PERFECT Cloverwoods home ready for your family! It just feels like home the moment you walk in the door. Spacious entry way opens up to bright, updated living/dining room. Great kitchen for entertaining with new appliances, SILGRANITE sink,quartz countertops to match classic wood cabinets.


Smartly designed layout provides 4 bdrms upstairs, walkin closet on master and ensuite. Basement is fully finished and roughed-in for quick suite if desired.


INCREDIBLE location just down the street from Adams Road Elem. Quiet part of 68th ave w/ road calming.


First open house August 8, 1-3pm. ***ACCEPTED OFFER***

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The Conference Board of Canada has recently released its prediction that Canadian mortgages will likely rise next Spring. Obviously there is no mention of how much rates would increase, but the report states that there is just too much inflationary pressure to ignore.


Now, I'm not a gambling man nor do I have a fondness for predictions, although I do like to study them. More importantly, I like to study where they come from. There are some companies (no names) that will sell doomsday reports on an annual basis that cry out that the market is 20-30% overvalued. The Conference Board isn't one of them. Although they missed the market on their 2011 prediction of rising mortgage rates, so did everyone else. Since then, they've been on the mark that the Bank of Canada will hold steady on its prime lending rate. Keep in mind that TD Bank economists have also predicted a rise in rates as early as this Fall (although this prediction was almost 6 months ago).


CMHC recently increased premiums for homebuyers putting less than 10% down on their mortgage, which seems to signal to me at least that there is definitely a hesitation in Ottawa to bump up rates. Every movement over the last 5 years to cool the market has been made without hiking rates: shorter insured amortizations, higher premiums, a pox on highly leveraged loans, etc. Yet there is only so much power that the Bank of Canada and CMHC has without raising rates.


So the chances of a rate hike are good, but it likely that increases, barring an economical catastrophe, will be moderate.


So what does that mean for us? And by us I don't mean "us Realtors" - I mean, "us the normal hardworking home sellers and buyers." Generally it means more money going into the government as they attempt to handle inflation. Banks tend to take the same skim off the top whether an interest rate is 2.25% or 5.25%. What that looks for the home buyer is the limiting of purchasing power. This has the obvious affect of lowering the ability to buy the pricier home and effectively takes some prospective purchasers out of the market altogether. The overall affect is a softening marketingplace, and a loss of potential equity for homesellers.


In this softening market, buyers are not rewarded unless they have cash on hand. With cash, you can avoid the higher mortgage rates and be rewarded with lower home prices. Who has enough cash to buy a home without any mortgage? I'll let you guess which socio-economic demographic is rewarded here.


For those of us NOT in the top 1%, here is what the benchmark Vancouver area home would look like before and after a hypothetical mortgage rate increase.

Right now I can get you 2.54% on a five year fixed. For sake of argument, let's say you have the 20% down required to avoid CMHC premiums. The current benchmark home is selling for $684,400 (REBGV, May 2015). This gives you a mortgage of $547,520. With a 25 year amortization, you're looking at a monthly payment of $2,463.62 (we're leaving out other fees for simplification). If this same mortgage was bumped to 3.5%, you're new payment is $2,733.60. And at 5.0% you're now looking at $3,184.40. The scary thing is that these $270-720 increases aren't paying down your principal - that is just INTEREST.


However, the real way of looking at this is that this buyer is no longer looking at a $684,400 home because their max payment was originally $2,500. At a 5.0% interest rate, the max this buyer can now go is a $425,000 mortgage, or with 20% down, an approx. $532,000 home. This is a loss of over $150,000 in purchasing power. Perhaps 5.0% might seem a little extreme right now, but this is a historically normal interest rate. So do home buyers gain anything from a cooling market caused by interest rates? Well, that depends on how much cash you have, and for most home sellers, that amount of cash is will shrink as interest rates rise.


Looking to re-finance or purchase a home? Brad Richert & Associates works with 4 top mortgage brokers based on your needs and always working for your interests at no cost to you. Schedule a time to meet one today!


Need to find out how much your home is worth in this market? Schedule a free, no obligation, no pressure home evaluation today! If we do not work in your area, we will find a vetted, qualified agent for you!


The views expressed herein are those of mine and mine alone. They are not representative of Macdonald Realty and/or any of its affiliates.


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There’s a lot more than foreign ownership at play with Vancouver’s housing market and it’s time to start talking about what is really going on instead of finding a foreign scapegoat.



The City of Vancouver is a tiny 114.97 km2 (44.39 sq mi). By comparison, the City of Toronto (post-amalgamation) is 630.21 km2 (243.33 sq mi). To the West is the Pacific Ocean. To the North is the Pacific Ocean and the separate municipalities of West Vancouver and North Vancouver. To the South is the City of Richmond and to the East is Burnaby and the rest of the “Metro Vancouver” region.


Unfortunately when we often read about Vancouver home prices, especially in comparison to other cities, they take City of Vancouver average home prices and say its the same thing as Metro Vancouver, often interchanging the two. But it's not. In fact, you could almost fit the City of Vancouver, West Vancouver, City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster into the same area as Toronto. Even “Old Toronto”, where you find the city’s bustling downtown, is 97.15 km2 (37.51 sq mi) - almost as big as the entire City of Vancouver. It’s population is 736,775 (2011): more populous than the City of Vancouver (603,502 in 2011). So for starters, we need to start comparing apples to apples. Vancouver, by nature of it's non-amalgamated bordering municipalities and it's geographical constraints, is not Toronto and it actually has very few comparables cities worldwide. If we are going to compare Vancouver to a city that includes it's surrouding suburban sprawl into sales figures, then we should do the same.



The City of Vancouver itself, along with its suburban support system in the Metro Vancouver area, is running out of room for single family housing. Even in my own suburban community of the Township of Langley, almost 75% of its 306.93 km2 (118.51 sq mi) is locked in BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), leaving around 80 km2  for development - comparable to all developable land in the City of Vancouver (if you exclude University greenland & Stanley Park). Once Langley’s fast growing neighbourhood of Willoughby is developed, there will literally be no room left unless we take out the ALR or start re-developing older neighbourhoods (ask the people of Brookswood how excited they are for that!).


Vancouver's own condo-king, Bob Rennie of Rennie Marketing Systems, has recently been in the media urging young Vancouverites to give up on the dream of owning a single family home (or implicitly, take a hike to the suburbs). While many people and advocacy groups are trying to blame foreign owners, Rennie & Mayor Robertson are attempting to put the blame on home flippers & speculators. The problem is that there is a serious lack of data to target either one of these scapegoats and the numbers that are available simply don’t support either. It is neither simple nor inexpensive to own more than one property in this province.


Real estate prices are simple: it's supply and demand. There is no overarching malevolent force pushing prices higher. Governments don’t set prices, Realtors don’t set prices, Walmart doesn’t set prices. Sale prices are simply what a buyer is willing to pay on the open market and what the seller is willing to accept. The problem with the recent attack on foreign ownership is that investment has always been here: whether it was Europe, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or China, we’ve always had this external factor. But if we follow history, it isn’t foreign ownership that pushes demand, it’s the somewhat predictable generational demographics that drives the marketplace. A large generational cohort will put incredible stress of demand when they reach their home-buying years. The main difference between, say, the 1970s, and now is that we lack the land to waste on single family homes. The demand is the same, but the supply is limited.




