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Rod Janz

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During the COVID 19 pandemic, we are all learning what it means to practice social or physical distancing. At the same time, are you noticing that more and more people are gathering online to connect with friends and family? We sure are.

WAYS OF CONNECTING

People are reaching out to their family’s on programs like FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts and more. There were even churches located in the Fraser Valley that met online this past week as they have been forced to close their doors for the time being. We’ve also seen coaches, counselors, and people from all walks of life and professions offering to meet with people online instead of in person.

If you have a Gmail address you have access to Google Hangouts and you can meet with a group of people using this free program. CLICK HERE for Google Hangouts instructions.

Zoom is another option to connect socially and they have a free option too. The free Zoom program allows you to meet with up to 20 people for 40 minutes for free, but everyone needs the software which can sometimes be a challenge. CLICK HERE to read more about Zoom

FACEBOOK

Although it can get a little overwhelming for some of us with all of the posts on social media it can be a place to connect and have conversations with friends and loved ones about the virus and find out how they are coping. Facebook provides the option of Facebook Live. Video hosts can comment as people post in the comments section.

Another Facebook option is to have a group messaging conversation. Our family has a group conversation going specifically based on the virus and I know other families do too. With family members living all over the world, this has been a good way for us to carry on a conversation and stay connected.

INSTAGRAM

Although less interactive, another option to connect with friends and family is to do an Instagram Live post and then respond to people as they text their comments. This is obviously a little less personable and interactive, but you can get a little bit of a live chat going.

IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD

We have also seen fun things going on in neighbourhoods where people open their doors and play music on their front steps, create welcoming chalk drawings and post fun and encouraging posters in their windows and their exterior walls. In one townhouse complex in Ladner*, we read about a show of kindness and compassion by neighbours as they wrote birthday messages that said “Happy Birthday” to a four-year-old from their decks.*

And finally, there has been a very heartwarming and compassionate show of support to our very deserving healthcare workers as Vancouver apartment dwellers go out on their balconies at 7 PM each night and applaud and cheer for health care workers battling the COVID 19 pandemic**

Links
*Delta Optimist
**News 1130

There’s no escaping news about COVID-19 is there?  People have very legitimate concerns as the virus spreads around the world. As a Realtor people are even asking me how I think the virus will affect Fraser Valley Real Estate and the consensus among my colleagues and other experts is for the time being COVID-19 shouldn’t have too dramatic of an impact on the local Real Estate market unless there is a real downturn in the economy.   

Coinciding with the spread of the virus is the news that interest rates have dropped and this is usually helpful to the Real Estate market because it makes it easier for people to get home loans. 

Also, as I mentioned in my Real Estate update last month, earlier in the year we were undergoing the impact of the stress test that was introduced in 2018 and I believe the impact of that is lessening helping sales to return to above-average levels in our region over the last couple of months. 

Real Estate is one of those sectors that can sometimes get a pass when other sectors take a hit because housing is an essential need and it’s more of a singular activity. As we see concerts and public events being canceled, that doesn’t necessarily impact an activity like buying or selling your home. 

All that said, we’ll see what happens regarding COVID-19 and its impact on the real estate in the Fraser Valley. This is quite an unusual circumstance as the virus moves to a worldwide pandemic level. One thing we can say about the Real Estate market is that it is often impacted by bad economic news, and as the media hype machine continues at a full-throttle pace creating fear and distress we’ll just have to see what happens. 

Wishing YOU all the best! 

Questions   

If you want to know more, I’m here to answer your real estate questions and help you with your real estate buying and selling needs. Please feel free to contact me. 

Mike Wilson
Remax Treeland
604-533-3491
mike@fvlifestyle.com

Here are seven+ things you might consider doing while in historic Fort Langley…

1. Eat

Fort Langley has become a popular place to go and have a meal because of fabulous restaurants like Beatnix Bistro, The Little Donkey, Trading Post Brewery and Eatery and the Rail and River River Bistro just to name several of our favorites. As far as reviews and ratings go, according to Trip Advisor Beatnix Bistro is ranked no. 1 with Wendell’s at no. 2 (see “Drink coffee” below), and The Little Donkey at no.3.

