Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vancouver Real Estate Forecast 2010 - Prediction about Greater Vancouver House Prices, Home Pricing w/ 12% HST, Interest Rates, Olympics, Fundamentals

Vancouver Real Estate Forecast 2010 – A Prediction About House Prices, Home Values and Housing Sales Volume

What's in store for Vancouver Real Estate in 2010? Here's a forecast on Vancouver home prices and prediction on Vancouver property values.Being an enthusiast about this subject for over a decade, there are some thoughts about a 2010 Vancouver real estate forecast. With sales volume and prices increasing through 2009, many homebuyers are wondering if average selling prices and property values will continue to increase in the latter stages of 2009 into and through 2010. Here is a prediction about the 2010 Vancouver real estate resale market as well as presale condo developments in the area.

7 Major Factors Will Affect 2010 Vancouver Housing Prices

There are many factors that affect Vancouver housing prices, but in late 2009 and into 2010, there are several very unique circumstances that will influence sales volume of all housing types in addition to property values and sales prices throughout the region. It is often hard to predict 2010 Vancouver housing prices simply because a lot can change. Some important factors the affect 2010 Vancouver housing prices now may end up not influencing the resale or presale markets, while other new factors may creep up to affect homebuyers. Here are the seven factors that will likely affect the 2010 Vancouver Housing Prices in no particular order:

1. mortgage rates (financing)
2. BC Harmonized Sales Tax (12% HST on new property)
3. supply and demand in 2010 Vancouver presale real estate market
4. supply and demand in 2010 Vancouver resale real estate market
5. consumer confidence and emotions
6. Vancouver population growth and projections
7. Vancouver economic fundamentals in 2010 and beyond

A Quick Summary of Our 2010 Vancouver Real Estate Forecast Based on These Factors

A 2010 Vancouver real estate forecast based on the above factors will determine where the property market will likely head in the future. As part of our prediction for the 2010 Vancouver real estate forecast, we have put together a quick summary explaining each of the 7 factors and if they will positively of negatively influence the Vancouver real estate forecast 2010. Firstly, mortgage rates have been at all time lows for over a year. The Bank of Canada lending rate has been at 0.25% and they have promised to keep it there until at least the third quarter of 2010 barring upward pressure from inflation. Therefore, after June 2010, it is likely that the BoC lending rate will increase, thereafter the banks will also increase their prime rates, increasing the mortgage variable rates across the board. The fixed rates, which are based on the US bond market, will also likely see a spike too. As inflation starts to creep in, more investors will head towards buying US bonds, and therefore, demand will increase, increasing the borrowing fixed mortgage rates in Canada. With both fixed and variable rates in Vancouver increasing in the future, this will have a negative impact on the 2010 Vancouver real estate forecast, as cashflow and affordability will again become a bigger issue. A big effect on the 2010 Vancouver new real estate market including presales condos and pre-construction homes will be the BC Harmonized Sales Tax. A new 12% BC HST will be applied to any new construction property, which will have a huge influence on the presale 2010 Vancouver real estate forecast. With less demand for presales and pre-constuction Vancouver real estate, developers and builders of new property will feel the hit come 2010 and into 2011, as less Vancouver homebuyers and condo purchasers will pay the extra 12% hit on a new home. Demand for presale Vancouver real estate in 2010 will go down, putting upwards pressure on resales property. What this means is that many homebuyers will opt for resale listings. With more demand, the resale 2010 Vancouver real estate forecast is brighter, and will likely see a bigger price increase as demand grows for these non HST taxable homes. As the global economic crisis is becoming better managed and the end is in sight, consumer confidence in the 2010 Vancouver real estate forecast and predictions is gaining. As many Vancouver homebuyers purchase homes based on emotion, this boost in confidence will also boost the local Vancouver real estate forecast in 2010. As fall and winter 2008 was a brutal year for not only Vancouver real estate sales volume but also housing prices, 2009 will see a huge increase in both areas. As numbers are published in late 2009 and early 2010, we will likely see the above 100% increase sales volume and increase of 1 – 3% per month in Vancouver housing prices until next summer. This will have a positive impact on consumer confidence in the 2010 Vancouver real estate forecast and predictions. In addition, the Greater Vancouver population continues to grow at one of the fastest rates in Canada. This will continue and put pressure on the Vancouver property market as inventory has stalled during the past 2 years due to the global economic crisis. With many new condo projects delayed or cancelled, this has pushed back a lot of housing inventory, thereby reducing the Vancouver real estate inventory during this hot market time. Lastly, the Vancouver economic fundamentals remain strong. With new transportation routes completed, better accessibility and an influx in business and retail, the Vancouver real estate forecast 2010 is likely headed upwards. Notice that we didn’t even mention the 2010 Olympics, which we believe is a non-factor in the 2010 Vancouver real estate forecast.

Conclusion about 2010 Vancouver Home Prices

So a quick conclusion on where the Vancouver home prices are headed in late 2009 into 2010: sales volumes and home prices will see huge jumps compared to last year as 2008 was a bad year. Mortgage rates are likely headed upwards and even spiking by mid-2010. The addition of the 12% BC HST on new homes will adversely affect the presales and new Vancouver home market, causing presales 2010 Vancouver home prices to dip as demand drops. With less homebuyers in the market to purchase new homes, the resales 2010 Vancouver home prices will likely go up a lot, as more homebuyers look for completed homes. The worst of the economic crisis in Canada is over, and with job creation looming and stricter lending practises from the bank, consumer confidence in the Vancouver real estate market place will go up. Based on emotions felt from the headline news proclaiming a global recovery and above 100% gaines in sales volumes and staggering increase in housing prices, the 2010 Vancouver home prices will likely be buffered by homebuyers purchasing based on emotion. With the economic fundamentals stronger than ever and with population growth and migration into the city increasing, 2010 Vancouver home prices will go up as demand will grow. With new housing inventory stalled and increased demand, the re-balancing of the Vancouver real estate market (especially resales homes) will likely tip in the favour of homeowners by mid to late 2010.

The Other Intagibles Affecting The Vancouver House Prices 2010

There are a few other intangible factors that may or may not affect the 2010 Vancouver House Prices beginning with the 2010 Vancouver Whistler Winter Olympics. The hot market in 2009 started back in April and has continued through into October, but none of the price increases or staggering jump in sales volume had to do with the 2010 Olympics. On the contrary, the fundamentals behind the 2009 Vancouve house prices include 2 factors: record low mortgage rates and affordability which go hand in hand. These 2 factors will likely drive the 2010 Vancouver house prices upwards in the first half of the year. Therefore, the 2010 Olympics are a mute point. Most of the amateur investors who had flipped property or renovated homes and flipped them afterwards no longer are in the Vancouver real estate market. The Vancouver house prices 2010 will be much more stable the the boom years between 2005 – 2007. A second intangible factors that will affect 2010 Vancouver house prices are transportation nodes. With the completion of the Canada Line SkyTrain from Richmond to YVR to downtown Vancouver, this creates many new neighbourhoods in which we will see huge growth and demand in real estate. These areas will likely see the best increases in 2010 Vancouver house prices and demand will increase with limited new supply coming onto the market.

The Future of Vancouver Real Estate In a Nutshell

So our prediction for the next year is that the Vancouver real estate forecast for 2010 continues to be bright buoyed by low interest rates and the outlook of the dreaded HST on new homes. So the combination of the two factors will likely increase Vancouver property prices in 2010 (even if the interest rates remain low, as there are always forecastings saying a mortgage rate spike is in order in 2010 through 2010) and the HST which have negatively impact the new presale Vancouver housing market. Therefore, the presale Vancouver home prices will stabilize and possibly decrease as a result of the 12% HST added on to the purchase price, which will make resale Vancouver real estate more attractive, and therefore bumping and increasing the price of the resale Vancouver home prices 2010. With that in mind, overall, the Vancouver 2010 real estate forecast is good, as property values, home prices and housing prices should increase. Housing inventory for 2010 will remain steady as many projects will again start, but will not be completed until 2011 or beyond. The 2010 Vancouver real estate forecast will see Vancouver home prices increase through the first half of 2010, and then become more steady from the presale housing market value standpoint through the latter half of 2010. For the resale Vancouver home prices in 2010, they will increase throughout the year due to pent up demand as well as the forecast of increased interest rates.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 2009 Vancouver Real Estate Market: BC Home Inspectors, Stable Property Market, FINTRAC, Little Mountain Housing, Vancouver Leaky Condos

B.C. Home Inspectors Must Be Certified

Beginning March 31, 2009, all home inspects in the province of British Columbia must be licensed to inspect homes. The BC government passed this law and is expected to provide greater security to Vancouver home buyers. The B.C. home inspectors will be licensed under the BC Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority. BC Home Inspectors are often called in during a home sale, and the Real Estate Boards across Greater Vancouver Regional District have applauded the licensing requirement. A BC home inspector seeking a license must first pass muster with the B.C. Branch of the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors, the Applied Sciences Technologists and Technicians of B.C. or the National Certification Program for Home and Property Inspects. A BC home inspector that practices in contravention of the regulations faces discipline, including penalties of up to $5,000 per infraction.

The Greater Vancouver Housing Market is Returning to Stable Sales

According to the Real Estate Weekly magazine, the entire Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley real estate markets are returning to a more stable marketplace with listings and sales happening much quicker when compared to the previous six months. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the hosuing market in Vancouver real estate property market has calmed to a more stable market with sales rising more than 50 per cent in March 2009 compared to a month earlier in February 2009 (that also saw a huge increase compared to the first month of the year). The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported that 2,2665 residential home sales were recorded in Greater Vancouver real estate district in March 2009, a fifty three pre cent increase over February, but a 24.4 per cent decrease over March 2008 when things were still booming at the time. This represents the second straight month of increased sales in the Greater Vancouver real estate market and much higher levels are also expected for April 2009 numbers when they come in in May. Obviously, there is more consumer homebuyer confidence in the Vancouver real estate market that is returning after six months of declining sales volume and property values. The Vancouver property sales activity is rising to more typical levels given the season, and the number of Vancouver homes being listed for sale are also leveling off, which is a great sign of a more balanced property market. The number of new residential listings on MLS actually declined by 22.7 per cent in March 2009 and for the 5th month in a row, the number of new Vancouver home listings has actually decreased. There has been more active transactions from first time Vancouver home buyers who are definitely attracted to the lowest mortgage rates in history, in addition to a great selection of listings being offered and obviously, greater affordability. The Real Estate Vancouver Board’s Housing Price Index for detached Vancouver homes also fell 15.1 per cent, which is also a good sign for the market.

