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Greater Victoria real estate prices continue rise as number of listings tumble – Times Colonist

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The Greater Victoria real estate market is off to a solid start in 2020, but a lack of available inventory could see the number of home sales slip in the coming months.

Figures released Monday by the Victoria Real Estate Board show there were 411 sales in the region in January, a 24.9% increase over January 2019 when there were 329.

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“Our new year is already showing a strong distinction from the year previous. We’ve returned to more traditional January sales numbers, which tend to be over 400 sales,” board president Sandi-Jo Ayers said in a statement.

But even that level of sales is a relatively recent phenomenon.

There were 431 sales in January 2018, 478 in January 1017 and 539 in January 2016, but in the previous seven years the number of sales ranged between 240 and 386.

The number of available listings continues to be a problem for the real estate industry.

The board said there were 1,958 active listings at the end of January, a 4.8% drop from the same time last year when there were 2,057.

“Unfortunately, we have not seen a corresponding increase in listings alongside the demand, so buyers in the low- to mid-price segment of our market may find themselves in competition for desirable properties,” said Ayers.

“Pressure on our market has been slowly returning. With not enough inventory to satisfy demand, people occupying the middle rung of our property ladder have limited options, which means less movement to make room for those hoping to move or to buy their first homes.”

Ayers said the measures that the two senior levels of government recently introduced — mortgage stress tests and new foreign-buyer taxes designed to make homes more affordable — have not worked and it’s time government turned its hand to improving the housing supply.

“Our municipalities working with developers to cut red tape and reduce costs should help to introduce more housing opportunities and alleviate some pressure,” she said.

The benchmark prices of single-family homes, condos and townhomes have all increased over the last year.

In Greater Victoria, the benchmark price of a single-family home was $756,000 last month, up from $734,900 in January 2019, while at the same time a condo increased to $510,200 from $492,100 and a townhome to $603,000 from $591,500.

In the Victoria core — which includes Victoria, Oak Bay, Saanich, Esquimalt, Vic West and View Royal — the benchmark price for a single-family home was $858,500 in January, up from $846,900 a year ago; a condo in the core increased to $521,000 from $500,500 and a townhome was $667,400 up from $652,200.

North of the Malahat, home sales slowed down in January with just 174 homes changing hands between Mill Bay and the north tip of the Island compared to 208 in that territory in January 2019.

The benchmark price of a single-family home within the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board was $515,400 in January, a 4% increase from a year ago, while condo prices rose 5% over the last year to $309,300.

In the Campbell River area, the price of a single-family home was $437,300 in January, an increase of 4% over the last year.

In the Comox Valley, the price of a single-family home rose 4% to $521,900, Duncan increased 3% to $478,000, Nanaimo jumped 4% to $562,700 and Port Alberni rose 10% to $328,900.

The only area to see a drop was in Parksville-Qualicum, which saw its benchmark price drop slightly to $571,400.

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This full service Vancouver realtor enables clients to make strategic real estate decisions – Vancouver Is Awesome

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A child’s crayon drawing, showing three happy people in front of their new home, graces the office of Andrew Lasko of Lasko and Associates. It was a gift from the eight-year-old daughter of a couple from the Philippines – a thank-you gesture for helping the immigrant family purchase a house in Canada by matching their budget with a motivated private seller. 

While there have been many such satisfactory outcomes throughout his 10-plus years as a realtor, providing “full service and the right kind of experience for every client” takes effort, especially in a fast-paced and constantly evolving real estate market, says Lasko. “I keep this picture around and on tough days, I look at it and remind myself of why I’m doing what I do.” 

The idea of “full service” means different things to different people, and Lasko strives to gauge the exact level for ensuring his clients are comfortable. “That’s why it’s important to start with a conversation to understand their expectations,” he says. “It’s not just about whether they are looking for two or five bedrooms or what kind of amenities they want nearby. I am interested in learning what process works best for them; for example, do they like to be hands-on? Or do they prefer to outsource as many tasks as possible?”

