The B.C. government is closing in on real estate tax evasion by requiring much more comprehensive information from anyone buying residential or commercial property through a company or trust, the Ministry of Finance announced July 25.

As of September 17, 2018, a new property transfer tax (PTT) return will ask those purchasing a property through a corporation or trust to disclose the same full slate of personal information that home buyers disclose on the regular PTT return.

This includes the individual buyer’s name, date of birth, citizenship information, contact details and tax identification numbers (such as a social insurance number)


Finance minister Carole James said in the announcement, “Our government has been clear that the days of skirting tax laws and hiding property ownership behind numbered companies and trusts are over. Not only is tax evasion in real estate fundamentally unfair, but it’s driving up the cost of housing for people who live and work in our communities.

These changes give authorities another tool to make sure people are paying the taxes they owe.”

The province said in a media release, “There will be exemptions for certain trusts, such as charitable trusts, and certain corporations, such as hospitals, schools and libraries.”

The move is part of the B.C. NDP government’s 30-point plan for housing, which also includes the annual speculation tax and the school tax on $3 million-plus homes.

Under the plan, the province also recently announced that it would set up a property ownership registry to bring “hidden owners” of B.C. real estate into the light. It also intends to track presale condo assignments to prevent tax evasion by buyers flipping a presale condo, and establish a working group on tax fraud and money laundering in B.C. real estate.

More information on the new PTT reporting requirements can be found here.

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A recent article by Canadian Mortgage Trends discusses this question as well as the benefits of going with either. Personally I just went variable and a lot of my clients have too. It’s not for everyone and if you like the security of a fixed rate then that might be best but with fixed rates rising and discounts getting better for variable rate it might be time to take a closer look at both options. 
See the full article below for all the details:

It’s the perennial question homebuyers ask themselves and one that’s getting a lot of attention these days: should I go fixed or variable?

And the answer may have just become a little more complicated now that the Bank of Canada (BoC) has raised its overnight target rate to 1.50%.

The rate increase, which affects variable rate mortgages and Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs), as well as the BoC’s statement that suggests more rate hikes are on the way, are weighing on consumers trying to decide between fixed or variable mortgage rates.

First let’s take a look at what the Bank of Canada did this week:

- Raised its overnight target rate by 0.25% to 1.50% (this is the fourth rate hike in 12 months).

- Forecasted GDP growth of 2.4% this year, 2.2% in 2019 and 2.1% in 2020.

- Suggested more rate hikes are to come with the following line: “Governing Council expects that higher interest rates will be warranted to keep inflation near target and will continue to take a gradual approach, guided by incoming data.”

The Forecast for Future Hikes

There’s little guesswork needed to know rates will continue to go higher as per the BoC’s desire to keep inflation “on target.” The big unknown is the timing of those increases given unpredictable geo-political and economic events (e.g., trade wars) that could delay or even end the rate hike cycle.

For now, at least, most observers expect paced rate hikes over the next couple of years.

“The bias to the overall set of communications was more hawkish than markets expected at the margin and it leaves the door open to considering two more rate hikes before year-end relative to our present forecast for one more hike,” Scotiabank economist Derek Holt wrote in a research note. He noted that will largely be dictated by economic data and trade policy risks. “…at this point it is feasible that the BoC goes again in September… It is also unclear whether expedited near-term hikes alter the longer-run end point or simply bring it forward.”

Variable Still a Smart Choice

Many financial experts have weighed in on the fixed-variable debate in recent days, and most seem to share the point of view that variables still nearly always win over their fixed rate counterparts in terms of interest savings.

And it seems many Canadian mortgage consumers are taking that advice. A recent CIBC survey found that despite 72% of Canadians believing interest rates will rise over the next 12 months, only half (54%) of those would currently choose a fixed rate. Of those remaining, 19% say they would select a variable and 26% are undecided.

In a blog post published prior to the BoC’s rate decision, mortgage planner Dave Larock noted that when considering a variable rate it’s important to take a long-term view since market fluctuations, “even severe ones,” get smoothed out over time.

“For variable-rate borrowers, that means looking beyond late-cycle surges in inflation and focusing instead on the more powerful longer-term deflationary trends that are driven by factors like demographics, technological advances and today’s elevated debt levels,” he wrote. “For my part, I continue to believe that every rate hike by the BoC brings us closer to our next policy-rate cut.”

He added variable-rate borrowers should consider that “there hasn’t been a single period over the last 28 years (which is as far back as the BoC data go) where variable rates didn’t decline at least once in any five-year period.”

Rob McLister, founder of RateSpy, has also been drawing attention to the benefits of a variable rate, despite this rising rate environment.

“The more rates increase, the more we could see informed borrowers choosing variable rates,” he wrote, adding that the risk of a variable rate is arguably declining the higher rates go. “Prime – 1.00% or better (if you can get it) gives you a big head start.”

The Safety of Fixed Rates

For those who can’t handle rate fluctuations or who simply want to sleep better at night knowing what their rate will be for the next several years, or even those who truly believe floating rates will skyrocket over the next couple of years, the roughly 1.00% premium on today’s 5-year fixed rates is the price of security.

James Laird, co-founder of RateHub and President of CanWise Financial, said this week’s BoC decision has spurred a number of his variable-rate clients to consider the safety of a fixed rate.

“After the rate hike all of our clients who currently have variable rates are reaching out to discuss whether they should lock into a fixed rate,” Laird told CMT. “For those clients who are paying their mortgage down rapidly, or who have a small balance outstanding, variable remains a good choice. But for those clients who have a mortgage that is close to their maximum affordability, locking in is probably a good idea to reduce risk.”

He notes that full-featured 4-year fixed rates below 3.00% are a popular option, while the most risk adverse could also consider a 7-year fixed at around 3.34%.

McLister agrees that the 4-year term is a good tradeoff for the security of a fixed for less than the premium of a 5-year term.

“You’ll save over 10-30 basis points versus most 5-year fixed mortgages, with more flexibility to refinance sooner without penalty,” he wrote. However, he added there are currently no competitive 4-year fixed rates for refinances, and that fixed-rate refi shoppers would do better to consider a 5-year fixed instead.


Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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With the increase in home prices over the years, more Canadians are taking advantage of the equity they’ve built in their homes and using it to renovate. This can make a lot of sense for families who still enjoy the neighborhood and community they live in but their homes are either showing signs of aging or they simply want to add that dream kitchen they’ve always wanted.

A recent survey done by CIBC states that 45% of Canadians plan to renovate this year as many are choosing to stay put and renovate instead of selling their current home and moving up to another. Home improvements can also help increase the house value and selling price in the event a homeowner decides to sell down the road.

There are several ways to fund renovations including using your own savings, accessing existing lines of credit you may have, or even using your credit cards. However, one of the most cost-effective ways in most cases would be to refinance your existing mortgage or pull some equity out of your home. You might even be able to borrow funds without significantly increasing your mortgage payments and affecting your current cash flow.

There are also programs that allow you to purchase a home and include additional financing to pay for needed renovations to make it your dream home.

Whether you’re planning to renovate this summer or looking to buy a home that needs improvements, send me a quick email or give me a call and let me show you what is possible.


Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC

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With home sale activity dipping below long-term historical averages, the supply of homes for sale in Metro Vancouver reached a three-year high in June.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,425 in June 2018, a 37.7 per cent decline from the 3,893 sales recorded in June 2017, and a 14.4 per cent decrease compared to May 2018 when 2,833 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 28.7 per cent below the 10-year June sales average.

“Buyers are less active today. This is allowing the supply of homes for sale to accumulate to levels we haven’t seen in the last few years,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “Rising interest rates, high prices and more restrictive mortgage requirements are among the factors dampening home buyer activity today.”

There were 5,279 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in June 2018. This represents a 7.7 per cent decrease compared to the 5,721 homes listed in June 2017 and a 17.2 per cent decrease compared to May 2018 when 6,375 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 11,947, a 40.3 per cent increase compared to June 2017 (8,515) and a 5.8 per cent increase compared to May 2018 (11,292). This is the highest this total has been since June 2015.

“With reduced demand, detached homes are entering a buyers’ market and price growth in our townhome and apartment markets is showing signs of decelerating.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for June 2018 is 20.3 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 11.7 per cent for detached homes, 24.9 per cent for townhomes, and 33.4 per cent for condominiums.

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

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,093,600. This represents a 9.5 per cent increase over June 2017 and is virtually unchanged from May 2018.

Sales of detached homes in June 2018 reached 766, a 42 per cent decrease from the 1,320 detached sales recorded in June 2017. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,598,200. This represents a 0.7 per cent increase from June 2017 and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to May 2018.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,240 in June 2018, a 34.9 per cent decrease compared to the 1,905 sales in June 2017. The benchmark price for an apartment is $704,200. This represents a 17.2 per cent increase from June 2017 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to May 2018.

Attached home sales in June 2018 totalled 419, a 37.3 per cent decrease compared to the 668 sales in June 2017. The benchmark price of an attached home is $859,800. This represents a 15.3 per cent increase from June 2017 and is virtually unchanged from May 2018.

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Real estate prices have stabilized across the country and even dropped in some areas of the larger markets.  The total amount of sales has also decreased. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported that sales were down 13.9% year over year in April and blames the new mortgage stress test that came into effect in the beginning of this year for the drop.

If you are looking to buy your first, next, or rental property, you can use this cooling real estate market to your advantage. There is still a substantial selection of homes on the market without the stress of an overheated housing market like we’ve seen last year.

The first step would be to get a mortgage pre-qualification to find out how much you qualify for. I will explain the process and what you’ll require to get your mortgage approved including how much down payment or equity from your existing home you’ll need, your credit, legal and closing costs, etc. You’ll know exactly what it takes to get you into the next or first dream home.

This year’s spring market sees lenders competing on mortgage product- and interest rates offerings, particularly variable rate mortgages. With this competitive environment, now might be an opportune time to have a look at your own mortgage, especially if you have a variable rate mortgage. The discounts offered can be significantly greater than those offered a few years ago and could save you thousands.

I’m here to assist you. Call or email me.



Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC

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A new report on Metro Vancouver’s sky-high real estate prices says speculators and foreign buyers aren’t driving the market.


Instead, the study from UBC’s Sauder School of Business points the finger at red tape, which it says is driving up construction costs.


Author James Tansey said he wrote the study, which is based on a review of existing government and academic studies, after becoming frustrated with the debate he was hearing on housing policy.


“The factors driving that are really much more tied to the success of the economy, to population growth and to high-interest rates, and have very little to do with foreign buyers and speculation,” Tansey told Global News.


He said the study found that of all Canadian regions, Metro Vancouver is the slowest to respond to low supply.


He said it can take up to two years to get a build approved, which can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the final cost of a unit — something buyers, not builders pay.


Tansey says while there is clearly some speculation it is not the main culprit.


The report argues that the government is making a mistake by focusing too much on demand-side interventions such as increases in the property transfer tax and school tax and the implementation of a new speculation tax.


“We just need more supply, we need to reduce the cost of new development applications,” Tansey said.


Tansey’s study argues that if the province actually expected its new taxes to reduce housing demand, its budget numbers would show falling revenue from the measures in the coming years. B.C.’s 2018 budget estimated a steady stream of revenue from the taxes.


The study recommends supply-side policies that focus on reducing the time it takes to approve new developments, reducing costs, and simplifying the zoning process of higher density development in areas currently dominated by detached houses.


It also proposes reinstating the federal Business Investor Program (BIP) — formerly known as the Immigrant Investor Program — which allows foreign investors to get on the path to citizenship by lending $800,000 to the government. That money, the report suggests, could be used to fund affordable rental housing.


That program was scrapped in 2014, but a similar program in Quebec remains in place, and has been criticized for offering wealthy immigrants a back door into B.C.’s housing market.


In February, the B.C. government unveiled a 10-year, 30-point plan that includes money to give municipalities more autonomy and build more than 100,000 homes.