Real Estate Developers Must Also Report to FINTRAC

Real estate developers, like real estate agents, will have to comply with new federal regulations under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act according to the Real Estate Weekly article. Real estate developers in Canada have until February 20, 2009 to meet the filing deadline. Development companies that fail to report transactions properly under Financial Transaction and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) guidelines could face fines up to $500,000. Executives could be fined up to $100,000 per person. Realtors began complying with the tighter reporting rules this past June, and all new regulations accompanying the act will kick in by September 2009. Realtors have until January 2009 to comply or face penalties. Every real estate developer in Canada who has sold atl east five homes, one commercial or industrial building, or a condo or apartment complex will be subject to the act’s client-indentification, record-keeping and reporting requirements when they sell a property. The new rules are designed to bring Canada’s anti-money laundering rules up to international standards. The new rules are designed to improve enforcement of the law but they will also place a greater regulatory burden on real estate developers and reporting agencies, including banks and loan companies. Real estate developers in Canada will have to document proof of identity of people and companies involved in every transaction and keep that information on file for five years in case FINTRAC, a federal agency that polices financial transactions, should want to review it. Any real estate developer who receives $10,000 or more in cash for a single deal must keep a large-cash transaction record and report that details to FINTRAC, unless the money is obtained from a financial institution or public body. Real estate developers in Canada must also report suspicious transactions to FINTRAC.

Little Mountain Housing – Slogan Cover-Up?

According to 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, B.C. Housing is covering up its dirty little secret with $2 rollers and cheap brown paint, according to advocates for Little Mountain Housing. Supporters who painted murals on plywood that cover the windows at the largely abandoned social housing project last week at Little Mountain Housing Vancouver were shocked to learn slogans such as “Home is wehre theheart is” had been painted over by a graffiti clean-up crew in the past few days. “BC Housing is afraid of the words,” said advocate Kia. “There was another paitning that said, ‘Love still lives here,’ and it was blotted out – very offensive.” BC Housing regional director Dale McMann said his agency allowed the event to take place at Little Mountain Housing without explicit consent but covered up some images felt to be inappropriate for a family neighbourhood. “There was a slogan around Helther Shelter – sort of vague reference to the old Charles Manson Helter Skelter days,” McMann said. “We wanted to ensure those types of paintings were removed.” Community Advocates for Vancouver Little Mountain social housing project have called on the province to restore 224 social housing units rather than pursue commercial development scheduled since early 2007. NDP MLA David Chudnovsky said the paint job is another example of the government sticking its head in sand rather than addressing the province’s most crucial issues. “What do we need in Vancouver?” he posed. “Another 2,000 million dollar condos? Or affordable housing for middle class and working people who need it?” From Dharm M.

Vancouver Leaky Condo Syndrome

A great article by HouseLeague for MetroNews Vancouver by Ryan D. As winter approaches, it seems home buyers are beginning to dredge up that fear of leaky condos that plagued hundreds of Vancouver condo buildings erected in the 90s. Leaky condo syndrome is a catastrophic failure of the building envelope leading to water ingress that potentially leads to rot and mould. This was caused by many factors including a shift in the Vancouver condo building codes allowing for the use of inadequate materials and poor design. Use a realtor as they have an intimate knowledge of the area you are searching in and will likely be able to steer you away from buildings with known leaky condo Vancouver problems. Second, when writing an offer on a Vancouver condo, request a Form B from the property management company. It mentions if there are any upcoming assessments being levied against the homeowners. Third, read through the last two years of strata minutes. Issues that have arisen in that time, including leakage, will be mentioned there. Fourth, check if the builder was built with “rainscreen” technology or if it has been repaired to have it. “Rainscreening” is a small gap between the exterior and interior walls of the structure that allows any water that penetrates from the outside to seep down and escape.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tips and Tricks in Selling Your Home Faster in the Vancouver Re-Sale Real Estate Market - Curb Appeal and Summer Decks

Property Curb Appeal Magic

By S. Boyce for Homebase. The three principles of Earth Inc. each serve up a trio of their top tips for enhance curb appeal. James Dale- A separate pedestrian entrance to your front door lessens the impact of a large driveway – after all, people are more important than cars. Proper lighting enhances curb appeal by creating a sense of welcome and increasing viewing hours well into the evening. Lighting also provides incredible curb appeal during winter interest that’s often overlooked. Sometimes a planting scheme for curb appeal may be completely offensive to a viewer on the opposite side of a fence or property line. A quick discussion of your intentions not only makes better nieghbours but the end result may end up complementing both your homes better in terms of property curb appeal. Kennedy Mcrae – Plant both sides of your driveway with similar plants and it will frame your house like a picture to add property curb appeal for your home. If you have a stone house, vines will instantly give it warmth and comfort. Just remember not to let the vine touch the windows. Architectural structures like benches or screens can create a beautiful courtyard and draw out the arechitecture of your house for added real estate curb appeal. Joel Loblaw – Spaces that can’t be seen from the curb but make people wonder what’s there give a garden interest, intrigue and a sense of wonder. Sculpture, urns, or water features add zing to any front yard to add curb appeal for your property – especially when you are willing to take a few risks by thinking differently. Remember plants grow. An evergreen tree is a perfect example of something that looks great initially, but can ultimately overwhel a residence decreasing the curb appeal of your home through time.

The Home Sale Starts Outside – Curb Appeal Importance

Curb appeal can be the defining factor in selling your home according to HouseLeague Ryan D. for the Metro Newspaper. Staging, renovating, and updating a home’s interior seems to be second nature for many when it comes time to list that property, but what most people tend to forget is that the first and last impression in property makes is from the outside curb appeal. Whether you live in a house, or a condo, there are some simple rules to keep in mind when getting your property ready for sale. One of the most important is going to be ensuring that the outside brick or paint work is fresh, updated and neutral. Lime greens and dusty roses do not do much to convince the average home buyer, so seek out the potential gem inside. In fact, you may find that purchasers will not even make it to the front door if you have bad curb appeal: Throwing on a coat of paint and repairing any damaged brick or siding is the first place you should start when prepping your home for the real estate market. Plants are another easy way to spruce up that dreary property and turn it into the palace you want to portray through curb appeal. Even if you do not have the greenest of thumbs, a dead garden, or one overgrown with weeds and plants can make the most diligent homeowners appear lazy. If you are useless in the garden, plant local species of shrubs and flower for better curb appeal. Just remember even the simplest of gardens need to be pruned every now and then. Finally, whether you live in a house or a condo, bed sheets and tacky drapery panels will never do as window coverings. Pay attention to the fact that these can be seen from the outside, as well as the inside of the property. Make sure that if you are putting up drapes that match an unusual colour plalate inside, you have a neutral backing facing out. You do not want your home to look like a carnival fun house.

Take It To The Deck For Summer Entertaining

Fro 24Hrs. Building a sturdy deck is one way home owners in Greater Vancouver are creating a home they can enjoy more now, while looking smartly ahead in case they want to sell later. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2007 Cost vs. Value report, adding a deck built with composite decking, a deciking material made of combined wood and plastic, can be expected to yield an approximate 77 per cent cost recovery on average at resale. Composite decks rank higher than the national average of cost recovered for a major kitchen remodel, which are two types of projects homeowners often undertake in Greater Vancouver real estate to make their homes more appealing during resale. One consideration for homeowners in Vancouver property market for homeowners planning to add a deck is to look at other decks in their area to determine the approximate size and scope of their deck project for their neighbourhood. Vancouver home owners should also consider a decking material that will last in the long term. Not only will homeowners in Greater Vancouver real estate enjoy a durable, inviting deck while they livei n the home, but the type of material they use can help determine how well it will retain its value over time. Many Vancouver homeowners are turning to wood-plastic composite decking for durable decking material that doesn’t require staining or painting. Composite decking is also resistant to moisture and decay. And, the composite decking material will not splinter or crack. For Greater Vancouver home owners searching for environmentally responsible materials, some wood-plastic composite decking is made from recycled materials, potentially keeping unused waste out of landfills. From ARA Content.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

North Shore Property Update: West Vancouver Secondary Suites Issue, West Van Limits Size on Monster Homes, Problems with North Van Coach Houses

City of North Vancouver Cancels Coach House Installation

In the latest twist to the ever slowdown of results and progress for affordable housing in North Vancouver, city councillors narrowly voted down a proposal on Monday that would have installed a prototype coach house for display on unused city land according to North Shore News, Benjamin. Home show demo home offered at cost, but North Vancouver councillors balks at the $150,000 required to complete a demo Coach House in North Van real estate to showcase the benefits of affordable housing initiatives that could alleviate the shortage of affordable rental units on the North Shore. The motion called on the City of North Vancouver to spend up to $150k out of a reserve fund for the purchase of roughly six hundred square foot home. The intent was to display the North Vancouver coach house to the public at 204 East First Street for an unspecified period before selling and moving it ot the buyer’s lot. The proceeds of the sale of the coach home in North Vancouver would have been returned to the reserve fund when all said and done. Keating emphasized the energy efficient features of the Smallworks coach house prototype. However, Coun. Bookham opposed the motion because she thought it was highly inappropriate for the city of North Vancouver to promote the services and products of a third party builder. She also couldn’t fathom how the city could justify spending up to $150,000 on a coah house model at this time. Bookham and the City of North Vancouver could produce a list of xisting privately owned North Vancouver coah houses in the city for interested buyers to inspect. Mussatto told city council that the had visited a homeless shelter over the weekend that had turned away 70 people. “There are still camps out there, people looking for shelter. There are people one paycheque away from losing their home, losing their mortgage. And they’ll be looking for somewhere to go. This is one option we could consider,” as he talked about the City of North Vancouver plans to go ahead with coach houses rental suites. But council was not swayed by the mayor’s appeal, and defeated the motion marginally by four to three. Mussatto immediately tabled another motion directing staff to request competing proposals for a similar North Vancouver coach house project in hopes this will addres some of the Councillors objections. This was also voted down, so there is not much anything is being done about the affordable housing problems in North Vancouver. The interior of the Laneway Loft House built by Smallworks Studios/Laneway Housing coach house is at the B.C. Home and Garden Show until Sunday.

