First off, I want to say that I truly hope that you and your family are doing well. It's hard to believe the state of the world right now and the collective grief we are experiencing, but I'm hopeful it will be followed by great change. I usually don't like to get political on here but I feel it is important to stand on the right side of history and advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement where ever possible. I have been taking a bit of time away from real estate to educate myself, show up at rally’s, donate to causes and share information with my circle of influence. Casey and I are committed to supporting local initiatives and will be donating a portion of every sale for the remainder of 2020. If you have any recommendations of organizations that you see making a direct impact, we welcome your suggestions! We are also supporting One Girl Can, an amazing organization that provides girls in marginalized regions of Kenya the opportunity to receive an education. If you would like any information I've linked their website and video below, or you can always get it in touch with me directly. It's really a time to bring our community together and collectively work towards a better future. Small acts, when multiplied, can change the world.


Now onto real estate, because big things are happening here too.

The most notable is CMHC's announcement that they are making changes to insured borrowing, decreasing purchasing power for buyers that have less than 20% down. Basically, for those looking to push their borrowing to the maximum allowable limit, they will see a reduction of approximately 10% in their buying power. These changes will come into effect on July 1st, 2020. 

** NOTE: Any clients wanting to be approved prior to these changes will need to have an accepted offer sent to CMHC before to this date ** 

In an effort to reduce the practice of borrowing money for a down payment, the agency will no longer treat unsecured personal loans and unsecured lines of credit as equity for insurance purposes. However it is the reduction in debt servicing levels is seen as having the biggest impact on home buyers.

The rule changes laid out in a recent press release are as follows: 

  1. The minimum credit score for at least one borrower must be 680 (increased from 600)
  2. Gross Debt Service Ratio (share of income that goes toward paying housing costs) will be reduced to 35% (down from 39%)
  3. Total Debt Service Ratio (share of income that goes toward paying all debt obligations) will be reduced to 42% (down from 44%)
  4. Insurance premiums will be applied based on traditional payment sources (ie. savings/gifted funds etc.). Non-traditional down payment sources will still be permitted but will not reduce your insurance premium

If you have any questions about how these changes affect you, please reach out! 


So what is the Real Estate Market doing?

We have had countless conversations with other agents in the industry that are feeling the post isolation push in the market right now. It appears that buyers and sellers are also becoming much more active. As Realtors, we have had to be creative in using digital tools to showcase homes and follow safe practices set out by provincial health officers. Showings now involve masks, gloves and the occasional waiver form but in general the adjustments have been fairly minor for us.  The biggest question is what are we seeing in the market with these changes?

For the time being, buyers that have been waiting on the side lines seem to be back in action. We saw 33% more sales in May then we did in April. Benchmark prices have remained steady, with slight increases in certain areas.  The daily number of new listings on the market has returned to seemingly normal levels after very few families listed their homes in the heart of COVID. With low interest rates and stable property prices, it definitely seems to be fueling buyers. I would anticipate that we will see another push before the CMHC rules come into effect as well. Prior to lockdown, we were in a sellers market across the board where multiple offers were commonplace. Similar to most industries COVID really put a pause on the market but that pent up activity appears to be coming back to life.

We live in a beautiful city with an amazing landscape, it will always be a sought after place to live. With all of the sadness around the world and uncertainty South of the border, Vancouver is becoming more and more desirable. We want you to know that we are here to support you and our community as much as we can.  If you have any questions about the market or just want to chat, please reach out anytime. Stay safe!

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The Bank of Canada has cut their overnight rate by 1.5% since the beginning of March, triggering lenders to drop their prime lending rates by the same amount. Bond yields have dropped to their lowest levels in years. Economies around the World are grinding to a halt as COVID 19 quarantine contines. And you mean to tell me mortgage rates are...rising!? How can that be?


Well, there are essentially two main contributing factors for the increase in rates:

1. Bank Liquidity Issues

2. Increased Risk to Invest with Banks


Bank liquidity issues


Banks source their funds from several different places. The cheapest and easiest funds to access are their deposits; the money that we put into our accounts. But with tons bank customers being laid off and incomes being reduced, the base of those deposits has decreased dramatically. This makes the banks more reliant on other, more expensive sources of financing.


