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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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Home buyers remain active across Metro Vancouver

Home buyers continue to compete for homes listed for sale across the Metro Vancouver housing market. 

Residential property sales in the region totalled 4,400 in June 2016, an increase of 0.6 per cent from the 4,375 sales recorded in June 2015 and a decrease of 7.7 per cent compared to May 2016 when 4,769 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 28.1 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the highest selling June on record.

"While we're starting to see more properties coming onto the market in recent months, the imbalance between supply and demand continues to influence market conditions," Dan Morrison REBGV president said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,875 in June 2016. This represents an increase of 1.2 per cent compared to the 5,803 units listed in June 2015 and a 6.6 per cent decrease compared to May 2016 when 6,289 properties were listed.

“Since March, we’ve seen more homes listed for sale in our market than in any other four-month period this decade,” Morrison said.  

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,812, a 35.9 per cent decline compared to June 2015 (12,181) and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to May 2016 (7,726).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for June 2016 is 56.3 per cent. While clearly indicative of a seller’s market, this is the lowest this measure has been since February.

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 $917,800. This represents a 32.1 per cent increase compared to June 2015.

Sales of detached properties in June 2016 reached 1,562, a decrease of 18.6 per cent from the 1,920 detached sales recorded in June 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 38.7 per cent from June 2015 to $1,561,500.

Sales of apartment properties reached 2,108 in June 2016, an increase of 18.8 per cent compared to the 1,774 sales in June 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 25.3 per cent from June 2015 to $501,100.

Attached property sales in June 2016 totalled 730, an increase of 7.2 per cent compared to the 681 sales in June 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 28.1 per cent from June 2015 to $656,900.

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The real estate sector is losing the privilege of policing itself in B.C., the provincial government announced Wednesday.

Premier Christy Clark said the province is taking over regulatory responsibilities in a bid to better serve consumers and increase public confidence in the industry.

“The point of regulation is to protect people,” Clark said.

“The real estate sector has had 10 years to get it right on self-regulation and they haven’t.”

The rule-making authority currently held by the industry-controlled Real Estate Council of B.C. will be passed on to a newly established superintendent of real estate, Clark added.

A job posting for that position has already been posted.

The announcement followed one day after the release of a damning report prepared by an independent advisory group, which made 28 recommendations aimed at improving oversight and protections in the sector.

Clark said the government will be taking “immediate action” to implement all of those measures.

Among them is a call to hike the maximum fine for individual misconduct from $10,000 to a whopping $250,000, and the maximum fine for brokerages from $20,000 to $500,000.

The report also calls for banning real estate agents from representing sellers and buyers on the same contract, to ensure the best interests of all clients are properly considered.

“Protecting consumers is vitally important, especially in this market where everything’s moving so quickly and people are telling us that they feel taken advantage of, that there are shady practices,” Clark said.

A confidential whistleblower line for people to make complaints – another measure called for in the report – will be set up as well, the government said.

The Opposition NDP welcomed Wednesday’s announcement, but said the province is still only addressing a small symptom of the larger problem of affordability.

Leader John Horgan called on Clark to launch an integrated task force to investigate money laundering, fraud and tax evasion in real estate transactions.

“Let’s get back to the root cause here and that is speculative investment money coming from offshore and distorting the marketplace,” Horgan said. “There’s no shortage of evidence that there’s a problem here, the only challenge is will the premier step up and address it?”

The B.C. government said it’s already working to deal with affordability, through measures implemented during the last budget and by pushing for more housing supply.



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Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently released its 2016 Mortgage Consumer Survey. The survey consisted of over 3000 Canadians who had undertaken a mortgage transaction in the last 12 months.  Results show that 62% of respondents had renewed their mortgage in the last 12 months while only 18% refinanced their existing mortgage and 20% purchased a home.

Six or even nine months prior to your renewal date is the ideal time to start examining your options. This is the time to consider the money that could be saved by consolidating your existing debts, discuss strategies that will pay your mortgage off faster and save thousands, or what your home may be worth with some new renovations. It might even make sense for you to use the new money for investments outside your home.

Since Mortgage Professionals like myself have the expertise and resources at hand to make all the opportunities available to you, it is no surprise that CMHC reported that the use of mortgage brokers for the purpose of refinances and renewals has increased. According to the survey, mortgage brokers are also the professionals of choice for first time homebuyers.

With so many products and options only available through mortgage brokers, combined with the expertise that comes with being dedicated only to mortgages, it makes financial sense to use the services of a mortgage professional like myself.