West Vancouver Secondary Suites Recommended

Report calls for more housing options in the form of West Vancouver secondary housing suites for the city. This according to Daniel Pi for the North Shore Outlook newspaper. A report presented to West Vancouver Council Monday night recommends allowing secondary suites in the West Vancouver community to raise housing stock in the expensive North Shore community. On Monday, West Vancouver councilors sent the report, penned by the Community Dialogue on Neighbourhood Character and Housing Working Group, to district staff for further research. According to Stephen Mikicich, senior community planner for the district, staff will be reporting back to council in the fall with ideas to implement the 20 recommendations listed in the report, including the West Vancouver secondary suites housing issue. Besides allowing secondary suites in West Van, the recommendations include: considering “infill” housing, exploring new West Vancouver housing types with pilot programs, utilizing surplus district owned lands “to address identified housing gaps in the community, protecting and defining neighbourhood character, and finding ways to reduce residents’ reliance on cars. The report also recommends amending the West Vancouver Official Community Plan’s Housing Policies “to enable consideration of new housing types to meet the current and future needs of West Vancouver residents.” The working group developed its recommendations through public input that included community forums, workshops, and presentation, and an online form. The group also sent out a questionnaire and two newsletters to residents.

West Vancouver Home Sales Drop by Half

According to the North Shore News: Metro figures similar but economist says U.S.=style collapse in the West Vancouver real esate market housing prices unlikely. Written by James W. West Vancouver home sales are down more than 50 per cent from last summer, according to figures released by the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board, and it’s possible there is more to come. Just 101 detached homes were sold in the West Vancouver / Howe Sound area between June and August this year, according to the September 3rd release. That’s down from 230 West Vancouver homes sold during the same period in 2007, a drop of 56 per cent. Other West Vancouver real estate resident types have seen similar declines. With just 13 per cent sales, attached homes in West Vancouver real estate property are down close to 19 per cent; and with 29 sales, condos are down almost 53 per cent. The slide is part of a wider trend across the Greater Vancouver region, according to the board. Lower Mainland homes ales of all kinds dropped 53.7 per cnet last month compared to August last year. North Vancouver is among the communities caught in the fall, although declines there have not been quite as pronounced as its neighbour’s in West Vancouver real estate market update. Summer sales of North Vancouver detached homes are off by more than 33 per cent, and other home types by more than 46 per cent. In a nutshell, says one expert, the good times are coming to a close. “It’s the end of the boom,” says Tsur Somerville, director of the Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate at UBC”s Sauder School of Business. He identified three factors behind the change in West Vancouver and North Vancouver real estate property markets in summer of 2008. The first is a simple truth inherent to all housing booms: they just can’t last forever. Eventually it gets to a point that people can’t pay any more. “You can’t continually have growing number of sales and rising prices unless the economy is growing faster and faster and population is growing more and more,” said Somerville. “since we don’t have those conditions, we have a boom and it tires itself out.” This is what is happening in the new West Vancouver real estate market housing values are dropping. This works in conjunction with a second, psychological component: Canadians are looking at what happened to the housing market in the United States and wondering if the same might happen here. But when asked what thi means for the future, Somerville’s answer was very simple, “I don’t know.” The real estate market in West Vancouver is a difficult thing to rpedict, he said, and any forecasting on his part would likely come back to bit hime. “That’s an invitation for me to be wrong and have everybody remember it,” said Somerville. That said, he made certain observations that might shed some light on the future. For one thing, a crash on the scale of the American housing crisis seems unlikely. That’s because the conditions were different in Canada and West Vancouver real estate market when our neighbour was building its bubble.

The extremely cheap credit that has been available south of the border in recent years encourage speculation in the real estate market. Many Americans, emboldened by super lower interest rates, have been borrowing more money than they can afford, and investing it in houses they hope will make them a quick buck. That in turn inflated housing prices in the U.S. beyond a sustainable level. Canada has not seen credit quite as cheap, however, so speculation here in West Vancouver and North Vancouver real estate markets has been more limited, said Somerville. That doesn’t mean it has been non-existent, however. “We do have potential for bad things to happen in the condo market because we have so many real estate investors there,” he said. “There is definitely is speculation in that market.” And if condos tank as a result, they could drag down other types of West Vancouver property with them, added Somerville. “People wouldn’t be moving up (from condominiums to houses) and people who are… comparing the two might say, ‘Hey, I’m not going to buy a house for this much when I can get a condo for that.” However, guarding against an all-out collapse is the fact that BC’s economy does not appear to be as bad as has been suggested. “I’m not saying it’s all good news. But you look around the Lower Mainland, and where’s the 15 per cent unemployment and the shutting mills and the real problems?” said Sommerville. “A lot of industries are not doing great, but they aren’t abysmal.” Rather than plummeting, housing prices in West Vancouver real estate market may just rise at a slower rate,” he said. And at the end of the day, the Lower Mainland – which ahs been limited supply of homes, is still drawing new people who need a place to live. That has to push up property values in West Vancouver real estate over the long term, said Somerville. So what should homeowners do if they’re thinking of selling? “Be prepared to take a lower price than they think they’re going to get,” he said. “Be prepared to wait longer to sell.” His advise to home buyers in West Vancouver real estate was not far from the same. “If you’re thinking of buying, it’s a time to take your time,” said Somerville. “There’s not reason to feel rushed.

One Size Doesn’t Fit all in West Vancouver Real Estate

According to Jessica B of the North Shore News: District of West Vancouver residents are willing to let go of monster house mania to make way for smaller, more affordable housing, council heart Monday. In addition to smaller houses, West Vancouverites want a greater variety of housing types, but still like the idea of a single family home with a garden or green space. “One or two sizes no longer fit the community that we live in,” said Any, Vice Chairman of the neighbourhood character and West Vancouver housing working group. “We need to change in order to stay the same.” The West Vancouver housing working group, comprised of West Vancouver residents, many with backgrounds in urban planning, engineering and real estate, has been collecting public input through meetings and workshops for more than a year. The Group appeared at Monday’s meeting to president its findings to the West Vancouver Real Estate Council, complete with 20 recommendations based on resident input for preserving community character and shaping neighbourhoods for the future. “This whole dialogue was about people talking to people,” said Christine Banham, group chairwoman. “We heard many personal stories telling of Wets Vancouverites’ struggles and challenges in their neighbourhoods.” Banhm spoke of single retirees coping with the high cost of West Vancouver living, disable adults with accessibility concerns and the so called “sandwish generation” who are at once caring for aging parents and not yet independent children. “Each story is unique, but we heard the same messages over and over again,” Banham said. “West Vancouver residents want to maintain thei homes and neighbourhoods, they wan to remain in community over the long run, even as their needs and abilities change over time. The report’s recommendations for the West Vancouver real estate future include an overwhelming need and public support for West Vancouver secondary suites such as coach houses or infill housing district wide. The West Van working group also suggested leasing district lands for lower-income housing and developing pilot projects in certain neighbourhoods. One thing all the recommendations have in common, Banham said, is that they intended to move council to take action.

West Vancouver Plans New Limits on Large Homes

First steps to a rewrite of zoning in the City of West Vancouver real estate according to Jessica B for the North Shore News. Zoning bylaws in the District of West Vancouver are in for an overhal that will make it more difficult for developers and homeowners to build bulky houses. A series of zoning amendments designed to close loopholes in current legislation that allow real estate developers to skirt the existing bylaws were introduced to council on Monday night for first reading. According to director of planning Bob Sokol, the proposed amendments are the first part of a comprehensive rewrite of bylaws that will overlap with concerns by residents, brought up last week in the neighbourhood character and housing dialogue. The floor area ratio is the amount of floor area that is allowed in relation to the size of the lot. Most West Vancouver housing neighbourhoods allow houses that are 35 per cent of the lot. For example, a 10,000 square foot lot would allow up to 3,500 square foot house. In Ambleside, Dundarave and Horseshoe Bay, however, houses may take up to 50 per cent because the lots tend to be smaller. But Sokol said exceptionas to floor area ratio are contributing to West Vancouver’s bulky monster house epidemic. The biggest culprits, Sokol said, are covered decks on second floors and attached accessory buildings that don’t count toward the floor space ratio. “Over the past few years, there’s been kind of an explosion of people putting covered decks on their houses,” Sokol said, “They add substantially to the bulk of the West Vancouver house, particularly when theyr’ on the second storey.” Sokol added that people routinely add accessory buildings as extensions to their West Vancouver houses too. The accessory buildings are supposed to be separated from the house by a dividing wall. However, Sokol said the walls frequently come down after real estate developers and homeowners receive their last building inspection Under the proposed bylaw amendments, second storey covered decks will still be allowed but would be included in the floor area ratio. The proposed West Vancouver real estate amendments also reduce attached accessory building exemptions from 240 sf to 50 sf. Bylaws limiting changes to grades and retaining wall heights were also introduced along with a proposal to reduce rock and soil removal from 600 cubic metres to 200 cubic metres. More aspects of the neighbourhood character and West Vancouver housing working group report will likely be seen as Sokol proceeds with the zoning and policy rewrites. For instance, Sokol said he did not want to limit basement sizes right now because they may play a role if council decides to allow West Vancouver secondary suites in some neighbourhoods. The interim amendment are “baby steps” on the way to the comprehensive rewrite, Sokol added, which could take up to a year to complete. The zoning bylaws of West Vancouver real estate will also undergo a technical rewrite to bring the 1968 document up to 2008 standards. Council voted unanimously to refer the amendements to the deign review committee for comment. A public hearing on the proposed West Vancouver real estate amendments is scheduled for October 20th and Sokol is expected to return to council on October 27th with a technical review and a list of other policy issues his team will be addressing.

