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We all know Vancouver is an amazing place to live, raise a family and experience everything that BC has to offer! According to a new survey it now has one of the best reputations in the world. The 2015 City RepTrack by the Reputation Institute released its annuals findings last week.

 

The survey combines emotional reputation and rational reputation on aspects like trust and admiration on things like effective governments, appealing environment and advanced economy.

 

Sydney, Austrailia took first place. Melbourne, Australia took second, Stockholm, Sweden third, Vienna, Austria fourth and Vancouver fifth.

 

The Reputation Institute found a correlation between the most reputable cities and places ranked best to live. Some of the worst on the list were: Moscow, Bogota and Mexico City.

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Lougheed Town Centre in West Coquitlam is undergoing some massive changes in the housing, development and transportation sector in the next year.

 

Onni has a brand new luxury development going up in the heart of the up and coming district called Brookmere. This quiet area has evolved into an active region with tons of changes lined up for the next couple years including the Evergreen Line expected to open late 2016.

 

Previews opened this past weekend with homes starting from $269,900. Be sure to contact me for more information regarding this amazing new Luxury Development in Coquitlam.

 

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Conditions continue to favor home sellers across the Greater Vancouver housing market. REALTORS® listed 3,345 homes on the regions MLS® in September which is up 14.5% from September 2014 and is up 32.9% from the 10-year average for the month.

 

Home sales have been between 25-30% above the 10-years sales average and home listing activity has not kept up with this demand so far in 2015.

 

There are 10,805 homes listed for sale which is down 27% compared to last year. Active home buyers and consistently low home listing levels have contributed to home price increases in 2015.

 

The benchmark house price in Greater Vancouver rose to $722,300 which is up 13.7% from last year.

 

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Luxury Homes/Shutterstock


The luxury home market in vancouver isn’t affected by Canada’s recently announced recession, real estate brokerages claim this is due to the demand from foreign buyers.

 

Demands for homes with a pricetag of $3 million or more has increased 79% between January 2015 and September 2015 in Vancouver, particularly from Chinese buyers as they see Canada as a great place to live, invest and raise their families.

 

This brings major concerns over foreign investments in Vancouver's real estate market, thus prompting Mayor Gregor Roberston to propose a Speculation Tax back in May 2015. Christy Clark squashed the proposal with fear of housing prices dropping.

 

Based off of the limited data on foreign buyers, they don’t make up more than 5% of the overall market in Vancouver.

And around 77% of Vancouverites support an absentee homeowner tax, according to an Insights West poll.

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Vancouver

 

Vancouver is the most expensive city in Canada, despite our high housing costs Vancouver has not ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world. In fact, Vancouver is way down the list at #119 rubbing shoulders with Kuwait City and Cairo, Egypt.

 

The survey run by The Mercer 2015 Cost of Living Survey, is meant to provide a guideline for international workforce compensation - but many are simply curious to see how far their dollar goes. Using the U.S. Dollar and New York City as a base, the cost of over 200 goods and services in 360 cities have been analyzed.


In terms of Canada, Vancouver is the most expensive while Toronto came in at #126, Montreal at #140, Calgary at #146 and the cheapest city being Ottawa at #162.  The survey does bring good news: Vancouver is getting less expensive compared to the rest of the world - in the 2014 survey we placed #96.

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The Fraser Institute released a new report today indicating both developers and home builders have more difficulty building in the North Shore area due various factors such as: regulation costs, approval times and rezoning prevalence.

 

The district of North Vancouver has the highest regulatory compliance costs at $40,000, compared to the lowest costs at $14,357 in Abbotsford. The study shows this is a direct result of less affordable housing, capital gains and increasing property taxes.

 

Approvals in West Vancouver take the longest, averaging at 17.7 months, while North Vancouver is at 16.1 months and the shortest waiting time is in Pitt Meadows at 5 weeks.

 

The report goes on to conclude that there is no evidence for higher infrastructure costs of accommodating low­ density growth. 43 developers and home builders responded to the Fraser Institute survey that was conducted in Fall 2014.

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There was no summer lull in the Vancouver housing market this year. Between June and August home sales were 25% above the 10 year sales average. In August there were 3,362 homes sold which is up 21.3% from last year.

