May 3, 2023
Presented by iA Auto and home insurance
Spring is synonymous with renewal, and now that the season is finally here, it’s the perfect time to try new things. Why not rearrange your living space and enhance your sense of wellbeing? One popular decor style is inspired by Feng Shui, a Chinese philosophy that has taken the west by storm and focuses on the free flow of energy, or Chi, from one room to the next.
With a few pointers from this Chinese art of living, you can create a harmonious atmosphere in your own home.
The first step in creating a restful space is clearing away clutter. Put away all the things around your home that you don’t use or are just in the way. According to Feng Shui philosophy, when positive energy is unable to flow freely, the result can be blockages, frustration and stress. So sort through, throw away or donate the things you no longer use.
Choose suitable colours
Colour has a big impact on mood, which affects the quality of the energy flowing through a space. Cool, pastel colours, such as grey, blue and green, are known as Yin colours. They invite relaxation and are the colours of choice for your bedroom, bathroom and living room. Yang colours, like yellow, orange and red, are warm and vibrant. They energize a room and are commonly used in the kitchen, rec room and front hall.
Your home’s orientation and the amount of light in each room will also affect colour choices. A Feng Shui consultant can help you choose the best colours for your interior.
Rearrange your furniture
Try to arrange your furniture to facilitate conversation, relaxation and hospitality. If you have large pieces, like a substantial sofa or wardrobe, try to place them so they don’t block the flow of energy in your living space and are not too visually overpowering.
Include natural materials
The five elements—wood, water, earth, fire and metal—can have a positive impact on your wellbeing. Use natural decor such as plants, stones, candles and fountains to create a harmonious atmosphere and bring positive energy to your space. Plants, for example, are a great way to add vitality to a room, and they improve air quality too. According to some schools of thought, stones and crystals bring stability and serenity to a space, while candles create a warm, welcoming ambiance. Fountains can contribute a tranquil and rejuvenating energy and provide a soothing soundscape.
Avoid sharp angles
Opt for soft and curved shapes in your decor, such as round or oval tables, plush cushions and soft carpets, to enhance positive energy. If you have furniture or objects with sharp angles, you can soften their appearance by covering them with fabric or adding rounded cushions or accessories.
Create a meditation space
In Feng Shui philosophy, meditation and relaxation are essential practices for calming the mind and enhancing wellbeing. The best way to accomplish this is to create a space in your home used only for meditation and relaxation. The space could be an entire room or just a quiet corner in your living room or bedroom. The key is to choose a calm, peaceful area where you can relax without distractions.
You can add decorative elements to this space to enhance relaxation and meditation, such as comfortable cushions, soft rugs, scented candles, incense and plants. You can also add items specifically designed for meditation, like a meditation cushion or bench. What’s important is to create a space that promotes relaxation and is a reflection of you.
Whether you’ve just moved to your dream apartment or you’re simply rearranging your living space, the key is to feel zen and serene in your home. For even more peace of mind, don’t forget about home insurance. If you need to make a claim, your home will be covered and your sense of serenity will be complete. Apply for an insurance policy online with just a few clicks and spend more time enjoying your Feng Shui space.
Try the Feng Shui method now and rediscover your inner peace!
May 3, 2023
Prices continue rising across Metro Vancouver as home buyer confidence returns
With listing activity remaining below historical norms, home sales in Metro Vancouver have mounted a surprising comeback, rising near levels seen last spring, before eight consecutive interest rate hikes eroded borrowing power and brought home sales activity down along with it.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,741 in April 2023, a 16.5 per cent decrease from the 3,281 sales recorded in April 2022, and 15.6 per cent below the 10-year seasonal average (3,249).
“The fact we are seeing prices rising and sales rebounding this spring tells us home buyers are returning with confidence after a challenging year for our market, with mortgage rates roughly doubling,” Lis said. “The latest MLS HPI® data show home prices have increased about five per cent year-to-date, which already outpaces our forecast of one to two per cent by year-end. The year is far from over, however, and it remains to be seen if these price increases will be sustained into 2024.”
There were 4,307 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in April 2023. This represents a 29.7 per cent decrease compared to the 6,128 homes listed in April 2022, and was 22 per cent below the 10-year seasonal average (5,525).
The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,790, a 4.2 per cent decrease compared to April 2022 (9,176), and 20.9 per cent below the 10-year seasonal average (11,117).
Across all detached, attached and apartment property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for April 2023 is 32.7 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 24.4 per cent for detached homes, 40.1 per cent for townhomes, and 37.4 per cent for apartments.
Analysis of the historical data suggests downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.
