August 21, 2012
Summer of 2012 - Real Estate News
The Fraser Valley is defying the expected statistical blues by producing a strong July 2012. Sales of MLS listings for the Fraser Valley Read Estate Board (FVREB) for July were 1,391, that's 5% higher than July 2011 (sales of 1,322).
There were 10,813 listings on the FVREB at the end of July 2012 (which includes 2,928 new listings added in July). For sellers this means that the number of listings are higher than average but the market is considered "stable". The reason it is stable is that sales are slow but steady. The steady sales are mostly from townhomes sales which have greater affordability than detached homes. In July 2012 there were 25% more townhome sales than July 2011 (condo sales were also up, but by 7%). Ther average selling price of a single family home throughout the Fraser Valley was $551,400 which was higher than 2011 by 3.4%.
The FVREB emphasizes location is paramount in determining sales prices. Prices are up by 8% in some areas and down by 5% in others. The two main factors are location and property type.
If you'd like a free comparative market analysis, call me, at 604-785-7066
August 9, 2012
Announcement of 25 year Maximum Amortization slows real estate sales
Financial analysts in Ottawa have been eyeing the hot condo market in Toronto and other Canadian cities with concern for some time.
To cool things down they made changes to amortization periods for government insured mortgages. The history of the changes to these mortgages are:
From maximim 40 years to 35 years in 2008
From maximum 35 years to 30 years in 2011
From maximum 30 years to 25 years effective July 9, 2012
Although this move provides longer term stability and reduces foreclosures http://business.financialpost.com/2012/06/21/ottawa-cuts-mortgage-amortizations-to-25-years it also has an effect on the housing market. In particular, hardest hit is the hottest moving condo markets such as Vancouver (and surrounding areas such as Surrey, South Surrey, Langley, North Vancouver, White Rock, Coquitlam, Port Moody, Ladner, Tsawwassen) and Toronto.
BC realtors are finding the summer of 2012 to be the quietist market since 2008.
August 7, 2012
Golf at Morgan Creek Golf Club
Attending ABC golf tournament hosted by Margaret Wong's at Morgan Creek Golf Club http://www.morgancreekgolf.com has been a treat or me the last couple of years. The Morgan Creek Golf Club in South Surrey is a fabulous course. The tournament is not only for corporate purposes but also supports the worthwhile charity of CHILD (for children with ileitis and colitis). The tournament was held in late July this year.
Before the tournament began I was able to warm up with a bucket of complimentary range. It was really peaceful and I was the only one on the practice range. My drives at the practice range were clean and straight. This is usually a bad sign as my on course drives are usually directly opposite to my range performance.
The golf course is nestle amongst South Surrey homes and the golf course. If you drive along Morgan Creek Way, the course seems to pop up out of blue. Once you are on the course, you almost forget that you are in a residential area. Well I almost forgot until I richoched a golf ball off the roof of one of the beautiful Morgan Creek homes. Before you mumble under your breath about me, I did go talk to the resident. He was working in his garden and good naturedly lead me to me ball (phew!!! - no damage). By the way the gardens around this course are also amazingly beautiful according to my wife. I don't tend to pay attention to flowers.
The fairways and greens are extremely well maintained and manicured and the backdrop of the coast mountains is amazing. I think I hit only two fairways but my steadfast golfing heart kept plugging along. Luckily I didn't throw in the towel because dispite my abysmal drives, I actually won closest to the pin. That's golf!
The tournament was followed up by thanks yous to and from Margaret and a wonderful wonderful banquet meal.
Thank you Margaret Wong and ABC for a wonderful day!
August 5, 2012
Spirit of the Sea Festival in White Rock BC
My wife and I woke up early to a beautiful sunny day, so we headed down to the Spirit of the Sea Festival in White Rock. OK my kids are all grown and I’m melancholy about the old days. At the beach there's an early morning buzz of activity as performance stages and the festival tents for the Boathouse, St. John’s Ambulance, DaVinci Bikes, Facepainting and so much more are just setting up.
