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The concern comes from the B.C. Real Estate Association forecast this week that average home sale prices will fall by as much as 8.7 per cent in the Greater Vancouver and surrounding areas. There is a 13.78 percent drop from the previous forecast only a few months ago. Overall, the new forecast for the first time in 5 years, has been a steady decline for the Greater Vancouver area.

 
 
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Image Source: BCREA 2017 Forecast

 
 
 

Hanging onto a home or property in a falling market is ideal. Making it through the tough times, then selling later when the market rebounds is an example of a good strategy. However, it seems that property owners are mortgaged to the max and cannot get around these declines in the housing market. These fundamental practices are the difference between having to foreclose and being in a position to ride the storm. There are other circumstances can also play pivotal roles in having to foreclose or not.

 

It is through pricing markets and economic growth over the past years that these forecasts and predictions set the trends. The market is still up from 2015 but is consistently decreasing and seems touchy.

 

For more, read the full BCREA 2017 Forecast HERE.

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The controversy foreign home buyer tax didn’t stop Canada’s immigration website from going down shortly after the US presidential election last week. Disappointed American residents researched what exactly is a “double-double”, where to buy the best toque, and the possibilities of jumping the proverbial ship.

 

With the sudden interest in America’s northern neighbour, rentseeker.ca conducted their own research. Their blog “New Data by RentSeeker Shows Cost of Housing in Canada and the U.S.compares the average home price across Canada and the United States of America, and the salary you would need to purchase in said area.


Graphics by rentseeker.ca

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The most expensive city in Canada is now the world's riskiest city in housing if a sudden downward correction were to happen.

 

Housing prices in Vancouver are always on the rise and even during the economic crisis of 2008 Vancouver still saw growth in Real Estate values. As wages and commodity prices weakened the market continued to rise which has caused a "significant overaluation" in the market.

 

Over the past couple of years the Vancouver market has seen increased upward pressure due to strong offshore investors and foreign property owners. The risk comes from the fact that Vancouver Real Estate values are out of sync with current economic conditions in Canada and around the world.

 

Other cities also sited and being risky are: Vancouver, London, Stockholm, Sydney, Munich and Hong Kong.

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Vancouver, Toronto and other major Canadian cities have had a huge drop the first half of 2016. The distance between what people earn pre-tax and what homes are costing now is ever increasing and detached homes and places to raise a family are hard to find. But the drop in the cost of higher end detached homes may only start to become reality later in the year if this trend continues.

 

This trend has started to encourage more townhouse and condo developments in outlying regions such as Maple Ridge where homes and condos have now separated by larger margins in terms of what people can afford.

 

Some analysists say that Vancouver is expected to receieve a small housing correction but nothing too alarming as the demand for homes and affordability in the Lower Mainland is ever present.

 

Even though Vancouver and some outlying cities have seen a small decline, the rest of BC has improved and continues to be a strong market.

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Government to introduce a 15 per cent foreign buyer tax effective August 2


The provincial government will implement a 15 per cent foreign buyer tax on all residential transactions effective August 2, 2016. The tax will be added to the Property Transfer Tax and will apply to all residential properties purchased by foreign nationals or foreign-controlled corporations.


The new tax will be payable on applicable transfers registered with the Land Title Office on or after August 2 regardless of when the deal was completed.


The tax will apply to any transferee that is a foreign national, foreign corporation, or taxable trustee. Foreign nationals are defined as people who aren’t Canadian citizens or don’t have permanent resident status in Canada. (Permanent residents will have a valid permanent resident card issued by the Canadian government.)


“Housing affordability concerns all of us who live in the region. Implementing a new real estate tax, however, with just eight days’ notice and no consultation with the professionals who serve home buyers and sellers every day needlessly injects uncertainty into the market,” Dan Morrison, Board president said. “Government has had a long time to take action on the affordability issue, yet they decide to bring this new tax in over a long weekend, with no notice, and no time to prepare. It would have been prudent to seek consultation from the people most knowledgeable about the impact.”

Under the new tax, for example, a foreign buyer or foreign-controlled entity will pay an additional $300,000 in tax on a $2 million home.


“To minimize short-term volatility in the market, we’re calling on government to exempt real estate transactions that are in the process of closing from this new tax,” Morrison said.  


