The Cost of Borrowing
The Bank of Canada recently announced that it is maintaining its overnight rate at 0.5% largely due to low energy prices. It is anticipated that the bank will likely remain sidelined for 2016 while the worst of the oil-shock passes. In addition, the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) opted to leave its target rate unchanged as well. The Fed expects that inflation will remain low in the near term but will slowly rise to 2% over the median term as the impact of low energy prices fades. (British Columbia Real Estate Association – January 2016)
New mortgage down payment rules will go into effect February 15, 2016. The minimum down payment for new insured mortgages will increase from 5% to 10% for the portion of the house price above $500,000. Properties up to $500,000 will continue to require a minimum of 5% down. Properties in excess of $1,000,000 will still require 20% down.
Update on the Fairwinds Waterfront (Schooner Cove) Neighbourhood
Seacliff Properties, the new owners of Fairwinds, recently announced preliminary plans for new development in the Fairwinds waterfront neighborhood. Plans are to renovate and utilize the existing hotel/pub building to house commercial uses including a grocery store, pub, beer and wine store, restaurant, coffee shop and other retail businesses. The intent is to have the building renovated and ready for occupancy by the summer of 2016. This will be a very welcome development for the Fairwinds community.
2015 Market Synopsis
We experienced a buoyant housing market in 2015. Sales remained strong all year even through the summer months when it's normally slower and even as we approached Christmas when the market usually drops off. Sales volume for the year was up 18% for the number of homes sold and by 20% for sales dollars overall as compared to 2014.
Average days to sell single family homes over this 12 month period was just 50 days. This is down from 60 days for last year. Tom’s average was a little less at 47 days on the market and with a 98% list to sales ratio. Single family home sale prices are up by just 2% as compared to 2014. Residential home sales here are predominantly under the threshold of $450,000. The average single family sale price for 2015 was $404,700. In all, there were 1,212 single family homes listed in 2015 and 815 of them sold. Of those homes priced at over $1M and on land smaller than 1 acre in size, there were just 8 sales in our region extending from Nanoose Bay to Deep Bay. Currently there are 11 such homes on the local market in January of 2016.
The median sale price of a condominium in 2015 was about $305,000. Condo prices held steady in 2015 compared to 2014.
The year saw renewed interest in building lots with a whopping 55% increase in the number of lots sold in 2015 compared to 2014! The number of new homes being built has been on the rise in 2015 after so little new home construction since 2008. It's been a good year for the trades! The sales outlook for 2016 looks good. Perhaps the Boomers have finally decided to 'move over' at long last and offer some needed career space to those aspiring Millenials! With the price of crude at around $30 it may be a really great time to move to the coast in pursuit of a more leisurely lifestyle. This locale does offer so much to the active Boomers.
Where Did Tom’s Buyers Come From in 2015?
50% from within the same area; 35% from Victoria, Vancouver & Lower Mainland; 10% from Alberta & Saskatchewan, and; the rest of BC, Canada & Internationally 5%.
About 35% of buyers and sellers contacted Tom through the website www.tomwhitfield.ca. The website attracts about 18,000 visits annually from about 80 countries. Over 85% of buyers start with a property search somewhere on the internet. Google is by far the #1 search engine used. As an example, type the following key word phrases into your Google search bar: qualicum beach real estate; qualicum beach waterfront real estate; Fairwinds real estate; etc. and you will see that my website is optimized to be easily found in this way. This is a highly effective marketing tool in exposing properties to the worldwide web!
Outlook for 2016
The year ahead looks quite good for our local real estate market. We are somewhat insulated from other areas of Canada that are dependent upon manufacturing and resource extraction. Here we are mainly about the retirement industry although last year about 40% of my buyers were still working. The great grey wave of retiring Boomers will be washing over this locale for quite some time to come. Real estate pricing has remained stable. Interest rates remain at near historic low levels. New home construction has been on the rise over the past 2 years.
Remember, if you don’t see the listing you want on this website, please let me know and I will find it for you. Also, if you are coming out to house-hunt, please let me know ahead of time and I will schedule time to show you suitable properties. And a hearty THANK YOU to all my past clients. Remember, I am never too busy for the referral of your friends and family.