Neighbourhood Watch

Just about anyone who scours real estate listing finds certain neighbourhoods to their liking. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed quite a few areas that I like, but one part of a certain neighbourhood has caught my particular attention: it’s the “Peers Creek” area in Strawberry Vale (Saanich West). Its a newer development with “executive” type houses just off Wilkinson Road with houses ranging from brand-new to ten years old. The reason that I’ve being paying attention to Peers Creek is that close to half the houses in this neighbourhood have been re-sold/bought in the past few years.

I have a number of theories with no ability to prove any of them. The houses in this neighbourhood are obviously desirable, but are typically selling for 5% to 10% below original asking price (the MLS numbers typically get updated when the price drops). Are owners deciding at mortgage renewal time that the cost of ownership is just too much? Is the rush-hour traffic getting backed up on Burnside, Helmcken and Interurban just too much to contend with? Are the big houses but little yards not as thrilling as expected? Whatever the reason, I can’t help but wonder if there are other neighbourhoods in Victoria that have seen similar high turnovers .

Which neighbourhoods do you watch? 


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43 thoughts on “Neighbourhood Watch

  1. I’ve driven through single roundabouts in various neighbourhoods that people still don’t understand how they work. Lots of confusion about roundabouts in general in greater Vic.

  2. It isn’t really confusing but just way overbuilt. I drove through dozens of these kinds of double roundabout overpasses in Scotland and they were all much more compact and easy to navigate.

  3. Four years! I hoping that it can be completed in eighteen months, but I haven’t seen any plans. Designing it so that Mckenzie/Admirals goes under the highway (rather than over) should be the quicker option to build.

    I that agree there will be significant headaches with rerouted traffic during construction.

  4. Makes sense.
    “the doctor shortage is exacerbated during the summer season when many physicians, locums and walk-in clinic doctors are on vacation at the same time as the population of the city swells due to tourism.”

    That and too many people moving to Vic. Time for all the heartland physicians in their dying towns to shut er down, and move to paradise.

  5. If you are one of a gazillion seniors chomping at the bit to move to Victoria, would you seriously move here if you knew you had no hope in hell of finding a regular family doctor and now walk-in clinics even bailing on people now ? I know I wouldn’t.

    Health is #1 concern to seniors and I find all these polls of people wanting to retire here nothing but a fantasy. Ever been to Emerg lately ? The seniors on ambulance gurneys are lined up out the door.

  6. Agreed it will help those needing to bail out on McKenzie or have to go to Pat Bay but other than that it will need to get rid of the Tillicum light as well. Uptown is another story with no clear answer as you can’t get rid of that light.

  7. I think it will push the bottle neck down further too. But it will give motorists a chance to get off the highway and find another route or turn around and go back for dinner.

    I hated being surprised with backed up traffic when going to an appointment. I could have planned another route if I had known about the backed up traffic. But once I was on that highway, I was like a turtle on its back in the mid day sun. No place to get off or turn around.

    Even sets of camera showing the highway traffic before leaving to go home or to work would help.

  8. Won’t be finished for 4 years with worse headaches til then just trying to reroute the traffic flows. I don’t see any change in house prices out there. Something tells me all it will do in the end is push the traffic flow down to another set of lights but that’s just me the optimist. 😉

  9. A few years back, I read a study about North American highways … It stated that whenever the capacity of a highway is increased, it reaches saturation within about 15 years. This seems about right for the section of the Trans-Canada from McKenzie through Millstream Road (p. 32). Highway expansion work started there in 1995 and I would suggest that capacity was filled by 2010 …

  10. As someone who commutes to and from Sidney I love that interchange. Night and day from before when the lights were there. It’s really not that confusing imho.

  11. It could be short term. Theoretically more people moving to the suburbs will increase traffic and we will be back to where we are now a dozen years from today. But that’s a dozen years of taking advantage of price changes.

  12. Watching. I took some Netflix profits out to have some cash ready. So I do plan to do another buy. I just want to see where it’s at over a little more time though. They have a high valuation but not ridiculous IMO. Profits are good, growth is good, lots of cash and little debt. They are well established in a space that’s going to get much bigger. So from a long perspective it looks pretty solid to me.

  13. … some hoods are going to take a hit for the team.