Increased risk to invest with Banks


Banks have long been viewed as a strong, secure investment. And while that is true, they have become more risky than they were in the past. It is inevitable during the weeks and months to come that some of their borrowers will not be able to repay their loans, mortgages and credit cards. There will be an increase in their defaults bringing with it an increased risk to invest in Banks.


As an individual or portfolio investor, that means you will require a higher return on products like Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) to store your money there. And as an Institutional Investor, you will demand a higher return from the Bank for use of your funds. 


With a shrinking pool of cheap, accessible funds along with increased costs to acquire and use others, Banks are being forced to raise rates to offset these increased Credit Spreads. As much as we like to vilify the Big Banks, they hold loans for airlines, retailers, oil & gas companies and hospitality sector companies that just are not generating the income they are used to. Add to this the tens of thousands of requests from mortgage holders to defer their payments and we can see why rates are doing the opposite of what we might expect.


There is a lot happening out there in the world today, and the uncertainty can be overwhelming. If we can help put your mind at ease and answer any questions you might have, please reach out. Remember we are all in this together and we will get through this together. Stay safe! 

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COVID-19 is here, and it has quickly become the biggest disrupter in not just our health care system, but our financial markets, small businesses and everything in between. We've seen unprecedented stock market drops, small businesses close their doors until further notice and people self quarantine for the foreseeable future.


What does COVID-19 mean for the Vancouver real estate market? It was just a few weeks ago that we were in full swing. We were getting the feeling that our market was roaring back,. Multiple offers, subject free offers, and hoards of people at open houses were the norm. Interest rates were dropping and we were all preparing for a year similar to what we saw back in 2016.


Then we got word of Corona Virus. It seemed like it was a world away. We heard stories of what it was doing in China, but many of us thought people were over reacting. We heard people in power say "just wash your hands", "it's just the flu", "only the elderly need to be worried" and on and on.


Then it started to spread. And it spread very quickly. Before we knew it, Italy was in lockdown, then Germany. Then the NBA paused it's season. Followed by the NHL. March madness was cancelled and all minor leagues shut down.


President Trump started by saying stay away from groups of 1000. This quickly turned into 500, then 100, then 50, 10 and now just your immediate family.


Social Distancing became the phrase of the month. Essentially stay home. Don't leave unless you need food or medicine. People started to listen.


So here we are. In the first full week of "social distancing". Homes are still listed for sale. Sellers still need to sell. Some buyers still need to buy. Open houses are starting to be cancelled and private showings are becoming the norm.

But what happens next?


Well the big 5 banks (Scotia,TD, BMO, CIBC and RBC) have come out and said that on a case by case basis they will work with small business owners and individuals that have been impacted. This could mean delaying mortgage payments and interest payments. It just came out today and the details are still unclear. There could be up to 6 months of deferred mortgage payments from what we are seeing now.


The biggest question for me is how long quarantine will last. Inevitably it will lead to a stock up of buyers that have hit the pause button, unless those buyers are so impacted by the financial changes that COVID has led to. I think this will really depend how long this "lockdown" continues for.


In the meantime we are doing our best to navigate this tricky time, but also in assisting our clients in what they need to have done. We are walking a fine line of helping our clients that are in need of buying or selling, and keeping everyone safe.


Video conferencing and video tours will need to suffice on some occasions, and extreme caution will be used when we need to be in homes.


In the meantime, we wish everyone the best. Stay safe out there, and if we can assist at all feel free to give us a call. We are figuring this out along with everyone else as we go and more information is provided to us.


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I hope that you are keeping well in these tumultuous times.  It's definitely been an emotional time as we see the world starting to stall to prevent further spread of COVID 19. The question this week has really been how is this all going to shake out  and what exactly are we seeing in the Real Estate Market?

Well, we have seen the Vancouver Real Estate Market ebb and flow in the recent years as homebuyer confidence has swayed; but in spite of everything I think we will still have a busy, highly active year ahead. Demand is back to where it was in 2017 after a brief dip following the regulation and tax changes in BC. Now that we seem to be accustom to the new laws, and tensions grow globally from stock market plummets and coronavirus, many people are looking locally for investment security. 

