I am a huge believer in floorplans.

As we head into a era where 90% of people start their home search online, it makes complete sense that without a flooplan some people may miss something about your home that they really would appreciate and that they may be willing to spend more money on.

The MLS only allows us to upload 20 photos. Depending on the size of the property this may only show segments of the home and it may miss some huge selling features.

A floorplan enables us to capture the entire home, and allows buyers to understand where the photos are that they are looking at.

Not to mention that Vancouver truly is an international city. Buyers that are out of town during showings will be much more comfortable submitting an offer sight unseen if you have a floorplan available. I sell a few properties every year without the buyer being present!

FLOORPLANS ALSO SAVE YOU TIME!

Buyers often want to come back once we have an accepted offer to take measurements and plan their furniture. With a floorplan already done, this step may be unnecessary and it definitely speeds up the process or lessens the number of times that they will ask for access.

I am in touch with buyers daily, and know how often buyers are asking for floorplans. Often buyers don’t want to waste their time if they aren’t sure that the layout will work. I provide professional floorplans for nearly all of my listings because they really do help.

Now that we know that floorplans bring you more buyers, make you more money and save you time, why wouldn’t you get a floorplan?
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Should I paint? Should I hire a stager? Should I do renovations? How do I price my home?

These are all questions that I receive on a regular basis, and there is not a one size fits all but here are 5 tips to use as a general rule of thumb:

1) Declutter - Thin down your closets, remove everything on your surfaces, and keep the furniture to the essentials. Take as much of your “extra” stuff to storage or donate what you don’t need to Value Village.


2) De-personalize - Remove all personalized photos and any feature pieces that are a very specific taste. Remember you are trying to appeal to the masses


3) Paint - If you have dirty old walls or any extreme colours a neutral grey or white will be a cheap fix and make the house look much brighter.


4) Fix - If there are a few things that need to be fixed that you have been putting off, now is the time to do it. Make sure all light bulbs are in working order, make sure the faucets don’t leak and clean up any old holes that may be in the walls from photos.


5) Staging - bring in a stager to see what should be done. They will have cost effective ways to help make your space look larger and emphasize the good and hide the bad.

If you have questions feel free to contact me!

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Rent increases have been capped in the province of BC since 2004. The usual method to determine the cap for the upcoming calendar year was to take the current average rate of inflation and add 2%.

 

In 2019, that would have allowed a 4.5% increase.

 

The NDP government has removed the additional 2%, so the maximum allowable increase will be set at the rate of inflation, 2.5%.

 

“It’s simply not sustainable for renters, many of whom are on fixed incomes, to see their rent increase by more than inflation each and every year,” said Premier John Horgan in a media release. “We have to eliminate the risk of such huge increases for renters. Our new approach strikes a balance between giving relief to renters while encouraging people to maintain their rental properties.”

 

As a result of eliminating the additional 2 per cent increase, the government says people living in a $1,200 per month apartment, which is the average rent in B.C., could save up to $288 in 2019 over what they could have paid under the old formula.

 

People in an average two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver could have faced paying up to $432 more over the course of the year.

 

“We recognize supply is key to bringing down rental costs in the long term, but renters have told us they are hurting and need help today,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in a release.


“That’s why we are taking careful steps to address the housing crisis and ease the pressure on renters, while also making sure that landlords have the tools they need to continue to invest in their rental properties.”

 

The proposed change would bring B.C. in line with Ontario and Manitoba. The task force also recommended that the province give landlords the ability to apply for an additional increase if they can show the formula would not cover maintenance and other costs, as is the case in other Provinces with rent control.

 

In Ontario, landlords can apply for an "Above Guideline Rent Increase” under certain circumstances, including if the landlord’s taxes increased by an “extraordinary” amount, the landlord did significant repairs or the landlord’s costs for security services increased.


Above-guideline increases for repairs or security services are capped at a maximum of 3 per cent above the guideline in any one year. There is no limit on the percentage rent increase above the guideline allowed for an extraordinary increase in taxes or utilities.

 

The province of Alberta is looking at implementing their first rent control program in 2019.

 

Full recommendations for BC are expected to be released in November of this year.

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Vancouver councillors have officially finished two days of public hearings by voting to allow duplexes in most city neighbourhoods that are currently restricted to single-family homes.


The decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for young families pushed out of the Vancouver market by soaring property prices.


A press release from the mayor's office says the policy change will allow duplexes on approximately 67,000 single family lots, offering more affordable options than detached homes.