Foreign corporations are any corporation not incorporated in Canada, or are incorporated in Canada but controlled in part, or wholly, by a foreign national or corporation. Publicly traded companies are excluded.


Commercial properties are excluded, and mixed-use properties will only pay the tax on the portion of the property’s value that’s for residential use.

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The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued a letter this morning to all federally regulated financial institutions (FRFI). The letter expresses concern about the rising levels of household debt in Canada and serves to remind FRFIs of their obligations under Guidelines B-20 and B-21 to assess and underwrite mortgage loans and mortgage insurance in a prudent manner. 


The letter states: 
Given the current economic environment in Canada, with record levels of household indebtedness and growing risks and vulnerabilities in some housing markets, OSFI’s supervisory scrutiny in the area of mortgage underwriting will continue. Moving forward, OSFI will place an even greater emphasis on confirming that financial institutions conduct prudent mortgage underwriting, and that their internal controls and risk management practices are sound and take into account market developments.


OSFI has identified the following five specific areas that it expects lenders to consider diligently during their underwriting process:
Income Verification
Due diligence processes for lenders must be in place.  Inadequate income verification can adversely affect the assessment of credit risk, anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) compliance, capital requirements and mortgage insurability. More stringent due diligence for incomes outside of Canada should be applied, and there should not be any reliance on collateral values as a replacement for income validation.


Non-Conforming Loans
OSFI warns that the 65% loan-to-value threshold should not be considered a demarcation point below which, sound underwriting practices and borrower due diligence do not apply; a borrower’s character and capacity to service the loan should always take precedence over the value of collateral when underwriting mortgage loans or insurance.


Debt Service Ratios
Incomes should be conservatively calculated and appropriately questioned. In particular, rental incomes from the underlying property should be critically examined. OSFI also suggests that relying on current posted five-year interest rates to test a borrower’s ability to service its obligations does not represent an adequate stress test in a rising interest rate environment.


Appraisals and LTV Calculation
OSFI suggests that rapid house price increases create more uncertainty about the reliability of property appraisals. Institutions should use appraisal values and approaches that provide for a conservative LTV calculation, and not assume that housing prices will remain stable or continue to rise.


Risk Appetite and Portfolio Management
OSFI’s supervisory work indicates that the risk profile of newer mortgage loans is generally on the rise. OSFI reminds mortgage lenders and mortgage insurers to revisit their Residential Mortgage Underwriting Policy and Residential Mortgage Insurance Underwriting Plan regularly to ensure a stringent alignment between their stated risk appetite and their actual mortgage/mortgage insurance underwriting and risk management practices.


OSFI’s letter further states that they are working on various capital policy initiatives to strengthen the measurement of capital held by the major banks and mortgage insurers to ensure their ability to weather losses from residential mortgage defaults. New measures are targeted for implementation in November 2016 and January 2017 respectively. Risk Sensitive Floors, Capital Requirements for Mortgage Insurers, and BCBS Revisions to the Standardized Approach for Credit Risk are each included in these reviews. 

We are pleased that OSFI is committed to consultations with our industry prior to the implementation of these new rules. Mortgage Professionals Canada will be involved in these discussions and we will keep you informed of any developments.

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For countless months the Vancouver real estate market has been booming, yet this market has been arguably reserved for the wealthy. Consequently, there has been a large portion of the Lower Mainland’s population left out in terms of purchasing real estate.

 

Research put forth by Vancity has determined that 61% of Vancouver millennials (aged 18 - 24), are still living at home in addition to having the lowest discretionary income in the country - disputing the longstanding argument that millennials have an inability to effectively save their money. Despite the fact that Vancouver led Canada in job creation in April of 2016 and the unemployment rate has dropped significantly, a frustrating truth is realized.

 

National Bank Financial put forth that a down payment on an average Vancouver property equates to approximately 9 years of saving. Because of this, it leads individuals to wonder whether it is worth it to stay in the Vancouver area. This is why we see an upswing of young professionals and recent graduates spending a few years in a rental property to gain work experience, before relocating to a more affordable housing market. 

 

In the Vancouver area, it is more cost effective for millennials to consider purchasing a townhouse or condominium to increase their discretionary income. The issue being, there is a distinct lack of these types of properties available to those who cannot afford to purchase a home.

