Charlie Veaudry

Serving you with passion!

 

More BIG news this month as average median prices have surpassed peak levels of 2008 and have now reached the highest ever in the history of real estate in the North Okanagan Valley. Again, we ask... where will they go from here and how fast? Sales of single family homes in April this year are up 39% over April last year and continues to outperform April sales since 2005! Now, with just 4 months of inventory on the market, April inventory has not been this low since 2007 when we experienced our strongest real estate market in history. As this Sellers’ market gains more momentum we need to find more inventory for these hungry Buyers. If you want to sell your home, now is the best time ever.

 

Sales - The total sales for the 12 months ending April 2016 was at 1,068, up 6% from the 1,007 for the 12 months ending April 2015. Year-to-date sales for 2016 remain strong with a 54% increase over last year. The 12 month average for 2016 has now outpaced 2007/08 and is closing in on 2006/07 sales volume.

 

Inventory - The 12 month average monthly inventory of single family homes is still slightly higher than last year, something that the strengthening sales will eliminate fairly soon. The 12 month average monthly inventory rose 1.5% to 541 for the last 12 months ending in April 2016 compared to 533 for the same period in 2015. Again, we will likely see that reverse as we continue to see strong sales in this spring market. The tightening inventory is pushing us further towards higher prices and a strong market for Sellers. As mentioned earlier, if you want to sell your home, now is a good time.

 

Prices - Here is the BIG news this month!! Prices have surpassed the peak levels of 2007/08! At $364,813, average median prices for the last 12 months ending in April 2016 are now at the highest level in the history of real estate in the North Okanagan Valley! Average median prices rose 5.2% from 12 months ending in April 2015 just one year ago. Average median prices are up 11.8% from 2012/13 the lowest average median price of the last 9 years. This is 1.2% higher than the previously highest prices of 2007/08. With prices now surpassing those previous peak levels, where will they go from here and how fast? If you are a Buyer sitting and waiting on the sidelines, it will cost you more to continue waiting. 

 

Absorption Rate - The rate at which our inventory is being absorbed by sales continues on an upward trend. The average absorption rate of 16.38% over the 12 month period ending April 2016 is up from the 15.22% for the same period last year. However, looking the absorption for the month of April 2016 only, we can see that it is almost double last April and has not been this high for 10 years since April 2006. Also, at the end of April 2016, there were only 4 months of available homes on the market, down one from last month. That is the lowest April inventory since 2007. Not to sound like a broken record... if you want to sell your home, now is the time!

 

The spring market continues on a high note. With the indicators of higher sales, lower inventory AND higher prices, it is looking like 2016 is already a good year for Sellers in the North Okanagan real estate market. Buyers will have to be sharp and ready to move or risk losing out to the ever increasing number of new Buyers entering our market. And the longer Buyers wait in this market, the more they will pay for their home. That is just how the market principle of supply and demand works and there is nothing anyone can do about it. It just is.


If you have any questions about the market, please feel free to contact me at any time. You can go to my stats page here to view the graphs and full detailed data.
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Where do Buyers come from to purchase properties in the Okanagan Valley? If you thought you knew, you may be surprised to learn about some recent shifts as shown in the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) statistics for this first quarter of 2016.

 

The summary highlights are as follows:

  • we have seen significant DECREASE in the number of Buyers coming to the Okanagan Valley from Alberta, from other parts of British Columbia (excluding the lower mainland and Vancouver Island), Ontario, Quebec and the maritimes, and 
  • we have seen significant INCREASE in the number of Buyers coming to the Okanagan Valley from the lower mainland and Vancouver Island, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and from outside of Canada.

 

People come from far and wide to buy homes here in this place I love to call Paradise, the Okanagan Valley. As we see shifts and changes in the global, national and regional economies it is interesting to observe how it affects where the Buyers come from to buy properties in our local Okanagan Valley real estate market.

 

As we look at the regions that show a derease in the numbers of Buyers coming to our area it should be no surprise to see that Buyers from Alberta have dropped off the most. In the 1st quarter of this year, we saw 46.8% fewer Buyers coming here to purchase properties than we saw in the 1st quarter of 2015. That significant drop is easy to understand when we see how the drop in global oil prices has affected employment in the oil industry.

 

It should also come as no surprise to see how that same global oil price phenomenon has impacted the northern regions of BC where local economies are also largely dependent on oil. In the 1st quarter of this year we saw a 37% drop in the number of Buyers coming to the Okanagan Valley from other parts of BC outside of the lower mainland and Vancouver Island.

 

By contrast, it is intersting to observe the difference in the motivations of the few remaing Buyers that are coming here from Alberta and northern BC. From my personal experience working with these Buyers, they are intent on planning for their earlier-than-originally-planned retirement. I hear a lot of... "Why stay in Alberta? We have the only NDP provincial government in Canada and we don't see any big improvements coming to the oil sector in the near future." They are buying Okanagan properties while these properties are still affordable so that they can avoid paying the inevitable higher prices when they retire 5 to 10 years from now.

 

The areas that are the source of the largest increases in our Buyers are markets outside of Canada. Given the low value of our Canadian dollar, it explains why investors from outside of Canada can see better value to owning real estate in Canada. After all, when compared to the US dollar, it looks like Canada is on sale for half price. Buyers from outside of Canada have increased 70% this 1st quarter from the 1st quarter of 2015.

 

We have seen a 40.7% increase in the number of Buyers coming to the Okanagan from the lower mainland and Vancouver Island. The most consistenly compelling story that I am hearing is... "Why wouldn't I sell my Vancouver teardown for $2.2 million. I bought it 15 years ago for $465,000, paid down half my mortgage so I'll just put $1.5 million in the bank and buy a nice Okanagan Lake View home for $550,000 and live happily ever after here in Paradise."

