Friday, December 19th1.0°C
Real Estate

Housing prices to skyrocket?

As most of you know, this column was started with a focus on Okanagan real estate. Over time, more and more columnists started covering the real estate sphere and so it morphed in to a personal column with some of my own viewpoints on life.
I had to come back to real estate this week after reading the above headline yesterday in an article. The article went on to quote a Remax report that said that we are in for a very happy time in Kelowna with skyrocketing house prices predicted. We are going to lead the country. The recreational markets are hot.
I was more than a little confused. My own home has been on the market for three years with barely a showing and I have many friends in the same position.
To suggest that recreational markets are a big plus in Kelowna is more than a little foolish. We have one ski hill that has just gone through foreclosure with no offers and another one that is unable to open and proceed with development plans plus a behemoth project on Kelowna’s south western corner of the lake that is rumoured to be in big trouble.
I was so intrigued I tried to pull some stats but interestingly the historical stats have disappeared from our databases.
I looked at one resort, the recreational type of darling that the article refers to, La Casa. A very popular resort with tourists and investors. In 2014 the average house sale (of which there were precious few, was $288,000 at the resort. Average lot sale (of which there were 21) was $40,000, however if you removed the top 4 outliers, that quickly reduced to $26,760 on 17 sales.
Compare this to 2007? Well I couldn’t because the history has disappeared. But I will tell you what was happening in 2007 because I was very involved in sales at the resort.
I was selling cottages for $650,000 and lots for over $100,000. I would hazard a guess since I have no files to refer to, that the average cottage sale at La Casa in 2007 was very close to $420,000 and the average lot sale may have been close to $100,000.
We had better lead the country for a good several years with skyrocketing prices to restore the equity that was here in 2007. But is that realistic?
The truth is plain and simple. The Bank of Canada is afraid of debt levels in Canada. Kelowna has seen more than its fair share of businesses close down this year, houses are not being listed because they are not getting the value the owners want (which is precisely the reason for the low inventory), the Canadian dollar is seriously weakened and oil is back to levels we have not seen for as many years as good real estate prices.
Good economy? Skyrocketing? Think again. 
I think we should tread very carefully, I think we should write slightly more intellectual articles that dig in to the fundamentals that drive real estate markets and I think we should avoid the use of flagrant terms like “skyrocketing” because it sets us up for a fall. As REALTORS® we are meant to be professional mentors and guides to our clients not “cheerleaders” for a soft housing economy that has had a good year relative to the past few years.

The secret to internet success

2014 has been such an exciting year for me in many ways. Lots of lessons, progress and of course a few setbacks. 
A firm grip on the reality of life reminds me that flowers don’t grow in a desert where the sun always shines. We need periods of contrast in order to frame our reality. 
One of the areas I have been spending a lot of time in is the internet marketing sphere and I am by no means an expert, but I have been able to figure out a few very important aspects that have severely and positively impacted my marketing ability for my adventures, charity and businesses.
Of course as we compete on the internet we have a much larger environment to make our statement. We want to succeed but how do we best deliver our message. In particular one aspect that always gets my attention is video. Like it or not, we live in a world driven by entertainment. Video has evolved to the point where we can literally record important aspects of our lives with a cell phone not much larger than a credit card. By 2017 it is forecast that 70% of bandwidth will be used up by video viewing!
What used to take hundreds of thousands of dollars of camera equipment and the knowledge built up from a university degree in post production technology has been replaced by the smart phone evolution and apps that cost less than a lunch time snack in a restaurant.
The most important aspect of the internet I have found out is not to do with the quality of the video or the blogging but the reach of the product, the success of the distribution.
What is the point of spending thousands of dollars on fancy video production if nobody is going to see the video. Search engine optimization is the most critical area for you to learn about if you are interested in being successful on the internet. 
It does not matter if you are writing a Kindle eBook, putting out a video or creating a web page for your audience, your search engine ranking is what will make you or break you. Many internet millionaires have made their fortunes publishing Kindle eBooks. In many instances, they never wrote a single word of copy. Their expertise was in the digital marketing the book with Search Engine Optimization techniques that blow most of us out of the water.
I recently gave a web seminar on “Video Marketing for your business” which was oriented to Realtors but is appropriate for almost any company/organization. It was received very well and so I have decided to make it available to you here.
Feel free to reach out if you have questions and please take the time to look and see how simple it can be to use the internet to truly market your business.