Looking at the stats, we are definitely feeling a pinch between supply and demand. We saw a 44.9% increase in sales compared to February 2019, and a 36.9 per cent increase in homes sold in January. This sounds great, but the issue is that the supply just isn’t keeping up with the demand. The total number of homes currently listed for sale decreased by 20.7 per cent. This means multiple offers on well priced properties is back to being the norm.  5-15 offers on a single property is becoming common place. We were involved in a multiple offer scenario for a detached home in Kitsilano that received 43 offers and sold half a million dollars over asking price! 

With the worldwide caution around coronavirus, The Bank of Canada cut rates for the first time in four years. Rates across the board continued to decline this week, with the 5 yr High-ratio Fixed down to 2.34%, and regular 5yr fixed 2.54%: Variable, both Conventional and Insured, still at P-1.00%, however some lenders have started to allow this to increase. These rates will probably not be seen again in our lifetime. We detail current rates and what we are seeing from the banks in another blog post, linked here.
http://caseyarchibald.com/blog.html/bank-of-canada-rate-cut--7145977 

Benchmark prices have increased by 0.3%, but what’s more important is that they have increased by 2.7% over the past 6 months. I think we will see this continue to trend upwards if we see this type of activity continue. Like I said; as mortgage rates drop by the minute, and the stock market grows more volatile, Vancouver real estate has picked up once again. There is a bit of concern for buyers surrounding strata insurance, but this is easy to navigate by looking through strata documents prior to an offer or during the subject period. As a buyers agent we will review documents on your behalf to make sure the deductible hasn’t increased beyond belief. 

 If you would like to know how this may impact you, please reach out any time. I’m always here to help you make the best decision for your real estate investments. 
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Rates dropped this week … coronavirus effects caused the Fed to drop their rate 0.50% on Tuesday and the Bank of Canada followed on Wednesday: the Fed move was definitely a shock, as they were not scheduled to announce until March 18. The Fed hasn’t made an unscheduled announcement since 2008, and even then it was co-ordinated with Central Banks around the world.


Once the Fed dropped, it became inevitable that the Bank of Canada too, and it just so happened that we were scheduled for an announcement on Wednesday. Note that this may not be the last time the BoC drops its rate, as they have been one of the few holdouts among Central Banks, and many observers were already recommending a 25bps drop prior to the Fed announcement.


As is the norm, the Big Banks have cut Prime Rate to 3.45%: note that they aren’t obligated to follow the BoC rate, and in view of the current circumstances, there was some discussion that they might not. We are watching the Benchmark and Stress Test rates closely.


Of course these cuts are very inflationary, particularly for real estate as we've continued to see a supply issue across Metro Vancouver.


All this means that mortgage rates are dropping by the minute: at the time of writing, 5 yr High-ratio Fixed is down to 2.49%, and regular 5yr fixed 2.59%: with the Prime Rate cut, Variable, both Conventional and Insured, at P-1.00% works out to 2.45%.


***** 


Most lenders have moved to a structure where they have a “base” rate for conventional LTVs up to 65% (or so), with premiums based on LTV above (or some variation thereof) … and a separate rate for high ratio. An example with a conventional 3.69% base rate:


  • LTV <65% = 3.64%
  • 65.01% - 70.00% = 3.69%
  • 70.01% - 75.00% = 3.74%
  • 75.01% - 80.00% = 3.79%
  • BUT >80% = 3.59%
  • What’s more is that these are limited to 25 yr amort, regardless of LTV … 30yr amort is still available below 80% LTV, but the rate is 3.79%+

 The premiums vary from Lender to Lender.


If you have any questions, we work with the leading industry professionals to set you up with fantastic brokers that offer competitve rates. Please give us a call anytime to discuss how these changes will affect you! 

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The Vancouver real estate market is in full swing as we welcome the new decade. The market has seemingly returned to more historical levels as monthly statistics continue to report high sales numbers, as they have done so for the last 7 months. Sales have increased month over month as buyer confidence has returned, and there is tons of activity out there.

We have been in a strong sellers market for condos and townhomes, and a balanced market for detached homes, a trend that we believe will continue throughout the new year.

The entry level homes are still the hottest products out there at the moment. Our team saw a few multiple offer situations in the entry level condo/townhome segments last month, including a 1 bedroom condo in South Granville that sold for $70,000 over asking price and a 2 bedroom in East Van that had 25 offers!