 

The lower value of our currency also makes it more attractive for Canadian Buyers from other parts of Canada to consider investing in the Okanagan Valley as oppsed to the southern US where we saw a lot of our real estate dollars going since 2008. That may explain why we have seen a 27.6% increase in the number of Buyers coming to the Okanagan from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

 

 

The socio-economic stability of Canada combined with the beautiful semi-arid climate of the Okanagan Valley will continue to attract people to our region. This will protect values and encourage continued investment in real estate in the Okanagan / Shuswap region. So continue to feel encouraged about investing in real estate in our Okanagan Valley. Whether you are a new home Buyer, moving up to a bigger home or an investor looking to increase your portfolio, it's a good time to buy property in the Okanagan Valley.

 

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  1. Stock up on your summer reading at the 24th annual booksale at the Armstrong Spallumcheen Museum and Art Gallery at 3415 Pleasant Valley Road, Armstrong. On now until April 17th. 9AM to 6PM (4PM on Sunday).
  2. On Saturday, April 16th at 9:00 am, join the North Okanagan Naturalists’ Club for a Nature Walk around Birdie Lake at Predator Ridge. This is a great way to get out and enjoy nature with some fellow enthusiasts. Spring brings all sorts of wonderful flora and fauna to the area. Meet in the first parking lot after turning right off Predator Ridge Drive onto Village Centre Place. Optional coffee stop after.
  3. A true Okanagan highlight is to take the drive to Enderby and Lorenzo's Cafeto enjoy a night out, a great meal and excellent music. Blackberry Wood is travelling with their own live Circus Side Show and the jazz-gypsy-circus music will have your feet stomping and your toes wiggling. (It's said that hte Circus Side Show includes fire breathing!) Friday, April 22, $10 cover.
  4. Have you ever wanted to know more about the stars? Or perhaps how to take better pictures of them? If so, join the Vernon branch of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for their meeting on Wednesday, April 27th at 6:30pm for a visit from the National President James Edgar and a presentation by Shawn Berglund on AstrophotographyThe meeting will be in the Heritage Hall on the corner next to the Okanagan Science Centre on the east side of Polson Park just off Highway 6. 
  5. On April 30th and May 1st, head on down to the lake for the Annual VYC Boat Show at the Vernon Yacht Club. It's a Free Public Event with fun for the entire family! There will marine demos, boating accessories and hardware, Sailboat trips, face-painting and lots of activities for kids. The fastest boat in Canada, the McLellan F1 will be on display and vsitors have a chance at Raffles and Door Prizes from our many vendors. Please bring a non-perishable Food Item for the Salvation Army Food Bank, your contribution is a huge help to this great organization every year!
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Another month of rising sales and tightening inventory confirms that we are in the strongest spring market since 2008. The BIG news this month is that average median prices are up to the peak levels of 2008. Where will they go from here and how fast? Sales of single family homes in March this year are up 60% over March last year and continues to outperform sales since 2008 and the number of sales is fast closing in on the peak numbers of 2007/08! Now, with just 5 months of inventory on the market, March inventory has not been this low since 2007 when we experienced our strongest real estate market in history. An early look at April shows that month-to-date sales are 125% over last year. The Sellers’ market has gained momentum.

 

Sales - The total sales for the 12 months ending March 2016 was at 1,028, up 3.5% from the 993 for the 12 months ending March 2015. Year-to-date sales for 2016 remain strong with a 65% increase over last year. The 12 month average for 2016 has now outpaced 2015 as I predicted it would last month.

 

Inventory - The 12 month average monthly inventory of single family homes is still slightly higher than last year, something that the strengthening April sales will eliminate quickly. The 12 month average monthly inventory rose 2.5% to 549 for the last 12 months ending in March 2016 compared to 536 for the same period in 2015. Again, we will likely see that reverse as we continue to see strong sales in this spring market. The tightening inventory is pushing us further towards higher prices and a strong market for Sellers.

 

Prices - The BIG news this month is that prices have returned to the peak levels of 2008! At $361,854, average median prices for the last 12 months ending in March 2016 rose 5% from 12 months ending in March 2015 just one year ago. Average median prices are up 11.2% from 2012/13 the lowest average median price of the last 9 years. This is just $384 (one tenth of 1 percent) off of the peak prices of 2008. With prices back to those those peak levels, where will they go from here and how fast?

 

Absorption Rate - The rate at which our inventory is being absorbed by sales has returned to an upward trend. The average absorption rate of 15.44% over the 12 month period ending March 2016 is up from the 14.97% for the same period last year. However, looking at March 2016 absorption we can see that it is almost double last March. Also, at the end of March 2016, there were only 5 months of available homes on the market, down one from last month. That is the lowest March inventory since 2007 and confirming our move towards a solid Seller’s market. 

 

The spring market continues on a high note. With the indicators of higher sales, lower inventory AND higher prices, it is looking like 2016 is already a good year for Sellers in the North Okanagan real estate market. Buyers will have to be sharp and ready to move or risk losing out to the ever increasing number of new Buyers entering our market.

 

For Buyers and Sellers it still remains important to look carefully at comparable sales of similar homes in areas similar to where your home is located. That is our only valid indicator of home values in any market.

 

If you have any questions about the market, please feel free to contact me at any time. You can go to my stats page here to view the graphs and full detailed data.

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Another month of rising sales and tightening inventory shows us that 2016 continues to move us towards our strongest early spring market since 2008. Sales of single family homes in February this year are up 80% over February last year and continues to outperform sales since 2008! Now with just 6 months of inventory on the market, February’s inventory was even tighter than January’s inventory when we should be expecting more listings as we move towards the spring market. An early look at March shows that month-to-date sales are doubled over last year providing further evidence that the North Okanagan real estate market is ready to shine. This is further evidence that we can anticipate a Seller’s market in 2016.

 

Sales - The total sales for the 12 months ending February 2016 was at 991, down only 2.8% from the 1,020 for the 12 months ending February 2015. However, we see that year-to-date sales for 2016 are trending up with a 60% increase over last year. The 12 month average for 2016 will likely outpace last year within the next month or two.

