Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Seafield Apartments, Vancouver Rental Housing Market, Rental Assistance Program for BC, Vancouver Condo Rents &Vacancy Update, Residential Tenancy Act

Vancouver Seafield Apartments West End Residents Protesting Rental Rent Hikes

According to the Vancouver 24Hours newspaper: The owner of a West End rental apartment building in downtown Vancouver has no reservations about raising tenants’ rent by up to 73 per cnet. Jason Gordon, of Gordon Nelson Investments, took ownership of the 12 suite Seafield Apartment building in the Vancouver West End rental apartment market at 1436 Pendrell Street last year and says the proposed rent increases is fair. “It’s a competitive business and the West End is extremely desirable,” Gordon told 24Hours Vancouver. “This group [of tenants] pays 50 per cent of what’s on the market. I think they should pay what everyone else is.” But the residents at Seafield Apartment Vancouver West End rental suites of the ight knit building have opposed the rent hikes, and have enlisted the likes of Gregor Robertson, when he was a mayoral candidate, and new Vancouver-Burrard MLA Spencer Herbert to champion their cause. “The Residential Tenancy Act is completely out of balance,” Herbert said outside the West End Seafield Apartments for rent yesterday. “The only reason the landlords are seeking these increases is gree.” Herbert is lobbying to eradicate the geographic area clause in the Residential Tenancy Act, which allows landlords to raise below market rents up to the same levels of neighbouring units. “B.C. is the only province in Canada that allows this to happen,” Herbert claims. In the meantime, the residents of the downtown Vancouver rental building at Seafield Apartments West End will be making their case to the Residential Tenancy Branch in March and they’re ready to take their fight to court. “There is very little else that we can do,” said David Bronstein, whose rent for a one bedroom apartment at Seafield Apartments West End Vancouver rental suites will jump from $1,100 to $1,880. By Matt.

Metro Vancouver Rental Vacancy Rates Tightening

According to the Real Estate Weekly, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp’s Fall 2008 Rental Market Survey shows tha the apartment vacancy rate for the Metro Vancouver rental condo market moved lower in 2008. The average apartment vacany rate in Metro Vancouver apartment rental market moved from 0.7 per cent in 2007 to 0.5 per cent as of October of last year. Low vacancies are keeping rents rising at above the rate of inflation right now in Metro Vancouver rental market. “There are several factors driving demand for rental accommodations in Vancouver,” said Robyn Adamache, senior rental market analyst with CMHC. “Job growth and a steady inflow of new residents ot the region are keeping demand for rental housing robust. The large gap between the cost of a home ownership and renting in the Greater Vancouver region is also causing some people to stay in rental housing.”

Vancouver Rental Market Remains Tight – Rental Vacancies Drop Throughout Canada

The average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada’s thirty four largest major centres has decreased to 2.2 per cent from 2.6 per cnet a year earlier in 2007, according to the Rental Market Survey by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Metro Vancouver rental market, at 0.5 per cnet has one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country, with Kelowna leading the way at 0.3 per cent. The annual CMHC survey found that the rental vacancy rate for Greater Vancouver condominium rentals is even lower than the conventional apartment market. Greater Vancouver vacancy rates for rental condominium apartments were below one per cent in four of the ten centres surveyed. Rental condominium vacancy rates were among the “lowest in Metro Vancouver.” The highest average monthly rents for two bedroom condominium apartments were in Troonto ($1,625), Vancouver ($1,507) and Calgary ($1,293).

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Rental Assistance Program for BC

Making a difference for fa milies in BC real estate. If your household income is $35,000 or less, you may be eligible to receive cash assistance with your monthly rent payments in the province of BC. Effective April 2008, the Province has increased the maximum household income level for the BC Rental Assistance Program for low-income working families. To qualify for the Rental Assistance Program of BC, families must have at least one dependent child have lived in B.C. for the past 12 months and have spend part of the last year working. For more information about the BC Rental Assistance Program, call 604.433.2218 in the Lower Mainland or 1.800.257.7756 elsewhere in B.C. You can also visit as Housing Matters.

Vancouver Rental Market Tightens

Apartment vacancies across Canada’s major cities fell to 2.6 per cent in April form 2.8 per cent in the same month a year ago, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. “The Canadian economy remains very supportive of strong demand for both ownership and rental housing thnaks to solid job creation and healthy income gains,” CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said. “High levels of immigration and the increasing gap between the cost of home ownership and renting continue to drive rental demand in 2008. These factors have put downward pressure on vacancy rates over the past year.” The vacancy rate in Metro Vancouver is in the 1 per cent range in most municipalities.

B.C. Real Estate Has Lowest Rental Vacancy Rates

Apartment vacancies in Canada’s major cities fell in April as solid employment numbers and increasing incomes pushed demand higher. About half of BC’s cities record either a decline in the vacancy rate or no change compared to one year ago. The average Vancouver rental apartments vacancy rate in 35 major centres fell to 2.6 per cent in April from 2.8 per cent in the same month a year ago, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. “The Canadian economy remains very supportive of strong demand for both Vancovuer ownership and rental housing thanks to both solid job creation and healthy income gains,” CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said Thursday in a statement. “High levels of immigration and the increasing gap between the cost of home ownserhip and renting continue to drive the rental demand in 2008.” The lowest vacancy rates were to be found in Victoria (0.3 per cent), Kelowna, B.C. (0.3 per cnt), Sudbury, Ont., (0.7 per cnt), Vancouver (0.9 per cent) and Saskatoon (0.9 per cent). Rising migration and the high cost of Vancouver home ownership in British Columbia has pushed apartment vacancies there below one per cent in all major centres save Abbotsford. The province’s overall rate stood at 1.1 per cent in April. The Western provinces typically saw the lowest vacancy rates in the country, with Manitoba at one per cent, Saskatchewan at 1.2 per cent. Alberta real estate logged an increase in vacancies to 2.9 per cent from 0.9 per cent in the April a year earlier “mainly due to reduced migration into the province and increased supply of rented condominiums and basement apartments. Vacancies in Calgary increased to 2 per cent from 0.5 per cent and in Edmonton to 3.4 per cent from 1.1 per cent. The highest apartment vacancy rates were seen in Windsor, Ont (13.2 per cent), Moncton (5.5 per cent) and Hamilton (4.7 per cent).

Oh, and by the way, Rent Rules Vital

An important column published in the 24 Hrs newspaper in Vancouver by Siobhan R. though our society pays homeage to the God of home ownership, it’s interesting to note how many people still rent their homes – 57 per cent of households in Vancouver have landlords. Even if, as predicted, Vancouver house prices do level off, asking prices have reached altitudes that prohibit many people from buying a home in Vancouver – a situation that isn’t likely to change for some time in the Lower Mainland. Given all this, and the fact that one third of householders in B.C. rent, it’s infuriating that we have a provincial government that has actually made Vancouver renters more vulnerable to eviction and rent increases. When, in 2004, the B.C. government weakened the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), it did this knowingly and deliberately. Changes to the B.C. Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) allowed annual rent increases that tenants no longer had the right to dispute, even if repairs hadn’t been done. Don’t take my word though. Just last week, on the City of Vancouver website, I found a letter from Mayor Sam Sullivan to Premier Gordon Campbell (written May 14) urging the Premier to better protect Vancouver tenants and renters in the Lower Mainland area by amending the landlord tenant law of BC. According to the letter, some landlords in B.C. use provisions in the B.C. RTA to increase rents far in excess of what is allowed. They accomplish this by evicting Vancouver tenants on the pretext that major renovations need to be done. This allows them to create a new tenancy at a significantly higher rent. The major’s letter refers to cases of “mass” eviction reported in the Vancouver media but also admits the city has no idea how many tenants of individual or smaller rental units suffer the same fate.

