October 11th to 17th marked this year’s Homelessness Action Week in Greater Victoria. Imagine yourself experiencing poverty, down to your last few dollars of the month and you need to make a choice between food for your family, or toilet paper. Guess what? Food always wins. This means many individuals and families in Victoria actually greatly appreciate the luxury of toilet paper. Something we flush down the toilet every single day can literally change lives. TP the Town aims to raise 50,000 rolls of toilet paper for people in need.
This year two agents from the Macdonald Realty Victoria office, Tracy Keenan-Whyte and Dane Kingsbury, participated in this wonderful community event!
Here Tracey shares their experience:
“My colleague Dane & I got out there early this morning to collect rolls of toilet paper – yes you read correctly – to support Homelessness Action Week in Victoria. Last year over 48,000 rolls were raised, and together we are hoping to reach 50,000 this year. A HUGE THANK YOU!! to all the households that donated – we applaud you. Something as simple as TP that we take for granted everyday is a luxury for many folks. And when it comes to making budget decisions as the month nears its end – food always comes first. Big thanks again to all of our donors…Dane & I picked up over 400 rolls of TP this morning!”
Stay tuned for more spotlights on our REALTORS® active in British Columbia communities!
Half a million residents were without power after the latest wind storm hit the lower mainland in late August. 300,000 hectares of BC forest have burned this summer. And, of course, we have the ever present threat of “the big one” earthquake.
Now is the time to review and prepare your emergency kit. Recheck batteries, food and water supply expiry dates and fill in any pieces you are missing. Experts agree you need to be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours following a disaster.
10 Essentials for your Emergency Kit
- Water — At least two litres of water per person per day; include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order
- Food that won’t spoil, such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (replace food and water once a year)
- Manual can opener
- Crank or battery-powered flashlight (and extra batteries)
- Crank or battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)
- First aid kit
- Extra keys to your car and house
- Some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills and change for payphones (if you can find one)
- A copy of your emergency plan and contact information
- If applicable, other items such as prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities, or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal (personalize according to your needs)
Click here to order Emergency Preparedness Kits for the Home or Car from the BC Government (1-6 person kits available)
This article was originally posted on CBC News, October 17th, 2013.
In June, Macdonald Realty agents, staff, frends and sponsors gathered for an afternoon in the sun at the Annual Charity Golf Tournament, held at Burnaby Mountain Golf Course.
Photos from this fun event can be found on our Facebook page.
Thank You to everyone who sponsored the event, as well as all the attendees!
It’s that time of year again when it’s on all of our minds. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite ways to experience life and love in Whistler…. Happy Valentines Day from Macdonald Realty! Enjoy Romantic Whistler.
Catch a Sleigh Ride
Glide through the snow drawn by gentle, giant Percheron horses. Sip hot chocolate or add a gourmet fondue dinner for a winter night to remember.
Click Here to book your perfect romantic evening out.
Unique Alpine Dining at the Fairmont Whistler
A crackling log fire, warm hospitality and hearty alpine cuisine set the stage for a unique dining experience in Whistler at The Chalet at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler hotel. Click Here for reservations.
Ice Skating Under the Stars
It doesn’t get much more romantic than gliding under the stars in the Whistler Olympic Plaza. The open-air ice skating rink is free to use, and ice skate rentals are available for only five dollars!
Stargaze From the Top of the Mountain
If you’re looking for an adventure – albeit, a romantic adventure – you’ll want to check out the night time snowmobile and snowcat rides up to the Crystal Hut on Blackcomb Mountain. Once you’ve reached your destination, you’ll be treated to a candle-lit dinner. Click here for more details.
If you’re ready for some relaxation, you’ll need to check out this gem of a Spa. The Scandinave is best described as an oasis tucked away in the middle of the woods. A perfect gift or moment to share. Indulge in the traditional spa offerings, like a couples’ deep tissue or Swedish massage. You’ll leave feeling like a million bucks. Click here to create a spa package for the one you love.
Blog post provided by Shauna O’Callaghan, a REALTOR® with Macdonald Realty in Whistler. Visit her website shaunaocallaghan.com for more information. Oct 8, 2015.
Metro Vancouver homeowners have grown accustomed to healthy increases on their annual BC Assessment notices, which are now landing in mailboxes.