 

Inventory - The 12 month average monthly inventory of single family homes rose again for the third time in 5 years, a lagging response to previous slowing sales. The 12 month average monthly inventory rose 3% to 553 for the last 12 months ending in February 2016 compared to 537 for the same period in 2015. Again, we will likely see that reverse as we continue to see strong sales in this spring market as tightening inventory pushes us further towards a strong market for Sellers.

 

Prices - Prices continue to edge up as we see continued upward pressure on average median prices. At $356,617, average median prices for the last 12 months ending in February 2016 rose 3.3% from 12 months ending in February 2015 and was up 9.3% from 2012/13 when we reached the lowest average median price of the last 9 years. With price being one of the last indicators affected by changes in sales and inventory, it will be interesting to watch what happens to prices if sales continue to climb in 2016. We could be back to the peak prices we saw in 2008. Right now we are only 2% off of those peak prices.

 

Absorption Rate - The rate at which our inventory is being absorbed by sales continues lower over the short term. The average absorption rate of 14.73% over the 12 month period ending February 2016 dropped below last year’s figure of 15.36% for the sixth time in a row. However, looking at February 2016 absorption we can see that it is double last February. Also, at the end of February 2016, with only 6 months of available homes on the market, down one from last month, further indicates our move towards a Seller’s market. 

 

The early spring market continues on a high note. With the indicators of higher sales, lower inventory AND higher prices, it is looking like 2016 is shaping up as a good year for Sellers in the North Okanagan real estate market.

 

For Buyers and Sellers it still remains important to look carefully at comparable sales of similar homes in areas similar to where your home is located. That is our only valid indicator of home values in any market. 

 

If you have any questions about the market, please feel free to contact me at any time. You can go to my stats page here to view the graphs and full detailed data.

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The Okanagan Valley is known for it's long, hot, sunny summers, and the spring is a reminder that these days are coming once again! Spring is also an excellent time to visit the Okanagan. If you have friends and family who like to spend some time here, or if you are thinking of buying a home in the Okanagan sometime in the future, come and check out some of the great activities going on this time of year. 

 

The end of March offers a few exciting activities, with April bringing all sorts of things exciting events, celebrations and a activites. These are just a sample!

 

1) Start your garden off with a visit to Vernon Seedy Saturday on March 12th where you can get locally grown heirloom seeds, starter plants and garden supplies. It's also a great way to meet and network with other garden enthusiasts.

 

2) Celebrate St Patrick's Day on March 17th at the Vernon Craft Distilery with 3 green tipples! More info here.

 

3) Enjoy your Easter weekend by taking in the amazing Okanagan lake views with a ride on the Kettle Valley Steam Train on March 26th.

 

4) The outdoor Vernon Farmer's Market starts up again in April, so make sure to check it out and stock up on all the spring produce and local fare of the sunny Okangan.

 

5) The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra presents The Four Seasons being performed April 8th, 9th and 10th throughout the Okanagan. 

 

6) Featuring Liala Biali, the BC Interior Jazz Festival is April 14th to 16th. An excellent weekend that you don't want to miss.

 

7) Take a trip down to Kelowna for the Jekyll & Hyde the Musical at Kelowna's Favourite Theatre Company between April 6th and 23rd. 

 

This is just a few ideas of how to make the most of the Okanagan at this time of year. But don't forget the best option: get out and enjoy the fresh air and spring flowers at one of your favourite parks! 

 

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I can't think of a better way to spend a cold February than participating in the 56th annual Vernon Winter Carnival! The first carnival as we know it was in February of 1961, but winter carnival celebrations go back as far as 1893 in the Okanagan when Kal Lake was known as Long Lake. Jopo and Jopette first appeared in 1965, and the carnival buttons have been circulated every year since 1960. Do you know anyone with the whole collection? Check out this great story in last Friday's Vernon Morning Star. 

 

Hopefully you saw the hot air balloon event and attended the parade, but did you know that you can participate in this historical community event until February 14th? What better way to spend Valentine's Day than at a Argentine Tango dance class with Ruth McGrath, or a Toonie & a Tin Skate?

 

Leading up to the weekend, Wednesday the 10th, you can participate in a mysterious Theatre Dinner, or a Folk Music Variety Show put on by the Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society where you can hear me in my bluegrass band, Canadian Whitewater.

 

Thursday, February 11th, has lots going on. From a Fancy Nancy Tea Party for the kids to a Candlelight Dinner at Soverign Lakes, or just for the ladies, meet downtown for food, drink and shopping with Unwined Downtown.

 

If you missed the Theatre Dinner on Wednesday, it's being offered again on Friday (or if you just had so much fun that you want to go again) or maybe you are feeling like you want to be up on Silver Star for the Over the Hill Downhill race! If being out late with friends is on the adgenda, Try the Mardi Party at Elk's Hall.

 

The O'Keefe Family Treasurehunt is something for the whole family on Saturday, or you can travel back even further in time to join the Medieval Carneval to taste some mead and have your fortune told! Or if you want to get your toes tapping, check out the 7th Annual Winter Carnival Blues Festival. 

 

Most of the above links will offer details of the events as well as how to purchase tickets. If you are looking for general information about the carnival, check their website here. Most of all, have fun, but also make sure you aren't caught without a pin and thrown in jail! 

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Wow! We have to look all the way back to 2007 to see a January like we just had. Sales of single family homes in January this year are up 58% over January last year and have not been this high in 9 years! With just 7 months of inventory on the market, we have not seen January inventory this low since 8 years ago in 2008. An early look at February shows that month-to-date sales are up 40% over last year! Is this the year for the North Okanagan real estate market to really shine? These early indicators could be telling us to watch for a Seller’s market in 2016.