North Shore Real Estate Update by Alan Skinner, the Most Trusted Source of Property Information – October 2008

The Supply/Demand Dictatorship. WE know we live in a democracy, but not everybody realizes that there is a tyrant – depends on which side you’re on – that dictates our lives. Obviously, my old hobby horse, embodie in the term willing seller/willing buyer, is that of which I speak. Say, for a minute, the Supply side represented by potential sellers, got together, and said… buyers (Demand side) are not appearing confident to make the decision to buy a home. Therefore, it makes sense to take our homes off the market (or not add them to the supply pool). But, I hear you sya, that is not realistic as so many of us really want to (need to) sell. Precisely my point! Now, and this is not meant to be facetious; Sellers, realize that it is your collective wants and needs that will cause prices to drop. Supply must decrease or the confidence of home buyers must be restored. We do know that a very large part of that “damage” can only be repaired by the actions of our neighours to the south. Just how long will it take?

North Vancouver Home Rentals

Beware the pitfalls of renting your home to vacationers according to the North Shore Outlook Contributor Jennifer R. If you’re looking to earn a little extra cash this summer, a short term vacation rental may sound like a sweet deal. A quick and easy way to help lighten your mortgage load over the holiday months right? But, according to the Better Business Bureau, many North Vancouver home owners are unaware of the pitfalls of renting their homes to vacationers. “What can look like an easy way to make profits is really not so easy,” says Lynda Pasacreta, Better Business Bureau president and CEO. “Being successful with vacation rentals requires extensive planning and knowledge on how to market your property effectively.” But with some experts saying a homeowner could double or even make up to 10 times the amount with a short term vacation rental than a traditional month to month home rental, the potential pitfalls show no signs of slowing down eager North Shore residents. And with the 2010 Olympics around the corner, many North Vancouver homeowners are taking the time to prepare for winter visitors by renovating their residences. Capitalizing on vacationers often means taking loans to update homes and installing self-contained suites. But before you jump start a renovation project, the BBB urges homeowners to protect themselves by taking a few simple precautions. All you have to do is a little homework. If you are adding a suite to your home, you may need to install a bathroom or a kitchen, which often requires a building permit. It’s a good idea to check with the BBB before you hire a contractor to start the renovation. Next, make sure to get the right type of insurance. To help avoid future headaches consider fire insurance, liability insurance and burglary protection. Ask other North Vancouver homeowners in your neighbourhood what policies they have to cover their homes. Also, check your municipal laws and taxes before you move ahead with a home rental. Familiarize yourself with both provincial and local restrictions and contact your local tax office or chamber for up to date information including B.C. rental tax laws. A hotel room tax coule apply to your short term accommodation if you have four units for rent or more or if you rent to one person for longer than one month. Visit the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue website for more information ( Licensing may also be required. If you are planning on providing services outside your own home rental, you may require additional licensing for areas such as property management and acting as a travel agent. Lastly, be careful when you advertise. The Internet can be a powerful tool for attracting vacation renters through online listings, but some sites are scams. Take your time, do your research and when possible ask for a referral. For more information and consumer tips visit

Home Construction Down in North Vancouver Real Estate Market

This article taken from the North Shore Outlook newspaper and written by Jeff N for Black Press. Home builders say they see few signs so far of imminent collapse in the construction industry. Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association president Peter Simpson is pointing to the latest statistics showing Metro Vancouver housing starts are so far up 11 per cent from 2007 housing starts. “If we continue on this pace, we’re looking at the best year since 1993,” he said. Simpson was responding to predictions that the decline in Vancouver real estate prices in the region will soon trigger a building construction decline that could create a drag on Metro Vancouver’s economy. He did not rule out the possibility that will happen in the months ahead. “There are some clouds out there, but the sky is not falling,” Simpson said. “We warned our builders some time ago to be risk averse. Don’t plan out too far in advance.” He said there may be “ abit of shakeout” with smaller industry players, particularly newer entrants. “We’re looking ahead with cautious optimism.” Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) analyst Robin Admanche said 2008 should be the fifth straight year in which housing starts have topped 18,000 units in the Greater Vancouver real estate region. She said the demand for new homes remains healthy, but the inventory of unsold new homes is beginning to rise. Surrey leads the region so far in new home construction, CMHC reported, with 4,000 units started – three quarters of them are multi family units. That’s a 66 per cent increase from the same period in 2007. Vancouver is up 74 per cent with 3,568 starts. Delta has twice as many new starts (171) this year. Langley, Burnaby, New Westminster, North Vancouver and Maple Ridge have all experienced significant declines of at least 20 per cent however. Real estate prices in Metro Vancouver peaked in March, the latest realtor statistics show, and are down about 4.5 per cent so far. Many more homes are now available for sale and buyers have become much more selective.

Community Update for Park & Tilford Shops & Gardens on the North Shore

Park & Tilford gets pedestrian friendly makeover according to the North Shore News magazine. New design of Park & Tilford makes a strong connection with the Gardens. One of the North Shore real estate’s favourite shopping, dining and entertainment destinations will soon be sporting an attractive new look. Park & Tilford Shops and Gardens is nearing the end of the first major renovation in its 20 year history. The $6 million makeover will include new fabric canopies, improved signage and a red brick façade designed to match the architectural style of the gardens at Park & Tilfod. “I think it’s going to be much more inviting, much more friendly,” says greg Richardson of Omicron, the project architect. “When you put canopies on a building you tend to lower the scale and make it more pedestrian friendly. It gives it a small town look and makes for a more comfortable shopping experience.” Richardson says the design of the new Park & Tilford North Vancouver shopping and gardens makes a much stronger connection between the shops and the gardens. “This will unify the whole centre. This is much more than a quick paint job,” says Tony Segaric, Vice President of Operations and Construction, Bentall’s Retail Property Management Division. “We are updating and upgrading the entire shopping centre.” Segaric says the North Vancouver Park & Tilford shopping centre experienced general wear and tear over the years and the exterior had suffered some damage from the elements. “The need for repairs gave us an opportunity to include an aesthetic upgrade to give Park & Tilford a warmer, more modern appearance and improved functionality.” Environmental considerations at the new North Vancouver Park & Tilford were also included in the renovation, and in day-to-day operations, with the use of building components that include recycled material as well as upgrades to improve energy efficiency. The improvements have earned Park & Tilford North Vancouver a “Go Green” designation from the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, which recognizes leadership in environmental stewardship. Segaric says the approach to the upgrades is consistent with Bentall’s long term view of retail property development such as Park & Tilford in North Vancouver. “We’re extending the lifespan of Park & Tilford to help our retail tenants deliver service and value to the community for many more years to come.”

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Southeast False Creek 2010 Olympic Village Update - Millennium Developments gets $100-Million Bailout from City of Vancouver

MetroNews Reports that the City of Vancouver Has Taken Over Financing of the Olympic Games Village Development

According to Jeff of Vancouver MetroNews, The City of Vancouver will finance the entire $1 billion Olympic Village along Southeast False creek waterfront proprety development after purchasing a $750 million loan agreement from New York based Fortress Investment Group yesterday morning on February 18, 2009. Vancouver Mayor said that the deal gives the city the best reutn on its investment and allows it to focus on getting the Southeast False Creek Vancouver Olympic Village ready in time for the Games. During a special council meeting yesterday morning, city manager Penny B informed councillors that an hour earlier, the City of Vancouver had transferred $319 million to Fortress Investments to purchase out the loan on the Olympic Village real estate development. The amount represents the money that Fortress Investments loaned to project developer Millennium Group, plus a $4 million early repayment fee. The buyout money for the South East False Creek Olympic Village in Vancouver is a $240 million investment of city money and $90 million of a $400 million line of credit from the Bank of Montreal. Fortress Buyout 'Best Of a Bad Situation' - The latest in the long string of bad news coming from the real estate development of the Vancouver Olympic Village along southeast False Creek property. According to 24 Hours Vancouver, the City will go it along on the struggling Olympic Village real estate project. City manager Penny announced yesterday that city hall bought out financier Fortress Credit Corporation at a cost of almost $319.5 million for the bailout of the Vancouver Olympic Village in order to stay on budget and schedule. The move means the division of struggling New York based hedge fund Fortress Investment Group has been cut out of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Village real estate development project completely. The City of Vancouver, using a BMO Bank of Montreal line of credit up to $400 million is now the lender on the Southeast False Creek Olympic Village in Vancouver. Millennium Development remains the property developer and ITC and MetroCan the builders. After a special city hall council meeting yesterday, Vancouver Mayor called the Fortress Investment take out a turning point in the drama that has engulfed the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Village fiasco for months now. The waterfront residential project's problems clouded an election campaign that Robertson won handily last fall aft er news leaked of the city's emergency $100 million city loan brought on when Fortress stopped paying for the funding on the Southeast False Creek Vancouver Olympic Village site development. Robertson said holding teh purse strings will give the city better flexibility not and beyond. Under the terms of a tripartite deal with Fortress and Millennium Group, the city of Vancouver was liable for a construction guarantee. It paid $133 million to keep construction on the Olympic Village along Southeast False Creek going. It's estimated $690 million is still need to complete the project in time for the Winter Olympics. This by Bob and Irwin of 24 Hours.

