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Victoria is in the midst of a housing shortage which has caused prices to sky rockets and vacancy rates to be at an all time low. The CMHC housing outlook report released this fall echo’s what we are feeling in our capital city. Here are the highlights in plain language:


1. More people are moving here.

The CMHC report says we can expect housing demand to continue because of employment gains (i.e. more jobs) and “robust population growth” due to net migration to our capital. Where are all these people coming from?
Victoria has always been a hot destination for folks entering their retirement years. With an ageing baby boomer generation, we’ve seen an increase in the migration of retirees and I suspect we will continue to see an increase in our population as people flock here for the temperate weather.
I have also noticed more people than usual moving here from Alberta. Since the drop in oil prices and subsequent floundering of the oil and gas industry, we have seen many young workers making their way west looking for job opportunities.

2. We have a shortage in homes.

This is very normal when we see an increase in migration to a city. According to the report, “historically low supply levels across the housing market have resulted in competition between growing number of home buyers, driving up prices in 2016”. Developers and builders have been working around the clock to build more housing stock to match the increased demand. The number of housing starts is up above the 10 year average. Naturally there is a lag between builders responding to the market and new home being available to be lived in. The CMHC report makes note that only half of the new builds in our area are single family homes, the rest are multi family dwellings. As the supply of new homes catches up, we should move to a more balanced market.

3. There's nothing to rent!

Vacancy rates are at an all time low. Since there are so many people looking to purchase but not finding the right product, home owners are moving to rentals temporarily. This has pushed the rental rates up and has made it very difficult for students to find appropriate housing this year. There are also many people who move to Victoria, rent for a year or two before deciding where they want to buy. We will start to see more purpose built rental buildings coming to the market as developers respond to the increased demand.

4. When will the madness end?

According to CMHC, they are expecting the market to balance out in 2018. All this means is there will be more homes for sale to meet the increased demand. This doesn't mean prices will drop, they will likely stabilise and remain more consistent month over month. That being said, they are talking in generalities and not getting into the specifics of the many micro-markets within Victoria. For example, if the demand for houses in Oak Bay remains unwavering and the supply of homes doesn't catch up, then prices could continue to increase... although, potentially more slowly.

5. What's the good news?

This is a great time for homeowners and our economy. As the value of homes increase, people are able to leverage their homes to do renovations, or purchase investment properties. A busy housing market is a great economic driver which keeps many industries busy with work. When people are working, they earn and income and hopefully shop local and keep our economy strong!

This is also a good time for first time buyers to get into the market. It's not as easy as it could be, but it's not impossible to find the right home and the right opportunity. So long as the market is increasing, every month you wait to buy may be costing you money. Let's assumed you want to purchase a home for $600,000. Even if the market increases 1% every month for the next year, if you purchase your home next year vs today, it would cost you an extra $72,000. I'm not saying you need to rush into purchasing a home if the timing is not right for you. But if you're waiting for the market to slow down and prices to drop, then I think you're costing yourself a lot of money.

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A month into the new year and 2015 has already been a great year for our team. We have kept busy by meeting new clients, organizing our upcoming mini series and helping 8 clients move this month alone! 


Read on for mortgage brokers vs banks, market analysis tools and great apps. 


5 Reasons Why We Choose Brokers Over Banks 


1. Options: Mortgage brokers have a database of lenders and mortgage rates and they will do the shopping around for you whereas a bank relies on their rates. Brokers may also be able to negotiate you a better rate than your bank.

2. Service: Brokers do not represent any one lender so they are able to give independent advice based on your best interest. Brokers will look at your long term goals and find ways to save you money and pay off your mortgage faster. If you can't make it to an office during business hours, you may be able to arrange with a broker to meet you at your home in the evening.


3. Speed: When you have an accepted offer, there is a limited amount of time to get a financing approval. In our experience, brokers work faster than banks. 
4. Credit Reports: If you shop around to different lenders, your credit report may be pulled multiple times which could negatively effect your score. Brokers will only pull your credit score once and if your credit score is low, a broker can give you advice on how to bring the score up.
5. Potential Penalties & The Fine Print: Whether you want to pay off your mortgage before the fixed term is up, port your mortgage to a new property or have someone else assume your mortgage, a broker will be able to navigate the fine print of every lender. Banks typically have the largest penalties compared to lenders that only brokers have access to. 
Housing Market Information Portal 
For all of our past clients, keep your eyes peeled on your inbox the next few weeks as we will be sending out valuable market information about your home and surrounding area. We'll be providing you with a great snapshot of what has been happening in the housing market in your neck of the woods. 
In the meantime or if you have not bought or sold your home with us, check out this awesome portal hosted by CMHC. Poke around this interactive map to find out vacancy rates, population, average rental prices and housing need in different areas. 

Never Miss a Pick-Up Day! 
You have a millions things to think of on any given day - don't think about garbage! If this is the first you are hearing of the CRD's recycling reminder app, you may have just saved yourself from running out to your curb in your slippers and robe. Visit the CRD's website to download an app for your phone that will notify you on pick up days - even on those tricky statutory holidays. Check your municipality's website if they have one for waste/food scraps like the City of Victoria's
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