Even if your mortgage is not coming up for renewal anytime soon, I’m available to answer any questions about your current mortgage or your new mortgage. If you or someone you know need knowledgeable professional mortgage services please call or email me. 


Tony Marchigiano, 
Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

(604) 505-7109

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Professional interior designer Leslie Hart-Davidson from HDD Studios showcases the latest home decor trends.


Multi-Functional Finish

D.L.Couch featured a fabulous new product called Arriero, a 100% cork product that serves double duty as both wallcovering and upholstery.  The acrylic top coat makes it suitable for both wipeable dining chair fabric and durable wallpaper for high-traffic areas!


Pantone Color of the Year

Rose Quartz, the pink part of Pantone's color of the year, is showing up in quite a bit of upholstery and accents for home decor.  Linen, velvet and brushed canvas are all popular types of sofa& chair fabrics to sport the light pink look.  Drapery and toss pillows are popping with the pale tone as well.


Backsplash Drama

Two different trends are emerging for kitchen backsplash tiles:  the Joanna Gaines camp and the Property Brothers vibe.  Joanna Gaines from HGTV's Fixer Upper program promotes a rustic, farmhouse-style look with subway tile.  The stamped Mediterranea 4"x8" tile from Virginia Tile is a new way to bring old features to a remodel.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, Drew and Jonathan from HGTV's Property Brothers promote a sleek look with either colored glass tile or stainless steel.  Using the subway-shaped tiles in a vertical stack rather than the traditional brick-laid pattern adds a more updated feel.


Gold, Baby!

Table legs, faucets, light fixtures, accessories, picture frames:  you name it, gold is on it this season.  Does this mean that you can forget about updating all of the shiny brass hardware in your 80's or 90's new construction home?  No, but you can be that the higher-end gold and pink finishes shown in furniture stores and catalogs will have you singing the soundtrack from Sixteen Candles.



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More & more Millennials are getting help from from the Bank of Mom & Dad to purchase their first home but just where is the money coming from? Well, a bigger & bigger portion of those gifted funds are coming from money received from a reverse mortgage done on the parents property. Reverse mortgage used to be a dirty word but rates and fees to set up this kind of financing have got better & better over the years. The most you can borrow is 40 to 50% & even in the most conservative calculations of home value increases one would still have plenty of equity remaining when they pass away.

More and more parents are wanting to see their adult children reap the benefits of an inheritance before they pass away.

See the full article below from

"Young Canadians are increasingly receiving help from their parents in order to become first-time buyers in Vancouver and Toronto.

A study by lender HomEquity Bank shows that parents are keen to find out about reverse mortgages to release equity in order to give their kids a downpayment.

"Ten years ago, this topic rarely came up as most seniors were more concerned with remaining self-sufficient. And, first-time homebuyers were purchasing houses on their own. That's changed. Up to 30 per cent of my clients aged 60+ now want to discuss to what degree they can help their adult children financially," explains Rona Birenbaum, financial planner and founder, Caring for Clients.

HomEquity says that by using a zero-rate mortgage registered in the home, the parents’ funds are protected and they can later choose to cancel the mortgage with the funds considered as a gift."

If you have any questions about Reverse or CHIP mortgages please feel free to reach out to me as I am a designated mortgage broker for this type of financing at Home Equity Bank.



Tony Marchigiano310-328 West Hastings Street

Mortgage BrokerVancouver, BC


cell: 604 505 7109

fax: 604 909 4666

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Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is calling on the federal and provincial governments to intervene with measures to cool off the region’s scorching real estate market.

The frenzied sales activity within Vancouver’s city limits has spilled into the suburbs over the past three years. Record-high prices have been set across the Lower Mainland, including properties in the Fraser Valley.

“These trends are not sustainable and we need to be wide awake to the risks they pose to the stability of our economy, let alone the impact they have in pushing local residents, especially young people, families and seniors, out of our neighbourhoods,” Mr. Robertson said in a statement on Sunday.

He reiterated his call for the provincial government to introduce a speculation tax to discourage houses from being flipped by investors for short-term gains.

Mr. Robertson had raised the idea of such a tax in May, 2015, when housing critics at a Vancouver rally sought to draw more attention to the lack of affordable accommodation, especially for millennials. On Sunday, he said the chorus is growing louder about the impact of soaring real estate prices in the region.

“While adding more housing supply is crucial, it is not an affordability solution on its own,” Mr. Robertson said.

