Friday, August 28, 2009

High hopes for B.C. housing market upswing in 2010

High hopes for B.C. housing market upswing in 2010

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The B.C. Real Estate Association is forecasting a better sales season this fall than last, hoping to see the last of the housing recession.

In its latest third-quarter housing forecast, the association predicts that Multiple Listing Service residential sales will go up 15 per cent this year over last year.

In 2008, there were 68,923 units sold in the province, a sales drop of 33 per cent, according to the report. By the end of 2009, the provincial real-estate board, which represents the interests of 12 regional real-estate boards and more than 17,500 B.C. realtors, hopes to see 79,400 units sold, up 15 per cent from 2008's lows.

In 2010 they are aiming for 84,200 units sold, an increase of six per cent over this year.

The 10-year-average for sales is 82,800 units.

The BCREA also anticipates that more homes can be sold in 2010. It is forecasting a sales increase of six per cent across the province for 2010.

"After twelve months of significant volatility in B.C.'s housing markets, greater stability is expected through 2010," BCREA chief economist Cameron Muir said.

It expects growth in 2010 in Greater Vancouver with a predicted four-per-cent increase, in the Fraser Valley with a five-per-cent increase, and in Victoria with an anticipated nine-per-cent increase.

Double-digit sales increases over 2009 are forecast for the Sunshine Coast (15 per cent), the Northern Lights (12 per cent), Okanagan Mainline ( 12 per cent), and Kootenay (11 per cent) real-estate boards.

All of the boards had sales declines in 2008, and in some regions sales were down as much as 39 per cent. All but three regions had better sales rates in 2009 over 2008. In 2010, all boards are expected to be in positive territory. With an assumption of better sales comes an anticipated increase in sales volumes.

In 2009, $35.8 billion of real estate changed hands. In 2010, the real-estate industry hopes to see $38.5 billion in sales.

The association also made predictions on a rebound in housing starts.

This year has so far been a "dismal" one for housing starts, the association said, with a forecast total decline of 57 per cent by the end of this year compared to 2008, which was also a low year (starts in 2008 were down 12 per cent).

That comes to a total of just 14,800 units built in 2009, the lowest level of activity since 2000.

In 2010, the association predicts, starts in the province will regain some ground, with an estimated 18,500 units forecast to be built. Muir cautioned, though, that recovery would be spotty.

"Market conditions vary depending on the region of the province," he said, adding that while Vancouver and Victoria have shown improvement, "interior markets are demonstrating a more gradual trend toward balance between supply and demand."

The association noted that the uptick in housing sales over the traditionally strong spring/summer season is the "brightest light" in an otherwise dark B.C. economy.

It points out that overall, "economic output is expected to contract 2.2 per cent this year, with employment down 2.8 per cent and unemployment rising to an annual rate of 7.7 per cent."

Saturday, August 15, 2009



The constant bombardment of the real estate marketplace with offers of "huge price reductions" off previous sale prices can be misleading.

Let's examine foreclosures:
Foreclosure in British Columbia is a process designed to sell distressed properties for fair market value. It begins when the home owner is unable to make the required monthly payments. The lender is required to wait until the loan is 3 months in arrears, then they apply to the court for permission to foreclose. The court will usually grant the borrower a 3 month redemption period to sell the property to satisfy the loan. If this is not successful the court grants the lender "conduct of sale." The property is listed with a REALTOR® on MLS®. Offers on the property can be accepted by the lender without consulting the borrower but must be "subject to court approval." During this time, (typically one to two weeks) between acceptance by the lender and approval by the court, the offer is on the public record. This is to encourage higher offers to be submitted. The court will consider all unconditional written offers received up to and including the court date.
The buyer is unlikely to get a bargain here because even if the lender has accepted a low offer, the court process will usually result in a higher offer being made at the court hearing.