City of Vancouver Mum about $100 Million Bailout for Olympic Village

According to Metro News Vancouver’s Maria C on the secretive bailout by the City of Vancouver for Millennium Developments cost overruns for the Olympic Village 2010. The city of Vancouver yesterday refused to comment on details of a closed door meeting that enabled a $100 million bailout to help offset the mounting costs of the 2010 Olympic Village in False Creek. “It’s not in the taxpayer’s interest to talk about the day-to-day dealings,” said Jody Andrews, the Olympic Village’s deputy manager, and project manager for the southeast False Creek real estate project, adding that the taxpayer’s “risk profile in this project hasn’t changed – the project will be delivered on time.” Furthermore, Andrews said that the “commitment of the city remains unchanged.” Vancouver city coundil approved the money in a closed door session on October 14th, 2008, when the private developer, Millennium Development Group, was struggling with the international credit crunch and cost overruns in a slowing Vancouver real estate housing market, according to new reports. Yesterday, NPA mayoral hopeful Counc. Peter Ladner reamiend tight lipped about the meeting, and was led away by staff when reporters questions him about the loan for the 2010 Olympic Village $100 million bailout plan following the Downtown Vancouver Association’s debate. Earlier, he conceded that the council is “concerned about finances.” “We’ve been prudent with (the Property Endowment Fund),” he said. “It is equipped to take situations like this and make loans like this.” Ladner was also stunned to learn that Vancouver’s director of finance. Estelle Lo, had resigned. Media reports speculate that Lo quit her position after months of expressing concern that the City of Vancouver was taking on too much financial risk in this 2010 Olympic Village southeast False Creek real estate development project. The full cost of the Olympic Village has been estimated at about $1 billion, and as part of the public private partnership some of the units will be made available as affordable or social housing.

$100 Million Handout for the 2010 Olympic Village in Southeast False Creek Vancouver

There are more questions than answers today about the financial future of Vancouver’s Olympic Village after a report emerged suggesting city council had secretly approved a $100 million bailout to the 2010 Olympic Village Southeast False Creek site’s developer. This according to 24Hours Vancouver. Senior city staff yesterday refused to confirm or deny that council had authorized the $100 million loan last month to Millennium Development Corp, which is tasked with building out the site in Southeast False Creek real estate district. And city councilors who are said to have unanimously given the deal a thumbs up, including a mayoral candidate, stayed largely silent on the issue as well. But the senior city official in charge of the Olympic Village site insisted the project was in order, despite acknowledgeing the $1 billion overall plan was roughly seven per cent over budget. “The taxpayer is under no additional exposure and it’s being complete on scheduled,” said deputy city manager, Jody Andrews. But he refused to speculate on the finances of the Southeast False Creek Olympic Village in Vancouver. “What I can say is the overall package remains unchanged,” Andrews said. “The day-to-day transactions on how to get there, we don’t reveal.” What remains to be seen is the extent of any political fallout on the issue with just over one week to go before the November 15th elections. Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson, who doesn’t currently sit on council, yesterday called for a public hearing to air out the city’s finances before the election. “The public has a right to know what’s going on before the election,” said Robertson. NPA Coun. Peter Ladner, chair of the city’s finance committee, refused to comment as the story developed yesterday but said in a press release that Robertson’s call for an open discussion on the finances “reveals his lack of experience in how civic government works.” By Irwin L. Right now, it is presumed that the Vancouver City Council has approved a $100-million loan to Millennium for the Olympic Village Southeast False Creek real estate development project.

Vancouver Olympic Housing Worries

A recent study shows previous host cities have seen negative impact on local housing markets. This by Maria for MetroVancouver. A study of seven different Olympic cities around the world found that local residents were the biggest losers when it came to the impact of the Olympic games on local housing markets. “The local people living in a city shouldn’t be adversely affected by a sporting event that lasts for two weeks,” said Clair Mahon, a principal author of the 2007 report entitled Fair Play for Housing Rights: Mega Events, Olympic Games and Housing Events. According to Jenny Kwan, NDP MLA for Vancouver-Mt. Pleasant, since the Winter Olympics were announced for Vancouver-Whistler, more than 1,200 single room occupancy units have been lost. “This is housing that’s been lost to low-income populations and it’s had a direct impact on the increase in homelessness that we’ve seen since the games were awarded to Vancouver,” said Laura Track, a lawyer with Pivot Legal Society. Activist Am Johal added that a funded watchdog group was promised but not set up, as was a civil liberties round table that hasn’t come to fruition. “Many other cities and many other people are watching what happens in Vancouver and hoping this can continue to be an example for the rest of the world in terms of how you organize an Olympic games,” Mahon said. “So the idea is to say, ‘Let’s continue to make it better.’”

Olympic Village Tab Could Rise Even Further
According to 24Hours Bob M. There could be more bailouts on the way if the Vancouver Olympic Village struggles to the finish line. The August 31, 2006 lease agreement between the City of Vancouver and Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties, obtained by 24 Hours calls for substantial completion by September 30, 2009 and VANOC to begin exclusive use November 1, 2009. A clause gives the City of Vancouver the power to order Millennium to accelerate work, but the City of Vancouver would pay the bill for extra wages, materials and heavy equipment. The contract said Millennium Southeast False Creek properties would not be liable for unavoidable delays beyond its control, such as destruction of buildings by explosion, riots or earthquake. Inability to meet financial obligations is not considered an unavoidable delay. If Millennium commits materials default by failing to pay rent or not adhering to project milestones, the City of Vancouver could “re-enter and take possession of the lands and building,” according to the contract. City council approved a $100 million bailout loan for cash-strapped Millennium Southeast False Creek Properties in a secret October 14th meeting. Information was leaked to the Globe and Mail but all NPA, Vision Vancouver and COPE councillors have refused to talk about the meeting. NPA Counc. Peter Ladner, who is running for mayor, was unavailable for comment yesterday. Ladner fought back Friday at Vision Vancouver apponent Gregor Robertson by conceding he is “prepared to lose this election to save this project and protect the city’s taxpapers.”

Vancouver Olympic Village Housing Affordability Out The Window?

According to the latest February update on the 2010 Olympic Village fiasco surrounding affordable housing and recent attempts at refinancing the growing debt, the 24 Hours magazine examines what is actually going on. Written by Irwin for 24 Hours Vancouver. There was a rush to point fingers yesterday as city officials in Vancouver searched for answers to the latest financial conundrum facing the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Village real estate development along the waterfront of South East False Creek. Soaring costs have jeopardized plans to build 252 units of affordable housing at the Olympic Village Southeast False Creek, it was revealed this week, which was a huge part of the sustainability and legacy for the development of this master planned waterfront Vancouver community. “It’s Unfuriating to inherit yet another big problem,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertston. His Vision Vancouver party has sought to pin the blame on the former ruling party, the NPA, which oversaw the project for three years. But the Vancouver Olympic Village real estate development project and affordable housing part of it was started under a previous Vision/COPE government with more ambitious social housing targets in mind for the Olympic Village along southeast False Creek neighbourhood. “It would be wrong to point to any one decision,” said Suzanne, the lone NPA councillor at city hall. “There were a series of decisions made over eight years.” Now, Vancouver city faces finding up to $77 million more to keep future rents for the Vancouver Olympic Village project affordable, or reducing the level of affordable housing at the site. But given that the affordable housing was a key part of Vancouver’s bid book promises that won the city the 2010 Olympic Games, it appears the city is unlikely to go with the latter option. Robertson suggested the city might look at building out the Olympic Village affordable housing units away from the Olympic Village property itself. Affordable housing in the Southeast False Creek Olympic Village development is at risk now thanks to cost overruns.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Whether you are a homebuyer or investor, is this the right time to buy a new Vancouver home? The latest on the falling Vancouver real estate prices..

Greater Vancouver Home Prices Still Dropping

According to MetroNews Maria C, The average price of a home in Greater Vancouver has dropped eight per cent compared to last year, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association. The average price now of a Greater Vancouver home sits at $535,598 down from $582,354 last September. “Weaker consumer demand and a large number of greater Vancouver homes for sale are having an impact on home prices in the province,” said the association’s chief economist, Cameron Muir. With the economic crisis on the minds of many, people don’t seem to be spending as much, nor are they as willing to make major purchases compared to a year ago. Residential home sales in Greater Vancouver real estate market dropped a whopping 43.2 per cent this month compared to last year – that’s well above the provincial average of 30 per cent.

Canadian Housing Starts Rise 13 Per Cent

According to MetroNews, Canadian Housing Starts rebounded in August, beating expectations, but some economists cautioned against reading too much into the number since it followed a weak reading for Canadian housing starts in July. Housing starts in Canada rose 13 per cent in August to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 211,000 units from 186,500 units in July, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp said. The bulk of the gain, which topped the consensus analysts’ expectation for 195,000 starts, was in Ontario real estate housing starts, where there was an 81 per cent jump. The government owned CMHC attributed the surge in multiple-unit starts in Canada which shot up 25.2 per cent to 114,700 units following a 20.2 per cent slide in July. But some real estate Canadian experts said since the bounce back in housing starts in Canada followed weakness, it doesn’t mean that Canadian housing activity is buoyant. REUTERS.

Greater Vancouver Housing Sales in Area Drop by 43 Per Cent

REAL ESTATE UPDATE from the MetroNews Vancouver Monica M. Homes ales in Greater Vancouver real estate fell 42.9 per cent last month, according to a report released yesterday by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REGBV). Home sales dropped by 1,585 units this September compared to 2,776 in September 2007. The president of the REBGV, Dave Watt, said the Greater Vancouver real estate market is simply adjusting itself. “Affordability played a role,” he said. “Prices rose to the highest levels in February and March and now they’ve declined by five per cent.” Watt also said the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis is affecting consumer confidence.