Don't stop dreaming!

On Wednesday evening I drove through the Bow Valley in Alberta. It is my old home town... the first place Jackie and I moved to in 1988 when we emigrated. We ended up setting up home there and living there for almost 15 years.
After a very wintry drive from BC I passed the Park Gates and on my left was the small hamlet of Harvie Heights. I peered through the darkness to see if I could locate the cottage Jackie and I rented from a lovely couple when we first arrived.
Rundle Ridge Chalets was a small chalet rental village on the side of the Trans Canada highway. Jim and Bea Cocking, the managers welcomed Jackie and I with open arms as a young 25 year old couple including quite a large bump and a lively young Labrador.
Jackie was five months pregnant and we needed to settle in. On this Wednesday evening, the weather was pretty much the same as it was when we arrived. Snow and ice crystals hanging in the air, a starry evening cloaking the silhouette of the majestic Rockies. We were (almost) in heaven!
Memories came flooding back of all the friendly people who we met and helped this young couple get a start in their life. The feeling of excitement as we embarked on a new journey together.
I am experiencing the same feelings as my young son and his wife put together their first business in Kelowna. Muninn’s Post at 575 Bernard Avenue will be North America’s first Viking themed bar. With a distinct norse twist and an appetite for community, discussion and board gaming (plus they have some great Ales lined up) served with some wonderful food. I am sure they will be successful. What is helping their success though is the generosity of people they are coming across who are finding them or offering them some great prices on equipment for their kitchen and restaurant. It is the same warm, Canadian generosity that made Jackie and me feel so welcome as new immigrants to Canada.
Last night I delivered one of the most important presentations of my life. The biggest adventure I have ever attempted is being shared with a crowd of entrepreneurs in Calgary. My business partner and adventure buddy, Andre Voskuil is here too to expand on the business opportunity we have been able to create with this amazing worlds first adventure.
The flying car project is “taking off” literally, the wheels are up, we are gaining altitude and in a matter of months will be undergoing flight training, physical and mental training and filming a multi part documentary series for global TV distribution. In fall of 2016 the plan is to land two flying cars at YLW and share with Kelowna an amazing victory and a brand new aviation world’s first record.

Did that young 25 year old immigrant, sitting in a tiny wooden cabin back in 1988 share that dream with his Golden Labrador and pregnant wife? No. I came over to Canada to be a ski bum. I wanted to climb and ski in the Rockies. But then, I have always been a dreamer.
Dreaming is good - don’t stop.


The magic of thinking big

You may have read the book with the same title. I did many years ago and it supported the way I have always tried to make decisions.
In his iconic book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David J. Schwartz leads the reader through a discussion on how to be successful using a lot of mental techniques that we all use daily. Sometimes however, we forget to use them in the most important areas of our life.
Often, when the going gets tough, we want to roll over, go to bed and close the drapes, believing that problems will evaporate. Not so. The only way to tackle problems is to charge head on at them.
Anyone who has watched the action movie Bravo 20 with Sean Bean will have watched the gripping scene of an SAS patrol, vastly outnumbered, yet charging towards a much better equipped foe with all the gusto they can muster in the circumstance. In the end, they terrorize their enemy with the ferocity of their attack - they thought big.
So, taking a leaf out of the SAS book, my life is often head on, full tilt and for many, including my wife, a little fast paced.
At the moment I am heads down with my business partner, Andre Voskuil planning what will likely be the biggest expedition of my life. To date I have had some great adventures, but the best (and biggest) is yet to come. I have had the privilege of climbing, flying and racing with some of the most amazing adventurers. The next chapter of my life however, will be very different.
Over the coming months we will make some announcements as to how you can follow along, join in and support what is sure to be a world changing event. A global first in the realm of aviation.
As usual I want to support the charity that my wife and I founded several years ago... With your help and support we will be able to bring more families around the world life saving water.
In the meantime, we have to get planning, training and preparing for a long, audacious and frankly, massive project. 
First on the list of jobs to do is to get a pilot’s license... stay tuned as we fill you in and join us as we progress towards this exciting project. 

Read more The Accidental Journey articles


About the author...

For the past twenty years Mark has been involved in real estate development and consulting and is currently a REALTOR with Sage Executive Group in Kelowna.

His column, brings a unique perspective on what may be important to us in the future as we come to grips with fast paced change in a world that few people barely recognize.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an Adventurer, Philanthropist and Keynote Speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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