Now the "Buyer Beware" part:
The offer when accepted by the lender and the court will be amended with a "Schedule A". This among other things will contain an "as is, where is " clause.
It will state that the property will be accepted by the buyer in whatever condition its in on the transfer date. The house you saw in good condition could be trashed. You have no recourse. Buyer beware indeed!

Let's look at developers 'blow out ' sales:
Don't get caught up in the hype. There are more than enough condos to go around. These condos are, for the most part, units that did not sell in the good times. They may be the left over least desirable units in the building. They might also be units that the "flippers" were unable to re-sell. Developers are not stupid. They will hang on to the best units until the glut of poorer units is sold off to you.

Beware the ads that say, Price WAS $$$ Price NOW $$$, a savings of $$$.

Do your homework! Make sure that "price was" is an actual sale price, not just an overinflated asking price which was too high in the hottest market. Your research might show that no one ever paid that much. "Price now," check today's market. Be sure that this is a bargain price and cannot be easily duplicated or bettered in the open market. Buyer Beware!

I have a client who says, "real estate deals are like trains. There will be another one tomorrow."

I say, there is no substitute for doing your "due diligence" before you buy!
Get your own expert help. The "expert" at the blow out sale is working for the developer, not you.

Central Okanagan Stats

Number of sales July 09/July 08

Type:..................SalesJuly 09...... Sales July 08....Incr/Decr.

Average Sale Prices July 09/July 08

Type:..................Av.July 09........Av. July 08......Inc/Decr.
Single Family:.........483,183............502,887.........-3.92%
Apt. condo:............260,002............315,707.........-17.64%
Twnhse Condo:..........368,838............395,108.........-6.65%

(Stats courtesy of OMREB)

The market appears to have bottomed in March/April 09 and be gaining strength since then. The number of walk-in buyers to Premier offices is increasing daily. Listing inventory is adequate, but has declined by 23% from July 08. Interest rates remain low.

A good time to buy, just do your homework.

Bert Chapman
Office: 6-3185 Via Centrale,
Kelowna, B.C, V1V 2A7
Phone: (250) 765-0570
TollFree: 1-866-765-0579
Fax: (250) 765-0577


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Kelowna Realtors thoughts on Condo Rentals

Former president of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board and Managing Broker of Premier Canadian Properties Bert Chapman (Toll Free 1-866-765-0579 - writes - responding to a recent article by Ozzie Jurock in which was a report on rental condos at 169,000 and up in the Kelowna Market.

In Kelowna there are indeed $169,000 two-bedroom condos in rentable buildings - BUT. Said Bert (who is also a multi year subscriber):

"I did the research and there are only 2 such units, both in the same 27 year old building in North Kelowna. There are 2 more units in the same building at $179,000 and $195,000, also rentable. There are 6 rentable units in Kelowna South listed between $179,900 and $195,000 and 6 rentable units in Rutland in 30 year old building listed from $159,900 to $189,900.That's it! Everything else is age restricted over 55, on lease land or priced over $200,000."

He adds: "In fact - it is difficult to find rentable units because of the high percentage of owner occupied units. These owners tend to vote for strata rules that limit the number of rentals. The buyers need to be aware that just because you buy a unit that is occupied by a tenant, this does not necessarily mean you can continue to rent it. The original buyer is governed by the Developers Disclosure Statement as to whether they can rent or not. Subsequent buyers are governed by the Strata rules which can be, and frequently are, changed by the Strata Council to limit rentals. There are also a few projects with resort zoning which permits short term rentals 3 nights or more. These are typically on the lakeshore or on golf courses. This cannot be changed by a Strata Council."


Major Point: This applies of course to many areas in BC. Even though local markets are often depressed, because of tight rental rules (strata council imposed) investors can't step in to 'lighten the load'. Buyers should always retain an experienced Realtor in an area that they are not familiar with - particularly when buying rental units.