Builders, especially in the East Van area, have slowed down on building detached homes with basement/laneways to focus on building duplex's instead. These homes sell faster and are more profitable for developers. This leads me to believe that we will really feel a pinch on single family homes in the coming years.

The stats speak for themselves; Attached homes saw a 55% increase in sales from this time last year, while condos saw a 45.6% increase and detached homes were close behind with a 29.5% increase. Benchmark prices are still down by 2% overall from last year but they are all up between 1-2% in the last 6 months.

Questions about the market? Please reach out anytime.
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The Metro Vancouver housing market will see higher sales and modest price increases over the next two years, according to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation forecast. The CMHC report forecasts income and population growth will not only support a rebound, but also create a balanced housing market in Metro Vancouver through 2020 and 2021.


While inventories of homes for sale are expected to decline slightly as sales increase, a growing number of newly constructed homes coming onto the resale market will help keep market conditions balanced overall through the end of the forecast horizon. Mortgage qualification rules will limit the borrowing capacity of some home buyers, which will limit price growth. However, it also said greater discounts on mortgage interest rates will lend support to the housing market.


CMHC predicts the average price of a home in Metro Vancouver in 2020 will go as high as $983,000 and up to just over $1 million in 2021. That compares with an average of up to $928,000 for this year, $966,866 in 2018, and $934,977 in 2017.


Townhouses and condominiums with prices under $700,000 in Metro Vancouver are expected to see the strongest demand, while the single-detached market is expected to remain soft, particularly with higher-end, multi-million dollar homes. As the market moves from buyers’ to balanced conditions, the CMHC says new condominium developments in Metro Vancouver are expected to see greater presale activity, which will encourage more development. Resale activity and house prices are expected to fully recover from the recent decline. Canada housing stats are projected to stabilize at levels in line with long-run averages, following two years of declines from elevated levels in 2017. 

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Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world; with a stunning setting between the North Shore Mountains and Pacific Ocean. We are considered the "Hollywood of the North", coming second to Los Angeles in TV production and third in feature film production. We are a Port City, tech hub, and front runner for sustainability. We also see the highest GDP growth of any province in Canada. It's no wonder our immigration rate is so high, attracting residents from all around the globe.


BC gets 15% of the total immigrants that come to Canada. Of that 15% the lower mainland gets 90%. When we look at interprovincial migration, BC gets 54,000 and the lower mainland gets 46% of that (25,000). Over the last 23 years, we've had 868,000 people move to our area. Looking at the next 23 years, we can expect 1.1 million people to migrate here. To house these residents, we will need another Vancouver, Burnaby, New West and Richmond! With the government pushing immigration, we will need many more homes to meet the impending demand.


After a major decrease in sales activity following the government implimented speculation taxes, vacancy taxes and foreign buyer taxes in 2018, we are starting to see another uptick in the market. Sales this September were up 41% versus last and only 2% lower than the 10 year sales average. Sales were 4% higher from August to September this year, a time when sales typically decline. If the fall is any indication of whats to come, I think its safe to say we can anticpiate a busy spring market in 2020. Looking at the market now, we are in balanced territory.  For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for September 2019 is 17.4 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.


So where are we headed? Well rental rates expected to increase faster than inflation. Rental demand will remain high throughout the forecast period, CMHC says, resulting in continued low vacancy rates and rising rents across the region.  Real estate is set to appreciate as well - CMHC predicts that we will see moderate increases in home prices over the next 2 years. Simply put, Vancouver will always be a desirable city to live and invest in, therefore there will always be demand for housing. It's a great time to get into the market before we see another big resurgence in prices and sales. 

  

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Vancouver has been ranked Canada’s #1 market for real estate investment in 2020, in the annual PwC Canada Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, released this week.


In the “Markets to Watch in 2020” section, the report authors said that “despite some headwinds, Vancouver re-emerged at the top of our survey this year for overall real estate prospects.”The report observed that Vancouver’s office and industrial sector were both doing “particularly well” with very low vacancy rates and robust development.


It continued, “Looking at the housing market, the long-term trends remain favourable. Recent softness is largely a reflection of a correction from an overheated environment and policies that have caused investors, whether foreign or domestic buyers, to exit the market.”


