Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lets hope it is a happy Easter for the everyone, and especially for the bears

At a MOI of nearly 7, we should see some price pressure. We should know in the next few days how March went for us.

Larry should have his averages out and I am hoping we won't see the shocker of last month, when a few very big sales skewed detached prices while attached and apartments drifted down.

I have completely lost faith in the various HPI brought out by the RE Boards, and I will looking to the median price for my next metric to watch.

If I had to guess...I would say a small drop in median price- say 1% or so and all 3 segments moving down in the averages.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The lay of the land...

As we head into the last week of March, there are many diverse forces pulling our RE up and down. Here are some of them.

For the Bears:

1) We are at high levels of inventory

2) the MOI, even with the recent up-tick in sales is comfortably over 6.

3) Inter-Provincial Migration is negative

4) The CMHC is on the defensive, and is probably past the most reckless days. 

5) It looks like houses are now selling at Assessed. The bidding wars are a thing of the past (almost)

6) Prices are probably down 5-8% yoy. 'The top is in' - for now!

7) There has been a moratorium on Entrepreneur class and a cap on Investor classes entrants into Canada. These were announced some time ago but are likely now having more effect.

8) Crack down on tax-evasion. Which means the many loop-holes for tax-avoidance and local avoiders,  as well as the satellite families:

On the international front, the CRA will be able to make use of a new Stop International Tax Evasion Program, giving it major new powers of oversight and information collection. It will be enabled to pay individuals with knowledge of major international tax non-compliance a percentage of tax collected as a result of information provided. Certain financial intermediaries, including banks, will be required to report their client's international electronic funds transfers of CAD10,000 or more to the CRA. 

The CRA's process for obtaining information concerning unnamed persons from third parties, such as banks, will also be streamlined. In a more explicitly administrative vein, the Foreign Income Verification Statement will be revised to require reporting of more detailed information, and the reassessment period for taxpayers who have failed to report income from a specified foreign property on their annual income tax return, and failed to properly file their Statement, will be extended.

Of course one of the largest tax avoidance areas in BC is our Billion dollar drug industry. Not sure if that will be targeted or not.

9) The NDP are likely to win the next Provincial election and that may change the speculation psychology somewhat.

For the Bulls:

2) The banks are still trying their best to keep the party going, eg the super low 5 years rate at BMO, and Flaherty had to phone Manulife to tell them to withdraw the 2.89 % 5 year rate. Kudos to Flaherty (who has belatedly become a financial conservative). And to his critics - you know as soon as it hits the fan and starts to unravel the banks will be lining up at the tax-payers door, bleating and whining for bail-outs.

That's what they did in 2009 and that is what happened in the US.

Better to bring this party to an end, while it will still be a a huge bust and not BK of the Government.

3) Seen the winter they had out North? Sure we have had all rain and grey skies, but the trickle of Eastern Baby boomers coming here to escape the winters could increase as they hit their retirement years (also increases our healthcare costs)

4) As a Realtor told me recently.." when I pick up an investor from Shanghai at the air-port, they are here to buy. Not waste my time or theirs. Over the week-end they will find something". 

Just Shanghai BTW has the a population which is 70% of all Canada's. 

171 cities in China have a population over one Million people.

We have 5, with Edmonton near enough to make it 6.

5) rates are still VERY low historically and unlikely to move any time soon. Every day there is a new debt crisis somewhere. 

6) The Government can talk tough now, but what happens if the market starts to drop. can they withstand the pressure from the lobbyist and from home-owners? Of course there isn't much else we can do. We are now in a deficit position, rates are near zero, and the CMHC has already mortgaged the taxpayer to the hilt. But never rule out political foolishness.

So where does this all get us? Close enough to make it interesting. No crash and enough pulling and pushing to make every month's data worth pouring over for clues. So far I would have to say the bears have a slight advantage, lets see if it keeps up.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easter Decor

I am finally pulling out a few Easter decorations. Slim pickin's this year. Since these decorations are only out for 1 week, I decided to go with the "less is more" approach.

The Happy Easter printable can be found here

 My mother-in-law gave me these little ceramic bunnies a few years ago. They're so sweet.  
 They look so solemn though, don't they? Maybe they're sad that they only get to stay out of the attic for only a week..poor things:o)

We have Spring Break next week, and I am looking forward to sleeping in and spending some good quality time with my kiddos. 
Have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sneak Peak of Quilt and a Pillow

We are saying a prayer of thanks today. S.R. seems to have made it through this dreaded flu business. So far, no one else is showing signs of catching it. Keeping our fingers crossed;o)
Since we haven't been able to leave the house, I have been working diligently on her new bedding. I finished the scallops on her quilt yesterday. Now I am waiting on the rest of the fabric to arrive so that I can complete the quilt. I am a tad bit nervous about the actual quilting bit. It may take me a few days before I can muster up the nerve to tackle that:o)
I have a ton of fabric scraps leftover, so I decided to make good use of them and turn them into pillows. I have never spent this much time on one pillow, and I will have to say that I am pretty proud of the results.
 I hate any form of hand stitching, but after seeing this mermaid pillow, I knew that there might be some hand stitchery in my future:o)