One of the reasons we know about the festival is that Trevor Murray, a long term friend of mine (and talented country music performer) is performing at the East Stage the Spirit of the Sea. I reallly want to see his performance but I have an Open House today. My wife drew the long straw and will get to enjoy the entire day at the beach. I've asked her to post pictures of his performance as he really is a talented performer and songwriter. I'm hoping that the community of White Rock, BC, really comes out to support this talented hometown boy.
We started our day by having breakfast at Uli’s restaurant on Marine Drive. It’s so early and quiet, we are the only restaurant patrons sitting on the deck. The restaurant has a beautiful view and we have a perfect spot in the shade. We had wonderful service and it was truly was one of the best eggs benedict we had in a long time (I shouldn't be eating eggs benny, but I forgot about my expanding middle for a moment). After breakfast we walked along the White Rock beach promenade. In the time it took to have breakfast it seems like the entire City of White Rock has shown up for this beautiful day. There was so much to see -- a sandcastle booth, face painting, electric bicycles, Tim Hortons, clothing, jewelry and so much more.
This festival is one of the reasons that living in South Surrey is so desirable. Many White Rock homes are nestled down the hillside overlooking the sea. Many residents can just amble down walkways tapered down the hillside for the walkers of White Rock. The parking at White Rock beach can be a problem. It fills up quickly, it's expensive and violation tickets are handed out at warp speed. If you don't have a home in White Rock you can walk to the festival from, you can also park on a side road up the hillside (mindful of residents parking signs) and use the same path down to the festival.
The Spirit of the Sea Festival is a fantastic way to spend a day or weekend. There is magic and music in the air and a perfect way to enjoy the beaches of White Rock.
Mike Alleyne, Real Estate AgentHomeLife Benchmark604-785-7066
August 5, 2012
Trevor Murray Performs at Spirit of the Sea Festival
Early in Trevor Murray's www.trevor-murray.com music career, he gave us a CD with four songs he had written and performed with the Murray Band. Mike and I played the CD while driving home from a vacation in the interior. I had heard Trevor sing before, (as he often impromptu just picks up the guitar and sings at gatherings of friends) but listening to the lyrics of Speed up to Slow Down and Fireball Whisky made me realize that in addition to smooth country drall, he was also an amazing songwriter.
Trevor has recently travelled to Nashville to create his new album called "Leave it up to Me" and I was anxious to hear his new songs at the East Stage at the Spirit of the Sea Festival in White Rock. Although Trevor currently lives in the Brookswood area of Langley in his heart he thinks of White Rock as home. Many of us feel that same sentiment he feels for the home of our early years.
Trevor's White Rock east beach performance began with "Fireball Whiskey" which is likely his most well known song. We saw him perform that same song at a bar in Langley one night and the crowd went crazy. It is amazingly upbeat song and some of the little kids in the Festival of the Sea crowd immediately sprung up from their beach blankets and started dancing to the irresistable rythym.
Trevor took a moment between songs to talk to the crowd. He said he's a White Rock boy at heart and spoke about the carefree good years growing up in his White Rock home and going to Ray Shepherd Elementary School. He had moved to Langley and life had taken a few difficult turns. As an outlet, Trevor did what Trevors does best, he wrote a song called "Fightin' the Urge". It's a great song and I heard it for the first time sitting on the grass of White Rock beach with Trevor signing live and the beautiful bay as the background.
I'm a huge Bob Seger fan and was surprised with Trev's next song was "Turn the Page". I love that song and actually found a version of Trevor singing it on line from three years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pnonIfWHJQ. He did an amazing job -- love that song. I couldn't get a good angle of the photo from in front of the bandstand so went up to the railways tracks for a higher angle. While I'm looking both ways hoping not to get wiped out by a train, Trevor starting singing "Riding the Rails". It was too busy for him to see, but I half thought he was making fun of me.