PwC’s report added, “The [Vancouver housing] market rise was too strong, and now it is reacting to that. However, by the time it is done, it will be in line with where a steady increase should have gotten us over the years… With a strong economy and population growth, Vancouver remains a desirable place to live that will eventually draw buyers back into the market. The question isn’t if, but when, they’ll come back.”


Toronto was ranked in the #2 spot, followed by Ottawa, Halifax and Montreal rounding out the top 5.Of the Western Canadian and Prairie cities, Saskatoon came in sixth place, Edmonton eighth, Winnipeg ninth and Calgary 10th. The other Canadian city to make PwC’s top 10 was Quebec City in seventh spot.

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Airbnb has grown tremendously in the last several years as many travellers go-to accommodation site. Here in Vancouver, the City has a fairly strict policy as to who can Airbnb their property. Prior to 2018, rental stays for less than 30 days were not permitted in Vancouver, except for licensed hotels or bed-and-breakfasts in certain zoned areas. However, due to high rental and low vacancy rates, the city voted to begin allowing short term rentals in certain buildings. 


There is a pretty heft list requirements that you must qualify for in order to rent your unit out on a short term basis, but given the high traffic of tourists and visitors to our beautiful city, it can certainly be a profitable venture if done correctly. In order to be eligible, you must occupy the home for most of the year, and it must be a legal suite that meets all of the safety requirements. Precautions such as proper smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and more will be checked for prior to licensing. Provided your suite is secure and safe, you will  need to acquire a short term rental business license from the City of Vancouver. The license requires you to pay a small annual fee to maintain your license. 


As reatlors, we are familiar with many building bylaws, and have compiled a list of buildings that allow Airbnb in downtown Vancouver:


  • 1372 Seymour Street (The Mark)
  • 33 West Pender Street (33 Living) 
  • 989 Nelson Street (Electra)
  • 27 Alexander Street (Alexis)
  • 1010 Howe Street (Fortune House)
  • 1166 Melville Street (Orca Place)
  • 689 Abbott Street (Espana 1)
  • 188 Keefer Place (Espana 2)
  • 58 Keefer Place (Firenze 1)
  • 150 E Cordova
  • 1160 Burrard Street
  • 1200 Alberni Street (The Palisades)
  • 1288 Alberni Street (The Palisades West)
  • 933 Seymour Street (The Spot)
  • 1331 Homer Street (The Point 2)


There are so many benefits to buying in an Airbnb friendly building. If you like to travel, or spend a lot of time travelling for work, it is a great way to dramatically reduce your expenses. We have many clients that have positively cash flowed each month off of their unit while they've been exploring the world! There is also a lot of value in having this option for your building when it comes to resale, because as you can see, Airbnb friendly buildings are limited. If you have any questions about how to align your goals with short term rentals, please feel free to give us a call!

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We hear all the time if the Vancouver Real Estate market is in a bubble or if the bubble is going to burst.  In order to answer this question we likely need to determine what is a real estate bubble?  We also need to determine what constitutes a bubble bursting?


First off what is a bubble and what is a real estate bubble?

My take is a bubble is something that has been propped up for a single reason, or for reasons that are more filled with emotions than reality.  When a penny stock goes from 10 cents to 10 dollars it’s usually because a massive wave of buyers were scared to miss out.


They may not even care what the stock is or why people are buying it.  They just know that their friend bought it for 10 cents and is now drinking margaritas pool side after making a fortune. But when the momentum changes, and people see the stock coming down, they all jump ship as they don't really even know what this stock is that they own.  They also don't have a purpose for this stock.  


Blue chip stocks are expensive, and they serve a valuable purpose in our daily lives.  Apple, Nike, CN Rail etc.  These are companies that we all use and know.  We don't look at these stocks as being in a bubble when they go up and when they dip down we don't run for the hills.


So how does this relate to real estate?  Let's use Northern Alberta for example.  When there is talk about a new pipeline or big drilling going to a small town we see those prices sky rocket.  Investors buy because they see a shortage of housing and tremendous job growth.  Workers are being paid well as it's hard to find workers to go to these areas.  These same workers are willing to spend more for a home as they are making substantially more.  But when the oil dries up or the project is over these towns crumble.  This is because they were propped up by only ONE factor.