 

Sales - The total sales for the 12 months ending January 2016 was at 960, down 5% from the 1,013 for the 12 months ending January 2015. With the BC economy continuing to lead the country, our North Okanagan region may be poised for some stable recovery if January sales for this year are any leading indicator.

 

Inventory - The average monthly inventory of single family homes rose again for the second time in 5 years, a response to slowing sales. The average monthly inventory rose 2% to 555 for the last 12 months ending in January 2016 compared to 543 for the same period in 2015. Again, that can all change quickly if the trend set by January sales gathers steam.

 

Prices - Despite slower sales and rising inventory, prices continue to edge up and we are seeing continued upward pressure on average median prices. At $355,339, average median prices for the last 12 months ending in January 2016 rose 3.5% from 12 months ending in January 2015 and was up 8.7% from 2012 when we reached the lowest average median price of the last 9 years. With price being one of the last indicators affected by changes in sales and inventory, it will be interesting to watch what happens to prices if sales continue to climb in 2016.

 

Absorption Rate - The rate at which our inventory is being absorbed by sales continues to fall over the short term. The average absorption rate of 14.10% over the 12 month period ending January 2016 dropped below last year’s figure of 15.17% for the fifth time this year. However, it was higher than last months 12 month average of 13.73%, another encouraging sign. Also, at the end of January 2016, the inventory dropped to where there are now only 7 months of available homes on the market, down 3 from last month. This is still considered a balanced market but moving towards a Seller’s market.

 

It seems that we are starting the year pretty much on a high note. With the indicators of higher sales, lower inventory AND higher prices, it is looking like 2016 could be a better year for the North Okanagan real estate market.

 

For Buyers and Sellers it remains important to look carefully at comparable sales of similar homes in areas similar to where your home is located. That is our only valid indicator of home values in this contradicting market. 2016 will be an interesting year to watch and I will keep you posted as it unfolds.

 

If you have any questions about the market, please feel free to contact me at any time. You can go to my stats page here to view the graphs and full detailed data.

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Do you know a grade 12 student who demonstrates leadership, motivation and communciation skills? Perhaps someone who likes to volunteer and contributes to the lives of others and their community?
 
I am very happy to share that RE/MAX of Western Canada has renewed the Quest for Excellence bursary program. This year they are once again offering (16) $1,000 bursaries for a total of $16,000 to 16 different grade 12 students.
 
This program was established by RE/MAX of Western Canada to recognize the success and ongoing pursuits of Western Canadian students in regards to leadership and community contribution initiatives. 
 
The 2016 Quest for Excellence program is open for submissions from September 14, 2015 until midnight March 14, 2016. Only online entries will be accepted.
 
In order to enter, students are to convey the contributions they have made to their communities in a short online essay, maximum 1,250 words. Key qualities students should demonstrate are leadership, motivation and communication skills.  Other attributes may include volunteering, participation in charitable events or fundraising, and contributions that enrich the lives of others and their communities.

Further information and the online submission form can be found on the RE/MAX website, as well as last years winners.
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After the post-election surge in sales for November, December activity pulled back for the typical Christmas holiday season slowdown. In fact, monthly sales of 43 single family units in December 2015 was down 10% from 48 sales in December last year and the lowest December sales in 3 years since 2012. Year to date sales in the North Okanagan continue to trend down 8% from 1,021 last year to 939 this year. What’s in store for 2016?

 

Sales - The total sales for the 12 months ending December 2015 was at 939, down 8% from the 1,021 for the 12 months ending December 2014. Although the BC economy continues to lead the country, our North Okanagan region continues to show signs of flux in the real estate market... although sales volume is soft and inventory is rising, we are still seeing slightly increasing prices.

 

Inventory - The average monthly inventory of single family homes actually rose for the first time in 5 years, a response to slowing sales. The average monthly inventory rose 1% to 554 for the last 12 months ending in December 2015 compared to 549 for the same period in 2014. It is difficult to say why this is happening in the North Okanagan when we see stronger markets to the north (Shuswap) and south of us (Kelowna).

 

Prices - Despite slower sales and rising inventory, prices continue to edge up and we are seeing continued upward pressure on average median prices. At $355,027, average median prices for the last 12 months ending in December 2015 rose 3% from 12 months ending in December 2014 and was up 7.4% from 2012 when we reached the lowest average median price of the last 9 years. With price being one of the last indicators affected by changes in sales and inventory, it will be interesting to watch what happens to prices if sales continue to slow in 2016.

 

Absorption Rate - The rate at which our inventory is being absorbed by sales fell back in December after November’s jump. The average absorption rate of 13.73% over the 12 month period ending December 2015 dropped below last year’s figure of 15.17% for the fourth time this year. At the end of December 2015, the inventory rose to where there are now 10 months of available homes on the market, up four from last month. This is still considered a balanced market with no indicator as to whether the spring market will see a resurgence in our absorption rate.

 

It seems that we are ending the year pretty much as it has gone for the last 9 months. With the conflicting indicators of lower prices, higher inventory AND higher prices, it is difficult to say where the North Okanagan real estate market will go in 2016.

 

For Buyers and Sellers it remains important to look carefully at comparable sales of similar homes in areas similar to where your home is located. That is our only valid indicator of home values in this contradicting market. 2016 should be an interesting year to watch and I will keep you posted as it unfolds.


If you have any questions about the market, please feel free to contact me at any time. You can go to my stats page here to view the graphs and full detailed data.

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It's easy to love the long, hot summers of the Okanagan, and the spring and fall are filled with lots to do and see as well. But what happens when the winter months come and the cloud cover lowers and you aren't heading south for a few weeks? What are some things to do in these dreary months that still make you feel like you live in paradise?