 

A poll administered by CIBC discovered that 75% of Canadians believe that entering the housing market is more difficult for millennials than it was for previous generations. Additionally, something should be done to ease the financial burden millennials face in buying a home.

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The Molson Coors brewery, a three hectare industrial property, at 1550 Burrard Street in Vancouver has been officially purchased by Concord Pacific for $185 million, following confirmation late last year that the property was in the process of being sold for an undisclosed amount to an unknown buyer.

 

Presently, the Molson Coors brewery is zoned for industrial use only, and the city of Metro Vancouver has stated on numerous occasions that they have no plans to rezone the site. Protection policies put forth by the city stress the importance of the brewery’s location, as it provides accessible industry jobs for individuals living in the city.

 

Consequently, it may be no easy feat to get the property rezoned.

 

Concord Pacific, a chiefly residential developer, has arranged to lease back the property to Molson Coors over the next two years while a new brewery is constructed elsewhere. Despite the City’s desire to keep the brewery an industrial zone, Concord Pacific plans to apply for rezoning. As of April 11th, 2016, the City of Vancouver had yet to receive an application to rezone, nor do they intend on rezoning the brewery for anything non-industrial.

 

Local economists are concerned about the repercussions rezoning may have on the City of Vancouver. For an economy to properly function, it is imperative that a given city has a balance of residential and industrial development.

 

Considering that the Molson Coors brewery is the last protected industrial property in Vancouver, it is arguable that a

rezone is unlikely to happen.

 

Concord Pacific’s vision for the property is to create a “knowledge-based work centre” coupled with a residential development - transforming the property into a vibrant and multidimensional attraction in Vancouver. For now, Molson Coors will continue to operate out of the brewery until at least 2018.

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The City of Vancouver has recently purchased the Arbutus Corridor - a 9 kilometre railway that

has not been used since 2001 - for $55 million.

 

Vancouver has made several attempts in the past to negotiate with CP Rail to purchase the

Arbutus Corridor, as the unused tracks became popular amongst locals utilizing the green

space. When Canadian Pacific began clearing community gardens in 2014 to prepare for the

tracks to be used again, the City of Vancouver intensified negotiations to stop the project. These

negotiations proved to be a delicate balance of keeping both CP Rail and Vancouver happy.

 

The agreement reached provided CP Rail a fair return on the corridor, as well as ensured them

a portion of funds garnered from selling development and land within the corridor.

 

Gregor Robertson believes that it will take between $25 and $30 million to transform the corridor

into a greenway, with work beginning in the next year. This unheard of opportunity to acquire

such a large parcel of land in Metro Vancouver will provide the area with pedestrian lanes and

bike paths amongst plentiful green space. Additionally, there are talks of developing a light rail

system along the stretch.

 

This undertaking will be monumental for the surrounding area, as the Arbutus Corridor runs

through False Creek, Kitsilano, and the Westside. These areas boast some of the most valuable

property in North America, and the development of an urban greenway will likely increase

property value further.

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Major changes are underway for B.C.’s real estate market, specifically in Greater Vancouver where housing affordability has been a consistent issue. With revisions made to B.C.’s Property Transfer Tax (PTT), it is evident that affordability is at the forefront of the Provincial government’s mind.

 

New homes costing $750,000 or less are eligible to be exempt from property transfer tax, and homes priced up to $800,000 are eligible for partial exemption. To receive this exemption, one must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. To ensure that investment properties are still fully taxed, one must also reside in the purchased home for at least one year.

 

Additionally, land that is purchased with the intention of building a home will be eligible for a full PTT refund. In addition to the citizenship requirement, it is also required that construction is completed and the principal resident moves into the property within a year of the initial purchase. However, this particular incentive may fall short in aiding the market, due to project delays and the ample time it takes to process the applications for a building project.

 

With the stipulation that home owners must be citizens or permanent residents, individuals must identify as one of the two when registering an eligible property. Furthermore, individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents must declare their citizenship upon registration. This new information will serve a dual purpose, as it will also allow the government to assess if foreign investment has any bearing on affordability in B.C.