 

On the listing side we continue to see a smaller supply of homes for sale. There were 4,281 homes listed on the regions MLS in August. All totalled there were 10,897 homes for sale on the MLS. This is down 26.2% from last year and is the lowest total we have since August 2005.

 

The benchmark price for all residential prices has risen to $708,500 which is up 12% over last year. The current sales-to-active listing ratio is 30.9% which indicates a strong sellers market across the GVRD.

 

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Remand Centre, a former jail in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has been converted into a rental housing complex for low ­income adults and Aboriginal youth.

 

The facility closed in 2002 and sat unused until 2011 when a local firm, Henriquez Partners Architects was contracted to convert the building.

 

A total of 96 units have been converted from jail cells ranging between 320­560 ft and rent ranging from $375­$850 per month. 38 units are available for youth (specifically in the BladeRunners’ Construction Program), 42 units for people who currently live in the Downtown Eastside and 16 units for women transitioning from emergency housing.

 

The buildings renovations include modern units, large new windows, a new shared amenity space, a convenience kitchen, and a community garden with vegetables and flower beds.

 

Approximately $18 million has been spent on the renovation, with $16 million contributed by the Provincial government, $2 from the Municipal Government. Renovations began in early 2014, the first tenants will be able to move in August 2015.

 

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As Vancouver housing prices continue to rise it may not be all to do with foreign investment.

 

Home buyers statistics released in 2014 showed that Mainland Chinese were buying approximately 70% of the homes valued over $3-million. It also showed that Chinese investment is actually quite low when it comes to the lower 75% of the market, the affordable housing.

 

Chinese buyers only represent approximately 11% of sales under $1-million.

 

It appears that the increasing housing prices are dictated more by the lower interest rates and low supply of housing. In the lower mainland there are only a few municipalities still capable of new single family housing development such as Maple Ridge, Langley and Surrey.

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As the housing market continues to heat up even though the summer is winding down line ups are developing outside brand new developments in the False Creek area. Potential home owners are queueing up hours or days in advanced for the chance to purchase these new condos/townhouses in desirable areas.

 

To buy a home in Vancouver, buyers require more than just a down payment these days. They need to try something more aggressive, unique and always more money helps.

 

You can even hire Vancouver REALTORS® to camp out in some of these line ups for certain developments to hold your place in line if you are an out-of-town buyer. It just shows that some of the industries experts are changing the way they play the game.

 

A great deal of the sales are from foreign investment buyers that buy property and then flip them for a profit. This sort of short term investment has encouraged prices to increase but mostly for the local home owner. Some have suggested a speculation tax that is added to investment properties that sell within a certain timeline. However, this may adversely affect the provinces housing market.

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The summer heat hasn't slowed buyer demand!

 

Sellers continue to benefit from today's activity as home buyers compete for the homes available for sale. There was 3,978 sales in July 2015 which is up 30% compared to last year and 33.5% above the 10 year average.

 

Much of today's acitivity can be traced to:

  • Strong consumer confidence
  • Low interest rates
  • Reduced supply of homes for sale

There are currently 11,505 homes for sale on the July 2015 MLS which is down 26.3% compared to last year as is the lowest totalled since 2006.

 

The benchmark for all residence properties in July 2015 rose to $700,500 which is up 11.2% from last year.

 

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Atlanta, Georgia

7 Bed | 14 Bath | 34,650 sqft | $25,000,000

Provincial-style manor built in 2008 set on 17 acres along the Chattahoochee River 5km from the City.

 

Sea Island, Georgia

7 Bed | 7 Bath | 6,970 sqft | $6,450,000

Built in the 1930's designed in a Mediterranean Revival style located on Georgia's Sea Island.

 

Pacific Palisades, California

3 Bed | 5 Bath | 3,085 sqft | $5,500,000

Built in 1950 this home demonstrates quintessential midcentury-modern design on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

 

Houston, Texas

6 Bed | 6 Bath | 8,026 sqft | $2,990,000

Built in 1955 and located 30 minutes from downtown the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed residence in Houston.

 

Fife, Scotland

3 Bed | 2 Bath | 2,768 sqft | $1,400,000

Located in the rural region of Fife, Scotland this home is constructed of wood and glass.