The mayor urges the premier to tighten up the rules around these so-called “renovations.” He also suggests that Vancouver tenants who do have to move are given 90 days notice instead of 60 days, too short a time under the current scarcity of rental Vancouver accommodations to find somewhere new. Sullivan’s letter explains that some landlords coerce tenants, who often feel like they don’t have much choice, into signing tenancy agreements that end at a specific date rather than ongoing tenancies with no definite end. The former type allows landlords in B.C. to raise rents as uch as they wish once the end date comes – even if the tenant in Vancouver remains the same. As if all this isn’t bad enough, in 2004, the B.C. government closed the Vancouver branch of the Residential Tenancy Branch, a service that assists with landlord tenant disputes in Greater Vancouver. Now there is only one such office to serve the entire Lower Mainland. Though the City of Vancouver itself has much to do in terms of housing – its letter to the Premier spells out quite clearly that the B.C. government must amend the B.C. Residential Tenancy Act in order to protect B.C.’s increasingly vulnerable renters, with one third of British Columbians renting their homes. I couldn’t agree more.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Downtown Vancouver Supportive Housing at Doug Story Apartments and Social Housing in the Downtown East Side (DTES) | Also Gentrification of Strathcona

Downtown Vancouver Housing Gets Boost at Doug Story Apartments

According to Kristen T. for the Metro Newspaper, forty four low income people whoa re homeless, at risk of homelessness or living in single room occupancy hotels have a clean, safe and affordable place to call home with the opening of the downtown Vancouver Doug Story Apartments. Yesterday was the official opening of the 45 unit social housing building at Richards and Robson Street, one of 12 city owned apartment sites being developed into social housing. Phyllis Alfredson, a resident of the Doug Story Apartment residences who spent two years on the street, said she feels she’s been given a chance to start over. “It’s like a whole new beginning,” she said. “You actually have a place of your own that you’re not embarrassed about, that you can bring people to.” You can believe in yourself for the first time, believe that things can change, that life can get better.” She said she’s physically and psychologically healthier, in part because the neighbourhood of the downtown Vancouver Doug Story apartment homes is safe and quiet. Pat Zanon, with Coast Mental Health said housing is fundamental to recovery from mental illness and addiction. “Without a home, such as the Doug Story apartments, it is absolutely impossible for people to move forward with their lives,” she said. The Building’s Namesake: The Vancouver Doug Story Apartments is named after a SRO resident who was a member of the Coast Resource Centre from 2001 until his death in 2006. Mayor Sam Sullivan attends the grand opening of the downtown Vancouver Doug Story apartments social housing project on Richards Street.

$1.5 Million Expected For Historic City Vancouver Neighbourhoods in the Great Beginnings Initiative

Great Beginnings – as quoted from the MetroNews Vancouver paper: Mayor Sam Sullivan will announce a $1.5 million investment today to revitalize four historic Vancouver neighbourhoods. The funding, part of the province’s $10 million Great Beginnings Initiative, will support projects like community gardens and graffiti removal in Gastown, Japantown, Chinatown and Strathcona in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. The plan and Great Beginnings Initiative includes a new neon sign at the restored Pennsylvania Hotel, a Japantown commemoration project and the expansion of street and lane cleaning to 40 blocks in the Downtown Vancouver Eastside. Mayor Sullivan is expected to mention start of the Great Beginnings Initiative during a conference on sustainability in Vancouver today.

Gentrification of Strathcona Vancouver Attracts Many Home Buyers

As one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, Strathcona struggled to survive a proposed new renewal/demolition in the 1950s and is now, half a century later, emerging as an affordable sought after community. Published in 24 Hrs by S. Boyce. Here is where you’ll find the city’s largest concentration of character homes, some of its oldest stores and a vibrant gentrification that’s beginning to attract global attention. Strathcona’s exact boundaries tend to be somewhat flexible, according to who is defining them – some include Chinatown, others not; some say it’s the CNR rail yards that create the southern border, others insist it’s Great Northern Way. However, all agree Clark Drive and Hastings Street are the eastern and northern extremeties of Strathcona real estate. Few single family detached houses come on the market here. When they do, you can expect to pay a minimum of $600,000 for an older home with a typical tall, narrow profile of an early 1900s building. A surprising percentage of existing homes in Strathcona Vancouver have either undergone or are in the process of heritage renovation, and walking much of this area is akin to taking a step back in time. But change is in the air as Vancouver real estate developers eye properties offering affordability and proximity to downtown Vancouver. “As it becomes more and more difficult to find affordable opportunities downtown, people continue to look east,” says Chris Evans, executive vice president of Onni Group of Companies. “First Crosstown had a few projects, then came 33 Living, Woodwards, East, Ginger and Smart Gastown.” Onni, too, is catching the wave with V6A, a nine storey collection of condominiums located at Union Street between Main and Gore. Priced from the low $300,000s, Evans says he believes “V6A provides a unique opportunity for people to buy into a great neighbourhood at significantly less money per square foot than its neighbours to the west.” Earlier this year and around the corner at 718 Main Street (just north of Union) Ginger made a splashy entry into Strathcona with condos priced well under $400,000 and boasting an avante guard, international flair that included individual suite doors decorated with custom black and white photos of the surrounding streetscape. “So many other developments just go for safe, predictable designs,” says Mike Lefeaux, who purchased one of the first Ginger suites with his wife, Amanda Cafearo. “This really stands out – its’ different, very cool, just what we’ve been looking for. We lived in London for a while and Ginger has the same modular, Euro feel to it – it’s about time this style hit Vancouver.”

Supportive Housing Vancouver – In Your Backyard?

A significant majority of British Columbians would welcome housing for people with mental illnesses and addictions in their neighbourhoods, a new poll done for 24 Hrs suggests. More than 83 per cent of people surveyed by 24 hours pollster would say yes to supportive housing in their community. Just over 11 per cent of respondents to social housing in their community said they would be opposed. The results would appear to suggest that the very vocal opposition that inevitably emerges when new proposals for Vancouver supportive housing are pitched could be in the minority. Mark Smith, executive director of RainCity Housing, says the experience of trying to convince local residents of the need for social housing in Vancouver, for a 30 unit facility on Vancouver’s Fraser Street was “awful.” “At the public information session they were lined up and down the two aisles to yess at us,” Smith said in an interview. “I was threatened. It was wild. In my 30 years in this field, I’d never experienced anything like that.” But Smith said he was pleased to see the apparently positive results of the poll on Vancouver social housing in your backyard by 24 hours. Would you be happy to see a supportive housing Vancouver project open up next door to you?