Vancouver’s red tape


Meanwhile, Vancouver is looking to cut through red tape with a new pilot program to fast track home construction.


“The Applicant Supported and Assisted Process” is expected to reduce wait time for experienced builders with a good track by seven months.


“Builders who have a good track record, there are certain things they do repeatedly that you don’t need to scrutinize in applications which will reduce the amount of time spent on inspections,” said Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association president Bob de Witt.


De Witt said both the builder and the city will have a single point of contact to help with efficiency.


He said Vancouver’s goal is to expedite single family and laneway homes not fast-tracking public consultations and rezoning applications.


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Spring sales in the Greater Vancouver area's luxury real estate market are down but prices continued to climb, according to a new report.


Sales activity in the region decreased in the first quarter of 2018: the sales of detached luxury homes decreased by 38.2 per cent compared to 2017 and the sales of luxury condominiums decreased by 26.5 per cent, the study by real estate company Royal LePage said.


Despite this decrease in sales, the report noted there were still price gains.


The median price of a detached luxury home in Greater Vancouver rose 5.2 per cent to $5,792,941 and the median price of a luxury condominium rose seven per cent to $2,503,873.


Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage, said prices have only remained high because of momentum carried over from 2017 and they will likely fall this year.


"In light of recently announced provincial tax policies to both foreign and domestic buyers purchasing homes in the Vancouver region, price appreciation in the luxury market is expected to decline in 2018 while sales volumes are expected to continue to be lower than recent norms."


Royal LePage classifies a luxury home in the Vancouver area as any listing above $4,630,147 for a detached home and above $1,926,084 for a condo. 


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Some may ask; what is a benchmark rate? This rate has always existed but more recently it’s what mortgage lenders & 3rd party insurers have to use to qualify a borrower for a mortgage. So it can also be called the qualifying rate. It went up from 5.14% to 5.34% Don’t let this rate be confused with the contract rate; which is the actual rate that you receive and pay interest on when you get a mortgage. The most popular rate/terms are a 5 year fixed and 5 year variable; best rates available for them are still 3.19% and 2.40% for the latter.
See the full article from below for the reason why it pushed the rate up; it’s effect on borrowers who who else raised their benchmark rates as well:  

"The bar is now higher for homebuyers to qualify for mortgages in Canada after the central bank raised a key metric used in stress tests that determine borrowers' eligibility.


The Bank of Canada raised the conventional five-year mortgage rate from 5.14 per cent to 5.34 per cent after all Big Six banks raised their posted five-year fixed mortgage rates in recent weeks.


The central bank qualifying rate is separate from the actual mortgage rates offered by banks to borrowers, but is used to assess homebuyers who are seeking loans.


Homebuyers with less than a 20 per cent down payment seeking an insured mortgage must qualify at the central bank's benchmark five-year mortgage rate.


And as of Jan. 1, buyers who don't need mortgage insurance are required to prove they can handle payments at a qualifying rate of the greater of the central bank's five-year benchmark rate or two percentage points higher than the contractual mortgage rate.


``Mortgage borrowers will be qualifying for less than they were able to earlier this year,'' mortgage broker Samantha Brookes said in an email. ``With all the new rule changes, we've definitely noticed the effect on the market with home purchases, renewals and refinances.''


The higher rates come as an estimated 47 per cent of all existing mortgages will need to be refinanced in 2018, up from the 25 to 35 per cent range in a typical year, according to a recent CIBC Capital Markets report.


The increase is an unintended consequence of various rounds of regulatory changes in the past few years aimed at reducing risk coupled with rising house prices that made it harder for homebuyers to qualify.


Borrowers who find the bar too high for the home they want can make some adjustments in order to make a purchase, she said. Those options include purchasing a smaller home and taking on less mortgage, or purchasing where prices are lower, added Brookes, who is founder of Mortgages of Canada.


The jump in the mortgage qualifying rate comes after Canada's largest lenders raised their benchmark posted five-year fixed mortgage rates in recent weeks as the cost of borrowing rises.


In late April, TD Bank was the first of the Big Five lenders to raise the benchmark rate, increasing it from 5.14 per cent to 5.59 per cent, due to factors including the ``competitive landscape, the cost of lending and managing risk.'' Royal Bank of Canada, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal and the Bank of Nova Scotia followed suit, but with smaller increases.


The slew of bank moves was preceded by a rise in government bond yields. The yield on the Government of Canada benchmark five-year bond was 2.16 per cent on Tuesday, compared to 1.01 per cent a year earlier. Fixed-rate mortgages tend to move with government bond yields of a similar term, reflecting the change in borrowing costs."


The Canadian Press via



Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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Four of Canada’s Big Six banks have now raised their posted mortgage rates since last week, sparking concern by homebuyers and existing homeowners about the implications.


TD kicked off this round of rate increases last week by raising its various mortgage terms, including an astounding 45-bps increase to its 5-year fixed rate, which jumped from 5.14% to 5.59%. RBC, National Bank of Canada and CIBC have since followed suit, raising rates by 1030 bps.


The question on everyone’s mind is: why are the big banks hiking, and why now?


The answer is partially related to Canadian bond yields, which rose to a seven-year high of 2.19% last week, and are now hovering around 2.14%. This has driven up mortgage borrowing costs for the banks.


But that doesn’t fully explain the extent of these hikes, founder Rob McLister wrote in a Maclean’s article over the weekend.


Funding costs have risen by less than half as much as TD’s increase on the five-year fixed mortgage. Something else would appear to be at play,” he noted. “It could be that TD is trying to influence rates higher to pad profit margins, or trying to coax more people into locking in. Or it could be trying to build reserves in a riskier housing market where national average home prices are down over 10 per cent in one year.”

Mortgage planner David Larock had another theory, which he wrote about on his blog,

Citing a recent CIBC survey that suggests up to 47% of all residential mortgages will come up for renewal in 2018, and the fact that mortgage renewers are now more inclined to shop around for more competitive rates, Larock wrote: “I think TD is losing an increasing share of its renewal business because the rates it is offering aren’t competitive, and instead of sharpening its pencil and lowering them (which would negatively impact profitability), the bank is using its posted rate to spike the MQR [Mortgage Qualifying Rate] and make it harder for their renewing borrowers to seek alternatives.”

