Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fact Checking 101

Carla Wilson. Repeat after me: "I will not write stories that aren't fact checked first."

Here's the beauty line:
Condos in the lower end of the price range are most popular
Here's the basic facts of the lower end of the condo market (two-bed condos priced under $250,000):

According to my PCS account*, the last time a condo in this segment of the market sold was July 6, 2010. The time before that? May 12, 2010. <sarcasm> Most popular indeed </sarcasm>.

* Note: Tim Ayres corrected me in comments. He stated there were 19 2-bed condo units sold between June 1, 2010 and July 8, 2010 and a total of 48 condos priced under $250K sold in the VREB area between those dates, including 1 beds and bachelors, segments of the market I don't track. I trust Tim's data completely. I'm not sure why these sales would not be registered in my PCS account which only excludes Sooke, Metchosin, Saanich North and the Gulf Islands. It could be that their listing prices were higher than $250K but the sales prices fell under that benchmark. These sales represent 3% and 7% of the total market-setting transactions in June 2010. I stand by my original assertion that these numbers do not support the above statement written by Carla Wilson in the Times Colonist. 


Animal Spirit said...

RE Agent to Carla - we need to write a story on low end RE - Carla to RE - sure what do you want?

Editor: sure.

Readers: sheep.

Tim Ayres said...

Hey HHV. Stepping out of the lurker's corner for a moment to correct you. I'm not sure where you got your data from, but I can see 19 2 bedroom condos under $250K that have sold since June 1, and 48 when you include 1 bedrooms and bachelors under $250,000.

Maybe I've misunderstood your interpretation; my apologies if that is the case.

If you want me to look something up for you, just email me.


Tim Ayres
Royal LePage Coast Capital Realty

Anonymous said...

Why exclude studio/one bedrooms from your calculation? That means popular condos like Bossi House (which sold out quickly) aren't counted.

Animal Spirit said...

RobertRandall - likely because HHV is interested in that market segment. I'm interested in SFH and townhouses <525K, so that is the segment that I track.

What most of us are interested in is being able to afford a home at a reasonable long term cost, that is all.

Anonymous said...

He's probably just cherry picking non-fairfield areas Tim. I know for a fact 19 condos sold in Fairfield since June 1 which explains it. Geez you guys are funny. I guess I can understand leaving Fairfield out of the mix though.

Anonymous said...

So media fact checking involves making sure HHV is tracking that market segment?

Nearly every developer I talk to has or is considering shrinking the size of the units in the buildings they're proposing to meet market demand.

HouseHuntVictoria said...

Tim, thanks for correcting me. My PCS shows 2-bed listings under $250K in the core municipalities. It excludes Sooke, Metchosin, Saanich North and the Gulf Islands. Those are the only two sales my PCS account has registered in the past two months. Obviously it is wrong.

Regardless, even if we doubled your number (19) to 38 to include all condo (bach's & 1-bed) sales below $250K, that only makes up 23% of the June sales of condo units and 6% of the total market sales - hardly "the most popular" as Carla claims this segment to be.

RobertRandall, builder intentions used to show market segment popularity? Thanks for the laugh this fine morning. Builders intended 3 towers at the Hudson. They intended to build the Radius too. Same with that vacant lot down in Chinatown. And Fairfield... seems to me the building that went up in the village in the past few years was intended to have a lot more units than it did.

That said, I do hope they build a ton of smaller units. This city desperately needs a glut of volume to drive prices down to more reasonable levels... looks like we've got a good start going on right now though, eh? Overbuilding undesirable products will only add to the means to this end.

Mindset said...

Hmmmm... RobertRandall. I have to point out that your statement looks like yet another 'cause' attribute being applied where it shouldn't be.

Perhaps builders are looking at dividing their buildings into more smaller units simply to have the lowest advertised prices and appeal to the widest array of buyers during a widely predicted hyper-competitive sales slump?

... or maybe now that everyone is starting to see housing as something you buy to live in, not a guarenteed investment, this is driving developers to build just what a non-speculative retiree actually needs and can afford?

Of course, the above 'causes' for your point are only of any worth if the heresay you are using as fact even qualifies as a metric we should trust in the first place....

Just Jack said...

And if developers had their choice, they would have legal suites in each condominium. So a 1000 square foot condominium would have your 650 square foot home and a 350 square foot bachelor suite.

Very minor increase in cost for a builder, but they could add another hundred grand to the price.

patriotz said...