“When we released our market forecast in January, we were one of the only organizations taking the contrarian view that prices were likely to appreciate in 2023,” Lis said. “And what we’re seeing unfold so far this year is consistent with our prediction that near record-low inventory levels would create competitive conditions where almost any resurgence in demand would translate to price escalation, despite the elevated borrowing cost environment. At the crux of it, the issue remains a matter of far too little resale supply available relative to the pool of active buyers in our market.”
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,170,700. This represents a 7.4 per cent decrease over April 2022 and a 2.4 per cent increase compared to March 2023.
Sales of detached homes in April 2023 reached 808, a 16.3 per cent decrease from the 965 detached sales recorded in April 2022. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,915,800. This represents an 8.8 per cent decrease from April 2022 and a 2.9 per cent increase compared to March 2023.
Sales of apartment homes reached 1,413 in April 2023, a 16.5 per cent decrease compared to the 1,693 sales in April 2022. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $752,300. This represents a 3.1 per cent decrease from April 2022 and a two per cent increase compared to March 2023.
Attached home sales in April 2023 totalled 500, a 13.5 per cent decrease compared to the 578 sales in April 2022. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $1,078,400. This represents a 6.1 per cent decrease from April 2022 and a 2.1 per cent increase compared to March 2023.
Download the April 2023 stats package.
May 1, 2023
25 Years of Making Home a Safe Place for Everyone
Royal LePage professionals understand that a house is only a home if the people who live there feel safe.
25 years ago, Royal LePagers unanimously agreed that helping women and children find safety from domestic abuse should be where they channeled their big hearts and charitable efforts. Since its founding on August 26, 1998, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation has grown to become the largest public foundation in Canada dedicated exclusively to this important cause.
In order to fund this life-saving and life-changing work, many Royal LePagers have made generous donations from their commissions each time they've helped a client buy or sell. They have also hosted and attended local fundraising events of all shapes and sizes, hiked hundreds of kilometers as part of the ‘Challenge for Shelter’ series, purchased thousands of ‘Shelter Blooms’ tulip bulbs, and donated and bid on countless Shelter Auction items - including our very famous Faux Fur Coat!
As fundraising revenues and personal donations have grown over the past two and half decades, so too has our collective understanding of the complexities of domestic violence. Following closely the work of experts, educators, and front-line shelter workers, we now know that:
- Intimate partner violence doesn’t always show up as bruises or physical injuries. Psychological, emotional and financial abuse can be just as harmful.
- While violence and abuse can happen to any woman, some are at much greater risk and have less access to helpful services, including Indigenous women, Black and racialized women, 2SLGBTQIA people, young women, women with disabilities, and women living in rural or remote communities.
- There are complex reasons why people stay in abusive relationships, as well as significant barriers and risks of seeking help.
- Children cannot be shielded from violence in their homes – even that which takes place behind closed doors – and the impacts to their mental and physical health and development can be devastating.
- A safe and secure bed in a shelter is only the first of many important steps for a woman fleeing abuse. Job training, financial literacy, affordable transitional housing, legal services, and therapy are all essential, longer-term supports that help women thrive after experiencing domestic violence.
In the face of rising rates of violence over the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing incidence of women killed each year by current or former partners, Royal LePage Shelter Foundation supporters look ahead with determination. We know that, together, we have made a difference in the lives of so many women and children. We know that with continued investment in today’s youth, the tide can be turned for many of their future dating and intimate relationships. We can envision a world where our Shelter Foundation is no longer needed because women and children are safe in their homes. And so, as we mark 25 years of progress, we look with purpose at the work that remains.
May 1, 2023
What a year!
This spring season, I'm feeling so much pride in our collective accomplishments for 2022, and excitement for what’s ahead at the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation in 2023. Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, we were delighted to announce $3.25 million raised last year. Well into our milestone 25th year, we have now raised more than $41 million!
Looking ahead, we will soon be unveiling two new fundraising programs (stay tuned!) and we are eagerly anticipating our Ecuador Challenge for Shelter
, which will see 120 adventurous Royal LePage professionals trek for 5 days towards one of the highest active volcanoes in the world. My heartfelt thanks go out to all those who have already helped our trekkers raise more than $340,000 for women's shelters across the country.
Then, there’s the context for why we do what we do, and that’s never been more important. We were sadly reminded of this as recently as March 31, 2023. On that day, the Mass Casualty Commission’s Final Report was released, arising from the devastating mass murders of April 2020 in Portapique, NS. The Commission declared gender-based violence to be an epidemic. In the words of Lise Martin, executive director of Women’s Shelters Canada (supported since inception by the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation), “The idea that domestic violence is a private matter is flawed and dangerous. We know that most mass casualty events are preceded by gender-based violence, and if we deal effectively with that issue, we can prevent violence both within and outside the home.”