For the bank’s part, TD spokesperson Julie Bellissimo said factors such as “competitive landscape, the cost of lending and managing risk” are taken into consideration when setting rates.

How New Homebuyers Are Affected

Despite the optics, the hikes are unlikely to affect the majority of new homebuyers, at least as far as their contract rate is concerned (i.e., the rate they are actually paying for their mortgage).


That’s because while the banks have raised their posted rates, their “special” and discretionary ratesthat is, the rates available to most well-qualified borrowersremain largely unchanged or just modestly higher.


But while a new homebuyer may still be able to secure a relatively competitive mortgage rate, the real challenge will be passing the new stress test, which is based on the benchmark qualifying rate, which in turn is based on the mode average of the Big Six banks’ 5-year posted rates (currently 5.14%). And that’s about to climb even higher on Thursday, although we won’t know by how much until the final two banks announce any additional rate hikes.


McLister noted that if the qualifying rate rises by 20 bps, it would lower a borrower’s maximum theoretical purchase price by roughly 1.5%.

How Existing Homeowners Are Affected

Existing homeowners could feel the effects of these rate hikes in two ways: a more difficult stress test to pass should they want to switch lenders at renewal time; and higher penalties should they wish to pay out their fixed mortgage early.


Concerning penalties, Larock summed up the financial implications of breaking a mortgage with TD with the following example:

“…let’s assume that TD lends you $300,000 today at a five-year fixed rate of 3.59% with a 25-year amortization. If you break that mortgage in three years’ time, and if rates have not changed, TD’s latest hike in their posted rate increases the penalty they will charge you from $10,228 to $12,715 (using some slight rounding). For comparison, a host of other non-Big Six lenders would charge you a penalty of $2,480 under the exact same circumstances.”

Variable Rates as an Alternative

With mortgage rates on the rise, consumers are taking a long, hard look at all of their options in search of ways to keep their costs down.


For certain borrowers, variable rates may be the answer. Some variable rates can still be found for as low as 2.21% for insured or 2.49% for uninsured, according to


But that healthy discount compared to fixed rates could quickly evaporate following a few more Bank of Canada rate increases. And that looks likely, with markets still pricing in two more quarter-point hikes to the overnight target rate by the end of the year. That would increase monthly payments for those with adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM) and lines of credit.


As for the timing of the next hike, most analysts seem to agree that July is the most likely, though Derek Holt at Scotiabank says a May hike isn’t out of the question given that the BoC said at its last meeting it would monitor data very closely in the “weeks” ahead.


“To have attached such a firm and relatively short timeline measured in weeks to data dependency suggests that the risk of a May hike should not be ignored,” he wrote.

What Can You Do?

So what can you do in the face of rising mortgage rates?


McLister advises that homebuyers who are currently rate shopping would do well to get a pre-approval at today’s rates before they rise any further. He suggests they have the lender review their documents to ensure a full pre-approval as opposed to just a “rate hold.”


Those who already have a mortgage that’s coming up for renewal and who aren’t happy with the rate they’ve been offered by their current lender would be well-served by the expertise of a broker, McLister wrote. A broker can help compare the savings of breaking the mortgage early and locking in at a better rate elsewhere, or simply help negotiate a more competitive renewal rate.


“If you’re up for renewal and your bank is quoting a pitiful rate because it thinks you are less rate-sensitive, higher risk and/or can’t qualify elsewhere, phone a broker,” he noted. “There are a few different ways to avoid the stress test and brokers know the most tricks to do it.”




Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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VANCOUVER, BC – May 2, 2018 – The Metro Vancouver* housing market saw fewer home buyers and more home sellers in April.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in the region totalled 2,579 in April 2018, a 27.4 per cent decrease from the 3,553 sales recorded in April 2017, and a 2.5 per cent increase compared to March 2018 when 2,517 homes sold.


Last month’s sales were 22.5 per cent below the 10-year April sales average.


“Market conditions are changing. Home sales declined in our region last month to a 17-year April low and home sellers have become more active than we’ve seen in the past three years,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “The mortgage requirements that the federal government implemented this year have, among other factors, diminished home buyers’ purchasing power and they’re being felt on the buyer side today.”


There were 5,820 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in April 2018. This represents an 18.6 per cent increase compared to the 4,907 homes listed in April 2017 and a 30.8 per cent increase compared to March 2018 when 4,450 homes were listed.


The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,822, a 25.7 per cent increase compared to April 2017 (7,813) and a 17.2 per cent increase compared to March 2018 (8,380).


“Home buyers have more breathing room this spring. They have more selection to choose from and less demand to compete against,” Moore said.


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for April 2018 is 26.3 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.1 per cent for detached homes, 36.1 per cent for townhomes, and 46.7 per cent for condominiums.


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


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,092,000. This represents a 14.3 per cent increase over April 2017 and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to March 2018.


Sales of detached properties in April 2018 reached 807, a 33.4 per cent decrease from the 1,211 detached sales recorded in April 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,605,800. This represents a 5.1 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to March 2018.


Sales of apartment properties reached 1,308 in April 2018, a 24 per cent decrease from the 1,722 sales in April 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $701,000. This represents a 23.7 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to March 2018.


Attached property sales in April 2018 totalled 464, a 25.2 per cent decrease compared to the 620 sales in April 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $854,200. This represents a 17.7 per cent increase from April 2017 and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to March 2018.


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Condo developers will be required by law to collect and report information on buyers who flip sales contracts for a higher price, according to legislation proposed by the B.C. NDP government.


This is a segment of the real estate market that has been exempt from the dampening effect of the foreign-buyers tax and disclosure rules for so-called shadow-flipping.


For now, the Ministry of Finance plans to collect the personal or business identity of all parties in an assignment agreement, including name, social insurance number, contact details and the amount paid by the buyer to the seller. It will not only be asking for details about assignments, but also first contract buyer details. 


