Royal LePage City Centre Michael Wilcox Personal Real Estate Corporation | Kate MacPhail Personal Real Estate Corporation



Last month was the highest selling April on record for Metro Vancouver.

Residential property sales in the region totalled 4,781 in April 2016, an increase of 14.4 per cent from the 4,179 sales recorded in April 2015 and a decrease of 7.6 per cent compared to March 2016 when 5,173 homes sold.

April sales were 41.7 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month. 

“Home buyer competition remains intense across the region,” Dan Morrison, REBGV president said. “Whether you’re a home buyer or seller, it’s important to work with your local Realtor to get the information you need and to develop a strategy that will help you navigate today’s market.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 6,172 in April 2016. This represents an increase of 3.9 per cent compared to the 5,897 units listed in April 2015 and a 2.4 per cent decline compared to March 2016 when 6,278 properties were listed.

"While we’re seeing more homes listed for sale in recent months, supply is still chasing this unprecedented surge of demand in our marketplace," Morrison said.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,550, a 38.3 per cent decline compared to April 2015 (12,436) and a 2.6 per cent increase compared to March 2016 (7,358).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for April 2016 is 78 per cent. This is indicative of a seller’s market.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches the 20 to 22 per cent range in a particular community for a sustained period of time.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $844,800. This represents a 25.3 per cent increase compared to April 2015.

Sales of detached properties in April 2016 reached 1,979, an increase of 9 per cent from the 1,815 detached sales recorded in April 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 30.1 per cent from April 2015 to $1,403,200.

Sales of apartment properties reached 2,107 in April 2016, an increase of 33.4 per cent compared to the 1,579 sales in April 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 20.6 per cent from April 2015 to $475,000.

Attached property sales in April 2016 totalled 695, a decrease of 11.5 per cent compared to the 785 sales in April 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 22.1 per cent from April 2015 to $608,600.

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One in four British Columbia parents have bankrolled part of their child’s home purchase, and they’ve done it through down payment assistance.
In fact, down payment gifts and loans are the second-most common way that parents financially support their adult children. That’s according to a recent Vancity poll. (“Resolving debts” for their kids is the #1 way parents help out with money.)
But parental support has an interesting bias. Depending on your gender, you can expect significantly more down payment support from the folks.
Specifically, males were twice as likely as females to have received down payment money from mom and dad. The survey found that 39% of males aged 18-34 acknowledged receiving down payment money from their parents—compared to just 19% of females.
“We cannot explain the reason for this difference in numbers,” said Vancity spokesperson Lorraine Wilson. “…It requires further research on why there is a difference in inheritance expectations and realities for females.”
We’re no social scientists, so we can only speculate here:

  • Is there a cultural gender bias? In some parts of the world, men commonly receive double the inheritance of women. It’s baked into their religion.
  • Is it like the wage gap? When it comes to pay, men make more than women on average. But that gender gap doesn’t carry over to inheritances, at least not in North America (according to this research).
  • Do men more often “take care” of their damsels by coughing up most or all of the down payment?
  • Do men buy homes earlier than women?
  • Are women better savers than men?
In truth, we can only guess at why women don’t (or can’t) tap their parental ATM as often for down payment funds. It might make a good university thesis for those so inclined.
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We often talk about color and pattern in design, but one thing we don't always talk about is the value of transparency and opacity in the materials we choose. Depth of color often has to do with opacity as certain fabrics allow more light in, and transparent materials can allow rooms to feel lighter and larger. Here are some ways to consider how these properties can factor into your decor decisions.

Use fabrics to create a mood. One of the most obvious places to start thinking about transparency and opacity is in regards to your curtains. When choosing curtains, don't only consider how much light you want to allow in, but also think about how intense you want the colors of the curtains to be and whether you want the play of pattern and light that can come from sheer, colorful curtains like those featured above.

Control privacy. By thinking about how transparency and opacity work, you will be more able to control the way that light moves around a space, and how to balance shared and private spaces. In this room, the fretwork gives a sense of openness, whereas the solidity of the door helps create an atmosphere of privacy. Obviously, the dark color of the door adds to this effect, but even if it were white, the contrast between the solid and perforated materials would still create a more cordoned-off effect.

Create visual space. In small spaces, consider using furniture with designs that incorporate a great deal of openness. Here, the thin metal supports and glass top make the table interesting but also allow the eye to move past it. Light, transparent materials help create a sense of visual space.

Create a sense of openness—or a sense of separation. Think about using transparent materials to cultivate a feeling of openness in your home. Thanks to the glass railing, the stairs feel like a cohesive part of the living space—the whole area is connected. Had the partition been a solid material, the space would have felt choppier, and the stairs would have felt more separated from the rest of the living area. Consider using transparent and solid materials to give your home the open—or cozy—feel that you desire.

Break it up. Often, when we focus on why monochromatic rooms work, we talk about variations in tone and texture. Those are certainly important, but as this room shows, differing levels of transparency also help give a room interest. The semi-sheer bedskirt adds a sense of floating, gauzy lightness, while the more solid color of the walls and duvet give the eye somewhere concrete to rest.

SOURCE > ApartmentTherapy

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According to the banking Ombudsman annual report mortgages are the second biggest complaint about banking products. The top 3 complaints are mortgage penalties, the option and feature to port the rate & term to a new property and pre approvals. 


Mortgage penalty calculations, in particular the IRD (Interest Rate Differential) can be complicated and sometimes not explained properly. Since moving from the banking world to becoming a mortgage broker I now know, and educate my clients to the fact, that banks charge mortgage penalties that, on average, are 3 to 4 times higher than some of the other great, smaller mortgage lenders on the market.


Portability, or the option to take your rate and term to a new property, is another complaint. When you port you have to be completely approved all over again, even on the same mortgage as you're moving it to another property. This benefits you in many ways including keeping the same rate and qualifying to get all or a portion of your penalty back.


And Pre Approvals; they are just that, a pre-approval, nothing is guaranteed by getting pre-approved but there are things your mortgage advisor can do to ensure as much as possible that the financing will go thru. 


See the full article from Canadian Mortgage Trends below for more details:



"When it comes to complaints about banking products, mortgages are second only to credit cards.

