Port Alberni Real Estate Blog | Just Listed Alberni

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

March 14, 2019

Port Alberni Market Update - March 2019

We're at the 2 1/2 month mark into the 2019 real estate market, and it's becoming clear that this year is going to be different in Port Alberni. I've been serving the real estate industry in the Alberni Valley for over 15 years now, and 2019 feels a lot like most of those 15 years. In a typical real estate year we see a slowing over the winter months, because some people don't want their home on the market during the rainy season, and some buyers don't want to be out looking around in the rain. It's a very human effect on the market. Last year was different because the market was, well, crazy! Prices were sky rocketing and people were looking to buy before the next house came on the market at an even higher price. This year, we're in a much healthier balanced market, and so were seeing the market act in a more rational way.

Let's compare the stats:

 

Year-to-Date* 2019

Year-to-Date* 2018

Listed

74

86

Sold

32

75

Avg. Sale Price

$331,072

$342,271

Median Sale Price

$305,000

$305,000

Avg. Days on Market

55

55

As you can see the average sale price, the median sale price, and the average days on the market are all very similar. The number of new listings coming on the market are down a little, but overall fairly similar. The stat that jumps off the page is the number of sales. Year to date the number of homes sold in the Greater Alberni Valley is down 57%. At first glance that seems like a huge number, and it is. But, I'm confident that the reason for it, is that we're seeing that sanity coming back because we're in a more balanced market. Now that the spring market has arrived, we're noticing a significant increase in sales activity. The market is moving along quite strongly.

For home buyers the craziness has faded a fair bit, but there is a healthy demand in the market. Yes, there is beginning to be more inventory on the market. But the great homes, the ones that are priced accurately, they're still selling very quickly. For home sellers, it's becoming more important than ever to make sure their home is ready for market, priced correctly, and marketed well.

2019 is shaping up to be a very healthy year in real estate! If you have any questions about the real estate market please leave me a comment and I'll do my best to give you a good answer. ~Chris Fenton

*Year-to-Date is January 1 to March 14. The MLS stats are provided by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and include all single family homes sold on the MLS market in the greater Alberni Valley (excluding waterfront homes).  

March 2, 2019

Port Alberni - Affordable Retirement Community

The City of Port Alberni, and the Alberni Valley, offer some of the most affordable real estate and living costs on Vancouver Island.  The well-known retirement communities of Qualicum Beach and Parksville are a scenic thirty minute drive away.  With both of those communities becoming increasingly expensive for retirees, Port Alberni is quickly becoming an affordable retirement destination for those looking to spend their retirement years on beautiful Vancouver Island. 

Port Alberni Affordable Retirement Community

The Alberni Valley has so much to offer retirees of all ages and interests.  Let us start by examining one of the Alberni Valley's strongest assets, its natural beauty.  The valley is created by the low lying surrounding mountains on all sides, which offer picturesque views in both the summer and winter.  The most prominent mountains are Mt. Arrowsmith to the west and Mt Klitsa to the east.  The Alberni Inlet winds its way in from Barkley Sound, and the open Pacific Ocean, to meet with the Somass River.  It is in this location that the twin cities of Alberni and Port Alberni were founded.  Adding to the natural beauty is the fact that the city is surrounded by second growth forests, rivers, and many lakes (the most well-known being the well recreated Sproat Lake and Great Central Lake).  The opportunity for easy, moderate to difficult hikes, and bike rides, are endless.        

The Alberni Valley is called the gateway to the Pacific Rim and this is a fitting title.  A scenic 1.5 hour drive to the west, past Sproat and Kennedy Lakes, will bring you to the truly world famous Long Beach, and the villages of Tofino and Ucluelet.  There are few more beautiful locations on the planet!  Just as important for retirees is the close proximity to shopping and transportation to the east.  The City of Nanaimo is a 1.0 hour drive away and offers some of Vancouver Island's best shopping, as well as being the terminal for the Vancouver - Vancouver Island Ferry.  Not that you will need to leave the Alberni Valley for shopping.  Our North Alberni corridor has developed into an excellent shopping center, in its own right, over the past few years.  Finally the International Airport in Comox is a 1.25 hour drive away and the Capital City of Victoria is a 2.5 hour drive away.

Next let's talk recreation.  The City of Port Alberni had the foresight to spend early and often in the communities recreation infrastructure and the private sector is also well developed.  From world class sport fishing to the scenic Alberni Valley Golf Club; and our modern multiplex, athletic hall and walking track to our library, swimming pool, and parks & recreation, the opportunities to get out and try new things are endless.  The Echo Sunshine Club is an excellent way to get out and meet new people in the community.

