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TransUnion, a credit-monitoring firm, reported that 26 million Canadians have some form of debt, including mortgages, lines of credit, and credit card debt. Overall, most Canadians can easily manage their mortgage and other outside debt in the current environment.

One should always be on the lookout for ways to save on interest paid on all current debts including mortgages, lines of credit and credit cards while finding the opportunities to pay down the overall debt as quickly as possible to decrease vulnerability when interest rates are higher.

As a mortgage professional, I understand how interest rates actually work and the negative impact rising rates can have on financial plans and security. If you or someone you know is thinking of buying a home, now would be the time to take advantage of low rates but also borrow smartly with a long term strategy in place.

Contact me today and see why dealing with a mortgage professional, like me, can help with achieving financial security.


Tony Marchigiano, 
Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

(604) 505-7109

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Vancouver will have a levy on empty homes in time for the 2017 tax season, and neighbours will be leaned on to help enforce it, Mayor Gregor Robertson and city staff told reporters today.

The annual tax will apply to anyone who self-declares an empty home on their tax bill and it will likely be 0.5 to two per cent of the home’s assessed value, according to a staff report prepared in advance of a council vote on the matter next week.

The empty homes tax would be a first in Canada and comes amid a near-zero rental vacancy rate in the city and on the heels of a city-commissioned study that claimed to have found 10,800 homes sitting empty year-round.

“This empty homes tax is first and foremost about bringing rental homes back onto the market,” Robertson said.

Staff plan to rely on a snitch-and-audit system to make sure homeowners comply with the tax. With Vancouver homes selling at an average of $1.1 million apiece, a two per cent amounts to $22,000, or $1,835 per month. That’s far less than such a home would generate in monthly rent, but the levy is hefty enough that some homeowners may try to dodge it.

Kathleen Llewellyn-Thomas, the city’s general manager of community services, explained how the city plans to catch those that do.

The city would require homeowners to declare whether their Vancouver home was their “principal residence” using a definition similar to that in the B.C. Home Owner Grant. Such residences that are regularly occupied, or secondary homes lived in by tenants or family members would be exempt from the tax.

Staff would then perform random and snitch-driven audits to sniff out homeowners who had not been truthful. Auditors would request things like drivers’ licences, health cards and documents from the Canada Revenue Agency for proof of principal residency — proof that the city can now legally demand given recent changes to the Vancouver Charter, Llewellyn-Thomas noted.

When asked if she really thought people would self-declare an empty home, Llewellyn-Thomas said: “It’s the same as the income tax process. That’s the basis of our tax system here in Canada and so the audit process and the complaints process will keep people honest.”

When people are found not to have been honest, they will be hit with a penalty. What that penalty will be is yet to be decided.

Also yet to be determined is who, precisely, will be exempted from the tax. It’s one of the biggest questions residents who find themselves away from their homes for months at a time will have about the tax, and it’s one that staff don’t have the answer to. Robertson was quick to say very few Vancouver residents would be subject to the tax, but staff plan to consult residents this fall on how far reaching it should be.

“We understand that there are lots of different reasons why people have left their homes empty,” Llewellyn-Thomas said.

“We will be testing various scenarios and asking the public to bring us scenarios as well.”

Among the exemptions staff have proposed for discussion so far include homes that are:

In probate or whose owner or tenant is in care;

Subject to rental restrictions;

Undergoing major renovations.

Empty laneway houses or basement suites would not be taxed as long as at least one unit on the same parcel of land is occupied, according to the report. But as to whether a home that is empty for six months a year should be treated like one that’s empty for nine? Staff don’t know that yet either.

The most obvious homes that city staff want to tax are those that are empty year-round, year after year. When asked whether Vancouver residents could afford to rent the kinds of houses and condos whose owners can afford to keep them perpetually empty, Llewellyn-Thomas said staff expect “when the supply of rental accommodation increases, the price and the supply and demand will find an equilibrium.”

At least $2 million in revenue would be generated from the tax annually and that would be enough to cover the costs of administering it, Robertson estimated. Any revenue earned above expenses would go to affordable housing, he said.

Robertson was quick to caution that the tax “is not a silver bullet” that would lift the vacancy rate on its own, but “an important tool to start the shift.” He expected many to rent their homes rather than pay the tax.

“Some people who can afford it will not want to rent out their property, and therefore, they’re going to make a generous contribution to affordable housing in Vancouver,” he said.


SOURCE < VancouverSun

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I'm sure most have heard by now but in case you didn't the BC Government announced at the end of July that 
Non Residents will now be subject to a 15% PTT(Property Transfer Tax) when they purchase homes here in the Lower Mainland.
That same PTT has not changed for us BC Residents; that is 1% of the 1st 200K of the purchase price & 2% of everything thereafter. Unless you're a 1st time HB making a purchase under 475K. Or, and this is new as of this spring, you purchase a brand new property; then any BC Resident is exempt from the PTT up to 750K Purchase Price. Keep in my though on a purchase of a brand new place you still have to pay GST; existing properties you do not. 
Clear as mud? Hopefully a little more clear than that. If you have any tax related questions with regards to buying a home please don't hesitate to contact me anytime.


Tony Marchigiano
310-328 West Hastings Street
Mortgage Broker
Vancouver, BC
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West Vancouver developer British Pacific Properties (BPP) has launched a public consultation drive to help to bring to life a master-planned community above the Upper Levels Highway that they’re calling their most ambitious development since Park Royal shopping mall in 1950.

BPP is asking the community to help shape the 350-acre master plan for Cypress Village, the first significant mixed-use development above the Upper Levels Highway in West Vancouver.

The idea for a village near the first switchback of Cypress Bowl Road emerged in 2004 and focuses on a tract of land between the Rodgers Creek neighbourhood to the east and the future Cypress West neighbourhood to the west, and bound by Westmount and Cypress creeks.

The company is working on “one of the most comprehensive” community engagements ever undertaken by a single private property owner in Metro Vancouver, BPP president Geoff Croll told the Sun last week.