Bert Chapman
Office: 6-3185 Via Centrale,
Kelowna, B.C, V1V 2A7
Phone: (250) 765-0570
TollFree: 1-866-765-0579
Fax: (250) 765-0577

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Goodbye to the Good Buys!

In a recession all the talk is about when will we reach the bottom.
The truth is we won't know until after it happens.
But... does it really matter?
If you buy a rental property then your tenant is paying for it.
Why should you care how much he is paying?

In a recession all the talk is about when will we reach the bottom.
The truth is we won't know until after it happens.
But... does it really matter?
If you buy a rental property then your tenant is paying for it.
Why should you care how much he is paying?

We know that:
Prices are down from the peak reached last year.
Interest rates are the lowest in 50 years.
There is an abundance of properties available.

This creates the illusion tht there is no hurry to buy.
Fear of the future is everywhere: recession, global warming, unemployment and swine flu.

But fear is: False Expectations Appearing Real

Reality is: This is a perfect buying opportunity.

Find a distressed owner. There are no distressed properties only distressed owners. Make an offer that solves their temporary problem and results in a good buy for you. Now the property is no longer diressed.

It is an opportunity for you.

In the Okanagan-
48% of real estate buyers are local
28% of real estate buyers are from Alberta
20% of real estate buyers are from Vancouver

The Alberta and Vancouver buyers are rubber tire traffic. They are affected by things like high gas prices and snow on the mountain passes.

Spring is in the air. The Rogers Pass and Coquihalla are snow free. Gas prices are relatively low.
The Alberta and Vancouver buyers will be back.

The Okanagan still has:

* Canada's best climate
* Large warm lakes
* Championship golf courses
* World Class wineries
* Big White and Silver Star ski resorts
* Kelowna International Airport
* UBC Okanagan
* Afordable real estate
* Low interest rates

Its time for you to make a good buy before its Goodbye to the Good Buys!

Some Stats to Ponder: (courtesy of OMREB)

Year to Year Comparison

Property type:

----------------Avg Sale Price --------Avg Sale Price ---------Avg Sale Price
------------------April 2007 ------------April 2008 ------------April 2009
Single Family ------455,641 ---------------552,526 --------------451,109
Condo Apt ---------259,147 ---------------287,819 --------------248,642
Condo Twnhouse-- 333,891--------------- 409,021 --------------344,261

Month to Month Comparison 2009

Property type:

----------------Avg Sale Price ---------Avg Sale Price---------- Avg Sale Price
------------------Feb 2009 -------------March 2009 ------------April 2009
Single Family -----447,819 --------------- 438,493 ----------------451,109
Condo Apt --------233,268 ---------------244,433 ----------------248,642
Condo Twnhse ----328,546 ---------------328,611 ----------------344,261

It would appear that the market peaked in April/May 2008 and has bottomed in February/March 2009 at approximately the 2007 levels and is gaining strength.

Is this the end to the Good Buys?

Bert Chapman
Office: 6-3185 Via Centrale,
Kelowna, B.C, V1V 2A7
Phone: (250) 765-0570
TollFree: 1-866-765-0579
Fax: (250) 765-0577

The Okanagan-Not just Kelowna anymore

The South Okanagan Canada’s only desert. Located on the northernmost tip of the Sonoran Desert, the south Okanagan has warm lakes, orchards, vineyards, golf courses and the delightful small towns of Osoyoos, Oliver, Okanagan Falls, Naramata, Summerland and Penticton.

Osoyoos is home of the warmest fresh water lake in Canada. (Averaging 24c in July and August). Osoyoos is a summer playground with sandy beaches, welcoming motels and campgrounds. Tourism and agriculture are big here. The surrounding farms provide fresh produce to the numerous roadside fruit stands. The cherries are to die for! Check out the wineries and go on a wine tasting tour. Osoyoos, “Canada’s warmest welcome”.