If you are interested in the arts the "Community with a Heart" has plenty to offer.  Catch a play at the Capitol Theatre or get involved with the Roland Art Center.  You will find no end of inspiration in the Alberni Valley.

In terms of health care, the Alberni Valley is proud of our state of the art West Coast General Hospital and walk in clinic.  Serving the health needs of not only the Alberni Valley, but also the communities of the west coast, you will be in good hands in Port Alberni. 

Finally, let's talk real estate.  The average single family home sale price in the Alberni Valley was an affordable $355,816 in 2018, while the average for the Vancouver Island Real Estate board was $512,005!  There are many suitable ranch style homes on the market ranging from quality pre-owned to brand new.  There are also a number of retirement communities to choose from.  With the money you'll save on your new home, you will have more to get out and enjoy this beautiful valley we proudly call home!    

If you would like to discuss the Alberni Valley further please leave a comment or call me (Chris Fenton) at 250-723-8786.

Posted in Port Alberni
Feb. 18, 2019

Port Alberni Market Update - February 2019

This year, in Port Alberni real estate, feels both familiar and different.  Different because the market has been quiet, which is the first time we've had a slow spell in the market in a few years. The same, because over the majority of my 16 years in real estate the market has started the year out slow. What this means to me, is that we're back in a more balanced market. In many ways a more sane market. 

Of course as I write this the last of the snow (hopefully) is melting outside and the sun is shining. It won't be long until the spring market hits and the we see a significant influx of new listings. The market is still strong, and is hungry for new inventory, so I'm confident that we'll see the market pick it's pace up as 2019 moves along. 

Let's take a look at the most recent stats for single family homes (non-waterfront) in the greater Alberni Valley:

 

January 2019

January 2018

Listed

33

41

Sold

13

32

Avg. List Price

$321,661

$360,484

Avg. Sale Price

$303,194

$352,639

Median Sale Price

$305,000

$325,000

Avg. Days on Market

59

51

As you can see, the number of new listings and sales is down in relation to January of 2018. The average sale price and median sale price are both down relative to the prior year, but I want to make clear that in my opinion the sample size (number of home sales reported) is too small to say this applies to the entire market. It could simply be that more inexpensive style homes sold this January when compared to last.

In my opinion, and this is based on experience and feel, more than statistics, the average home in Port Alberni is holding steady in terms of price. I don't think we're currently experience either an increase or decrease in home values. And that too, feels both familiar and different.

If you have any questions about the real estate market please leave me a comment and I'll do my best to give you a good answer. ~Chris Fenton

Jan. 1, 2019

The Fenton Report January 2019

Happy New Year! It has become a New Year’s tradition that I lock myself in my office on the morning of January 1st and pore over the MLS statistics for the Port Alberni and Sproat Lake real estate markets. The result is the first addition of The Fenton Report for 2019. In the report, we go over: the stats for single family homes sales in the greater Alberni Valley; waterfront home stats for Sproat Lake; City of Port Alberni building lot stats; the over-under listing price stats; and historical MLS stats for the greater Alberni Valley.

The Fenton Report - January 2019

Here is an overview of the report. A complete version of The Fenton Report is available in a PDF version. I hope you have a healthy, happy and prosperous 2019!

Overall, the number of sales in the greater Alberni Valley was down for 2018 when compared to the previous year. The number of single family homes sold in the Alberni Valley (Port Alberni, Sproat Lake, Cherry Creek, and Beaver Creek) was down 27% over the previous year. It is worth noting that the previous year set an all-time Alberni Valley record for homes sold in a year. The average sale price for single family homes in the Alberni Valley in 2018 was itself the highest in history. At Sproat Lake, both the average sale price and median sale price were up significantly from the previous year. Statistically, bare land sales were down when compared to last year; however it is important to note that there was an entire City of Port Alberni subdivision in which the sales did not report on the MLS and therefore were not recorded for statistical purposes. The average price per sq.ft. for City of Port Alberni lots increased to $7.95/sq.ft. from $7.60 /sq.ft the previous year.

Dec. 6, 2018

Toasty Tips for Staying Warm this Winter

Cold Much? Winter temperatures are often in the single digits. Here are some resourceful ways to help you warm up. Stay warm no matter how frightful the weather outside gets. Keep the Winter Chills Out!

Warm Yourself First

It’s easier to change your body temperature than room temperature. Instead of turning up the heat, put on another layer of clothing.

Dress in Layers

Bundle up. Wear sweaters, long underwear, and even hats indoors to keep your head warm. Wearing layers helps you from getting overheated indoors. The key is to keep your body warm and dry.