The 7-4 vote was split along Mayor Robertson, five Vision Vancouver members and councillor Hector Bremner approving the motion, while three Non-Partisan Association councillors and the Green party's Adriane Carr voted against it.


Robertson said the duplex proposal is not a ``silver bullet'' that will resolve Vancouver's housing problems, but says it responds to the demands of residents.


``Over the past two years of consultation for the new Housing Vancouver strategy, we heard loud and clear that Vancouverites want more housing options in single family neighbourhoods,'' he says in the release.


The change aligns zoning in expensive and increasingly unpopulated neighbourhoods such as Kerrisdale, Dunbar and West Point Grey with regulations in crowded and growing areas such as Kitsilano and Strathcona.


Robertson says the policy is a ``modest, but important change.''


As a way to reduce speculation on land values, the mayor's office says the new policy does not allow for an increase in height or density on a single-family property, but it says other measures to add density are being planned.


``Further work is underway as part of the Making Room program to bring forward options for rowhouses, townhouses, and low-rise apartments- with a priority on rental housing and co-ops in low-density neighbourhoods,'' the release states.


That report could potentially be brought to council by next summer.

 

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PREP YOUR CONDO!


It’s never easy to say goodbye to summer. As the days get shorter and the leaves start to change colour and turn to red and gold, it’s a reminder that winter is just around the corner. But fall can be one of the nicest times of year, and it’s a good time to make some changes, especially around your condo.


The start of fall signifies impending change for a lot of people — school is starting and the new year is just a few months away. In order to be ready for the changes that lie ahead, I thought I’d come up with some tips to help you prepare your condo for the coming season.


BRING STUFF IN!


You might want to consider bringing in your patio furniture for the coming months. If you are going to keep your furniture outside, give it a good wipe down with warm, soapy water to get rid of the summer build up and think about purchasing some canvas covers to protect it from the elements.


Next you’ll want to deal with your plants. If you’ve been growing a balcony garden or keeping flowers all summer, now is a good time to trim them back, cover them up and find a place to store them inside.

It’s good to remember that with the fluctuating temperature, things made of glass or ceramic can shatter in the cold so you’ll want to be sure that everything breakable is indoors.


Finally, make sure your drain is clean and free of debris and build up, and keep a hard bristled broom to keep the wet leaves or snow from piling up in front of your door.


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August Updates

 
As we head into September and look back at the summer, it was definitely a blur.  The saying "days are long but years are short" is really starting to resonate with me.  I'm noticing the summers seem to be flying by, especially after losing a couple of weeks to the smoke.  Hopefully these fires are not the new norm in BC.  For any of you that were impacted by the fires this summer please let me know what we can do to help!  
 
A quick update on our business:
 
I have just brought on an amazing administrative assistant that I look forward to introducing you all to as time goes on.  She has been in the business for years and will tremendously help assist in the growing business.  I have included a small write up below for you to get to know her.
 
Now on to the market:
 
As you will see in the stats below August sales in Vancouver were 25% below the 10 year August average.  We can look at this a couple of ways.  
1) With the new mortgage rules and financing being trickier less people are CAPABLE of buying
2) Foreign investors have slowed down due to the increased government regulations
3) Buyers are waiting to see where this will fall and are hoping to get properties at a discount
 
My take is that all 3 of these factors are at work. With only 1 or 2 of them we might have seen a smaller impact but considering the amount of changes all at once it is no surprise that we are seeing a dip in the market.  With that being said we must also remember - August is generally one of the slowest months of the year.  I am expecting a busier September and October as prices are starting to adjust and buyers will be getting back into the market.
 
Happy September!
NEW LISTINGS/RECENT SALES
3007 - 5470 Ormidale St
SWEEPING VIEWS!
$549,000
Welcome to this brand new, never lived in condo in the sky with GST already paid. One of the best views in the building, this perfectly laid out 1 bedroom and flex offers views Downtown, Burrard Inlet, Pacific Ocean and North Shore mountains. As far as the eyes can see! High end finishes including gas range, stainless steel appliances and quality laminate throughout. Perfect investment property as you are steps to Joyce Patterson Skytrain, minutes to Metrotown and a 15 minute train to downtown. On the 15th floor you will find a beautiful gym and communal garden plots. This home comes with parking and storage, pets and rentals allowed. Move in any time or rent it out right away! Full 2-5-10 warranty.
More info: HERE