That’s according to the banking Ombudsman’s (OBSI’s) recently released annual report, which lists three of the most common grievances from mortgage customers.

“We are seeing a lot of complaints related to mortgages…” Brigitte Boutin, Deputy Ombudsman, Banking Services said in the report. Those complaints revolve mainly around mortgages prepayment penalties and pre-approvals, but it seems that mortgage portability has also “become a bigger issue.”


The Big One: Penalties

The Ombudsman sees a constant stream of borrowers protesting their bank’s prepayment charges. Those complaints are usually dismissed after an appropriate investigation, with a finding that the bank did nothing wrong.

OBSI says:

“When investigating mortgage prepayment penalty cases, we examine the signed agreements between the client and the bank and review the accuracy of the penalty calculation.

We also look at the manner in which the client was informed of the penalty before they proceeded with the mortgage transfer.”

A common claim by customers is that they were not told how the bank calculates its mortgage prepayment charges. Frequently the problem stems from the comparison rate changing before the borrower can pay off the mortgage.

The comparison rate is the rate the bank compares to your rate, to judge the interest rate differential, or IRD (i.e., determine the difference between your rate and the rate the bank can supposedly lend at today, for your remaining term).

Timing is key. If you’re 2.5 years from maturity, for example, the comparison rate might be the three-year fixed rate (say 3.04%). If you’re 2.49 years from maturity—one day closer—the comparison rate might be the two-year fixed rate (say 2.59%). The actual comparison rate used can increase the IRD and lead to unexpectedly high penalties.

In any case, with all the prepayment regulations nowadays, lack of disclosure is getting harder to argue. In one case on its website, OBSI found that “the fact that the client was not told all the specifics of the calculation did not change the fact that he had the necessary information to make an informed decision.” OBSI ruled in favour of the bank in that instance.


Portability Caveats

“People sometimes take for granted that their mortgage is portable before selling their home,” Boutin said in the report. “It’s interesting – we’ve seen cases where the bank refused portability because the borrower’s financial situation no longer met the bank’s lending criteria. However, the client was able to get approved somewhere else right away.”

She raises a key point that all borrowers should be aware of. Given that the property is the lender’s security, you can’t move your mortgage to a different home without the lender’s consent.

Porting requires a whole new application process, documentation and approval. Failing that approval, people with closed mortgages have little choice. They can either not move or they can pay the lender’s penalty (potentially thousands of dollars) to discharge the mortgage and find other financing.

Boutin adds: “A bank can refuse to transfer a mortgage from one property to another because the client’s situation has changed and we can’t force a bank to lend money when its lending criteria is not met.”

She advises: “…Read the terms in your mortgage agreement carefully. Check if there are certain criteria related to portability and check if you meet your lender’s criteria before deciding what to do.”

Common portability considerations include:

  • the amount of time the lender gives you to port
  • the rate the lender gives you if you “port and increase” (add more money to the mortgage)
  • the lender’s policy on bridge loans (commonly needed when your new purchase closes before your sale)
  • the type and location of property the lender will lend on, and
  • the types of income the lender allows (e.g., key, for example, if you become self-employed and can’t prove income in the traditional manner)


“…We’ve seen an increased number of files relating to mortgage pre-approval,” Boutin notes. “Banks may not verify everything in detail when they pre-approve a mortgage. Then, when people go to finalize a mortgage, the bank will ask for more information and for supporting evidence of what was previously disclosed.”

“Sometimes that new information will lead the bank to change financing terms or refuse financing altogether. People can then get caught, especially if they removed the condition for financing on their offer to purchase a home.”

I’ve written about pre-approvals many times and continually hear cases where people thought they were unconditionally approved, but hadn’t even provided income and down payment documentation. Often it’s a matter of the mortgage adviser not clearly explaining that pre-approvals are rarely fully underwritten (including by the default insurer, when the down payment is less than 20%).

“A pre-approval document indicates certain conditions that need to be met,” adds Boutin. “Be careful that you’ve given the right information to your bank and that your documents match (emphasis ours) what you provided at the beginning of the mortgage process.”

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The City of Vancouver wants to help moderate income earners buy 300 homes in the city. 

It's called the Affordable Housing Ownership pilot program and it will go before the city's finance committee on Wednesday.

"We're going to create an opportunity for people to enter into the housing market who have previously been able to rent but not been able to buy," said councillor Raymond Louie.

Under the program, the city would strike a deal with developers to acquire 20 per cent ownership of 300 new units. It would then turn around and sell those units to buyers for a discounted price — a price that would take into consideration the city's share in ownership.

"The city will have a stake in it and the city's stake will be held by the city, will continue to be held by the city in order to maintain that level of affordability," said Louie.

Louie says he hopes the pilot program will help the city learn how to make shared-ownership housing work in Vancouver.

Still the city will need help from the province to amend the Vancouver Charter — the city's provincial statute — in order to allow for the program.

Provincial support?

"What I'm hoping is that they'll understand what we're trying to accomplish here," he said.

"That we do need the province to make an amendment to the Vancouver Charter, which will authorize council to implement this new program and if their thinking is that this isn't necessary then I'd like hear what the province is proposing, because obviously there's a growing challenge for people in our city to live in it and own any property."

According to the report an amendment to the Vancouver Charter would take at least eight months.

B.C. Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender said he has yet to see the report city staff presented to council on the issue, but he welcomes it. 

However, he didn't seem as open to the idea of changing the charter.

"I'm not going to jump to opening the Vancouver Charter on one issue," Fassbender said. "I know the city has some perspectives. I appreciate that and I look forward to hearing them."

These are some preliminary criteria for prospective buyers:

  • Be a resident of Vancouver for the past five years.
  • At least one buyer must be employed.
  • Maximum household income for studio and 1-bedroom units for singles and couples with no dependent children living at home, $67,540/year.
  • Maximum household income for two and three of more bedroom units for single/dual parent families with dependent children living at home, $96,170/year.
  • Buyer must be the sole occupant, no renting allowed.


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A young couple turns to Décor Aid to transform their Soho apartment from the ground up.