“There’s always such a vocal minority of people that speak up that it feels like the entire community Is just overwhelming against it,” he said. “But I know that there were a lot of people that did support our social supportive housing project on Vancouver’s Fraser Street.” Turning Point Recovery Society Vancouver, another housing project provider, wasn’t so lucky. The group withdrew its application to open a 32 unit recovery house in Richmond BC after facing intense criticism of the project from residents. “We’re up against a very strong opposition,” said executive director fo Turning Point Recovery Society Vancouver, Brenda Plant, who decides what she calls some residents’ NIMBYism – Not in my backyard. “They think property values will decline, children won’t be safe, there will be increased drug activity and drug dealers. These things just simply aren’t true,” Plant said.

In Vancouver, supportive housing projects for mental illness and addictions are overwhelmingly skewed to the east. Excluding the downtown Vancouver social supportive housing projects, there are only three small facilities west of Main Street. Ultimately, supportive housing projects in Vancouver have become concentrated in the Downtown Eastside, even if residents come from all parts of the city. “Richmond is by no means exempt from addictions and mental health challenges,” said Turning Point’s Plant, noing that there are no similar facilities in Richmond for addicted women. Either way, RainCity’s Smith said he was still cautious about the poll results. “It’s easy to respond to a poll when it’s not actually happening,” he said. “How many of them are thinking I’d welcome [Vancouver supportive housing] in my neighbourhood- but not next door?” The poll surveyed 609 British Columbians and is considered representative of the general population within +/- four per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Vancouver Supportive Housing Poll by 24 Hrs

Poll asked… a significant number of homeless people also suffer from a mental illness and/or addition. It is generally acknowledged that there is not sufficient supportive housing in Vancouver for such people. Which statement is closest to your view: 83.7% - I would support a supportive housing project for people with mental illness or addition issues in my community. 11.4% - I would be opposed to a supportive housing project for people with mental illness or addition issues in my community. 4.9% - Don’t Know. Strategic Communications poll for 24 hours on if people support social Vancouver supportive housing in their communities.

Social Housing Facts in a Nutshell

1,720 – Vancouver Coastal Health has 1,72 supportive housing units in the communities across its regions catering to tenants with mental health and addiction issues
?? – Most are found in non-descript apartment buildings
900 – Fraser Health Authority has at least 900 units of Vancouver supportive housing in its communities
137G – Adults in B.C. meet the criteria for having severe addictions and/or mental illness
39G – Adults with addiction and/or mental illness in B.C. are ‘inadequately housed.”
$$ - The average street homeless adult with mental health and addiction issues costs the public at least $55,000 a year
2 Years – Vancouver Coastal Health says many tenants are ready to move on after stays of 18 to 24 months in alcohol and drug-free social housing.
$$ - Providing adequate Vancouver supportive housing reduces the cost by $37,000 a year.
7.741 – A government initiated review of SFU’s Centre for Applied Research in Medical Health and Addiction found there were 7,741 beds with adequate support available to adults with mental health and/or addiction issues in B.C.
Sources: Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health, City of Vancouver

Vancouver Downtown Eastside Seeks New Lease on Life

So, what does the Downtown Vancouver East Side district have in its future plans? This article published in the Georgia Straight and written by Matthew Burrows analyzes what is to become of the forgotten community in downtown Vancouver. From our standpoint, the Vancouver Downtown East Side (also known as the DTES) will provide great opportunities for business growth, affordable housing and rental suites and an ecletic and boutique retail district. Fresh from lunch on a balmy Saturday afternoon, Councillor Peter Ladner strolls westward from the Carnegie Centre at Main and Hastings and confronts Vancouver’s socioeconomic underbelly. Already on this short walkabout, the NPA’s mayoral hopeful and two term councilor has talked with VPD Sgt. Tim Henschel in an alley, where the officer had recovered a stolen city engineering truck. Flustered Chinatown Vancouver Downtown East Side (DTES) security guard Harold Johnson pulled Ladner aside a minute later to tell him drug users should “start rehab or serve time.” Back on East Hastings in DTES Vancouver, Ladner told the Georgia Straight the open drug use, dealing and general street activity evokes “extreme frustration.” “It shouldn’t happen here. We shouldn’t be putting up with it… I’ve seen the Herzog photos of this place back in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The Smilin’ Buddha, wherever it was – I think right over here – was a great nightclub. It was a normal neighbourhood, and it has been destabilized by focusing all of the region’s problems in this one neighbourhood [Downtown East Side Vancouver]” On Thursday, July 24, Ladner and the rest of Vancouver city council will devote more time to the issue when the city planning and environment committee address two staff reports dealing with “economic revitalization and “commercial revitalization” of the Vancouver Downtown Eastside community.

The first report, for information purposes only, is a 14 page update on the Vancouver Agreement Economic Revitalization Plan and its “Downtown Eastside implementation”. According tot eh report, it builds on principles of a council revitalization strategy established in June 2000; to involve those already in the Vancouver Downtown East side in the renewal; to “reserve and enhance the sense of community” felt by residents there; to listen to those most affected; to improve the “liveability and safety” of the Downtown Eastside; and to develop and implement a well-understood plan that delivers results. The second document will ask council to report back to staff within a year on the effectiveness of current city policy, passed in May 2007, which created the Building Opportunities With Business Inner City Society (BOB). According to the report, BOB is an expansion of a $150,000 lease subsidy program established in March 2000 to help bring viable commercial storefront activity to Hastings Street, between Gore and Cambie Streets in the Downtown Vancouver East Side district. If council sees BOB as effective, the city will kick in $1 million over three years toward the revitalization.

Lawyer David Eby told the Georgia Straight he lives just off East Hastings in what he describes as a “unique neighbourhood”. Eby, who is seeking a council nomination with Vision Vancouver, said the first order of business must be improving housing conditions in the DTES or Downtown East Side of Vancouver “so that people don’t need to spend all their time on the streets because their rooms are infested with bedbugs or they’re scorching hot or freezing cold.” With people’s “personal space” established, Eby said, he would then address mental health and addiction issues, along with the homelessness that he said “plagues” the area. “Without dealing with that, no business is going to want to located in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver,” Eby said, after noting: “Welfare rates are so low. People just don’t have the money to spend on traditional stores, so they buy three processed cheese slices at a time or one piece of fried chicken, or they use food depots…. There are a limited number of people that come from outside to the Downtown Eastside to do their shopping, with the exception of the annual Army & Navy shoe sale.”

City staff have used the phrase “revitalization without [population] displacement,” something Eby describes as “not only important, but absolutely essential” to the Vancouver Downtown East side community. Ladner said he too believed zero displacement was achievable. “All we have to do is ensure that we don’t lose downtown eastside social housing here, and we are not,” he said. “We are losing some, but we are replacing it too, and if you look at the numbers, generally speaking, it is being replaced.”

