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Greater Victoria Neighbourhood: Brentwood Bay

Brentwood Bay is a lovely, picturesque village in Central Saanich situated on the Saanich Inlet. It is home to famous attractions as Butchart Gardens, the Victoria Butterfly Gardens and the Brentwood Bay Lodge & Spa. Once a limestone quarry, Butchart Gardens is now filled with flowers, a luxurious 20-hectare estate attracting over one million visitors a year. Victoria Butterfly Gardens houses hundreds of exotic butterflies flying free in an indoor tropical rain forest. Brentwood Bay Resort offers 36 beautifully designed accommodations featuring king-sized beds, down comforters, gas fireplaces, floor to ceiling windows and spa-like bathrooms.

The BC Ferries terminal in Brentwood Bay connects to Mill Bay, providing an alternative travel route to the Malahat for those traveling up-island. Described as the Island’s most Beautiful Shortcut, this is a very convenient and particularly scenic route across the Saanich Inlet.

This rapidly developing village offers excellent accommodation, waterfront restaurants, and all amenities, and is a jumping off point for kayakers, canoeists and mountain hikers. Hiking aficionados will appreciate the excellent hiking and abundance of wildlife in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park which protects one of the last remaining natural areas in Greater Victoria.

Schools include Brentwood Elementary, Bayside Middle School and Brentwood School of Music.

Interesting fact: The town was originally named Sluggett after an early settler, but it was renamed Brentwood Bay for the British town of Brentwood, Essex, hometown of R.M. Horne-Payne, president of the British Columbia Electric Company in the 1920s.


Yacht club’s Sea of Lights

Friday Dec. 6, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s annual Sea of Lights hits the water on December 6th, with boats leaving the Ripon Road club at 6:45 p.m. and passing Cattle Point about 7 p.m. There will be good viewing at Willows Beach about 7:15 p.m., with the Kiwanis Club offering hot chocolate by donation at the Willows Beach pavilion. Hot chocolate and coffee donated by Cadboro Bay businesses will be served.


Selling Your Home During the Holidays?

Some people need to sell over the holidays, and some buyers have no alternative but to buy a home during the holidays. Whether or not it's best to put or to keep your home on the market comes down to personal preference, but there are some benefits and drawbacks you should consider as you make your decision.

Buyers who are looking through Christmas tend to be serious. Few people are ‘kicking tires’ this time of year.

Reduced inventory over the holidays generally means less competition even though the pool of buyers also dips. Canadians from snow-bound areas – meaning most Canadians outside of Victoria – might be motivated to start looking online for a house in our green-year-round city.

If you have a hard-to-sell home with drawbacks and defects, it might rise to the top when there are fewer homes for sale over the holidays.

It's inconvenient during the holidays to always be ready for a home showing at a moment's notice. Not everybody wants to keep the house spic and span when cooking, wrapping gifts, and throwing parties.

You're appealing to a much smaller inventory of buyers.

It's difficult to finance transactions in December if the offer is received mid-month. Buyers who want to close after the New Year will probably make offers in January.

Many Realtors® are taking their vacations in December and unavailable as the market moves into a seasonal slowdown.

Tips for Holiday Showings: 
Scale Back the Holiday Decorations. You don't have to altogether avoid putting up a Christmas tree, menorah, or any other seasonal displays, but you should aim to keep the decorations to a minimum. Don't block or cover selling features such as fireplace mantels, stairs, or stained-glass windows. Too many decorations can be overwhelming and distracting. Don't make the mistake of thinking buyers will "see past it," because they likely will not.

Use Seasonal Smells to Your Advantage. People are motivated to buy through emotion, and some of our deepest and dearest emotions are linked to the smells of the holiday season. Setting out a plate of cookies on the counter along with festive paper napkins for guests or spicy apple cider simmering on the stove along with cups and serving utensils will go a long way to making your home smell wonderful.

If you need to sell or buy your home during the Christmas season, give me a call to discuss strategies.


Surveying Canadians About Debt

Debt is on Canadian’s minds according to a survey conducted by Manulife which, rather alarmingly, is called “Is Household Debt Cracking Canada’s Financial Foundation?” The survey claims two in five of their respondents are worried they will not get out of debt in their lifetime.

However, it goes on to stipulate that most Canadians are comfortable with their mortgage obligations; 73 per cent stating they feel “somewhat or very” comfortable with the amount they owe on their mortgage, and 22 per cent saying they feel “very” comfortable.

How many Canadians currently have a mortgage? 42 per cent own a house or condo and are paying a mortgage. Breaking it down by demographic, 58 per cent of the Gen-Xers, 46 per cent of the Millennials and 30 per cent of the Boomers. They lower number of Boomers with a mortgage is partly because more of them managed to pay it off.


Greater Victoria Neighbourhood: View Royal

View Royal is an attractive, largely residential community in the centre-west part of the Capital Region traversed by Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) and the Island Highway. View Royal contains a rich variety of ecosystems including the salt-water environment of Esquimalt Harbour and Portage Inlet, the blending of salt and fresh waters in Craigflower and Millstream Creeks and their estuaries, and the freshwater ecosystems of Thetis, Prior and McKenzie Lakes. The terrestrial environments are equally interesting and varied, ranging from the moist Douglas Fir forest habitat to the drier, rockier areas that produce the unique Garry Oak meadows.