With its soaring ceilings, ample natural light and spacious loft layout, Andrew McLaughlin's Soho duplex is the envy of most New Yorkers. But for the art-collecting financier and his girlfriend, Larissa, it was in desperate need of a facelift. The upstairs bedroom was dark and cave-like, and the kitchen and bathrooms were outdated and cramped. The couple's newly purchased apartment was not at all representative of their stylish, jet-setting lifestyle.

Enter Décor Aid, the affordable interior design service that Andrew enlisted to oversee the gut renovation and interior design. Since he works from home, he needed the space to be both comfortable and functional. And though they're not big cooks, he and Larissa love casual gatherings and wanted an open flow between the kitchen, dining and living room areas. But Andrew's biggest stipulation was that the design accommodate his most prized possession: Harper, his beloved 10-year-old bulldog.


Over the course of eight months, the Décor Aid team set out to create a contemporary space that was both sleek and pet-friendly. The kitchen and bathrooms were completely gutted, replaced with clean, streamlined designs guided by a black and white palette for drama and contrast. Cement tiles were a budget buy that added a graphic punch to the floors, while the rest of the floors were redone in wood. They added a large internal window to the bedroom to introduce natural light into the dreary space. The floor-to-ceiling fireplace in the great room was refinished with cement and iron, and iron railings were added to the staircase to lend an industrial feel.


As the couple was starting from scratch, Décor Aid brought in all new furnishings to outfit the space. They splurged on a custom-made walnut bar to provide storage, as well as a stylish buffet and bar for guests. A chandelier from Lindsey Adelman, Vitra's Panton Dining Chairs, and rugs from Tom Dixon's collection for The Rug Company add a sophisticated, urban edge to the design. And perhaps the most important investment was the sectional, which was custom made and upholstered in a heavy duty Kravet fabric for Netflix binge-watching with Harper. 

"We love watching TV and relaxing with Harper in front of the fireplace," says McLaughlin. "The whole space now is inviting and livable."


SOURCE< ElleDecor

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House prices and market activity continue to increase especially in Vancouver and Toronto even after measures taken by Finance Minister Bill Morneau which took effect in February. Increasing the required down payments for home purchases valued above $500,000 was intended to stabilize a hot real estate market but the fact is that home prices in some areas have increased more than expected. Maybe it's too early to tell if the recent rule changes will have a real effect. As mentioned by Mr. Morneau "we are only one month into that change and we want to make sure that our housing market stays one that is working effectively. As we see challenges, we will of course think about ways that we can respond that ensure that our market remains stable".

One real possibility causing the Canadian real estate prices to continue to move at an accelerated pace could be foreign ownership. Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is looking for new methods of tracking and measuring foreign buyers, and the impact this could have in overall home prices. As quoted recently by CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan "It remains a top priority for CMHC to continue to get more information on foreign investment in Canada's housing market".

On another note,

The Bank of Canada has decided to keep its benchmark lender rate unchanged at 0.5 percent which indicates that the Bank of Canada feels that there is no need for any further cuts to stimulate the economy. "it does appear that the positive forces at work in the economy are starting to outweigh those that are negative" said a Bank spokesperson. This is good news for everyone looking to buy or refinance today.

As your mortgage professional it is my responsibility to keep you up-to-date on information that matters to you and your family. If you or someone you know could benefit from some timely professional advice and guidance please contact me today.


Tony Marchigiano, 
Mortgage Consultant

Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

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The latest report from CMHC (Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corp.) dispels a lot of housing bears (economists/people negative towards the housing market) as it has determined that only 8% of investors plan to flip their property or properties within the next 2 years. 


See the entire report for other interesting stats on term, type of rate (fixed or variable) and lengths of amortization investors are taking as well.


Condominium investors in Vancouver and Toronto display stable characteristics over time. Most are small-scale investors that own only one secondary unit, nearly one-half purchased their last secondary unit for rental income and most expect to own their investment property for more than five years, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) 2015 Condominium Owners Survey (COS) released today.


The annual report, focused on the Vancouver and Toronto Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs), includes survey insights on what motivates condo purchases, how long owners hold onto their units, and the mortgage-financing profile of condominium owners whose primary dwelling is a freehold or condominium unit but who also own at least one secondary condominium unit. These households are referred to in the report as COS investors.


Report Highlights


    Results are very stable over surveys.

    Nearly one-half of COS investors purchased their last secondary unit for rental income.

    About 60% plan to hold onto their last purchases unit for more than 5 years versus 8% planning to sell their unit in less than 2 years.

    Nearly three quarters have only one unit and roughly 90% do not plan on buying new units in year following the survey.

    56% expect their units to appreciate, 35% do not expect a significant change and 5% anticipate a decrease in value.

    The share of COS investors with a mortgage on their last purchased unit (at the time of the survey) stood at 53 per cent. This is slightly below the share reported for all home owners (59 per cent) in Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey.

    The surveys of Toronto and Vancouver produced similar results. However, a larger share of respondents in Toronto expect the value of their units to increase than in Vancouver, but the gap is closing.


COS investors, as defined by CMHC, exclude households that own only one condominium unit in which they reside, as well as households that own a secondary unit but rent their primary residence.



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March sales set an all-time record

Metro Vancouver home sales eclipsed 5,000 in March for the first time on record.

Residential property sales in the region totalled 5,173 in March 2016, an increase of 27.4 per cent from the 4,060 sales recorded in March 2015 and an increase of 24 per cent compared to February 2016 when 4,172 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 56 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

"March was the highest selling month the REBGV has ever recorded,” Dan Morrison, REBGV president said. “Today's demand is broad based. Home buyers are active in neighbourhoods across our region."

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 6,278 in March 2016. This represents an increase of 5.2 per cent compared to the 5,968 units listed in March 2015 and an 8 per cent increase compared to February 2016 when 5,812 properties were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,358, a 40.5 per cent decline compared to March 2015 (12,376) and a 0.8 per cent increase compared to February 2016 (7,299).

“Strong job and economic growth in our province, positive net migration and low interest rates are helping to drive this activity," Morrison said. 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $815,000. This represents a 23.2 per cent increase compared to March 2015.