Croll said they’ve enlisted the public’s help to shape three different master plans with varying levels of density that would eventually be brought formally to council. Cypress Village would include houses, townhouses, apartments, as well as rental and seniors’ housing. Croll said the project could also include a community centre, civic plaza and several shops, services and restaurants.

Croll described the first of three possible plans as having a compact, commercial area similar to Dundarave, divided by a main street and surrounded by housing.  A second option suggests a “mini Whistler”, with a pedestrian-only commercial area surrounded by four-to-six storey buildings; and a third plan — similar to Vancouver’s Olympic Village — would have a concentration of taller, mixed-use buildings with lower density buildings surrounding the core.

“A key part of the process included inviting high-profile speakers to talk to the community about urbanism and smart growth to broaden the discussion about how built environments can influence our quality of life,” Croll said.

The speakers included Richard Florida, an urbanist and author of The Rise of the Creative Class; Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City, and demographer David Foot, who wrote Boom, Bust & Echo.

“It’s a great way of sparking dialogue, of sparking rational debate,” Croll said. “It’s people just talking about what community means to them.”

He said Cypress Village would be more varied than a neighbourhood of single-family homes so common in West Van. “There’s an opportunity there to put everything on the table. What does the community need? What does the community want? And how can we accommodate that?”

West Vancouver’s manager of community planning David Hawkins declined an interview, saying in an email that the updated Cypress Village plan won’t be presented to council until later this fall. But he told the CBC in April, 2015, that the centralized village concept aims to preserve much of the mountainside for environmental reasons, including protecting 500-year-old trees in the area.

A volunteer citizens’ working group completed a report of the Upper Lands — including the Cypress Village plot — in June, 2015, which listed 29 recommendations including that residential development should not go above 365 metres elevation, or the 1,200-foot contour line. The group also recommended the prevention of housing sprawl in the area.

Croll said BPP has no plans to develop any residential properties above the contour line, but is considering alternative community uses.

“What doesn’t the community have? They don’t have a hospital, they don’t have a post-secondary institution,” he said. “They don’t have a hotel, and so those are the uses you could do above 1,200 feet that are consistent with the recommendations from the Upper Land Working Group, and the zoning would also meet the needs of the community.”

West Vancouver city councillor Nora Gambioli lauded BPP’s public engagement drive.  “They’re doing something very creative,” she said last week. “They’re doing their best to bring in these progressive speakers, who are talking about all these great things like demographics and urban planning.”

Gambioli said she attended two of the three speaking events. “They’ve had a big attendance, which is great, but a lot of the people I see there are the people who are already involved.”

She said she supports the Cypress Village idea, but not the timing. “It’s a wonderful concept,” she said. “But the district needs to balance their duties to all other projects and ideas … BPP is pushing this because this is their business.”

She said the district has many other priorities that require attention from staff and council. “We have a lot of other locations for development, which are much closer to transportation, which are much closer to schools that already exist, and much closer to fire halls that already exist.”

Croll said BPP hopes to wrap up the creation of the framework plans imminently. “Then we’ll go away and fine-tune these framework plans, and then we’ll present those to the municipality later in the fall,” he said.  “Then the municipality would consider whether they want to move forward with committing resources to taking that work that we’ve done and then start phase two,” he said.


SOURCE < TheVancouverSun

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You'll pay for the privilege of paying of your mortgage. How much and what are the fees and costs for is explained very well by a fellow mortgage professional, Rob McLister, in a recent Globe & Mail article. He'll explain all the do's and dont's for when that happy day does come where you're in a position to pay that sucker off!
See below for the full article and details:

"Expect a goodbye kiss from your lender when you finally pay off your mortgage.

An example of inappropriate contact? You bet. A goodbye kiss is the euphemism in the mortgage biz for the fees that clients are typically charged when they finish paying their mortgages and reach a zero balance.

Paying your mortgage off is a highlight personal finance moment in life – an opportunity to shift major amounts of household cash flow from debt repayment to something else. May I suggest retirement savings if you’re stuck for ideas.

There are costs to mortgage freedom that suggest two rules for approaching your final payment. One is to have as much as a few hundred bucks available to pay your discharge fees, and another is not to get so over-amped about mortgage freedom that you pay your balance owing early. Do this and you will likely increase the costs of ending the relationship with your mortgage lender.

Discharging a mortgage is more complicated than simply making a final payment on a debt. When you arranged your mortgage, your lender registered a lien against the title of your home as security in case you don’t pay what you owe. The discharge removes this lien, with administrative charges potentially coming from both your bank and the province.

All-in costs are typically in the area of $250, but vary from province to province. For example, Toronto-Dominion Bank said it charges $260 in Ontario and $75 in British Columbia.

A way to potentially make this money back over time is to inform your home insurer that there is no longer a mortgage on your home. The mortgage-free discount at some insurers can run as high as 10 to 20 per cent, but don’t get your hopes up. Some firms reserve the discount for people who are mortgage-free and don’t have a line of credit secured by their home.

Don’t shut down your home equity lines of credit just to get this home insurance discount. HELOCs, as they’re known in the banking biz, are the lowest-cost and most flexible way for financially disciplined people to borrow. They are also a good alternative to reverse mortgages for seniors who need cash.

Online banking gives you the opportunity to watch your outstanding mortgage balance wind down over time as you make your payments. When you get within a few months of the end, you may be tempted to speed things along by paying off the remaining balance in one lump sum.

Resist the impulse. Though you’re close to the natural end of your mortgage, a prepayment penalty will likely apply in this situation. “If you’re, like, a month away from your last payment and you break your mortgage, you can still be charged three months’ interest,” said Robert McLister, a mortgage planner and founder of “Some lenders will only charge the interest balance due until maturity.”

Generally speaking, the penalty for breaking a fixed-rate mortgage is the greater of three months’ interest on your mortgage or a calculation called the interest rate differential, or IRD. The IRD compensates your lender for interest you would have paid if you’d stuck to your scheduled payments. Variable-rate mortgages typically use the three months’ interest penalty.

If you break a mortgage well before it’s paid off, you’ll typically pay the IRD. Three months’ interest will apply to a mortgage on the brink of being paid off because it would deliver the higher penalty fee to your lender.