 

You are in luck! There is still lots to do - one of the great things about small, social communities - and I have put together a short list to get you started. Here are 5 things to keep the winter months fun and full of warmth:

 

1. Get above the clouds for a ski or snowshoe

If the cloud cover in Vernon gets a bit much for you, there is a good chance that the 20 minute drive up Silver Star Mountain will get you above the clouds to soak in some rays - just don't forget your shades and sunscreen! Visit either the famous Silver Star Mountain for a great day of downhill, or if that's not your thing, cross-country skiing is a great way for a workout and to to enjoy the fresh air, or try out snoeshoes! Sovereign Lakes Nordic Center has great trails, rentals are inexpensive, and if you want to be up there even more, why not try volunteering?

 

2. Take in an Event at the Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre

If the snow is not your thing, you could check out one of the many events at the Performing Arts Centre. They have all sorts of local and touring performers and events and it's a great way to bring some warmth and laughter to your winter days. 

 

3. Indoor Venron Farmers Market

If you have been missing your weekly trip to the farmers market, I have good news! For each Sunday in January and Febuary, you can visit the Indoor Vernon Farmers Market 12 - 4. Less fresh produce perhaps, but a great spot to pick up local offerings.


4. Get excited for the Vernon Winter Carnival in February!

February 5th is the first day of the Vernon Winter Carnival and you won't be bored after that! They have events happening almost daily, comencing with the Hot Air Balloon event (make sure to keep your eye open for the RE/MAX balloon!), including the parade on the 6th of Feb, and ending with a Community Skate on Valentine's Day. It's a historical community event for Vernon and you don't want to miss out!

 

5. Vernon Community Events

The Morning Star always has a wide variety of community events advertised in the Community Events section, so if you are looking to start a new hobby, join a club or attend an information event, there is always a lot going on. They will also announce events happening at some of the top spots in Vernon including the Vernon Jazz Club, Powerhouse Theatre, The Venron Art Gallery and many more.

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Being paperless in my business has always been a high priority for me. It's great for the environment, saves a lot of hassle sorting through piles of paper, and by using paperless technology I am able to stay organized and do my job from more or less anywhere with internet!

 

I came across an interesting article about the bennefits of going paperless in your personal life and I thought I would share the below bennefits and encourage you to read more about how you can go paperless too: 

5 Benefits of Going Paperless from Donnie Lawson:

  1. Reduce Clutter. No more creaky filing cabinets and random piles of paper laying around.
  2. Saves Time. Instead of trying to remember what file folder that important document is in, only to mess up the whole system in the process of looking, I can now pull up any document, at any time, from anywhere, in about 10 seconds. Yes, 10 seconds!
  3. Increases Privacy. Do any of you consistently use key locks on all your filing cabinets? What about the stacks of paper laying around? You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff I’ve seen just casually walking around someone’s house!
  4. Disaster Proof. How much does it take for water, fire, heat, damp, and mold to destroy documents? Or a cup of coffee for that matter? Not much. Now how difficult would it be to destroy documents stored on your hard drive, an external hard drive off site, and two cloud backup systems? That’s my system! I’ll take my chances with that.
  5. Spousal (or Organization) Collaboration. Can you and your spouse look at the same document at the same time from different locations? If Abby is at some appointment and needs a particular document, I can text or email it to her almost instantly. No one person is in control of the documents. They aren’t in my office or hers. Collaboration is seamless.

 

These are some great observations from Donnie, and I have seen the same bennefits with my business. You can read his full article here for some more information on how to go paperless. 

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It's the holidays! Is there a better way to spend time with your friends and family than playing a game and enjoying each other's company? Here is a list of board game suggestions. Do you have a favorite? Share in the comments section below!

 

 

 

Have you heard of Eurogames before? It's a subgenre of board games classified by two major features: their attention to design and theme, and focus on serious strategy. Competitive folks, take note: Put away the Scrabble set and try on one of these board games for size.

 

Besides the great artwork and complex mechanics, another defining feature of Eurogames is that nobody is ever knocked out of the game (looking at you, Monopoly). So everyone can play together, making these great activities for a game night with friends or after a big family gathering.

1. Ticket to Ride

This was the first Eurogame I ever played, and I was instantly hooked. The board is a map (the classic version plays across the U.S., while variations exist for Europe and other parts of the world), and the goal is to build train routes between cities, earning points as you complete each city-to-city circuit. There are limited paths available, though, and if you're not quick to claim the paths you need, you might get blocked by another player.

Players: 2-5

2. Catan (formerly Settlers of Catan)

A fun game where your only job is to manage resources. Players collect wheat, sheep, ore, brick and wood by building settlements onto tiles that each contain a different resource, which in turn allows them to build new roads to new settlements and collect even more.

Players: 3-4

3. Carcassonne

In this game, players draw square tiles with a piece of French landscape on it, with things like parts of cities, roads and other features bleeding off each edge, and take turns placing them into a connected landscape next to other players' tiles. You earn points by placing your one of your tokens–called "meeples," each player has eight of them–onto a tile as it's played, claiming the road or city (or anything else) for yourself. There's a good bit of strategy (and a bit of good old-fashioned stealing) involved in where you place your tiles, and some resource management involved in where and for how long you tie up your meeples.

Players: 2-5

4. Forbidden Island

I've never played this one, but I've been told it's the lighter version of one of my favorite games, Pandemic (more on that below). From Board Game Geek:

"Forbidden Island is a visually stunning 'cooperative' board game. Instead of winning by competing with other players like most games, everyone must work together to win the game. Players take turns moving their pawns around the 'island', which is built by arranging the many beautifully screen-printed tiles before play begins. As the game progresses, more and more island tiles sink, becoming unavailable, and the pace increases. Players use strategies to keep the island from sinking, while trying to collect treasures and items. As the water level rises, it gets more difficult–sacrifices must be made."

Players: 2-4

5. Pandemic

This was my first co-op game, which means that you're not competing against the other players, you're all working together towards a common goal. In this case, it's eradicating the world of four diseases that are spreading quickly across the map. Every player has a role, which offers them unique abilities to travel, treat infected populations and cure disease, but everyone has to use their roles to work together to win this game.