The Vancouver Downtown Eastside By The Numbers

Number of geographic areas the Vancouver City includes in the Downtown Eastside: 7 (Oppenheimer district, Industrial, Victory Square, Gastown, Chinatown, Thornton Park, and Strathcona). DTES residents interviewed as part of Carnegie Community Action Project visioning sessions: 300. DTES residents who filled out a CCAP questionnaire in March and April 2008: 655. Percentage of questionnaire respondents who would stay in DTES “if they had safe and secure housing”: 95. Units of DTES market housing to be built between 2005 and 2010: 1,597. Total number of units of DTES social housing for singles for same period: 557. Source: Nothing About Us Without Us, an upcoming CCAP housing report (release date: July 28): City of Vancouver housing centre.

What are the chances of the economy in the Downtown Eastside taking off?

Wendy Pederson, Organizer of the Carnegie Community Action Plan: “I think it very well could take off because of Woodward’s and if there is more condo developent that comes into the neighbourhood. I think we could see Gap stores and bigger places in the neighbourhood easily, unless there are some tools to manage change. We don’t see what those are. What is going to protect small business owners and the low income renter in the neighbourhood?” Jorge Mar, Chinatown Shop Owner: “Not in the near future. Because of the price of gas and the U.S. economy, especially in Chinatown here, we are dependent on tourists and that doesn’t help. The past three years have been going down [in terms of revenue]. Last year, really, we felt the effects of the U.S. economy. This year is the worst. I don’t think the city can do much, maybe some cosmetic stuff.” Bernie Magnan, Chief Economist, Vancouver Board of Trade: “There are businesses that are already there in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver and doing ery well, thank you very much… What we need to do is help the people – and I’m not just talking about those who have a drug and/or a mental health addiction problem – but also the residents of the downtown Eastside and their children in making sure they get a proper education so they can succeed in life.” David Eby, seeking Vision Vancouver council nomination and DTES-Strathcona resident: “I guess that depends on what you mean by the Downtown Eastside economy. I mean, the Downtown Eastside economy is doing really well. But until we deal with the underlying issues of homelessness, drug addiction and mental health in the Downtown Eastside community, the Downtown Eastside mainstream economy will never take off.”

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Port Moody Rental Homes at Woodland Park: Home Renters Guide for Rental Residential Buildings for Lease Right Now

Woodland Park Rental Homes in Private Park Setting – Port Moody Rental Homes

Port Moody rental houses at Woodland Park article written by Bill for the Home Renters Guide of Vancouver. Rental homes come in all shapes and sizes, but this 29 acre park with mountain views and shady mature trees was a sight to behold. Located at 1190 Cecile Drive in Port Moody, the Woodland Park cluster of 19 separate rental residential buildings is just minutes fro the delights of this City of The Arts in Port Moody BC. Restaurants abound close by and this Port Moody community is serviced by the C24 Community bus with service to Lougheed Town Centre and the SkyTrain station. Convenient to all you require but nestled in the peace and quiet of its private park-like setting at Woodland Park Port Moody rental homes.

Rita Kiss, the Site Manager at Woodland Park, indicated that the offerings include two and three bedroom townhomes with unique floor plans over five levels. The three bedroom home she showed me had recently been painted and was bright and spacious with delightful views over a tranquil clump of evergreens. “We assess all homes between tenants and paint them if necessary.” Caralee, Assistant Manager at the Port Moody rental townhomes at Woodland Park, added that “in addition we have recently upgraded homes to include dishwashers.”

At sizes ranging from 1,175 sq ft for the two bedroom homes and 1,275 for the three bedroom residences, these Woodland Park homes are rental suites with room to breathe in. All rental homes also include unfinished basements. So no storage worries here! Interested in renting? The process is painless. First, arrange an appointment by calling 604.939.0221. You will receive all relevant information about the Woodland Park Port Moody rental townhomes. Then if you are interested, an application for rental is submitted. A background check is performed an dif successful, an appointment is made to sign the lease (a minimum of one year lease is required).

“Families love this location, with Seaview Elementary School next door and acres of landscaped lawns for the children to play on. One toddler was kicking a soccer ball with the mum as we strolled past as though to prove the point. Nearby you will also find Moody Middle School and Moody Senior Secondary School. Recreational enthusiasts will love Ricky Point Park and Westhill Pool and Playground.” Rita added, “That some Woodland Park rental tenants have resideded here since Woodland Park opened over 40 years ago, with some of their children now residing here.” Continuity seems to be a theme here!

All rental homes at Woodland Park Port Moody have walk-out basements, large balconies, and excellent storage facilities.

With a resident painter on site and two full time maintenance personnal, Woodland Park Port Moody rental townhouses is well serviced. And as Rita added, “we have cleaners on staff who ensure that all rental homes are in perfect shape for new tenants.” For additional information about Woodland Park, 1190 Cecile Drive, Port Moody or call 604.939.0221 or visit

Woodland Park – Situated on 28 Beautiful Acres – Port Moody Apartments for Rent

Located at 1190 Cecile Drive in the Port Moody rental apartment market, there are two and three bedroom homes for rent lease at the Woodland Park community where you can enjoy true family living in this beautiful neighbourhood. Call Midwest at 604.939.0221 for more information about these fabulous suites for lease. Updated two and three bedroom split level rental townhomes in Port Moody are now available with five appliances, walk out basement for your convenience and in suite laundry! Also, the Port Moody rental apartments for lease at Woodland Park community will have double glazed windows and screens for energy efficiency in addition to a convenient location near schools, SFU, transit, shopping, and the Port Moody community centre. The rental apartments at Woodland Park townhomes Port Moody are located within a park like setting and is cat friendly. The web site is located at or you can email the manager of the Port Moody Rental Apartments at Woodland Park at They are open Monday through Thursday from 8:30am to 8pm, Friday from 8:30am to 5pm and Saturday from 12pm – 4pm.

Fire Forces 150 People to Evacuate at Woodlands New Westminster

Woodlands – about 150 people had to leave their New Westminster homes yesterday afternoon after a three alarm fire at the next door Woodlands building – the second fire at the site this week. The centre section of the main three storey building was engulfed in flames roughly 10 metres high at the height of the blaze at Woodlands New Westminster apartment homes. Sgt. Ivan Chu of the New West police said firefighters had to let the building burn down and worked to direct the fire away from nearby residences. “There’s no way the firefighters could get into the building, so they’re spraying water from the outside,” Chu said. He added the cause of the fire has not yet been determined and that it’ll be treated as suspicious. Last Thursday, a smaller fire at Woodlands New Westminster was thought to be started by homeless people squatting in the empty building. The Woodlands New West Institute was opened in 1878 for the mentally and physically handicapped. Several former residents and their families sued, alleging sexual and physical abuse. It closed in 1996. Joyce Yip for the Metro Vancouver newspaper.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

North Shore Real Estate Trends and Housing Value Predictions - Metro Vancouver Real Estate Prices Should Moderate through to 2009

House Sales Slow Across North Shore Real Estate

North and West Vancouver real estate housing market is slowing down.  What are the future trends for property values on the North Shore?High supply makes for home buyers’ market according to Deneka of the North Shore News. After years of favourable conditions for home sellers, the North Shore real estate market appears to be giving buyers the upper hand, according to a new report issued by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Multiple Listing Service figures released by the board last week show that sales for both North Vancouver and West Vancouver real estate housing in June were down from the same time last year, while listings were up. The percentage of sales-to-listings for detached homes in North Vancouver last month was 28 per cent, while in June 2007 that figure stood at 93 per cent. In West Vancouver housing market, the percentage was 29 per cent last month and 64 per cent for the same time last year. For several months now there have been signs of moderation in the British Columbia home market as demand has eased off from the highs of last year, explained Cameron Muir, chief economist with the B.C. Real Estate Association. The North and West Vancouver housing real estate market has been rebalancing itself from the high demand state, and now there is actually higher supply than demand, meaning the property market is now favourable towards homebuyers.