While I was piecing the scallops together, I kept thinking that the little puppy on the fabric would be adorable hand embroidered on a pillow. I have NEVER hand embroidered anything, so obviously I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Thankfully I had the materials I needed tucked away in my craft closet. I bought the thread years ago thinking I had the patience to cross-stitch...HA! I also had a couple of hoops from a craft project gone awry.
It took a couple of hours to finish the embroidery part, but I really didn't mind it at all.
I love this little pup! 
I can't wait to get started on the rest of the pillows and to finish the quilt.
But first, I must go make S.R. an outfit for her Easter program...which is tomorrow. She's so excited that she gets to participate in it. It's our last preschool program..sniff, sniff. My babies are growing up WAY too fast!!

Participating Here:

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Boy's Star Wars Themed Room

It's the first day of Spring!! I'm so excited!!! 
I'm ready for flowers, outdoor play and all the fun things that go along with warmer weather.
Right now we're stuck indoors. S.R. has the flu. Hopefully she's on the mend. It's been a rough couple of days. 
If you follow along on Facebook, you know that I have finally started piecing her quilt together. It's coming along very nicely. I have just a few more rows to finish, and then I wait for the rest of the fabric to come in the mail.
I have been doing some spring cleaning as well.
It's amazing what you get accomplished when you are forced to slow down:o)
 I realized that there are a few rooms in the house that I have made changes to, but never shared them with you guys.
E's room got a mini makeover a few months ago. You can see before pictures here. The position of the bed and the bedding were the main things we changed.
We switched it to a Star Wars theme...The bedding is from Target. The Death Star poster was purchased from ebay. The trunk was something we had on hand. It has become a place to hide all of his keepsakes:o)
The dresser was also an addition to the room. You can see the before and after here
We've also updated the kids' bathroom. There are a few details that need to be finished. Once I decide to get back in there, I'll post pictures. We spent so much time confined in that little space, I became extremely sick of it and so there are still patches that need another coat of paint, and curtains to be made, and accessories to be added. I just haven't had the desire to finish. It will hit me eventually:o)
Enjoy this first day of Spring!! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The ides of March

What do have to compare with? From the REBGV stats:

In March 2012, there were 2874 sales, 30% less than March 2011, and 8% less than March 2010.

March 2012 had the second LOWEST sales of any month since 2002. It was 17% below the 10 year average.

Listings were up 15% from March 2011.  

What does this all mean? It mean March 2012 was a very weak month and the bar is set very low.

If we go under March 2012's sales we really are in a correction.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fraser Valley

Flat inventory. 28% less sales than last Feb. (2012)

SFH prices YOY:

Median down 3.6%
Average down 3.8% 
But benchmark comes to the rescue again - up 0.7%

Sales to active listings ratio = 10% ie MOI of 10.

The stats package is here

Basketball Picture Frame

This year the hubs and I coached E's Upward Basketball team. It was filled with lots of surprises, and it was a lot of hard work, but all 5 boys seemed to have a great time playing.
We had the awards night this week, and I wanted to give them something special. I'm not a fan of trophies, and at this age, the trophies usually are broken to bits within the first few days of receiving them.
After our very last game, I got a candid shot of the boys. 
I decided that I would make picture frames for the boys as their gift.

I found all of the items at Hobby Lobby.
-Picture Frame
-Purple Spray Paint
-Wooden Basketball Cut-out
-Hot Glue Gun(had on hand)

I laid the frames(minus the glass and backing) on a cardboard box outside where there was plenty of ventilation.

I sprayed 3 coats of purple Krylon paint on the frames..waiting 10 minutes between each coat.

Once they were dry, I glued the little basketball guy to the corner of the frame making sure not to let it hang too low across the bottom. 
Now they will have something to look back on and smile's not a faceless trophy, but a keepsake to help them remember the friendships that they developed in their very first basketball season.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fairy Tea Party

We celebrated S.R's birthday over the weekend in fun fairy fashion.
All of the girls seemed to have a fabulous time with the fairy jewel hunt, the impromptu dance party and the goodies to snack on.
Everything came together like it always the last minute when I feel as if I will collapse at any second:o)
The invitations.
pardon the white-outs...we all like just a tad bit of privacy:o) 
I usually email invitations, but this time I decided to print the invitations and mail them. 
I thought the fairy digital clip art was adorable.