“With unregulated, speculative global capital flowing into Metro Vancouver’s real estate, we are seeing housing prices completely disconnected from local incomes. First and foremost, housing needs to be for homes, not just treated as a commodity.”

Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets Inc., said last month that while it is unclear how extensive foreign investment is within the Vancouver region’s housing market, it makes sense to implement a speculation tax, notably on overseas buyers who engage in flipping.

Data from BC Assessment from Jan. 1, 2014, to early 2016, shows a general flipping rate of 5.6 per cent of the single-family detached properties surveyed within the City of Vancouver. But some observers say that rate understates the impact on prices because in a rising market, three or four homes flipped in a neighbourhood will influence the value of similar properties listed in that area.

The mayor also suggests B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s Liberal government implement a luxury tax on high-end sales.

“I urge the provincial and federal governments to heed the warnings from the financial sector and implement clear measures to rein in the excesses of Vancouver’s housing market,” Mr. Robertson, who has been lobbying Ottawa to invest money to create more affordable housing, said.

There have been red flags raised recently by the banking industry about consumer debt levels. Some bankers have urged Ottawa to raise minimum requirements for down payments.

Generation Squeeze, a lobby group formed to represent the views of Canadians in their 40s and younger, complains that the federal and B.C. governments have resisted calls to move aggressively to dampen the Vancouver area’s housing scene.

The B.C. government has said there are undesirable consequences to intervening, especially the potential reduction in value of properties held by existing homeowners.

Josh Gordon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy, is among the industry observers who argue that foreign demand is the main driver of the residential housing boom in the Vancouver region, especially an influx of buyers from China acquiring detached houses.

But Dan Morrison, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, said last week that the thriving economy and job growth amid limited listings were key factors behind unprecedented sales activity recently.

Over the past three years, the median price for detached houses sold on Vancouver’s west side has jumped 68 per cent to $3.53-million and surged 72 per cent to $1.56-million on the city’s east side.

The benchmark price for detached properties sold in Greater Vancouver hit a record $1.51-million in May, an increase of 37 per cent from the same month in 2015.

The benchmark is a representation of the typical house in an area, excluding the most expensive transactions.

Within the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, which includes sprawling Surrey, the benchmark price for detached homes has surged 38 per cent to $834,200 over the past year.


SOURCE < TheGlobeAndMail

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The 2016 CMHC consumer survey has been released (attached). The survey is a great way to find out the performance of the brokerage industry, identify new trends and consumer perception, and make sure we as a company are investing in the right resources to help grow your business.

Here are some notable stats from the report:

Gathering Mortgage Information:

  • Using Mobile Devices increased to 27% in 2016
  • Using Social Media increased to 29% in 2016. 38% of those are First Time Buyers
  • Using Social Media is much higher among Broker clients (52%) versus lender clients (17%)

Mortgage broker share is trending upwards for Renewals (now at 26%) and Refinances (now at 38%)


  • Providing advice on mortgage strategies can lead to 85% likelihood of new business
  • Mortgage consumers are looking for a variety of useful information post closing including mortgage/financial strategies, investment opportunities, and more.
  • Only 54% of clients using a broker are contacted post closing!
Tony Marchigiano310-328 West Hastings Street
Mortgage BrokerVancouver, BC
cell: 604 505 7109
fax: 604 909 4666
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Eighty per cent of British Columbians want those who leave homes empty to be taxed. A poll by Insights West shows that there is growing anger at politicians with 76 per cent saying the provincial government needs to take action, although all levels of government are blamed.

In 2014, 72 per cent of BC residents wanted taxes for vacant properties but as home prices have soared, support for action has grown. All age groups are in favour of taxation but the would-be first-time buyers in the millennial generation are most adamant that action is needed with 89 per cent supporting a vacant-homes tax.

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage.

SOURCE < CanadianRealEstateMagazine

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Metro Vancouver* homes continue to sell at an unprecedented rate in communities across the region.

Residential property sales on the region's Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) totalled 4,769 in May 2016, an increase of 17.6 per cent from the 4,056 sales recorded in May 2015 and a decrease of 0.3 per cent compared to April 2016 when 4,781 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 35.3 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the highest sales total on record for May.

"Home sellers are becoming more active in recent months, although that activity is being outpaced by home buyer demand today," Dan Morrison, REBGV president said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 6,289 in May 2016. This represents an increase of 11.5 per cent compared to the 5,641 units listed in May 2015 and a 2.6 per cent increase compared to April 2016 when 6,127 properties were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,726, a 37.3 per cent decline compared to May 2015 (12,336) and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to April 2016 (7,550).