Past, present and future, thank you for taking pride in the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and making it the charity of choice for Royal LePage agents and their community of supporters who believe that home should be a safe place for everyone.
May 1, 2023
Jerry Aulenbach (front right) and guests prepare to cook a delicious Thai meal at ‘Cooking for a Cause’ in Langley, BC
Jerry Aulenbach with Royal LePage Noralta Real Estate in Edmonton, AB knows how to get creative in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. Over a decade ago, he organized a series of tweet-ups in support of Shelter. Then, he climbed British Columbia’s famed Grouse Grind in a bacon costume in exchange for donations. Next, he criss-crossed the country for five straight winters to host skating events in all weather conditions (including -40°C in Moose Jaw) that raised more than $42,000 for domestic violence prevention. Then, there was the underground pizza party at the Royal LePage National Sales conference in Winnipeg which helped contribute to record-breaking fundraising for the Shelter Foundation.
Emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, Aulenbach wanted to find a way to rebuild the connections many were craving while living by his personal motto to “never eat alone”. And so, ‘Cooking for a Cause’ was born. In total, Aulenbach hosted five hands-on, interactive cooking classes, all led by professional local chefs. Guests in New Minas learned to cook an elegant salmon en papillote, and in Victoria, the meal centered around seafood and cider. Attendees in Langley learned the ins-and-outs of Thai cuisine, those in Whitby perfected Southern fried chicken, and it was a Korean feast for participants in Toronto.
At each event, attendees separated into groups and worked on one portion of the meal which was then shared at a communal table of old and new friends, all keen to show their support for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. In total, more than $2,000 was raised, which will fund programs that help teach teens how to build healthy relationships and avoid violence in their lives.
“For me, a great food experience cannot happen without the right group of people and all of my Cooking for a Cause events delivered,” said Aulenbach. “It was very rewarding to learn new skills alongside good friends, enjoy delicious dishes, and know that our gathering was also helping support the critical work of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.”
Aulenbach looks forward to hosting more ‘Cooking for a Cause’ events in 2023. Cities are expected to include Red Deer, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.
May 1, 2023
B. Primulas (Primrose)
C. Ranunculus (Buttercup)
May 1, 2023
Moving into a new home should be an exciting time, but without proper planning and organization, the whole experience can quickly turn into an overwhelming ordeal.
To help ease the anxieties of moving day, here’s a handy to-do list to keep you organized and on-track:
1. Plan ahead
This may seem obvious, but many people find themselves rushing to hire movers and pack their belongings in the final frantic days leading up to their big move. To avoid the stress this can cause, and to ensure moving day flows smoothly, be sure to start packing at least one month in advance. Focus on one room or closet at a time, and use this as an opportunity to purge items you no longer need. Moving into a new place means starting fresh – donate, rehome or recycle those belongings that won’t serve a purpose in your new home. Remember, the first and last days of the month are popular moving days, so don’t put off booking your professional movers in advance.
2. Optimize your packing process
For safe travels and storage, pack your belongings in durable moving boxes, ideally new or ones that have little wear-and-tear. There’s also the option to rent reusable moving crates that can be returned once your move is complete. You can even hire professional packers to do it for you! To avoid sensitive items getting wet or damaged, use plastic, sealable bags and bins to protect clothing, books and important documents. And, be sure to bubble wrap glassware and fragile items to keep them from shattering in transit.
Bonus: Here are expert tips for packing your kitchen!
3. Label and organize your boxes
Label each moving box with the room it belongs in (ie. kitchen, bathroom, bedroom #1). Take it a step further by numbering each box and creating a tracking document to specify which boxes should go in each room. This not only makes it easier for your movers to know where to place your items, but it also helps you to keep track of all your boxes.
4. Make those small repairs before moving in
If time allows, paint the walls, deep clean the appliances, and complete any minor repairs before moving into your new place. Unsurprisingly, it is a lot better to have a fully-functioning home before you start to unpack and assemble furniture. If this is not an option for you, consider placing all your items in the garage or basement at first, or simply in the centre of a room, to allow you a few days to clean thoroughly and complete any small jobs necessary before settling into your new space.
5. Update your services and accounts
It can take time for some utilities to get up and running. Set a reminder to take your name off your current utility bills and set up accounts for services at your new place in advance of moving in. Remember to also change the mailing address on your subscriptions, delivery services, and most importantly government and banking documents.
6. Make a plan for your first night
Moving day can be a long and tiring process, so you’ll want to plan ahead for that first night. You may not have the time or energy to set up your bedroom right away, or perhaps you are having a new mattress delivered in the coming week. Book a hotel or arrange to stay with family or friends until you are ready to sleep comfortably in your new home.