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While most of the attention is gobbled up by Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary markets there is quite a shift in some of the smaller markets in Canada as well.

St. John's - Newfoundland and Labrador

Since 2000 Newfoundland and Labrador have seen an incredible boom in economy due to the off shore drilling rigs that have pulled in billions in investment. Most people look to Calgary and Alberta for the oil boom but Newfoundland has seen a 50% growth in economy since 2000.

 

Windsor, Ontario

Windsor was hit hard in the global financial crisis because of its dependence on manufacturing. With the strengthening Canadian economy Windsor has seen a remarkable change of face and has had a 30% increase in home sales this year alone. With the automotive industry resurgence Windsor has increased jobs, and increased home prices by 5% from last July.

 

Squamish, British Columbia

As detached homes continue to skyrocket out of control in Vancouver and the North Shore people are deciding to make the 45min trek up the sea-to-sky highway in search of more affordable housing. Home sales were up 58% from just last year and detached home prices have jumped more than 20%.

 

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Baran Studio Architecture is behind the design of the 62nd Street residence in Oakland, California. Built on a large, urban lot, the house makes the most of every square inch of land possible by spreading out to the perimeter.

 

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Warm wood details are carried from the exterior to the interior of the home and are used to trim out built-in bookcases and to cover entire walls.

 

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Wood beams run in both directions in parts of the main living area.

 

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A series of randomly placed George Nelson Bubble Lamps float above in the dining room and kitchen.

 

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The wooden beams continue from the inside to the outdoors almost creating a pergola over part of the patio.

 

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An exterior, wooden wall is outfitted with shelves that hold plants.

 

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Last month was the highest selling June and the second highest monthly total on record for the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. There were 4,375 homes sold last month on the boards MLS. This is an increase of 28.4% compared to June 2014 and 29.1% above the June 10 year average. June also marked the fourth consecutive month that total sales surpassed the 4,000 mark, this is another first in the boards history.

 

There is a steady stream of new listings hitting the market but the overall homes for sale is not keeping up with buyer demand. There were 5,803 homes listed in June 2015 which is up 8.7% from last year. All totalled there were 12,181 listings in the month of June, which is down 23.9% compared to last year and is the lowest total we've seen in June since 2006.

 

In short, there is an increasing number of buyers competing for fewer home listings. This is causing increased upward pressure on home prices. The benchmark price for all residential properties rose to $694,000, which is up 10.3% compared to June of last year.

 

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77% of Vancouverites are in support of the absentee homeowner tax as stated by the latest issue of Insights West poll.


This past May an online survey was taken to determine the support and opinion of the local Vancouverites regarding the absentee homeowner tax to help restrict the amount of foreign real estate investment in BC.  With specific focus to the Vancouver area.


This survey showed that 73 percent of BC residents were in favor of the tax, and the majority of this support came from the residents of Metro Vancouver as 77 percent voted favourably.  Also, the age group that were the most supportive of the new tax were aged 18-34. 


Not everyone is in favour of this proposed new tax though. 35 percent of East Asian residents believe the restriction on foreign ownership is racist, and 21 percent of all BC residents agree with this opinion as well.


Overall though, it is a general thought that absentee owners (or people that do no reside in homes they own) is harmful for the community and neighborhood where their house is a part of.  As a whole, 86 percent of people believe that the absentee owners are speculators and do not become a part of the community. That percentage jumped up to 92 percent among people in the highest income bracket.


When asked about the subject, Mario Canseco, Vice President of Public Affairs at Insights West stated that: “Homeowners actually see some benefits from foreign ownership when it comes to the possibility of an increased value for their property.” But she also went on to say that “still, many residents are voicing dissatisfaction with the fact that these empty homes are having a negative effect on their community.”


One key person strongly in favor of the proposed tax is Mayor Gregor Robertson. He explained in a statement last week that: “Vancouver needs the B.C. Government to take action on creating a speculation tax and recognize that we need a fair and level playing field to make housing more affordable for residents in Vancouver, and throughout the province.”


This opinion of the Mayor and his office was announced a short week after the opposite opinion was stated by Premier Christy Clark.  She stated that the idea of a tax on foreign real estate investors would not be approached as the “housing prices will drop” if these changes are made.