From 1946 to 1965, 8.2 million people were born in Canada. We call these the baby boomers. As documented in many studies and popular books, this generation has had a huge affect on our world, including housing. The first impact was, of course, when the boomers themselves were born. The 1950’s saw the revolution of the American suburb as the parents of the baby boomers escaped from the cities with all their babies: Between 1945 and 1960, over 1 million Canadians moved from the city to the suburb (Owram, “Born at the Right Time”, 1996). It was the perfect storm for a housing boom: interest rates were low, land was plentiful, down payments were easy, standard of living high, real cost of building was low, and unemployment was low. In 1945, fewer than 49,000 homes were built across the country. By the end of the 1950’s, 150,000 homes per year were being developed. Over 70% of dwellings were single family homes. Burnaby, Vancouver’s Eastern neighbour, grew from 30,000 in 1941 to over 100,000 by 1960. However, the one thing the parents of the baby boomers did not worry about was land. It was plentiful and they had the American dream, the automobile, to connect their suburban home to everything they needed in life.




When the Boomers started buying, the affects were enormous. As they hit their 20’s, the impact was subtle (a forewarning to 2000-2004 market increases), but by the 1970’s, it was more than apparent that this was something the world had never seen before. Canadian housing starts were peaking around 250,000 dwellings per year. Entire cities, mostly suburban, sprouted between the 1960s and 1980s to fit this powerful and populous cohort. It shouldn’t be hard for Vancouverites to see the affects of this development today: about 10,000 “Vancouver Specials” were built between 1965 and 1985, designed to maximize as much square footage as possible on smaller urban lots. However, land still was not an issue (see 2 photos below of downtown Vancouver, 1974 on the left, 2014 on the right. More stunning photos at Lots were getting smaller to fit as many single family homes as possible in Vancouver, but the prominent development was still the detached home.


In the 1970’s, however, we began to see cracks in the facade. There wasn’t an infinite amount of land and some of that land was too precious to keep developing homes on. In 1973, Dave Barrett’s NDP BC government established the Agricultural Land Reserve to protect farmland from being paved over. While it has since become sacrosanct in the province, at the time it was deeply divisive. While it did its job well, it had a significant affect on housing prices, both in the short term and long term. It took away 47,000 square kilometres (18,000 sq mi) throughout the province and would later put substantial pressure on Metro Vancouver communities such as Langley and Delta to be wiser with their housing development. Yet suburban communities such as Langley would continue to develop sprawl-like neighbourhoods such as Brookswood (1970’s), Murrayville (1980’s), and Walnut Grove (1990’s).




While the Boomers and some Gen X'ers did have less children than their parents, those massive generational cohorts still managed to produce 9 million Canadian babies between 1980 and 2000. The Millennials, as they are affectionately called, are even bigger than the Baby Boomers. The oldest and most precocious of the Millennials started entering the housing market in the early 2000s. They were taught the mantras of real estate by our parents: “buy real estate, it only goes up.” It should be no surprise that while the 1990s offered the most stagnant years in real estate prices, that in 2002 prices started to rise as he first of the Millennials were getting their feet wet in the marketplace. By 2006, when the oldest Millennials were hitting their mid-20s, it was a frenzy.




The market was hot with this new cohort entering the market, but the two North American governments would add fuel to the fire. The Bush administration allowed Americans to get in on Fannie Mae-insured 0% down, 40 or even 50 year amortization subprime mortgages in 2005; Canada needed to wait until the newly elected Harper government would allow the same in late 2006. By stretching out mortgage amortizations and allowing highly leveraged loans, the Millennials, along with everyone else, went trigger-happy. That is, until the house of cards came tumbling down. The American market began to collapse in 2007 and was in full-fledged panic mode in 2008-09. Yet by 2010, the dual force of low interest rates and the sheer size of a new generations purchasing homes would pick the market out of the gutter and to new heights, especially in Canada where we had less of a sub-prime industry (many thanks to the underappreciated Paul Martin finance years).




Now it’s 2015 and the first Millennials are now in their mid 30’s and those born around the midway point are now in their mid-twenties. Other than a few hipsters (eieieieie, I jest!), they have jobs and they want homes. 9 million Canadians are at the age where they are moving away from their parents (or at least hoping to) and most want to own their own home. And yes, some of them aren't Caucasion. In fact, many are, I know this is hard to grasp, Asian. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Chinese-Canadian millennials make up a huge portion of this cohort due to many generations of Chinese immigrants over the last 100 years. Of course, this also includes the 70% of the roughly 300,000 immigrants every year for the last two decades. Yet, this is why we must be careful about the anecdotal evidence the media and general public has been relying on. I have heard numerous stories where an agent and/or his/her client assumes they lost a bid to a "foreign owner" simply because the winning bid wasn’t Caucasion. Yes, it happens and a lot more than our polite Canadian society is willing to admit. While a global economy will certainly have foreign investment, some legitimate and some corrupt, there is little concrete evidence to suggest this, or home flippers/speculators, are driving the market in a substantial way. We need to recognize this, if only to remain a healthier society that doesn't avoid racial profiling beyond just political correctness. Unfortunately the media is resorting solely to these anecdotes and not to the facts - mostly because the facts are so sparse and the topic so emotionally charged. We need to move pass the ignorant, racially fueled accusation that every Asian buyer is a "foreign owner".



First time home buyer programs have attempted to ease buyers into condos and townhouses for the last decade. The first millennials are now feeling the pinch of the new reality. Caught up in the mantra of buying real estate and the condo boom of the mid 2000s, suburban condos such as in the Fraser Valley have since lost upwards of 10% of equity: more, if they bought new (which I dare say most Millennials did). In Langley, the benchmark price for a Willoughby condo in the Spring of 2008 was $202,800. Today, that same condo is going for $175,600 (April 2015). This neighbourhood is 30 minutes away from the City of Vancouver. Meanwhile, the press cries out about skyrocketing Metro Vancouver home prices, has a higher median household income, comparable crime and school system. While not part of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Langley is part of Metro Vancouver, as is Surrey and Delta.


Vancouver condos have obviously faired better over that same timeframe (2008-2015), but it isn’t something to jump up and down about. The benchmark apartment in Spring of 2008 was $429,000. After three consecutive months of rapidly increased prices, today’s benchmark Vancouver apartment is going for $477,500 (in January it was $458,500). The average/median home selling in this price range was just shy of 800 sq.ft. This certainly isn’t Hong Kong, New York, or London. What is shown by this is that apartment values, at least in Vancouver, have stabilized, even in the hottest market in years. Only the last few months have been relatively outstanding, but it is likely that this is part of the seasonal ebb and flow of real estate.


The constant hysteria in the media, both mainstream and alternative, simply doesn’t measure up to the reality of the situation. Millennials aren’t homeless and they ARE buying, somehow. How is this when the media keeps pummelling into us that the average home prices is this or that? For one, most Millennials, ie. those not complaining about not having a million dollars, are coming to terms with the reality that the median price of $625,000 (Update: this dropped to $619,000 in May) is quite a bit less than a million dollars and that they can actually find a home less than half a million dollars. Most Millennials understand they don’t need a lot of space if they have access to transit and amenities. Most Millennials recognize that they don’t need the ocean view or something brand new. Many Millennials don’t mind finding a home in Burnaby, Coquitlam or Langley. They ARE adjusting their expectations. It is simply a loud noisy few who want what their parents have and they want it now, not 20 years from now. But quiet, moderate people do not make headlines. 