Depending on your lender, breaking a mortgage in the early years can also generate what’s called a reinvestment fee. For example, TD charges a $300 reinvestment fee for variable and fixed-rate mortgages that are paid off early during the first term. TD says the fee helps offset the costs of acquiring and funding a mortgage.

Mr. McLister describes the reinvestment fee as “one of those ‘what the hell is this’ charges.” But the discharge fee charged to people who have dutifully paid their mortgage to the end will also grate. Maybe your lender will waive the fee – it never hurts to ask, especially if you’re been a long-time loyal client. Otherwise, consider the payment one last toll to be paid on the way to mortgage freedom and a big bump in your monthly retirement savings."


Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker

Vancouver, BC

cell: 604 505 7109

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A recent article from Canadian mortgage lender, First National, discusses the fact that conventional wisdom is what happens in the States happens here in Canada; but is this still the case?


See the full article below:


"It is conventional wisdom that if you want to know what is going to happen in Canada you watch what is happening in the United States.


Lately all the talk in the U.S. has been about interest rates.  Both the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Canada have wanted to raise rates for some time and the Chair of the Fed says the case in favour of a hike is stronger.  However, during her speech at the annual central bankers’ gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Janet Yellen offered no notion about when that might happen.


The U.S. Fed has three more policy meetings scheduled before the end of the year, in September, November and December and there are those who speculate there could even be two increases in that time.  It seems unlikely though.  With the presidential election, sluggish growth, sub-optimal employment and inflation below its 2.0% target, the Fed is not under a lot of pressure to move as fast as some of the hawks might like."

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For the second straight month, home buyer demand in Metro Vancouver* moved off of the record-breaking pace seen earlier this year and returned to more typical levels.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver totalled 2,489 in August 2016, a decline of 26 per cent compared to the 3,362 sales in August 2015; 10.2 per cent less than the 2,771 sales in August 2014; and one per cent less than the 2,514 sales in August 2013. August 2016 sales also represent a 22.8 per cent decline compared to last month’s sales.

From a historical perspective, last month’s sales were 3.5 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.

“The record-breaking sales we saw earlier this year were replaced by more historically normal activity throughout July and August,” Dan Morrison, REBGV president said. "Sales have been trending downward in Metro Vancouver for a few months. The new foreign buyer tax appears to have added to this trend by reducing foreign buyer activity and causing some uncertainty amongst local home buyers and sellers.

“It’ll take some months before we can really understand the impact of the new tax. We'll be interested to see the government's next round of foreign buyer data."

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,293 in August 2016. This represents an increase of 0.3 per cent compared to the 4,281 units listed in August 2015 and an 18.1 per cent decrease compared to July 2016 when 5,241 properties were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver is 8,506, a 21.9 per cent decline compared to August 2015 (10,897) and a 1.9 per cent increase from July 2016 (8,351).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2016 is 29.3 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.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $933,100. This represents a 31.4 per cent increase compared to August 2015 and a 4.9 per cent increase over the last three months.

“In aggregate, we continue to see an imbalance between supply and demand in most communities. However, we’re also seeing fewer detached sales in the highest price points and fewer detached home sales relative to all residential sales,” Morrison said. “This is causing average sale prices to show a decline in recent months, while benchmark home prices remain virtually unchanged from July.”

The average price is the simplest home price measure to explain but is not the most accurate since it may be skewed by the mix of properties. More high-end or low-end sales will skew the number up or down. Based on the Consumer Price Index, MLS HPI® benchmark prices are a more reliable and stable indicator of typical home prices across regions over time.

Sales of detached properties in August 2016 reached 715, a decrease of 44.6 per cent from the 1,290 detached sales recorded in August 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 35.8 per cent from August 2015 to $1,577,300. This represents a 4.2 per cent increase over the last three months.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,343 in August 2016, a decrease of 10.1 per cent compared to the 1,494 sales in August 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 26.9 per cent from August 2015 to $514,300. This represents a 6.1 per cent increase over the last three months.

Attached property sales in August 2016 totalled 431, a decrease of 25.4 per cent compared to the 578 sales in August 2015. The benchmark price of an attached home increased 31.1 per cent from August 2015 to $677,600. This represents a 7.1 per cent increase over the last three months.

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Whether or not you are familiar with the term "purpose-built rental stock," chances are that you will be hearing more about it soon.

The Canadian real estate market is a major driving factor for the economy right now, and the rental market segment is a contributing force. Purpose-built rental units are making a comeback and in coming years they will play a larger role in the Canadian rental real estate market.


The Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation (CMHC) defines purpose-built rental stock as "privately initiated, purpose-built rental structures of three units or more."

If you can't picture what that looks like, a quick drive down the Gardiner Expressway will make it very clear. Interest rates are low, renter demand is high and investors are looking for alternate income streams. These combined factors create the perfect condition for purpose-built housing projects to thrive.

Buying a home is far less attainable than it used to be for young couples and home ownership isn't the holy grail of retirement that it was for previous generations of Canadians.

Primary vs. Secondary Rental Market

Properties within the rental real estate market are categorized into two sub-groups. The primary rental market consists of purpose-built rental stock, which are large structures with multiple units that were built with the intent of each unit being rented. Most of these structures are apartment buildings, as the primary rental market (made of purpose-built rental stock) consists of rental units that exist within privately owned structures in groups of three or more, including both apartment buildings and row housing divisions.

On the other side, the secondary rental market consists of renter-occupied rental units that do no fall into the above category. This includes buildings with fewer than three units, condominiums (often which have a mix of owners and renters) single detached homes and various other structures. This market is steadily growing along with sprawling urban developments, but this has been the case for several years.


On The Rise Since 2000


During the mid 90s, construction of new purpose-built rental projects took a major nose dive. After Canadian interest rates hit an all-time high of 16 per cent in February of 1991, to little surprise, people weren't buying properties. Since 2000, interest rates have been below five per cent and real estate has been sky rocketing, including construction projects in both the primary and secondary rental markets.