"Economic and job growth in Metro Vancouver is out performing most regions in the country. This is helping to underpin today’s activity," Morrison said.

The sales-to-active listings ratio for May 2016 is 61.7 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 $889,100. This represents a 29.7 per cent increase compared to May 2015.

Sales of detached properties in May 2016 reached 1,865, an increase of 8.2 per cent from the 1,723 detached sales recorded in May 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 36.9 per cent from May 2015 to $1,513,800.

Sales of apartment properties reached 2,150 in May 2016, an increase of 34.4 per cent compared to the 1,600 sales in May 2015. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 22.3 per cent from May 2015 to $485,000.

Attached property sales in May 2016 totalled 754, an increase of 2.9 per cent compared to the 733 sales in May 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 24.9 per cent from May 2015 to $632,400.


Source < REBGV

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CMHC (Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation) provides mid-term housing and mortgage market predictions but will they come true? One of the things they forecast in the mortgage market is for rates to rise moderately mid next year (2017). Pretty much every year since the financial crisis and meltdown in 2008 economists have been forecasting a rise in interest rates. The fact is they are lower today than they were 8 years ago when the biggest financial crisis since the 30's hit the globe. 


“The record-low interest rate environment, which has almost seemed, at points, permanent will soon come to an end, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
However, rates will remain attractive.

Mortgage rates are expected to rise moderately from current levels in the first half of 2017. We forecast the five-year posted rate to lie within the 4.4% to 5.0% range in 2016 and within the 4.7% to 5.3% range in 2017, CMHC said in its quarterly report, released Monday. Low mortgage rates will continue to support housing demand; however, the uncertainty surrounding lower oil prices remains the most significant risk to the outlook for the Canadian housing sector.

Housing stock may be slightly constricted in the coming years, with starts expected to slow, according to the Crown Corporation.

We expect the growth of housing starts to slow in 2016 and 2017. On an annual basis, housing starts are expected to range from 181,300 to 192,300 units in 2016 and from 172,600 to 183,000 units in 2017, a slowdown compared to 195,535 units in 2015, CMHC said. MLS sales are expected to range from 501,700 to 525,400 units in 2016.

Sales are expected to slow as well.

In 2017, MLS sales are expected to be in a lower range of 485,500 to 508,400 units as demand for existing units is expected to moderate relative to 2015 and 2016 reflecting the fact that the current (i.e. as at 29 April 2016) ratio of existing home sales to the number of households is historically high,” CMHC said.

“CMHC’s 2016 second quarter Housing Market Outlook forecasts the average MLS price to be between $474,200 and $495,800 in 2016 and between $479,300 and $501,100 in 2017, CMHC said."


SOURCE < MortgageBrokerNews

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What Makes A Good Credit Score And How Important Is It In Getting A Mortgage?

A recent article featured in the Globe and Mail discussed the importance of having a “stellar” credit rating when wanting approval for mortgage financing. Well your credit history is very important in the approval process it’s not everything and there are definitely lenders with specific mortgage programs to help people who might not have “stellar” credit ratings.


Here’s the link to the article below which details, among other things, the breakdown of the importance of such things as making payments on time and balances owing on existing credit.

See the full article by Globe & Mail below…


When you begin shopping around for a mortgage the importance of your credit history and score becomes evident.

Your credit score is an important item that will determine what interest your mortgage agent will be able to offer you. It should be a priority because it can save you thousands of dollars. If you take care of your credit, your credit will take care of you! Whether you have had credit for a long time or are completely new and just beginning, the reality is that you will have to at some time or another prove that you are a low enough risk for lenders to lend to.

If you are just beginning to build credit a good way is by using a credit card.

What is a credit report?

A credit report is a quick look into your credit history. If you have taken a loan or used a credit card you will have a credit history. Financial institutions, trust companies, credit companies and grantors that give you credit may send information about whether or not you make your payments on time to a credit-reporting agency/bureau.

Credit bureaus collect information about you and how long it takes you to pay back money you have borrowed. This is is called your credit history.

Credit lenders rely on a credit bureau to analyze an applicant’s current and past credit history in order to determine the likelihood of future repayment. This provides a fairly accurate indication of future repayment trends.

The two most popular credit bureau agencies operating in Canada are Equifax and Transunion. You can request your credit report by mail for free but your score is not included. If you request your credit report online a fee is charged and your credit score is included.