Ritzy Vancouver Real Estate Under Price Pressure

New report says multi-million dollar Vancouver real estate properties may have passed peak prices. This according to the North Shore Outlook’s Jeff N for the Black Press. A new report predicts the prices of tony homes in West Vancouver real estate and across the Lower Mainland may sag from their stratospheric heights. The starting price point for upper end homes in Metro Vancouver real estate market has climbed to around $2 million, according to the RE/MAX market survey of ritzy real estate in Vancouver. On Vancouver’s west side, the starting price is closer to $4 million. The most expensive Canadian home sold so far in 2008 (through MLS listings) went for $11.5 million in Metro Vancouver, the report said. But home buyers will have to open their wallets wider yet to buy the priciest properties available in the metro Vancouver real estate market today. A Burnaby mansion is on the real estate market for $25 million and a “world class” country manor in Richmond real estate with its own bowling alley, tennis court and equestrian riding fields can be had for $24 million. Two more single detached houses in Kitsilano and West Vancouver’s Caufield area are on the West Vancouver real estate market for $19 million. Metro Vancouver property is also home to Canada’s priciest condo now for sale – for $14.9 million. If that sounds expensive, consider that it’s already been marked down from the original list price of $18 million. Nearly 400 high-end homes sold in Metro Vancouver real estate market in the first seven months of the year, up five per cent from the same period last year. “Affluent baby boomers, Generation X and Y, and an influx of international home buyers from Mainland China and Europe are behind the push for luxury real estate,” the report says. “Money mad in oil and gas sector in Alberta has also made its way into Vancouver’s residential housing market.” What do well-heeled home buyers want? Large lots with more privacy – often traditional character homes in exclusive neighbourhoods – with more square footage and either views or waterfront. The luxury Vancouver home threshold is lower - $1.2 million – in White Rock – South Surrey real estate, where the report says some would be buyers are waiting for a correction while sellers “are still trying to cash in at peak levels.” The report says 218 high-end Vancouver homes are listed now in that area. The luxury home market is usually the first place pressure cracks appear in a downturn, but RE/MAX executive vice-president Michael P. said the reverse has so far been true. However, the Wall Street financial meltdown has cooled the ardour of some buyers and Polzler said that “will give purchasers cause for concern in the immediate future.” The firms’ report notes some rich real estate investors are instead trolling U.S. housing markets to scoop West Coast properties at rock bottom prices.

Canada Housing Prices Slow For Sixth Month in a Row

According to MetroNews, The increase in the price of a new Canadian house slowed in July for the sixth month in a row, mostly because of a softening market in western Canada real estate market. Statistics Canada says selling prices for new houses in Canada were up 2.7 per cent year over year in July slower than the 3.5 per cent June increase. Prices roses fastest in Regina real estate market, where the cost of a new house skyrocketed 29.6 per cent, though that was down from a 34 per cent April record increase. Meanwhile, buyers in Newfoundland and Labrador faced a fourth consecutive price increase in 24.3 per cent. By Torstar News Service.

Party On in Local Vancouver Real Estate

On The Market by Carly K for 24 Hours. Wayne’s World has nothing on Vancouver real estate agent Tom Everitt, who’s launched his own homemade show. Instead of his parents’ basement, a la Wayne and Garth, Everitt films his daily two to four minute web show, Vancouver Market Watch ( in his newly turned studio (to the tune of $25,000) garage. And instead of “babes,” he discusses another “hot” topic: Vancouver real estate. “In the stock market, you can go to the TSX and check out Google,” says Everitt, “but it’s very, very hard to figure out what’s going on in the real estate market.” Everitt shares insider knowledge as well as hot sheet statistics, daily reports in which Vancouver realtors are given an up-to-the-minute snapshot of Vancouver real estate market activity. For instance, Monday’s Vancouver Market Watch show dealt with open houses on the weekend. “There were 383 opens on the West Side… 202 opens on the East Side… 80 opens above $1.4 million.” What does that mean? There’s a lot of competition, says Everitt. Likewise, yesterday’s Vancouver Market Watch show shared the scoop that the day netted 100 new listings, 65 price reductions and only nine Vancouver home sales. Which Everitt interprets to mean “definitely a slow down in the Vancouver real estate market.” Other topics include negotiation skills and legalities of contracts. And like his zany SNL predecessors, Everitt of Vancouver Real Estate Market Watch tries to infuse some fun into the often stressful subject of shopping for or selling a home. Humorous pokes include “I’d like to move it… move it (the importance of pricing in today’s Vancouver real estate market) and a homestaging episode in which he digs himself out from behind a clutter of décor no-no’s such as ahigh school grad photos, trophies and decaying plants. While you won’t see any air guitar riffs or extreme close-ups on the Vancouver Market Watch show, Everitt does promise to answer the question on everyone’s mind: Will Vancouver’s real estate bubble ever burst? Yep, just as soon as he equips his new studio with a crystal ball.

Good Time To Buy Vancouver Property

According to Ryan D. of HouseLeague written for MetroNews: With the U.S. economy in continuing decline, many are wondering if our American counterparts have enough economic sway on Canada to lead our housing market to the same fate. In a word, no. Let’s put it in perspective. The “subprime” mortgages offered in the U.S. were mortgages granted to people who would not normally qualify for such loans, primarily due to lower credit scores. As housing prices in the U.S. began to soar in 2005 and 2006, banks began supplying subprime loans, believing that the real estate market would continue to rise. In 2007, as the U.S. market softened and interest rates went up, refinancing these loans became increasingly difficult, with more and more people defaulting and going into foreclosure. As this happened, interest rates continued to climb, forcing homeowners who could barely afford their payments to foreclose on their homes. Mortgage insurance companies were unable to continue reimbursing banks, causing huge financial losses for many mortgage lenders. This inevitably led to the U.S. real estate market crash. It is important to note that while property values plummeted, it was due to a mortgage-lending crisis, not a real estate crisis. In Canada, mortgages are regulated by stricter guidelines with fewer lenders and much harsher credit checks. Financial institutions in Canada examine applicants’ total debt service ratio: the ratio between the applicant’s total debts for housing, car loans etc. versus their total income. Most lenders will not consider you for a loan if your total debt is more than 40 per cent of your income. It ensures that if interest rates rise, or other financial hurdles are encountered, homeowners will still be able to afford their property and will not lose their homes to foreclosure. The Bank of Canada is adding additional precautions by abolishing the “zero down” mortgage (in favour of a minimum of 5 per cent down) and will no longer allow mortgages to be amortized beyond 35 years. With low interest rates and a large selection of properties, it continues to be a great time to buy that dream house or condo.

Vancouver Real Estate Market Glut A Good Time To Take Stock

If you’re one of those who are kicking themselves for not selling their condo or townhouse a year ago, take a deep breath. Then take a good look around according to the UrbanDweller Carlyn Y. for the Metro Newspaper. You’ll notice there’s a record glut of “units” all looking for home buyers at the moment, and many of those home owners don’t have a chance of getting close to their asking price. You might want to view this as a sign. This could be a good time to hang tight and work on making the most of your home instead of worrying about what might have beeen. If you are determined to sell, it’s clear that the days of simply straightening up the joint are over. The slightest imperfection – a cracked bathroom mirror, a broken bi-fold door – could be a deal-breaker. And even if everything is in good running order, landing a home buyer may come down to something as elusive as a feeling. You know the feeling; its’ that I could live here non quantifiable that hits us every once in a while. It’s less likely to be the result of stagin tricks, like the bubble bath, the Sunday New York Times spread out on the bed, the jazz filtering in the background, the aroma of resh baked cookies or coffee. That good feeling is more likely to come from the same things that have you bent on selling; space to entertain, in suite storage, more natural light, a kitchen two can work in, or a usable balcony. You can’t grow more square footage for these perks, but you can clear the decks. Consider that when apartment hunters come to an open house, they’re already slightly disoriented from the walk through the unfamiliar common areas. The last thing they need upon entering your unit are more visual barriers like side tables, bookcases and shoeracks. Those tables and racks might be useful to you, but they’re impediments to viewers, so plan accordingly. Also be aware that your Tuscany or urban street décor style may be off putting to others, so dial the décor down to clean and versatile. Stay away from fussy tile patterns or fad wallpaper. They may speak to you, but they may scream at others. If you’re unsure where to begin, bring in an impartial third party to help identify the problem areas. It’s amazing how blind we become to the detractions of our own homes, like popcorn ceilngs or shabby lino in the bathroom. Check out more from Carlyn at Home Reworks at

Vancouver Real Estate Decline To Bottom Out Next Year According to Economist

Prices predicted to drop another five per sent according to Black Press Jeff N for the North Shore Outlook. A slide in Lower Mainland real estate prices that began in March is likely only half way to a bottom that will likely come sometime next year, one economist predicts. Helmut Pastrick of Central 1 Credit Union (formerly Credit Union Central of B.C.) says Greater Vancouver home prices are down roughly four to five per cent from their peak earlier this year. “I’m saying a 10 per cent decline from top to bottom, from peak to trough,” he said. “It could be more. I’m not ruling that out at this point.” Pastrick said he therefore expects a similar drop of at least five per cent on top of what has occurred so far before prices stabilize some time in 2009. “I tink it will continue for another six months and potentially 12 months,” he said of the declines. Within the Greater Vancouver zone (Metro Vancouver excluding North Delta, Surrey, White Rock and Langley), the sale prices of detached houses dropped two per cent in August to $738,000. Townhouses and duplexes fell 2.2 per cent to $463,400 while condos slid 1.9 per cent to $374,400 for a benchmark property. The numbers show Greater Vancouver home prices in most of the region are no longer at levels double what they were five years ago. Detached houses in the Greater Vancouver real estate market are up 84 per cent over five years in Greater Vancouver, and 70 per cent in the valley. Only condos in Surrey, Port Coquitlam, Richmond, East Vancouver and Abbotsford are significantly more than double their value of August 2003 (up 110 to 135 per cent). While home prices changes vary from month to month and city to city, Pastrick says data shows this year’s drop is a broad based decline. “It’s market-wide,” he said. “It’s hitting detached homes, townhouses, apartments all roughly the same.” Pastrick says it’s a different type of Vancouver real estate downturn form what’s been seen before. Past triggers – like dramatic spikes in mortgage interest rates or high unemployment –aren’t present now. Instead he attributes the drop to prices that have risen too high – beyond the affordability issues for first time buyers – coupled with consumer angst about everything from high oil prices to the U.S. economy and the real estate market meltdown there. “These kinds of things affect consumer confidence,” Pastrick said. Falling Greater Vancouver home prices will deter potential sellers he said, who will opt to postpone selling unless they’re forced to sell. Real estate investors owners sitting on empty units will likely begin renting more of them, he added. The price decline will translate into less new home construction in Greater Vancouver, Pastrick predicts, and that drop in activity will shake out in fewer construction jobs and less money buoying the Metro Vancouver economy. He says the signs of an mpending drop were present a year ago when realtors first began to report declining sales in the Greater Vancouver real estate market. “That always raises a red flag that housing prices will be responding,” he said. Going back even further, he added, sales began to plateau in 2005, an early signal the hot real estate market in Vancouver would not be climbing indefinitely. Home sales in August were down 53 per cent in Greater Vancouver and 48 per cent in the Fraser Valley region from a year earlier. Fraser Valley Real Estate Board president Kelvin Neufeld said potential home buyers “took a wait and see approach this summer.” When the Vancouver real estate market was soaring, home buyers often had to make snap decisions on properties and could still end up paying more than asking price. Now home buyers are in the driver’s seat. “Selection is at record levels,” Neufeld said. “interest rates remain competitive while prices have moderated.” August 2008, one year % change: North Vancouver detached house - $868,200 (+ 2.6%) and West Vancouver detached house $1,512,900 (+7.2%) Benchmark or median sales prices from Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley real estate boards.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Latest Trends and Numbers from the Vancouver Housing Market - July to September 2008 Vancouver Real Estate State of the Union