    You are proposing that the new McKenzie interchange could causes prices in the Burnside/Tillicum neighbourhoods to drop as people move to newer homes in Langford (where prices would increase). If this happened, I would expect it to be a short-term pattern as if prices in Burnside/Tillicum lowered significantly, then the demand in these neighbourhoods would increase again. There has already been some renewal in Burnside/Tillicum/Glanford neighbourhoods with small, old homes being replaced with new construction. (That said, Saanich needs to plan for future road and utility upgrades on residential streets in these neighbourhoods.) Traffic gets backed up through these neighbourhoods during rush hour – particularly along Tillicum, Burnside and Interurban roads. I expect that the new McKenzie interchange will alleviate this …

    So where are you going to buy now to maximize appreciation?

    It depends whether you are buying a house as a home or an investment … I’ve always considered a house a rent-avoidance strategy. 😛

  14. It will be interesting to see how the new interchange effects prices along the highway corridor. While most of us may be able to envision that house prices decrease in concentric circles radiating out from the downtown core, that is a very simplistic view.

    Arterial roads, and neighborhood centers alter the pattern of land prices significantly. And since demand will be shifting along the corridor so will prices. Rising in some areas and declining in others.

    People like to have a distance from their work. That’s one of the many reasons why Oak Bay is popular. It is close enough to downtown but not too far away either. The same with Gordon Head as it is still close enough but far enough to keep the problems of a downtown core from affecting the neighborhood.

    Since the new interchange will be decreasing driving times to Langford, And possibly diverting more vehicles to travel along Shelbourne and Mckenzie. This could make the commute from Langford to the city on par with Gordon Head to the City. And that might help retail stores in Victoria city on week ends.

    However, some hoods are going to take a hit for the team. Those are the middle ground neighborhoods like Burnside and Tillicum. There will be less of a reason to buy in these hoods because in another 15 minutes you can be living in a newer subdivision with sidewalks, underground wiring, cul-de-sacs and tree lined streets rather than a house built in the 1950’s.

    So where are you going to buy now to maximize appreciation?

  15. Dasmo, did you decide to cut your losses on PayPal? Or are you adding? Just trying to decide when to buy some. I’ve often used Paypal and somewhat interested in owning some.

  16. This summer just keeps getting worse for bears. Rates keep dumping and houses keep selling like hot cakes. Now they’re building an interchange out to the sticks! Why bears will soon have to settle for a condo out in sooke if this keeps going.

  17. That’s pretty neat. Anyone here who could do that for Vic?
    Here’s the major office & commercial projects for starters.

  18. There’s a lot of capital starting to pour into Victoria. I noticed they’re already blasting on the Two Towers. One would think some of the best areas to buy right now would be Central Park/Fernwood (Marko’s no dummy) or maybe where DavidL was discussing with the 85 million interchange announced today.

    “Jawl Properties had initially planned to build only the six storey phase while the 13-storey tower had no definitive construction date confirmed. However, market demand proved so strong the developer is now building both phases concurrently.”

  19. I get a 1 percent increase in the median Sales to Assessment ratios for the two months of May and June and an increase from $618,750 to $629,900 or 1.8% in the median price for houses in the core. With the number of house sales in the core districts actually dipping from 278 in May to 261 in June.

    Teranet numbers seem to be in the ball park if you just consider the premium detached house market in the core.

    However, I would have to add the disclaimer that estimates from smaller geographical areas or types of properties will have more variability. There simply isn’t enough data on a month to month basis. The error in the data could be +/- 2 percent by itself. That’s one of the reasons why I believe that Victoria shouldn’t be included in the Teranet study. It’s too small of a market.

    At least Teranet should come clean and state the size of their sample. You might be surprised to find that their numbers are based only on a dozen or two dozen re-sales. However, it does provide an independent confirmation in the direction of prices.

    This doesn’t mean that your house or neighbors went up in price. Just the market in general. You would have to be a lot more specific about the type, size and location of a property to say if it has or has not increased in value. Because not all properties appreciate at the same rate as others.

    And that’s something that I find when looking at appreciation rates for older versus newer condos.

    As Michael said, he doesn’t want to walk away from money. And that would also mean you would need to know what to buy and not buy just anything because you need to get into the market.

    For example, if you knew for sure that the number of young urban professionals moving to Victoria was declining would that change your mind in buying a downtown condo? If you knew for sure that the new interchange at McKenzie would half commuter time would that change where you would buy a home?

