Archive for June, 2011

Home Sales to Rise 5% This Year

BCREA 2011 Second Quarter Housing Forecast

Vancouver, BC – June 30, 2011. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2011 Second Quarter Housing Forecast today.

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to increase 5 per cent from 74,640 units in 2010 to 78,200 units this year, before increasing a further 3.1 per cent to 80,700 units in 2012.

“Home sales will post some modest gains over the next two years,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, positive housing fundamentals like job growth, rising wages and an expanding population base will be somewhat offset by higher borrowing costs over the next eighteen months.”

“Following a decade where unit sales broke all records, consumer demand over the next few years will be relatively moderate,” added Muir. The ten-year BC MLS® residential sales average is 87,000 units. A record 106,300 MLS® residential sales were recorded in 2005.

Leftover paint ok to use?

Wondering if some paint from a previous project is alright to use? Stir the paint well, strain it through some screen wire, and try it on a small area to see if it dries properly. If the paint hasn’t been allowed to freeze and hasn’t dried up in the container, it should be fine.

5 Tips for Younger Canadians Looking to Buy a Home

1. Leave some wiggle room

Line up your pay cheque and compare it to your total costs. Make sure that you have enough left over for new furniture, repairs and costs of living. Do a spending analysis to see what the total costs of home ownership would be relative to your lifestyle and build that into your plan (i.e. if you enjoy eating out or going to the gym).

2. The power of the pre-approval and stress test

Make sure you have your financing in order before you start your search – it will show sellers and real estate agents that you’re serious. Mortgage pre-approvals have no obligation and help lock in your interest rate. Work with a professional mortgage specialist to test your mortgage for potential mortgage rate and cost increases to make sure you can handle it.

3. Don’t overbuy

Be realistic in choosing a home that’s within your means and make concessions on what you’re looking for. Set aside a budget for ongoing home maintenance and potential cost increases (for utilities, taxes and fees). Online tools and calculators can help you plan your budget.

4. Look at payment flexibility

Look at a mortgage that provides you with the option of doubling up your mortgage payment or putting down a lump sum payment once a year. Doubling up your mortgage payment just once per year can save you tens of thousands in interest costs and take years off your mortgage amortization period.

5. Don’t forget closing costs

Closing costs are typically one to two per cent of your final purchase price. Build this into your budget along with the cost of new appliances, utility and cable hookup and moving costs.

For more information call Soho Properties at 604-649-1494 and talk to one of our Sales Associates.

The NKBA Uncovers 11 Kitchen & Bath Trends for 2011

More than 100 designers who are members of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), and have designed kitchens or bathrooms during the last three months of 2010, participated in an NKBA survey to reveal design trends in the marketplace for 2011. The results of this survey suggest there will be some changes in the direction that kitchen and bath styles will take this year.

Below are 7 kitchen trends and 4 bathroom trends that are poised to take hold in 2011. These are overall trends across the United States and Canada; they won’t necessarily appear in all geographic areas.


Rent or Buy Calculator Mortgage Calculator

Considering whether you should keep renting? Is now the time to buy? Ever wondered what your rent payment would be as a mortgage amount? Complete the below calculator and find out what your rent payment would equal in terms of a mortgage amount…


Mid-year overview shows a steady residential housing market

Vancouver, BC – June 17, 2011. Since January, the residential housing market within the Board area has enjoyed broad stability. Home sale and listing activity have maintained a steady pace, aligning closely with typical activity from a historical perspective.

Within this period of overall stability, regional ‘hot spots’ have emerged in areas like Richmond, Vancouver Westside and West Vancouver. These areas have garnered significant local, national and international attention.

In the last few months, Board President Rosario Setticasi has conducted interviews with the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, MacLean’s Magazine and several news outlets from China and other parts of Asia.

“Our stats tell us that there’s been more activity at the high end of our market this year than we saw one year ago. This is causing today’s average prices in the region to be less reflective of the total activity occurring in the marketplace,” Setticasi said.