The media continues to regularly share headlines about the “average” home sale. The public doesn’t always understand what this really means. What most people want to know is what a “typical” home cost is in the area, which is very different than the “average”. The "average" home sale is found by adding the sale prices of all the sales in an area and then dividing that by the number of sales. What happens is that a spurt of ultra high home sales will skew the typical home.

Let’s say you have 5 sales:






Based on these five sales, the average sale is $5,440,000. The median sale is $500,000. Egads, this is a problem, isn't it?


This is an extreme example, but Vancouver is full of extremes. The "median" home is the sale that is right in the middle of all the sales. So in an area with 60 sales, it will be the 2 sales that have 29 above and 29 below. While not the best indicator of prices, it is much better than "average". It too can be skewed, especially by a massive new condo project in the area.


The best indicator tends to be the MLS Benchmark value (which is the one I usually use). What we try to do with the benchmark is come up with what the most "typical" home in the area sells for and follow that hypothetical sale as close as possible. So in Langley a benchmark detached home might be a 3200 sqft home on a 4200 sqft lot with 5 bedrooms and is 12 years old. The downfall of this is that a typical home is subjective and trying to track something hypothetical is just that - hypothetical.


Yet both benchmark prices and median prices are better indicators of a market than average prices. But high average prices are great for the media but it doesn't tell you that you can live in a nice home in Greater Vancouver for $600,000. No, it won't be detached, and it probably won't be right downtown.


Just in case you were wondering and are confused by all the recent numbers reported in the press, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (not including Fraser Valley communities of Delta, Surrey, Langley, etc.) posted an AVERAGE price of $901,542 for all homes in the area in April. The MEDIAN was $625,000. The BENCHMARK was $673,000. In case you were wondering, a Millennial can buy the BENCHMARK townhouse in the Vancouver area for $493,300. This is why the sky isn’t falling. This is why most Millennials, perhaps not a few 29 year olds on twitter, are okay with adjusting their expectations. Not everyone needs a detached home. Nor does this mean that everyone must live in a tiny condo. 




The challenge of space for the Millennials seemed to have been brushed aside a decade ago by predictions that the baby boomers would sell their homes in droves and move to 500-700 sq.ft. boxes in the sky and that Millennials would desert the single family home. It hasn’t happened. Baby boomers aren’t selling and Millennials want to raise families in single family homes. In April of 2010, there were 6,195 homes in Greater Vancouver on the market. In April of 2012 there were 6,529. In April 2014, it was 6,405. Last month, April 2015, only 4,599 homes were listed. Meanwhile, sales were the opposite. April 2010: 1,307; April 2012: 1,106; April 2014: 1,309; last month: 1,771. We are entering a new era ushered by 9 million young Canadians looking to buy, but with the previous 8.2 million baby boomers unwilling to sell. The result is that even while we build towering condos, the height of prices on single family homes will eclipse even those.


Do Millennials want condos? What the sale numbers suggest is that no matter how fast we build condos in Metro Vancouver, the market remains more or less balanced. We have a good supply of condos to those who wish to purchase them. But then we enter the detached home market and it is different story entirely. Multiple offers are the norm throughout Metro Vancouver and even the Fraser Valley. Millennials are having babies. If census reports are any indication, reproduction rates are likely to surpass the Baby Boomers. But while the Baby Boomers escaped to the “unlimited” land of the suburbs, the Millennials have no place to go. Except maybe Alberta. Joking aside, the challenge of raising a family in a condo is going to become the new reality unless we can find a middle ground because the other reality is that wages are not increasing with detached home prices. Nor should they expect to be. A bump in the minimum age or somehow forcing wage increases for median wage earners will only inspire young Canadians to buy more and bigger and elevate prices even moreso.


So the real question is, can Canada's largest cities and their surrounding areas cater to the 9 million Canadians in an affordable way? Many of which are very attracted to the brand and lifestyle that cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal have manifested. Bob Rennie is right, it is time to forget about the detached home for young Vancouverites. Urban single family homes have reached their peak. But that doesn’t mean we need to solely focus on a product that is more or less unlivable for the next generation who also want to have a family of their own. Millennials are not going to raise 2 kids in 600 sq.ft. homes. They will will escape to the suburbs just as their parents did.

The solution is simple yet complex. It doesn’t require the state taking control of the market nor obscure taxes for foreign owners or the few people looking to risk their money on the open market - we already have the Property Transfer Tax for that. What we do need is a serious look at planning livable density in the form of midrises, townhouses & rowhouses as the new “Vancouver Special”. Metro Vancouver’s municipalities also need to get real about restricting “urban ghettoes” also known as “micro suites”. We need homes that are for living based on the demographics of the city over the next 20-40 years, not homes that cater to a minority of young single people for a couple years and the developers who build them. Vancouver doesn’t have to become a two-tier city between the box in the sky and the detached home. It can offer a lot in between. This means serious research into what the baby boomers are doing, what the Millennials are going to do and what the next 20-40 years will look like if Millennials do, in fact, have more children than their parents.


Looking to re-finance or purchase a home? Brad Richert & Associates works with 4 top mortgage brokers based on your needs and always working for your interests at no cost to you. Schedule a time to meet one today!




Need to find out how much your home is worth in this market? Schedule a free, no obligation, no pressure home evaluation today! If we do not work in your area, we will find a vetted, qualified agent for you!


The opinions herein are mine and mine alone. They are not representative of Macdonald Realty and/or it's affiliates.

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Artists Rendition of Yale Bloc Many people know that I've written about the over-saturation of mediocre townhouse and apartment complexes in the Fraser Valley, which has led homeowners who bought new with a fraction of the equity they deserve for their investment over the last 6-8 years. While there has been a continuation of uninspired development in Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford, some developers are taking note and "future-proofing" homes.


It is relatively easy to "sell" a new home compared to resale: thousands of dollars in designer items and staging, fresh paint, no knicks or scratches, no funky smells, etc. Yet when you purchase a new development, I hate to say this, you are buying the same white box as everyone else. It is no longer new. Just like a car, once you drive it off the lot, it diminishes in that original "newness" value. So if you're buying new, always understand you are paying for a "newness" premium, so look for things that make your townhouse or apartment truly unique for the best resale value.


All developer marketing teams talk about how great the quality of their homes are. When was the last time you walked into a new development show home and they didn't say they have high quality homes? In reality, you won't know until the first few years, so its best to look at a developer's track record. Maybe even take a look at some resale homes and/or ask a knowledgable REALTOR about how that developer's past projects have fared over the years.


Once you've been satisfied with the quality of your prospective new home, ask yourself, if I sell in 4-7 years, what differentiates this from all the other resale/new townhomes out there? Is it spacious? How is the layout? Big balcony? Greenspace? Walking distance to amenities? Near a school? Why will your new home hold value?


Over the last couple of weeks I've visited or re-visited quite a few new developments in Langley (as well as other areas, more on those later) as the preparation for a strong Spring & Summer 2015 comes to fruition. Full disclosure: I do not represent any of these developments nor am I paid for any sort of marketing or promotion. These are just my candid thoughts on some new developments that I would or have endorsed bringing my buyers to.

1. Kensington (Qualico) - Available Now

After years of seeing apartments being built around more apartments, with little walkability, it was great to finally see some mixed-use residential in Langley. While transit remains lacking along 80th and 208th, the residences on Kensington's top 3 floors offer retail on the bottom floor, plus one of my favourite coffee shops - Mattu's, a sushi restaraunt, a Shoppers Drug Mart, liquor store, and independent grocer all their doorstep. What really surprised me as I watched Qualico take its time with construction is the quality. During my first walkthrough with some of my buyers, it showed the the developer really put a precedence on making sure that this building was built to last. It isn't all about granite countertop and fancy features - the bones on this complex are second to none.


Due to an oversaturated market, there are still quite a few units left. Yet for future resale value, I think you will see that as Willoughby Town Centre builds up around it, these will be the prime condos in the Willoughby area.


Marketed by Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Ltd.

2. Exchange (Hayer) - Available Now

Exchange Townhomes Exterior

The moment I saw the sign go up with the rooftop patios on the propaganda at 208th Street and 79th Avenue, I got View from showhome of Exchangeexcited. Rooftop patio townhouse developments are pretty rare in the Fraser Valley, and this is a first for Langley. Perhaps the only downfall is that they only are available as two-bedroom units (there is currently more high demand for three bedrooms). That said, for new families and/or professionals, these could be perfect. A modern design, a location that is sandwhiched between Richard Bulpitt Elementary & Willoughby Town Centre, and perfectly located for potential transit (ummm...????) & several units with views of Mt. Baker. It looks like they've sold almost half of their first phase of their 1110-1582 sq.ft. units, but there will be another phase coming another "C" plan that is 1230 sq.ft. Prices start from $299,900.


Marketed by Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Ltd.

3. Coulter Berry (Statewood) - Available ?Coulter Berry Construction

Politically, the Coulter Berry building on Mavis and Glover in Fort Langley may have been a lightning rod of controversy as residents took sides to oppose or defend the three-storey building, but with contruction well underway, my hope is that the community can come together as what is done is done. From a real estate point of view, there is little ignoring that Coulter Berry offers a very unique housing opportunity for 9 lucky, and likely well-to-do homeowners. Coulter Berry will offer a lot of "firsts" for the Fort, including LEED Gold certification, underground parking, and well, three full storeys (retail on the first floor, office on the second, residences on the third). Of course, as you've probably figured by now, my favourite aspect is the mixed-used component.


The fact that there are only 9 units, plus being as it is Fort Langley, and therefore fairly exclusive in itself, it will be interesting to see what Statewood prices the 689-1943 sq.ft units at. (By the way, they have a lot better pictures of their construction than my cameraphone photo on their Facebook page)


4. Yale Bloc (Manorlane) - Completion Fall 2016

Here is another mixed used residence has me fired up (see first photograph above). While the advertising says "Willowbrook" and "Langley" all over it, in reality these 4 story buildings are on the Surrey side of 196th Street & 64th Avenue. I suppose Langley just sounds better :). There isn't anything particularly special about the design of the complex. Design-wise, it looks like a typical four storey, three building layout with courtyard in the middle. Yet, with the retail on bottom with walking proximity to all of Willowbrook's amenities, not to mention being right outside the area that may be redeveloped in coming years, it all plays into part of the value proposition of Yale Bloc. Manorlane also has a positive track record in the area, with developments such as Allegro, Ascend, and George.


The plans range from a 498 sq.ft. "junior bedroom" to 835 sq.ft. 2 bedrooms and are priced quite competitively from $139,900, making them a target for investors. Although some units are on the small side for Langley, the plans were laid out in a livable way for those wanting a more urban lifestyle in the suburbs. Did I mention transit is right on the doorstep too? I was there on opening day, but I'm not to sure how many of their first 64 units in building 1 they've sold so far, but with their aggressive price point, I'm sure they are doing well.


Marketed by Frontline Real Estate Services

If you are interested in these or any other new development in the Fraser Valley, feel free to call me directly at 604-510-4825. I'm always happy to answer any questions you may have and/or investigate for you.

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I would say that almost 40% of my business comes from retirees or soon-to-be retirees. As a 32-year-old Realtor, I don't pretend to be an expert on everything to do with the retirement lifestyle. My clients look for compassionate responsiveness & aggressive negotiating, not a life coach. Over the years I've really enjoyed helping this demographic onto the next stage of their life and, anecdotally, I've also noticed some trends.


I read a lot of speculation about what baby boomers are going to be purchasing and what the "experts" seem to think, but it doesn't seem to jive with reality. Even if you Google "retired buying condos", you'll likely come up with a lot of articles talking about how boomers (or "zoomers") are bucking the idea that they are going to downsize into pocket-sized condos anytime soon. My experience corroborates this. So what are retirees really buying?


I've taken 4 "real life" examples that seem to be pretty representative of the non-homogenous "retired homebuyer", and linked some current listings with what is available in today's market.


1. The "Zoomer!"

Zoomers aren't defined by age - a zoomer can be 54, 62 or 71. A zoomer is the active, engaged, "boomer" (or older) who you know isn't ready to settle for anything. My not-so-hypothetical Zoomer is in his mid 60's, retired architect, who lived and worked a large hobby farm in the Fraser Valley. He built many incredible additions to his original 1950's home so much so you wouldn't recognize the original age. Yet 20+ acres was just too much to take care of. He wants to enjoy his retirement. He appreciates quality, doesn't want to take care of a large house/yard, still wants space for a pool table and he wants to travel for 6 months of the year.


I met Zoomer! in Fort Langley's Bedford Landing. He really liked the walkability and the exterior architecture of the homes in the area. Yet when he looked inside, he wasn't impressed with what his money was buying him. He loves the character but wasn't interested in much else. Hearing this, I asked if he had thought about the White Rock/South Surrey area. I set up a few showings and I could tell he was hooked - but it was going to take time.


We viewed a lot of old-timer ranchers because he wanted to keep it under a budget that would allow him to save some of his cash for travelling. I could tell that the girlfriend was not having it. She had rich tastes. So I found him the best of both worlds:


The Find: a 2500 sq.ft. "Cape Cod" style home on a 2700 sq.ft. lot. High quality, twoy storey with basement, allowed for the traditional living on the main floor and beautifully, very expensive-looking, landscaped rock garden with no extra work needed (the sellers threw in the awesome gas firepit). The home had a good sized, bright open basement with a recreation room perfect for the pool table and 2 bedrooms, which would turn into an office and storage room. The upstairs had 3 generously sized rooms, which he said would be great for when the grandkids visited. The detached garage offered ample space for his truck and motorcycle.


Ready to downsize, but still want space for visiting adult kids & the grandkids? Take a look at some of these listings in White Rock/South Surrey or Langley! (Looking for another city? Just email me at


2. The Quiet Couple

Similar to my Zoomer!, my quiet couple weren't ready for a condo, but didn't mind strata and a little bit of a garden. They were looking forward to having some quiet time together and perhaps look for an age-restricted townhouse/duplex complex. Both were in their mid 50's and preferred a 55+ lifestyle. I informed them that 55+ is a pretty broad age spectrum and they'll more than likely be one of the youngest in the strata. That didn't sound too bad to them.


We started shopping in Langley, but they felt their money wasn't going far enough. They would prefer to buy something a little nicer in Abbotsford, since many of their friends had also moved to the area. We spent a few weeks shopping, often checking out the same unit a few times before excluding it for one reason or another. It wasn't until we opened up the search to some 45+ stratas that we started to see some real success.


The Find: a 2400 sq.ft. 3 bedroom duplex-style townhouse from the late 1980's with all original kitchen and flooring. The original hardwood flooring was greatly appreciated, and with a change to the old carpet, it was going to look spectacular. The main floor had the primary living space with kitchen, living space and master bedroom (and one extra bedroom), meanwhile the basement had a spacious recreation room, hobby room, another bedroom & storage. Most important, it had a nice sized greenspace that had a fair portion fenced off for the property, but the common greens was a huge benefit. The location was on the outskirts of Abbotsford, but very close to Highway 1.


Looking for an adult-oriented strata with a little bit of space to still call your own? Check out these 45+ & 55+ complexes in Langley, Abbotsford and South Surrey/White Rock! (Looking for another city? Just email me at


3. The Urban Dweller

Years ago there was a lot of speculation that the boomers would start retiring and immediately start purchasing bazillions of apartment condos. Well, they aren't. At least not at the pace many expected. Yet there are many who like the idea of simplifying life, getting the condo and looking farther into the future. This was the case for my urban dweller: an early-retiree in his late 50's and his still very young wife who was still working a government job, but retiring soon.


To be honest, they already knew what they wanted when they called me. Not only did they know they wanted a penthouse in a walkable area close to their adult kids who lived in the Langley neighbourhoods of Walnut Grove and Willoughby, they already knew the exact building and unit. The idea was that they could sell off the "junk" they've accumulated, have access to all the amenities they need, go travelling whenever they want, live in style and have some money left over for all the fun.


The Find: a brand new 1100+ sq.ft. 2 bedroom penthouse in one of Yorkson's newest and only mixed-used (retail on bottom, residential on top 3 floors) buildings. Extremely well built for the fussiest purchaser, with bright kitchen, massive windows, and open concept living space. Two huge South-facing balconies were ideal for this BBQ master. Walk outside and there you have the sushi bar, independent coffeeshop, grocery & liquors stores, as well as a Shoppers Drug Mart and much more.


Want to simplify? There a ton of condos out there ready for you! There are really too many to list and so many variables, so why don't you give me a call at 604-510-4825 and I'll help you narrow it down and we'll find your next home!


4. Assistance Desired

Finally, we have what is, for many, the final home purchase. What is interesting is that there is a stigma surrounding lifestyle homes, but in reality these are permanent hotels where residents are often treated like gold and you have access to everything to keep you as active and healthy as you want to be. My buyers were a couple who had been married for over 50 years - she was just entering her 70's and was still very healthy and loved nature walks, but he was almost entering his 80's and, unfortunately, his health was failing.


When I met them, they had already decided that they would like to find a home that offered different levels of assisted care and wanted me to let them know what their options were and if I could help. Luckily, I do make occassional visits to many of the Fraser Valley's lifestyle residences for this exact reason.


Retirement homes are either purchased or rented. I would say that the majority offer mostly rentals, such as Langley's Harrison Pointe, whereas Avalon Gardens in Murrayville provides both options. Most importantly, however, is the division between indepedent living & assisted living, which allows residents to "age in place." For those in indepdent living, you are free to live your life without assistance, but you have the convenience of in-house menus, lifestyle activities, and a strong social construct. Assisted living will include basic assistance with everyday activities, medication monitoring, and is regulated by the Community Care and Assisted Living Act. Furthermore, these residences also offer 24-hour Extended Care, whereby higher levels of care are added, often with the help of nurses.


The Find: a large 1100 sq.ft. 2 bedroom suite in an exciting complex that offered everything that both husband and wife needed. They were able to make their unit look exactly like home and I am still in contact with them regularly to this day. They are both astounded at the amount of activities they have at their fingertips and the regular in-house transportation service to busses the more active residents to events of all sorts.


Looking for a retirement residence to "age in place" for yourself or a loved one? Look no further! Click here! and/or contact me!



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Detached home sales are up +24.7% compared to this same time last year and with the lack of inventory (-23.2%!!!), benchmark values are rising. Langley's overall market saw the biggest jump, thanks mostly to Walnut Grove, in early 2014 before levelling off a bit, so we are currently only seeing a

+2.0% increase in values compared to this time last year.


The real story here is the sale to listing ratio taking off because of the lack of inventory. Walnut Grove in particular hit an astronimocal 64% sales to listing ratio, so I would suspect that the benchmark price for March will see a significant bump as the demand is far exceeding the supply. Langley overall is in a strong sellers market at 33.4% sales to listing ratio.

Browse Langley homes here.



Langley townhouses witnessed positive pricing trends coming out of the traditional Winter months, although the overall marketplace is still -0.1% compared to this time last year. This is mostly due to Langley City's steady decline in the housing type since April 2014, which has the neighbourhood sitting at -5.4% compared to this time last year. However, Walnut Grove has taken off like a rocket, with benchmark pricing now +4.8% compared to this time last year.


Sales to active listing ratio tells one story: there is nothing available. The overall Langley townhouse market is over 30%, which is matched by Walnut Grove. Willoughby has climbed to 40%, as many new developments seem to be holding back on releasing too many phases at a time. However, with building permits up, expect to see new competition on the market in the next few months (or just drive up 208th Street).

Check out Langley's townhouse listings here!



I wish I could provide good news, but I can't. Prices are down. Langley City is the hardest hit, -9.6% under February 2014 values - mostly happening after August 2014. Even Walnut Grove, where prices have been creeping upward since Summer saw a decrease in value in February, with benchmark values settlin gat -1.5% compared to this time lasy year. Willoughby is actually up +1.9% after a steady climb in 2014 as new apartment releases slowed, but saw a drawback in February.


However, there is hope. Walnut Grove ratios were up to 47.1% in February. Now, there were only 8 sales, but when there are only 17 listings, that is good news for sellers. Langley City too had improvement as the buyers are out there but the lack of listings means some may be settling for product before the market is saturated. It will be interesting to see what March brings. Willoughby is at its typical 11% ratio, so its fairly competitive out there. However, most of the big new condo releases either happened late last year or are a little further down the line, so now might be a good time to sell.

See what's available here!

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Central Surrey neighbourhoods in February were up +3.5% year over year, following the trend we saw throughout 2014 of steady, incremental increases month over month. Surprisingly, it is West Newton that leads the way in value growth, with a +5.9% over this time last year. The two other large neighbourhoods, Fleetwood & Sullivan Station, are at a steady +3.0% increase rate. Despite the steady value increases, the market has been suriving in a "buyers market" ratios over the last year. However, February saw this tick upward finally into a "balanced market" territory, which may suggest an expected jump in prices over Spring 2015. This demand appears to be heavily weighted in the Fleetwood and Sullivan Station neighbourhoods, which are both in strong sellers markets. See what's for sale in Central Surrey here.



The overall Surrey townhouse market has remained fairly flat, seeing only +0.8% year over year, despite a healthy late Fall 2014 spike. The story here is a little more complicated: Surrey, even Central Surrey, is a big place and is certainly not homogenous. Fleetwood townhouses have sold well, increasing in prices by +3.8% since last February, however, oversaturation of Sullivan Station development has led to downward pressure on the resale market, seeing -2.2% over the course of the year, and thats after a sharp bounce between January and February of this year. Active listings are up in Sullvian +7.8%, but sales are down -5.6%. However, the overall sales to listing ratios remain relatively healthy, so don't expect to much variance in pricing. Shop Central Surrey Townhouses here.



Surrey's short term trend show a month over month devaluation of Surrey's apartment market as the sale to listing ratio remains in a strong buyers market. See what's available!

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If you bought in any of the Cloverdale neighbourhoods over the last 5 years, you've probably done pretty well for yourself. February saw a +5.3% increase in housing values over this time last year. Both Cloverdale proper (+5.1%) and Clayton (+5.6%) are doing very well. There does seem to be a season trend in the area, however, of rapid January-March incline in pricing in both neighbourhoods before settling down for the year. Cloverdale's sales to listing ratio has rested in a pretty steady sellers market, but Clayton underwent a bit of a roller coaster this Winter. February shows signs of things to come, with almost 1/3 of all homes in Cloverdale selling in the month, but Clayton took off with 40%. Lack of inventory but increased demand will push up prices. See whats on the market here.



While January was a bit rocky, February has seen the hot Cloverdale/Clayton townhouse market shoot back up. If this year is anything like last year, expect those prices to rise again briefly in Spring. However, as far as the figures go, prices are -3.5% compared to the same time last year. Yet if you see the graph in the previous link, you'll see that last years incline was very steep very early in the year. With the sales to listing ratio back to the norm of a hot sellers market, I expect to see the upward trend continue. Check out Cloverdale/Clayton townhouses here!



There were only 4 apartment sales in Cloverdale in February. Not much to comment on. Want to see the benchmark price? Click here. Go shopping here!

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Don't get too distracted by that graph above: single family homes in North Surrey are motoring along quite nicely. February numbers show an overall healthy increase of +3.7% in benchmark values year over year, with a pretty steady incline throughout. North Surrey's two largest neighbourhoods - Guildford & Whalley - both show significant improvement, with Guildford experiencing a +5.9% increase and Whalley a whopping +7.2% increase. Both are benefitting from the rapid densification that are pushing land values up. The sales to active ratio is showing a unique story though. While the overall North Surrey market is in a healthy sellers market at 24.4%, Guildford is running out of inventory at 42.3% meanwhile Whalley is suffering at 16.7%. Both neighbourhood figures are abnormal for this time of the season. Go home shopping here.



I admit I'm pretty excited to see Dawson+Sawyer's new Guildford development offering some much needed new townhouse development, because the market is demanding it, but the inventory isn't there. Overall prices are completely flat year over year (0.0%). However, Whalley has had a surprising +5.1% increase to it's benchmark prices and remains a hot commodity at 24.1% sales to listing ratio in February. Shop North Surrey Townhouses here.



This is where that graph gets a little scary. While Guildford apartments has somehow held value, even increased +2.2% year over year, North Surrey has tumbled -10.6%, lead by Whalley's devastating -18.8% loss. The reason? Basic supply and demand. Whalley hasn't seen a sales to listing ratio above 10% since May 2014 and even that was a brief spike. In fact, there have only been two months since June 2013 where Whalley's apartments have hit that threshold. There is just too much new inventory and that is drastically pushing resale prices down. The entire North Surrey market hasn't faired much better, with Guildford being the only bright spot in the lot. Go shopping for North Surrey Apartments here.

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North Delta single family homes continue to witness solid gains ever since a lull in 2012 (see graph). The typical detached home in the area in January 2013 was selling for $513,000. Fast forward two years later and that same home is selling for $569,700. In particular, it is the Scottsdale neighbourhood that has been a huge winner with an increase of +5.1% between February 2015 and 2014. Sales to active listing ratio for February was an obscene 46.3% throughout North Delta, while Scottsdale was 65.5%. There simply isn't anything on the market but the buyers are demanding it.

Townhome prices in North Delta (err.. Nordel, where the only townhomes really are) have remained relatively flat, rising only +1.5% year over year. The current benchmark of $314,300 ($410,600 for Nordel) is significant under the October 2014 peak of $325,000, but this is likely seasonal, if yearly trends are taken into account. North Delta townhomes are also in high demand with 46.3% of the inventory selling in February.

North Delta's small apartment market continues to remain exactly that: small. Inventory has risen from 17 listings in December to 36 in February, yet we've only had 3 sales in 3 months. Ouch. The benchmark price of $152,900 is -2.3% from this time last year and is nowhere near the June 2008 high of $194,700. The trend is not positive.

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Single Family Homes
The Sales:Listing ratio has increased in White Rock/South Surrey for the fourth time in a row, finally breaking back into a sellers market. While sales have increased dramatically (+19.2% from previous month, +30.7% compared to May 2013), the benchmark value did take a small hit (-0.5%) to $896,600. However, this is still a +5.3% increase from the same time last year.


White Rock and area townhomes jumped to a healthy 21.5% sales to listing ratio is a balanced/sellers market. This is representative a significant 56.4% increase in sales since the month before and up 45.2% from May 2013. Values are holding steady (+0.2% from April, +1.0% year over year).


The benchmark price for a White Rock area home may have increased to $242,800 (+3.0% from April, +1.9% year over year), but gains made in the sales:listing department have shriveled. May saw only 13.3% of apartment condos sell in the area, resulting in a strong buyers market.


----> Do you know someone who you think might need to know about the White Rock & South Surrey market? Please share this update and page with them. You could be doing them a favour!


Every month, I write a custom report for the municipalities in the Fraser Valley that I do most of my business in (Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford, White Rock). If you would like a report for another city (Delta or Chilliwack) and I can have one to you upon request. If you would like information on the Vancouver market or other communities across the river, please let me put you in touch with one of my trusted Realtors.


Brad Richert
604.510.4825 or Toll Free 1.877.853.6786

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Single Family Homes
Abbotsford single family homes continue to float around the 23% sales-to-listing market, providing a comfortable sellers market. Last year at this time, this ratio was 16%. Sales are up 18.9% from last year and listings are down -16.6%. Benchmark values continue to steadily rise as a result of the sellers market, with the typical Abbotsford home selling for $442,800 (+2.7% from May 2013, +0.7% from April 2014).


While Abbotsford's townhouses remain in a balanced market (19.4%), benchmark values did take a hit with a -1.5% decrease from the previous month. The typical townhouse in the area sells for $210,800 which is a full -11.5% decrease since this time last year.


The City in the Country may not be selling apartments well, but those that do sell are selling for slightly higher. May experienced an 11.5% sales to listing ratio which is a strong buyers market, but benchmark prices did go up to $140,900, a healthy 3.8% increase from April (but still -16.1% from May 2014).


----> Do you know someone who you think might need to know about the Abbotsford market? Please share this update and page with them. You could be doing them a favour!


Every month, I write a custom report for the municipalities in the Fraser Valley that I do most of my business in (Langley, Surrey, Abbotsford, White Rock). If you would like a report for another city (Delta or Chilliwack) and I can have one to you upon request. If you would like information on the Vancouver market or other communities across the river, please let me put you in touch with one of my trusted Realtors.


Brad Richert
604.510.4825 or Toll Free 1.877.853.6786

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I want to address some recent news articles currently being circulated in our mainstream news sources. You might read some headlines about B.C.'s "hottest spots" or "top cities to buy real estate". As headlines often are, these could be misleading to the public. Journalists are not real estate professionals and sometimes do not discriminate the sources of their information nor take care to educate, instead looking solely for increased readership quantity.

The current articles in these mainstream new sources are based on the Real Estate Investment Network's "Top BC Investment Towns" - an annual publication. I'm not here to criticize or critique REIN or their publication. What I am wanting to clarify is that the mainstream media may be erroneously reporting what the publication is and what it means to buyers and to write a somewhat pretentious rambling disclosure to these articles.

REIN is a real estate investors network with some great resources for investors. However, this does not mean that this is necessarily a good reference for most home buyers. Some of the best investments are in areas you would never want to live in, but this is not REIN's focus.

When a real estate professional talks about "hot" markets, they are generally looking at the ratio between active listings and sales as well as the increase of prices (which, based on supply and demand will follow after a high sales-to-listing ratio). If a neighbourhood is "hot" (say, like Walnut Grove in Langley this Spring) it does not necessarily mean it is a good "investment", it means that most of the properties on the market are selling. A hot market will lead to higher prices, which often is the exact opposite of what a real estate investor is looking for. Investors want to buy low, not high. Keep in mind that a "hot market" for a real estate professional is based on past numbers, or at most present anecdotes, not future speculation.

When other organizations, such as the Economist Intelligence Unit, produce publications on a "livability" of the city, their criteria changes based on many factors outside of real estate. This is why the "best" places to live may not necessarily be the hottest markets, but as supply and demand tells us, if people want to be there, they will, and they will pay a premium for it.

When REIN reports on the top places to invest in, their criteria is not based on the same that a "hot market" or "highest livability" report would. Surrey repeatedly tops the places to invest in not because it is a "hot market" or that it is necessarily highly "livable". It does so because the executive team at REIN (and I myself agree) can show that Surrey is a good long term investment because you can purchase homes at a relatively low price now and speculate that the future of Surrey is positive, both for later resale value and for holding/renting. However, a community such as Langley generally ranks low even though it is perennially a "hotter market" because prices are higher in many of its communities and therefore is often harder to see a return on investment.

I hope this explains why I will not circulate potentially misleading articles. However, if you would like reports on what the health of your local community is or what the actual "hottest markets" are, please follow my blog or this facebook page. If you would like access to investor materials, please contact me at or 604-510-4825 and I will be happy to help you with your investment needs.

Brad Richert
Macdonald Realty

*Views are my own and may not represent those of Macdonald Realty Ltd. or its affiliates, subsidiaries and/or agents.

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Detached Homes
Over 30% of homes on the market in Cloverdale sold in April, putting pressure on the low inventory market. While benchmark values did decrease a slighht -0.5% from the previous month to $594,600, it is still over +4% from where we were this time last year. With Clayton/Cloverdale selling well, expect prices to hold or increase in coming months.


Cloverdale's townhouse market dipped from a "sellers market" to a "balanced market", albeit riding that ambigious line. Still, 21.5% sales to listing is still healthy where buyers feel that they are getting value for the money they are spending. Benchmark prices are down -1.8% from the previous month to $330,800 but represent an increase of almost +3% from last April.


Cloverdale's small apartment market got a bit of a boost, with sales to listing pushed up to 16.5%, which is a vast improvement on the single digits we've seen since December. Benchmark values are up +2.4% month over month, but it is still relatively flat if compared with last April (+1.0%).


See Cloverdale & Clayton Listings Here!

----> Know someone who you think might need to know about the Cloverdale market? Please share this update and page with them. You could be doing them a favour :D


Missed my Abbotsford, South Surrey/White Rock, or Langley updates?

Please Like my Facebook page for follow custom market updates!

Brad Richert

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Single family homes in Langley continue to be the hottest commodity in the hottest commodity in the Fraser Valley with three neighbourhoods in particular leading the pack. North Delta isn't too far behind, also with hot sellers markets throughout. Townhouses and apartment condos are also selling well in Langley, with Aldergrove surprisingly leading the municipality. There was an unsually high number of sales in Poplar for attached homes last month, but there is a large clump in the same area. I haven't done any investigating, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a sole purchaser or redevelopment transaction (feel free to fill me in if you come across that info!).

Single Family Homes

  1. Walnut Grove (Langley) - 48.39%
  2. Aldergrove (Langley) - 43.59%
  3. Fort Langley (Langley) 38.46%
  4. Sunshine Hills Woods (N. Delta) - 35.48%
  5. Clayton (Surrey) - 34.69%
  6. Annieville (N. Delta) - 34.62%
  7. Scottsdale (N. Delta) - 34.62%
  8. Brookswood (Langley) - 33.33%
  9. Cloverdale (Surrey) - 29.63%
  10. Pacific Douglas (South Surrey) - 29.27%


Attached Homes

  1. Poplar (Abbotsford) - 76.47%
  2. Aldergrove (Langley) - 40.00%
  3. Murrayville (Langley) - 30.56%
  4. Walnut Grove (Langley) - 30.39%
  5. Annieville (N. Delta) - 25.00%
  6. Nordel (N. Delta) - 24.00%
  7. Panorama Ridge (Surrey) - 23.53%
  8. Sullivan Station (Surrey) - 22.92%
  9. Fleetwood Tynehead (Surrey) - 22.69%
  10. Clayton (Surrey) - 22.03%

*By Sales-to-listing ratio in neighbourhoods with 5 sales or more in one month

**All information taken from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board MLS® . The accuracy and completeness of the information is not guaranteed.

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Detached Homes
The Langley market contines to be a hot seller's market which has finally led to change the values on my chart, since the sales to listing ratio remains over 30%. This has been very difficult for potential buyers, but there has been a slight relaxation in price for the first time since December. Although the average sale price is up +2.7%, benchmark values show a small decrease of -0.3% to $575,200. This is still +4.1% from this time last year. My hunch is that with -16.8% less listings and monthly hot markets, what is left on the market are overpriced homes that need to reduce to compete with people waiting for fresh inventory.


Townhomes are soaring - a 27.8% sales to listing ratio is eating up the supply of what is out there. Prices jumped back 3.3% after falling in March. But like I said last month: "I expect that the lower values won't survive long heading into middle Spring. " I love being right :D


Some great news for the suffering condo market is that 17.3% of condos sold in April, which is more than I can remember in a long time. Sales are up almost +30% from this same time last year and benchmark values increased to $210,200 (+0.8% from March 2014, +1.5% from April 2013). These aren't big increases, but at least they aren't going the other way.


----> Do you know someone who you think might need to know about the Langley market? Please share this update and page with them. You could be doing them a favour :D


Missed my Abbotsford or South Surrey/White Rock updates? Waiting for my Cloverdale report?

Please Like my Facebook page for follow custom market updates!


Brad Richert

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Detached Homes
The trend for buyers is disturbing in the White Rock area. 6 Months ago the benchmark White Rock and area home was selling for $845,000. It has now crossed the $900,000 threshold. Values gain another 1.2% month over month, which is sellers are raking in +5.7% over this time last year. Still, a 19.5% sales to listing ratio is a balanced market which means that these homes aren't flying off the shelves.


Resale townhomes in the White Rock area inched down to a 14.6% sales to listing ratio due to what I believe is heavy competition from the new development sector. Benchmark prices remain flat (-0.2% from March, +0.6% from April 2013).


It appears that more apartment condos are selling, but they are selling for less. Sales are up 10.2% from March, and a huge 75.7% from last years poor April, but benchmark prices took a -2.0% hit from the previous month. The benchmark price is $235,700, which is essentially the same as this time last year (+0.2%). Keep your eye on the new development market though, as it seems that it where most of the money appears to be flowing.


----> Know someone who you think might need to know about the White Rock/South Surrey market? Please share this update and page with them. You could be doing them a favour :D


Missed my Abbotsford update? Waiting for a Langley and/or Cloverdale report?

Please Like my Facebook page for follow custom market updates!


