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Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi Widdershoven February 2015   


Would you like to make your mortgage magically disappear?  If so, there’s an incredibly simple strategy that will shave years off your mortgage while saving you thousands of dollars in interest!

There are also some tips on how to prepare your home in case of a blackout as well as a few of the latest tech trends from the Las Vegas Electronics Show.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you ever have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Warmest Regards,
Rudi W.
In this issue...
Sales Activity Down in January but House Prices Continue to Rise
The Magic of Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments
Don't Let a Blackout Leave You in the Dark
Exciting New Tech Trends

Sales Activity Down in January but House Prices Continue to Rise 

Sales activity across the Vancouver Island housing market area was down in January but the average price continues to inch upward.

In the VIREB coverage area, 196 single-family homes sold on the MLS® system in January 2015.  This represents an eight per cent decrease from the 212 sales recorded in January 2014 and a 23 per cent decrease from last month, which posted 257 sales.

BCREA’s chief economist, Cameron Muir, states that despite January’s numbers showing a decline from last year, it is too early to predict whether they indicate initial signs of uncertainty in the market.

“Although sales in January are down across the province, the recent reduction in interest rates could have a positive impact on the housing market,” said Muir.  “As well, affordability in most communities remains strong.  Job losses from falling oil prices aside, the economic outlook is encouraging.”

With the average price of a single-family home up seven per cent from last year, combined with continued lower inventory levels, VIREB past president Blair Herbert is not concerned by January’s sales drop.

“One month does not make a year,” said Herbert.  “The Home Price Index (HPI) in the VIREB coverage area continues to rise, although slowly, and those increases reflect a strengthening market.”

Overall, the housing market in the VIREB area remains in balanced territory, a trend that is not expected to change in the near future. However, since individual markets can vary considerably, it is always best to consult a local REALTOR® for accurate information.

Herbert also added that Vancouver Island could very well benefit from lower oil prices and a falling Canadian dollar.  “Although reduced oil prices could result in job loss for some British Columbians who work out-of-province in the oil patch, the lower Canadian dollar will make holidaying here more attractive,” says Herbert.  “Here on Vancouver Island, vacations sometimes result in 'staycations'.  There are also jobs here at home that need to be filled by qualified workers.”

In January 2015, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $320,700, up 3.21 per cent in 2014.  Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.  The average price of a single-family home was $340,753 compared to $318,628 in January 2014, an increase of seven per cent.

The benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $271,500, up 4.58 per cent from January 2014.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $320,000, virtually unchanged from last year.  Duncan reports a benchmark price of $284,100, an increase of 4.41 per cent over the same month in 2014.

Nanaimo’s benchmark price was $337,200, up a little over four per cent compared to last year.  The Parksville-Qualicum area posted a benchmark price of $348,700, which is a 1.28 per cent increase over last year.  The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $168,800, down 9.27 per cent from January 2014.

The Magic of Bi-Weekly Mortgage Payments 

There are huge dividends to making your mortgage disappear faster.

Do you wonder sometimes if you’ll ever see the end of your mortgage?  Fortunately there’s a simple strategy that will save you thousands of dollars in interest and shave years off your mortgage!
 
Making bi-weekly accelerated payments is one of the easiest ways to make your mortgage a thing of the past.  Most of us pay our mortgage each month but accelerated bi-weekly payments can put thousands of dollars back in your pocket without the need to save up lump sum payments.
 
Just divide your monthly payment by two and pay that amount every two weeks.  There will be 26 payments over the course of the year which translates into 13 monthly payments instead of 12.  You'll essentially be paying the equivalent of an extra monthly payment each year without ever realizing it.  The additional amount directly pays down the principal and the more you apply to the principal, the faster you pay off your mortgage.
 
Let’s say for arguments sake you had a $250,000 mortgage at 3.49% amortized over 25 years.  If you take advantage of the accelerated bi-weekly payment strategy, you’ll save nearly $17,000 in interest and your mortgage will be paid off three years sooner!
 
Fitness clubs often use this same payment strategy but in reverse.  For example, a gym may offer a membership for $24 every two weeks so in your mind you think “that’s only $48 a month” but in fact, it’s actually going to cost you $52 a month because of the extra two payments each year.
 
Most banks don’t charge fees or penalties for this payment option but always ask up front to confirm.  There are other ways to pay your mortgage off faster so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you ever have any questions.  You have nothing to lose and thousands to gain!

Don't Let a Blackout Leave You in the Dark 

Being prepared in advance is critical when facing a blackout.

Losing your power can be a scary prospect, especially if it drags on for an extended period of time in less than hospitable weather conditions.  Here are a few valuable tips to help you cope when the lights go out:

  1. Ensure each family member has a flashlight stored in a designated spot.

  2. Have a battery operated radio on hand to keep up-to-date on local news.

  3. Keep a variety of candles, matches, batteries and a multi-bit screwdriver in a central location.

  4. Purchase a rechargeable 120 volt backup power supply for essential electronics.

  5. Stock your pantry with water and non-perishable food items.

  6. Don't open your freezer or fridge unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  7. The electric garage door won’t work so make sure you know how to open it manually.

  8. Check on residents in your community, especially if they’re elderly or on their own.

Blackouts can catch us off guard as we often take everyday essentials like light and heat for granted.  By properly preparing for a blackout, they’ll be no need to panic.  You can instead relax and have fun telling stories by candlelight.

Exciting New Tech Trends 

Ghost cars, dog wearables and smart beds are a few of the latest hot items!

Every January the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas introduces new and exciting technology.  Here are a few of the latest innovations:

  1. Driverless Cars - New technology is helping to shape the automotive industry.  Intelligent cars can find parking spots, detect pedestrians and even drive themselves!

  2. Pooch Power - Wearables aren’t just for humans!  A collar mounted activity monitor comes with a GPS and fitness monitor to track Fido’s activity and rest patterns.

  3. Sleep Appy - Monitors track your sleeping patterns so you’re able to wake up at the right stage of your sleep cycle.  There’s even a kids’ smart bed that has a “monster detector” app!

There are so many exciting innovations right around the corner and although driverless cars for example remain out of reach for the average consumer, they’re an exciting sign of where technology trends are heading.


PS  Oh by the way, we are never too busy for any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!

If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email or give us a call:  250-468-1498 / 250-248-1071 - team@teamw.ca

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