  20. Interesting points. I remember touring a new custom-built high end Central Saanich home in 2004. The new owner was gushing on about the crown moulding and wainscoting. From what I could see, all the edges were improperly aligned and there appeared to be shrinkage with the wood used for window and floor trim (not kiln dried?). I could have just been a really bad carpenter, but from what I remember – at that time construction work was so easy to find that if you had a pulse, you got hired!

  21. Myself, I prefer not to walk away from money. I mean, why not grab your piece of the pie.

    Reuters UPDATE 1-Canadian home prices rise in June, pace of growth increases
    “Leading the monthly gains were Victoria at 2.6 percent…”

  22. Hardiplank does not make the home airtight from the exterior, in fact rain screen does the opposite. Depending on the design of the home (height/overhangs) you may never have water hitting your hardiplank and then if it does or you have wind driven rain you have the Tyvek installed.

    If you drive around you’ll notice a lot of projects are Tyveked but the exterior install has not started. This is common practice to pass insulation inspection and allow for drywall to start.

    There was no risk out of the ordinary taken. At every single point I had moisture/humidity levels checked in every room (insulation, drywall, hardwood floors, etc.) it was all well below acceptable cut-offs.

  23. Fernwood, as a neighbourhood, wasn’t one we necessarily watched but, in the end, couldn’t help but notice. We looked at a couple houses there during the spring and early summer but were blown away by how much interest there was in houses that weren’t all that great.

    One in particular we went to see the first day it was on the market. In the end the sellers received four offers that day and had it sold by dinner time. All this after telling perspective buyers that they needed 24 hours to arrange viewings.

    It really makes you wonder if you actually like the house or are just supposed to like it because several other people do. Looking back we are so glad we walked away from that place.

  24. You took a chance on your own home drywalling the interior before it was airtight from the elements. If it hadn’t worked it was going to be on your shoulders and your check book.

    You gambled and you won.

    Like a roofer that doesn’t tarp before leaving for a long weekend and then it rains.

  25. “I remember doing a inspection on one the homes in this development where they were mudding the interior walls before the exterior siding was installed.”

    I did this on my personal home as a result of the exterior siding contractor not being able to do the job at the last minute (and a three month wait for anyone else). You are just required to install the Tyvek to pass the insulation inspection and then you can do the drywall. In terms of vibration the nails go through the hardiplank through the strapping through the sheeting…there isn’t a lot of vibration getting to the drywall. I didn’t end up with any nail pops or drywall deficiencies after the exterior was installed.

  26. Don’t I know it! I have a position. Ugh. C series is a nice plane. Still hoping for an upside when / if sales start picking up. I beleive this is a big motivator to drop the dollar….

  27. Short Bombardier!… it sure has been falling from the skies since the start of the year. That’s one stock we should all enjoy seeing go under as it will save every taxpayer money.

  28. Hopefully we get a McKenzie interchange announcement today…but I suppose that would just push the bottlenecks to other intersections.

  29. I certainly wouldn’t want to short any of the American building supply companies.

    How about publicly traded Canadian construction companies? I don’t know if these companies are publicly traded but companies on the scale of Bossa? CITA? Genstar?

    As I said, I wouldn’t know how to short Canadian real estate. It would take gigantic sums of money held by an investment group. Not my shtick.

  30. I’ve been through several of the homes in that subdivision during construction. Very big and very expensive homes but I thought the developer didn’t exercise enough control on the home builders in that development. You could have a professional contractor building beside a taxi driver or fireman that built houses in their off time.

    It’s starting to show in some of today’s re-sales that homes constructed in the very busy 2003 to 2009 period were not built as good as they should have been. Some developments are worse than others where you had one subcontractor doing most of the development because he was cheap and fast. Then you get a lot of the homes in the development with the same problems liking sloping slab foundations or poorly laid tile work.

    I remember doing a inspection on one the homes in this development where they were mudding the interior walls before the exterior siding was installed. That isn’t the proper sequence when building a home because the drywaller has to make a lot of repairs after the exterior workers start hammering on the outside walls. And if it rains!

    A professional builder would not allow this. A guy who drives a hack and is also the builder will tell the drywaller to go ahead, as the taxi driver wants it built and sold quickly.

    Maybe before buying a newer home, you should find out who the builder was. And check them out with the BBB.

    A professional builder ALWAYS builds with permits.

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