Beatnix Bistro – http://beatniksbistro.com/
The Little Donkey – https://www.littledonkey.ca/
Trading Post Brewery and Eatery – https://tradingpostbrewing.com/
Rail and River River Bistro – http://railandriverbistro.com/

2. Drink coffee (and eat)

Fort Langley has been a coffee shop destination for many years because of the famous Wendell’s Coffee Shop and Bakery. Wendell’s continues to be popular and some new fantastic cafes have arrived on the scene in recent years such as the Blacksmith Bakery (good food), The Lelam Arts and Cultural Café (nice location) and the Saba Café and Bistro (good food and coffee) just to name a few.  Forget rankings for this category. We’ve had coffee and food at all of these cafes and they are all wonderful.

Wendell’s Coffee Shop and Bakery – http://wendelsonline.com
Blacksmith Bakery – http://www.blacksmithbakery.ca
The Lelam Arts and Cultural Café – https://lelem.ca
Saba Café and Bistro – http://sabacafe.ca

fort-to-fort-trail-3

3. Go for a walk

You have so many choices for excellent walks in and around Fort Langley. The Fort to Fort Trail, Derby Reach Park, Houston Trail Head, and Brae Island Regional Park all have to be some of the nicest places to walk or ride in the Fraser Valley. Houston Trail Head has a few challenging hills, but other than that all of these trails are quite easy to walk.

Fort to Fort Trail – https://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/fort-to-fort
Brae Island Regional Park –http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/parks/parks-greenways-reserves/brae-island-regional-park
Derby Reach and Houston Trail Head – https://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/derby-reach-regional-park

4. Ride Your Bike

Fort Langley has become a favorite place for people to ride their bikes. With plenty of relatively quiet country roads, beautiful views and plenty of coffee shops and restaurants to greet you when your ride is over, it’s easy to see why Fort Langley has become such a popular cycling destination.

5. Shop

Fort Langley has plenty of interesting shops to choose from including Fort Langley Village Antiques Mall. Located in the heart of Fort Langley, Village Antiques Mall is a 10,000 square foot mall with 60 independent dealers.

Fort Langley Village Antiques Mall – https://villageantiquesmall.com

The Fort Langley National Historic Site. Photo: tripadvisor.ca by rahvan (Mar. 2013)

6. Learn About History

If you want to expose your family to BC’s history, Fort Langley is certainly the place to go. Here are several venues you may want to check out…

The Fort Langley National Historic Site – Yes there is a fort in Fort Langley and it is the place where BC was proclaimed a British colony in 1858. At the Fort you can:

  • Explore the fort that was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1827
  • Watch blacksmithing, barrel-making or historic weapons demonstrations
  • Pan for gold and laugh along with an interpretive program.

Parking is free and the Fort is within walking distance to Fort Langley village.

The Langley Centennial Museum – The Langley Centennial Museum has a collection of over 8000 archival photographs, 9000 objects and 500 works of art.  This collection spans hundreds of years and is a window on the past and present life of Langley and surrounding areas. 1

BC Farm Museum – If you don’t live on a farm or in a farming community, it’s easy to lose touch with our agricultural history. “The BC Farm Museum has the province’s largest collection of pioneer and agricultural artifacts.” 2 If you want your family to get back in touch with that history, the BC Farm Museum is an excellent place to do that.

CN Station – “The CN Station is one of the few remaining stations like it in western Canada, and the only surviving  station from this era in the Langley region.” 3 Watch this interesting video from one of the children of the last station keepers. CN Station Interview

Links to museums and historical sites:

The Fort Langley National Historic Site – http://bit.ly/3cuGpm0
1The Langley Centennial Museum – https://museum.tol.ca/museum/Portal/default.aspx
2 BC Farm Museum – http://bcfma.com/
3 CN Station – https://www.langleyheritage.ca/cn-station

7. Live Here!

There is an abundance of fun and enjoyable activities in Fort Langley. Fort Langley has a wonderful village feel along with an interesting and rich history. There is an elementary school along with a full-service grocery store. Also, we forgot to mention above that there are plenty of good golf courses in the area. If you enjoy walking and riding your bike, Fort Langley is one of the premier places to live in the Fraser Valley.

For more information contact real estate specialist Mike Wilson.

Mike Wilson
Remax Treeland
604-533-3491
mike@fvlifestyle.com

Photo: https://www.tourism-langley.ca/location/fort-langley

Friday Night Music Series with Ryan McAllister | Feb. 28

On Friday, February, 28th from 6 – 9 pm, enjoy your evening with Backyard Vineyards listening to live music by Ryan McAllister while sipping on Backyard wine.

The Friday Music Series at Backyard Vineyards takes place in their tasting room so seating is limited. They encourage you to grab your tickets in advance. Tickets are $19.95 which includes a tasting flight of their social wines plus music of course!