In recent years, prices for presale condos (condos that can be purchased but haven’t been built yet) across Metro Vancouver have seen high, double-digit price gains of 40 to 60 per cent, and even higher, as other parts of the housing market have cooled or risen more moderately.


“It (would) bring more transparency to that part of the market which currently lacks it,” said Vancouver real estate agent Steve Saretsky, who has been critical of developers selling presale contracts to overseas buyers who then sell them again and again to local buyers at higher prices.


The development industry has been against other housing measures proposed by the NDP, but it supports the curbing of presale assignments. 


Realtors, like Vancouver-based Rick Clarke, agree with tracking assignments because he sees hints of the volume. “They should. A lot of people are not reporting and not paying tax and making big gains.”


He says there is “a select group of agents” that have tight relationships with developers who rely on them for being able to sell chunks of pre sale condo units, describing one “known for just having signed 51 contracts in a half-hour.”

By comparison, even though “we are a top one per cent team, we have limited success” in being able to get clients access to any of those units because developers prefer the ease of moving a block of contracts.


Says Clarke: “It’s a different business model. They are order takers whereas we are consultants and take into account a client’s situation. Are they having a baby? Getting a divorce? What do they need?”


The province’s real estate development marketing act says that, unlike in Ontario, for example, developers must have a development permit in hand before they sign presale contracts. But many start “filling up a pipeline” of interested, “VIP clients” long before, in part, to make themselves attractive to developers.


Century 21 real estate agent Mike Stewart — who markets many presale projects long before they launch — didn’t return calls to Postmedia by deadline.


Edgar Sung, a realtor reached via the website, which lists assignment opportunities across Metro Vancouver, didn’t have a comment on the new rules for developers and what impact it might have on the market.


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The Bank of Canada just announced recently that it is maintaining the Bank of Canada rate at 1.25%. This is the benchmark rate in which variable rate mortgages as well as consumer loans are priced against. The reasons given to keep the rate unchanged were due to a slower than expected growth in the economy at only 1.3% growth (expected was 2.5%). The Bank of Canada expects the economy to rebound to the 2.5% growth level in the 2nd quarter.

It appears from statements made by the Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, that he expects interest-rate hikes to be necessary over time and that the Bank of Canada will follow a cautious, data-dependent approach. The next rate announcement is scheduled for May 30th. 

The mortgage and real estate world has become more challenging lately with market conditions changing and various mortgage rule adjustments. There are more hurdles to overcome but with those hurdles are also opportunities to see what’s possible. 

Your overall mortgage strategy is what matters more today than ever before. Strategies that help make your dream of homeownership a reality. The mortgage you get today might be the mortgage for now and not your mortgage forever. With access to a vast variety of lenders, including non-traditional lenders, I have the resources to make what appears to be impossible possible. More and more Canadians are looking beyond “the banks” and their limited options.

Innovative mortgage solutions such as Reverse Mortgages (a mortgage product that doesn’t require monthly payments) might be a great solution for many. A Reverse Mortgage can help increase cash flow, provide funds for children to use as down payment or even fund grandchildren’s education. “All in one” type mortgages are ideal for those wanting to utilize their equity to support their investment strategy or make a large purchase that they can pay off faster. 

My role as a mortgage professional is to continuously stay not only up-to-date but also ahead when it comes to knowing and understanding mortgage strategies and opportunities.

Call or email me today.




Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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The Bank of Canada met earlier this week to make a decision on their key lending rate. They decided to keep it where it is for now. This was widely expected by economists but how long will rates stay? In January they increased the rate by a 1/4 percent after 2 increases of the same last year. The forecast then was for 3 more increases this year. That has now changed. See what the change is by reading this in depth article by CanadianMortgageTrends:


"The Bank of Canada left interest rates where they were today, citing weaker-than-expected data in the first quarter.

In its Monetary Policy Report, which was also released today, the bank noted that the Governing Council considered recent economic data “very carefully” and concluded the softness was due mainly to two temporary factors: the new mortgage rules and an unexpected drop in exports.


The bank said the new stress test that came into effect on January 1 caused house sales to be pulled forward into the fourth quarter of 2017.


“Although we are still expecting the housing sector to moderate in 2018 compared with last year, we can expect a partial recovery of activity in the second quarter,” the bank noted.


In his press conference following the rate decision, Governor Stephen Poloz said the overall economic activity is expected to rebound later in the year, with GDP growth of 2.5% in Q2.


“The economy is projected to operate slightly above its potential over the next three years, with real GDP growth of about two per cent in both 2018 and 2019, and 1.8 per cent in 2020,” the bank said.


Future Hikes Still Possible

Many analysists weighed in following the decision, saying the bank’s comments and forecasts for later in the year leave rate hikes on the table for 2018.


“The tone of the statement was generally upbeat, suggesting the BoC remains on a slow but steady rate hike path,” noted Benjamin Reitzes of BMO Capital Markets. “We remain very comfortable with our call for the next hike to come in July.”


Reitzes noted that the bank’s hawkish forecast for the second half of the year suggests the BoC is “looking for some stability in housing over the coming months, at a minimum.”


OIS markets are still fully pricing in two additional rate hikes in 2018.


Economists at CIBC pointed out the dichotomy in the bank’s statement, which highlighted a pick-up in inflation and “little slack” remaining in the economy, while at the same time referencing “escalating” global risks and the continued need for “some monetary policy accommodation.”


“Sum it all up and you have a central bank happy to move interest rates higher still, but only very gradually, and we stick to our forecast for the next hike coming in July, followed by a hold for the balance of the year,” they wrote.


Good New for Homeowners…For Now

The rate hold was good news for adjustable rate mortgage holders, who, since July 2017, have already seen their monthly payments jump by about $35 a month per $100,000 of mortgage.


The BoC’s 75 bps of increases since last summer have already driven mortgage costs to four-year highs.

And that’s starting to have a psychological effect on homebuyers.


RBC’s latest Home Ownership Poll found that Canadians are growing increasingly concerned about rising rates, and are considering changing their homebuying plans as a result.