Trevor wrapped up with a couple of original tracks including a great new song titled "Louise". It was an awesome live performance. I thought it couldn't have been a better day but at the end of the performance Trevor came over and gave me a copy of his new album. Mike and I sat out on our deck in Panorama Ridge later that evening and really enjoyed listening to the whole album. We had unexpected guests from Armstrong, BC and they loved the music too. I recommended the album to them and found it on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/leave-it-up-to-me/id516467798
August 3, 2012
Open House - Saturday Aug. 4
19824 40th Ave, Langley, BC - Open House
I am hosting an Open House this Saturday in Brookswood at 19824 40th Ave, Langley, BC. This house is on a 1/4 acre lot in a cul-de-sac.
This Brookswood home has a real West Coast feel to it with a beautiful 764 sq ft sundeck overlooking Anderson Creek. Please call me in if you have any questions, but the profile of the stunning home can be viewed at
If you'd like to call me before the open house, I can be reached at Homelife White Rock Real Estate Office at 604-531-1111 or on my cell at 604-785-7066. I would be happy to arrange I private showing if you'd prefer that to the open house.
Mike AlleyneHomelife Benchmark Realty
August 3, 2012
The Perfect Place for Outdoorsy Folks, Panorama Ridge!
For people who love the outdoors like me, Panorama Ridge in Surrey is a great location to consider for your new home. The laidback atmosphere offers a relaxing refuge after a long day at work. Whether you have a family of your own or you are living on your own, consider Panorama Ridge as a great location for your overall wellbeing and of course, comfortable living. Given Surrey is such a large city, there are many houses for sale in Surrey. It you are focused on a house for sale in Panorama Ridge, zoom in on the Surrey map www.alleyneteam.com/recip.html.
Things to enjoy at Panorama Ridge include the Joe Brown Park www.surrey.ca/culture-recreation/2032.aspx wherein singles and families can both enjoy a gamut of outdoor activities starting with bike riding, playing slow pitch baseball, horseback riding, and hiking as it is close to the well-known Canada Trail.
Just imagine enjoying the clean air, the lush greens, and the friendly neighborhood setup, Panorama Ridge is definitely the perfect place for parents to raise their kids as well. Aside from recreational facilities such as the aforementioned Joe Brown Park, you can also find great educational institutions in Panorama Ridge such as Colebrook Elementary School and Ecole Panorama Ridge, an excellent high school in this community.
Given that this is a wonderful community, you can expect a lot of great, large-sized lots available here. Take your pick among the various options available! This is definitely the perfect place for those who are dreaming of either totally getting a break from hectic city life by relocating or at least having a great country house that offers various conveniences.
Panorama Ridge is part of a continuously developing city that never runs short of recreational facilities that encourages its residents to enjoy a more active and healthy lifestyle. Aside from those mentioned above, here you can also find art centers, batting cages, bike parks, dog off-leash areas, outdoor pools, pavilions, sports courts, skate parks, soccer fields, picnic shelters, and so much more.
Even if you are not the outdoorsy type, Panorama Ridge is sure to make one out of you.
As the city always espouses on promoting a healthy community, they also have this “Be Active Surrey” campaign which encourages people to, well, be active and look after of their health. But this change of pace is not just great for your health, as it will even help improve your overall mood, so how can you lose?
Having lived in Surrey, I can attest to the wonderful atmosphere that this place offers. The simple country life does have its perks, and Panorama Ridge in Surrey is no exception.
It is wonderful location wherein its residents live harmoniously and enjoy their diversity. In fact, diversity is much welcome in Surrey, assuring potential homeowners of being able to enjoy a peaceful, happy life with people that they can trust and in a neighborhood where they and their children can always feel safe.
Panorama Ridge has a very active community group call the Panorama Ridge Ratepayers Association www.panoramaridge.org. They send out regular newsletters, organize a crime watch, and take an active involvement in community development plans.
Should you wish to see the different properties available in Panorama Ridge, don’t hesitate to contact me!
August 1, 2012
This is funny - The Force
It was a beautiful evening in Surrey and instead of being outdoors, as we should have, my wife and I decided to watch the Clio Advertising Awards we had PVR’d. These awards are the best of the best from around the world showing incredible creativity in advertising.