Sales of detached properties in March 2016 reached 2,135, an increase of 24.8 per cent from the 1,711 detached sales recorded in March 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 27.4 per cent from March 2015 to $1,342,500.

Sales of apartment properties reached 2,252 in March 2016, an increase of 38.4 per cent compared to the 1,627 sales in March 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 18.8 per cent from March 2015 to $462,800.

Attached property sales in March 2016 totalled 786, an increase of 8.9 per cent compared to the 722 sales in March 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 20.1 per cent from March 2015 to $589,100.

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This Spring, nature-inspired housewares designers have turned over a new leaf and stood it on its head.

Instead of incorporating flora or fauna patterns that literally reference the natural world, many have taken a more figurative tack, creating pieces that reflect such processes as erosion, charring, melting and oxidation. These haunting objects say “Mother Nature was here,” rather than “There are birds flying across my dessert plate.”


Jan Kath’s “Erased Heritage” wool carpets, for instance, appear organically eroded, their precise Oriental patterns disrupted by irregular patches of Chinese silk. Savage winds seem to have distorted the porcelain “Blow Away Vase,” by Front for Moooi, a trick of computer design; the vase looks like a piece of Royal Delft caught in a twister. And lava has apparently encroached on metalworker Franck Chartrain’s “Phoenix” pedestal, a piece of charred oak cut 150 years ago and clotted with cast bronze.


Much like the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, which celebrates the imperfection of objects, this new design ethos finds beauty in the unorchestrated and unplanned. Of his new fabric, Oxydation, made with the French company Lelievre and distributed in the U.S. by Stark, designer Jean Paul Gaultier said, “Seeing an oxidized surface inspired me to do this print and show the beauty that can be found in something we do not consider perfect.” The suede-like cotton fabric virtually fizzes with verdigris and iron oxide, effects inspired by rusting nails and oxidizing copper scraps that Mr. Gaultier found years ago.

“People are more into finding out how a product was created, what was used,” said Adam Comiskey, founder of luxury textile company Zig Zag Zurich. And pieces that interpret forces of nature often come with built-in stories: For a Zig Zag Zurich sheet set called “Made by Rain,” an artist captured the impressions of raindrops by laying photographic film on a roof, then digitized the images and printed them on satin cotton. The black-and-white splatter pattern evokes the randomness of a summer shower.


In our era of rapid change, objects that convey the sort of organic processes that unfold over decades or millennia particularly appeal. “It slows your soul down a little bit and allows you to come back to a more natural timing or rhythm,” said New York interior designer Kathleen Walsh. In a Martha’s Vineyard project, she installed a marble bathroom sink so aged and marred with rust it seems to have come straight from the quarry.

Such tortured pieces can look their best amid relatively slick décor. Ms. Walsh juxtaposed the sink with linear, modern elements such as a polished-nickel drain pipe and wall-mounted tap. The aforementioned Oxydation fabric also pairs well with polished metal, said Ingrid Lager, Lelievre’s creative designer.


Other, more-obviously simpatico matches, noted Ms. Lager and Ms. Walsh, include matte materials such as wood, well-worn antiques and anything that shows the maker’s hand (strong-weave fabrics, handblown glass). But don’t go overboard, said New York textile designer Catherine Stowell, who designed a vinyl wall covering called “Burnish” for Designtex, which suggests oxidation and weathering. She recommended using these natural-process elements judiciously, to add layers and depth to a room.

Small doses of this style may be just what the eye doctor ordered. Anna Rabinowicz, creative director of Anna New York by RabLabs, sees her raw-edged, sliced-agate pieces as a sensory antidote to the smartphones and computers that surround us. “The visual monotony of so many things in people’s lives is attracting them to natural elements,” she said. And objects formed by nature are inevitably unique.


SOURCE < TheWallStreetJournal

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According to a recent survey by CIBC the majority of Millennials, 86%, still see value in home ownership. They, like generations before, look at it as a good way to build equity and also part of plan for retirement.

"A recent survey conducted by CIBC revealed that a clear majority of Canadian millennials look at home ownership with the same level of esteem as did earlier generations, with fully 86 per cent dispelling the common misconception that youngsters don’t want to have their own homes.

The results came amid seemingly non-stop growth in real estate value in Canada’s most dynamic markets, even as the study found that 21 per cent of millennials still live with parents and 42 per cent are currently renting. Meanwhile, 59 per cent of the 18- to 34-year-old bracket said that having their own homes would attest to their personal freedom.

CIBC officials said that the survey, which randomly polled 1,517 adults on March 14 and 15, showed that Canadians still see home ownership as fulfillment despite weakened purchasing power across the board.

“In fact, our poll suggests that millennials place as much importance on being a home owner as Canadians in other age groups,” vice president of mortgages and lending Barry Gollom told CBC News.

“Home ownership is an important milestone to many, and that hasn't changed even though it has become increasingly difficult to get into the market,” Gollom explained, alluding to the 85 per cent of Canadians (all ages) who see purchasing and owning as crucial concerns.

The CIBC survey further revealed that 63 per cent of those who want to own homes said that building equity and saving for retirement is the best strategy to stay afloat in the long run.

In contrast, 15 per cent of the respondents dismissed home ownership as unimportant, pointing at the issue of affordability as the most important factor that makes buying property in these times unrealistic."


SOURCE < MortgageBrokerNews


Tony Marchigiano
310-328 West Hastings Street
Mortgage Broker
Vancouver, BC
cell: 604 505 7109
fax: 604 909 4666
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Burnaby out paces Vancouver in tower development.


Burnaby is putting up a forest of highrise residential towers over the next 25 years, far outstripping anything contemplated by Vancouver.

Targeting land around rapid transit nodes and four malls — Metrotown, Brentwood, Lougheed and Edmonds, developers have at least 106 highrise residential buildings with more than 30,000 units proposed or under construction. Of those, 47 are 40 storeys or more in height, according to data collected by a real estate expert with Colliers International. By comparison, there are 68 highrises under development in Vancouver, of which only 13 are 40 storeys or taller.