The survey found that 61% of Canadians now say they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about rising interest rates (vs. 51% last year).


In response, 35% say they are thinking about making their home purchase sooner in order to take advantage of still relatively low interest rates, while 32% are considering an earlier purchase to get into the market ahead of potential future hikes.


The Bank of Canada’s next rate decision will be delivered on May 30."




Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC


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Millennials are leading the charge among those who intend to buy a home in Canada in the next two years, largely due to lessened anxiety around employment and the economy, according to an RBC poll. 
“The biggest finding is that people are not discouraged about home ownership, particularly as first-time home buyers,” said Nicole Wells, vice-president of home equity financing with RBC.
That’s a stark shift from housing market reports coming into the new year, which painted a rather dark picture of the affordability of owning a home in Canada. January was the first month in which the Canadian housing market had to deal with new federal mortgages rules, which saw sales drop by 14.5 per cent compared to December, while prices slipped 2.4 per cent, according to data released on Thursday by the Canadian Real Estate Association.
According to the poll, 84 per cent of millennials believe that purchasing a home is a good investment, which is up five percentage points from last year. Furthermore, of the 32 per cent of Canadians who are likely to purchase a home in the next two years, millennials make up half.
“Canadians continue to feel optimistic about getting into the housing market despite changes in government regulations. They’re taking a more informed journey to home ownership by starting with affordability,” said Wells.
As intentions to buy a home continues to climb in Canada, 35 per cent of those surveyed indicated that they’d be receiving financial assistance from family for the down payment. Wells explained that while this percentage applied to Canadians as a whole, millennials can find themselves particularly strapped in the midst of Canada’s rising interest rates and property prices.
To combat rising prices, Wells says Canadian millennials are proving “savvy” so far when it comes to getting where — and what — they buy.

“A lot of millennials are pretty smart and savvy. They’re going into condos and townhouses and finding creative ways to get into a home,” explained Wells.


“They’re growing up,” explained Wells. “They understand their finances more now than ever. They’re thinking about starting families and it’s hard to do that in your parent’s basement.”


How do I know if I can afford it?

Th poll went on to offer several tips to Canadians looking to jump into the housing market — the primary one being scenario planning.


“Scenario planning is a big one,” said Wells. “I don’t think people do this enough. Many people overestimate the cost of living and costs of having a home. People can actually overestimate their budgets by 20 to 30 per cent.”


To remedy this, Wells recommends that prospective homebuyers plan out a few scenarios to help them visualize where they’ll be in a few years and whether or not they’ll still be able to afford rising living costs.


“If you plan to have children in the future, buy a new car or own a business, make sure you have a few scenarios aligned with your dreams. Factor these scenarios into your home-buying aspirations,” reads the study.


RBC Home Ownership Poll conducted by Ipsos from Jan. 9 – Jan, 24, 2018 on behalf of the Royal Bank of Canada, through a national survey of 2,000 Canadians ages 18+ who completed their surveys online. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.

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Buying a home to call your own a significant milestone in the journey of adulthood. For some, it represents more of an ingrained belief than a purely financial decision. For others, it’s a goal they’ve been working towards for a long time. So, if you’ve made the decision that purchasing a home is important both to your lifestyle and to your peace of mind, there are some crucial steps to consider before you begin house hunting.


1.  Credit rating—If you own a credit card, you can likely check your credit rating and get a free credit report. If you find some dents and dings in your credit, the consequence is the potential of having to pay a higher interest rate. Make sure you have full documentation of any negative or disputed aspects of your report—the mortgage companies will weigh this very heavily in deciding whether to offer you financing. If your credit rating is less than favorable, gain a clear understanding of what it will take to shine it up before going full tilt into the buying process.



2. Budget analysis—Know your numbers. How much are you spending on your rent, debt and other fixed costs? It’s  nice to believe you can swing the monthly mortgage, but it’s another thing to know that you can. Understand where your paycheck goes and how much might be “leaking” into unknown places—this is vital before you make that leap. There are so many potential unknowns.


3. Debt percentage—33/38 are the numbers to be concerned with. 33% of your monthly income can be devoted to housing costs, while 38% includes consumer debt. If you are outside of these limits, you might not qualify for the mortgage.

4. Down payment—Your mortgage company will look closely at the source of your down payment. It will look to your bank statements and scour them for money movement, such as sizeable deposits in and money transferred out. If you are receiving a gift or loan from your family, make sure it’s in place for a long period of time. The mortgage company will also want to make sure you not only have the required down payment funds available, it will make sure you have closing costs ready and available as well. Preplanning is critical.
5. Additional costs associated with ownership—In deciding to purchase, you are now signing on to commit to new costs that you might not have previously considered. While you have been paying rent month after month, you will now be taking on Real Estate taxes, maybe an Association Maintenance Fee, additional costs for utilities, homeowner’s insurance and maintenance and repair costs that have never been a part of your normal monthly outflow. For this reason, be sure you have plenty of wiggle room in your budget.
6. Interest rate environment and mortgage choices—On any mortgage website, you will be thrust into a barrage of choices that are sure to make your head spin. You will see mortgages that are fixed and variable rate, points (which are prepaid interest), length of time; 10-30 years, and more. Additionally, you will have to decide to lock in a rate or let it float with the mortgage. In order to make a good decision, you need to understand whether we are in a rate environment that is rising, static, or falling. Most importantly, understand the impact your choices have on your cash flow.
7. The housing market in your area—If there is anything you want to get a good handle on before you jump in, it is the nature of the housing market in your area. If homes are being bid up as a matter of course, be wary of diving in. Housing prices don’t move in only one direction. If you overpay for a home in a hot market, you might find yourself with negative equity for a long time until the market reignites.

Buying a home might be very important you and your family. Make sure you understand the numbers and the issues before your emotions take over.


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56% of first time homebuyers realize the importance of using a professional mortgage broker. With all the mortgage rules changes and the fact that mortgage professionals have access to more mortgage options, including some that are only available to brokers, it just makes sense to use a mortgage broker.