“More balance between demand and supply means less upward pressure on home prices. It also reduces the chance of multiple bids on the same house in North or West Vancouver property, giving homebuyers more time to investigate properties thoroughly before purchasing,” said Muir in a recent press release. “This is probably a long-anticipated, realignment of the market,” he added in an interview. The B.C. Real Estate Association forecasts that residential sales for the Greater Vancouver area will fall by eight per cent his year, from 38,978 unit sales last year to 25,900 for 2008. They anticipate that in 2009 sales will again drop by three per cent for the area to 34,800 sales. Yet despite the fact that salese are dropping, home prices are not, explained David Watt, president of the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board. According to the Board’s recent report, overall prices in the Greater Vancouver area were up 7.3 per cent in June compared to the same time last year, bringing the average residential property selling price to $564,982 last month.

In North Vancouver real estate housing market, since June 2007, the benchmark price of a detached home increased by 4.7 pe cent to $893,639, the average attached home price increased by 8.1 per cent to $608,225 and the average condo price rose by 4.4 per cent to $386,212. In West Vancouver housing real estate market, over the past year, detached home prices have risen by 0.9 per cent to an average of $1,428,139 while the average attached home price increased by 4.9 per cent to $719,783 and the average condo selling price was up by 6.9 per cent to $711,268. BCREA expects the rpcie increase will continue, but at a slower pace than the double digit increases seen over the past several years. According to their spring 2008 housing forecast, the association predicts that overall MLS selling prices for the Greater Vancouver area will rise by nine per cent this year to an average of $621,000 and will increase by an additional five per cent next year to $651,000. Lower year-over-year increases are a result of the rebalancing of the real estate market, said Muir. With more homes on the market in North and West Vancouver housing market, sellers need to be more educated and need to price their homes at reasonable prices so that their houses will sell. Homes that have been on the market for some time and that have been listed in anticipation of continued rising prices may have to re-evaluate their pricing, he said. “Although housing prices, on a year-over-year comparison, continue to show single-digit percentage increases, we are beginning to see more price reductions in properties listed on the market today,” Watt said in the press release. However, lower listing prices do not mean that home prices are decreasing, he explained in the interview. “It’s not even that prices have gone down, it’s just that they aren’t marked up,” he said.

Here are some updated North Vancouver MIRA resales condos in Lower Lonsdale re-sale real estate market at Mira on the Park townhomes.

With the North Vancouver housing market and West Vancouver real estate taking a downturn south of the border, many Canadians have grown wary that Canada will suffer the same fate as the United States, but comparing the two industries is a far stretch, said Gregory Klump, chief economist with the Canadian Real Estate Association. The U.S. housing market experienced extremely rapid price increases and poor lending practises which has now resulted in price corrections, he said. In Canada, on the other hand, price increases of the magnitude seen down south did not happen and Canadian lending always remained conservative, so a real estate market crash in Canada is not likely, he said. “We don’t see a crash on the horizon, we see it returning to normal levels,” he said. Some areas in Canada, however, have seen falling sales prices, according to a summer 2008 report issued by BMO Capital Markets. In Calgary, prices are down 2.4 per cent since last year and in Edmonton, prices have dropped by 4.8 per cent. Prices are also expected to drop in Saskatchewan, said Michael Gregory, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets. British Columbia, on the other hand, did not see the major price mark-ups seen in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and so B.C. remains in good shape, he said. “the rate of price increases will slow, but it (B.C.) still has a pretty strong economy,” he said, adding that he predicts, “a soft landing, rather than a collapse.” A report issued by Landcor Data Corporation at the end of last month shows that some areas in British Columbia are faring better than others.

In 2001, sales values in the province totaled $19 billion; last year they totaled $62 billion and at the end of this year, the rate is expected to be over $61 billion, explained Rudy Nielsen, president of Landcor Data Corporation. “Things are cooling but things aren’t bad,” he said. “Overall, I look at B.C. as very positive,” he added, explaining that the province has great natural resources, good tourism and a high quality of life. Even in places where prices may decrease, he says homeowners just need to wait it out because prices will again increase. He said he expects the cooling period to only last two or three quarters before turning around next year sometime. As for the North Shore real estate market specifically, Watt said he believes it is secure and, if anything, real estate in North and West Vancouver will become more desirable as gas prices rise and people look at living in areas that are closer to the city core.

House Prices Start To Sag – North Vancouver Realtors Predict “Soft Landing”

North Vancouver realtors predict a soft landing in the real estate market property prices on the north Shore with increasing supply and decreasing demand but still a good economy and economic fundamentals.An article written by Jeff for Black Press of the North Shore Outlook Newspaper. Real estate prices have begun to slip in some parts of the Lower Mainland. The cooling trend comes as realtors report high numbers of prospective sellers. “Real estate is cyclical and the numbers show that we’ve entered a buyer’s cycle,” said Kelvin Neufeld, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. Prices are still up by at least single digits year-over-year, but the stats indicate most cities saw prices peak sometime int eh second half of 2007 or early in 2008 and some areas have since been trending lower. In the Fraser Valley, the typical single family house fell by 0.3 per cent in price in the past 3 months, while apartments were up 0.4 per cent and townhouses rose 1.6 per cent. The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board reported its benchmark house price fell about $6,000 in June to $765,000, but that’s still up seven per cent from a year ago. Condo and townhouse prices are also down marginally in the past month. Detached houses in White Rock, Port Coquitlam and Burnaby fell more than $20,000 in price since April, the stats show. The biggest drop so far has been in West Vancouver, where detached houses fell more than 10 per cent in price in the last two months, from just under $1.6 million to $1.43 million. West Van house prices there are now up only 0.9 per cent year-over-year. “We’re experiencing a soft landing coming off the strongest and longest real estate cycle in our history,” Neufeld said. Sales are down sharply from a year ago across the region. New listings, meanwhile, are up and the number of unsold homes is rising. Realtors say sellers are in some cases having to moderate their expectations of how much they will get for their properties. We are beginning to see more price reductions in properties listed on the market today,” said Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board president David Watt.

Metro Vancouver Housing Market Moderates in 2008 and 2009, says the current release by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation.

Predictions for the Metro Vancouver housing market says that the prices for real estate values will moderate through to 2009 and will re-balance and shift towards the buyer's market point of view.Strong economic and demographic fundamentals, steady job growth and population growth, along with continuing low mortgage rates – will support demand for new and resale Vancouver housing. However, softening consumer sentiment and high mortgage carrying costs will temper the effects of these positive factors, dampening home buyer demand in Metro Vancouver.

