MAY... All Your Real Estate Dreams Come True

This is always a busy time of year in Real Estate, and 2018 is proving to be no exception! The number of listings coming on each week is exciting for those who are scouring the market for their dream home! There are more listings now available this year, than last year, and we are only half way through the month of May. Delayed offers are proving to be the norm and not the exception, so make sure all your "ducks are in a row" and you are ready to move forward if you see a property that checks all your boxes. According to a recent CIBC Capital Markets report, 47% of all existing mortages will need to be refinaced in 2018. This increase was an unintended consequence of regulatory changes that have come in waves over the last years. The purpose of the regulatory changes was to reduce risk in the marketplace but, because of rising house prices, it has also made it harder for home-buyers to qualify. Be sure about where you stand, and do not think you can wait until the last moment to secure financing.

Victoria is highly rated by many media publications who have written articles about our fine city, which reinforces my belief that Victoria is only now, being discovered by the rest of the world. Christie's International Real Estate was quoted in the Times Colonist basically saying that the company has ranked Victoria in it's top spot for it's global luxury housing list. I think we need to take this all with a grain of salt . Within the same article Kyle Kerr, the Victoria Real Estate Board President, questions whether there has been, or indeed will be, an influx of American and Asian buyers. Last year the province studied the numbers of sales to foreign buyers and we know they come in betwen 3.9 to 5.5 %. Nevertheless, the media has pegged Victoria as a popular, coveted place to live and visit!    Conde Nast, ranks it as the second most romantic city outside of the USA. Read here how we even beat out Florence! The Wall Street Journal wrote an article in which they freed us from the old tag-line of the city of "The Newlywed and Nearly Dead". Well, thank goodness. We were even the feature city in the travel story the New York Times writes for their 36 hours in a city. Read where their writers spent their time in and around Victoria and where they chose to eat. It's kind of fun and maybe you will discover something you have't done yet. So, let's be clear, it is not only the Canadians from snowy climes who are looking for a place here to call home. 

         Where is Your Favorite Ice Cream In Victoria???

Here are some you might not have tried yet.       

Beacon Hill Drive Inn has been a soft serve institution since 1958. Located close to Beacon Hill Park it is far too easy stop once your walk on Dallas road is completed. Join the line up and see why they have been voted best soft serve ice cream in Victoria for 23 years straight.

126 Douglas Street 

Chocolate Favoris has arrived from Quebec and has a prime spot downtown. Locals and tourists alike do not seem to mind standing in line for one of their dipped cones. Do not let your eyes be bigger than your stomach! A small is big enough for any grown up.

1010 Government Street

Cold Comfort started out at the Moss Street Market but within a short time found a storefront in Fernwood. We are happy. Their ice cream sandwiches are to die for!

115 North Park Street

Parachute has a byline that suggests that ice cream is the solution to all problems. Many would agree! This is one that needs to be tested by the family but I am sure it will be a hit. They have a location at uptown for this summer but you can also find them at there main location.

2626 Bridge Street

Kid Sister began as a paleta shop (Think popsicle but better!) and now they make small batches of ice cream with big flavours and their delicious paletas too! FYI you get scoops but no cones. 

Fan Tan Alley


Jackson's is serving up it's ice cream from two places. Fisherman's Wharf is one and they also they have a roving ice cream truck! Listen for the bell or grab a cone and check out the houseboats. 

Erie Street

Coming up around Town

Newport Realty sponsors many events in the community and one of our favorites is coming up in June. The JazzFest! It is the 35th year that this event has run and it has adapted and changed with the times to remain a premier event in the city. Macy Gray, St. Paul and the Broken Bones and Jamison Ross may be some names you are familiar with, but there are so many more fabulous acts to see, you will have a hard time deciding. Check it out here.

Jazzfest runs June 22-July 1 at many different venues around town. There are even free concerts offered in Centennial Square! 


More Music

Our friends in the Millie's ( a local trio of lovely voices and people) has recorded a CD and they are having a performance and release party at Langham Court on June 27th. You can have a listen and buy tickets through the link.