Furthermore, when borrowing money is cheap, both builders and buyers of apartments and condos reap the benefits. Lowered interest rates mean less debt for builders, and low mortgage rates makes buying more affordable, especially for first-time property owners. Both factors fuel the need for new developments, and the added jobs created from all these projects has certainly helped the Canadian economy that is experiencing tough times in other sectors like manufacturing and energy.


Fresh Investment Opportunity


As investors and stock holders deal with a stormy economic situation, new investment streams are needed, and real estate is booming. Builders are hammering out buildings in record numbers, and investors like the steady and reliable income that the purpose-built units provide. Since the 1990s, the percentage of apartment construction projects that are purpose-built has never been higher. While there is debate of how much of that can be accounted for by foreign investment, there is no shortage of articles talking about the effect of Chinese investors on housing prices.


Renting is Back!


The idea of working for your whole life, making sacrifices and being "house broke" to pay your mortgage is becoming an antiquated train of thought, especially when prices are this high. Buying a home is far less attainable than it used to be for young couples and home ownership isn't the holy grail of retirement that it was for previous generations of Canadians.

There are a host of social factors that also contribute to the increase demand for rental units. The consumeristic, modern mentality of making life count and living in the moment means short-term life enjoyment (travel, fine dining) can supersede long-term financial goals.

You'll find it can be a good time to be a renter while housing prices continue to stay at multi-year highs.

Whether you attribute that to the generation of Millennials or simply acknowledge that many people now prefer to have liquid assets and enjoy themselves, Canadians are living a more nomadic lifestyle than previous generations. This includes life changes like switching careers (let alone jobs) and living in the proverbial "now."

The future of Canada looks extremely bright, and there are new Canadians every year looking for places to live in high-demand markets, thereby also driving up the need for rental units.


Vacancy Rates


The vacancy rates for the primary rental market in Canada was 3.5 per cent as of October 2015, which is a 0.5 per cent increase from the previous year. Rental markets in cities like Calgary (that have a high number of temporary energy sector workers) are soft, contributing to the overall high vacancy rate which is much lower in the blazing hot Toronto and Vancouver markets. Overall, there are lots of options out there and new developments are transforming Canadian neighbourhoods into world renowned cities.

This means that smart renters know there are deals to be had, which is why it's so important to use the resources at your disposal to find the best place to live. Apartment and real estate finders like have helped thousands of renters across Canada find apartments to rent using intuitive search features which allow users to sort through thousands of apartment listings which match the criteria searched.

There are more options in the rental market than ever before, and there are no signs of it slowing down, so use the resources available online and you'll find it can be a good time to be a renter while housing prices continue to stay at multi-year highs.

SOURCE > TheHuffingtonPost

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The building at 950 West Broadway in Vancouver is unremarkable, a two-storey concrete structure that is home to an IHOP, a Japanese restaurant and an insurance broker, among other things.

But it sold last May for a phenomenal $46-million, according to B.C. Assessment Authority records, even though it had been assessed at just $18-million. It was the latest record-breaking sale in what has been a year of high-water marks for commercial properties along Broadway.

Why so high? As Colliers, the agency listing the property, put it: “Without question, the highly anticipated UBC-Broadway Rapid Transit Line has placed a spotlight on West Broadway and amplified demand for land and investment assets.”

That sale and others demonstrate the impact that a future transit line – even one that has no confirmed funding or firm completion date – can have on an area.

“There’s been a land rush on Broadway,” says Jon Stovell, the chair of the region’s Urban Development Institute. “Developers have been purchasing with an expectation it will be one of the densest areas in the region.”

That’s all in anticipation of the extension of the Broadway SkyTrain line from Commercial Drive in the east to Arbutus Street in the west, a plan that has been talked about for a couple of decades.

If built, the line would serve a corridor that has been called Vancouver’s third downtown, a long strip that is already packed with medical offices, restaurants and stores. Some parts of it have office towers already, especially near Vancouver General Hospital, but much of it is unprepossessing and low-rise.

But hopes are high that the new transit line will actually happen this time, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made specific promises about transit funding for Broadway during his campaign last fall.

So far, only initial planning money has been committed. Everyone is now waiting for what’s called the second-phase funding, which is supposed to be negotiated this fall in anticipation of a much bigger commitment to transit projects across the country by the Liberals in their second budget next February.

Even when that comes through, though, it could be as much as a decade before the Broadway extension opens.

As well, it’s unclear at this point whether the city will rezone the area for more density. At the moment, much of the central corridor is zoned to allow for buildings that are equivalent to just three times the lot size.

“Once we have confirmed funding and an annual project, we’ll engage in a planning process,” says Jane Pickering, Vancouver’s acting general manager of planning. “Around transit stations, it’s pretty clear there will be some densification.”

One area that does have the green light for greater density is around the existing Commercial-Broadway station, the second-busiest in the transit system. Increased density around that station was recently approved as part of the Grandview-Woodlands community plan, which is mapping out what services are needed as the neighbourhood grows by 10,000 people over the next 25 years.

There is a Safeway grocery store with a large parking lot next to it, where developer Ian Gillespie of Westbank Corp., who has worked with Safeway on other projects in the past, is in the midst of designing a new complex of towers with residential and office space.

Mr. Stovell says he’s certain the province, which has to commit to millions of dollars in funding, along with the federal money, for the project to proceed, will be pushing the city to allow more density.

“Clearly, the province is convinced the Broadway line has to go along with densification. They’re not going to allow what happened on the Expo line again,” he says.

The city’s first transit line opened in 1986 – the Expo line ran from downtown Vancouver to Surrey – and is remarkable for the low density of development that still exists around its stations 30 years later.

But there are no firm guarantees on exactly what density will be allowed.

That’s not stopping property buyers, though.

Mr. Stovell’s company, Reliance Holdings, acquired a large site eight blocks east of the IHOP restaurant, the current Mountain Equipment Co-op store that is due to move in a couple of years.

The property, currently valued at $47-million, was acquired by his company last June for a price that doesn’t appear in B.C. land records.

Another noted land deal along the corridor was the purchase by the long-established Vancouver family, the Pappajohns, of the Denny’s restaurant site on Broadway three blocks west of the IHOP site.

That was purchased for $26-million, double the 2015 assessed value, in February this year.