Brad Richert

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Detached Homes
For the 3rd month in a row, Abbotsford single family homes saw a sales to listing ratio over 23%, which is favouring sellers with rising home prices. While April saw only a slight benchmark increase (+0.6%), it is a full 3.1% increase over this time last year. Benchmark prices for detached homes now sit at $439,900 after 4 months of increasing values.


Abbotsford townhomes continue to remain in a fairly flat market, with benchmark values up only 0.2% from March, which means were still over -10% below last year's values. However, the 20.3% sales to listing ratio is a positive note, but don't expect any sharp increases to prices.


After a few good months that saw positive increases, prices faltered -1.6% from March, which exasperates the extremely poor year-over-year decrease of -22.9%. Sales to listing ratio is a 12.7% which strong favours the buyer.


----> Know someone who you think might need to know about the Abbotsford market? Please share this update and page with them. You could be doing them a favour :D


Stay tuned for Cloverdale, Langley, and South Surrey/White Rock market updates throughout the week.

Brad Richert
604.510.4825 or Toll Free 1.877.853.6786

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Rule #1: Marketing Costs Money.

You get out what you put in. There are an infinite amount of ways to advertise your property. Many are open to private sellers, such as packages from a “For Sale By Owner” franchise. But don't expect sticking a sign in the ground to sell your property. You may only need 1 one buyer, but you'll get more money if you have 10. So think about newspaper advertising, feature sheets, signs, fees for your lawyer, stagers, documents from the city, a website to advertise your property and even MLS "mere postings".


Rule #2: Buyers Are Informed

Buyers know you’re saving the commission. Why else would you be selling your home privately. Buyers who shop private sellers expect a deal. Put yourself in the buyers position - how have they found your property? How do most people shop for their next home?


Rule #3: Price It Right.

Most buyers do not like presenting "low ball" offers and most sellers don't like them. So if you price yourself out of the market, they won't even bother. It is better to hold firm on a price than it is to wish for the sky. Adversely, don't price it too low. Bank appraisals and tax property assessments are poor indicators of market value.


Rule #4: Give Yourself Time.

It will always take longer than you think. One of the reason that many agents can sell homes quicker is because of not only their database of buyers, but also the database of every other agent working on the MLS. With thousands of homes on the market, those buyers are very unlikely to find you as quickly as those searching the MLS. Most buyers these days are "doing it themselves" these days, using either or individual agent sites. Most people aren't driving around anymore looking for random homes.


Rule #6: Get Use to Distrust.

Most buyers will not trust a private owner. Unless they are a very savvy investor/buyer, many may be concerned that you don't know what you're doing and may be concerned about your disclosures. While Realtors are not legal experts, their liability insurance protects their clients from most contractual errors. While there are many ways to protect yourself, many buyers just are not educated enough to make the plunge into a private sale.


Rule #7: Don't Get Emotional.

In my experience, even some agents have a tough time with this one. Emotional sellers/buyers/agents are more likely to wreck a deal than solve problems. Keep in mind that this is no longer "your house". The buyers aren't purchasing your memories in the home. They just want the building and land. They also want a deal. They will tell you about everything that is wrong with your house to justify their price. So respond to "low-ball" offers professionally and maybe you can make lemonaid from lemons. Getting angry or frustrated will not help keep a deal together.


Rule #8: Expect Liars.

Agents see it all the time. People say they are putting in an offer or are highly interested and then they disappear. They might say they are financially qualified, but then they back out because they can't get a mortgage. Be prepared to be disappointed. Potential buyers might say they’ll be making an offer tomorrow and then they never call again. Be ready for a low-ball and insulting offers and be prepared to hear about everything that’s wrong with your house as potential buyers try to justify their offer price.


Rule #9: Know Your Product & Inventory

Your property is more than just the building. Get your title search and site survey ready. Have documents relating to your septic tank or strata. Understand your zoning. Get all the facts prepared about past renovations and updates. Not only this, but you are competing with every home for sale. Get to know how your property stacks up..


Rule #10: "Sell" Your Home.

Present your homes value as aggressively as you can. If you want top dollar, remember that buyers buy with emotion. Cater to their dreams. Also, see Rule #9.


Rule #11: Be the Industry.

You won't only be replacing the place of an agent, but also photographers, stagers, and marketing agencies. You will need to know how to be a professional marketer to compete. Don't be afraid to hire a professional photographer and/or webdesigner. Also keep in mind that you need to be a salesperson & receptionist. Have scripts ready for when potential buyers call. Every call could be a potential buyer - you can't afford to lose one. Think about what it is like to be a buyer: they want a call back immediately or they move on to the next house. Buyers will also want to view the property on THEIR schedule, so be prepared to have someone at home.


Rule #12: Get Legally Protected.

Avoid lawsuits by having a good real estate lawyer on your side. Don't trust Google.


Rule #13: Consider Your Security

Maybe this should be Rule #1. This is your home, your family. You are letting strangers in. Whether you are female or male, make sure that when you are showing the property to a stranger that you are always alert. You don't need to be paranoid, but you need to know that there are people that will take advantage of any situation. Never turn your back to people. Hide valuable possessions. Take a common sense approach. People know your home is "For Sale" and it is unlikely that you as an individual have the same systems in place as agents do for protection.


Rule #14: Be Wary of “For Sale By Owner” Franchise Promises.

These comparnies are not licensed to trade in real estate, have no training or certifiation and do not have legal responsibilities. Read the fine print. Always (do the same if you hire an agent though!).


Rule #15: Show Like a Pro.

Don't hover over potential buyers. They want to see themselves in their new home. For feedback, try to ask questions on their way out or at least get their name and number to follow up with later.


Rule #16: Consider a "Mere Posting"

For a nominal fee, some companies will post your property to the MLS. Expect to pay a buyer's Realtor commission to fully utilize the system.


Rule #17: Get a Pre-Sale Inspection

While buyers should always get their own inspection, getting an inspection done will prepare you for potential pitfalls.


Rule #18: Think about hiring a Realtor.

Invest a nickel, get a dime. Don't compare yourself to the unprofessional agents that do nothing. Yes, they are out there - but they also don't make money. Professional agents will use their buyer's databases, the MLS system, a full marketing package that they pay for whether they sell your home or not. If you do consider an agent, talk to at least 3. Don't be pressured into listing with any. Chose the one that provides the most trust and competency.


The rules above are paraphrased from "365 Rules About Real Estate" by Keith Marshall.

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Detached Homes
Similar to neighbouring Langley, Cloverdale can't seem to hold much inventory. 29% of listed homes sold in March, representing a 17.3% increase in sales from last March, with -22.2% less listings. Lack of available homes with hot buyers have pushed benchmark values up almost 2% in just one month, with the benchmark value just shy of $600,000. Cloverdale has remained strong over the last 12 months, which has resulted in a large 6.4% increase year over year. Buyers want Cloverdale, but there aren't enough sellers.


Cloverdale's townhouse market, which is really just Clayton, has bounced all over the place. New development will skew the overall numbers, but resale is still strong with a 24.1% sales to listing ratio. While the benchmark value remained flat month-over-month, the 6 month trend is positive and current values are +5.7% from this time last year, which is likely the largest gain in the Fraser Valley in this housing type.


There really isn't enough resale data to make significant comments in this housing type. There were only 7 sales in the Cloverdale resale market in March... last year it was 10. It should be noted that benchmark values are exactly where they were last year, which is an increase of almost 2% from last month.

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Brad Richert

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