Cowichan Valley is “Best Value” on Vancouver Island
Sandy Stinson of Team Stinson, Re/max Lake Cowichan recently conducted an in depth study of the afford ability of homes throughout the Province of BC and determined that the Cowichan Valley offers the best bang for your buck…and here is why!

The combination of a stable economy, low unemployment rates and fairly low mortgage rates serve to make the Cowichan Valley an excellent choice when considering your next real estate purchase. From newly constructed homes, existing homes and condos, to building lots, there’s an abundance of affordable real estate available in the Cowichan Valley. As the demand for housing in some areas is declining, the market in the Cowichan Valley is holding its own. As with anything, real estate prices have increased in the last few years, but, when compared to market prices efor homes in Victoria and surrounding areas, homes in the Cowichan Valley are generally offered at over $100,000 in savings for comparable properties! The savings would be double that from Vancouver prices.

Whether you’re a lifetime resident or considering making the Cowichan Valley your new home, there are numerous choices for real estate. Although, the enormous wealth of opportunities for affordable real estate in the Cowichan Valley might just make your choice of ownership a hard decision!

With the many gorgeous locations available, it will be hard to choose where to live. The Cowichan Valley communities offer one of the most diverse selections of locations and settings that you can find anywhere. But, no matter what your preferences and tastes are, you’ll be able to find the perfect living environment to call home, and you’ll be able to find some of the most affordable real estate prices in the area.

If you love the ocean and water activities such as scuba diving, sailing, wind surfing or fishing and have always dreamed of an ocean view from your front porch, the Cowichan Valley has it. There are many existing homes and lots available that are in close proximity to some of the most beautiful shorelines in the world.

There’s also the choice of living along the Cowichan River area. The river is known worldwide as the fly fishing capital of the world and hosts tourists that travel from all around the world just to take advantage of the fishing opportunities. The river is home to rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout, steel head and three different species of Pacific salmon.

The Cowichan River offers an abundance of water activities as well. From a serene day of canoeing to an exciting day of riding the rapids, swimming, skiing and boating there’s something for everyone! The area is also the natural habitat for numerous species of wildlife and has some of the most beautiful waling and hiking trails on the island.

Scenic ocean views, lake fronts and the river life aren’t bay any means the only options available in the valley. The forest areas offer some of the most amazing locations for housing. The forests are dense with Western Hemlocks and Douglas fir and make a wonderful secluded living areas. If you like the town life, there are quaint harbor villages and friendly people.

The Cowichan Valley is not only full of history and beauty, it’s one of the best places to find affordable real estate. Situation within a 50 minute drive from both Nanaimo and Victoria, it’s an ideal location even if you work in one of those cities. The enormous savings on real estate properties gives living in the Cowichan Valley a huge advantage over living in either Victoria or Nanaimo.

Although the Cowichan Valley has all the conveniences of the modern day world, it’s managed to retain it’s old world feel and provides a peaceful, serene lifestyle. The valley has a uniquely intertwined peacefulness of small town living with all the modern amenities provided by living in a big city.

The beautiful rural settings, numerous family activities and great schools make it the perfect place to raise a family and it’s quickly becoming a island paradise for many who just want to spend their retirement doing the sports and activities that they love or just relaxing doing nothing but walking or golfing.

The name Cowichan means land warmed by the Sun, a fitting name that was derived from the valley’s temperatures. The region boasts the only Maritime Mediterranean climate zone in Canada which results in the warmest year round temperatures in the country. Annual averages range from 65 degrees in June to 37 degrees in January, although various location for its advantages to farming.

For most people a home is the biggest investment they make during their lifetime. There are numerous things to consider when shopping for the right house and the right place to live. The Cowichan Valley is truly a region that has it all. The unlimited offerings of affordable real estate in the Cowichan Valley make it the obvious choice for your next move.

When considering purchasing real estate in the Cowichan Valley, Sandy Stinson of Team Stinson, Re/max Lake Cowichan has the experience and expertise required to find that special dream property for you and your family.