She also went on to say in May that: “that’s good for first-time home buyers but not for anybody who is depending on the equity in their home to maybe get a loan or use that to finance some other projects.”


Time will only tell what decision is reached with regards to this new absentee homeowner tax.

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Ever wonder what it would be like to live on the water but in something more comfortable and luxuries than a house boat? 


Well, the country containing the tallest building worldwide and manmade islands shaped to represent palm trees, the world, and our universe has the answer to your wildest dreams. Dubai has created floating villas just for you.


The Floating Seahorse is the name of this fleet of floating three story palaces, as each house will be unique and stunning while amazing view both above and below the water! Each house will contain glass walls, open sun decks, large rooms, and a bedroom on the bottom floor with an underwater view of the ocean.


Of the 42 individual residences, 35 have already been claimed so there is a high demand for these floating dream homes already. Perhaps Dubai will make more in the future but for now they only have plans to build the 42 homes. Each home will float just offshore of the Main Europe section which is a part of The World Islands in Dubai, and each home is selling for $1.8 million each.


These diverse and intriguing houses will also contain a full kitchen, bathrooms, dining/living areas, a glass-bottom Jacuzzi and floor-to-ceiling windows in every room. The master bedroom downstairs with the underwater ocean view will also have a private tub and shower so you can bath while watching the turtles and fish swimming by.


To avoid unpleasant views from the underwater quarters the developers have stated that they will be installing underwater gardens attached to the bottom section of the houses, so that wherever the house actually is there will always be beautiful plant and animal life floating around.


The release date for these houses to officially open is 2017. 


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According to the latest British Columbia Real Estate Association from their second quarter results; the housing demand in Vancouver has increased to a new high that hasn’t been seen 2007.


BC’s housing increase has been rising everywhere but the two leading locations are Vancouver and the Fraser Valley says the report.  Both of these locations have shown an increase of 16-17 percent in sales and are not expected to decrease anytime soon.


More and more families are choosing to live in multi-family housing units in Vancouver due to increasingly high costs for single family homes. This will lead to less construction for single family homes in the city but even more for apartments and multi-family buildings in the next coming years. 


The average price for a home in Vancouver is proposed to shoot up to $870,000 as there most likely won’t be as many being built in the next year, and the average price of an apartment in Vancouver is also proposed to shoot up to $465,000. These apartment costs are up 1.4 percent compared to the past few years.


The housing costs are also expected to increase to almost $900,000 by 2016 states the board. Putting the costs for apartments and homes continually on the rise.


The report also goes on to say that “market conditions in Vancouver have improved as a result of consumer demand rising faster than the number of homes for sale. While the market is exhibiting sellers’ market conditions overall, there is variability according to product type and its location in the region.”


Also stated in the BCREA report when describing foreign investment is the “relatively small, niche market” from that sector, but though small it remains persistent.

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The student housing situation at UBC Vancouver is about to get some trendy new spaces for students to rent in the form of new micro housing units.


630 units of different variations will be located in the Gage South Student Residence. The cozy new 145 square foot micro apartments going in on campus are the first of their kind.


Of the new units, 43 of them will be fully equipped with a bed, full bathroom and kitchen perfect for a student looking for their own space on campus. These are designed to cost lower than a traditional apartment rental. These smaller spaces will be available to rent from $670-$690 a month.


The new residence building will be put up near the bus loop on central campus. This building will contain the new micro units as well as a front desk and lobby, lounge rooms, private rooms for music and laundry services all available for the students living there.


These proposed new developments for UBC are scheduled to be finished in the year 2019 and will be most beneficial for students looking live right on campus. The University is considering adding more if they prove to be successful.

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The Greater Vancouver sales report for May 2015 shows that there were 4,056 sales in May which is up 23.4% from last year and 16.7% abover the 10 year average for May. May 2015 represents the third consecutive month that sales have surpassed the 4,000 homes sold mark, this is the second time in the boards history that this has happened.

 

There were 5,641 homes for sale in May 2015 which is down 5.0% from last year and down 7.8% compared to the 10 year average. The number of total homes for sale currently hovers around the 12,000 mark which is down 23% from last year May 2014.

 

The Greater Vancouver overall benchmark house price is currently $684,400 which is up 9.4% from last year.

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