104 - 315 Renfrew St
FULLY RENOVATED - MOVE IN READY
$569,000
Welcome to this fully renovated move in ready home located in the heart of Hastings Sunrise. With over 1100 square feet of indoor and outdoor living, your own front door facing the quiet courtyard, and a private setting make this home live like a townhouse. Fully re-modeled with a custom kitchen featuring 2 tone high gloss cabinets, new stainless steel appliances and quartz counter-tops. Fully equipped with in suite laundry, a cozy fireplace and room for a dinning table, this 2 bedroom home lives much larger. 1 Parking, 1 storage, 1 dog or cat, and 4 rentals allowed. Building is fully rain-screened with new windows. 5 mins to Hwy, 10 mins to North Van & excellent transit options!
More info : HERE

 
 
 
 
 
 

Home buyer demand stays below historical averages in August

The Metro Vancouver* housing market continues to experience reduced demand across all housing types.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,929 in August 2018, a 36.6 per cent decrease from the 3,043 sales recorded in August 2017, and a 6.8 per cent decline compared to July 2018 when 2,070 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 25.2 per cent below the 10-year August sales average.

“Home buyers have been less active in recent months and we’re beginning to see prices edge down for all housing types as a result,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “Buyers today have more listings to choose from and face less competition than we’ve seen in our market in recent years.”

There were 3,881 detached, attached and apartment homes newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in August 2018. This represents an 8.6 per cent decrease compared to the 4,245 homes listed in August 2017 and an 18.6 per cent decrease compared to July 2018 when 4,770 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,824, a 34.3 per cent increase compared to August 2017 (8,807) and a 2.6 per cent decrease compared to July 2018 (12,137).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2018 is 16.3 per cent. By housing type, the ratio is 9.2 per cent for detached homes, 19.4 per cent for townhomes, and 26.6 per cent for apartments.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

“With fewer buyers active in the market, benchmark prices across all three housing categories have declined for two consecutive months across the region,” Moore said.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,083,400. This represents a 4.1 per cent increase over August 2017 and a 1.9 per cent decrease since May 2018.

Sales of detached properties in August 2018 reached 567, a 37.1 per cent decrease from the 901 detached sales recorded in August 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,561,000. This represents a 3.1 per cent decrease from August 2017 and a 2.8 per cent decrease since May 2018.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,025 in August 2018, 36.5 per cent decrease compared to the 1,613 sales in August 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $695,500. This represents a 10.3 per cent increase from August 2017 and a 1.6 per cent decrease since May 2018.

Attached property sales in August 2018 totalled 337, a 36.3 per cent decrease compared to the 529 sales in August 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $846,100. This represents a 7.9 per cent increase from August 2017 and a 0.8 per cent decrease since May 2018.


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The Quest for Excellence program is a bursary program for Grade 12 students in Canada. This year RE/MAX is offering 16 $1,000 bursaries.  It was established to reward students who participate in leadership and community events.  Students can enter at www.REMAX.ca

 

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Well it is now 2017 and looking back it is safe to say that 2016 was arguably the wildest year in the history of real estate in Vancouver.  Record price jumps, daily price increments and government regulation have been a few factors that contributed to the wild year that we just saw.  Here is a month to month breakdown of how the year in Vancouver looked.

 

January


As always January real estate news is based on looking back at the previous year.  The value of Vancouver residential home prices increased by 16.9%.  This recorded as the fourth highest increase in BC history.  West Van was the biggest increase at 17.9 per cent.  Royal Lepage predicted a 9 per cent increase going into the year.

 

February


This was the first month that we saw the lovely term "Shadow Flipping".  The Globe and Mail coined the term and people stuck to it.  It refers to agents assigning contracts multiple times before completion.  The government jumped on this and in the following months tackled the issue.

 

On February 15th the government increased the minimum down payment for all homes after $500,000.  This was not taken nicely by those struggling to save up for a down payment.

 

March


The government decided to tackle the "shadow flipping" issue.  They implemented provincial policy to limit the profit of assigning contracts.  This came with a variety of feedback but overall a positive feeling moving forward for most in the industry.

 

The Spring market was very hot and March proved to be the busiest month of the year in terms of the number of sales, and the busiest month to date in Vancouver.

A home vacancy report showed that there were 10,800 vacant homes which represented less than 5 per cent of the homes in Vancouver.  Gregor Robertson found this to be too many (See June).

 

April


The city of Vancouver approved it's plan to provide 300 below market homes to eligible candidates.

 

May


A variety of media outlets came out and said that there would be a mass exodus of millennials from Vancouver if the prices continued to soar.

 

June


Christy Clark took away the Real Estate Boards ability to self regulate.  This came on the heels of the shadow flipping issue.  She stated that the Real Estate Board would be governed  by a new superintendent.