His background in financial planning and analysis in the real estate, urban planning, banking and auditing industries – combined with a passion for community-building – give Lasko an advantage when it comes to enabling clients to make strategic real estate decisions. 

He values “a methodical approach and due diligence” for collaboratively navigating an industry, where structures are useful but market trends sometimes require a quick response. That’s where experience is a big asset, he believes. 

“Over time, you get to know buying patterns; you see where things are offered and where people are looking,” says Lasko. “I can help you explore real estate as a step towards achieving your overall financial and lifestyle goals. I can also speak intelligently about a range of financial products.”

With many of his clients being busy professionals, including accountants, engineers, doctors and lawyers, Lasko aims to minimize the stress that can come with selling or buying a home. “I have pretty big shoulders, so you can trust me to carry much of the load,” he says. “And I’m constantly challenging myself to go the extra mile, to uphold the ethics – and improve the reputation – of the profession.” 

Lasko grew up in Toronto and lived in Sydney, Australia, and Copenhagen, Denmark, before settling in Vancouver in 2007. Moving frequently inspired an appreciation of the “emotional strain that can come with the process, even if you’re super-organized.

“The last time I moved, I had a spreadsheet. I hired a packer and a mover,” he recalls. “I was going to wake up in one place and go to sleep in another.” 

Needless to say, it wasn’t quite as stress-free as anticipated, he admits, and experiences like this have reinforced his commitment to offering his clients “the right experience. 

“I really focus my attention on what they need,” says Lasko, who loves to discover commonalities, for example, in demographic or socio-economic backgrounds. With his ties to the financial, Jewish and LGBTQI+ communities and his active lifestyle, there is always overlap, “like a Venn diagram,” he notes. 

Lasko also hopes to help enhance his clients’ financial flexibility, perhaps by discovering unrealized value. “I love the fact that I can help people enter the market with a condo,” he says, “and move their way up to million-dollar estates.” 

His efforts and results have not gone unnoticed, and Lasko has repeatedly earned professional recognition. Yet what matters most is when clients tell him he’s “the best realtor,” says Lasko. “This gives me the shivers, in a good way.”

Andrew Lasko is featured in the 2022 Excellence in Real Estate Magazine.

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The Pro and Cons of Real Estate Investing: What You Need To Know – ReadWrite

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The outlook for the stock market and much of the economy remains uncertain. That being the case, many investors are looking for alternative spots to grow their portfolios. One of the best choices for a number of reasons is real estate. This exciting field offers benefits both obvious and less well-known that make it an excellent option for your money. But it’s not suitable for everyone. Read on for an explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of real estate investing.

Pros of Investing in Real Estate

Many folks are familiar with some of the advantages of investing in real estate. But unless you’ve taken a closer look, you may miss out on some less well-known but equally valuable benefits.

Multiple Ways to Make Money

Real estate investments offer numerous ways to make money, regardless of your strategy.

For example, owning a rental property doesn’t just make you money from the cash flow you receive each month after the property’s mortgage and bills are paid. It also quietly earns money from appreciation as the property grows in value over time. At the same time, you bank additional money each month when you make the mortgage payment. This allows tenants to pay down the loan’s principal.

Tax Advantages

Not only will you be able to deduct actual expenses required to operate and maintain the property, but you can also take a write-off for depreciation.

This on-paper expense costs you nothing out of pocket but can reduce your tax bill. When you sell the property in the future, you may also be able to take advantage of lower tax rates on capital gains. Alternatively, you might defer taxes entirely by buying a similar property in what’s known as a 1031 exchange.

Protects Against Inflation

Inflation has been a major topic of discussion over the past months as prices continue to grow across the economy. These conditions are ideal for holding a tangible asset like an investment property.

As prices go up, the value of your property tends to increase as well, helping you avoid much of the pain of inflation. At the same time, you’ll be paying back your loan in “cheaper” dollars, generally at a long-term fixed rate. As rents and other income grow over time, your mortgage payments will typically remain the same, improving your returns.

Diversifies Your Portfolio

All too often, people have their whole nest egg invested in the stock market, bonds, or similar financial instruments. This means that they’ve tied their long-term wealth entirely to these financial markets.