Besides those purchases, the City of Vancouver and TransLink, the transportation agency that will be building and operating the Broadway line, have bought pieces of land at key locations, several sources say.

But one problem with the early buying at high prices is that it may actually hinder development, at a time when Vancouver is suffering from a severe squeeze on housing. Both house prices and rents have been soaring in the past year, as existing and new residents, along with investors, have competed hard for the slow-growing supply of housing.

Some of the current speculation is “stripping more supply out of the market,” says Avison Young principal Mehdi Shokri. “Transit is supposed to be helping spur development, but we’re going to find we’re adding more pressure to the supply problem,” he says.

As a result, he says, sites west of where the new line is supposed to stop are seeing more development activity because builders there know there is likely to be no change, so they’re proceeding on the basis of the current zoning.

But in the hot new transit-line area, people are holding off.

For example, the buyer of 950 West Broadway is a company called Hometop Enterprises that was created just last February.

The company’s incorporator is Bao Meng Wen, with an address in the city’s upscale Kerrisdale neighbourhood. The company does not appear to have any development experience.

New purchasers like that feel that they can only get a return on the high prices they paid if they get considerably more density – and will wait however many years it takes to get that, says Mr. Shokri.

Mr. Stovell adds, “We won’t see a lot of projects breaking ground until there is clarity on the zoning.”

But he expects it will go quickly after that. He is hoping to build a large rental project on the MEC site and anticipates that others might do the same.

“One of the things I think you’ll see out of the gate is a lot of rental. Rental works in the current market.”


SOURCE > TheGlobeAndMail

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Canadian real estate prices remain strong. This is in large part due to a low interest rate environment that not only affects borrowers but investors as well. With low deposit interest rates in Canada, US and Europe, investors are looking for appreciating assets to invest in.

Canada with its diverse stable economy is a desirable place for all sorts of investments and real estate has been the choice for many looking to acquire assets that appreciate.

Meanwhile, the Federal and Provincial governments have been trying to slow down the pace at which home prices have been increasing without any noticeable success and with some unintended consequences. The demand just seems to outweigh the supply which could be for years to come in this low interest rate environment.

Now, maybe more than ever, houses are considered more than a place to live but a true financial investment and having the right financing in place is crucial to the long term performance of your investment.  As your Mortgage Professional, I can provide strategies that can help you save thousands in interest costs as well as show you how to use the equity in your home to further your financial goals.

Call or email me today.


Tony Marchigiano, 
Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

(604) 505-7109

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Broadway station, Commercial Drive and Hastings Street all see significant bumps to density limits.

Several pockets of East Vancouver are now ripe for redevelopment, thanks to Vancouver city council’s July 28 approval of the Grandview- Woodland Community Plan (GWCP), which provides direction for future rezonings in the area bounded by East Broadway, Clark Drive, Nanaimo Street and Burrard Inlet.


The plan significantly increases development potential for several areas, including:

•near the corner of Commercial Drive and Venables Street;

•around the Broadway and Commercial Drive SkyTrain station; and

•the strip of East Hastings Street east of Clark Drive.

The plan has drawn strong opposition from many residents, who created the No Tower Coalition and protested against the 12-storey tower that the Kettle Society and Boffo Properties are proposing to build at the corner of Commercial Drive and Venables Street.

The coalition posted an open letter, castigating council for using what it called a “bait and switch” tactic.

That is because, in addition to approving the GWCP, council separately voted to leave open the possibility that, at a future rezoning, it could vote to allow the Kettle Boffo building to rise 12 storeys, instead of the nine-storey limit that the coalition had wanted and had believed council had agreed to. Current zoning on the site is for up to four storeys.


The tallest tower in the neighbourhood, however, is likely to be twice the height of the 12-storey Kettle Boffo tower.

The GWCP raised the maximum height limit to 24 storeys for sites around the East Broadway and Commercial Drive SkyTrain station.

That includes Crombie REIT’s 2.4-acre property, which has a single-level Safeway grocery store and a large single-level parking lot.

“There were higher buildings proposed a few years ago for that [Safeway] site – up to 36 storeys,” Kent Munro, who is the city planning department’s assistant director for midtown, told Business in Vancouver. “That caused a big backlash in the neighbourhood and was part of the reason that we spent another two years on the community plan.”

Munro believes the widespread consensus in the neighbourhood was that the land around the transit hub should be significantly denser than the four-to-five storey limit for redevelopment in the area.

“We had surprisingly little pushback or negative response to it,” he said.


When Crombie REIT representatives spoke to council, they hinted at a possible desire for redevelopment and to assure everyone that the intent would be to keep a grocery store on the site, Munro said.

No one from the company has yet filed an application to rezone the site to be what the GWCP now allows.

A final area that has significantly increased redevelopment potential is the stretch of East Hastings Street that moves up a hill east of Clark Drive.


The GWCP sets out that the tallest towers in that stretch will be 18 storeys. That matches height limits on East Hastings Street west of Clark Drive that were set out in the Downtown Eastside Community Plan that council approved in 2014.

“As you go eastward and up the hill, the towers will step down until, eventually, when you get up near Victoria Drive, it’s back down to six storeys and it will merge back into the Hastings Sunrise shopping area,” Munro said.

Heightened density potential for that strip could spark property sales in a way similar to what happened after council approved the West End Community Plan (WECP) in 2013.


SOURCE > BusinessInVancouver

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According to a recent survey by Bank of Montreal Canadians top financial priority is debt reduction. 30% of Canadians say it's their #1 priority. A mortgage is definitely your highest debt but usually has the best rate so if you have any other debts like credit card, line of credit or auto loan you would, most likely, want to pay those off first. When it comes to your mortgage, depending on your mortgage lender/bank, you should have several different options to pay that sucker off sooner rather than later. As a mortgage advisor I can also help you determine what you need to do in order to pay off your mortgage by a certain date or year. I can also produce several scenarios along with amortization charts in order to help you. Feel free to reach out to me anytime for advice around this or any other kind of home financing questions you may have.