 

July


Arguably the biggest news of the year came at the end of July when the government imposed the foreign buyer tax.  This tax amounted to a 15% tax on home purchases for all non residents of Canada.  The deadline was August 2nd, which caused a serious rush for those looking to close before the deadline.

 

August


This month all we heard about was the foreign buyer tax.  Deals collapsed, agents scrambled for their clients and the collateral effect was felt throughout the city.  The media jumped all over the news and we saw several lawsuits getting started.

 

Stats showed that sales were WAY down, over 63 per cent year over year, however this did not account for the sales that were pushed up to beat the August 2nd deadline.

 

September


A class-action lawsuit was launched on September 19th against the government for damages incurred by those affected by the foreign buyer tax.

 

Stats were much less dreary now as they were in early August.

 

October

 

Another shake up!  The Canadian government implemented new mortgage rules for those with less than 20% down.  A new stress test was mandatory for qualifying for an insured mortgage.  Buyers would now need to qualify at a much higher rate (more than 2% higher).  This caused more outrage from first time buyers as many were now pushed out of the market.

 

November


To make the year even more memorable, the US elected Donald Trump to be their President.  The day after the election we saw 3 times the amount of searches coming from US citizens looking to relocate to Canada.

 

It was reported by the Urban Development Institute that new home sales had dropped at the same rate as resale sales.

December

 

A 3.9 per cent hike in Vancouver property tax was implemented with 0.5 per cent going towards combating the fentanyl issue that grew in Vancouver.  Home owners are now on the hook for the new increase.

Christy Clark also came forward with a new loan program for first time buyers.  The program will help first time buyers come up with their downpayment as the government will loan up to 5 per cent of the property price as an interest free loan for 5 years.

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Summer is a time of weddings, bbq's, trips, time outdoors, patio pops and overall fun times.  Summer is definitely my favourite time of the year and I love being outside in Vancouver and enjoying everything that this city has to offer.  With that being said it seems our media coverage has been more about new real estate rules than anything.  I am going to take a minute to touch base on one of the main topics that we have seen in the recent weeks in Vancouver.  


As most of you have probably heard the government has made some changes in an attempt to cool off demand in the Vancouver housing market.  They have implemented a 15% tax on all foreign buyers which was active as of August 2nd.  They also do not appear to be grandfathering any of the contracts that were written prior to August 2nd.  What this means is that if a foreigner agreed to purchase a property prior to August 2nd and the completion date was after August 2nd then they are now going to be facing an additional 15% on top of all other fees that were in there previous agreement.  This is causing all sorts of emotions from buyers, sellers, renters and agents.   There are reports that are showing a variety of opinions.  From my conversations most people are shocked and disappointed in the government for not taking into account those with pre-existing contracts but understand and have accepted the new tax moving forward.  Most people think buyers will find loopholes and that we won't see much of a shift.  

What have I seen?  Well I agree with those that are disappointed that previous contracts are not being held to the same tax laws as when they were agreed upon.  It has impacted a few of my clients and it really doesn't seem like a "Canadian" way of doing business.  Only time will tell what this tax will do to the economy and the real estate market.  In the past week I have seen more deals collapse due to uncertainty than I have seen in the last year.  I don't expect this to continue, but I don't blame buyers who have become nervous when the government enacted a significant tax at a moments notice. 

We hear the term "affordable housing" almost daily in the news.  What price point constitutes "affordable housing"?  Is a 15% tax going to bring Westside homes down enough in value to make them "affordable"?  The average house on the Westside sold for over $3.5 Million in June.  For this number to become affordable to most 9-5 workers in Vancouver we will need to experience a full blown recession.  I am not convinced that a 15% tax on foreign buyers will do this, but again... time will tell.

One thing that I am seeing are buyers looking to assign their pre-sale contracts before completion as they are wanting to get out of this tax burden.  If you are looking to pick up an investment property this could be a new alternative for local buyers.

Here is a great article breaking down the new tax:

http://www.rew.ca/news/real-estate-deals-collapse-as-foreign-buyer-tax-takes-effect-local-agents-1.2314546

 

Overall I expect August to show lower than average stats.  I expect the tax to cause buyers and sellers to put a slight pause on their plans to see how things shake out.  I don't expect a massive fallout in prices but the media will point to changes in the market which will add to the uncertainty.  Only time will tell how this all plays out...