It is summer BBQ season...

and there is always someone new to meet at your friend's gathering. This is a list of icebreakers for work team building, but I think they are appropriate and very helpful for simply getting to know someone new. Isn't the advice, when you don't know how to start a conversation, to just get people to start talking about themselves? Hope you find these helpful.



Enjoy your month and check back here in mid June for more Real Estate News and well, whatever else strikes my fancy to write about! 



April in Victoria is Pretty Great

Dont Forget This New CRA Tax Rule!!


It is hard not being smug when you live here. Easter weekend was for the most part sunny and warm, but don't tell that to friends or family in Edmonton or Calgary. The climate patterns are all over the map these days. Someone said to me the other day that cruise ships heading up to Alaska have been able to alter their start dates because the winter snow and ice are not as much of a factor as they used to be on route to the North. 

This time of year always brings a rush of activity to the market with the number of listings increasing, as people love to sell when their garden is looking its best. After many years we finally completely fenced our yard and the garden is once again taking shape. The deer had free rein for years and ravaged it mercilessly. The fruit trees all were eaten back and left for dead and our raspberry canes were trampled. My wife Sue and I have spent some backbreaking hours weeding the vegetable garden beds and we will slowly start to plant for a bit of a summer harvest. Garlic was planted in the fall and it is coming up nicely. Raspberries, rhubarb and a thornless blackberry were next and some peas and sweet peas have been planted. It was nice to have some onions and shallots last year so we will do that again. With the weather warming up soon, we hope to plant some lettuce and kale, and then round things out with some beans and basil. Asparabroc is new to us... always fun to try something new. Look at the size of the morel mushroom Sue found in the veggie garden last year. You can judge the size next to her index finger. And no, we didn't make mushroom soup out of it.


As promised, here are FOUR of my most


1. My kitchen and ensuite bathroom are really outdated. Should I put money into fixing them up before I put my home on the market? I think it really depends on the house. If your home has been beautifully updated but the kitchen and bathroom are lacking I think its worthwhile (if you have the budget for it). However, I think you should keep the design and palette neutral (no accent colours please!). Alternatively, if the bathroom and kitchen are from the same era as the rest of the home, I think it might be wasted money. Of course this depends greatly on many other factors - your personal motivation, time impediments, permitting process to get the work done and availibility of trades (unless you are capable of doing it yourself).

2. Why is everyone these days holding off listing until the spring? The market seems flooded then with inventory. Is there a benefit to listing in a quieter time of year? Is your market very active? Is there an imbalance between inventory and buyers? If the answer is yes, then I would say any time is a good time (with the caveat that I would avoid August and most of December). The advantage of course is that fewer people are selling during the shoulder months, so you have less competition for that perfect buyer. 


3. We have been trying to put offers in on places and have lost out a few times. Should we make our offer unconditional? I am never comfortable with uncondtional offers. They are very stressful for everyone. However, if the situaton warrants it then try to be as prepared as possible. Have your Realtor review all permit documentation, the Heritage registry, zoning limitations, bylaw complaints. I would even suggest, if time permits, to review the OCP (official community plan) and see if there is anything afoot in the local neighbourhood. If possible, do a pre-inspection (the big drawback of course is that if you have to do this multiple times it can get expensive) which may require building inspection as well as scoping the perimeter drains and of course for older homes, an oil tank scan. 


 I said that I would pass on more information about the Victoria Consevatory of Music Garden Tour that Newport Realty helps to sponsor. The dates are Saturday May 12th and Sunday May 13th. The tickets are $35.00 each and that allows you access to 10 gardens which each have VCM students, faculty and guest musicians entertaining throughout the day. It is a wonderful event and I am sure it will become an annual outing as it is so much fun looking beyond someone's garden gate. Enjoy this promotional video and use this link to purchase tickets.




When we moved to Victoria we bought a house in Rockland and this amazing Cherry tree came with it. It's incrediblly beautiful and although its showing its age, its blossoms are prolific. 



Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House in Chicago


I am so lucky to have friends who like to cook and entertain, and it is always nice when we share in the duties of making the meal. I enjoy making desserts and so that is often what I contribute. Here is one of my favorites!

Log Cabin Nut Bars

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees

 Prepare 9 x 13 baking pan by lining it with parchment paper so it comes up the sides (this creation is GOOEY so you will need the paper)


2 1/3 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup cold butter

1 large egg (lightly agitated)

Whisk flour sugar, bp and salt

Blend in buter with your fingers or pastry blender or even pulse in a food processor until mixture resembes course meal.

Turn out dough and knead a few times on counter

Press into pan and...

Bake 15/20 minutes or until edges are golden and starting to pull away from edges

Cool for about 20 minutes


1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup packed light golden sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup butter cut into pieces

2 tbs whipping cream

1 cup whole almonds toasted

1 cup hazelnuts toasted with skins removed (do your best, I know this is a pain)

1 cup cashews, salted and roasted

1 cup pistachios, salted and roasted

Bring syrup, honey, sugar and salt to a boil in a large heavy saucepan over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved. 

Boil for 2 minutes without stirring

Add butter and cream and boil, stirring for 1 minute

Remove from heat and stir in all nuts until coated

Spread mixture evenly over crust and bake until top is caramleized and bubbling - about 15-20 minutes.

Cool completely before cutting into squares

Store for three months in freezer before eating (Ok I'm kidding. Indulge!)

Next month is our youngest daughters graduation ceremony from high school. GULP! It is sure to be a hectic month as the market is becoming busier every day. Take some time to check my blog in May for Real Estate news and other fun and informative information.


News From The Rock: Spring 2018


This Could Be Your Next Home!

I am aiming to write one Newsletter/ Blog a month and I will endeavour to share information about the Real Estate Market in Victoria and the Capital Region. In addition, there will be links to articles and information about some of my favourite things too: travel, food, the outdoors, events around the city and so much more! Feel free at anytime to unsubscribe, I know the inbox can get rather full.



What's Happening In The Market??

The sentiment above might be a good one if you are an owner of Real Estate in Victoria, but I would not recommend waiting any longer if you want to purchase. There is low inventory (Victoria Real Estate Board statistics show a 7.3% decline from Dec/17 to Dec/18) and the pickings are slim, but I don't see the prices dropping much, as everyone wants to live in Victoria! In the spring, the number of houses listed does increase, so there is hope, but we have to get used to the fact that these days it is pretty rare that a desirable property does not have multiple offers. According to Feb./March issue of Douglas Magazine and their quote of Kyle Kerr, VREB president, he says he doubts that we will see the booming price increases of previous years, largely because 85% of buyers in the VREB region are local. He states, "Since local salaries aren't likely to go up by 25%", Kerr says, "I can't see housing prices climbing astronomically again". Mortgage rules and the Stress Test all had an effect on the end of 2017, and the new proposed changes on property ownership by the NDP Government will be another thing for people interested in investment properties to consider. This Government document about the speculation tax may be of interest. Stay tuned for there are sure to be more changes a foot. Just after posting more information has been released by the BC Government. Have a read.

Around Town

 The Licorice Ferns are out on Pkols, formerly Mt. Douglas Park. A hike on the weekend also allowed my wife Sue and I to see Shooting stars and Fawn lilies! Check out the other easily accessible parks like Mt. Tolmie for the Camas in April and Playfair Park and U Vic Finnerty Gardens in April and May for the Rhododendrons. The Government House Gardens are free to the public and are open dawn to dusk all year round. Truly epic views can be had towards the Olympic mountains from the terraces on the Southern Side. 

What's Coming Up? 


Every year in May, Newport Realty helps sponsor the Mother's Day Garden Tour weekend, with proceeds going to the Victoria Conservatory of Music. This year treat someone special to the Garden Tour and support a good cause.

I hope that you have enjoyed my Blog! Coming up next time some Frequently Asked Questions as well as a favourite recipe!

Warm Regards, Colin

MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.