 

To compensate for this new exemption, property valued over $2 million will face a PTT of 3%, which will conceivably earn the government $75 million extra each fiscal year in tax dollars. As B.C.’s population and economy grow, so does the demand for affordable housing. However, the price for a single family home has been steadily increasing over the past five years, despite a distinct need for the opposite to occur. Consequently, the government announced that over the next five years $355 million will be dedicated to construction over 2000 affordable housing units for low-income earners.

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Dollar and Vancouver Real Estate

 

Recently the Canadian dollar has fallen below 69 cents which is has been the longest losing streak since 1971. Many invested in Vancouver Real Estate wonder what type of impact this will bring the market.


Real Estate Rental Units have increased As the new rental units have increased from 5% (2005-2009) up to 20% (2010 - 2014) we're seeing a steady trend that the market is increasing in value to the point where it's hard for local residences to afford. Despite over 834 new apartments being build which is the largest amount of since 1986 the vacancy dropped in every municipality except the District of North Vancouver and the city of Vancouver which were still dangerously low rates. Low Vacancy has been seen to lead landlords to increase the prices which force tenants to move out. Average rent for a 2 bedroom unit in the area went from $1849 in 2014 to $1951 in 2015.


Renting has Increased, Buying has Decreased Many are motivated to rent rather than own as the costs are out of their price range. Many affordable homes are finding reduced vacancies so landlords have been found to jack up prices when tenants move out of old units or have to renew their unit. This has been known to force some to move to other buildings or move further from Vancouver. Many affordable units are also being destroyed to make room for non affordable units. As this happens many buyers are moving to suburban areas, and investments from other countries purchasing the newly designed real estate units for great prices due to the lower dollar.


What's changed? According to CMHC Housing Authority they believe the low vacancy was driven due to people moving from provinces, plummeting oil prices, immigration, and surging real estate prices that keep younger people from buying homes.


What can be done? B.C.’s ministry responsible for housing said it will review the CMHC report and that it regularly reviews the Residential Tenancy Act to ensure it balances the rights of tenants and landlords. There is also a team of nine academics from UBC and SFU that have proposed a new policy to help curb the city's runaway home prices. For those of you interested can read the full policy proposal here. Let us know your thoughts on the recent events and how it's impacted your living or sales in the Real Estate Market.

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BC Real Estate Assessments are in from last year and the recorded information is staggering. If you were waiting for the market to slow down, it may not be for some time to come! These assessments are taken from owners of more than 500,000 homes in the entire Greater Vancouver area which will all be receiving their assessments in the mail this week. The total number of homes on the BC Assessment List is numbered at 1,996,112 and everything was valued at $1.34 trillion, which is an increase of 11.1% from last year.

 

The BC Assessment provides information to determine how much tax that owner must pay. Those who experience a larger appreciation will have more tax to pay in 2016.

 

The total assessments in Greater Vancouver grew 16% in 12 months from 2015 to 2016 to a total of $636.2 billion. A sample from the above document saw the greatest increase in the East Vancouver area. With a total increase of 28% East Vancouver is starting to outpace the Westside in terms of property value increases and demand.

 

Other neighbourhoods that saw incredible rise is property value are: Hamilton in North Vancouver, West Vancouver waterfront, Garibaldi Highlands in Squamish, Capital Hill in Burnaby and Westwood Plateau in Coquitlam.

 

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The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in *Metro Vancouver reached 3,524 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in November 2015. This represents a 40.1 per cent increase compared to the 2,516 sales recorded in November 2014, and a 3.3 per cent decrease compared to the 3,646 sales in October 2015.

 

Last month’s sales were 46.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the second highest November on record for residential property sales.

 

“November is typically one of the quietest months of the year in our housing market, but not this year,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “The ratio of sales to home’s available for sale reached 44 per cent in November, which is the highest it’s been in our market in nine years.”

 

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 3,392 in November. This represents a 12.5 per cent increase compared to the 3,016 new listings reported in November 2014.

 

The total number of properties listed for sale on the real estate board’s MLS® is 8,096, a 35 per cent decline compared to November 2014 and a 15.4 per cent decline compared to October 2015....

 

Read More HERE

 

 

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You can buy this cute little cottage in East Van for only $20,000 but there's a catch. You need to remove the house and transport it to a new location.

 

The reason for this sale is that the house currently contradicts the housing bylaws in the area. The 250 sqft house offers a really cute, urban loft style apartment that has it's own entrance and building. 