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Most of you will find in your mailbox your 2015 BC Assessments.  If you have not yet received it and are curious about what your assessment will look like you can look it up at the following link:

 

http://evaluebc.bcassessment.ca

 

Just enter your address and it will populate your tax assessment for 2015.

 

What does this value mean?  Well in Vancouver and surrounding areas it means that this is the value that will be used to calculate your property tax for 2016.  Aside from that it doesn’t say much.  In other areas around the province this number reflects market value and is a pretty good indication of what a home will sell for.  In the Lower Mainland however we have such a lack of supply that this number is becoming more and more useless.  Not to mention that this evaluation was calculated in July 2015.  In this market a lot changes over 6 months!

 

As far as property tax goes keep in mind that you may be eligible for a home owner grant to reduce the tax that is actually due.  

 

For more information or for a more accurate market value of your home or condo don’t hesitate to give me a call.


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Government of Canada Takes Action to Maintain a Healthy, Competitive and Stable Housing Market
December 11, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance


Finance Minister Bill Morneau today announced changes to the rules for government-backed mortgage insurance to contain risks in the housing market, reduce taxpayer exposure and support long-term stability. Effective February 15, 2016, the minimum down payment for new insured mortgages will increase from 5 per cent to 10 per cent for the portion of the house price above $500,000. The 5 per cent minimum down payment for properties up to $500,000 remains unchanged.

 

For example: 

Purchase price of $700,000

5% down payment on first $500,000 = $25,000

10% down payment on excess $200,000 = $20,000

 

Total minimum down payment required = $45,000

LTV of 93.57%

 

Canadians who already own a home will NOT be affected.

 

The Government continuously monitors the housing market and is committed to implementing policy measures that maintain a healthy, competitive and stable housing market. Higher homeowner equity plays a key role in maintaining a stable and secure housing market.

In making this announcement, Minister Morneau also highlighted the increases in guarantee fees for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)-sponsored securitization programs, announced today by CMHC. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has also announced today its plans to update regulatory capital requirements for residential mortgages to ensure that capital requirements keep pace with market developments and risks. Taken together, today’s actions will strengthen the resiliency of Canada’s housing finance system to promote long-term stability and balanced economic growth.

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Investor clients are now looking for ways to maximize their rental return and one of the more popular ways to do that is through sites like VRBO and Airbnb.  The issue with these short term rental options are that stratas are starting to shut them down, or fine home owners who they find to be using them.  Buildings such as the Woodwards building are fining short term rental owners $200 for each infraction that they catch.  With this being said if you were to look on Airbnb you would quickly realize that there are still numerous options in the building.  

 

Acting on behalf of investors I try to find ways around this or at least educate my clients that this may not be a long term plan.  What I find is that you can often get away with short term rentals in the first few years of a building or if you have your own front door, such as a townhome or ground floor unit.  It becomes more difficult as the stratas get in place and complaints start to happen.  There are a few buildings in Vancouver that are known to be more lenient on short term rentals and we can look at those as well.  

 

One area that is extremely profitable in this market is Olympic Village.  With huge nightly rental rates, proximity to the sky train and downtown, and a variety of new buildings I see this as a great place to try your luck at short term rentals.  With that being said, be prepared that you may get shut down and need to convert to either a 3 or 6 month rental period.  

 

Good luck fellow investors and happy hunting!

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Metro Vancouver home buyers push October sales above long-term averages


Home buyers remain active across Metro Vancouver despite a reduced supply of homes for sale.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in *Metro Vancouver reached 3,646 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October 2015. This represents a 19.3 per cent increase compared to the 3,057 sales recorded in October 2014, and a 9 per cent increase compared to the 3,345 sales in September 2015.
Last month’s sales were 36.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.
“Home sales are more than one-third above what’s typical for this time of year yet the supply of homes for sale is the lowest we’ve seen in five years,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “This activity has created favourable market conditions for anyone considering selling their home today.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,126 in October. This represents an 8 per cent decline compared to the 4,487 new listings reported in October 2014.
The total number of properties listed for sale on the real estate board’s MLS® is 9,569, a 30 per cent decline compared to October 2014 and an 11.4 per cent decline compared to September 2015.
This is the lowest active listing total in Metro Vancouver since December 2010.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $736,000. This represents a 15.3 per cent increase compared to October 2014.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio in October was 38.1 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio declines below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches 20 per cent, or higher, in a particular community for a sustained period of time.
Sales of detached properties in October 2015 reached 1,437, an increase of 13.1 per cent from the 1,271 detached sales recorded in October 2014, and a 34.7 per cent increase from the 1,067 units sold in October 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 20.1 per cent from October 2014 to $1,197,600.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,543 in October 2015, an increase of 21.7 per cent compared to the 1,268 sales in October 2014, and an increase of 40.5 per cent compared to the 1,098 sales in October 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 11.4 per cent from October 2014 to $425,800.
Attached property sales in October 2015 totalled 666, an increase of 28.6 per cent compared to the 518 sales in October 2014, and a 34.3 per cent increase from the 496 attached properties sold in October 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 9.3 per cent between October 2014 and 2015 to $526,700.