Real estate investments offer critical diversification, a key to any balanced portfolio. Few people can truly avoid economic downturns, but having diversified investments means you can lessen the blow and come out the other side as strong as ever.

You Don’t Need a Lot of Money to Get Started

Many people may ignore real estate, thinking they don’t have the cash to find a deal.

This isn’t necessarily the case. Aside from common strategies like rental property investing or house flipping, real estate investors can also get started in low- or no-money-down systems like wholesale real estate.

Those who sell wholesale real estate do the legwork of finding great deals. They usually do this by aggressive and creative marketing to owners who may not even initially consider selling their home. Once they’ve found a willing seller, they connect them with a previously identified buyer who has the cash for an investment property but not the time to search for great deals.

For their work, the wholesaler typically receives a fee. They profit by selling the contract on the property to the end investor at a slightly higher price.

As you can see, this requires little initial investment from those interested in wholesale real estate, other than marketing costs and time spent networking with potential buyers and sellers. It can be an ideal way for would-be real estate investors to generate some capital. They can do so while growing their connections in the local market.

Real estate investors who are just getting started can also use more passive means like REITs, which are essentially mutual funds that hold real estate investments. These are basically hands-off investments but usually generate the lowest returns with the fewest incidental advantages.

Cons of Investing in Real Estate

Like any investment, real estate isn’t perfect and isn’t right for everyone. Before rushing into the real estate investment world, consider the following to avoid a potentially unpleasant surprise down the road.

Many Strategies Require Lots of Cash

We mentioned wholesale real estate above as an example of a low- or no-money-down strategy. However, wholesale isn’t for everyone and every situation, and many other strategies do require a significant amount of money.

Depending on the property type and location, this could be anywhere from the low five figures to six figures or more. For some, this isn’t an unreasonable amount of money. But for others just getting started, it might prevent them from taking advantage of good deals when they arise.

Investments Usually Aren’t Easily ‘Liquidable’

Most real estate investments are long term. If you put down ten or twenty grand on a mortgage, you’re generally unable to access that money without selling the property, ending the investment.

In some cases, you may be able to take out loans or lines of credit to access the equity in properties without selling. However, these come with various fees and restrictions and take time to process. Therefore, real estate investments aren’t the best choice for those who may need to access their money quickly and easily down the road.

Time (or Extra Money) Required

While many investments may be able to grow on their own with little management or involvement, real estate is not among them. You’ll need to deal with finding tenants, conducting maintenance, and other day-to-day requirements of owning a property. Some may find their enthusiasm for real estate investing flagging after the third call in a week for a clogged toilet or locked-out tenant.

Of course, property management companies exist for precisely this reason, allowing professionals to take care of these things so you don’t have to. But you’ll need to give up some of your returns to pay any property managers, who usually take a cut of the rent they collect for you each month.

A Great Deal Lies Outside Your Control

You may do everything right when it comes to finding the right property, picking the right tenant, and managing correctly. Still, real estate investors face lots of factors outside their control.

The city your property is located in may change rental rules or zoning. Similarly, a huge new housing development could open up nearby. Your property’s ideal neighbors may sell their home. They might be replaced by party animals who leave their lawn covered in trash. These are just a few downsides you’re exposed to that you’ll often have little notice of or way to avoid.

Real Estate Investing: A Top Way to Grow Your Money…But Not For Everyone

Those looking to grow their portfolio will find few better ways than real estate investing. From long-term buy-and-holds to wholesale real estate, there are so many strategies for investors to tailor to their financial needs and resources.

Still, it’s crucial to remember that real estate may not be right for all investors. You should assess your situation and any potential deals carefully before jumping in. Who knows? You may be on the verge of an investment that changes your financial situation forever!

Image Credit: RODNAE Productions; Pexels; Thanks!

Deanna Ritchie

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Canadian Real Estate Affordability Hits Worst Level Since The 90s: Bank of Canada – Better Dwelling

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Canadian Real Estate Affordability Hits Worst Level Since The 90s: Bank of Canada  Better Dwelling



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