Getting a mortgage that makes sense today and in the future just got a lot more important. You need to understand how your credit, type of income, and many other factors affect your ability to get a mortgage not only today but also how they might impact your mortgage at renewal. In the past, as long as your payments were made on time, lenders would just offer you a renewal. In today’s environment, lenders might not just simply renew your mortgage. 

IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) require some lenders to hold additional reserves (money set aside) on a file should there be a substantial change in the client’s profile. The most opportune time for a lender to update a client’s profile is when the mortgage is due for renewal. They can check your credit to ensure nothing substantial has changed, they can confirm employment is still acceptable and income levels are stable and they can even check to see if the value of your home is still satisfactory. All these factors could determine if the lender is willing to renew your mortgage and at what rate and terms. 

Let’s ensure you are well equipped to take any necessary steps well ahead of your renewal time. If you’re buying a home, you want to make sure you have the right mortgage from the start. If you have a current mortgage, now is a good time to review your mortgage and financial situation, even if your mortgage renewal is still a few years away.

Mortgages that make sense today and tomorrow is what I do.




Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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We are well into 2018 and are starting to see the effect of the fully implemented mortgage rule changes that came in January of this year.  As reported recently in the Financial Post, many borrowers who would have been approved at traditional bank lenders just last year are now being turned down. As a result, the mortgage broker channel has seen an increase of over 20% in new applications.   

More and more Canadians, as per Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) latest survey, are using the services of mortgage brokers and are calling them first. CMHC stated that mortgage broker share is trending upwards and with 55% of first time buyers now relying on the advice of mortgage brokers.

This makes total sense given brokers have access to the Canadian mortgage market including many credit unions, mortgage investment companies (MIC’s) and other lenders that are not affected by the new regulations in the same manner as traditional bank lenders are.  

Now is a great time to see what you can qualify for and get pre-approved for your first or next mortgage.  Whether you’re buying, refinancing, or investing, let me provide you with all the relevant information and resources to help you achieve your dreams and financial goals. 

Your best option is to simply talk to me first.




Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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Home buyers and sellers were less active in Metro Vancouver* throughout the first quarter of 2018. 


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,517 in March 2018, a 29.7 per cent decrease from the 3,579 sales recorded in March 2017, and a 14 per cent increase compared to February 2018 when 2,207 homes sold.


Last month’s sales were 23 per cent below the 10-year March sales average.


There were 6,542 home sales on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver during the first quarter of 2018, a 13.1 per cent decrease from the 7,527 sales over the same period last year. This represents the region’s lowest first-quarter sales total since 2013.


“We saw less demand from buyers and fewer homes listed for sale in our region in the first quarter of the year,” Phil Moore, REBGV president said. “High prices, new tax announcements, rising interest rates, and stricter mortgage requirements are among the factors affecting home buyer and seller activity today.” 


There were 4,450 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale in Metro Vancouver in March 2018. This represents a 6.6 per cent decrease compared to the 4,762 homes listed in March 2017 and a 5.4 per cent increase compared to February 2018 when 4,223 homes were listed.


There were 12,469 homes listed for sale in Metro Vancouver during the first quarter of 2018, a 0.8 per cent decrease from the 12,568 sales over the same period last year. This represents the region’s lowest first-quarter new listings total since 2013.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,380, a 10.5 per cent increase compared to March 2017 (7,586) and a 7.1 per cent increase compared to February 2018 (7,822).


“Even with lower demand, upward pressure on prices will continue as long as the supply of homes for sale remains low,” Moore said. “Last month was the quietest March for new home listings since 2009 and the total inventory, particularly in the condo and townhome segments, of homes for sale remains well below historical norms.”


For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for March 2018 is 30 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 14.2 per cent for detached homes, 39.9 per cent for townhomes, and 61.6 per cent for condominiums.


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


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,084,000. This represents a 16.1 per cent increase over March 2017 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to February 2018.


Sales of detached properties in March 2018 reached 722, a decrease of 37 per cent from the 1,150 detached sales recorded in March 2017. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,608,500. This represents a 7.4 per cent increase from March 2017 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to February 2018.


Sales of apartment properties reached 1,349 in March 2018, a decrease of 26.7 per cent compared to the 1,841 sales in March 2017. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $693,500. This represents a 26.2 per cent increase from March 2017 and a 1.6 per cent increase compared to February 2018.


Attached property sales in March 2018 totalled 446, a decrease of 24.1 per cent compared to the 588 sales in March 2017. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $835,300. This represents a 17.7 per cent increase from March 2017 and a two per cent increase compared to February 2018.


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The latest in Mortgage News as reported by Canadian Mortgage Trends discusses the many changes, not only to mortgage rules but housing policy as well. What are these changes and how did, and still is, affecting the mortgage and housing market? Read the full article below for all the details:
As a side note: there has been a lot of changes. For a one on one review of them, and to determine how your borrowing power would have been affected, please feel free to reach out to me.

The Latest in Mortgage News – Government Policy & Housing Data


With the arrival of the new year came the official start of OSFI’s new mortgage regulations.


And the latest national home sales data suggests a significant number of Canadian homebuyers snuck in just under the wire and purchased homes before the new stress test rules took effect.


This isn’t the only example of government policy affecting Canada’s housing market. Earlier this month the Toronto Real Estate Board suggested Ontario’s new housing rules (which include a foreign buyer’s tax) was largely responsible for a double-digit decline in annual home sales last year.


More on these and other recent news items below…


Bump in December Home Sales

The Canadian Real Estate Association’s December home sales data showed a 4.1% increase compared to a year earlier, while the average home price rose 5.7% to $496,500.


Many suspect the surge in sales was partly due to homebuyers rushing to make their purchase before OSFI’s new mortgage regulations took effect January 1, requiring uninsured mortgages to be stress tested.


“National home sales in December were likely boosted by seasonal adjustment factors and a potential pull-forward of demand before new mortgage regulations came into effect this year,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist.

That likely means a slowdown in home purchases to start off 2018, according to some experts.