Now let's look at the Vancouver Real Estate market in terms of why it boomed.


1) Foreign Buyers

Obviously buyers from China had a influence in our market.  But within the group of Chinese buyers we had typical off-shore investors as well as families relocating, students moving for school and developers moving their money here.  We also had other groups.  Iran, Russia, USA and Mexico have also been very influential in the amount of money that has landed in Vancouver.


2) Lack of Supply

The City of Vancouver has done an amazing job of retaining our view corridors and limiting the size of towers.  With that they have also limited the number of homes that could be built within the city.  When the boom was happening we simply had way too much demand compared to supply.  


3) Population Growth
Vancouver's population growth has been tremendous as well.  According to this article the city of Vancouver went up by nearly 500,000 people between 2010 and 2019.  Our tech industry is growing and with more jobs available more people will continue to move here.  Amazon coming to Vancouver is a great example.

4) Scenery/Weather
Simply put, Vancouver is a beautiful city and one of mildest climates that you will find in Canada.  Retirees want to live here due to accessibility of health care as well as the ease of not living in a snowy region.


5) Money Laundering
With all of the news recently, we need to talk about this.  Was this the reason the market boomed?  Likely not.  But to say it didn't have any impact is likely foolish.  Illegal money was definitely put into the real estate market.  How much and for how long?  We will likely never know, and it is my guess that there will continue to be some illegal money going into this sector.

6) Speculation

As the market was booming, buyers flooded the market hoping to not miss out.  Similar to the 10 cent stock we discussed earlier, as people saw their friends, colleagues and family members reap the rewards of the booming market, buyers rushed in.  Investors stretched themselves and moved money from stocks to real estate. 

These are the main 6 reasons why I believe that we saw the growth that we did in the market.  In 2005 the Benchmark price in Metro Vancouver was $386,200.  In May 2018 the same benchmark price went to $1,104,400.  That is an increase of $718,200 in 15 years or nearly $50,000 per year!

So let’s go back to the bubble phenomenon that we keep hearing.  Has our bubble popped?  Let’s go through our list of 6 reasons why it’s increased the way it has.


1) Foreign Buyers - Do we still have foreign buyers coming into Vancouver?  Yes, although slower and more cautious we still have foreigners immigrating to Vancouver daily.  The new taxes have drastically put a damper on this; however, we are still seeing foreign buyers in our market.


2) Lack of Supply - We are still surrounded by mountains and the ocean.  The city is still being reluctant to allow infill housing, although the new duplex zoning should help increase some density.


3) Population Growth - Our population growth continues and likely will for the forceable future.


4) Scenery/Weather - Forest fires aside, Vancouver remains one of the most desirable cities to live in.


5) Money Laundering - The government is putting in regulations to curb money laundering.  It will slow down but will likely always be a factor.


6) Speculation - We are seeing MUCH LESS speculation these days.  Taxes that have been implemented and a general cooling of the market has really slowed down this pillar.


When I look at this list 2, 3, and 4 will likely never change.  Foreign buyers have slowed down, money laundering has likely slowed down and speculation has definitely slowed down.  There is no question why we have seen a slow down, but I by no means see this as a BURSTING BUBBLE. 

At the beginning of this blog I discussed bubbles being propped up by singular factors and the way I see it we will always have at least 3 pillars driving our market.

For that reason I expect to see regular corrections and regular inflation, but I DO NOT consider our market a bubble and I by no means see a hard crash landing.

If you have any questions about this topic or any others feel free to reach out to us directly.  We would love to hear your feedback and any topics that you would like us to discuss.


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When you are ready to buy your first home you have a few critical decisions to make.  First you need to decide how much you are willing to spend.  You should get a pre-approval from a mortgage broker, and from there decide if you want to max that out or spend a bit less so that your budget can remain more manageable.

You will need to decide next what is most important in terms of the home you are going to buy.  In Vancouver price per square foot is a very standard way of valuing a property.  If you are buying a condo, most units within the building will sell in and around the same price per square foot, unless they are substantially renovated or the view is drastically different.  Of course there are outliers for penthouses or units with large patios, but generally a 2 bedroom condo on the 8th floor will sell for a similar price per square foot as a 2 bedroom condo on the 9th floor.

