250-360-6106 Pemberton Holmes Ltd. Since 1887

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March Market Update

Fri, 04 Mar by Andrew Plank

The market has gone nuts. Many single-family homes in the core are selling substantially above asking price and it’s not uncommon to be in a multiple-offer situation these days. There are many happy sellers, and quite a few disappointed buyers.

As one colleague said recently, he’s become a very experienced as a grief counsellor to buyers. Obviously the market is not a license to print money, I caution sellers to be optimistic but realistic and buyers to have all of their financial and emotional ducks aligned so they are prepared to act quickly when the right property presents itself.

This February’s sales statistics speak volumes.

  • Property sales are up 42.4%(!) over the same month last year.
  • Inventory is extremely low with 26.4% less available property than February 2015.
  • Benchmark price for a home is up 14.7% over last year.

There is a $200,000 difference between benchmark pricing for homes in the Core vs. the Westshore. In other words, on average, your money goes $200,000 further buying out in the Western Communities.

Thinking of selling or buying? Give me a call to discuss the best strategies for today’s market.

February Newsletter

Tue, 02 Feb by Andrew Plank

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a market like this. The housing market in Victoria is seeing price rises and offer activity reminiscent of the early 2000’s.

It’s a challenging time for buyers. There are more ‘multiple offers’ now and many sales going significantly over asking price. It’s important to move fast, many properties are under contract within a day or two of listing.

By the same token, this is a great time for sellers. There is especially an opportunity for owners of distressed properties and properties which normally would be difficult to market due to poor location or condition. In most markets these will be passed over due to a wide available selection but today they too are being snapped up more quickly.

The combination of high demand and low inventory is being partly fueled by an influx of buyers from overseas, especially Asia, and retirees are cashing out of the white hot Vancouver market as well.

I expect overseas demand to continue due to the low Canadian dollar. I also predict an influx of bommers retired from the oil patch looking for better prospects and a warmer climate.

Despite the threat of multiple offers and unconditional cash from overseas, by buyers have had great wins. I will always do my best to advise you in writing a competative offer, and work to get you the keys to your dream home.

Thinking of buyer or selling? Give me a call to discuss the best strategies for today’s market.

January Newsletter – Happy New Year!

Wed, 06 Jan by Andrew Plank

Happy New Year! 

I’m looking forward to another great year in real estate. This year will mark my 10th anniversary in real estate. It’s been an amazing adventure of growth and change and learning which I hope will continue for many years to come. 

Having successfully reached my mid-40’s, I’m noticing more and more the impact that healthy diet and exercise (or lack thereof) has on my energy and mindset. It can be challenging at times to balance self-care with the pressures of business in an active market so I decided to put a reminder on my office door. It says…

1.Eat healthy




In each day there is only so much time available, and whether it’s used wisely or frittered away, it is gone nonetheless. What I’ve discovered is that when I take care of the first three items on my list, I’m in the best mindset and health for doing great work for my clients. Conversely, when I’m tired, hungry, and out-of-shape, it’s harder to be of service to others.

There’s a great illustration of this principle here…http://blog.bradleygauthier.com/jar-rocks-pebbles-sand/

I wish you all the best in 2016 and look forward to catching up with you soon.

Either Way I’m Hooped

Mon, 21 Dec by Andrew Plank

It’s my job to protect your interests.  I advise but I can’t always recommend.  For example, regardless of what I personally feel is necessary, it would be very unprofessional to recommend or advise that an inspection isn’t needed or a review of title documents isn’t warranted, or that a lawyer shouldn’t read over the contract.  If you ask me any of these questions, I will tell you that it is advisable to get them done if you are the least bit uncomfortable.  Are they always necessary?  No.  But I will always recommend them because they are the prudent course.  Just know this.  If you have to ask “Should I or shouldn’t I…?”, then you should.

Here’s an example.  I’m often asked… “Should I get an inspection?  It’s expensive and this unit/house is virtually new”.

Well, that may be true.  And if I was in your shoes I may or may not choose to get an inspection.  But the questions puts me in the unfortunate position of either recommending you pay for an expensive and potentially unnecessary inspection or you don’t pay for a necessary one.  And if I advise you not to have that inspection only to have a problem show up down the road, I’m going to be in a lot of hot water.  What I personally would do is my choice.  What you should do is understand that there is risk in not having a professional review the item of concern.  I will advise where the concerns may exist, and what options are available.  I can even provide names of professionals to assist.  But I can’t advise against doing the investigation, no matter how remote the possibility of a negative finding may be.