Oliver is a rich agricultural community. Grapevines are replacing the cherry, apricot, peach, apple and pear orchards. Oliver is now the self-declared, “Wine Capital of Canada”. The wildlife in the hills includes lizards, bats, deer, big horn sheep and rare birds. Oliver is a small town of about 5,000 but offers world class wineries like Burrowing Owl Estate Winery which boasts award winning wines.

The First nations name for “a place to stay forever” is surrounded by mountains to the east and west and lakes to the north and south. Penticton has fabulous sandy beaches on both Skaha Lake and Okanagan Lake. The annual “Peach City beach Cruise” has over 800 antique and classic cars. “Elvis” lives in the peach city as amateur and professional Elvis Impersonators compete for the Elvis Tribute Artist contest in Memphis. If you have not been to Penticton you must go. Who knows, you might “stay forever.”

The perfect place to grow grapes is on the Naramata bench. This quiet agricultural community is much the same as it was 50 years ago with orchards and vineyards and only 2700 residents.

An "Olde English” style town with a town crier. This is a quaint small town with 12,000 residents. Summerland is known for its orchards and vineyards. Fresh fruits are available at the numerous roadside stands. Summerland is home to the Pacific Agri Food Research Station where new varieties of fruit are developed. Enjoy the view from Giant’s Head Park or visit Summerland Ornamental gardens. Stay at the recently completed lakeshore resort. Check out the Nixdorf Classic car museum and rent a muscle car for the rest of your Okanagan Tour.

The Central Okanagan comprises Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country. Keep your eyes on the Lake. Ogopogo lives here! The legendary lake creature sightings date back over 100 years. The Indian’s folklore includes details of sightings. In recent years film, crews with sonar have searched for him. You might just be lucky.

Peachland began 100 years ago as a gold mining town. Now has 5,500 residents. The town is situated on the lakeshore with miles of sandy beach and a small marina. Most of the residents live on the benches above the lake and enjoy panoramic views of Okanagan Lake. Every Year in mid May the “World of Wheels” car show invades the lakeshore along Beach Avenue. About 800 antique and classic cars line the streets. The Gasthaus Medieval Restaurant offers a feast to remember. The Ponderosa Golf Course is a treat to play with its panoramic views of Okanagan Lake.

West Kelowna
The new municipality made up of Westside, Westbank, Lakeview Heights, Shannon Lake and Smith Creek has about 38,000 residents. Take Gellatly Rd from Highway 97 for a great drive or stroll along the lakeshore. The Cove Lakeside Resort offers fine dining, boat dock, a great place to stay. West Kelowna has 5 wineries including the famous Mission Hill and Quail’s Gate. The Gellatly Nut Farm is worth a visit as its over 100 years old and now a National Park with heritage buildings. Lake views from
West Kelowna are spectacular.

Cross over the bridge- the new 5 lane Bennett Bridge honoring former BC Premier W. R. Bennett.
Kelowna has it all! Okanagan Lake, City Park and beaches, the Delta Grand Hotel, the cultural district, 12 fine golf courses, Big White ski resort, UBC Okanagan., Kelowna International Airport and a city of 100,000 friendly people. The Orchard Park Shopping Centre is the largest between Vancouver and Calgary. Prospera Place is a 6000 seat multi-purpose facility that hosts major entertainers and is home to the W.H.A. Kelowna Rockets. Kelowna has a diversified economy including high tech companies, higher education, aeronautics, a state-of-the-art Cancer Treatment Centre with the regional hospital and agriculture.
Walk the Greenway from Lakeshore Road. It follows Mission Creek 7K to Mission Creek Park before it carries on a further 9K along a trail taking you through Gallaghers Canyon and Layercake Mountain.
In August 2003, a devastating forest fire burned for more than a week destroying the forest lands in Okanagan Mountain Park It also burned 239 homes in the Upper Mission area. The tour of the park is very educational as the ecosystem rebuilds itself and life returns to the park. The views from 900 meters above the lake are spectacular. A drive south on Lakeshore Road takes you to Summerhill Pyramid Winery, St. Hubertus Estate Winery, and Cedar Creek Estate Winery. The fire also destroyed 14 of the 18 wooden railway trestles in the Myra Canyon section of the historic Kettle Valley Railway. The trestles have since been rebuilt to look like the originals. This great biking and hiking trail has been enhanced by the fire by opening up the many spectacular views.
Every year in May auto enthusiasts gather for the Knox Mountain Hill Climb. A winding road 2.2 miles long snakes up 800 vertical feet. A true test of cars and drivers. Knox Mountain Park is a walk on the wild side with great hiking trails, amazing lake vistas, and lots of wild life including deer, owls, quail, eagles and coyotes. There is an underwater diving park at the historic Paul’s Tomb. You need all day for this hike.