Players: 2-4

6. Dominion

Dominion always gets a huge recommendation as a gateway game to the strategy-based Eurogame genre, but it's another one I've never played. (For a genre that takes pride in its artwork, the box for Dominion is hard to pick up.) From IGN:

"The quintessential deck building game that will, among other things, teach you what “deck building” even means. A deck builder is a game where every player starts with a small deck of very basic cards, with a new hand drawn every turn. You then play your cards, which often provide gold to spend in a public marketplace, where you buy better cards to add to your deck."

Players: 2-4

7. Suburbia

I've never seen this one included in a "beginner games" list, and probably because learning the rules and game mechanics is pretty tough the first time around. But I'm usually able to sell people on it by calling it "the board game version of SimCity." You own a borough, and it's your job to manage the business, residences and utilities that move in. The goal is to make money and grow your population, but you're competing against the owners of the other boroughs who are doing the same thing and trying to bring yours down.

Players: 1-4

 

Original article found here.

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There were calls for a Canadian housing market correction last year, but in 2015 they reached a fever pitch.

That was among the major stories — others included foreign investment, Bank of Canada interest rate adjustments, and the dominance of the Vancouver and Toronto markets — that shaped real estate conversation in Canada over the past 12 months.

 

Scroll through the interactive timeline to see the defining moments of 2015 for Canadian real estate.

 

If you are more interested in what has happened in the Vernon and area market over the last year, you can find all of these reports on my website. Click here for the most recent update, or as always, if you want to chat about your home or the market, please don't hesitate to contact me!

 

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The below article from The Morning Star posted back on December 8 is an interesting addition to a previous blog post I shared about the tech industry in the Okanagan. As more and more investment into the tech industry takes place, the impact will be felt in a positive way in Kelowna, Vernon and interior. People utilize the opportunity to work remote as the cost of living in the interior is much lower than the lower mainland, and then hopefully more investment in infrastructure and on-site jobs. It's great to see more jobs available in the Okanagan so more people can live here and enjoy the valley!

 

$100 million tech fund for B.C. 'Dragon's Den'

 

Mobify CEO Igor Faletsky gives B.C. technology minister Amrik Virk a tour of his mobile marketing company
Mobify CEO Igor Faletsky gives B.C. technology minister Amrik Virk a tour of his mobile marketing company's Vancouver office.
— Image Credit: B.C. Government
 
The B.C. government is putting up $100 million for a real-life version of the TV show Dragon's Den, providing seed money to entrepreneurs who convince experts their new technology ideas will grow.
 

Premier Christy Clark announced the new fund Tuesday at the Vancouver offices of Mobify, a marketing company for retailers to advertise on mobile devices. The next step in a the government's technology strategy is to invite proposals for a venture capital company to administer the fund.

 

"We don't want to be influencing that, except that we want them to be in British Columbia, and we want the fund manager to have a managing partner based in B.C.," she said.

 

Clark said high technology is performing better than other parts of the economy, and now directly employs 86,000 people who make higher wages than the industrial average. The taxpayer investment is to give startups the recognition they need to attract private venture capital.

 

Clark said banks look to invest in "guaranteed bets," but technology companies are higher risk with higher rewards for those that succeed.

 

NDP technology critic George Heyman said the industry has been lobbying the province for this kind of assistance, and he supports it if the money is delivered in a transparent way and results are tracked.

 

A previous effort aimed at immigrant investors, the B.C. Renaissance Capital Fund, was criticized for a lack of both. In one case it provided money to a San Francisco company that opened an office in Calgary but not B.C.

 

"The taxpayer subsidizes all sorts of things that relate to job creation," Heyman said. "In the case of the tech sector, these are the jobs of the 21st Century. B.C. has a sector that's performing well but could perform a lot better, and it needs investment to do that."

 

B.C. also offers $33 million in tax credits to "angel investors" who put up money to develop a business that has attracted seed money.

 

 

 

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I love living in Vernon, BC year round, but there is something to be said for heading south to enjoy the warmth and sun in the winter months. Many people buy real estate in the Okanagan because it has one of the best climates in Cananda. But just in case you are craving a little extra sun, and plan to leave your home during the holidays, here are some things to remember to do before you leave. Follow these tips to keep your home safe and save a few bucks on bills while you’re gone.


1. Put mail on hold

An overstuffed mailbox or a pile of newspapers at the bottom of your driveway can be an invitation to thieves. Not only is it a sign that no one’s home, identity thieves can find all sorts of goodies while sorting through unattended mail. Go to canadapost.ca to have the Postal Service hold your mail, and also check on your options for holding newspaper delivery.

2. Put lights on a timer
It makes it appear that someone is home. If you can, switch your exterior lights to the “motion-activated” setting.

3. Check batteries
Make sure the batteries are fresh in your smoke alarms and that they function.

4. Remove valuables
Hiding your jewelry is always an option, but when you’re gone for several days, thieves have more time to hunt through the house. If you can, place jewelry and important documents in a safety deposit box or home safe.

5. Grab your spare key
Bring inside any keys that are hidden outside. You can give one to a neighbor along with your contact information where you'll be, just in case there's an emergency.

6. Unplug
Your electronics will still suck energy while you’re gone. Unplug the biggies, like your TV and computer.

7. Don't advertise your trip online
At least until you return, when it’s safe to make your Facebook friends jealous with photos from your holiday beach vacation. Don’t post the dates when you’re leaving your house vacant.

8. Switch your water heater to “vacation” mode
It won’t turn off completely, but it will still save energy.

9. Lower your thermostat
Keep it warm enough to prevent the pipes – and the goldfish – from freezing. Your energy company can recommend a temperature that’s appropriate for your climate.

10. Deodorize the sink
To avoid returning to a kitchen disposal that belches up the stench of your pre-vacation dinner, run it with a half-cup of vinegar, or lemon peels and ice cubes, before you leave. To keep things smelling fresh, it’s also a good idea to throw out any food that will go bad while you’re gone and make sure to take out any trash.