You are the only person who can see your credit report. No one else can access the information in your report unless you allow it. Generally you would allow credit checks to organizations you are applying to for credit. Usually you sign documentation allowing them to do so.

What’s in your credit report?

Personal information such as:
• your name
• current and previous addresses
• S.I.N., phone number
• date of birth
• previous employer/s

Financial information such as:
• credit cards
• lines of credit
• loans and mortgages
• bankruptcies, court judgements and backed secured loans which are considered public records and debt that was referred to a collection agency for payment.

A list of credit report inquiries: You, your lender, or any other authorized agent is also included which is usually used to determine if you are a credit seeker: someone who applies for a lot of credit.

How are you rated?

The credit agency describes your credit history by rating it. A scale of 1 to 9 is used with 1 meaning that you pay your bills within 30 days and 9 meaning you have bad debt, never pay your bills, have been placed for collection or claimed bankruptcy.

In front of the number there is a letter. The letter stands for the type of credit you are using. R means you have revolving credit such as a credit card, O means you have open credit such as a line of credit and I means you credit has been given on an instalment basis.

Your credit score is a numerical representation of the your current and past credit. It can range between 300 representing the lowest and 900 representing the best rating.

The breakdown that is used to determine your credit score is the following:

35 per cent – Payment history
30 per cent – Amounts owed
15 per cent – Length of credit history
10 per cent – New credit
10 per cent – Types of credit

If you contact Equifax or Transunion and find that the information on your credit report is incorrect, you may request that a correction be made. You will have to contact the institution that reported the activity and submit documentation proving financial resolution has been made to the credit bureau and they will remove it. Good luck! Equifax Canada Credit Bureau, Tel: 1-800-465-7166, Fax: 514-355-8502. TransUnion Canada Credit Bureau, Tel: 1-866-525-0262 (except in Quebec), Tel: 1-877-713-3393 (Quebec residents)


1.) Make your payments in the correct amount on or before the due date! This will have a positive effect on your credit score. Missing or late payments and judgements, bankruptcies, collections or other public records will have an unfavourable impact on a credit score.

2.) Keep your balance considerably lower than the available credit limit provided. If you have several accounts with high balances relative to your available credit, this may indicate that you are relying greatly on credit to meet your daily needs.

3.) Multiple credit inquiries can lower your credit score, so reduce the number of credit applications you make.

4.) Always maintain a credit history. You can use a credit card to build a good history.

5.) The best mix of credit is a combination of a store credit card and a major credit card such as a VISA or MasterCard. It is important not to have too many credit cards or store cards as that may negatively impact a credit score.

From Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine, a monthly publication focused on building value through property investment, covering topics such as values and trends, mortgages, investment strategies, surveys of regional markets and general tips for buyers and sellers."


Tony Marchigiano 310-328 West Hastings Street


Mortgage Broker Vancouver, BC




cell: 604 505 7109


fax: 604 909 4666

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New B.C. legislation meant to restrict the sale of contract assignments doesn't apply to a housing sector that appears prime for flipping


housing sector that appears prime for flipping – pre-sale condominiums – is exempt from new B.C. legislation meant to restrict the sale of contract assignments and track foreign buyers in Metro Vancouver’s white-hot housing market.


Assigning one’s right to a contract is a legitimate practice. But, due to media reports that some realtors were flipping assignments secretly, the B.C. government now requires contracts prepared by real estate licensees to include clauses stating that the contract can’t be assigned without the written consent of the seller and that any profit from an assignment goes to the initial seller. The new rule came into affect May 16.


But the legislationexempts new developments, including pre-sale condos, even if a licensed realtor sells the assignment, according to the Real Estate Council of BC and the Ministry of Finance.


Section 8.2(2) of the new regulations states: “This section does not apply in relation to a contract for the sale of a development unit by a developer, as those terms are defined in section 1 of the Real Estate Development Marketing Act.”


Finance Ministry spokesman James Edwardson said the regulations contain an exemption for developers “because they generally do not need the same kinds of protections as consumers, especially since developments are often pre-sold and some form of assignment term is standard.”

Under the 2008 Real Estate Development Marketing Act, which was instituted during the last real estate boom, the onus is on developers to police assignments. Some have done this by charging a fee, usually 1% to 2% of the sale price, and outlawing the advertising and sale of assignments until the building is sold out.

“The processes already in place with respect to assignments in new developments seem to have better protected the public than the processes that were in place for resale,” said Scott Brown, president and CEO of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Ltd., one of Metro Vancouver’s largest condo marketing firms.