If they really had their choice they would have separate strata tiles for the 650 and 350 sq ft units, so they could be sold separately. They'd get a lot more money that way.

AFAIC if a given site is zoned for condos the developers should be allowed to divvy up the units any way they want. You get the most supply, and most downward pressure on prices, that way.

Alexandrahere said...

That is a good idea Jack. Having a suite within a suite.

I bet many people, even if they are not allowed to, rent out their Master bedroom, bath with maybe even a nice enclosed balcony to someone. They would get a tidy little income from it especially if they threw in a small fridge.

In some layouts, particularly in the older condos, the owner would still get a great deal of privacy. I looked at a condo such as this not so long ago. It had a private master bedroom suite of 13.5' X 21.5" It also had its own enclosed balcony of about 4'X 16". Those suite measurements included a walk in closet and three piece bath with a window!

Of course you would have to be VERY particular on your selection of a "renter".

Man if I were younger, I wouldn't hesitate to do this if only for a few years until I was more financially solid.

Deanna said...

@Alexandrahere et al: Unless there is a separate kitchen involved, I think the situation you are all referencing is called "getting a roommate".

Marko said...

These types of Condos already exist; however, weren't very popular and difficult to sell, at least at BM.


Alexandrahere said...

So true Deanna.....

I would rather pay say $260,000 for a condo & rent to a "roommate" with accommodation previously described to a student or someone else, one who does not share the kitchen, living room,dining room etc.and sock away say $600. per month versus paying $700,000 (and probably much more) to have a suite with another "bach" attached.

If you are truly wanting a bach pad attached to an apartment style condo then you are going to have to pay the price of an apartment (what ever the size);and buy the attached bach beside it. The cost would be the same for the builder.

There are situations in Victoria where the contractor sold two condo's to the one purchaser and had them attached by a common door. This was done in one case in the "Ocean Park Towers" maybe 20 years ago. I believe one of our past Lt. Governor's owned it. However, the city still taxed that owner for both condo's individually. And remember, he would have only been able to get the "homeowner's grant" for the one and pay the entire amount on the 2nd suite...even though it was "attached".

Also around 30 years ago the same was done in the "Maitland" cond's. A few bought two one bedroom condo's attached. I would imagine Victoria taxed them in the same manor although I am not sure.

The best and cheapest way to have a bach attached to your own accommodation is to wait and get the best buy you can on a home and put a suite in the lower level or in a separate outbuilding such as a garage. The "garage type" are known to be in the Gorge/Tillicum areas,and Fernwood. I've seen this done in Langford as well.

When you have only got so much money having your raises eaten up by inflation and truly want to get ahead, you must go the extra mile to achieve this. You have to be on your toes and think smart. Instead of thinking this extra effort as a burden....think of it as a hopefully a lucrative game.
You might have to give up your Saturday's for three or four years and take on a part-time job. As long as you stick to your budget while setting short-term and long term will come out ahead.

I don't pretend to be an intellectual as many here appear to be. But I am wise and very "street-smart".

Anyway, as I have mentioned before.. I really would like to see some of you here achieve your dreams of home ownership.

I keep track of the real-estate scene here in Victoria now as I always have. If not for me now...rather for family and others.

Phil said...

I would rather rent a whole house forever before buying one with a suite.
Everyone we know who has bought a house in the last 5 years or so has needed to have a suite to help with the mortgage. Not only do they get to share their homes with strangers they also get all the joys involved with collecting rent, maintaining appliances, finding new tenants and keeping quiet 24 hours a day to avoid complaints - and vice versa.

And still after all that they could just rent the same house for hundreds less per month. And if/when rates go up, look out!

Marko said...

Having someone living in your basement isn't ideal; however, I'll take that over having to work every Saturday to get that extra $1,000 in income.

Just Jack said...

During an expansion in the economy, it seems like anything will sell. There is always a buyer willing to purchase just to get into the market. So smaller and smaller condominiums are built and sold to first time buyers who pay premium prices per square foot of living space.

During economic downturns when prices are lower, these "micro-suites" become less desirable with most ending up as court ordered sales. The complex's tend to have a high turn over rate. Which leads to deferred maintenance as owners are reluctant to spend money on long term changes - because they will be selling soon to move up the property ladder.

If you intend on buying a micro-suite make sure that you can rent the suite. As selling in a depressed market may not be an option for this type of property.

Anonymous said...


Will you be posting the weekly stats on Monday?