All of the girls were to come dressed in their "fairy best". S.R. wanted me to make her a Queen Clarion costume. I used the Charlotte Apron dress as my base and built on top of that. It was a pretty quick sew, even with all of the extra details. 
And yes, that is snow falling in the very rarely snows here, so we had to grab a quick shot outside. S.R. was a trooper, though, because she was freezing:o)
We kept the food simple for this party. Homemade vanilla cupcakes, homemade chocolate doughnuts, meringue cookies from Publix and Strawberry Lemonade.
The little fairy cupcake toppers came from Marshall's...a clearance score.
  The girls used these bags to gather their fairy treasure.
I'll share a tutorial on that soon.
Nothing says spring time and fairies like fresh flowers...especially tulips!
I'm so glad I caught this shot. Apparently "Happy Birthday" is one of the funniest songs ever:o)
This was the party favor table.

When it was time for the girls to leave, they took home one of these yogurt cups filled with bubble gum and a star lollipop. That idea came from the House of Smith's. That party was beautiful, and it definitely inspired several of the choices for this party!!
I also made this little outfit for her to wear under her fairy costume. You can find the tutorial on how to make the hopscotch skirt here.

We had a wonderful time celebrating turning 5! Thanks for stopping by today!

BMO does it again...

Goes sub 3% on the five .  Is this a prudent move for either the bank or the buyers. The buyers get better rates, but will they just buy more house than they can afford? Will it push them into the market just before a possible significant correction?

Will they gain on monthly savings but lose on the price?

What about the bank? We are looking at significantly lower activity in the housing across Canada, so are they just trying to price out competitors?

Well this is their first quarter report  .

TORONTO—Bank of Montreal said its first-quarter profit dipped 5% as revenue edged lower and provisions for loan losses rose....The bank said its total loan-loss provisions climbed to C$178 million from C$141 million.

What will this do, well it will bring in more business and allow them to book more profit, but how will it help reduce loan losses? It wont.

If you entice people to buy more house or to over-extend they are less likely to pay you back. Maybe BMO has such tight internal controls that they will tell their lending officers not to push the borrowers into more debt than they can afford. Go for to the same house, just  pay a lower rate for it. That would be the sensible thing to do. However if you think Banks are prudent and wise then maybe you should think again after reading this link. They look prudent when things are good.

What about Flaherty? Well he doesn't seem to pleased about this move : “My expectation is that banks will engage in prudent lending – not the type of ‘race to the bottom’ practices that led to a mortgage crisis in the United States,” Mr. Flaherty said in a statement to the Globe on Sunday, after Bank of Montreal reduced its price on five-year fixed-rate mortgages to 2.99 per cent from 3.09 per cent.

And nor should he, these too-big-too-fail behemoths know that with the CMHC and with the Finance Minister's ear, they will bailed out of any crisis which they helped make.

Lets leave the last word to a bank analyst

Analysts questioned whether lower rates are really a wise move by banks right now.
“How credit worthy is the marginal mortgage borrower in a market with a debt-to-income ratio at 163 per cent and an all-time high home ownership rate?” asked National Bank analyst Peter Routledge.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

S.R. is 5 today

Today is a special sort of day. It's the day we welcomed the sweetest little girl you'll ever meet into our hearts.
Today, she is 5. 
It's hard to believe that 5 years ago she looked like this...and please tell me, how did the time fly by so quickly?
I can't believe how much she has changed in just a few short years. 
Here she is at 1... 
 at 2....
 at 3...
 at 4...
 and now at 5.

This child always has a smile on her face and a song on her heart.
 I love that every where her little feet take her, they're skipping all the way, with that wild mess of curls swishing back and forth. 
She has a wit that takes everyone by surprise, and makes us all laugh.
She lights up a room where ever she goes, and has the kindest, sweetest soul.
But along with that sweetness comes a lot of spunk. I love her just the way she is!

I'm so glad that God chose her to complete our little family.
Happy Birthday my sweet angel!

Friday, March 1, 2013

What is the average price for Feb?

Larry is out with his numbers , quick and reliable as ever.

The average SFH is back up to $1,221,037, within spitting distance of last Feb's high. Despite sales being 35% less than last Feb

No doubt our local media which is so good at doing in depth analysis will trumpet this rise (next to pictures of phantom mansions), but as Larry says 3 big sales skewed the results.

Working off Larry's numbers: 

Sales SFH = 707 for Feb 2013
Total Volume = 707 x 1,221,037 =  $863,273,159

3 sales at 11,000,000 + 14,000,000 + 18,000,000 = $43,000,000

Take 43,000,000 away from 863,273,159 = $820,273,159
Divide that by the number of sales 704 = $1,165,160

That would be less than Feb 2011's average. Quite incredible the effect of a few very large sales.
I don't know how the huge sales compare with last year or the year before, but with a 35% drop in
total sales, 15% more inventory and a SFH MOI of 9.25, this is anything but a strong market.

The Median will tell the tale.