I think the reason this one was so funny to us is that one of our children thought he was Buzz Lightyear for a short time. We heard “to infinity and beyond” and “buzz buzz” throughout the house. The next phase was Batman and this phase has not ended. He leaped from couch to couch (I shouldn’t admit that) with a long black cape. Auntie Maria even made him a black terry towel cape with a bat symbol as he refused to take off his cape for his baths. He's 18 years old now, the cape is gone, but he still loves the Batman.
This commercial is call “The Force” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R55e-uHQna0
August 1, 2012
South Surrey or White Rock, Which one is the Best Location for You?
Are you currently on the lookout for a new home? If you can’t decide on whether to live in South Surrey or in White Rock, BC, then let my checklist help you in making up your mind. Both White Rock real estate properties and Surrey real estate properties are highly sought after even in slower markets. Real estate decisions are long term. Take the time to do your research.
If you ever tried looking up “things to do in South Surrey”, you will be presented with an overflowing amount of suggestions! Whether it’s related to the outdoors or something that leans towards local dining, there’s one thing for sure, you will never get bored here! The City of Surrey is a good place to start and they provide a multitude of leisure suggestions at www.surrey.ca/culture-recreation/1915.aspx
Remember, I do live in Surrey, so I have a good idea of what you can expect from this location. Let’s start with my favorite things to do in my spare time – outdoor fun!
In South Surrey, you will be able to have many outdoor experiences. You are only one hour to the mossy rainforests of Mount Baker, WA. Beautiful mountains, scenic coastlines and parks have made this location very popular. If you are the type who enjoys camping or you want to introduce your family to this fun outdoor activity, then you won’t have to drive far once you move to South Surrey! Having easy access to nature, you can now expose your children to learning about their environment and help them appreciate it more.
Another outdoor activity that is popular in Surrey is golf, something that I can definitely relate to. Having learned to play golf in recent years, it’s definitely a very challenging sport but also a lot of fun. Visit Campbell River beach area for off-leash dog walking or just having a picnic on the vast sandy beach when the tide’s out. Other outdoor activities include biking, hiking, fishing or sitting on the dock of the bay. A visit to Crescent Beach is also a must if you want to enjoy some peace and quiet or Softball City to engage in some more fun family-oriented activities.
Visiting the Surrey Arts Center or the Bell Centre for Performing Arts offers live theatre and shows.
If you just want to wine, dine, and relax, South Surrey also offers a great range of activities that you and your family can enjoy. There are spas where you can indulge in some well-deserved pampering as well as a great wealth of restaurants and wineries wherein you can sink your teeth into some local delicacies.
Life in South Surrey is definitely never boring!
If you and your family enjoy the water, then living in White Rock, BC might seem to be a very tempting option! The City of White Rock also has a very informative website about activities in their city at www.whiterockcity.ca/EN/main/community/leisure.html
With the beautiful Semiahmoo Bay as your backdrop, you can definitely expect picturesque scenery waiting for you at White Rock Beach. The White Rock Pier is a great start to enjoying your time in White Rock and an activity that I highly recommend is fishing and crabbing! Make the effort to get up early and try your luck at getting some fresh catch!
For some local history, do pay a visit to the White Rock Museum and Archives, which aim to preserve and promote local history and culture. This local attraction is located in the equally historic White Rock Train Station, so if you’re planning to move to White Rock with your kids, here’s another place that you can enjoy visiting with them.
There are also three libraries located in White Rock which are White Rock, Semiahmoo and Ocean Park Library, if you and your family love reading books then there definitely won’t be any shortage of that here!
For outdoorsy folks, there’s also the White Rock Beach and Promenade as well as the Centennial Park for you to enjoy fun walks, a bit of biking, a fun family barbecue, even a game of soccer. You will never run out of things to enjoy here!
So what will it be? South Surrey or White Rock? No matter which one you decide on, I can easily help you out in finding great properties for you to look at in these two popular locations! My name is Mike Alleyne from Homelife Benchmark www.homelifetitus.com.