My PCS shows sales are pretty sluggish but new listings keep on coming. Price reductions are rampant and most sales seem to be properties with one or more price reductions.

think said...

Month to date - July 12th - stats...

sales 155
new 399
total 4428

sales/new ratio of 38% - still solid bear territory
sales are tanking
new listings are also slowing

Things continue to fall apart in the Victoria real estate market.

Skeptic said...


Thanks for the stats. Looks like sales are in real trouble. 155 sales in 11 days would indicate about 470 for the month which is way down from the 625 last month. In July 2009 there were 933 sales and this year only 1/2 of that!!

Listings have peaked from 4730 at the end of June to 4428. This is still way higher than a year ago when we were around 3700. Discouraged sellers have left the market hoping for a comeback next year. Those left are price reducing and chasing the market down.

Alexandrahere said...

Good morning are my stats: July 5 - July 11

SFH: Min 2 beds, 2 baths, between $325,000 & $775,000.
Areas: Victoria,Oak Bay,Esquimalt, Saanich East and Saanich West.

NEW; 29
SOLD; 21
OM; 13

Some of the price changes/re-lists were:

4313 Columbia 559-499 down 60K
4025 Magdelin 579-535 down 44K
4067 Hodgson 575-525 down 50K
828 Hampshire 738-669 down 69K
3130 Washington 449-389 down 60K
623 Nelson 489-433 down 56K
3887 Braefoot 559-499 down 60K
2174 Bartlett 838-769 down 70K
2082 Meadow Pl 729-649 down 80
3282 Wicklow 799-699 down 100K
245 Moss 829-749 down 80K
915 Arundel 599-549 down 50K

Some Sold prices from original prices were:

5589 Oldfield 749 -600 down 149K
997 Admirals 469-420 down 49K
1261 Palmer 639-510 down 129K
48 Linden 799-709 down 90K
4405 Hannah Crt 730-670 down 60K
884 Runnymede 7799-725 down 54K
1093 Stoba 595-498 down 97 K

Condominiums - Min 2 bedroom from $260,000 to $625,000
Areas: Victoria: Burnside,Fairfield,Rockland,James Bay,Mayfair,Vic West,

Oak Bay
Saanich East: Broadmead,Cedar Hill, Gordon Head, Lakehill,Maplewood,Quadra, & Swan Lake

Saanich West: Gorge and Tillicum

NEW; 24
OM; 2

Lots of price changes, nothing sold for asking or over asking.

Some re-lists at #3-1365 Rockland 569 - 493 down 76K & #401-1151 Oscar (both in Fairfield) 339-309 down 30K and another Fairfield condo at #406-505 Cook St sold for $325K down $54,000 from $379K.

For this time of year? Loads of activity going on. In these areas the activity was greater this week than last week.

omc said...

Many thanks to those who post the stats here, it feels good to confirm my suspicions of the market.

It is often hard to track what a house sells for from orriginal price due to relisting. An example of this would be 2481 Plumer st in south oak bay; it started at $685k and sold at $550k. A haircut of $135k. I haven`t seen prices like this for this location since early 2007 if you disregard the 2008 blip down.

Skeptic said...


Very interesting. Could you post the total number of listings for each category. I am curious about the sales/active listings ratio.

Alexandrahere said... is hard to track alright and things occasionally slip through the cracks on you.

One think I have started to do to help:

After each week, I go through my "active listings" I check off each "OM" and send it to "removed listings". Then I check off each "sold" and send them to "favourites"

I have two pcs for SFH and semi-detached (duplexes) and one for condo "apartments" and "townhouses".

This way, on my active listings only the newly sold, and new OM's are listed thus I am more easily able to count the different categories in order to let you know the stats. Its not a perfect or foolproof method but it is the best I can think of.

Also, each day I write down only the price changes. I then type those into an alpha listing using "Excel"

I print this list up each week and check it against "new" listings to ensure they are not in fact "re-lists"

Maybe this will help you to track your own criteria.

I only started doing this about a month ago.

A line on Excel looks something like this:

McClure 1141 $769 $729 $700

Hope this makes sense.

Alexandrahere said...

Hi Skeptic:

I don't have my system set up in specific areas.

But I can go on and view listings this way by using "list by map area"

I'll try it and post as best I can the results for you.

Again, the list won't be perfectly accurate but it will be close.

Alexandrahere said...


Just for you and any others that are interested, I will keep totals by districts from my pcs of NEW, SOLD, PC&RELISTS,&OM'S for the next week.