What’s new this year is that condo values are also rising in the region, after a few flat years that saw condo construction outpace homebuyer demand.
“Condominiums, that’s apartments and townhouses, up until 2014 had been relatively flat over three years,” said Cameron Muir, chief economist of the B.C. Real Estate Association.
Over 2014, however, Muir said condo sale prices have risen in step with inflation. Condo prices in Vancouver and its nearer suburbs were up about two per cent as of July, when B.C. Assessment sets its values for the next year’s assessment roll.
Single-family home values were up a more substantial 6.5 per cent, Muir said, but some of the condo valuations were a departure from the previous year.
“We’re probably looking, in Vancouver, at sales (increases) of 16 to 17 per cent in 2014,” Muir said, “so, there’s much stronger demand, and we’re also seeing inventory levels steadily decline.”
B.C. Assessment doesn’t produce average assessment values for property types in Lower Mainland markets but does highlight representative examples.
In Vancouver, a typical east-side two-bedroom apartment increased 4.7 per cent to $381,000, from $364,000 a year earlier.
On Vancouver’s west side, values for a typical two-bedroom apartment rose 7.5 per cent (to $616,000), in line with the growth in value of a detached home on a 33-foot lot (up 7.5 per cent to $1.575 million).
In its real estate assessments a year ago, B.C. Assessment had highlighted decreasing condominium values in the range of four to five per cent — the second consecutive year that condo prices declined or offered minimal increases.
“Changes within a plus or minus five per cent range, that’s what we categorize as stable,” said Dharmesh Sisodraker, B.C. Assessment’s deputy assessor for the Vancouver Sea to Sky region, which takes in Vancouver and the North Shore all the way to Whistler.
Assessments, which are used by municipalities to set property taxes, tend to lag the overall market by the time they are released.
In east Vancouver, a typical detached house on a 33-foot lot saw an increase of 11.3 per cent, to $993,000.
In Vancouver Heights, typical detached home prices rose five per cent to $955,000.
“(Condominium) prices are still under pressure versus detached homes, mostly because there is so much (condominium) product on the market,” explained Ray Harris, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, and the increases in condo prices are “sporadic.”
In Metro Vancouver, demand for new condos has been in high-growth areas linked to rapid transit, such as the Marine Gateway development at Cambie and Marine in Vancouver or the Metrotown and Brentwood town centres in Burnaby.
“If a complex is in demand and there are not a lot of units in the market, you can get more of a lift,” Harris said.
Suburbs such as Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Moody — communities either on SkyTrain, or where SkyTrain is being built — are among those that have seen modest increases in the range of two to three per cent.
However, the gains weren’t shared equally and some spots still showed decreasing assessment values. B.C. Assessment cited an example at Simon Fraser University’s UniverCity development, where the assessed value of a two-bedroom highrise unit declined 2.5 per cent from 2014.
“There are a few pockets where values decreased slightly,” said Zina Weston, a deputy assessor for B.C. Assessment in its North Fraser region, which takes in the eastern suburbs closest to Vancouver.
“If there is a lot of building that comes on in a short period of time in a finite area, there might be some (downward) pressure on pricing,” Weston said.
Harris added that condo owners trying to re-sell are having a tougher time because developers are selling new units at lower prices than they would be if the market were stronger.
Condo values also declined in Fraser Valley suburbs from Langley to Chilliwack, where single-family home prices are in the reach of more buyers.
Dan Scarrow, a vice-president at Macdonald Realty in Vancouver, added that some municipalities are more encouraging to condo developers and “as a result of that, maybe some areas tend to get overbuilt.”
“Then, in some municipalities, say Vancouver, it is more difficult to get a project off the ground, but demand is actually quite high,” Scarrow added.
Markets that rely on recreational property sales — such as Whistler, the Okanagan and Kootenays, where sales collapsed and values declined following the 2008 recession — also took part in some of the rebound in 2015 assessments.
B.C. Assessment cited examples in Kelowna where assessments were up from four to seven per cent. In Whistler, a typical home in the White Gold area increased in value 7.4 per cent, to $1.06 million.
Homeowners can look up their assessments on the B.C. Assessment website.
This article was originally posted on The Vancouver Sun, January 3, 2015. Written by Derrik Penner.