Keep Your Feet Warm

“House Slippers” having the rubber sole makes such a difference for keeping your feet warm. Warm socks are key, a soft, cozy pair keeps the feet toasty warm and keep changing your socks! Everyone forgets that your feet sweat and this can make you cold even if you are layered up. Wool socks or “smartwool” keeps your feet from sweating. For the outdoors insert foam liners in your boots or hiking shoes to give your toes an extra layer of insulation.

Heat Up Your Bed

Don’t turn up the heat in the entire house. Use an electric blanket. Or, an even cheaper and safer option is a hot water bottle with a wool or fleece cover. Fill the water bottle with hot water before going to bed and slip it into the foot of the bed between the sheet. When you’re ready for bed your feet will be all toasty! Believe it or not the water bottle stays warm all night long.

 

Block Drafts

Keep heat in and cold out but blocking any drafty areas in your home, you can buy a fancy roll or just use a blanket or towel. This will save you money on heating bills. Dress your windows up, replace thin curtain with heavier wool or fleece drapes in the winter. Insulated windows are helpful but awning, casement and fixed windows provide the tightest seal.

Harness the Sun

During the day, open the blinds and curtains and let the sun warm you up! At night, close the blinds and curtains to better insulate your home. Another idea is to use roller blinds every night for windows, which saves money, energy and they are easy to use.

Stay Active

Get your body moving! The cold months are great for cleaning out closets, garages, etc. Anything to keep active. If you get a chill just sitting get up and move around, the movement not only warms you up but will stir the heat in the house.

 

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Nov. 29, 2018

Tips to Winterize Your Home

Winter is right around the corner. Do you know how to prepare your home for the cold weather? These tips and tricks will help prevent any unfortunate wintertime mishaps and get your home winter ready!

Tips to Winterise Your Home

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Nov. 23, 2018

Alberni Valley Real Estate Update - November 2018

If I had to use one word to describe the 2018 Port Alberni real estate market, I would use the word 'balance'. If given a second word, I'd add on 'transition'. After 4+ years of a market moving, more-and-more, into a Seller Market, we appear to be in a time of transition to a more balanced market.

The number of home sales in the Alberni Valley has declined significantly this year, in comparison to last year. Meanwhile, inventory (the number of houses on the market) remains historically low. The result has been a move towards a more balanced market.

Without further adieu let's a take a look at the real estate stats for the greater Alberni Valley for single family home sales (excluding waterfront) for November 2018.

Port Alberni

 

October 2018

October 2017

Homes Listed

41

36

Homes Sold

25

47

Avg Sale Price

$368,720

$262,817

Median Sale Price

$305,000

$238,000

Avg Day on Market

31

48

 

As always, I want to preface any commentary on the stats by saying we have to be very careful drawing conclusions from one month's stats in a small market like Port Alberni. With that said, I find it interesting the number of listings this October is fairly consistent with the prior October. Sales are down significantly, but frankly that may be more a reflection just how frenetic the pace was in the market last fall. Prices are still up considerably this October, and my feeling working in the market every day is that they are remaining stable for the time beings.

It will be interesting to take a look at the year end stats this winter. Those numbers will give us a much clearer picture of where the Port Alberni market is at.

Nov. 16, 2018

Real Estate Appraisal vs. Home Inspection: What’s the Difference?

During a real estate purchase you will come across two types of services prior to the sale of a home: Real Estate Appraisal and Home Inspection. Although similar in some ways, home appraisals and inspections do in fact serve very different purposes. It is well worth knowing the difference between the two processes and when you might need one, the other or both as a buyer.

Real Estate Appraisal vs Home Inspection

Real Estate Home Appraisal

A real estate appraisal is a detailed report on the monetary value of the property based on the elements of the home. It is a financial report, that is usually ordered by the Buyer’s financial institution for the purposes of obtaining a mortgage. An appraiser will carry out a home inspection checking the condition of the home, though it’s far less detailed than that carried out by a home inspector.

Generally, an appraiser will visit the home for 45 minutes or so, checking numerous elements such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, major systems and structures etc. They compare their findings to the information on the property records to ensure everything is current. Then they then evaluate comparable homes in the neighbourhood and on the market in order to make an accurate estimation of the true value of the property.

Home Inspection

A home inspection is a detailed look at the home and property condition. Areas of interest typically include a home’s:

  • Foundation
  • Roof
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Floors and ceilings
  • Built-in Appliances
  • Site Drainage
  • Chimneys
  • Deck and patios

A home inspector's role is to inform the buyer of the condition of the property and highlight any required repairs. Using the home inspectors report, the buyer can review the report and make a decision whether to continue with the transaction or request the seller makes the repairs prior to purchase or potentially lowering the offer. Home inspections allow buyers to avoid expensive surprises, they are not mandatory, but it’s in the best interest of the buyer to have one. They will be more informed as to the true condition of the property decision.