“The new OFSI measures and a shift to a rising-rate environment should prevent speculative froth from building again, and contain price growth to a reasonable pace for the remainder of the cycle,” wrote senior BMO economist Robert Kavcic.


Ontario Housing Rules Blamed for 18% Drop in GTA Sales

Earlier this month the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) blamed the Ontario Government for the 18% drop in home sales in 2017.


In April, the Ontario Government introduced 16 measures to cool the overheating real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including a 15% tax on home purchases made by non-residents.


“Much of the sales volatility in 2017 was brought about by government policy decisions,” TREB president Tim Syrianos said in a statement. “Research from TREB, the provincial government and Statistics Canada showed that foreign home buying was not a major driver of sales in the GTA. However, the Ontario Fair Housing Plan, which included a foreign buyer tax, had a marked psychological impact on the marketplace.”


TREB reported 92,394 home sales in the GTA last year, which was down from a peak of 113,040 in 2016. The board also reported a decline in prices for certain segments of the market. Detached home prices were down year-over-year by 2.5% to an average of $989,870, while condo prices were up 14.4%.


Canadians Concerned About Rate Hikes

Just ahead of last week’s Bank of Canada interest rate hike CIBC released a poll that found a majority of Canadians are concerned about the impact rising rates will have on their finances.


The poll found that while 77% of respondents were optimistic about their financial situation, 59% admitted they would feel “significantly less” confident if rates go up again.


“Given that household debt remains at record highs, it’s no surprise that Canadians are concerned about even the slightest change that might affect their finances,” said Jennifer Hubbard, CIBC’s Managing Director, Financial Planning and Advice.


With OIS markets still fully pricing in 50 bps of tightening by the end of the year, those worries likely won’t subside any time soon.


RateHub Secures $12M Investment

Mortgage rate comparison website RateHub announced last week that it had secured a $12-million investment from Elephant Partners LP, a venture capital firm based in Boston.


RateHub co-founder Alyssa Furtado, who put the company in the spotlight during her 2016 appearance on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, said Elephant’s investment “will be a tremendous asset in accelerating RateHub Inc.’s future growth.”


A RateHub spokesperson wouldn’t confirm what percentage of the company was purchased for the $12-million investment. However, in a comment to the Globe and Mail, Furtado stated this round of financing values the company at a level “many times” the $14 million Dragon’s Den deal she ultimately turned down.


The funds will be used to build a digital platform where homebuyers can complete the entire mortgage process online, while also expanding its other verticals, including credit cards, deposits and insurance, according to the company’s press release.


Full Article>




Tony Marchigiano  

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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Does a three-bedroom laneway house sound good to you? It sounds good to Bryn Davidson of Lanefab, a company that builds laneway as well as custom, full-size homes. He would like to see Vancouver amend its laneway policy to make it easier to construct family-sized ones. At this point, it’s difficult to do so because of limits to allowable square footage.


Davidson includes the suggestion in a 10-point Twitter essay he posted Wednesday evening in response to the City of Vancouver’s call for feedback for its online survey about laneway homes. (Find the survey here.)


“Hint: 1200 to 1400sf would work great,” he tweeted.


“We get a lot of interest in three bedrooms. We’ve only ever done one three-bedroom laneway house just because 1,000 square feet is tight for doing three bedrooms. A little bit more space would let you do three bedrooms all over the city,” he told the Courier Thursday.


Other items on his wish-list for policy changes include allowing extra height and getting rid of the landscape review requirement.


“Historically, the landscape review has been one of the biggest barriers and time delays in the permitting process,” he said. “It tends to be one of the most arbitrary and it’s something the city really doesn’t need to be spending staff time on.”


The city’s laneway survey was posted Jan. 6 and is online until Jan. 29. Invitations to take the survey were also mailed to laneway owners and occupants in early January. The goal is to find out more about laneway homes, including who is living in them and what they’re like as homes. The survey is part of the city’s laneway housing review, which was approved in November 2017, as part of the city’s Housing Vancouver strategy and three-year action plan for 2018 to 2020. The overall housing plan aims to deliver 72,000 new homes in Vancouver in the next 10 years. The laneway review aims to improve efficiency and affordability of laneway housing options.


Currently, both one- and one-and-a-half storey (partial second floor) laneway houses are permitted. The maximum permitted floor area for a laneway house depends on the size of the lot it’s built on, but not counting allowable exclusions, they may not exceed 83.6 square metres (900 square feet), according to city staff. Davidson said laneway homes typically end up being between 700 and 1,000 square feet.


Based on city regulations, they can’t be separately stratified and sold independently from the main house on the property but must be used as a rental housing unit or as housing or accommodation for family members, friends or guests. Some owners may also use their laneway house as a home office or workspace.

They’re allowed on lots 32 feet or wider in any RS (one-family) zoning district.  In January, city council approved changes to the RT-5 and RT-6 (two-family) zones in Mount Pleasant and Grandview Woodlands. The changes mean laneways are now permitted in those areas in conjunction with a single-family home, but not with a duplex.

Since the City of Vancouver first approved laneway homes in 2009, 3,000 have been built across the city. Over the years, efforts have been made to tweak regulations that govern their construction.


Davidson anticipates the latest review will see some of his policy-change suggestions realized, but not all.

“I think I have some broader ambitions that the city might be hesitant with, especially allowing strata everywhere. I know that’s been something they’ve been quite reluctant to do,” he said.


“We worked with the city in 2013 on that update and we were happy with how they listened to us and how they updated those ADU policies... Compared to most other cities in North America they’ve done a lot right. Now I’m hoping they can go even further.”


(ADU stands for accessory dwelling unit, which is a generic term that encompasses a range of different kinds of secondary units, including laneways.)


Davidson, meanwhile, wrote an article for CityLab a couple of months ago outlining what he believes the City of Vancouver has done right and what other cities have done wrong with their ADU policies, “so I think these updates are building on a solid foundation,” he said.


More than 450 people have responded to the laneway survey so far, according to the city. After the survey closes, staff will analyze the responses and summaries will be shared as part of the ongoing Laneway Housing Program review. The results will be important in helping inform any policy recommendations that are made through this work.


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