Vancouver Home Prices to Fall Almost 18% by 2010, says analysis

According to the Vancouver Sun and MetroNews Vancouver by Maria C. Credit Crunch. The average price of a home in Greater Vancouver is expected to drop more than $100,000 by 2010, according to an economic analysis by Central 1 Credit Union released yesterday. The report suggests that Greater Vancouver homes in the area will cost an average of $460,000 compared to the average going rate of $570,795 for a home last year. The roughly 18 per cent devaluation over the next two years is being blamed on the world wide credit crisis. “The downturn is widespread and affects most real estate markets and most housing types,” Centrals’ chief economist Helmut told Metro. “The markets are weak and prices are heading lower fo the next several months.” The forecast takes into account the higher demand for homes expected ahead of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. “For the year as a whole, I do expect that market conditions will imrpove during the course of the year 2010 and even potentially later in 2009,” he added. “But the year-over-year will still be negative.” Provincially, the study anticipates median housing prices will fall 13 per cent in 2009 to $310,000 compared to March 2008 rates.

Vancouver Housing Prices Drop One Per Cent

According to Metro News: Economy – Canadian average home prices have fallen for the second straight month in a row, raising concerns by economists that the Canadian housing market may have been caught in the undertow of a U.S. based recession. Home prices nationally fell by a significant 3.6 per cent to $327,020, from year ago levels in July, according to figures released by the Canadian Real Estate Association yesterday. In June, prices fell by 0.4 per cent, the first time decrease in nearly a decade. “We had a small drop the month before, but this looks like the real thing. We hope it’s not the beginning of an accelerating trend,” said TD Securities Economics Strategist Millan Mulraine. The bulk of the declines were in the western provinces, with cities such as Calgary down by 7.8 per cent and Edmonton by 5.3 per cent. The previously unassailable Vancouver real estate market saw a one per cent drop, all helping to bring the national average down. A drop in prices is typically preceded by a fall in sales. In this case, sales volume in cities such as Vancouver were down by a mammoth 44 per cent and Calgary by 13 per cent.

Housing: Canadian Foreclosure Info Takes Some Digging According to Georgia Straight – How the BC Foreclosure Process Works

Media reports from the United States routinely lists a litany of horrors about the number of foreclosures. According to the August 4 New York Times report, 8.41 per cent of subprime-mortgage loans from 2005 were in arrears by 90 days or more or in foreclosure in the month of June. Of subprime-mortgage loans from 2007, 16.6 per cent were delinquent, according to the report. This is creating huge problems for US real estate lenders, who have to put properties in foreclosure and then find a buyer in a property market that is already glutted with distress sales. Fortunately, in B.C. there haven’t been nearly as many foreclosures, which are loegal processes in court to extinguish all rights, title, and interest in an owner’s property so that it can be sold to pay a lien against it. According to the Canadian Bankers Association, just 0.15 per cent of B.C. residential mortgages were in arrears in April, the latest month for which figures are available. This is quite low when compared with other months dating back to 1990. The percentage of B.C. mortgages in arrears peaked in May 1999 at 0.66 per cent – more than four times the most recent figure.

Vancouver real-estate educator and foreclosure researcher Kap Hiroti told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview that he expects the number of B.C. foreclosures in real estate to increase – but only because the numbers are so low. He noted that some high-risk borrowers who’ve previously relied on alternative financing companies are finding themselves in trouble because those lenders have abandoned the real estate market. “What that means is that you’ve got people who’ve got a mortgage one or two years ago,” Hiroti said. “They’re coming up for renewal, and that company cannot renew because they pulled out of the real estate market. Usually, they’re very highly leveraged loans.” Those cases, however, are the exception to the current B.C. real estate market norm here. Hiroti pointed out another difference between the U.S. and Canada when it comes to B.C. foreclosure properties: south of the border, information is readily available. In Canada, it’s much more difficult to find data on foreclosure properties that are about to enter foreclosure proceedings. a Web site owned by Hiroti, does the legwork in digging up information on B.C. foreclosures. He explained that a foreclosure typically beings when a bank lender issues a demand letter to a property owner seeking repayment of a debt. If the borrower doesn’t respond appropriately, the next step is for the bank lender to file a legal document called a petition to the B.C. Supreme Court. The foreclosure petition lays out the particulars, and normally asks for a court order quashing the owner’s rights, title and interest in a B.C. property. At this point, the owner of the property has a chance to file a response, which sets the legal wheels in motion. Prior to judicial ruldings, the home owner still has control over the property and can usually sell it without obtaining permission from the lender.

Hiroti said his company at web site compiles information form these petitions and distributes it for $99 per month to subscribers, most of whom are real estate investors in B.C. foreclosure properties. He estimated that there are approximately 20 foreclosure petitions filed in B.C. Supreme Court each week. Doing this research isn’t cheap. In B.C. it costs $8 to research a court file and $1 per page to photocopy documents about petitions and potential B.C. foreclosure properties. Ordinarily, a judge or a master of the B.C. Supreme Court will issue a decree nisi, which may require home owners to pay down the debt within six months. Hiroti said the next step is for a judge or a master to issue an order for the conduct of sale. “That’s where they actually bring a realtor onboard,” he commented. The agent has to list the property for market value on the Multiple Listing Service. Once an offer is made on the BC foreclosure property, the court must approve the sale. It can be a time consuming process, which is why Hiroti thinks it’s useful for real estate investors in BC foreclosure properties to find out about foreclosures much earlier in the process. So can a buyer get a better deal by approaching a property owner who has just received a petition? “It’s a good question,” Hiroti responded. “There is the potential,”

Local Housing Market Plummets

According to MetroNews, Vancouver’s housing market is slowing with sales down by 54 per cent from the same month a year ago. According to the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board, 1568 units were sold in the region this August compared to 3,348 units the previous year. Sabine Boersch was going to sell her condo in Burnaby, but decided to rent it out after seeing the signs. “We have four units in our complex and five across the street that have been for sale since spring,” she said. Boersch said the fact that neighbours rented their apartment after just two showings made her confident it wouldn’t be an issue.

Redefining Greater Vancouver Homeowners

According to New Canada and republished in the West Coast Homes and Design Magazine by the Vancouver Sun, the girl next-door is more likely to own that home, as research shows women are anticipated to keep driving the Vancouver real estate market. To better understand emerging demographics in the Vancouver real estate market, Royal LePage has commissioned research on various home buyer segments. A recent Canada nationwide consumer poll examined the growing trend of female homebuyers in the Canada real estate market. The Royal LePage Female Buyers Report found that just over one third (37 per cent) of single never before married women own their own home and that another 28 per cent plan to purchase their next home in the next three years. A regional Vancouver real estate market analysis also showed a surge in female home buyers over the past five to ten years across the country. “Today, women are driven by independence and a growing desire to set up their own place. They are more real estate savvy than in the past and they are financially stable,” said Lisa da Rocha, vice president of Marketing and sales for Royal LePage Real Estate Services. “an active and healthy real estate market with affordable interest rates and properties targeted specifically to womens’ needs are also in their favour,” added da Rocha. Related industries have also identified women as an emerging influential group and are empowering and educating them through specialty stores and tools designed specifically for female homeowners. As the number of Vancouver single female home buyers continues to show significant year to year growth, women are anticipated to keep driving the Vancouver real estate market. More on trends in your neighbourhood is available online at

Federal Canadian Government Takes $2 Billion GST on New Homes in Canada Real Estate

The federal government is raking in more money than it ever intended from the GST on new home sales, study shows. Ottawa takes in about $2 billion a year in GST on new Canadian home construction. The GST on the average priced new home in Canada is fast approaching $20,000 almost double what it was in 1991. New home prices higher than $450,000 were not elgible for a rebate. Resale homes are exempt from the GST. The Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association notes tha the vast majority of local new home buyers have paid more for the GST than other Canadians for many years.

Vancouver Real Estate Builders Start on $2.9 Billion in New Work

According to Real Estate Weekly of Greater Vancouver: The total value of building permits increased for the second straight month in May, despite a decline in the overall residential Vancouver building sector. Contractors in the Vancouver real estate building industry took out $6.6 billion in permits in May, up 1.1 per cent from April and the highest value for permits since October 2007. The total was 6.7 per cent above the monthly average for 2007 and it marked the first back to back increase in construction intentions since November 2006. Statistics Canada reports municipalities issued $2.9 billion in non-residential permits in greater Vancouver real estate building, up 12.8 per cent. Residential intentions fell 6.6 per cent to $3.7 billion in May, the result of a considerable decrease in the value of multi-family permits. The value of Greater Vancouver real estate building permits in the residential sector has been on a downward trend since September 2007.