Going thru the past week for this info would take me alot of extra time. Here is the best I can do for S.E. from last week.

New: 10
Sold: 15
P/C & relists: 20

New: 2
Sold: 3
P/C: 5

Dave said...


Dave said...

Here is a sale that came through today in saanich west.

330 hector rd. (decent house on 5 acres)
Assessed at $904K
Orig. ask $895K
reduced to $789K

SOLD $725K


Just Jack said...

The Hector property is a good example of how the real estate market contracts.

Properties that have the majority of the value in the land component should decline first in value. That would be homes on acreage and waterfront as well as starter homes.

Animal Spirit said...

wouldn't that mean that Marko would do better waiting for 6 months for a tear down to build on?

Skeptic said...

Tony Joe the former VREB president, real estate pumper and head spinmeister has a new take on RE stats now. When they are bad just ignore them and pretend things are OK.

Tony On Facebook

July month to date: 155 sales, 399 new listings, total inventory 4428. No need to compare to July 2009 since the sales number will simply be lower at month end and listings higher. Our busiest properties are currently the entry level condos.

HHV - Tony must have been talking to Carla.

Animal Spirit said...

Skeptic - its just the new local RE talking point - "entry level condos are selling well". Must be a huge glut on the market and tons of potential move up buyers stuck. HHV will know this well.

WiseInvestor70 said...

Why use a realtor, when you can sell your house with out the high fees ?

Marko said...

"Why use a realtor, when you can sell your house with out the high fees ?"

I am $50 cheaper. Note* I am still working on my website and it needs some editing.

"Properties that have the majority of the value in the land component should decline first in value."

It all depends, a 30,000 sq/ft lot in the Uplands will likely decline like this acreage because you can't do anything with it.

We need to seem some tear down homes in Fernwood on 6000 sq/ft lots selling below 350k and below 400k in Oak Bay and Fairfield.

a simple man said...

Here is a start...

assessed at $787K. Likely an attempt for a bidding war, but...

"Open House Sat July 17 @ 2 - 4 pm @ 1762 Beach Dr. Beach Drive ! 11,000 sq ft Lot * $529.900 What a fabulous opportunity to build your dream home on this large Beach Drive lot. Lots of this size are difficult to find in this area. Adjoins Oak Bay's famous Bowker Creek. House requires demolition. Do not enter this property without prior permission from listing Realtor(R) please. Offers to be submitted by 4:30 pm July 18."

Marko said...

That property was posted on usedvictoria 1 week ago initially for 499k - I already did a lot of research on it, I didn't think it was a crazy deal at that price. I don't anticipate a bidding war at 529k. The address on paper looks nice, other than that...

a simple man said...

but...why in a falling market would a property go up $30K in a week? I am so confused...

A teardown a block away was sold for around $800K earlier this year or late last year with a new home being built and already pre-sold (1.8M?).

omc said...

When you are looking at building, or even digging in that area of Oak Bay you have to do full archaelogical surveys prior to starting work. If you bought that lot and found an old burial ground you are on the hook for all costs, you might not get to build at all. There is a pretty big risk involved.

Also, what most people don't factor in when they buy a pull down is that you have to pay to demolish, unhook all services and put new services in. You mostly have to pay for the old services to be terminatedat the mains and new services to go all the way to the mains. Costly, and that site I believe has the mains travelling under beach drive.

a simple man said...

omc - building in the Estevan area has always been high on our radar and you have given me very valuable information - a grateful thanks!

Robert Reynolds - GBA said...

"Open House Sat July 17 @ 2 - 4 pm @ 1762 Beach Dr. Beach Drive ! 11,000 sq ft Lot * $529.900 What a fabulous opportunity to build your dream home on this large Beach Drive lot. Lots of this size are difficult to find in this area. Adjoins Oak Bay's famous Bowker Creek. House requires demolition. Do not enter this property without prior permission from listing Realtor(R) please.

Anyone know why it REQUIRES demolition? flood? fire?

Marko said...

"When you are looking at building, or even digging in that area of Oak Bay you have to do full archaeological surveys prior to starting work."

- BINGO, now the description..."Adjoins Oak Bay's famous Bowker Creek."

When my old man was a stone mason we worked on a different property adjoining the Bowker Creek and let’s just say Oak Bay is not very development friendly when you have a Creek running by your property.