If you are like most buyers and you don't have an unlimited budget, there are usually some things that you need to give up.  The newer, the bigger and the more central buildings usually sell for more.  

So do you want an older wood frame building that has larger square footage but it's a block from the beach?  Or would you rather something a bit smaller, maybe concrete and newer, but it's maybe not as central as you had hoped?

Well we can't tell you exactly what is important for you, but if you are looking at it in terms of a long term investment there are a few KEY factors to think about:

1) What condition is the building in? The last thing you want to do is buy in a problematic building.  Read the documents, ask your Realtor, and do some homework on the building.  You can fix a leaking dishwasher but dealing with a negligent strata is much more difficult.


2) Location Location Location... You've heard this before, but it still rings true.  When markets slow down, the good areas generally hold value better.  With that being said if you can look for areas that have reasons to grow (maybe a new hospital or skytrain or new restaurants) then look at what the area is going to be like in 5 years, not right now.  This is where you can really make some good decisions!

3) Layout - In a condo you can only do so much.  If the living room is an awkward shape it's likely always going to be an awkward shape.  You may be able to open up the kitchen or take down a wall or two but if you buy a pie shaped condo, it will always be a pie shaped condo.

4) PRICE - Last but not least.  When buying you want to make sure you get in at a number that will make sense not only today, but down the road.  Get your Realtor to do a market analysis to give you a good understanding of what the place is worth and what you can likely buy it for.


At the end of the day deciding where to buy will really depend on what is important to you.  I look for areas that have new transit opportunities, expected growth and areas close to parks and commerce.

I always advise my clients to first get into a good building, then look at what you are willing to give up in terms of size or location.  If you are willing to live in a smaller space in a better area go for it, but if you need more space then we may need to get creative by looking into some areas that have room for long term growth.

If you would like help with your home search don't hesitate to give us a call! 

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What are Assignments? How do Assignments work? What should we expect from Assignments moving forward?

The Greater Vancouver real estate market has seen a tremendous amount of new construction over the years. With new construction comes assignments.

Essentially an assignment is when a purchaser of a property sells their contract to a new purchase before closing on the property. This can happen in both re-sale and pre-sale markets; however, it is much more common on the pre-construction side of things. Not all developers allow assignments, and some developers that do allow them will not allow them to be made public on MLS. Most developers charge an assignment fee ranging from a few hundred dollars to 5% of the original purchase price.

With changes to the local government policy, taxes and a shifting market we are seeing a lot of assignments come on the market. If you have any questions about assignments feel free to drop us a line down below or text me directly at 604-363-7858
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Chapter 1: Know What's Selling


Springtime; typically one of the busiest seasons for Real Estate. I’m incredibly curious to see what the April statistics have in store for us. We see so many posts, on so many mediums, casting a very dark light on the market. Everyone seems to be getting inundated with information without knowing exactly how to perceive what they are taking in. We hear the stories from clients who speak with their coworkers, and the public that attends our open houses, everyone has heard different and conflicting options. So what properties are actually selling successfully in a down market? 


The answer is simple. The well priced, quality homes are still selling quickly and for fair market value. We are still seeing quite a few properties receiving multiple offers. In the last 2 weeks, we have been in 4 multiple offer situations, on properties ranging from Kitsilano condos, to a Burnaby townhouse, and even a 2 million dollar detached in Strathcona. For reasons detailed in this post, its the quantity that has greatly decreased; but quality properties are still moving. 


Without a doubt, you can certainly feel the shift that has occurred over the last year. We see a great difference in our clients' mentality when they are buying and selling now versus 2 years ago. Buyers and Sellers alike have erred on the side of caution over the last year, and we see that continuing for the foreseeable future. Buyers are taking longer to weigh their options and watch the market. Sellers are reluctant to reduce listing prices with the market downturn, afraid to leave money on the table from the sale of their home.


We see that housing demand isn’t aligned with our growing economy and low unemployment rates. The market trends we’re seeing are largely policy induced. For three years, governments at all levels have imposed new taxes and borrowing requirements on to the housing market. But what policymakers are failing to recognize is that these demand-side measures don’t eliminate demand. That demand is ultimately satisfied down the line because shelter needs simply don’t go away. Using public policy to delay local demand in the housing market just feeds disruptive cycles that have been so well-documented in our region.