Here's the full article by on Canadians top priority; paying down debt!:


"The top priority of 1 in 3 Canadians is to reduce or eliminate debt according to a new poll by BMO.


The lenders wealth management division also revealed that investing and tax efficiency (24 per cent); saving more (23 per cent); budgeting (14 per cent); and spending on personal needs or goals (4 per cent) were the other main priorities.


Priorities change depending on life stages though with Boomers more likely to want to tackle their debt than Millennials (who want to save more).


A number of events were identified among respondents as barriers to saving more or invest. These include stock market losses, failed business ventures, divorce/separation and financial loss on a property sale."


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

cell: 604 505 7109
fax: 604 909 4666


SOURCE > MortgageBrokerNews

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Renewing Your Mortgage - How it Works


Renewing your mortgage, especially if it's your first time, can be a little confusing. Your mortgage advisor should be giving you the advice you need in order to make the best decision for your current and future needs. To start this process consider the following steps to make a smooth and educated decision that is right for you:


Step 1 : Start thinking about your needs and goals.

If you're close to renewal, now is a great time to review your financial goals and your plans for the future. You might want to consider the following types of questions:

Has your financial situation changed since your last renewal?

Are you planning any home renovations or will you need additional funds?

Will you be moving within the next year?

Do you prefer fixed or variable rates, or are you unsure?

Your Mortgage Advisor should be asking you all of the above questions. If they're not or you want to determine some of this on your own try the following RBC tool for help choosing the right options:


 Which Type of Mortgage is Right for Me


Step 2 : Consider renewing early!

Some lending institutions will give you the ability to renew earlier than the maturity date. RBC allows you to do this up to 120 days out from your renewal/maturity date so you have ample time to discuss your current mortgage needs. If you renew early, you'll be able to lock in at current interest rates even sooner - which could save you thousands of dollars in interest if rates rise before your renewal date.


Step 3 : Review your mortgage renewal document!

Most lending institutions will send you a renewal letter in the mail. Review this document in detail. Ensure you are being offered competitive rates and home flexible home financing solutions then book an appointment with your advisor to discuss your current needs and future plans to ensure you are going into the right mortgage term and financing solution for your individual needs.



It can be that simple!


Tony Marchigiano310-328 West Hastings Street
Mortgage BrokerVancouver, BC
cell: 604 505 7109
fax: 604 909 4666

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Metro Vancouver* homes sales resembled more typical levels in July.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 3,226 in July 2016, a decrease of 18.9 per cent from the 3,978 sales recorded in July 2015 and a decrease of 26.7 per cent compared to June 2016 when 4,400 homes sold.

This is the first time since January that home sales in the region have registered below 4,000 in a month.

“After several months of record-breaking sales activity, home buyer demand returned to more historically normal levels in July,” Dan Morrison, REBGV president said.

Last month’s sales were 6.5 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

“Home sale activity showed some moderating signs in late June and this carried into July,” Morrison said. “We’ll wait and watch over the next few months to see if this marks the return of more normal market trends.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,241 in July 2016. This represents a 2.5 per cent increase compared to the 5,112 units listed in July 2015 and a 10.8 per cent decrease compared to June 2016 when 5,875 properties were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,351, a 27.4 per cent decline compared to July 2015 (11,505) and a 6.9 per cent increase compared to June 2016 (7,812).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for July 2016 is 38.6 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices 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 $930,400. This represents a 32.6 per cent increase compared to July 2015.

Sales of detached properties in July 2016 reached 1,077, a decrease of 30.9 per cent from the 1,559 detached sales recorded in July 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 38 per cent from July 2015 to $1,578,300.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,602 in July 2016, a decrease of 7.3 per cent compared to the 1,729 sales in July 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 27.4 per cent from July 2015 to $510,600.

Attached property sales in July 2016 totalled 547, a decrease of 20.7 per cent compared to the 690 sales in July 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 29.4 per cent from July 2015 to $669,000.

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These Unexpected Home Decor Upgrades Are Simple Ways To Make You Feel Happier At Home

Because every room in your house should makes you feel good.



Everyone knows putting up a large mirror or adding a backsplash can help upgrade a space, but there's so much more you can do to turn your house into the home you've always dreamed of.


Some simple changes to decor can take your place from ordinary to Instagram-worthy. But wanting a space that looks good in pics isn't the only reason you should take out your toolbox. Every room in your house should be a place that makes you feel happy. So, if there's a space that needs a little home improvement magic to get you there, it's worth putting a little elbow grease into.


From housing tranquil spaces for meditation, to bold statement pieces that act as conversation starters, some simple redecorating can turn your home into a space where your creativity and flow can be nurtured.


Here are some unexpected home decor changes you can implement to make your place the space you deserve:


  1. Paint your front door.


Front doors often get overlooked, but they set the tone for what your guests can expect once they walk through the threshold. Make that tone a bold choice. Love the color yellow? Grace your front door with a fresh coat. Not only will it give your guests something to talk about while they wait for you to unlock the door, but it could actually boost your mood. According to a study from Vrije University in Amsterdam, adults reported feeling happier around the colors yellow and green.


  1. Hang up empty frames.


We know what you're thinking, but hear us out. Frames may have been made to be filled, but hanging them with nothing inside is even more eye-catching. They'll be statement pieces in your space that are bound to begin conversations with guests. Experiment with different texture, color and size options to find the frames that fit for you.


  1. Upgrade your shower head.


Chances are you haven't thought much about this piece in your home, but this swap won't just improve your showers. Replacing your shower head with something a little more luxurious can take your bath from tacky to transcendent. You use it every day, so you might as well splurge a little.


Having a shower head you love might make you want to take some extra time in the water, and use it as a space for meditation and contemplation. In fact, one study showed that "72 percent of people experience new ideas in the shower." You might just have eureka moment you've been waiting for thanks to your new shower head.


  1. Change your doorknobs.


This is such a quick and easy fix that often gets overlooked. If you're starting to get bored of a space in your home, remember that small details can make a big difference. You can add a pop of color to dreary furniture by adding vibrant knobs. Seriously, these little pieces of hardware will instantly add some personality to a piece of furniture you were getting sick of. Don't stop at a dresser or kitchen cabinet. Change them on interior and exterior doors, too.