 

Check out the official add HERE

 

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Earlier in the month the Bank of Canada announced it's new rates, stating that "Economic recovery has not been strong enough to warrant a rate increase." The BoC decided to maintain it's 0.5% interest rate, citing economic growth is the priority.

 

The economy still continues to go through lengthy and complex adjustments. These adjustments are aided by the US recovery. The lower Canadian dollar is helping the export and non-resource sectors including real estate rise due to foreign investment. The west coast, primarily Vancouver, has seen and while continue to see a high amount of foreign Chinese investment in real estate due to the lower Canadian dollar, low interest rates and new policies for Chinese mainlanders.

 

The resource sector is still lower than expected due to the lack of business investment. Yet the labour market remains resilient at the national level.

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The Vancouver real estate market craze is extending up the coast to Squamish. Their most recent development, Park House, sold out in 90 minutes!

 

The 65-unit four storey development with studios, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom units ranging from $167,900 to $449,900 was the new craze in the outdoor capital of Canada. Some believe this coincides with Squamish's plans to redevelop their downtown area into an Oceanfront Community.

 

This new 59 acre development, dubbed Squamish Oceanfront, will include: park space, marina, cultural spaces, educational space for post secondary and around 1,100 residential units for approximately 5,000 people.

 

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All we seem to hear about is how expensive real estate is getting in Vancouver and all over Canada. A recent survey has found that at least 50% of Canadians are waiting even longer to start families due to ever increasing cost of real estate.

 

A lot of Canadian's look at 400-500 sqft apartments and think that is not an acceptable situation to raise a child or create a family. It's becoming apparent that Canadian's are having to choose between home ownership where they want and raising a family in an appropriate environment.

 

A recent study issued at the beginning of this year found that a family would need to earn approximately $150,000 ($75,000 each) a year in order to own a modest home in Vancouver price around the $800,000 mark.

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In Mount Pleasant's Brewery district you will find the development called the Mecca. This fully pimped out loft even allows for you to bring your motorcycle into your condo. The 1,786 sqft completely open concept loft features a curved metal staircase, double height ceilings, floor to ceiling windows and access to a common rooftop deck.

 

The building was originally constructed in 1995 with it's purpose designed for an artist work/live stuido setting. The original owners consisted of painters, musicians, sculptors and others.

 

Property Details:

  • $1,148,000
  • 1786 sqft
  • 2 Bedroom | 2 Bathroom

 

 

 

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On the quiet street of Alpha Avenue in the Brentwood area is the Milano, Solterra's next boutique landmark tower.

 

The Solterra Group of Companies is known for it's unique and distinct buildings with stellar interior design and luxe finishings. This developer is one of the few where cookie cutter does not fit into their business model.

 

Milano is a singular tower with beautifully designed modern and contemporary features and architectural elements. Surrounding this beautiful building will be 20,000 sqft of world class amenities such as an outdoor movie theatre, outdoor kitchen, kids playground and more!

 

Inside is another beautifully designed realm of designer finishes, furniture, wall architecture, public art and anything else that will make a luxury lifestyle more elegant.

 

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Don't always think buying a home in Spring is the best time!

 

Most people realize that selling a home in the Fall/Winter is usually avoided due to the slow time, Holiday season and the colder and darker days. Everyone waits until Spring where the weather is getting warmer, flowers are in season and days are getting longer. With lots of activity still on the horizon for the Vancouver area buyers might consider the Winter season a good time to buy as Sellers tend not to list their properties if they absolutely don't have to.

 

Here are some valid reasons why Buying a property in the dark Winter may be a great investment opportunity:

  1. More Motivated Sellers:
    If a home was listed in the summer and it's still for sale you can be sure that these sellers will be more anxious to sell their property.

  2. Competition is Seasonally Dependant
    Most Buyers like to purchase homes early in the year to enjoy them through the summer. Most Buyers don't want to buy after school has started or Holiday's are around the corner. 

  3. Flexible Move-In Dates
    Since the Holiday season is a big part of everyones lives move-in dates become more flexible to either accommodate for the Holiday season or bypass it completely. 

  4. Weather and Daylight
    Low temperatures, rain, snow and lack of daylight usually cause Buyers to let go their home search and wait for blue skies and warm temperatures again. This might be your opportunity to sneak up on the competition.
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