Lake Country
Incorporated in 1995, it is made up of Carr’s Landing, Okanagan Centre, Oyama and Winfield. The population is a fast growing 11,000. The lakes of Lake Country include Okanagan Lake, some 90 miles in length, and the smaller Wood Lake and the beautiful Kalamalka Lake. Kal.Lake is postcard perfect with blue water that looks like Hawaii.
Agriculture is a prime industry with cherry orchards and apple orchards. The fresh fruit at the roadside stands is outstanding. You will want to stock up.
Vineyards are starting to take a larger part in the industry and Lake Country has some award winning wineries to boast about: Grey Monk and Arrowleaf winery to mention a few.
Wood Lake offers exceptional Kokanee fishing and even ice fishing some winters. Wood Lake warms right up in the summer and is great for swimming and water sports. Okanagan Centre has a free sheltered boat launch and parking on Okanagan Lake. Kalamalka Lake has a boat launch on the north end but is easily accessed by a narrow channel from the north end of Wood Lake to the south part of Kal Lake. New this year is the Field of Dreams car show in August at Swalwell Park. In September, check out the Lake Country “Art Walk” The valley’s largest art show with over 200 Okanagan artists.
The Okanagan, like Penticton is truly “a place to stay forever”.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Buyers ready to spend big in British Columbia

B.C. residents see ownership benefits, but most will wait a year

Seventy-eight per cent of B.C. residents -- the highest percentage in Canada -- believe they're in the midst of a buyer's market, according to a new Royal Bank of Canada survey.

Homebuying intentions in B.C. have shown no change from last year, with 26 per cent of residents planning to buy in the next two years, the bank said yesterday.

Still, 55 per cent believe it makes more sense to wait until next year to buy a home rather than purchase now, according to the survey done for the bank by Ipsos-Reid.

"Based on these figures, most British Columbians believe that the time is right for buyers and most remain largely confident that the long-term value in a home makes for a good purchase," RBC spokesman Kevin Lutz said.

Eighty-one per cent of people surveyed in B.C. believe that buying a home is a good or very good investment, the poll found.

B.C. homeowners estimate the value of their home at an average of $355,571 -- the highest average home value in the country.

On average, B.C. residents estimate the value of their homes rose 10 per cent in the last two years.

Nationally, most Canadians also believe it is a buyer's market, with more first timers planning on purchasing their own homes, RBC said.

"The current economic environment does not appear to have dampened Canadians' overall confidence in the housing market," RBC spokeswoman Karen Leggett said.

Sixty-five per cent of Canadians said they believe it's a buyer's market, with 27 per cent saying they plan to buy a new home over the next two years. That's up from 23 per cent in 2008.
At 48 per cent, almost half of respondents said it makes sense to buy a home now instead of waiting until next year.

Younger Canadians, those under 35 years old, are most likely to spark an upsurge in homes sales, with 48 per cent planning to buy a home, up from 36 per cent last year.

Renters appear to be tired of paying someone else's mortgage.

The survey shows 38 per cent of the renters plan on becoming homeowners in the next two years.