This property is a massive risk, everything is questionable, setbacks, footprint, due to the creek plus multiple environmental reports, plus other additional reports and process Oak Bay might want. Also, a lot of factors people don't consider, tearing down this house is approx $15,000 depending on how many tons it is ($130/ton is just the disposal fee), now building permits another $15,000, water hook-up $5,000, sewage $3000, warranty $2,500, etc etc.

I already took a look at this property one week ago and we decided not to make an offer on 499k since we value it about 400k tops, and I am more bullish on the market long term than everyone on here is.

As I said again, the minute this listed on UsedVictoria one week ago I was all over it; however, the address is very deceiving.

House is just plain old and requires demolishing, as do a lot of homes first time buyers buy.

HouseHuntVictoria said...


Why wouldn't you make an offer on the property if you see any kind of value in it? Who cares what the vendor thinks. If you value it at $400K and are bullish, make the offer.

I completely agree on the FTBer buying homes that should have been torn down. There have been many FTBers in this town who have overpaid for neglected properties who now can't afford to fix/update.

omc said...

Drove by it today; a feeding frenzy.

Marko said...

"Why wouldn't you make an offer on the property if you see any kind of value in it? Who cares what the vendor thinks. If you value it at $400K and are bullish, make the offer."

Why waste my time? Someone will pay 450k or more for this property just because of the address.

1 block from this property we have another property on beach drive, MLS®: 280937 a $1,050,000 duplex on two legal lots. Or if you want the duplex torn down and just the lots they are listed at MLS®: 277379 ($739,900) and MLS®: 277380 ($705,900).

So, essentially the person selling this property is putting in a $400,000 buffer to tear down a duplex and put in all the services and there is no creek running down the half the property.

Just Jack said...

I'll ditto Marko on this one. Once I heard Bowker Creek it was over. Life's too short to deal with the Oak Bay bureaucrats. Too many unknowns to pay for.

Anonymous said...

Even the agents know the market is tanking...

Jerad Daniels on Twitter

We just got an accepted offer around the price the seller paid on a townhouse 3 years ago in Langford! Great time to by [sic] in Victoria.

Seller lost money after paying agent fees. Yea - a great time to buy if you like being underwater in six months.

MD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MD said...

In light of recent events in Victoria real estate I feel we should adjust the language used to describe the real estate market here in Victoria:

“Listings” will now be referred to as “Lostings”

“It’s special (different) here” will change to “Well, it’s better than Duncan I guess…”

A “Price reduction” will now be called a “buy my overpriced house and take the massive loss instead of me…PLEEEAAASSSSE!”

“Great investment opportunity” will now be referred to as “A chance to loose everything you’ve ever worked for”

“Real Estate only goes up” will now be “Real Estate only goes up, except when it goes down, but I’ll be in Tahiti on your dollar by then so what do I care”

The “Neal Estate” realty team will be changing their name to the “Deal on Estates and Foreclosures Team”


“It’s Pfanntastick” will now be “It’s Pfu**ing AWFUL!” (no offense to Peter and Linda Pfann, referring to the state of the market ONLY)

Have a nice day!

Bob leftcoaster said...

I like where you're going with this, MD. Here's a few to add to your list.

"Suite potential" will now be "Put another 200k on the mortgage" which is more often said than "yes, I will have fries with that."

In this dynamic market, "new price" will be referred to as "now price" and not the "later price."

"Walking distance to everything" will now mean "you'll need to sell that car in order to requalify for 95% LTV in 5 years."

"Revenue property" however, will remain the same as per the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency.

"Bidding war" will refer to the properties offered to us in exchange for the money we've saved during this mad real estate market.

Skeptic said...

Cameron Muir, chief RE pumper and spinmeister at BCREA, finally admits the obvious.

Housing Market Favours Buyers

British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 23 per cent to 7,722 units in June compared to the same month last year.

“Market conditions have shifted from balanced conditions at the start of the year to a buyers’ market this summer,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. In June, there was 9.3 months of supply on the market given current sales activity, up from 5.6 months in January 2010. “Tighter credit conditions for homes with secondary suites and low equity home buyers have moderated consumer demand,” added Muir.

Spinning stats is like using crack cocaine. Once you start it is really hard to kick the habit. So some year-to-date stats are thrown in for Carla and the Canwest crowd so they can keep their advertisers happy.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 31 per cent to $21.4 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales rose 17 per cent to 42,343 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 13 per cent to $504,281 over the same period.

CD said...

July MTD: 263 sales, 655 new listings, inventory 4444.

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I'd like to know your oppinion on the argentinian real state market and the prices on the buenos aires apartments and condos

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