Appraisal vs. Inspection: Similarities and Differences

They both involve a professional visiting the home and conducting an examination of many of the same elements. Similarly, both occur prior to the sale of a home, and they both end in detail reports regarding the property. The potential buyer will typically pay for both a home inspection and appraisal process.

The main difference between an appraisal vs. inspection is that appraisal deals with the value of real estate, while an inspection deal with the condition of the house. The primary purpose of a real estate appraisal is to determine the market value of the home. An appraisal will allow the lender to decide whether or not, while an inspection will help the buyer assess the pros and cons of investing in a certain property. While the home inspection process ends once the inspector examines the details of the home, an appraisal takes more information into consideration than simply the condition of the home. An appraiser aims to formulate an unbiased accurate opinion of the value of a property. Using comparables on the properties to value the home, this takes into factor nearby school zones, crime rates and lot size. 

Does a Buyer need one or both of these real estate services?

As a buyer, you will notice that on most real estate checklists include both a home inspection and a real estate appraisal. Regardless of how you go about purchasing a property, no one requires you to have a home inspection. Both are processes that are important in protecting a real estate investment, however if neglecting to carry one out you may find that the home you have just bought is in need of some unforeseen major repairs which could cost far more than what the budget.

Home inspections are generally voluntary for buyers, while appraisals might be mandatory if a buyer works with a mortgage lender or home loan company. If you are in the market for a new home, pay for both an inspection and an appraisal for total peace of mind before you buy.

 

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Nov. 9, 2018

Reasons to Buy and Sell with a Real Estate Agent

Know what it takes to handle the largest financial transaction of your life? Many individuals do not know what a real estate agent can do for them and prefer to rely on the web instead. If you are uncertain and want to make more informed decisions, check out the following reasons Why to Buy and Sell with a Real Estate Agent.

Reasons to Buy and Sell with a Real Estate Agent

Stakes are High

Buying or selling a home is not as simple as putting in an offer on the asking price and getting the keys. There are multiple procedures that follow and legalities to conform to. There is a high risk for individuals who privately sell their home because it is easy to make mistakes or be misinformed, which can result in losing money. Many people have concerns with realtor fees and paying a commission, but these fees can soon pay for themselves with time and money saved.

What do you know about the Market?

There are many factors that affect the constantly changing housing market. An excellent agent will educate you about “real estate reality” keeping you aware of all the pitfalls and potential risks that could happen while buying or selling. Local agents are always up-to-date watching the market evolve and keeping tabs on all the new developments. Benefiting both the buyer and seller, agents are immediate when establishing facts and determining the true value of a property. Real estate agents know what types of individuals are buying property in your neighbourhood and leveraging you to better market your home to a precise audience. 

Insider Knowledge - An Agent Sees All

Agents have access to information and listings that are not publicly advertised, which means they will provide you with valuable information from trusted experts. So, what happens when the inspection reveals a roof leak or that there are plumbing concerns? These are issues real estate agents face daily. Real estate has its own language. Buying or selling a home requires lots of forms, disclosures, and reports. Agents have intimate knowledge of the housing industry and are expert problem-solvers while figuring out issues efficiently. They know who to speak to and what to do to fix the majority of problems that could arise. Without an agent, each participant would be forced to deal with one another directly, and if each partaker is not used to negotiating it is possible that individuals can be taken advantage of. 

Network and Connections

One of the most valuable assets an agent can bring to your property transaction is people. The real estate industry is made up of extensive network of individuals and service providers, each offering their own particular skill. From mortgage brokers, contractors to home inspectors’ agents are connected to them all. When you hire an agent, instantly you gain access to their trusted contacts. If you were going it alone, you would have to rely on your own judgement and build a team from scratch, which is time consuming and risky.

Negotiating Skills: Communication is Key

Realtors are incredible communicators and expert negotiators. You can rely on them for the complex conversations that always arise in the buying or selling of real estate. Effective communication for sales is a technique that takes time to learn and develop. Realtors can guide you through complicated scenarios and will be able to recommend and implement strategies that can close a deal without losing money.

Marketing Expertise 

Image is everything especially when it comes to real estate. There needs to be an analytical eye for what kind of marketing collateral will attract the right buyers. Quality photography is an essential element when selling homes, along with video production and social media marketing. Investing in a quality Real Estate Team who understands how crucial marketing is will produce substantial benefits. Marketing collateral ultimately strengthens business and helps client’s homes get sold!

 

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Oct. 19, 2018

What is important to remember when you are looking to sell during the cold months?

What is important to remember when you are looking to sell during the cold months?

Posted in Real Estate Tips