"Low mortgage rates and favourable housing prices are influencing home purchase intentions this year and may be the reason why more Canadians are poised to purchase over the next two years," RBC said.

A large majority of Canadians, 83 per cent, remain positive that home ownership is a good investment.

In a marked change from last year, 54 per cent of Canadians believe housing prices will be lower in 2009, up from 31 per cent in 2008.

Financial Post, with files from Business Reporter

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Optimism returning to housing market, RBC survey finds

Confidence appears to be seeping back into the housing market, with young Canadians the most optimistic that now is a good time to buy, according to the Royal Bank of Canada's annual homeownership survey.

Thirty-year-old David Morris, who owns a condominium in downtown Vancouver, is among those actively planning to purchase a home. He's looking to sell his condo and trade up to a house in Vancouver's trendy Kitsilano or North Shore districts – a move that would have been out of his reach in the overheated real estate market of recent years.

Falling prices, low interest rates – and the fact that he is getting married at the end of this year – have factored into Mr. Morris' decision to buy.

“We have made the decision to move forward. It's not a situation where we're going to force it, but if we can find the right house for the right price, we have made the decision to get serious about it,” said Mr. Morris, a commercial real estate broker.

"From a buyer's perspective, it's encouraging …Now is a good time to come in and find a home that you love, that isn't going to break the bank.”

In a survey of 2,026 Canadian consumers, conducted in the second week of January, the Royal Bank found that 65 per cent of respondents believe it is a buyers' market now.

Of those surveyed, 9 per cent said it is “very likely” they will purchase a home or condominium in 2009 or 2010, and another 18 per cent rated the prospect of purchasing a new home as “somewhat” likely.

“Additionally, almost half indicate it makes sense to buy a home now versus waiting until next year.”

Young adults and renters are most likely to spark an upsurge in home sales, Royal Bank said in releasing its survey results.

“In the under-35 group, 48 per cent said they plan to buy, which is up sharply from 36 per cent last year. Renters also appear to be saying they are tired of paying someone else's mortgage payment, with 38 per cent planning to become homeowners in the next two years.”

Although this optimism is not reflected in the most recent sales statistics – the volume of sales in the Toronto area, for instance, was down 47 per cent year-over-year in January – Royal Bank predicts that lower prices will lure a growing percentage of Canadians back into the housing market in the next two years.

Toronto real estate agent Geon van der Wyst noted that consumers do not always follow through on their intentions

– although it is encouraging that more Canadians appear to be thinking about buying homes.

“Intention is the step prior to making an educated decision… and I'm sure a lot of those people with intentions will move forward with purchases, it's just a matter of finding the right time,” Mr. van der Wyst said.

Karen Leggett, the Royal Bank's head of home equity financing, said low mortgage rates “and favourable housing prices are influencing home purchase intentions this year and may be the reason why more Canadians are poised to purchase over the next two years.”

Ms. Leggett said the poll, conducted for the Royal Bank by Ipsos Reid, found that the vast majority of Canadians believe that the purchase of a home is a good investment. “The current economic environment does not appear to have dampened Canadians' overall confidence in the housing market,” she said.

Mr. van der Wyst said there are good deals to be had, from the buyers' standpoint.

However, he added, many prospective buyers – particularly first-time buyers – are still uncertain about the best time to plunge into the market.

“We tend to hand-hold these first time-buyers, nervous first-time buyers, especially around here where they know the prices are starting to dip – and who knows where they will continue to dip before the recovery starts?”

Mr. van der Wyst said that, especially in the current economic environment, he screens prospective buyers carefully before taking them to look at properties. He noted that the banks are also “pretty stringent” in qualifying consumers for mortgages.

“Interest rates are at historic lows and borrowing money is very, very affordable. If you have steady employment and you have some financial responsibility along with a good interest rate, now is a really, really good time to purchase a property,” said Mr. van der Wyst, an agent with Royal LePage.