Lower prices equal great value for real estate in 2008/09

Home buyers have discovered that the Cowichan Valley still has some great house prices. Home values jumped in the last few years but we find ourselves again in a Buyers Market. We are down at least 10% since this time last year but I am not surprised to see people coming down a further 10% once a contract is put in front of them. Even the most dire predictions are only a 30% drop in house prices in some inflated markets,so why not try your luck, it could well be the best possible time to buy real estate in Southern Vancouver Island.

As more people are holding greatly devalued stock I believe that they will now turn to real estate as the best possible investment vehicle. You can use if for your get-a-way, especially here in beautiful Lake Cowichan, you can rent it and you can increase the value over time by renovating and slowly building in equity. As long as you do not find your self in the position that you have to sell you will not lose money on real estate. You can write off portions of the mortgage if you rent it and get help paying down the mortgage, especially if you are looking at a long term investment, come retirement time, everything will be paid off and you will have a fairly passive income. I highly recommend a property manager, it is the best 10% you will ever spend and it is also a write off on your taxes and gives you a hands off investment. Another opportunity might be to sell the house after it is paid off to someone who you are willing to hold a mortgage for, say your children or a person who you are comfortable with. You will be amazed at the soundness of holding a first mortgage, like the banks it can be the best possible return on your investment.

Last year I was filled with fear about the market, now that the worst has happened I am feeling much more optimistic. This severe of a down turn is not sustainable. What really happened, oil jumped from $50 per barrel to $140 a barrel and back down to $50 per barrel and suddenly the sky is falling. The world did not change, supply and demand did not change. There was just too much speculation in the market. When people perceive the ‘bottom’ of the market has hit I think that buying and selling will resume at a more sustainable level, as a Realtor I do not want to see spiraling prices, I want to see prices stabilize so that homes are attainable to the majority, that is what makes for a good economy and a healthy community. We have just enjoyed 5 days of increase in the Dow so some analysts are predicting that Thursday November 20 2008 was the bottom, lets hope they are right.

Port Renfrew Travelogue

Chocolate, cheese & bees, cider, wine and berries, Cowichan offers a bountiful buffet of decadent delicacies. Cowichan’s ever increasing wineries have been receiving praise as the Provence of Canada, or Napa of the North. Enjoy our many varieties of fruit and grape wines and an ever expanding choice of back yard Bistro’s. As we tend to change everything around us, baby boomers have made an art form out of good clean wholesome food, be gone saturated fats and trans fats and plastic additives that our bodies don’t know what to do with so it stores them in unsightly bulges. We have some of the best and most plentiful water on the planet as well as the warmest average temperatures in Canada, not a bad start to growing great food. We are fortunate to have three farmers markets in the Valley. It is fairly easy to live the hundred mile, field to fork diet in Cowichan at least of six months of the year, for the other six we need to get a little more creative, I have been experimenting with the many options available to extend the season, just a little glass gives a month earlier planting and a month later growing season. It is almost December and we have just eaten our last fresh tomato’s and pea’s from the garden. The Warm Land (Cowichan) has approximately a quarter of Vancouver Island’s cultivated land and it is a local tradition to sell produce, eggs and meat right off the farm.

Port Renfrew is a favorite place to retreat to for a couple of days, I personally would not live there as I will not step any further into the Rainforest however it is a mystical magical place to visit there is something about the Sea to give us a fresh perspective on life. Not to mention all the great sea food. Some of my best days have been at Renfrew on Sombrio Beach, last trip there I watched a whale lounge around most of the afternoon, we saw Bear and Eagles and a Big Owl on the way home. Usually you see Elk coming closer to home out at Cottonwood Creek at the end of Lake Cowichan. On another visit we were out on the boat near the Carmana and there was a bait ball of herring and the Eagles where diving it and the whales where munching there way through as well as porpoise and sea lions, we where halibut fishing but could not keep the Salmon off the line. It is days like that that make you think all is well with the world. The road to Renfrew is a easy 45 minutes from Cowichan Lake see the circle Route Map attached. Come have your adventure.