Wine and beer are available for purchase along with their menu of cheese platters to pair alongside.

If you have any questions, give them a call at (604) 539-9463.

BACKYARD VINEYARDS RYAN MCALLISTER

Ryan McAllister**

“Ryan McAllister is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer. Over the last fifteen years, he has played thousands of concerts on five continents with artists ranging from Sam Roberts and Noah Gundersen to Willie Nelson and Carly Rae Jepsen. He’s headed up the bands Dakona and North Country Gentlemen and his music have appeared on Billboard, MTV, Much Music, Top 40 radio, film and TV and has been nominated for Covenant and Dove awards.”
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*This event is only for those aged 19+
** Ryan’s website – https://www.ryanmcallister.com/ryanmcallister
*** Photos – https://www.backyardvineyards.ca

Sales have returned to above-average levels

If you are a homeowner watching the Real Estate market in the Fraser Valley, you may have noticed that 2019 finished strong after a comparatively lackluster year. Early in the year, we were still undergoing the impact of the stress test that was introduced in 2018, but with steady job growth and a stable economy, sales have returned to above-average levels in our region.

January 2020 was active

January was an active month in the local Real Estate market. I even had multiple offer situations. That said, this might be a good time for homeowners to consider selling because of increasing demand and a limited supply of houses for sale. Some homeowners in our region who were thinking about selling have been waiting for prices to rise a little and that time is now!

Lower Interest Rates

There are a few factors at work that are contributing to the potentially lower interest rates and that will impact the market too. The current pressure on “bond market yields” is an indicator that the banks will continue on a trend to lower interest rates. Long term rates will likely come down as the banks look to secure long term mortgage lending, as opposed to short term mortgage lending. (see below) Currently, international concerns regarding the Coronavirus are contributing to this downward trend too.

An interesting note regarding long term mortgages

In the past, long term mortgages have been considered to have very restrictive terms of repayment, so people shy away from them. Legitimate concerns about early payout penalties, large upward interest rate shifts, during the mortgage term have made these unpopular choices for buyers.

Changes to longer-term mortgages

Did you know that after five years in any mortgage term lenders can no longer charge the “interest rate differential penalty”? The maximum penalty is a three-month one-time penalty. This is a great new safeguard should you choose a long term rate. Also, you are still able to “portable” your mortgage to your next home in most cases.

Questions

If you want to know more, I can arrange for all your questions to be answered by a trusted mortgage professional.

Regards,

Mike Wilson
Remax Treeland
604-533-3491
mike@fvlifestyle.com

Photo by Francesca Tosolini on Unsplash

Are you starting to think about Valentine’s Day? If you have gone to the grocery store lately or your local florist, you will see that the marketing push has begun!

If you would like some music to get you in the mood (and even if you don’t), we came across this beautiful “Indie Folk Love Playlist for Valentines’ Day 2020.

In the words of Indie Folk Central… “Cuddle up with your loved one and enjoy these dreamy indie-folk love songs. Specially created for Valentine’s Day 2020 | Acoustic, singer-songwriter, Americana | And it might even be a perfect playlist for those who hate Cupid’s favorite day!”

Some of the featured artists include Dustin Tebbutt, Children of Indigo, Lucia Fogale and one of our favorite, sometimes local Vancouver artist Jon Bryant.

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Photo: Pablo Merchan Montes
Jordan Bateman, a Langley resident, made the Canadian national news last week during the Fraser Valley’s unusual deep freeze when they built an ice rink in their backyard. Jordan was watching the weather and could see that freezing temperatures were on the way. His son has only skated outdoors a few times because of the Fraser Valley’s mild winter temperatures.
Jordan went on YouTube to find instructions on how to build an outdoor ice rink. He says he found plenty of helpful information that helped him to put a plan into action
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Watch the news story here:

via ytCropper

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Jordan says he grew up a hockey fan and was inspired by people like Walter Gretzky who built a backyard rink for his famous hockey-playing son Wayne Gretzky.
 
Just before stepping on the ice for the first time Jordan’s son gave him a big hug and said “thank you, dad. This is the coolest thing ever.” Unfortunately, there was heavy snow the next day making the ice rink unuseable. After the snowfall, the weather cooperated and Jordan reported on his Facebook page that the rink was useable for at least 30 hours.
 
Ironically, even though Jordan is a big hockey fan and built this rink in his backyard, he doesn’t know how to skate.
Photo: Jordan Bateman