But Metro Vancouver developers report that there is vague enforcement and only modest concern about assignment sales. 

Jason Turcotte, Cressey Development’s vice-president of development, said Cressey allows pre-sale assignments because, with the two- to three-year delay between pre-sales and completion, some condo buyers couldn’t close on their units and therefore should be allowed to assign the sale.

As for advertising restrictions, about three dozen condo assignments were listed on Craigslist last week, including units in luxury Concord Pacific projects and WestbankCorp.’s landmark Vancouver House that is scheduled to be completed in 2019. The ads are from realtors and owners holding pre-sale contracts. 

Assignments can be a “win-win” for developers, because the developer gets the original price for the condo, a 1% to 2% commission on any assignments and, as Vancouver real estate agent Mike Stewart pointed out, “if the buyer doesn’t close, they get to keep the deposits and get the condo back.”

Condo assignments could also be lucrative for investors. There are 17,311 new condominiums under construction in Metro Vancouver and there are only 790 units completed and unoccupied, a six-year low, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

As well, the benchmark price of a Metro Vancouver resale condo has increased 20.6% from April 2015 to $475,000. New condos are fetching even higher prices and seeing similar price appreciation.

The 6,227 new condo sales in 2016’s first quarter in Metro Vancouver represented a 53% increase from the same quarter last year and a new six-year high, according to Brown.

“Feverish sales activity has resulted in inventory levels reaching six-year lows, which will put further upwards pressure on prices as demand seems to continue to outweigh supply,” Brown said.

There is another aspect that some offshore investors might consider, according to real estate consultant Ozzie Jurock. He noted that, under separate legislation that also came into force this month, the B.C. government will require the buyer of a property to list his or her citizenship.

However, the requirement is only on transfer of title. Therefore, under the new rules, Jurock said, a foreign buyer could buy a pre-sale condo assignment, flip it to a buyer and never appear either as a buyer of an assignment or as property owner on any government documentation.


SOURCE < BusinessInVancouver

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Realtor Rick Stonehouse recently listed a 1907 heritage home at 640 Union St. in downtown Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood for $1.649 million.

It attracted three offers and sold in a week for $1.85 million — $200,000 over asking.

But that’s hardly rare in today’s hot Vancouver housing market.

Stonehouse recently wrote an offer for a client on a 1910 heritage house at 1605 Salsbury in Grandview that was listed for $1.25 million.

It received 12 offers, and sold for $1.755 million — $530,000 over asking.

Both homes are in east Vancouver, which until recently was the poor cousin of the west side. It still is, if you compare it to the prices in Point Grey.

Realtor Tom Gradecak set a new benchmark for a 33-foot lot in Point Grey when he sold a teardown for $2.88 million in February. But another one just sold for $3.1 million, and that house will likely be torn down as well.

“The new houses on (33-foot lots) are now over $4 million,” said Gradecak.

“Four million dollars for a 2,900 sq. ft house. The 50-foot lots, same thing, they’ve gone up. We did an appraisal for someone at the beginning of the year, and it was in the $4.6/$4.7 million range. We sold it yesterday with competing offers for $5.4 million.

“While (the owners) were getting their power washing done, their windows washed, what people do to get their house ready for sale, they probably made 600 grand.”

The high prices have spread across the Lower Mainland. The benchmark price for a single family detached home in greater Vancouver was $1.403 million in April — 30 per cent higher than it was a year earlier.

The world has taken notice.

The British property firm Knight Frank has a “prime global cities index” that tracks the rise in residential real estate worldwide. Vancouver was added to the list of “prime global cities” in 2013, and has topped the index for the last four quarters.

Knight Frank said there was a 26.3-per-cent surge in Vancouver between March 2015 and March 2016. The only other “prime global cities” with double-digit price increases were Shanghai (20.3 per cent), and Sydney (12.3 per cent) and Melbourne (12.1 per cent) in Australia.

All of which raises the question: How high can Vancouver real estate prices go?

Gradecak hears that question every time he does an appraisal, and lately he’s been doing two per day.

“Everyone asks where is this market going?” said Gradecak. “And honestly, no one knows.”

He likens the rise in real estate to a baseball game.

“One opinion is (the price rise has) just begun, we’re in the first or second inning,” he said.

“There’s so much wealth being created worldwide, and we’re supposedly the second or third best city in the world to live in, why would it stop?