New Vancouver Home Construction and MLS Sales Will Dip Slightly, but say high from a historical perspective for the remainder of the year and through 2009. Vancouver home prices will rise, but at a slower pace than in the past few years, as an increasing supply of both new and existing homes for sale give Vancouver home buyers more choice and more time to make their purchasing decision.

MLS Sales in Metro Vancouver Real Estate Will Come Down off the Near-Record High Reached in 2007, but stay well above the ten year average of 31,000. Strong Vancouver home buyer demand, fuelled by job growth, and a steady flow of people moving to the region will keep sales brisk. However, waning consumer confidence and high mortgage carrying costs will constrain Vancouver home sales. MLS sales will dip eight per cent to 36,000 units in 2008, and a further three per cent in 2009 as mortgage rates start to creep up. The main factors tempering Vancouver home buyer demand will be high home prices and softening consumer sentiment. With the average resale home price in Metro Vancouver at more than $600,000 and still rising, some potential homebuyers will opt to delay their purchase. Some low equity and first time home buyers could find it difficult to negotiate a mortgage with achievable monthly carrying costs, in spit of low mortgage rates. At present active listings sold is around 25%, which is the amount that divides a Vancouver sellers market to a balanced market.

The Supply of Vancouver Resale Homes on the real estate market will grow as homeowners look to capitalize on the home equity build up resulting from four straight years of double digit home price increases. The decision to sell may take an added urgency in light of the Vancouver housing marketing downturn int eh US. In the first quarter of 2008, the average number of active MLS listings for sale in Metro Vancouver increased nine per cent p=compared to the same period last year; with the supply condominiums for sale increasing more than other home types. At the end of the first quarter there was a five month supply of Vancouver homes on the real estate market, up from four months. Over the last 10 years, the highest supply was in 1995 when it was at 12 months.

Home Building Will Be Robust: new home construction in the Vancouver real estate area will be near historic highs this year and next, but will dip slightly compared to last year’s swift pace. Some moderation in new Vancouver home building will be due to an easing in demand for new pre-construction homes as homebuyers are able to meet their housing needs int eh better supplied resale market. Secondly, tightening credit conditions for Vancouver real estate developers may make it more difficult to secure financing for new multi-family projects. Home starts will decline 8% this year, and a further 3% next. Two thirds of homes built last year were condo projects.

Condominiums And Rental Outlook Positive – Vancouver Resale Condo Market – existing Vancouver condo sales will moderate slightly, but stay high for the remainder of 2008 and through 2009. Demand for condominiums will be sustained by the strong fundamentals mentioned above and will also be bolstered by continuing low mortgage rates and the lower price of condo homes, compared to detached. The average MLS price of a condo in Metro Vancouver is now more than $400,000 below the average price of a house.

Expect the Supply of Condo Listings To Trend Up over the next 18 months as demand moderates. In the first quarter of 2008, the average number of active MLS condo listings in Vancouver for sale increased 16% compared to the same period last year. By end of first quarter, the supply of condos on the Vancouver real estate market increased to a 4 month supply, up from 3 months a year earlier. This signals demand and supply moving towards equilibrium.

New and Existing Condo Prices in Vancouver Will Continue to Rise, but at a slower pace in the past few years. Price growth will slow into the single digit range this year with 8% appreciation this year and 5% next.

New Vancouver Condo Construction absorptions of new condos have been closely tracking completions for the past year, with virtually all (98%) units absorbed upon completion. An estimated one half of units underway are pre-sold and the supply of completed, unsold new Vancouver units is growing slowly but remains at less than one third of the 10 year average level. Unsold supply is located mainly in Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows and Surrey. Vancouver has very few unsold units.

High starts and longer completion times have pushed the number of condos under construction to record highs, with over 20,000 units underway at he end of March 2008. At the current absorption rate of 600 condos per month, there is a 33 month supply of units coming on stream over the next 2-3 years. When Vancouver pre-sales condos is taken into account the number of months supply is halved to 16 months. The supply of unsold new condo Vancouver units will edge up as condo demand moderates from the buying frenzy of the past few years and as more resale condo listings become available through the remainder of 2008 and in 2009.

Speculative and Investor Activity speculation in Vancouver’s condo markets has been trending down over the past year and will continue to edge down as the pace of price growth slows this year and next. In 2007 almost one quarter of condo units in the Metro Vancouver were owned by real estate investors, a marginal dip from 5 years ago. Investor presence is higher in the downtown core, where 45% of condos are investor owned. The more expensive areas of downtown (Coal Harbour and False Creek North) have a slightly lower proportion of Vancouver investor units compared with less expensive areas.

Vancouver Economy will support housing demand solid local economic conditions in Metro Vancouver will support demand for housing this year and next. Economic growth of 3% or better is forecast for the region through 2009 with residential and non residential construction, as well as wholesale and retail trade growth. Vancouver home building will stay at high levels with non-residential construction, including Olympic related projects and non related projects, such as the Vancouver Convention Centre, ongoing work on the Vancouver International Airport and building renovations at UBC, will keep Vancouver’s builders busy.

Consumer spending, the largest component of domestic demand, will be spurred on by a growing population job and income growth. The unemployment rate is at 20 year low of 4% with 36,000 jobs added in the Metro Vancouver region last year. Strong job growth will continue and will support demand for homeownership and rental housing.

Vancouver’s healthy job market and growing international reputation as a clean, liveable city will draw people to the region from other provinces and from abroad. Greater Vancouver will gain more than 30,000 people through migration in each of the coming years. International migrants will account for most of this Vancouver growth, but the Vancouver region will continue to attract people from other provinces who are looking for jobs. This will sustain housing demand.

On the downside, one of the main factors limiting homebuyer Vancouver demand will be softening consumer sentiment. Consumer confidence is based on the US economic and housing slowdown, the sub-prime crises in the US and the economic slowdown in central Canada as well, the high Canadian dollar and low lumber prices in BC. While Metro Vancouver economy is diverse and somewhat insulated from these economic developments, downside risks to the economic outlook remain.

Mortgage rates will remain relatively flat.

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Signs of the Times for Vancouver Real Estate Housing Prices - Property Values in Flux and Balancing...

All About Balance in the Vancouver Real Estate Market Housing Prices

Moderate price increases with strengthen the property market in Vancouver says Ryan for Metro Vancouver newspaper. A recent shift in the Lower Mainland real estate market is welcome news to homebuyers who watched property values increase by double percentage digits over the last few years. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), residential Vancouver property sales in Metro Vancouver have declined 30.7 per cent from May 2007 to May 2008 while listings are up 20.2 per cent. This is a shift from the white-hot market Vancouverites have come to expect over the last few years with multiple offers no longer being the norm. Dave Watt, REBGV president, said that the changes in the Vancouver real estate market pricing are “good news from an affordability standpoint.” “with more property listings and a decline in the number of sales, prices are not increasing as rapidly,” Watt said. The Vancouver housing market is at a balanced state, sellers have more competition and buyers have more selection.” In the end, it’s all about balance. Even with an influx of listings, the moderate price increases will only continue to strengthen the real estate Vancouver market and decrease the chance of a “market bubble burst,” which bodes well for more homeowners and potential purchases. Greg Carros is the managing broker of Sotheby’s International Realty in Vancouver and West Vancouver. “The selection of properties is the best in years, home buyers can now negotiate a deal that makes sense to them,” Carros said. “The interest rates are still at record lows and Vancouver as a world-class city is still a bargain for those properties in the core areas. Where else in a major city can you be minutes from the airport, city centre, recreation and cultural events?” So, while Vancouver real estate remains one of the most expensive markets in the country, the balanced property market we’re now seeing makes it more affordable for first-time homebuyers to get a firm grasp on the property ladder and feel confident that their investment will boast a healthy return.