FAQ. –

  1. “The building inspector wants to inspect the entire condo building, not just the unit.  Do I really need that?”
  2. While the strata corporation is expected to monitor and repair exterior areas of the building, it’s a good idea to get a sense of just how well it is being kept up.  Although there may have been recent engineers reports, deprecation reports, and even exterior remediation it never hurts to have another set of eyes take a look.  Is it worth the money?  Only time will tell.
  1. “I have a friend who knows construction.  I could save a lot of money having them come through instead of an inspector couldn’t I?”
  2. That depends.  A building inspector generally is aware issues that go beyond mere construction and is trained to identify areas that may require further investigation.  They also tend to follow a very prescribed and thorough checklist of items to investigate and note.  I’ve certainly walked through inspections conducted by the “friend or family member” where they miss items of importance only to focus on items that are really quite trivial.  And when it comes time for me to negotiate on your behalf as a result of inspection findings, a professional report by a licensed inspector will have much more impact than the word of a friend.
  1. “I don’t understand these charges on the title.  Should I have them reviewed?”
  2. Yes.  I can provide general information about types of charges on title but if you’re unclear about their meaning or impact you should have your lawyer clarify.
  1. “I don’t understand all this legal mumbo jumbo but I trust you Andrew.  Should I just sign this anyways?”
  2. Contracts are legally binding and it’s important that you fully understand what you are signing.  While I can explain the general intent of the various clauses in a listing or purchase contract, I am not your legal representative.  If you’re at all unclear you should have it reviewed.  I can provide copies of the paperwork for review with your lawyer, and we can also make contracts “Subject to lawyer review and approval”.

December Newsletter – Happy Holidays!

Fri, 04 Dec by Andrew Plank

Usually around this time of year the market slows down and my thoughts turn to catching up with friends, attending holiday events, and spending time with family. And the latter is certainly still the case! But the market is not showing signs of slowing so my festive season is looking to be busier than I anticipated.
I am representing many buyers right now, all actively hunting for a great home. Unfortunately, the same is true of most other agents in Victoria. As a result, selection is sparse and good properties are selling quickly.

This time of year typically sees the fewest new listings coming on market (relative to other seasons) so I’m coaching my buyer clients to be informed, prepared, and engaged if they want to be successful in finding a home this season.
Have a look through my list of buyers’ needs below. This list represents only the most active buyers and if you have or know of anyone with a home that fits their needs and is not listed on MLS, please contact me!
With hard work and a little luck, perhaps my clients will find keys to their new homes in the bottom of their stockings this month.
I expect to be all over town this month, in and out of many properties (using the door though, not the chimney) so let’s arrange to catch up, perhaps over a cup of ‘nog. Just let me know when you’re available for me to swing past in my sleigh.
Wishing you warmth, peace, and happiness,


Renting vs Owning

Fri, 27 Nov by Andrew Plank


Whether it is better to rent or own a home partly depends on your long term plans and how property prices are moving.  The more quickly prices escalate, and the longer you plan to live there, the better the argument for owning.  The chart above is a useful guide for gauging at what point purchasing a home makes sense.

Have a look at the chart below.  It seems to suggest that owning a home (with mortgage) is actually more cost effective than renting.

I often see news stories about the high cost that Canadians are paying for shelter (when viewed as a percentage of their annual income).  Many people have used this to suggest that property values are inflated and a market correction is imminent. The idea is that buyers simply will stop paying so much for homes and presumably rent instead.  But that argument may not hold up to scrutiny.  This is because Canadians renters, on average, are paying more of their annual income for shelter than their counterparts holding a mortgage.  And those renters are, of course, helping to pay for the mortgages of their landlords.  So, unless and until people stop both buying AND renting, property values will not necessarily adjust based on percentage of household income.  Now, I’m not saying that it’s good and right that property values are where they are at.  I’m simply saying that we can’t assume property values will go down because of this.


Let’s run through some assumptions…

  1. The value of rental properties will go up or down based on the income they can produce for the owners.  In an area of low rents (low demand) property values will be lower, in an area of high rents (high demand), property values will be higher.  (Capitalization Rate)
  2. Cost of rent at any given point in time is often cheaper than the initial cost of mortgage payments at that same point in time.
  3. Rent tends to go up over time. (Inflation)
  4. Ongoing mortgage payments pay down your principle and increase your home equity over time.  (Investment)
  5. Property values tend to go up over time.  (Inflation)

According to this chart, it appears that renters are actually spending a higher proportion of their income on shelter than homeowners.  40% of renters are paying over 50% of their annual income for shelter.  Only 26% of homeowners (with mortgage) are paying over 50% of their annual income for shelter.  So, while the cost of owning a home is very likely to represent a higher proportion of annual income initially, over time this number should come down and, over the long run, it appears that home ownership is the better way to go.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

It’s a Seller’s Market in Victoria!