“Then there’s the people who say this can’t continue, something’s going to happen — China’s going to implode, or the government’s going to do something. It may not be the bottom of the ninth, but we’re in the top of the ninth. Something’s going to happen, because you can’t have 30-per-cent increases every year.

“And there’s people in the middle who say long term, (that with) the number of people that are moving here yearly, it’s just supply and demand. (If) there’s 100,000 houses in Vancouver, right, and 1.3 billion people in China … you could argue this is going to keep going on for a long, long time.”

Gradecak thinks the explosion in real estate prices over the last year was partly due to the drop in the Canadian dollar, which made Vancouver real estate more attractive to international investors.

“If the dollar goes down 20 or 30 per cent, the people who are holding U.S. dollars, the Chinese buyers, it doesn’t matter if they pay $3 million today or $2.3 last year, it’s the same thing,” he said.

“I don’t see a dollar dropping 30 per cent again, so maybe the rise won’t be as rapid. But I think we will see a slow and steady type of growth.”

By world standards, Vancouver is still something of a bargain. The price per square foot in Manhattan, for example, rose to $1,497 US in 2015, or $1,921 per sq. ft. Canadian. New luxury condos in downtown Vancouver average $1,100 per sq. ft.

“I think it can go up another 25 per cent,” said Gradecak.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen in a calendar year, but I think over the next five to 10 years it could. Like, why not?

“It has nothing to do with what kind of money you’re making or I’m making. It’s completely irrelevant as to what’s happening locally.”

Property broker Eugen Klein agrees Vancouver is now an international market, not a Canadian one.

“Twenty years ago Vancouver was always compared to Calgary and Toronto,” said Klein.

“Vancouver doesn’t get compared to those anymore — very little to Toronto, if at all. Now it’s all about what’s going on in Shanghai, in Hong Kong, in Sydney, in London and New York.”

The amount of offshore money, especially from China, being poured into the local market has been the matter of debate.

“It’s all Asian driven, come on,” said Gradecak.

“But it’s not necessarily offshore Asian driven, most of these buyers are local, local Asians. People that have been here for awhile, and they’re upgrading or looking for specific neighbourhoods, in particular anything that’s lot-value type property. A holding property is the hottest commodity.”

Zoning makes a big difference to many west side buyers, because the city has brought in some restrictions to try to slow the demolition of pre-1940 heritage homes.

“Houses that are built pre-1940 don’t have the same attraction because people are afraid the city is going to impose even stricter guidelines,” said Gradecak.

“People look at the age. If you have a post-1940 house, something you can tear down — well, you can tear anything down — but something that’s easier to take down, that’s a huge win for the seller, because they’ll get more activity.

“People will literally say, ‘How old is the house, how much can I build and when are you looking at offers?’ The UEL (University Endowment Lands) doesn’t have those restrictions, so it’s a hugely popular area.

“Point Grey, RS1 (zoning), hugely popular. (But) we sold a house in Kerrisdale about three weeks ago, which is RS6, fairly punitive zoning when it comes to pre-1940 houses, and we got $3.8 (million).

“That house should have gotten a lot more than 3.8. (But it sold for less) because you can only build a relatively small house on that lot.”

Older character houses used to be the most coveted homes on the west side. But no more — the new buyers want to tear down and build new.

“It’s funny how people used to pay premium for character,” said Gradecak.

“Now it’s a discount. It’s just dumb luck for the sellers. At the time they wanted a character house, and guess what? Twenty years later, it’s come back to bite them. If that was a Vancouver Special, we would have that thing sold.”

Character homes are still in demand in some areas, such as Strathcona, which has a special zoning to protect its stock of pre-1920 homes.

The two-storey house at 640 Union is a good example of how the market has evolved in the neighbourhood, because it has been sold several times since 1975, when it went for $38,500.

In 1977, it sold for $40,000, in 1980 the price went up to $55,750, and in 1992, it jumped to $196,000. It sold for $825,000 in 2006 and in 2013 went for $1.1 million, which means it went up $750,000 in the last three years.

“What happened with that one, which I think is happening with a lot of these places, is that people are not getting two or three places (they bid on) and by the time they get to the fourth or fifth one, they just put more money in the bank,” Stonehouse said.

“They say, ‘I guess I have to pay this much more.’ Because that one on Union sold for a lot more than what most people would think that’s worth.”

Stonehouse thinks there are a variety of reasons for the dramatic rise in east Vancouver house prices. Prices on the west side are so high many people have been priced out of the market, and the east side has also become a desirable place to live.

“I think the people who bought that house on Union Street are moving from the west side,” he said.