“At this time,employment stability is very important. It would be really unfortunate to see someone lose their job just as they were about to close on a property,” he said.

A number of leading Canadian economists have observed that Canada's rising unemployment rate has eroded consumer confidence, and other recent housing forecasts have been less upbeat than the Royal Bank survey.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. projects that, in spite of falling prices, the volume of existing home sales is expected to drop by 14.6 per cent in 2009, and then rise by 9.3 per cent in 2010.

Average home prices are forecast to fall 5.2 per cent to $287,900 in 2009. Next year, prices are expected to remain flat, according to the federal housing agency's forecast.

Ms. Leggett said Royal Bank is not forecasting “a huge housing rebound, by any stretch,” but there are reasons for cautious optimism that the market will start to recover later this year and next year.

Following the overheated market and bidding wars of the past few years, housing is once again becoming more affordable and there are good buying opportunities for consumers “who have good solid certitude around their job prospects and have the financial picture to be able to get into the market,” Ms. Leggett said.

“Buying intentions are one thing. Whether they translate into actual purchases, obviously time will tell,” she said. “But, anecdotally, we are hearing that there is heightened activity …and interest in the marketplace overall.”

to view the site where were pulled this great article

Click Here

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Buyer’s market back In Kelowna

This past weekend I read a great article in the Kelowna Daily courier Business section Saturday Feb 21 by Steve MacNaully.

I agree 100% and would add that the Okanagan Real Estate market is traditionally made up of 48% local buyers, 28% Alberta buyers, 20% Vancouver buyers and 4% everyone else.

That means that for the last 3 months we have had local buyers driving our market.

I would anticipate that when the snow is gone from the Rogers Pass and the Coquihalla Hwy we will see a return of our rubber tire traffic bringing buyers from Alberta and Vancouver.

This is an opportunity for wise investors to buy when inventory is high, prices are soft and interest rates are low. Fill your boots!

Bert Chapman
Managing Broker

Rather than saying house values are dropping, think of it as the market getting more affordable.

By Steve MacNaull / The Okanagan Saturday

Let’s flip he numbers around, suggested Coldwell Banker Realty Canada president John Geha during a stop in Kelowna this week. Instead of six per cent unemployment, there’s 94 per cent employment.

And rather than house values dropping, the market is getting more affordable. “Real estate is a commodity that will not and cannot disappear,” said Toronto-based Geha.

We live in it and we worship in it. We need and want it. And no matter how many downturns there are in the market, real estate eventually always goes up in value. As the shock of the recession wears off, consumers will start to realize that now is a good time to buy while prices are down, according to Geha. Rock bottom mortgage interest rates designed to instill consumer confidence are another bonus. “It will be real estate that starts to stimulate the economy, “said Geha.

“Building or buying a house starts a whole ripple effect that includes manufacturing to make the equipment that digs the hole and make the materials that go into a home, to retail for home items and services like painting, realtors and lawyers.”

Geha became Coldwell Banker Canada President earlier this month after moving from Toledo, Ohio to take the job. “The Canadian real estate market and economy are on better ground than the U.S. he said. “Canada does not have the same mortgage industry (as the U.S.’s problematic sub-prime model) and it is good at exporting and attracting foreign investment and tourism.”

Coldwell Banker Canada controller Anthony Montanaro accompanied Geha on the trip to lead a seminar for local Coldwell Banker realtors on getting through tough times. “Most agents have only known good times. They’ve never been through a downturn,” he said. “We’re telling them to reach out to past clients and tell them that now is a good time to sell their existing home and trade up.”

Kelowna Coldwell Banker broker Gary August concurs. “Smart buyers are taking advantage of low interest rates and the 20 to 25 per cent price drops of the pst six months to buy or trade up.

The most active price range is more affordable homes under $500,000.” he said.
August also urged those in the Okanagan to stop listening to the grim American news.

“It’s not as bad in Canada,” he said. Things will start getting better by the end of the year.”