11.  Bleach the bowl
Dump half a cup of chlorine bleach into your toilet bowl to prevent mineral stains from developing. 

12. Think about hiring a house sitter. Sometimes you can convince out-of-town friends to trade homes or to borrow your house while you are gone (many people would love to spend a few weeks close to Silver Star Mountain!). And there are also people who will pay a small fee to live in your home while you are away. If it's for more than a few weeks, it's not a bad idea to have someone in your house.  Regardless, remember to have fun & happy holidays! 
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Books About Moving to Read to Your Kids

Moving to a new home, a new neighborhood and a new school can be tough for kids. Luckily, a variety of children’s books are out there to help parents explain things, add some fun and hopefully alleviate fears. Do you know any families who are moving? With the consistency of Real Estate in Vernon and the Okanagan, chances are good!

 

Perhaps a good Christmas gift for a kid you know! Here are a few classics – and you can post your favorite children's book titles about moving in the comments section below:


1. “Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move” by Judith Viorst
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1995
Poor Alexander. First, the kid had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Now, his family is moving! Just like your kids, Alexander has to say goodbye to some special places and people, but with the help of his parents he learns to make the most of the situation.


2. “The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day” by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Random House Books for Young Readers, 1981
Little Brother Bear’s pretty worried about moving, and more than a little scared. Kids can relate to his apprehension, and hopefully his positive change of view as moving day gets closer.


3. “A House for Hermit Crab” by Eric Carle
Aladdin Paperbacks, 1987
A little hermit crab has outgrown his shell and needs to find a bigger one – and new friends to help decorate it. This book will reassure kids that it will be easy to make new friends in their new town.


4. “Tigger’s Moving Day” by Kathleen W. Zoehfeld
Disney, 1999
Tigger needs a place with more bouncing room! His friends aren’t as close to his new house, but they still come and visit. A story to help kids understand they’ll still be able to hold on to old connections.


5. “Goodbye House” by Frank Asch
Moonbear Books, 1989
This book is a terrific way to talk about moving with preschoolers. After the moving van is packed, a little bear returns to say farewell to his old house, saying goodbye to everything, except, of course, the memories.

 

Other favorites include: “Big Dan’s Moving Van,” by Leslie McGuire, “Neville,” by Norton Juster, “The Moving House” by Mark Siegel, “I’m Not Moving, Mama” by Nancy White Carlstrom, and “The Leaving Morning,” by Angela Johnston.

 

Original article here

 
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How to get involved in Vernon & Area this Holiday Season

This time of year inspires many of us to think about our neighbours and community. 

 

I recently participated in the Realtor's Food Drive for the Salvation Army Food Bank and we are getting ready to give our annual contribution to the Vernon Family Resource Centre. These opportunities are always enjoyable for me, and it made me wonder what other initiatives are taking place in our community this season. What I found filled me with great cheer!

 

The Vernon Morning Star website currently has many articles that offer ideas on different organizations in Vernon and surrounding areas that cover all areas and communities. If you are looking for ways to give this holiday, (or any time of the year!) why not check out some of these local initiatives:

 

1. Armstrong Spallumcheen Refugee Project

This project is here to help with the current needs of refugees arriving from Syria.


2. Venture Training

Venture Training is an organization that provides services and programs for people with developmental disabilities.

 

3. The Teen Junction

One of the more established organizations in our community, the Teen Junction supports at risk youth.


4. Any of the organizations of the JCI Alternative Gift Fair

This whole fair is an excellent idea! Give a "gift certificate" to a charity of your choice.


5. Fulton School Food Drive

This is something you can act on right away! They are collecting donations tomorrow afternoon.


6. Christmas Miracle at Anderson Village

If you don't have a chance to bring food donations to Fulton, the business on Anderson Way are collecting for the same cause.

 

7. Upper Room Mission

The Upper Room Mission is a corner stone in our community and is always a great place to offer your support.


All of these projects are worthy causes where even a little can go a long way. Also, giving a donation in the name of someone else is a great way to include others in these amazing community initiatives. 


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As predicted, November sales of single family residential homes rose sharply by 33.3% (up 19 single family residential units to 76) compared to November last year (57 units) and up 8 units from last month’s 68 units. The North Okanagan real estate market had a healthy rebound after the federal election although year to date sales in the North Okanagan continue to trend down 7.9% from 973 last year to 896 this year.

 

Sales - The total sales for the 12 months ending November 2015 was at 944, down 7.9% from the 1025 for the 12 months ending November 2014. However, the recovering market we were seeing earlier this year may be making a come back as signaled by the rise in November sales. This is still the 2nd highest volume of sales in the last 8 years since 2007. Now that last month’s federal election is behind us, sales should continue to show increases with the support of good economic news in BC.

 

Inventory - The average monthly inventory of single family homes dropped by only 1% to 550 for the last 12 months ending in November 2015, the lowest average inventory we have seen in the last 8 years. Inventory has not been this low since 2007, before the start of the recession triggered by the US banking crisis. With more Buyers out there looking for reasonably priced homes Sellers can finally make that move that they have been thinking about for the last few years.

 

Prices - Prices continue to edge up and we are seeing continued upward pressure on average median prices. At $352,881, average median prices for the last 12 months ending in November 2015 rose 3% from 12 months ending in November 2014 and up 6.2% from 2012 when we reached the lowest average median price of the last 9 years. If more Buyers enter the market and the inventory continues to tighten, we will see more upward pressure on prices.

 

Absorption Rate - The rate at which our inventory is being absorbed by sales rose a healthy 27% compared to last month seriously bucking the normal downward seasonal trend. The average absorption rate of 13.94% over the 12 month period ending November 2015 dropped below last year’s figure for the third time this year. At the end of November 2015, the inventory dropped to where there are only 6 months of available homes on the market, down two from last month. This is still considered a balanced market but is moving steadily towards a Sellers market.