Analysts in Greater Vancouver See Prices Soaring

A housing conference in Vancouver last month heard that Metro Vancouver real estate home prices will increase again this year and in 2009. Charles King, an analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, said Metro Vancouver home prices will increase 8 per cent this year and 5 per cent next year. King noted that, at the end of 2007, there was $800 billion in outstanding mortgage credit in Canada, and forecast that it will reach $1 trillion by 2010. BC, King noted has the lowest mortgage arrears rate in Canada, at a mere 0.16 per cent. The Homeowner Protection Office sponsored the May housing conference.

Vancouver Condo Crazy

Vancouverites lead nation in high-rise condo ownership according to StatsCan and published in Metro Vancouver by Kristen T. It seems that not all those construction cranes that dot the Vancouver skyline are 2010 related. More people own condos in Vancouver than anywhere else in Canada, a trend that’s fuelling a surge in high-rise construction in the city. According to 2006 census data released yesterday by Statistics Canada, about one in three people who own a home here live in a condo, compared to about 10 per cent nationwide. Robyn Adamache, Vancouver-based senior marketing analyst with Canadian Housing And Mortgage Corporation, said it comes down to affordability. “Generally it costs about half as much to buy a condominium as a single detached home,” she said. “Of course, the other reason is lifestyle factors, (such) as the amenities and central locations condos are generally located in.” “What we’re seeing in new home building in Greater Vancouver is the vast majority, (about) 80 per cent of homes, are of the multiple unit variety.” The trend also holds true nationally, where around 913,000 Canadian households own a condo, up 36.5 per cent from five years earlier. That increase has driven home ownership to the highest it’s ever been. Around 68.6 per cent of Canadian households own their home slightly lower than the British Columbia average of 69.7 per cent. Above average: Around 29 per cent of B.C. households spend 30 per cent or more of their income on their home, above the national average of 24.9 per cent in 2006, according to StatsCan.

The High Price of Homes in Vancouver

From the 24 Hours newspaper by Dharm M. More people in the Vancouver region are contributing a higher percentage of their income towards shelter costs, according to 2006 census data released yesterday by Statistics Canada. The numbers show close to a third of all households in Vancouver, renters and owners, spend more than 30 per cent of their income to pay housing costs. Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation analyst Sarena Teakles said traditionally housing costs above 30 per cent mark are considered unaffordable. Area homeowners are apparently choosing otherwise. “A lot of people are finding that it is worthwhile for them to pay the extra money to have the accommodations that they want,” she said. Vancouver housing costs are taking a big chunk out of people’s wallets, StatsCan has found. The number of homeowners paying above 30 per cent affordability marker has increased 29.9 per cent in 2006 from 2001. Teakles suggest opting for condos may be a common choice because of their low price point. About 31 per cent of all owned homes in Vancouver real estate region are condos and Teakles predicts that number can only increase as property developers are forced to build upwards. Statistics Canada reports the rate of condo ownership is highest in B.C. census metropolitan areas but the number of condo owners grew fastest in Calgary between 2001 and 2006.

Pricey Properties in Vancouver Real Estate Market

Vancouver is the most expensive market for detached family homes according to Metro Vancouver’s Hollie. Homebuyers looking for a bungalow in Vancouver better want it twice as much as buyers elsewhere in the country. Detached Vancouver bungalows now cost at average of $850,000, which is almost double those in the next most expensive city, Calgary. Vancouver bungalows rose in price by 12.5 per cent from last year, when they were sold for an average of $760,000, according to a report by Royal LePage Real Estate Services released yesterday. By comparison, Halifax bungalows are selling for $210,000, and in Calgary, they are priced at $440,000. Bill Binnie, the president of Royal LePage Northshore, North Vancouver, said the housing costs in Vancouver have historically been high in the region. “Vancouver is enjoying a growth in population and limited supply of land,” he said. Across the rest of Canada: The average bungalow prices across the rest of Canada differ by as much as $200,000. Montreal at $230,000, Ottawa at $310,000, Toronto at $430,000 and Edmonton at $330,000 which don’t close close to Vancouver’s average bungalow price of $850,000.

Housing Sales Will Remain Strong in Canada

Canada’s resale housing market will remain at or near record levels this year, the Canadian Real Estate Association predicts. The realtors group said multiple listing services sales est a record of 520,747 units in 2007, up 7.6 per cent from 2006 in the steepest increase since 2002, and this year’s MLS transactions in Canada are forecast to remain solidly above 500,000. The association says three factors will save Canada’s hosuing market from the woes engulfing the housing sector in the United States: consumer confidence, employment and affordable interest rates.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Community Vancouver Real Estate Focus: North Vancouver Smart Growth, East Vancouver on The Rise, Kerrisdale Old Traditional Charm & Affordable Housing

North Vancouver Citizens Beware City Smart Growth Agenda

An editorial from the North Shore News newspaper on a citizen’s take on the current Central Lonsdale Planning Study and what it may mean in terms of affordability, livability and the future of the North Shore real estate market. Dear Editor: I wonder how many people will give the City of North Vancouver’s intentions to increase densification on the North Shore real estate the serious review it deserves. Another concern is North Vancouver’s impact on the other North Shore municipalities. Are city residents really being given a choice, or is the process jst steering things towards the outcome that the City of North Van wants? Do the residents of the other municipalities have any say in how the city’s choices affect traffic and crime? It looks like there’s a North Vancouver Smart Growth agenda at work in the city. But looking at the U.S., you see evidence how Smart Growth real estate development has problems. While it seems intuitive that building more housing units within ar egion – thereby increasing supply – should increase affordability, in fact the opposite happens: housing prices go up and traffic problems worsen. More people within an area simply leads to more demand on North Shore housing. The pressure to increase North Vancouver housing density is being caused by policies on land use, agriculture, and transportation that all cause pressure on the supply of land; one can say the shortage of land and the resulting higher housing prices in North Vancouver City are unnecessary.