“Fortunately, our Board has the MLS®Link Housing Price Index and communicates benchmark prices, which are much more accurate than averages that can fluctuate depending on the impact of higher or lower end properties.”

Demand in the detached home market has increased compared to 2010. Between January and May of this year, 44 per cent of all residential sales were of detached homes. This is up 4 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Of all residential properties sold on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver in 2011 to date, 21 per cent sold for $1-million or higher. The number of $1 million property sales has increased 8 per cent as a proportion of total sales compared to this time last year.

A closer look at this year’s $1 million sales to date shows that 77 per cent of these homes were located in West Vancouver, the Westside of Vancouver or Richmond.

Board-wide, conditions continue to favour sellers. Today’s sales to active listings ratio of 23 per cent indicates seller’s market conditions, although activity has eased away from the near record-setting pace experienced in March.

“When you review Board-wide stats, it’s important to note that there’s considerable variation in activity across the region. This causes home sale and price trends to differ depending on the area,” Setticasi said.


10 Eco Options projects to help reduce your energy consumption, water consumption, improve indoor air quality and more.

1. Switch to CFL light bulbs

Switching all of your incandescent bulbs to CFLs will result in a 75% savings in your lighting energy costs.

2. Install an efficient faucet

Choose a water-efficient bathroom faucet and save water and energy. Installation is an easy do-it-yourself project. For step by step instructions, go to

3. Clean the natural way

You can enjoy powerful cleaning action with natural plant and biodegradable cleaning products that improve indoor air quality. Natural plant and mineral-based biodegradable cleaning ingredients are better for you and the earth.

4. Install light dimmers

Dimmers are a great lighting control that will reduce the wattage output of your lights. This will increase the energy efficiency of your home and will save you money.

5. Lay recycled content carpeting

Enjoy soft, luxurious flooring made from 100% recled polyester pop bottles.

6. Choose a healthier paint

For less odor and lower pollutants, paint with a product containing no volatile organic compounds. You get an excellent product along with healthier indoor air.

7. Install a programmable thermostat

The average household can save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostat and maintaining those settings.

8. Choose ENERGY STAR major appliances

Choose ENERGY STAR qualified major appliances and use up to 30% less energy.

9. Light your way with solar

Embrace the energy of the sun to light your outdoor spaces. Solar lighting gathers energy during daylight hours and shines brightly when darkness falls.

10. Install solar shades

Solar shades do an excellent job of deflecting the sun’s warmth so you can save on energy costs in the warmer months. Your air conditioner will enjoy a lighter load and you’ll benefit from a comfortable living environment.

5 steps to Getting Settled

A new place doesn’t feel like home overnight. But the good news is, there are easy steps you can take towards getting comfortable after your move, whether you’re in a newly built home or a resale property. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

1. Change your locks

For security, it’s a must, but use the opportunity to upgrade your hardware too. A classic set in rustic pewter will never go out of style.

2. Clean from top to bottom

Remove old-house grime or new-build dust and residue with professional-strength cleaning products.

3. Get the home-safety basics into place

Equip your new home with smoke and CO2 detectors on every floor. Add a fire extinguisher to the kitchen and make sure everyone knows how to use it.

4. Start painting

Test colors on a wall section before committing to the whole paint job.

5. Lights for less

Start saving right away simply by changing the light bulbs. Installing long-lasting compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs throughout your new home saves energy. Look for a large variety of CFLs at your local Home Depot. They will even recycle your old CFL bulbs.

BC Home Sales in May

Vancouver, BC – June 15, 2011. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential unit sales in the province edged down one per cent to 7,857 units in May compared to the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price climbed 20 per cent to $596,872 last month compared to May 2010.

“Tighter mortgage rules, tepid employment growth and advance buying during the first quarter kept BC home sales on a lower note in May,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, recent downward pressure on mortgage interest rates is expected to provide some incentive to consumers over the summer months.”

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 15 per cent to $20.1 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales edged back one per cent to 34,191 units, while the average MLS® residential price rose 16.5 per cent to $588,857 over the same period.

For the complete news release, including detailed statistics, follow this link: