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Introduction to Comox Valley Real Estate
Comox Valley real estate is a phrase that is used to describe a number of different things related to real property and many other aspects of the real estate sector. Canada’s real estate industry is multi-faceted and includes a number of business, financial, tax, and advisory services across the country. This industry serves owners, investors, lenders, lease holders and buyers of real estate and related services. Within Canada by some estimates the real estate sector accounts for about half of the country’s economic growth. While accurate and up-to-date figures for the Comox Valley are elusive, the impact of the real estate industry is substantial. As of the 2016 census there were 66,527 residents living in 32,076 private dwellings.
Real Estate Defined
Real property, also referred to as real estate, includes all land, structures, firmly attached and integrated equipment, anything growing on the land, and all interests in the property (which include surface, subsurface and above surface rights). This means that real property includes the land including the soil on the surface of the Earth, all of the water contained on or below the surface, oil and gas, etc. (unless separated from the rights to the land via a deed or other rights instrument) and most of the airspace above the land.Most structures that reside on land fall into the residential or commercial category. Real property ownership is conveyed via rights and interests on documents such as land titles. Within BC these documents are maintained by the BC Land Title and Survey Authority.
Real estate is highly regulated and the process by which one buys and sells a home is not like buying or selling something like a car. Why? Because different laws apply to real property and these laws change and get updated on a regular basis. For example, when you sell a home you must, by law, disclose all know latent defects in your home and on your property. If you do not know what a latent defect is, perhaps you are in need of a professional realtor who is required to be knowledgeable on these and many other issues affecting real estate. This page provides some basic info and additional information and tips are available through the links at the left.
Real property is distinct in law from personal property. For example, a mobile home that is located on its own land is dealt with in law as real property, but a mobile home that is located on a rental pad in a mobile home park is dealt with in law as personal property. The mobile home on land may be reflected on the title for the land and a person buying it can apply for a mortgage. The mobile home without land should be registered in the mobile home registry but a person buying it cannot apply for a conventional mortgage because it falls within the provisions of the Personal Property Security Act. The BC Real Estate Services Act governs the sale of real estate in BC. Does all of this sound confusing? Why discuss these examples? The reason is simple. This is a highly regulated industry and it is important to understand what laws apply to real property and which ones do not.
Real Estate Characteristics
Real estate has three characteristics that are fairly unique.
Immobility. The land upon which real property sits is immobile. This characteristic of immobility is the reason for the often voiced phrase “location, location, location” when it comes to the purchase of property. Location is very important and this characteristic is responsible for the local nature of our markets. Very often transactions in one localized area can have little or no impact or relevance on those within a different localized area. Having said this, neither area is completely isolated from the broader economic conditions affecting a local region, or for that matter, the country. A localized area can also be affected by changes that take place nearby. For example, if a coal mining plant is relocated near a single family or a water tower is erected nearby, the changes will affect the value of the home. Location is very important in determining values of improved land. As a result, it is important to know what currently exists and to find out what is planned in a specific area when a person is considering the purchase of real estate.
Durability While land lasts forever (barring some major natural disaster that may destroy it), the value of the land does not and the structures that are placed on the land have a finite life. The life of structures are measured in physical terms as well as economic terms. Buildings are often demolished and replaced with other types of structures before they have physically worn out to make room for a different type of development.
Indivisibility of services. This simply means that the elements of value associated with the land, buildings, and other improvements are thought of as a single unit. British Columbia land, when viewed from the perspective of the law of real property, includes the surface of the Earth and all permanent improvements made to it. However, in financial terms (such as property taxes) the land and the buildings on the land are often viewed as distinct.
Divisibility of ownership This has two meanings. The ownership of a parcel of real estate can be divided both physically and legally. Ownership of land can be divided by creating separate interests in land having either horizontal or vertical boundaries.
Real Estate in British Columbia
Within Canada, the provinces have sole jurisdiction to make laws concerning property. Within British Columbia, there are more than 35 laws that can readily be identified as being applicable to real estate. There are also a significant number of statutory and voluntary organizations that are part of the related industry. Overs the years, this industry has evolved into a very highly one. Historically, our real property law developed based on principles derived from court decisions and those found in legislation. Our law of real property is based on the law of England. English laws, as they existed in 1858 became those of our Province in that year. Over the years there have been many changes to our law and one of the most significant current differences between our real property law and that of England is our land registration system. Our current system is often referred to as a modified “Torrens System”.
When we think of owning land, we think of having unlimited rights to what we buy. This in not exactly the case. When we buy land we are actually buying rights to the land expressed in terms of interests. The “Crown” (government) actually owns the land and this is why land can be expropriated by the government. The government has other rights to land as well. Gold and silver subsurface rights to land were originally reserved in favour of the Crown, and other based minerals other than coal have been expressively reserved since 1897. Coal and petroleum have been reserved since 1899 and gas since 1951. There are other rights as well. For example, in British Columbia, all water except ground water if the property of the government. This is why a water license is required to be entitled to use surface water such as that in a lake being used for the water source in a home.
Regulatory Real Estate Bodies in British Columbia
The BC Real Estate Council regulates real estate within and throughout the province of BC in the public interest. This body licenses more than 23,000 individuals and brokerages engaged in real estate sales, rental property, and strata management. They enforce the Real Estate Services Act and ensure that the public is well served by real estate licensees. The BC Real Estate Association represent the interests of the 11 real estate boards in the province and associations and licensees on all provincial issues related to real estate. They also provide continuing professional education for more than 20,000 real estate agents in BC, advocacy, economic research and standard forms to help Realtors provide value to their clients.
British Columbia Real Estate laws continue to evolve. The BC Real Estate Services Act and the Real Estate Development Marketing Act came into force in 2005 and the law of Agency was changed in 2012 to what is now known as Designated Agency. These are but a few of the more recent changes. If, like most of us, your home is your most expensive investment, does it not make sense that you would want to maintain an appreciation of the things that could affect it?
Vancouver Island Real Estate Board
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) is the body that provides oversight and real estate services to all area of Vancouver Island north of the Malahat. Victoria has its own real estate board to provide services to areas south of the Malahat. VIREB is a not-for-profit, member-based association of about 1,000 Realtors who deal in real estate sectors that include residential, commercial, industrial, land development, rental property management, and strata management. This board has its start in 1951 and it currently provides members with tools, services, information, statistics, reports, systems, and education, and maintains the Multiple Listing Service that services this part of Vancouver Island. The MLS is divided up into nine zones to service the part of Vancouver Island that is north of the Malahat. There are: Zone 1 (Campbell River), Zone 2 (Comox Valley), Zone 3 (Duncan), Zone 4 (Nanaimo), Zone 6 (Port Alberni), Zone 7 (North Island), Zone 9 (Other Boards – for listings maintained by VIREB but outside of VIREB area of responsibility) and Zone 10 (Islands).
The Comox Valley Region
The Comox Valley is a regional district of Vancouver Island that comprises 1,699.90 square kilometers of land that is home to 66,527 residents currently occupying 32,076 private dwellings. While the population density is calculated to be 39.1 people per square kilometer, about 60% of the residents live in the City of Courtenay (25,599 residents) living in 12,013 private residences and the Town of Comox (14,028 residents) living in 6,208 private residences . Additional Information can be found in the following link to the City of Courtenay and the following link to the Town of Comox here. These residents reside in the region known as the Comox Valley the boundaries of which are displayed on the following map.
Comox Valley Regional Real Estate Areas
The diagram below provides a breakdown of the Comox Valley from a real estate perpsective. The region comprises the City of Courtenay, Town of Comox and the smaller villages of Cumberland, Royston, Union Bay, Fanny Bay, Bowser, Merville and Black Creek. For real estate purposes, the City of Courtenay is divided into Courtenay East, Courtenay City, Courtenay North, Courtenay West and Courtenay South. The Comox Peninsula borders the City of Courtenay and Town of Comox.
Real Estate Sub Areas of the Comox Valley
The Comox Valley, for real estate purposes, is divided into 12 sub areas (also sometimes referred to as tracts). These include: Z2 Courtenay City; Z2 Courtenay East; Z2 Courtenay West; Z2 Courtenay North; Z2 Courtenay South; Z2 Comox (Town of); Z2 Comox Peninsula; Z2 Crown Isle; Z2 Cumberland; Z2 Merville Black Creek; Z2 Union Bay Fanny Bay; and Z2 Mount Washington as shown on the following map.
Comox Valley Neighbourhoods
Comox Valley neighbourhoods in Courtenay nclude the high end golf course neighbourhood of Crown Isle, the Valley View Area, the Mission Hill Area, Aberdeen Heights and The Woodlands. Popular ones in Comox include Lancaster Heights, Beckton Estates, Foxxwood Heights and Murrelet Place. There are, of course, many more smaller Comox Valley neighbourhoods within urban areas and in the surrounding rural areas. When you are looking for a particular type of neighbourhoods within which to buy your next home contact Brett and let him know. Each neighbourhood will often have distinct elements associated with it so it is important to be able to describe the setting that you are looking for. Quiet, secluded, private, rural but close to town, no more than 15 minutes commute to amenities, near the ocean, a walk to the beach, etc. Your choices in Comox Valley neighbourhoods are almost as broad as the types of homes for sale in the area.
The following map shows the approximate location of all of the major neighbourhoods in the Courtenay and Comox area
An Overview of our Market
The following 2 and 1/2 minute video provides a high level overview of the Comox Valley and some of the types of homes that you can expect to find here.
Real Estate Growth
According to BC Statistics, the total number of building permits in the Comox Valley rose 10.5 % from $147.338 million in 2015 to $162.826 million in 2016. Building permits in the City of Courtenay rose about 0.5% from $90.525 million in 2015 to $90.923 million in 2016 while they rose 51% in the Town of Comox from $17.066 million in 2015 to $25.768 million in 2016.
The aforementioned increases broke down into a 32% increase in Comox Valley residential building permits from $85.885 million in 205 to $13.4 million in 2016. At the same time the average sell price for all homes sold in the Comox Valley rose 36% from $300,854 in February of 2016 to $410,092 in February of 2017. For all types of single family homes there was a 22% increase from $382,91 to $$467,363 in this same time period.
In the same period industrial permits were down 25.7% and commercial permits were up 8.6% Click on the following link to view the detailed BC Building Permit statistics collected by Statistics Canada
Residential Home Types
Residential property types include single family homes, half duplexes, condo /strata units (town homes, patio homes and apartments), and mobile homes. Farms / ranches and lots are also residential options. Homes are further broken down into categories for statistical purposes based on the sub area, type of home and features of the property such as acreage, and waterfront. The following infographic presents data on single family homes, condominiums and town homes for the Comox Valley in Dec 2016.
Real Estate Listings
Real estate listings in the Comox Valley are presented here. Comox Valley real estate is about more than zones, regions, areas, subarea, and statistics. It is about quality of life in a part of Canada that offers one of the most temperate climates and scenic backdrops in the country. It is about people, culture, and a laid back lifestyle. It is about the outdoors and recreational opportunities. It is about social offerings such as great restaurants, pubs and wineries. It is about small business, development, and one of the main economic engines of the Comox Valley.
Our Real Estate Market and Quality of Life
Sure there are oceanfront and waterfront homes that most people can just dream of owning. However, there are many Comox Valley homes here that most people can afford. There are homes bordering on golf courses and ones that overlook the Comox Harbour and the Comox Valley from nearby mountains. There are homes that look across the Georgia Strait towards the Coastal Mountains. There are also many homes in both urban and rural areas. About 3/4 of the homes that changes owners do so in either Comox or Courtenay while the rest are found in the rest of the Comox Valley. Many people who come to the Valley to look for homes stress location and views as desirable factors. A great thing about the valley is being able to walk or drive a few minutes for a great view of the mountains, glacier or ocean. So, if you do not have a view from your home it does not take long to find one.
What are you waiting for? Come out to the Comox Valley for a visit and see why more and more people are deciding to live here. Contact Brett to be your guide and realtor.