The scale of the development is dramatically reshaping Burnaby, which has long been content to be a bedroom community to Vancouver and its job-centric downtown core. Burnaby’s town centres developed as local or regional malls surrounded by low-density rental housing or single-family neighbourhoods, but they are now transforming into dense urban communities with towers rivalling those in Vancouver.

Around Brentwood and Gilmore no less than 46 towers, ranging from 25 to 65 storeys, are planned. And at Lougheed Town Centre, on the eastern edge bordering Coquitlam, at least 23 towers up to 65 storeys are planned around the soon-to-be finished Evergreen SkyTrain line. The expansive former Dairyland and Safeway industrial complex near Edmonds will have 19 towers up to 44 storeys tall.

But this pace of development also highlights a disparity between how developers are treated in Burnaby and Vancouver and what the cities expect from them. Many proponents of Burnaby’s biggest projects are developers like Shape Properties, Concord Pacific, Onni, Ledingham McAllister, Polygon, Beedie Industrial and Anthem Properties.

David Taylor, a specialist with Colliers International, said Vancouver’s restrictive building policies and the lack of developable land are largely why developers now target Burnaby with such dramatic results.

“In Vancouver, outside of downtown there are effectively less than a handful of projects where you can do towers. You are not going to find a site in Vancouver to build a highrise, so where are you going to build it? You are going to find it in Burnaby or Coquitlam,” he said.

Taylor pointed to problems the Kettle Society is having building a relatively simple 12-storey building at Venables and Commercial Drive and the recent backlash in Grandview-Woodland over the Vancouver planning department’s plans for towers at Commercial and Broadway.

“You’ve got neighbourhoods that don’t want any development. If you could build towers anywhere in Vancouver, you would see hundreds of them. There is that much demand for that. But the reality is that to build a 40-plus storey tower in the city of Vancouver, even downtown, is extremely difficult.”

Anne McMullin, the CEO of the Urban Development Institute, said Burnaby’s planned development closely aligns with its regional growth strategy. What makes the difference, she said, is that a lot of the land being redeveloped is non-controversial and doesn’t pit neighbourhoods against the developers.

“It’s a lot easier than in Vancouver. These are malls or industrial areas like the Safeway lands,” she said. “It is a lot less controversial and it involves higher densities around transit hubs.”


SOURCE< VancouverSun

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The Liberal government is spending big and aiming high with its first budget.  Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered a budget which is aimed at creating some stimulus for what appears to be a slowing economy.  Unemployment has risen recently to 7.3% and this new budget, which includes billions in new infrastructure spending, is anticipated to create 100,000 new jobs.
There was very little mention of housing matters in the budget. While some people still question the existence of a “housing bubble”, it’s apparent that the growth in housing values is based on fundamentals. The two provinces, BC and Ontario, which have seen the strongest values in real estate, are also the ones that have seen unemployment decrease. 
The housing market continues to be a key driver in the Canadian economy. New home construction has increased above the 200,000 mark in February and 30% of buyers are first time buyers. There is no doubt that Canadians greatly value homeownership.
Interest rates remain very low and the Bank of Canada Governor stated at the most recent rate-setting on March 9th that “The near-term outlook remains broadly the same as it did in January”. This low rate stance is great news as The Bank of Canada rate plays a significant factor in the interest rate you pay on your mortgage. With interest rates this low, the question is always whether it’s better to lock in for a fixed term or go with a variable rate mortgage, especially now when there isn’t a big difference in the two rates.  Choosing between a fixed or variable rate is a personal decision based on your individual circumstances, needs and risk tolerance. 
With the expectation that the economy will bounce back with this new budget and the housing market strong as ever, now could be a great time to buy that first home, move up or refinance your existing mortgage.
As your mortgage professional, I am happy to assist you in getting the right mortgage that fits your needs.
Call or email me today.

Tony Marchigiano, 
Mortgage Consultant

Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

(604) 505-7109

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According to a recent report by the Ombudsman for Banking Services & Investments complaints about mortgage penalties at Canadian Banks is within the top 5. 

Since moving from a mortgage specialist at a bank to an independent mortgage broker I've learned many things, but one of the biggest is the difference in the way the banks calculate a penalty if you break your mortgage term early on a fixed rate, compared with many other reputable non bank lenders. The penalty calculation is called the IRD (Interest Rate Differential) On average, this penalty, is at least 3 to 4 times more than with most of the reputable non bank mortgage lenders in the market. We're talking 1000's of dollars with the smaller lenders instead of 10's of thousands.

I was speaking to someone the other day who is facing a $16,500. penalty on a 380K mortgage which is at one of the big banks. The fact is most people think they won't break their term early but up to 70% of people do. It's done to get a better rate, to refinance, to switch lenders and the most common one is to sell their property. Yes, there is something called portability option (for most mortgages) where you can port the rate & term over to a new property but there are many times when the portability option does not work. That's when you'll pay the penalty. 

See the article below, from, for more details on the Ombudsman's report: 

"Prepayment penalties for mortgages are one the most complained about issues among Canadian banks, according to the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments.

“The banking products and issues consumers are complaining about mirror last year for the most part, dominated by credit and debit cards (chargebacks and fraud), mortgages (prepayment penalties), and chequing and savings accounts (account closures and collections),” Brigitte Boutin, deputy ombudsman, banking services, said in the Ombudsman annual report for 2015.

Prepayment penalties have long been a thorn in brokers and, indeed clients, sides.

Brokers complain about the different calculation methods used to charge clients these penalties. And banking clients are often unaware of their very existence.

And it isn’t just prepayment penalties that are earning complaints from mortgage clients.

“We are seeing a lot of complaints related to mortgages: penalty, pre-approved mortgages – and portability of a mortgage has become a bigger issue,” Boutin said. People sometimes take for granted that their mortgage is portable before selling their home.

“It’s interesting – we’ve seen cases where the bank refused portability because the borrower’s financial situation no longer met the bank’s lending criteria. However, the client was able to get approved somewhere else right away.”

In terms of preapprovals, the Ombudsman has seen an increased number of complaints.

In many cases, banks have failed to verify all application details before issuing a pre-approval. When it comes time to finalize the deal, the bank asks for further information.