“They’re selling their home on the west side for $4 million and coming and buying a house on the east side for under $2 (million). Putting money in the bank, and being in a place they think is a nicer spot.”

There are also very few houses for sale, which drives prices up.

“There’s more people looking in the market than there is product on the market,” Stonehouse said.

“So for every house, there’s 10 people that want it.”

“It’s not just in the houses, it’s in apartments, too. Shaun who works with me sold his apartment downtown last year, right on Smithe Street behind Robson, for $500,000.

“He bought a pre-sale over on First and Commercial and he didn’t want to have both. So he sold his place and moved with his wife into a rental. (His old condo) just resold again for $600,000 a year later. That’s a little two-bedroom apartment downtown.

“But the place he bought for $900,000 is now worth $1.2 million, so it was a good move for him. All these places are going up. When the top end goes up, it pulls everything else up under it.”

Asked how long prices will keep going up, he replies “I don’t know.”

“I said that when I bought my house in Kits Point for $195,000 30 years ago. People thought I was out of my mind. ‘Are you crazy buying that house for $195,000?’

“I just resold it for $4,130,000 a month ago, 1849 Creelman. Almost $4 million more than I paid for it in 1980, 36 years ago.”

Unfortunately for Stonehouse, he gave up his interest in the Creelman house when he was divorced.

“My ex-wife has been in it for the last 30 years,” he said.

“She just retired.” He laughs. “She at least gave me the listing.”


SOURCE < TimesColonist

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That’s what Canadians are spending in renovations this year, which is double from just a decade ago. According to an Ipso-Reid survey, two-thirds of homeowners intend to undertake renovations this year. With prices continuing to rise in most markets combined with the costs associated with moving, many are choosing to stay put and create their dream home by renovating. Home renovations are also a great way to increase the value of your existing real estate.

You can use your own resources and do most of the work yourself if you want to keep the cost down. Or a personal loan which can be done relatively quickly could be the solution or even access a line of credit.

Refinancing your existing mortgage has made sense for many as interest rates are still at historical lows. This is a great way to take advantage of the equity that’s been realized by rising home values and decreasing mortgage balances. Another option that can be a quick and short-term solution is using a credit card.

Mortgage Alliance has recently launched a credit card that is perfect for home renovation. This card will reward you with 5% cash back on home improvements for the first 3 months, ongoing it gives you 2% back on groceries & 1% on every other purchase.

There are as many financing options in renovating as in buying so if you know someone who wants to understand their options, send me a message.



Tony Marchigiano, 
Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

(604) 505-7109

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An Australian Bank no longer lends to foreigners to purchase homes. Could a Canadian lender follow suit? Maybe but according to the author, also a fellow mortgage broker, it would be un-canadian to do so.


See the full article below pulled form


"An Australian bank has said it will no longer finance foreign-purchased homes, but such an initiative here would be un-Canadian, according to one leading broker.


“I would say it’s not true to Canadian values to exclude anybody. We tend to welcome people to our country. This is more a case of welcoming their money and not them,” Dustan Woodhouse, a broker with Dominion Lending Centres Canadian Mortgage Experts, told “And that’s a finer distinction to make. It’s a slippery slope: You start excluding one group, what’s the next step?”


Australian-based bank Westpac announced it will no longer loan money to foreigners purchasing residential property.


As of April 26, the bank and its subsidiaries no longer lends to non-residents and temporary visa holders. Westpac is the third major Aussie bank to make the move, following announcements from competitors ANZ and Commonwealth Bank earlier this month.


Much has been made about the influence foreign money is having on Canadian real estate prices, and many may argue a similar ploy would help to naturally cool the red-hot market.


However, Woodhouse argues a similar clampdown would have very little impact.


“The bottom line … in my professional experience is the majority of foreign buyers don’t require financing,” Woodhouse said. “Much like the Canadians who bought up a massive part of Arizona. Any Canadian who thinks foreign buyers should be cut out hopefully (haven't) bought a property in the U.S.”


The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently released a report on foreign ownership that estimated the influence of foreign money on two of the country’s hottest housing markets.


The report found that foreign ownership is most prevalent in new condo buildings in Toronto and Vancouver.


In Toronto about 10% of newer buildings (built after 2010), compared to 2% of those buildings built in the 1990s.


A similar trend was found in Vancouver, where 6% of units in newer buildings are believed to be foreign-owned."


As always if you have any home financing related questions feel free to call, email or text me anytime.




Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker

Vancouver, BC

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