HHV Changes and Meetups

Who knew me quitting the blog would lead to a revival of HHV?   Thanks to DavidL, House Hunt Victoria was revived last May with the new format and moved to a dedicated site in the fall (if you’re wondering where he went, I didn’t kill him he has been busy with renovations) .   Since May, 60 posts have been published while some 12,000 visitors have viewed 129,000 pages and made almost 4300 comments.

More than ever I believe there is value for prospective house hunters in Victoria to have a source of information that does not come from the real estate industry.  Not just to provide a different lens on the data, but as a way to host diverse discussions on all topics related to renting and buying homes.   For the vast majority, the home they buy (especially in our high-priced market!) will be the single largest investment they will ever make.   If you’re only asking the people trying to sell you the house or the mortgage if you should buy and you can guess what the answer will be.

What makes HHV so interesting is that there is a good mix of people with different viewpoints which leads to active discussion.  Renters, owners, investors, bears, bulls, halibuts, real estate insiders, skeptics, and observers.   Unlike many other housing blogs, the comments are neither an echo chamber nor a toxic dump of vitriol.   Thank you to everyone who reads and comments as you make HHV what it is.

I have a list of things that I would like to work on to improve the site.  On top of the automated stats, I’d like to modernize some of the resources, and collect some of the really useful information that has been discussed here over the years for renters and owners.   I’d like to work on improving the data visualization tools and find ways to make the statistics more meaningful for people who want to understand the market but don’t care to dig into the details.   I’d like to collect statistics on important factors that influence the housing market, like demographics, vacancy rates, and employment rates and provide a way to explore them.  These things will be coming over the next year as time allows.

Implementing these things takes both lots of time and newly some money to run the server and site.  The Victoria housing market and this site has always been a hobby of mine and I don’t expect it to turn into any significant money making venture anytime in the future.   However to ensure that it remains active and continues to be improved, some costs will need to be covered.  So I am introducing “HHV Supporters” who will live in the sidebar of the site.   These will be a limited number of ads for local services relevant to the real estate market.

Now advertising is a contentious issue online, and I’m certainly conscious of the desire not to change what isn’t broken.  I hate intrusive or misleading ads as much as anyone and that will not happen here.  To ensure that the flavour of HHV does not change, the following policy will apply to any advertising.

  • No special treatment for advertisers either in the comments or articles.
  • Advertisers have no influence on site content.  No thinly disguised “guest posts” or other sleazy stuff.
  • Simple images only, set aside from content.  No seizure inducers, no popups.  Again, no sleazy stuff.
  • No questionable advertisers or products (“Click here to meet nearby hot granite countertops!“)

So what will the revenue be used for?  Well outside of covering costs for hosting, domains, and redirects from the old site, I would like to start an HHV Beer Fund.   Back in the beginning of the blog before I started reading the site, there were some in-person meetups that I’d like to revive.  Personally I think it’d be fun to meet some of the blog readers and some free beer to get the conversation started (or to drown your sorrows into) can’t hurt.  So, any interest?  (dasmo you have to bring your cargo bike).  If yes, please leave a comment as well as to how you think it could work.

Would you attend a HHV meetup?

  • Maybe (39%, 24 Votes)
  • Yes (28%, 17 Votes)
  • No (26%, 16 Votes)
  • Eww, blog people smell (7%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 61

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Unrelated update, I’m working on making the trends in the weekly data easier to visualize.  Here’s a start.   Month to date sales volumes are used to estimate what the months of inventory is before the end of the month.

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9 thoughts on “HHV Changes and Meetups

  1. The Village is definitely a local success story – GH is the third location I believe. As long as the success ‘recipe’ doesn’t stray from its beginnings, I think the GH location will do very well.

  2. It was the guy at Township that told me that. Who knows if it will happen.

    The village looks good. I’ve been to another location, looks busy so far will check it out next weekend.

  3. I wonder if we’re going to get more commercial in Gordon head. Outside of Township it’s a wasteland. I heard that the church might be developing some of that land.

    Township is great. That church land is well suited for development. I hadn’t heard that rumour.

    There’s a new restaurant in Torquay Village called — unimaginatively — “The Village.” I haven’t tried it yet, but they’re sure active on Twitter, which is cool.

  4. Here’s a sign of things to come..

    “Julia is one of a growing number of Canadians who plan to downsize their homes when they retire mainly because they will have to. She is 55, self-employed in the arts earning about $40,000 a year before tax, and plans to quit working at age 65. Thanks to soaring Toronto real estate prices, Julia’s house is now valued at $900,000. Three years ago, she borrowed to buy a condo to rent out. So far, it is breaking even, with the rental income just covering the carrying costs…”

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/retirement/retire-planning/when-retirement-dreams-hit-home/article28748719/

  5. Nice summary of what the government could do: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-faces-a-balancing-act-when-it-comes-to-reining-in-skyrocking-houseprices/article28751620/

    “More than 50 economists have now signed off on the proposal for a property-tax surcharge of 1.5 per cent. It would exempt homeowners who live in the property and pay income taxes in British Columbia, and provide incentives to rent the property if the owner doesn’t want to live there.”

    Seems sensible. Although I think it would have to be a 100% surcharge to have any effect.

  6. Talk about useless. Sleazebags won’t rat out their own.

    Real Estate Council won’t investigate ‘bad apples’: Housing critic

    “The province’s self-regulating real estate watchdog is refusing to investigate realtors who may be involved in fraud and money-laundering, even as it’s tasked with investigating possibly widespread problems in the industry, the NDP’s housing critic charged in the BC Legislature.”

    “When the Real Estate Council receives credible information about realtors involved in fraud, or money laundering, they don’t ask police for assistance,” Eby said.”

    “They don’t call the federal anti-money laundering agency FINTRAC. They don’t even open an investigation file.

    “They do nothing,” he said.

    http://bc.ctvnews.ca/real-estate-council-won-t-investigate-bad-apples-housing-critic-1.2776089#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=twitter&_gsc=qt4Prcj

  7. With one hearing out of 500 odd complaints last year, ya wonder why ?

    B.C.’s Real Estate Council warns realtors the public’s confidence in them is shaken by reports of shady dealing

    “B.C.’s Real Estate Council has notified all licensees that the public has lost confidence in the industry and realtors “must always act in the best interests of the client” according to a memo obtained by The Province.”

    http://www.theprovince.com/business/real+estate+council+warns+realtors+public+confidence+them/11718780/story.html

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