“Sometimes that new information will lead the bank to change financing terms or refuse financing altogether,” Boutin said. People can then get caught, especially if they removed the condition for financing on their offer to purchase a home.”

Tony Marchigiano 310-328 West Hastings Street

Mortgage Broker Vancouver, BC

cell: 604 505 7109

fax: 604 909 4666

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The BC government introduced its 2016 budget today. The budget included a number of items intended to affect affordability and availability in the Lower Mainland’s housing market.


Here’s a summary:

Property Transfer Tax (PTT)


• a New Housing exemption will apply to newly built homes or newly subdivided units priced up to $750,000, saving buyers up to $13,000; and


• a partial exemption will apply on newly built homes priced $750,000 to $800,000.


• a new 3% PTT rate will apply to the portion of a home sale that exceeds $2 million. For homes that sell for below $2 million, the PTT will continue to apply at a rate of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance.


These changes will take effect on February 17, 2016.


 “While we applaud the government’s efforts to improve affordability for home buyers purchasing new housing, there’s more work to be done, including indexing PTT thresholds to keep pace with changes in home prices over time,” Darcy McLeod, Board president said.

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The Bank of Canada met this past Wednesday to make a decision on the Prime lending rate. The Prime lending rate usually directly affects people with variable rate mortgage terms. 

Economists were factoring in a 50 to 60% chance of them lowering the rate to boost the economy; they did not. There are a number of reasons why they made the decision to keep the rate as is; one of them being the Federal Government's plan to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure to boost the economy. According to a report by here are some other reasons:


"The Central bank has released its latest rate decision.

The Bank of Canada said Wednesday it will maintain its target for the overnight rate at ½%.

“The global economy is progressing largely as the Bank anticipated in its January Monetary Policy Report. Financial market volatility, reflecting heightened concerns about economic momentum, appears to be abating,” the bank said in a release. “Although downside risks remain, the Bank still expects global growth to strengthen this year and next. Recent data indicate that the U.S. expansion remains broadly on track.

“At the same time, the low level of oil prices will continue to dampen growth in Canada and other energy-producing countries.”

The BoC also noted recent rebounds in oil and other commodities. Coupled with slight appreciation for the loonie, the central bank said economic conditions are evolving as assumed in its January policy report.

“Canada’s GDP growth in the fourth quarter was not as weak as expected, but the near-term outlook for the economy remains broadly the same as in January,” the bank said. “National employment has held up despite job losses in resource-intensive regions, and household spending continues to underpin domestic demand. Non-energy exports are gathering momentum, particularly in sectors that are sensitive to exchange rate movements.

“However, overall business investment remains very weak due to retrenchment in the resource sector.”

Overall, the bank said risks are balanced.

“The Bank’s Governing Council judges that the overall balance of risks remains within the zone for which the current stance of monetary policy is appropriate, and the target for the overnight rate remains at 1/2 per cent,” the BoC said."


Tony Marchigiano310-328 West Hastings Street

Mortgage BrokerVancouver, BC


cell: 604 505 7109

fax: 604 909 4666



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1. Green neighbourhoods

Buy a home in a neighbourhood close to work, transit, shopping, community centres and other services.

2. Transit-oriented density

New, compact, complete green neighbourhoods are being built with transit as their focus. Instead of owning a car, join a car share cooperative, take transit, cycle or walk.

3. Score your location

Walkable neighbourhoods offer health, environmental, financial and community benefits. Enter your address or the address of a home you want to buy at This tool calculates a walkability score based on the home’s proximity to transit, grocery stores, schools and other amenities.

4. Lower-cost luxury

If it’s features such as a gym or pool you want, buy a strata unit with these amenities and share costs.


Home improvement



5. You choose, you save



BC Hydro and FortisBC offer a variety of incentive and rebate programs for home upgrades and rebates.



6. Install a high-efficiency heating system 



Make sure it’s ENERGY STAR rated.



7. Weatherize your home



From windows to doors to insulation and weather stripping. Don’t forget to seal your ducts.



8. Insulate your pipes



It will prevent costly heat loss. Here’s how.



9. Insulate your hot water heater



Buy a pre-cut jacket or blanket for $10–$20. You’ll save up to 10% on heating costs. Learn more.



10. Install a programmable thermostat 



Set it lower at night and during the day when you’re away. Lower the temperature. Each degree below 20C saves you 3-5% on heating costs.



11. Replace your furnace filter  



This optimizes performance, as clogged filters reduce airflow, forcing your furnace to work harder.



12. Get the most from your fireplace



Here's how to make it efficient.



13. Use curtains



In the daytime during summer, close to help cool your home. Learn more.



14. Use an electric fan



Skip the air conditioning. On hot summer days, place a bowl of ice in front of a fan to cool down.



15. Install ceilings fans



The energy it takes to run a fan is less than an air conditioner. In summer, make sure the fan’s blades are rotating anti-clockwise for a cooling effect. In winter, the fan should be running clockwise, pushing the warm air down. Learn more.







16. Fix leaks, fix leaking taps



One drop per second equals 7,000 litres of water wasted per year. Learn more.



17. Install a filter



Stop buying costly bottled water, which adds to the landfill.









18. Change your light bulbs



Lighting accounts for 15% of your energy bill. Replace old bulbs with ENERGY STAR rated bulbs.



19. Motion detector lights



Turn lights off outside when not in use.



20. Keep it dark



Light pollution is an increasing problem. Turn off outdoor lights to save energy and encourage night life such as bats and frogs. A single bat can eat tens of thousands of mosquitoes nightly. If you have safety concerns, use motion detector lights – which come on, only as needed.



21. Holiday lights



Use LED lights.







22. Replace your fridge



An old energy guzzling fridge costs you about $90 a year  to operate. Replace it with an ENERGY STAR fridge. BC Hydro will also not only come and pick up your old fridge free of charge, they’ll give you $30.




23. Replace your freezer



Buy an ENERGY STAR freezer and save money with lower operating costs.







24. Low flow shower



Hot water accounts for 25% of your energy costs. Showers can be the largest single contributor to overall hot water use in a home, accounting for 15% of total household energy use. Save with a low-flow showerhead.




25. High efficiency of dual flush toilets



These are now required in new homes because of water savings.









26. Use smart strips



Also known as power bars, this lets you power off all equipment at the same time.



27. Buy energy smart electronics



Buy energy smart electronics and save.



28. Recycle your old electronics



Yard improvement



29. Conserve water



Fresh water comprises just 3% the world’s total water supply, so conserve. Get a rain barrel and harvest water you can use in your garden. Local governments such as Coquitlam and Richmond will subsidize the cost.



30. Less lawn and low-maintenance lawns



Lawns waste water. Instead, conserve and beautify using indigenous plants such as ferns, tiger lilies and hostas. Or try a low-maintenance lawn that is made up of a diverse mix of hardy, drought-tolerant, slow-growing turf grasses, that require less mowing, fertilizing and watering than conventional lawn species.



31. Elbow grease



Don’t power wash your driveway. Sweep it or use a scrub brush and pail.



32. Drip irrigation



It saves water compared to sprinklers.



33. Grow your own 



How much more will you spend on food this year? Even a few miniature fruit trees and a small vegetable garden in a raised bed or in containers on your deck will help keep you healthy and save you dollars. Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries and blueberries thrive in our climate. Learn more.



34. Preserve your poduce 



Invest in home canning jars and equipment and a small freezer and enjoy your produce year round – at considerable savings. Here’s how.



35. Bee friendly



We need bees to pollinate, so plant a few bee-friendly annuals such as asters, marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias; or perennials such as clematis, foxgloves, hollyhocks, roses or shrubs such as Buddleia. Consider becoming an urban bee keeper, some municipalities like Vancouver allow bee keeping in your backyard.



36. Go chemical-free



“Get rid of weeds without using chemicals that harm us and our pets,” advises REALTOR® and Richmond City counselor, Derek Dang, who led the way to a bylaw banning cosmetic pesticides. His suggestion, “Use dish detergent or weed by hand.”



37. Plant fruit trees



They’ll give you shade and fruit. Growing guide.



38. Compost



It will make your garden grow and divert waste from the landfill.




Green and clean



39. Clean green 



Vinegar, baking soda and lemons clean as well as expensive, chemical-filled cleaning supplies for a fraction of the cost. 



40. Upgrade your washing machine



Replace your old washing machine with an ENERGY STAR washer that gets clothes clean using cold water. Wait until you have a full load instead of washing clothes as you need them. Clean the lint trap of your dryer after every use.



41. Green laundry detergent



Use phosphate-free, biodegradable detergent.



42. Install a clothesline



Dryers use a large amount of energy.



43. Get a rack



If your neighbourhood or strata prohibits clotheslines, buy a small drying rack.






Living Green



44. Recycle



Recycling keeps materials that can be recovered (paper, glass, metals, plastics, food etc) out of the landfills; and in the case of organics like paper, food, yard waste, it significantly reduces greenhouse gases from landfills. Learn more.



45. Buy local



Buy local, organic and fair trade food. Your food doesn’t travel long distances, you support local farmers and the local economy and you consume less pesticides.



46. Don't use paper or plastic



Use cloth bags when you shop or reuse your plastic bags




47. Backyard chickens and bees



Become involved in your own food production, raise chickens for their eggs or bees for their honey in your backyard.




48. Borrow green

Most financial institutions offer “green” mortgages, including:

• BMO Eco Smart Mortgage offers home buyers preferred interest rates on qualifying green properties.

• RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage gives home buyers a $300 rebate for a home energy audit and preferred interest rates.

• Vancity offers a Bright Ideas Home Renovation Loan at prime +1% to home buyers and owners making green renovations.

• CMHC offers a 10% Mortgage Loan Premium refund and possible extended amortization for buyers purchasing an energy-efficient mortgage or making energy saving renovations.

49. Loan programs

Pay-as-you-Save (PAYS) loan program will help home owners and businesses finance energy efficiency improvements through a loan from BC Hydro or FortisBC. Pilot programs starting in November 2012 in certain BC locations.



50. Green Tool Kit

BC Real Estate Association’s Green Tool Kit provides information, references and links. It also provides comprehensive information on rebates and incentives.