  1. Pot some plants.


Add some life to your space — literally. Houseplants will help to liven up a room, making it brighter. They may even add a little tranquility to your hectic household. In fact, studies have shown that being around plants at home helped people to concentrate better. 


Not only is there a huge variety of beautiful plants, but there are tons of different ways to display them. From minimal hanging planters to massive self-watering pots, you're bound to find an option you love.


  1. Wallpaper a ceiling.


When it comes to improving your home, you may want to look up. Ceilings are too often an area of untapped potential. Wallpaper an unexpected color, intriguing texture, or beautiful pattern on the ceiling of a space you want to improve. The result can make a ceiling look higher or give the room more of an intimate feel depending on the wallpaper you choose.



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Shigeru Ban lines up his first project in Canada: A hybrid timber tower with luxury apartments


Renowned Tokyo-based architect Shigeru Ban has joined forces with Vancouver-based developers PortLiving to design a hybrid timber tower filled with luxury condos in the Coal Harbor district of Vancouver. The scheme will take up one of the last plots still available an area already home to many high-end apartments.


Ban, who won the Pritzker Prize in 2014, is known for his humanitarian architecture work as well as his use of sustainable materials and construction methods. The development in Vancouver will be known as the Terrace House and the building is due to follow in the footsteps of the architect’s previous work. While this project will be Ban’s tallest residential project and his first in Canada, the Terrace House will—according to press release from PortLiving—also be the world’s tallest hybrid timber structure when complete. However, its exact height and dates for the project have yet been released.


Using locally-sourced timber from BC Wood, the development hopes to achieve a minimal carbon foot-print while also setting a “new standard for luxury urban development, sustainability, and engineering innovation.”


“We are honoured to be working with Shigeru Ban and his team to bring a visionary design and new landmark to the City of Vancouver,” said Macario (Tobi) Reyes, founder and CEO of PortLiving in a press release. “We are extremely excited by Shigeru Ban’s decision to bring his craft to the Pacific Northwest, where we expect he will be embraced for his environmentally-sustainable approach, creative integration of outdoor living, and his leadership in innovation.”


“Shigeru Ban Architects welcomes this chance to design our first building in Canada. It is an opportunity to embrace the natural beauty of the surroundings and to capture inspiring views,” said Dean Maltz, Partner at Shigeru Ban Architects USA.


Further details of the project are due to be released later in the year. Stay tuned.


SOURCE > The Architects Newspaper

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The Bank of Canada has just recently announced at its rate setting meeting on July 13th that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at ½ percent. This is good news as this interest rate affects the interest on your variable rate mortgage, new mortgages and even loans. The Bank of Canada stated “ the fundamentals remain in place for a pickup in growth in the economy sometime down the line” even though the Bank does have some short term concerns with slowness in some sectors of the Canadian economy as well as the impact that Brexit (U.K. decision to leave the European Union) will have.


The appetite for owning real estate in Canada continues to be strong. Royal LePage recently stated that the average home price across Canada climbed 9.2 per cent during the second quarter of this year and predicted continued appreciation of home prices for the second half of 2016 and into 2017. Meanwhile the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is concerned about the pace at which home prices across Canada and in particular larger cities are increasing and have issued a four page letter to financial institutions outlining the regulator expectation in ensuring lenders exercise prudent underwriting practices.


It matters now more than ever to use a mortgage professional like myself as your advocate. I have in-depth knowledge and expertise that will ensure that borrowers have the right mortgage that makes sense today and tomorrow. I can provide the flexibility and options that will empower you to take advantage of opportunities down the road. Having access to the greatest number of lenders allows me to deliver the best solution. Contact me today.




Tony Marchigiano,

Mortgage Consultant

Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

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The Bank of Canada met this week to make a decision on whether to lower rates or keep the key lending rate where it is. They decided to keep it where it is for now. Their key lending rate is .50% Banks and mortgage lenders are usually 2% above this but the last two times the B of C lowered the rate they did not match it; they only dropped it by a portion of each .25% drop.


Another article in the Globe & Mail this week said we could see low interest rates for the remainder of our lives. There were many reasons for this; too many to mention here but below is an article from, which gives the reasons why the B of C decided to keep rates at the current low:


Bank of Canada Rate Decision by Penelope Graham for


Pressures from global volatility and slow growth in the wake of the Brexit haven’t deterred the Bank of Canada from its current monetary policy; the central bank has opted to maintain the overnight lending rate at 0.5%. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 0.75%, and the Deposit Rate is .25%.


While it was widely expected that the B of C would hold status quo on rates, there was some speculation that a rate cut was in order due to Alberta’s massive forest fires and the resulting impact on oil production. Flames forced many oil sands projects to shutter, cutting production by an estimated 40% - a gap of 1 – 2 million barrels per day – and costing GDP and estimated $985 million.


“In Canada, the quarterly pattern of growth has been uneven. Real GDP grew by 2.4% in the first quarter but is estimated to have contracted by 1% in the second quarter, pulled down by volatile trade flows, uneven consumer spending, and the Alberta wildfires,” states the B of C’s release. “A pick-up to 3 ½% is expected in the third quarter as oil production resumes and rebuilding begins in Fort McMurray.”

While the B of C’s projections remain close to those presented in April’s Monetary Policy Report, it is reporting a revised forecast due to weaker business investment outlook, and a lower profile for exports as a result of weaker US investment spending.


Real GDP is expected to grow by 1.3% in 2016, 2.2% in 2017, and 2.1% in 2018, as the Liberals make good on their promise to amp up infrastructure spending and investment.


“The Bank projects above-potential growth from the second half of 2016, lifted by rising US demand and supported by accommodative monetary and financial conditions,” it states. “Federal infrastructure spending and other fiscal measures announced in the March budget will also contribute to growth.”


The B of C adds that consumer spending will also get a boost from the Canada Child Benefit.


While the market volatility following the Brexit has led other nations’ central banks to loosen monetary policy, Poloz has stated that Canada’s lenders are resilient enough to withstand any fall out. However, it emphasizes hot housing markets are a main contributor to downside risks facing the economy.