Vancouver Home Buyers Jump Back into the Drivers’ Seat

Higher property listings and easing Vancouver home prices have put buyers back in control of the MetroVancouver housing market. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that housing sales declined 42.9 per cent in June to 2,425 from the 4,244 sales recorded in June 2007 according to REW magazine. New listings, meanwhile, increased 18.3 per cent to 6,546 compared to June 2007, when 5,533 new units were listed. For home buyers in Vancouver’s real estate market, this may represent a great opportunity to search out that dream house or condominium which would have been hard to find just months ago. “We are beginning to see more price reductions in properties listed on the market today,” said REBGV president, Dave Watt, though he noted that prices are generally still higher than a year ago. “Home prices at a competitive level continue to sell quickly, but it is important for people to accurately identified their home’s value when putting it on the market.” Sales of Vancouver detached properties in June declined 43.4 per cent to 918 from the 1,623 units sold during the same period in 2007. The benchmark price, as calculated by the Board’s housing price index for Vancouver real estate for single detached houses rose 7 per cent from June 2007 to $765,654. Sales of Vancouver condominium declined 42.7 per cent last month to 1,057 compared to 1,846 sales in June 2007. The benchmark price of a Vancouver apartment condo increased 7.8 per cent from June 2007 to $388,722. Attached Vancouver property sales in June 2008 decreased 41.9 per cent to 450, compared with the 775 sales in June 2007. The Vancouver benchmark price of a attached unit increased 7.6 per cent between June 2007 and 2008, to $476,585. Ask your local Vancouver Realtor for specific market details.

Vancouver Home Prices Drop as Listings Rise

According to the Real Estate Weekly newspaper, the change is moderate, but Vancouver housing price reductions of all types of residential property are now being seen for the first time in nearly a decade, reports the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. The overall benchmark price in Greater Vancouver housing real estate market dipped 2.1 per cent since the end of May 2008, to $556,605 as of July, the Real estate Board of Greater Vancouver said. “We’re seeing price reductions on properties listed on the real estate Vancovuer housing market, which is having a leveling impact on housing price increase,” explained Real Estate Board president Dave Watt. Watt noted that there has been also been a decline in the total active listings on the real estate Vancouver housing market “Which is a welcome departure from recent trends.” The Vancouver housing price reductions reflect a general softening of the housing market. Total sales through MLS were down 43.9 per cent in July to 2,174 units, compared to July of 2008. Still, Greater Vancouver housing and real estate values reamin the highest in Canada. As of July, the benchmark price for a Vancouver detached house was $753,165, while a typical townhome sold for $473,953, and the benchmark price for a condominium apartment was $381,687. On the West Side of Vancouver housing real estate, the average detached house now sells for $1.3 million which is up 5.3 per cent from a year ago. East Vancouver real estate housing has the lowest priced condominiums, on average, in the city with a benchmark price of $326,324, up 7.2 per cent from a year earlier. On the West Side of Vancouver real estate, the benchmark price for a condo apartment is now $482,080, which is up a modest 3.5 per cent from last year.

Less New Vancouver Homes Being Started as Construction Slow

According to REW Newspaper: The Vancouver residential and non-residential building sector both dropped as the total value of building permits in June fell 5.3 per cent from May to $6.3 billion, according to Stats Canada. The decline hit most provinces and was 5.5 per cent in constant dollars. The value of Vancouver housing building permits fell 4.4 per cent in the residential real estate sector to $3.6 billion driven by lower values in multi-family permits in all provinces except Saskatchewan. The value of building permits dropped 6.6 per cent to $2.8 billion in the non residential sector due to declines in commercial and industrial intentions. Municipalities issues $1.3 billion worth of housing permits for multi-family real estate developments in June, down 13.8 per cent, with most of the declines occurring in Ontario and Alberta. Single family housing permits edged up 1.8 per cent to $2.3 billiong, StatsCan reports.

Vancouver Realtors Raise $1.2 Million for Charities

Greater Vancouver Realtors and their companies donated more than $1.2 million to 60 local charitable organizations last year, according tot a recent examination. This revelation is the result of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REGBV) efforts to aggregate the annual monetary contributions its members give the charity each year. This is the first time a real estate board in the country has embarked on such a program said REGBV president, Dave Watt. “We know this figure likely only touches the surface, since many Realtors wanted their giving practices to remain quietly low key and anonymous,” Watt says. “As well, our members give a tremendous amount of time volunteering in their communities, doing everything rom coordinating the annual Realtor’s Care Blanket drive to coaching kids’ sports.

Vancouver Realtors Recycle Electronics

In a recent recycling effort, Greater Vancouver Realtors recently donated over 2,000 used electronics items to the Electronic Recycling Association (ERA), a non-profit organization that collects computers and electronics and recylces or refurbishes them for charities and community groups. All of the items received were given to the ERA and will be recycle for local schools, charities, non profit groups, libraries, elderly homes and other Greater Vancouver community organizations. “this event garnered an incredible response. Nearly 400 Vancouver realtors made drop-offs during the five days we offered the service,” said Dave Watt, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Hard-drives, printers, and monitors wer the three most collected items, followed by mobile phones, VCRs and old stereo equipment. Four trips were a full-sized moving truck were required to pick-up all the accumulated items. Environment Canada estimates that computers phones, AV equipment and small household appliances account for more than 140,000 tonnes of waste in Canadian landfills each year.

Vancouver Realtor to lead Real Estate Institute

According to REW Newspaper, Vancouver Realtor Peter Remillong has been elected president of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia’s board of governors for the 2008-2010 term. Remillong is a licensed Realtor and a director with the Real estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Other newly elected officers of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia board include: vice president Peter Bretherton (BC Assessment), secretary/treasurer Don Ellis, and past president Scott Ullrich. New to the board of governors are Bonnie Knight with BC Assessment and Richard Wood of the Fraser Valey Real Estate Board. Both will represent the Fraser Valley District. The mission fo the REIBC or Real Estate Institute of British Columbia is to advance the highest standards in education , knowledge, professional development and business practises in all sectors of the Vancouver real estate industry. Professional members are accredited by the RI designation which recognizes their experience education and commitment to professional and leadership development in the real estate industry. For more information about the Real estate Institute of British Columbia or REIBC, and its members, visit the website

Real Estate Market Blamed for Housing Slowdown

New housing prices increased at their slowest pace in more than six years, with Vancouver’s year-over-year prices up only about half the rate of the national increase according to Metro Vancouver’s Andrea W. According to Statistics Canada report released yesterday, national contractors’ selling prices rose 3.5 per cent between June 2007 and June 2008, compared with the 4.1 per cent year-over-year real estate increase in May. Vancouver was up only 1.8 per cent. Neil Killips, economist for Stats Canada, attributed the slowing to a softening Vancouver real estate housing market. “We try to ask the builders why they increase or decrease their prices and they’ve been saying that there’s an increase in competition and the real estate Vancouver property market in general is slowing down,” he said. While Vancouver property price increases have been relatively slower, however, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) reported yesterday that housing Vancouver property starts took a big jump last month. There was a 25 per cent increase in Vancouver homes going up than in July 2007, attributed heavily to higher density, multiple-family projects.

Choosing a Vancouver Home of Lasting Value requires Due Diligence

Buy smart and over time your Vancouver real estate investment will almost certainly appreciate. Whether you’re thinking of buying your first home or planning to move from one to another, your Vancouver home purchase is more than a place to live, it will probably be your biggest investment ever. And like any real estate investment in Vancouver, you want it to appreciate in value. Whether it does, and to what degree, depends a great deal on your own pre-purchase due diligence. Once you’ve considered the needs of yourself and family and know what you’re looking for, now is the time to consider the factors that will maximize the Vancouver home investment value of your home in the future – the day when you sell your home and move on. “I know people have heard this before, but it bears repeating: location is the single most important component in home value,” sayd Gary Marshall, VP Sales and Marketing of ParkLane Homes Vancouver real estate developers. “ParkLane pays meticulous attention to siting. That’s why we feel a well-lcoated community will appreciate in value over the ong term, especially as our products are matched to the neighbourhood and what home buyers want in a home.” ParkLane Homes will, for example, select a prime location close to services, shopping, schools, and transit that’s perfect for singles, young families and empty nesters, then build residential options to suit these demographics. Alternatively, ParkLane Homes may choose a premium Vancouver real estate site for an enclave of luxury presales homes where the location’s value is enhanced by prestigious amenities within the community or nearby. Either way, purchases of new homes are buying into the ideal fit for their needs and resources – homes that will have al asting appeal to them, as well as for future home buyers when the time comes to resell. To Gary Marshall, buying Vancouver homes smartly, also means buying now. “Timing is Everything. There’s a real window of opportunity that makes this the perfect time to make a move. Mortgage rates remain low and there’s lots of choice available.” But Marshall sounds anote of auction to these looking to buy build and finished products: The Lower Mainland’s real estate market has temporariliy slowed with fewer new home starts, which means existing Vancouver real estate inventory is going to get snapped up pretty quickly.” He adds, “So my advice is to get out there and start looking at what’s available. You shouldn’t rush into buying a new home, but don’t wait so long that the best is gone.” Once you’ve bought your home, Marshall says not to be concerned about small real estate Vancouver fluctuations. “The real estate market goes up, the market goes down… it’s a market. But when you’ve done your homeowkr, you mitigate th risk over the long term. If you’ve purchase a Vancouver residence in a master planned architecturally controlled community such as ParkLane’s Bedford Landing, Southport or Heritage Woods, values will most certainly increase over time.”

By seizing this window of opportunity to buy a new Vancouver home in a master planned community built with ParkLane’s legendary quality, you’ll not only enjoy and appreciate the wonderful neighbourhoods, but you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that the lasting value is assured in your real estate investment. One of the largest and most recognized home builders in Western Canada, ParkLane Homes has built over 5,500 homes in beautiful master planned communities throughout the Greater Vancouver area and has won more then 250 provincial and national awards for their efforts. For more information, please visit

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