Mon, 23 Nov by Andrew Plank


Things just keep getting better and better for property sellers in this market!

Many areas of Victoria are enjoying a strong seller’s market, with buyers snapping up properties almost as fast as they are listed.  While the whole area is seeing increased sales, certain areas are more affected than others.  Properties near UVic, Oak Bay, and Fairfield especially.

Why is this happening?

A combination of low interest rates, low inventory, and an influx of out of province and out of country buyers has created a perfect storm in the Victoria real estate market.  Although buyers are having a difficult time finding the perfect property, sellers can benefit now by taking advantage of the rising tide floating all the real estate boats.  Even properties traditionally difficult to sell (such as properties on busy streets or requiring updates) are likely to sell faster and for more money than in the past.

Not all homes are created equal.

Now, this isn’t to suggest that simply placing an extravagant price on your “For Sale” sign will result in a quick sale.   Every home is unique and it’s important to take into account how it fits within the big picture.  Market strategically, listen carefully to your REALTOR’s advice, and remember, a seller’s market isn’t a license to print money, it simply provides a better opportunity to sell and negotiate the most favourable terms.

The above graph represents the “Sales to Active Listings Ratio”.  This chart tracks the ratio of total residential sales over total active residential listings at each month-end for Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service®.

The active listing count and the sales count can be viewed as indicators of housing supply and demand respectively. Observing the ratio between them can thus help indicate a “buyers’ market” (where there is sustained downward pressure on prices) and a “sellers’ market” (where there is sustained upward pressure on prices).

Based on a regression analysis performed by the Economics Department of the BC Real Estate Association in each market area of the province, ratio for Victoria can be interpreted as follows:

– below 14%, there is downward pressure on prices (buyers’ market)

– above 20%, there is upward pressure on prices (sellers’ market)

– in the 14-20% range, there is little pressure on prices either way (balanced market)

Thinking of selling? Want to know more? You have options:

-Call me at 250-360-6106 or email me at info@andrewplank.com

-Sign up for a market snapshot to discover the value of homes in your area here

-Have me over for a free personalized home evaluation

Celebrating Diversity

Sun, 15 Nov by Andrew Plank

View More: http://kgoodphoto.pass.us/andrewplankI try to embrace diversity and acceptance in all areas of my life, including work. I’m not interested in judging you. The last thing I want you to worry about when buying or selling a home is that your real estate agent is going to react negatively to your gender identity, age, sexual orientation, gender expression, lifestyle, ability, race, ethnicity, class or religion.

Real Estate is a professional relationship that crosses over into personal matters when we’re discussing your housing preferences. My hope is that you will be comfortable to share you needs with me honestly so that we can find the home best suited to you.

I wish we lived in a world where this acceptance didn’t need to be declared, that is was the norm, not the exception. Until that time, please know that I’m here to give you the best experience in real restate free from judgement. My ultimate goal is to ensure you’re happy and that your home is a reflection of who you are.

“Real Estate is Boring” – November 2015 Newsletter

Fri, 06 Nov by Andrew Plank

It was “Take your kid to work” day today at Belmont School and so my 14 year old son Korbyn shadowed me to see what I do all day. We spent the morning going over what I do and the systems I use, then after lunch we visited the main office and then he helped me give interested parties a tour of my listing on Walton Place throughout the afternoon. Here’s what he had to say about his day….

“Hello everybody, what’s going on, it’s Xmoss Minecraft (be sure to go to my YouTube channel and subscribe: [shameless self-promoting]) Here today with my dad because it’s Bring Our Kids to Work Day! 🙂 🙂 🙂
I’m learning about how the real estate world works. My dad showed me how to look up houses for his clients, the kinds and prices of houses, and different websites and programs he uses to help with work. Later we are going to go to a house and show it to some people who may be interested in buying it. I think that the job my dad does is cool, but I probably would rather do something a little less boring, like marine biology”

Ha! Ok, so obviously he won’t be following in my footsteps but perhaps he’ll become a famous Youtube personality.

Well, the market is HOT HOT HOT lately and good homes in desirable locations are selling FAST. Usually this is a slower time of year but activity is still brisk and I don’t anticipate as much of a slowdown over the winter as I’ve seen in the past. Finding a property for clients is proving challenging. As you can imagine, in a market where demand is high and supply is low, there is a lot of competition for good properties. Having all of your ducks in a row is essential today to avoid delays.

If you’re looking to buy or sell, call me today.

Honored to be Elected

Fri, 23 Oct by Andrew Plank

Many thanks to my colleagues and friends for all your support. I’ve been elected once again to the Victoria Real Estate Board of directors for a two year term. Congratulations also to Sandy-Jo Ayres, Mike Nugent, and Tony Wick.


The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Victoria Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.