“Overall, the risks to the profile for inflation are roughly balanced, although the implications of the Brexit vote are highly uncertain and difficult to forecast. At the same time, financial vulnerabilities are elevated and rising, particularly in the greater Vancouver and Toronto areas. 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 ½%.”



Tony Marchigiano                            310-328 West Hastings Street

Mortgage Broker                             Vancouver, BC                  


cell: 604 505 7109

fax: 604 909 4666

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The end of another month means one thing in real estate-mad Vancouver: word that housing prices have hit another jaw-dropping high. But behind the figures for June are some statistics that could suggest the market is finally slowing down.

While the benchmark price for typical single-family homes rose to $1.56 million, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the number of sales of those houses dropped by about 19 per cent. In east Vancouver, detached home sales declined by 26 per cent, and on the west side, by 36 per cent.

Those declines come even as the number of listings rose. In the first six months of 2015, there were 72 sales for every 100 listings in east Vancouver. A year later, that dropped to 59 sales for every 100 listings. Similar changes were experienced in Burnaby, Richmond, South Delta and New Westminster. 

Academics are reluctant to make predictions without a few more months of data, but a pair of UBC business professors say that the signs for a possible slowdown are evident.

“Declining sales matching with rising listings is exactly the type of first thing we start to see when markets start to change,” said Tsur Somerville. “We see sales changes, volume changes before we see price changes.”

His colleague Tom Davidoff agreed, but he pointed out the Bank of Canada’s prediction last month of a possible “correction” to the nation’s housing market could have spooked some buyers. 

Still, there were already suggestions this spring from the Canadian Real Estate Association that the market may have “topped off” after a dip in sales in April.

There’s no hint in the numbers of prices cooling off so far, but there is scattered anecdotal evidence of homeowners dropping their asking price after they fail to get the desired offers. Ian Tang of Oakwyn Realty noted that in one extreme example, the list price of an east Vancouver home was recently cut by about $400,000.

“There are other instances where properties have been up for $1.2 million or $1.3 million, which seems reasonable in comparison to what’s been happening, but then they drop it (by) $100,000,” he said.

Fewer buyers are viewing listings now than in the past eight months or so, Tang added. Although that’s typical for the summer months, it does mark a change from 2015.

“Last year, we didn’t see a lull at all,” he said. “I was kind of expecting it to happen this year as well, but I think prices got to the point … that most people are kind of fatigued with the whole buying process.”

A small handful of investors are ready to call Vancouver’s housing market a bubble that’s about to burst. American short-seller Marc Cohodes told the Province a year ago that he was already making targeted bets against some alternative mortgage lenders.

Here in Vancouver, investor David LePoidevin of the LePoidevin Group says he is “nibbling” at shorting the real estate market by focusing on a handful of lenders.

He blames spiralling prices on three factors: low interest rates, foreign investment from China, and consumer behaviour based on the assumption that rising prices are a permanent trend.

“When you combine all three of those, it’s your classic bubble,” he said. “Right now, the numbers are so outstretched … that once it begins to turn, it could get nasty.”

LePoidevin has been predicting a bubble for years, but he believes he previously underestimated the effect of foreign money on the market.

“We might be getting to see the beginning of the money fleeing China slowing to a trickle,” he said. “The Chinese government are tripling their efforts to stop the flow.”

If he had to gamble on it, LePoidevin said he’d bet that the market has passed its peak, and said his company has responded by avoiding investments in Canadian real estate and preferring to work in the U.S. dollar, anticipating a heavy toll on the Canadian dollar.


SOURCE > TheProvince

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The world was caught off guard recently when Britain voted to leave the EU. It sent stock markets plunging for a few days and has created some uncertainty in the world. Stock markets have since recovered but what are some of the medium to longer term effects. Well when there's uncertainty people tend to hold off on making risky decisions or big purchases. But also because of uncertainty the consensus now is for rates to stay low even longer. Current forecasts are for them to possibly start rising in 2018; before Brexit is was 2017. The 5 year fixed rate has already dropped to a fresh historical low and is now below 2.5% Low rates could possibly spur even more activity, especially in the Vancouver & Toronto markets but only time will tell.


The chaos that ensued in stock markets in the aftermath of the U.K. electorate’s “leave” vote on its Brexit referendum Thursday (June 23) has left global finance reeling, and Canadian real estate will not emerge from the tumult unscathed, according to a market observer.
In a June 24 client note, Dominion Lending Centres chief economist Dr. Sherry Cooper said that the uncertainty stemming from the U.K.’s departure from the European Union—evident in the sharp declines experienced by the commodity sector and the 30-year lows suffered by the pound sterling—will definitely make itself felt across the Atlantic.
“[While] this is not good for our economy, the negative impact will be relatively muted. Nevertheless, financial turmoil and uncertainty will continue for some time, which is never good for confidence and therefore, risk-taking and spending,” Cooper wrote.
Companies and organizations that have business in the U.K. were caught flat-footed by the unprecedented vote, and this goes double for Canadians who have assets in the U.K. and the EU, Cooper warned.
“Hedge funds and other investors around the world that have been caught on the wrong side of this trade are scrambling, which likely portends a sell off in risky assets for at least a couple of days,” Cooper explained.
“Even with all of this, investors should not panic sell this environment. It is a buying opportunity for longer-term investors. At the same time, do not try to time markets. No one can pick the bottom and market timing never works. Canadians who have some dry powder should consider buying their favourite stocks as they are sideswiped by the British vote,” she added.
The pressing problem would be lower interest rates, Cooper stated, which in turn would ensure that the country’s housing markets would remain especially active.
“The Canadian dollar is actually holding up quite well right now, although Canadian bank stocks are taking a hit, down just over 2 percent as of this writing. Only about 4 percent of Canadian trade is with Europe and only roughly 3 percent with Britain,” the economist concluded. “If anything, continued very low interest rates could further boost already hot Toronto and Vancouver housing markets.”

Tony Marchigiano310-328 West Hastings Street

Mortgage BrokerVancouver, BC


cell: 604 505 7109

fax: 604 909 4666

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