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Looking for and comparing rates online is easy but what's not so easy is finding mortgage term comparisons. The term of a mortgage is often overlooked by focusing more on mortgage rates. It will truly pay to get the right advice from your mortgage advisor depending on your individual circumstances which term to take but more importantly how much interest and/or penalties you could possibly pay or avoid depending on what mortgage term you take. So to get the term right the first time is very important.
To paraphrase a recent article by Canadian Mortgage Trends; If you pick a closed mortgage with the wrong term you're stuck with that rate until maturity unless you pay a penalty to break it. If you choose a "no frills" mortgage to get the lowest possible rate but with more restrictions you're often barred from breaking that term for any reason except if you sell your property.
Mortgage rates fall into 1 of 2 groups: Long term and short term. Choosing between these terms is not about predicting rates. It's more about identifying risks and estimating the probabilities of these risks adversely impacting you.
If you are trying to decide which term is best for you, your mortgage advisor should conduct a discovery meeting. They should ask you lots of questions in order to help you make, not only, an honest assessment of your current financial position but also your future plans.
Here are some of the reasons you would want to consider 1 of the 2 groups:
A long-term mortgage makes sense if:
  • A 25- to 30-per-cent-plus payment increase would cause you financial stress. (That's the payment hike that a short-term borrower might face if rates rise as economists project.) 
  • Your 'emergency fund' covers less than six months of living expenses 
  • You have minimal equity and net worth 
  • There's a chance your earnings could drop due to job instability, a highly variable income, upcoming retirement, an educational leave, an extended care leave, etc. 
  • You're heavily invested in long-term fixed income, which creates more risk to your 'personal balance sheet' if you've also got a short mortgage term and rates surge 
  • You want greater certainty when projecting cash flow on an income property 
A short-term mortgage may be the way to go if:
  • You expect to pay off large chunks of your mortgage or sell your home within the next three years 
  • You have a short remaining amortization (e.g. 5-6 years or less) 
  • Your credit is subpar and you need a non-prime mortgage just long enough to rehabilitate your credit so you can qualify with a prime lender 
  • You need to refinance in coming years to access your equity for a life event, education, investment purposes, business use, etc 
  • You strongly believe that rates won't rise in any meaningful way over the next 12 months, you can afford to be wrong, you've found a short-term rate that's far lower than long-term rates, and you can make higher-than-required payments. 
Here's some more in depth examples pulled directly from the article by Canadian Mortgage Trends:
"Let's suppose you've decided a long-term mortgage is right for you. The next question is: Which one?
The answer changes as rates change and at this very minute, it's almost too close to call. The five-year fixed (currently around 3.24 per cent) and the 10-year fixed (currently 3.89 per cent) are running neck and neck in terms of value.
Assuming you have a 25-year amortization and make payments as if you had a 10-year fixed term, a five-year mortgage will save you $3,259 in the first 60 months, for every $100,000 of mortgage.
By comparison, a 10-year term saves you interest if five-year fixed rates rise more than 1.60 percentage points in five years.
What are the odds of rates climbing 1.60 percentage points? Well, if you believe Bank of Canada warnings and economic forecasts, you shouldn't bet against it. In the last three interest rate cycles, five-year rates have climbed an average of 2.46 percentage points, albeit for a short time only. So if your financial footing isn't as stable as you'd like, the 10-year is probably worth the extra 'insurance' cost for the peace of mind.
I've excluded the comparable math on four- and seven-year mortgages because their pricing simply isn't good enough at the moment.
If you've examined your financial position and found that you're better suited to a shorter term, the best value currently is a three-year fixed. That is based on the hypothetical assumption that rates will increase moderately starting late this year or early 2013. It also assumes you won't need to discharge your mortgage early.
You can find three-year mortgages rates today for less than you'd pay with most variable rates and it gives you three years of rate protection.
After three years, you can renew into the best value at the time. You could then choose a variable mortgage, if variable-rate discounts improve - as some people are predicting.
The options laid out above are a glimpse at how a mortgage planner might determine your ideal term. There are, of course, countless other criteria and lots of exceptions."

Note: Information taken from an article on Canadian Mortgage Trends.

Tony Marchigiano 310-328 West Hastings Street
Mortgage Broker Vancouver, BC

cell: 604 505 7109
fax: 604 909 4666
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The new down payment rules are in full effect. Those purchasing homes above $500,000 will be required to put 10% down on any additional amount above $500,000. Home buyers who purchase homes below $500,000 will see no change. Homes above $1,000,000 require 20% down payment. This is a much better solution than the minimum 10% down payment to $1,000,000 that was under consideration.

While this might sound like a significant change, less than 1 in 10 first time homebuyers in Canada purchase a home valued at more than $500,000 and a substantial amount of those buyers put more than 5% down.

So who does it affect? It’s targeted at buyers in larger Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. Our government appears to be trying to slow down the real estate market in larger cities and manage their risk regarding CMHC insured mortgages. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) confirmed that real estate prices across the country have risen 18% year over year but if Vancouver and Toronto were removed, the increase is at a more sustainable rate of 5.4%.

Lenders are gearing up for the spring market with competitive rates and real estate inventory is beginning to grow in most markets. Whether you are looking for your first home, your dream home or an investment, now is the time to get a mortgage pre-approval and lock in your rate.

Call or email me today.



Tony Marchigiano, 
Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

(604) 505-7109

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British Columbia introduced tax changes in its provincial budget Tuesday to help buyers and builders of new homes valued up to $750,000, while targeting people able to afford properties priced above $2 million.

Housing policy experts and the NDP panned the tax measures as inadequate, saying bolder action was needed to help young people enter the hot housing market.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the government considers housing affordability an area of major concern. Average prices for homes in many Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods are above $1 million.

Prices for single-family homes in most areas of Metro Vancouver have increased between 45 per cent and 70 per cent over the past five years, while the cost of multi-family homes has jumped between 15 and 40 per cent.


``Is there anything more reflective of who we are as Canadians than the dream of owning a home, and the ability to make that dream a reality?'' de Jong said. ``For many B.C. families, that reality has become harder to achieve in recent years as home prices have continued to rise.''

He said the province's fourth consecutive balanced budget, which has a surplus of $264 million, contains a new housing initiative that exempts payment of property transfer taxes on newly built homes, including condominiums, priced up to $750,000.

The current property transfer tax is set at one per cent on the first $200,000 and two per cent on the remaining price.

De Jong said the exemption will save buyers of a new home $13,000. People who buy older homes will continue to pay the property purchase tax at the current rates.

New Democrat Leader John Horgan called the changes cosmetic.

``They were not what people were looking for,'' he said. ``They were looking for substantive change to help people get into the market.''


University of B.C. housing policy expert Paul Kershaw said the budget has done little to help British Columbians enter the market, especially young people in Metro Vancouver where he estimated it takes 23 years to save for a down payment on a home.

``As a result, he's actually missed the reality that unaffordability is a provincewide problem and it looks more and more like our province is drunk on high housing prices.''

De Jong said much of the new housing exemption will be funded with the creation of a third tier of property transfer tax. It involves increasing the property transfer tax rate to three per cent on the value of a home over $2 million.

Buyers of property above $2 million will still pay the existing purchase tax rates of one per cent on the first $100,000 and two per cent for homes up to $2 million but the rate rises to three per cent tax on any value above $2 million.

De Jong said the three per cent tax is estimated to raise $75 million annually, the amount the government believes it will need to offset the exemptions for new home buyers.

He said buyers will also be required to disclose their citizenship so the government can collect data on who is purchasing property.

``The government stopped collecting data that specifically identified foreign purchasers in 1998,'' de Jong said. ``We believe there is a legitimate need to resume that process again.''

The budget also exempts children from medical service premiums starting next January and increases disability payments by $77 a month.

The Medical Services Plan exemptions will benefit single-parent families by reducing monthly payments by up to $72.

De Jong said the budget also includes the first deposit of $100 million to its promised Prosperity Fund, which was billed three years ago to potentially grow to $100 billion with revenues from the liquefied natural gas industry.


SOURCE < RealEstateProfessional

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