View Royal is divided into eight neighbourhoods which include Atkins, Burnside, Craigflower, Harbour, Helmcken, Hospital, Thetis and Wilfert. The Victoria General Hospital is centrally located and is one of the largest employers on Vancouver Island accounting for at least one third of the approximately 4,000 jobs in View Royal. Elements Casino on the Island Highway is another large employer and a fun, high energy venue for evening entertainment.

There are many things to enjoy in View Royal. It contains numerous municipal parks and 25 kilometres of trails. The well-known Thetis Lake is along with McKenzie and Pike Lake are contained within the municipality. Beautiful ocean shorelines include sandy beaches with fun-to-explore small caves, large driftwood piles and rocks, starfish, crabs, seals and an abundance of marine life.

Two historic “road houses” or pubs include the Four Mile Pub & Six Mile Pub. both have existed for approximately 150 years.

Craigflower Manor & Schoolhouse Is National Historic Site of Canada as one of four original farms set up by the Hudson's Bay Company which housed the McKenzie family in the Manor, a saw mill, a flour mill, a blacksmith's shop, a brick kiln, slaughterhouse and a general store.
Schools in View Royal include View Royal Preschool and Elementary school, Eagle View Elementary School and Shoreline Community Middle School.

View Royal is a centrally located community gem well worth considering as your next place to live.


FortisBC on Upgrades to Older Apartment Buildings

A new study by FortisBC found that upgrading older apartment buildings and making them sustainable will not only contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions, but also help owners reduce maintenance costs.

Based on the estimates of the study, simple energy-efficiency upgrades have the potential to reduce carbon emissions in British Columbia by about 200,000 tonnes annually, which is equivalent to removing 43,000 gasoline-powered cars from the road.

Around four in five rental apartments in BC were built more than three decades ago to lower efficiency standards, said FortisBC director of conservation and energy management Danielle Wensink.

In 2015, FortisBC began its Rental Apartment Program to help owners in the province upgrade their apartment buildings. The program helps replace ageing and less-efficient boiler systems. Since its launch, it has helped more than 800 buildings across the province receive upgrades like energy-efficient taps, faucets and showerheads that reduce water consumption and energy usage.

One of the achievements of the program is the reduction of domestic hot water-energy use by an average of about 12% per year. The water savings reached the equivalent of filling close to 110 Olympic-sized swimming pools or running a garden hose non-stop for over 20 years. It has also lowered carbon emissions by almost 15,000 tonnes.

Read more at:


Growing population, declining mortgage rates speed up B.C. housing recovery

Bryan Yu is the Deputy Chief Economist for Central 1 Credit Union. Speaking on a report recently released by Central 1, he predicts a stabilization in the pricing along with some upward momentum in the housing market throughout the province.

A tight labour market, immigration and population growth and low mortgage rates are working together to build momentum.

Read the full article here:


Gingerbread for Christmas Event

Love gingerbread houses?

Check out The Habitat for Humanity Gingerbread Showcase, presented by Revera. It’s the ultimate holiday treat full of sensational edible creations which you can donate to vote for your favourite.

All the proceeds support Habitat’s affordable homeownership program. The Gingerbread House Showcase is at the Parkside Hotel and Spa – 810 Humboldt Street.

More info at


Looking at Timeshares Outside of Canada? Three Things to Consider

When you want to travel and spend some time in warmer places, but you can’t get away for an extended period, purchasing a timeshare may seem like the perfect solution. However, many people may not be aware of the potential complications associated with purchasing and/or selling a timeshare located outside of Canada. Here are the three main challenges:

  1. Obtaining a legal opinion is the most significant issue. Lawyers in Canada are not permitted to provide advice on the law in other jurisdictions. If you’re looking at a timeshare in Mexico, you need a lawyer licensed in Mexico to provide a legal opinion. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know which law firms in other countries will be able to best assist you if you’re unfamiliar with the area. You might also face a sizeable retainer fee up front to ensure the legal bills are paid, given that you reside in another jurisdiction.
  2. The decision to purchase a timeshare is often based on the belief you can save money in the long run. That might be true but remember timeshares might be overpriced due to the sales commission inherent in the charge. Don’t sign until you’re satisfied with your own research.
  3. Selling your timeshare and/or terminating the contract early will depend on the documentation you signed when you purchased the timeshare. There are often clauses included in the contract that either do not allow for early termination of a contract, or require you pay a hefty penalty.

My purpose isn’t to dissuade you. A time share might be a good idea for you and your family. The best advice I can give, as always, is do your research – especially when you’re facing high-pressure sales tactics.



RBC Economist Predicts the 2019 Canadian Housing Market is a “Turning Point”

RBC Economist Predicts the 2019 Canadian Housing Market is a “Turning Point”
A report from senior economist Robert Hogue, reflects on a year where the Canadian Housing Market faced challenges but also saw a return to more normal conditions with inventory tightening, buyer demand and prices rising.

He notes that sales in October were 7.3% above the 10-year average and prices increased 1.8% year-over-year as the pace increased over the past four months.

He highlighted the scant housing inventories in Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax and tightening inventory in Toronto and Vancouver.

However, he stated the market is in better shape than it was at the start of 2019 due to low mortgage rates, solid labour markets, and strong population growth in Canada, with the exception of the prairies where sales and prices continue to lag.

His 2020 Predictions:

  • Outside of the Prairies, demand and prices will rise at a moderate pace.
  • Affordability in Toronto and Vancouver will continue to be a concern even after improvement in 2019.
  • The housing market should be further supported by any expansion of the first-time homebuyer incentive.