The number of homes for sale continues to climb as sellers try to offload their properties in what is traditionally a busy spring market, while buyers hold back. There were 4,949 homes newly listed for sale on the MLS in March 2019. This is an 11.2% increase from March 2018 and 27.2% higher than February 2019. This shows us that the market is picking up as we transition out of winter.


The overall sales-to-active listings ration for all property types is teetering between a balanced market and a buyer’s market, and currently standing at 13.5%. The improvement in sales in March brought this figure back into balanced market territory, which is generally between 12 and 20%.


However, the market varies greatly by property type, as the ratio is 9.4% for detached homes, which is firmly a buyer’s market. It’s a balanced market for townhomes/duplexes/rowhomes at 15.9%, and for condos at 17.2%.

The benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver stands at $1,011,200, which is a 7.7% drop from March 2018, and a 0.5% slide in the month since February 2019.

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I recently went to the realtor prescreening of the Vista project by Dolomiti Homes in Burquitlam. We have been selling quite a few homes to our clients in the suburban areas surrounding Vancouver, as people are tired of paying a premium for square footage in the city when commuting via skytrain is quick, easy and affordable. Burquitlam is a fantastic example of this. From the skytrain station you can be downtown within approximately 30 minutes and pay a fraction of the price for a home. With tons of development proposed for this area, we are seeing a lot of activity from the developers and inquiries from our clients. The Presale market has seen a slight decrease as well, so we are finding that builders are offering certain incentives for buyers (such as no strata fees for a year, decorating bonuses, etc) you just have to know where to look. 


Vista Overview 

Grand Opening: April 6th, 2019

This particular project is just 8 minutes from the skytrain station, groceries, shops, and services 

35 minutes to downtown by skytrain 

Walking distance to Lougheed Town Center 

Contemporary design

Modern 1, 2, and 3 bedroom units available 

Over 4,000 sq ft of amenity space

360 degree views from the 3,300 sq ft 

ample outdoor space including a childrens play area next to greenspace

Secure underground parking 

 

Starting Price List:

1 Bed - $375,000                              

2 Bed - $499,900

3 Bed - $693,900


If you have any questions about presale projects around Metro Vancouver, we are here to help. Call us today for details, floorplans, and pricing! 




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With the high inventory of homes on the market today, homebuyers can afford to be picky. As consumers, we are always looking for the best option, so a home can easily be overlooked if it's not in pristine condition. Use these 10 tips to whip your home into shape and wow potential buyers.


Know your selling point; What made you fall in love with the home in the first place? Whether it be unique features or prime location, know what will attract potential buyers. 


Clean; Ensure that your home (both exterior and interior) are as clean as possible. If buyers see an unkept house, they will question if the home has been properly maintained. This will decrease saleability and increase the chances of a low offer.


Repairs; In a buyer's market, you want your home to be in its best condition. Clean up landscaping, fix doorknobs, change lightbulbs, whatever it needs to show the best. 


Improvements; take colour down a notch. Bright colours don’t really appeal to all buyers. Paint your walls a light, neutral colour to make spaces feel bright and calm. Little upgrades to lighting, flooring, or cabinetry can make a dramatic difference to a room.


Create a lasting first impression; Buy a new welcome mat, replace faded house numbers, and paint the front door a tasteful colour that compliments the home.


Remove clutter and depersonalize; Buyers want to envision their belongings in the home. Remove knickknacks, photos, extra furniture, and other personal items.


Stage; Staging can go a long way to highlight the best features of a space. Improving the aesthetic of your home will positively affect how it shows both online and in person. 


Organize closets and drawers; Messy closets give the appearance that your home doesn't have enough storage space.


Eliminate bad odors; Fill your home with inviting smells. When showing the home light candles, diffuse the air, putting out fresh flowers or bake a batch of cookies.

 

Aside from making sure your home is show ready, arguably the most important tip is to offer a reasonable selling price. Compare your property to similar homes sold in your building or area. Choosing the right price is one of the most important factors to determine how quickly you sell your house. Develop a sales strategy to maximize your return. 


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