 

 

For full stats package click here

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The Spot on 12th and Cambie has been one of the most popular developments in Vancouver of 2015.  With only 5 homes remaining, this East facing 2 bedroom has some great features.  Listed at $779,900.  Give me a call at 604-363-7858 for further information.

 

 

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The Jervis, is the newest project to come to the coveted West End, blocks from English Bay.  The developer, Intracorp has developed this 19-storey tower to maximize views, space and elegance.  With only 4 homes on each floor, every home is a corner unit with maximized views.  58 homes in total this development will be very private.  They have promised the highest of end finishes including over-height ceilings, large covered patios, marble tiled bathrooms, integrated high end italian cabinetry and best cooking technology available.  Private appointments are starting soon.  Give me a call if you would like to get a VIP preview.

 

604-373-7858

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Between January 1 and July 31 of this year, 572 properties sold for over $3 million, compared to 319 during the same period in 2014 – an increase of 79 per cent.  The increase of sales at the top-end of the luxury market can be attributed to two factors. The first factor is overall price appreciation in the Vancouver market, driven by low inventory and high demand for single-family homes. This has led to more homes meeting the higher dollar threshold. The second is very high demand for luxury homes from foreign buyers.

 

Foreign buyers, primarily from China, tend to be families looking to live in Vancouver, viewing Canada as an economically and socially stable country in which to invest their money and raise a family. Their home-buying decisions are strongly influenced by proximity to good schools, and newly-built houses with top-quality finishes are in highest demand. With the luxury market increasingly geared toward Chinese buyers, some agents have begun offering additional services to help these buyers settle in their new city, such as helping to secure insurance or purchase a car.

Home-buying decisions are strongly influenced by proximity to good schools, and newly-built houses with top-quality finishes are in highest demand.


Luxury buyers moving within Vancouver are a smaller segment of the market. These buyers tend to have lived in their previous home for several years and, having built up significant equity, are moving up, downsizing or moving laterally, depending on their individual circumstances.

 

The luxury condo market attracts a more diverse range of buyers, including downsizers, younger couples and foreign buyers. While there is a good supply of inventory in the lower end of Vancouver’s condo market, demand is high for luxury units. For example, units in Trump Tower, priced at $4 to $5 million, quickly sold out when they came on the market.


A trend reported in Vancouver’s high-end housing market is an increase in buyers bypassing the MLS system and, through agents, making offers directly to homeowners. Unlike for sale by owner (FSBO) sales, sellers in these transactions are putting their trust in experienced agents to ensure they are getting the best possible price for their homes. 

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Just recently CMHC came out and said that they are changing their rules.  They announced that they will allow 100% of rental income from a LEGAL secondary suite (Basement suite, coach home, duplex) to be used towards qualifying for a new mortgage.  Up until this point CMHC only accepted 50% of the rental income.  The move was done to help create more affordable housing options for Canadians.  Wh

at is likely to come fro

m this are new construction builds containing legal suites and past owners turning their illegal suites into legal suites before selling. This change will take place as of September 28, 2015.

Curious what rules are needed to qualify?  Take a look:

 

•The property must be owner-occupied.

•The property being insured can have only two units (i.e., a duplex or a single home with a legal secondary suite). 

•Rental income cannot be used if the suite is “illegal/non-conforming” but “legal non-conforming” is okay. (Non-conforming means that the suite was grandfathered in before zoning/regulations restricted such units. You can check with the city to confirm if a suite is legal.)

•The suite must be self-contained with its own entrance.

•Property taxes and heat must be factored into the borrower’s debt ratios (which

is currently not the case when using rent from legal secondary suites).

•For existing units, there must be two-year history of rental income from the suite. The maximum rental income allowed for qualification is a two-year average of the unit’s rent.

•For new units, a market rent appraisal can be accepted if an appropriate vacancy rate has been applied to the estimated rental income.

•Mortgage applicants must “demonstrate a strong history of managing credit” with a minimum credit score of 680.

 


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