Looking within Canada, Vancouver has the least affordable housing, some of the worst traffic problems and many advocates of Smart Growth North Vancouver at work. This is fine if you can afford high priced condos in Coal Harbour or False Creek, but if you can’t afford it or can’t tolerate the noise and overcrowding, your only option is the suburbs – especially if you prefer to raise a family. To City of North Van Smart Growth real estate planners, your own backyard isn’t even counted as livable green space. Instead you should hope to have a nice view of the greenbelt from your condo and play only in designated public spaces. Taken to this extreme, the most prized outome of Smart Growth in North Vancouver real estate surely must be found in the over crowded cities of Japan, where people’s apartments are scarcely more than bedrooms and where they spend most of their time shopping or in the entertainment districts. Sprawl has been described as something that always happens in somebody else’s neighbourhood, but never your own. This explains some of the unspoken snobbishness of Smart Growth. Smart Growth real estate development plans appeals to people (in terms of) environmental responsibility, and that is valid. But there are difficulties around sustainable growth and what that term really means. Without an open discussion of some of the assumptions and choices underlying Smart Growth in North Vancouver City real estate, people will probably not get what they assume they are getting (when they agree to it).

Randy O’Toole, senior fellow with the Cato Institute and author of The Vanishing Automobile and Other Urban Myths: How Smart Growth Harms American Cities, wrote about Metro Vancouver’s Livable Region (strategy): “To avoid sprawl, (Metro Vancouver) closed more than 70 per cent of the region’s land to real estate development and mandated that all cities in the region accommodate growth by increasing population densities. The result has been skyrocketing housing prices and, for most families, an end to the great Canadian dream of owning your own single family home.” On the North Shore, it’s easy to see that traffic is bad enough on the freeways and bridges, but speaking for myself, it’s tolerable most of the time. I find the North Shore a very liveable place to live and to work. Now we have the City of North Vancouver Smart Growth development Plan trying to cram more people on to the North Shore, and it’s hard to see how this will benefit traffic and make the region more livable. Isn’t it more sustainable not to increase the population? Or limit growth to a smaller scale approaches such as secondary rental suites and coach houses? The North Shore may already be at capacity in many ways, so I would argue for a moratorium against increasing densification for the foreseeable future. If Metro Vancouver ever pays any real attention to the transportation challenges on the North Shore, then perhaps it can be considered at that time. J. Morrison of North Vancouver (information technology consultant who lived in the District of North Vancouver since 2003).

East Vancouver real estate becoming increasingly popular

According to Metro Magazine contributor Andrea, more people in East Vancouver are swapping rent for mortgages and purchasing property in this district more than ever before. As housing in Vancouver goes up in price and down in availability, a number of trends are appearing, according to Peter Simpson, the CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association. One is that more and more people in East Vancouver are swapping their monthly rent for mortgage payments. “some folks who buy homes will find that their mortgage payments are consistent with what they used to pay in rent,” said Simpson. “So now they’re paying themselves and not a landlord.” Another is the manifestation of what Simpson calls “mingles.” “These are single people who are not related to each other, who are not in a relationship with each other and want to become roommates, but this time in a purchase situation,” he said, adding that “mingles” in East Vancouver real estate are usually women. “They’re pooling their resources and… now they own a place and are building their home equity.” A third trend in East Vancouver’s property market is that more people are opting for multi-family housing. “For a first-time homebuyer, a decade ago, their first choice was a single-family home like mom and dad’s,” said Simpson. “Today there are more realistic expectations; they have condos, townhouses that they know will likely be their first home.” Simpson said while no one municipality is particularly more affordable than any other, there are certain areas that are becoming increasingly popular for young homeowners. East Vancouver is one because of the recent real estate condo development. The Tri-Cities area and Surrey Town Centre are also popular because the rapid transit lines run through them, he said.

Kerrisdale Vancouver – Destination Neighbourhood

Centred along the unbashedly eclectic retail strip spanning 41st Avenue between Arbutus and Balsm, Kerrisdale Vancouver is a neighbourhood with upscale charm, a fun loving charm and a distinctly creative leaning. Community Snapshot by 24 Hours newspaper. Folks here like to mingle, so there are plenty of well frequented gathering spots often decoarted with displays of local artwoork for sale in addition to food and drinks. One retired city planner, frequently seen sipping lattes and chatting with passer by at Bean Bros. Coffee, Postulateds kerrisdale real estate attracts more people as a destination neighbourhood to visit for an afternoon than any other in the Lower Mainland. Like its residents, Kerrisdale real estate housing is a mix of young and old all coexisting with an easy going camaraderie. But don’t expect Kerrisdale housing to be cheap. Houses in Kerrisdale real estate start near the $1 million mark for what some lovingly refer to as an “old timer in need of some TLC,” but would more accurately be described as a tear down with land value only. For an extra $300,000, you can find Kerrisdale homes with cosmetic renovations but still the boxy, segmented interiors that characterized houses from the 1940s and 1950s. If you’re looking for the graciousness typically associated with Kerrisdale real estate, expect to pay a minimum of $1.7 million, and most likely $2 million or more. But in this price range, you can expect a lot – elegant architecture, large lots, open floor plans, often even feng shui design elements. Tough to find, older kerrisdale townhouses in Vancouver start at $600,000 and in short order race past the $1 mllion mark finally settling near $1.5 million for a brand new unit in the Kerry Kerrisdale property development. Currently well under construction in the 2200 block of West 39th Avenue, the Kerry Kerrisdale is also where you’ll find some of this neighbourhood’s most expensive apartment homes – each one spanning a single floor for true 360 degree outlooks and commanding prices averaging $2.5 million. There are however some bargains to be had in the Kerrisdale apartment market. Older buildings with generous floor plans, but not necessarily the floor to ceiling windows, gas fireplaces, or in suite laundry de rigueur in new products, are available for well under $400,000 – though you’ll have to watch closely as a surprisingly high proportion of these are co-op Kerrisdale buildings, that require higher down payment and are less appealing to financial institutions. For $600,000 and up, there’s usually a selection of concrete Kerrisdale condo suites, often in mid-rise or highrise condominium towers offering amenities like air conditioning, top-end appliances, and onsite recreational facilities. Currently, Kerrisdale real estate’s two most expensive properties are an 11,000 square foot mansion with eight bedrooms and gold plated light fixtures on offer for $6.7 million and a 2,400 square foot penthouse condominium in 5955 Balsam Kerrisdale real estate boasting two bedrooms, two levels, a 2,300 square foot patio and a price tag of $3.9 million. Written by S. M. Boyce for 24 Hours.

College Project Developers Affordable Housing for Vancouver

On another note in 24 Hours newspaper, Matt writes about the possibility of more affordable ways of constructing housing in the Lower Mainland to offset the rising costs of home ownership and lack of affordable housing for the homeless. Affordable housing can be created, just ask a group of design students who have spend the last 17 weeks building some. While the four display units now sitting outside UBC’s forestry building aren’t a magical solution to the city’s social issues, Emily Carr industrial design instructor Christian Blyt says it’s a start. “We finally have something to show people,” Blyt said, as 15 of his innovations in Wood Design students – and two UBC forestry students – put the finshing touches on four pre-fabricated transitional housing units. “Hopefully, we’re setting up a dialogue on how it can be done. We can do something, but it has to start somewhere.” His students believe that starting point lies within their real estate project. “We did a lot of research on homelessness and what it’s like to be homeless, so we know what people need,” said student Tina Lu. “These units are pretty simple but it suits people in transition.” And on a $1,500 budget, the students believe the ready-to-assemble homes could serve as a model for quick and easy housing Vancouver real estate projects.

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