? Wikipedia defines news as "...any new information or information on current events which is relayed by print, broadcast, Internet, or word of mouth to a third party or mass audience." Is the absurd asking sales price of a piece of personal property news? Is it worthy of the full front page of a newspaper with a circulation of 73000? Perhaps, if items for sale with stupid asking prices are indeed newsworthy, I should inform the Times Colonist that I have a broken wristwatch, which originally I purchased for $140, now for sale for $9700!? Now, that is newsworthy! NOT! Neither is the sale of the Oak Bay mansion on today's front page newsworthy. A beautiful home. Definitely. Worthy of the front page of the Homes section in Saturday's paper. Sure. But, please! Give it up!

HHV's blog on today's issue is priceless. Thanks HHV.

I am getting very tired of the coverage of the real estate market by the MSM in Canada. Is anyone else?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vacation Free-for-all

The great thing about this blog is that even when I'm not available to write a new post, it creates a life of it's own! Thanks for all the commentary and interesting discussions!

I'm still enjoying summer vacation. Spent a little time in Seattle, rode the Space Needle (might it prick their bubble?) The parents are out from the prairies for the next week. In showing them the sights, it'll be good to be a bit of a tourist in my new home town.

Here's a couple notes or points of discussion:

- A lot of listings are absolutely languishing on MLS.
- Yet, homes are selling. Co-worker sold his house in Broadmead for near asking price in 3 days!
- Alberta real estate inventory is climbing like crazy.
- CMHC newsletter points out that housing starts this year are still above last year. Most of the June starts were in Langford.
- Interest rates have risen and will continue to rise. How will this affect yourself and / or your family / friends?

Have a great week!

Update - BC Real Estate Association news release for sales numbers for year to date. (Hat tip to S2)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

July 7 Week Ending Stats

Sorry folks, no week ending stats today. The new website appears to be spitting out some unusual results. I'm still tracking the numbers, but I'm not sure if they are valid. If they are, this last week saw a decrease of 131 SFH listings! I'm gonna continue to track the numbers over the next couple weeks. If they continue as they are, then we have had a huge decrease in inventory. If the numbers jump back to the old trend, then we know that this week's results were not valid. I'll keep you posted.


Also, I'll be taking a couple weeks of vacation in July, so posting may be spotty. It's time to smell the roses.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

June Sales Numbers

VREB has release the June sales numbers. A lot of sales, record average and median prices for Greater Victoria. And of course, the dribble from Bev McIvor about how "it’s important to note that nearly a third of single family homes last month sold for under $425,000". Why is that important? What validity is there to that statistic? Anyways...

It really was a strong real estate month for Victoria. No doubt about it. Yes, listings are up, but only "13%" higher than last year. Considering the demise of the American housing market, what explanation can be given for our strong RE market? Some possibilities:
- Victoria truly is different, RE is local, they aren't making any more land, everyone wants to live here, etc., etc., etc., yadda, yadda, yadda.
- Panic buying due to the coming interest rate increases.
- Sellers are still finding greater fools.

Regarding the 13% increase in inventory. This is a false number because there are hundreds of housing units (condos) available for sale which are not listed through MLS, thus do not show up in the VREB's monthly number. I'm not sure what the true number of properties available for sale is. I'd venture to guess it's around 1000 more than being reported. Now that number is more significant.

Following is the graph for comparison of median SFH sales prices of Greater Victoria and Victoria proper. It's interesting how the median for Victoria city took a nose-dive in June. Year-over-year, it's a negative increase.

A few other items of note:
- West Saanich had a higher average and median price than Victoria city.
- Victoria city had the greatest SFH average price decrease in comparison to the 6 month average.
- Saanich East and West had a combined 157 SFH sales. Since 2005, this is the third highest SFH monthly sales number.
- On June 23, CFAX1070 reported that Aquattro in Colwood sold 50 units that weekend. VREB is reporting that only 8 condos sold in Colwood in all of June.
- Only 1 condo reported sold in View Royal. The Aspen must have closed it's sales doors. Yet they are reporting 40% sold!?
- 96 townhome sales for Greater Victoria is the highest monthly total ever!?

Touchdown for the Bulls. The Bears don't have much to cheer about. The score: Bulls 23, Bears 3. End of the 2nd quarter.