 

As predicted, the real estate market slowed down during the period leading up to the federal election then did a serious rebound right after the election. This also happened during Alberta’s provincial election in May 2015 when Edmonton real estate experienced the lowest sales in 20 years followed the next month by a rebound in sales and even rising prices. It seems clear that consumer confidence hangs in the balance during any election period. 

 

At this point we now expect that the market over the next 6 to 18 months will be characterized by increasing sales and lower inventory moving more strongly towards a market that favours Sellers with more competition from Buyers and rising prices. Prices will rise as consumer confidence gains momentum and brings with it more Buyers putting downward pressure on available inventory.

 

If you have any questions about the market, please feel free to contact me at any time. You can go to my stats page here to view the graphs and full detailed data.

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Every day in my job I work with both buyers and sellers who are making tough decisions. This article stuck out to me because I know how difficult it can be to make decisions - big ones - but also little ones as well. Peter Bregman gives some interesting techniques on making decisions that I thought were interesting and worth sharing. 

 

Peter Bregman writes: 

 

I perused the restaurant menu for several minutes, struggling with indecision, each item tempting me in a different way.

Maybe I should order them all . . . 


Is this a silly decision not deserving deliberation? Maybe. But I bet you’ve been there. If not about food, then about something else.

 

We spend an inordinate amount of time, and a tremendous amount of energy, making choices between equally attractive options in everyday situations. The problem is, that while they may be equally attractive, they are also differently attractive, with tradeoffs that require compromise. Even when deciding between kale salad (healthy and light), salmon (a heavier protein), and ravioli (tasty, but high carbs).

 

If these mundane decisions drag on our time and energy, think about the bigger ones we need to make, in organizations, all the time. Which products should we pursue and which should we kill? Who should I hire or fire? Should I initiate that difficult conversation?

 

These questions are followed by an infinite number of other questions. If I am going to have that difficult conversation, when should I do it? And how should I start? Should I call them or see them in person or email them? Should I do it publicly or in private? How much information should I share? And on and on . . .

 

So how can we handle decisions of all kinds more efficiently? I have three methods that I use, two of which I talk about in my book, Four Seconds, the third which I discovered last week.


The first method is to use habits as a way to reduce routine decision fatigue. The idea is that if you build a habit —for example: always eat salad for lunch — then you avoid the decision entirely and you can save your decision-making energy for other things.

 

That works for predictable and routine decisions. But what about unpredictable ones?


The second method is to use if/then thinking to routinize unpredictable choices. For example, let’s say someone constantly interrupts me and I’m not sure how to respond. My if/then rule might be: if the person interrupts me two times in a conversation, then I will say something.

 

These two techniques — habits and if/then — can help streamline many typical, routine choices we face in our lives.

What we haven’t solved for are the larger more strategic decisions that aren’t habitual and can’t be predicted.

I discovered a simple solution to making challenging choices more efficiently at an offsite last week with the CEO and senior leadership team of a high tech company. They were facing a number of unique, one-off decisions, the outcomes of which couldn’t be accurately predicted.

 

These were decisions like how to respond to a competitive threat, which products to invest more deeply in, how to better integrate an acquisition, where to reduce a budget, how to organize reporting relationships, and so on.

These are precisely the kinds of decisions which can linger for weeks, months, or even years, stalling the progress of entire organizations. These decisions are impossible to habitualize and can’t be resolved with if/then rules. Most importantly, they are decisions for which there is no clear, right answer.

 

Leadership teams tend to perseverate over this sort of decision for a long time, collecting more data, excessively weighing pros and cons, soliciting additional opinions, delaying while they wait — hope — for a clear answer to emerge.

But what if we could use the fact that there is no clear answer to make a faster decision?

 

I was thinking about this in the offsite meeting while we were discussing, yet again, the same decision we had debated in the past about what to do with a certain business, when the CEO spoke up.

 

“It’s 3:15pm,” He said. “We need to make a decision in the next 15 minutes.”

 

“Hold on,” the CFO responded, “this is a complex decision. Maybe we should continue the conversation at dinner, or at the next offsite.”

 

“No,” The CEO was resolute, “We will make a decision within the next 15 minutes.”

 

And you know what? We did.


Which is how I came to my third decision-making method: use a timer.

 

If the issues on the table have been reasonably vetted, the choices are equally attractive, and there is still no clear answer, then admit that there is no clearly identifiable right way to go and just decide.

 

It helps if you can make the decision smaller, with minimal investment, to test it. But if you can’t, then just make the decision. The time you save by not deliberating pointlessly will pay massive dividends in productivity.

Hold on, you may protest. If I do spend more time on it, an answer will emerge. Sure, maybe. But, 1) you’ve wasted precious time waiting for that clarity and, 2) the clarity of that one decision seduces you to linger, counter-productively and in fruitless hope for clarity, on too many other decisions.

 

Just make a decision and move forward.

 

Try it now. Pick a decision you have been postponing, give yourself three minutes, and just make it. If you are overwhelmed with too many decisions, take a piece of paper and write a list of the decisions. Give yourself a set amount of time and then, one by one, make the best decision you can make in the moment. Making the decision — any decision — will reduce your anxiety and let you move forward. The best antidote to feeling overwhelmed is forward momentum.

 

As for my lunch, I ordered the kale salad. Was it the best choice? I don’t know. But at least I’m not still sitting around trying to order.

 

Original article found here.

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Office Location:

5603 27th Street Vernon BC V1T 8Z5 CA

Charlie Veaudry

I make myself available at all times. My web site is here to help you 24 hours a day. You can search listings at your own convenience, browse reports, and read up on real estate info on your own terms. When you are ready to see a listing in person, or just have a simple question, please dont hesitate to contact me!

 

When you make the important decision to buy or sell a home, I am committed to going the extra mile to ensure that all of your needs are successfully met in a professional and honest manner.

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