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A recent article in the Globe&Mail written by Rob McLister of Canadian Mortgage Trends discussed the benefits of going with a shorter mortgage term considering that many economists as well as the Bank of Canada have been predicting that rates are going to start going up for 5 years now. They haven't and they're actually lower than they were 5 years ago. It might be a good idea to take advantage of a lower rate for 1 or 2 years of interest savings and than weigh your options again at the end of that term. This strategy isn't for everyone but for financially secure borrowers who can handle the possibility of mortgage rates possibly being a bit higher in a year, or the same or even lower it's definitely an option to consider.

 

"People haven’t been lining up for short-term mortgages, given the mesmerizingly low rates on 5- and 10-year terms.

But if you’re a financially secure borrower and you believe that rate direction is random (it is), then 1-year rates shouldn’t be written off. That was my topic in this week’s G&M Column.

By way of example, suppose you need to borrow for at least five years. If you’re not risk averse, you might consider options like a:

  • 5-year fixed
  • 1-year fixed …which lets you renew into a 4-year fixed at maturity (or any term for that matter) 
  • 5-year variable …at a rate that’s ~20 basis points or .20% higher than a 1-year fixed 

The total borrowing timeframe is the same in each case, five years. But the 1-year mortgage gives you an option to:

(a) capture the maximum upfront interest savings and then keep enjoying low rates if borrowing costs stay low, or 

(b) switch to a longer term after 12 months if rising rates start stressing you out. 

When to lock in is always the hard part. Most folks who try to time the market find it to be a losing proposition.

But some people take the guesswork out of it by using pre-set rate levels to determine when to convert. For instance, they might ask their mortgage planner to lock them in if the lowest 4-year fixed rate has risen above 3.25% (an arbitrary example). 

This approach is similar in principal to a stop-loss order in trading.

A “stop-loss” gets you out of a trade at a pre-set loss. That lets you determine your risk in advance and prevent emotional and costly market timing.

 

The challenge with most 1-year terms, compared to variable rates, is that you usually have to wait until three to six months before maturity to secure (hold) your renewal rate. By contrast, most variable-rate mortgages let you lock in at any time. That makes them preferable to 1-years in certain situations.

 

Other variable and 1-year differences: 

  • A variable rate drops when prime drops. 

  • A 1-year mortgage fluctuates less, potentially letting you hold low rates for longer than a variable. 

  • A 1-year is currently cheaper up front (because the rate is lower than a variable). 

  • A 1-year lets you switch terms at maturity at the best available rates. (You’ll rarely get the best rates when converting a variable mortgage to a fixed rate during your term.) 

One unique case is the 1-year “convertible” mortgage. It lets you lock into a longer fixed mortgage at any time. In other words, you don’t have to wait until six to nine months into your 1-year term. Convertibles are harder to find but quite flexible if you can locate one that’s cheaper than a variable rate.

 

All-in-all, are 1-year terms right for most people? The answer is no. But they’re definitely right for more people than the 6% of borrowers who actually choose them."

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Last month was the highest selling June, and the second highest overall monthly total, on record for the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

The REBGV reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver* reached 4,375 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in June 2015. This represents a 28.4 per cent increase compared to the 3,406 sales recorded in June 2014, and an increase of 7.9 per cent compared to the 4,056 sales in May 2015.

Last month’s sales were 29.1 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month. It’s the fourth straight month with over 4,000 sales, which is a first in the REBGV’s history. The previous highest number of residential home sales was 4,434, recorded in May 2005.

“Demand in our detached home market continues to drive activity across Metro Vancouver,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “There were more detached home sales in the region last month than we’ve seen during the month of June in more than 10 years.” 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $694,000. This represents a 10.3 per cent increase compared to June 2014.

“Housing market activity comes in cycles; we're in an up cycle right now that looks similar to the mid-2000s,” McLeod said. “It would be easy to point to one factor that's causing this cycle, but the truth is that it's a number of different factors.

"Conditions today are being driven by low interest rates, a declining supply of detached homes, a growing population, a provincial economy that's outperforming the rest of Canada, pent-up demand from previous years and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that we live in a highly desirable region," McLeod said. 

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,803 in June. This represents an 8.7 per cent increase compared to the 5,339 new listings reported in June 2014.

"We’re seeing a steady stream of new listings entering the market, but the overall number of homes for sale is not keeping up with buyer demand," McLeod said.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the region’s MLS® is 12,181, a 23.9 per cent decline compared to June 2014 and a 1.3 per cent decline compared to May 2015. This is the lowest active listing total for June since 2006. 

The sales-to-active-listings ratio in June was 35.9 per cent. This is the highest that this ratio has been in Metro Vancouver since June 2006. A seller’s market typically occurs when this ratio exceeds 20 per cent for a sustained period of time. 

“The competition in today’s market means that buyers have less time to make decisions,” McLeod said. “Given this, it’s important to work with your REALTOR® to gain insight into the local market, to get quick access to new MLS® listings, to develop a buying strategy that meets your needs and risk appetite, and to receive other services and protections that come from having professional representation.”

Sales of detached properties in June 2015 reached 1,920, an increase of 31.3 per cent from the 1,462 detached sales recorded in June 2014, and a 74.2 per cent increase from the 1,102 units sold in June 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 14.8 per cent from June 2014 to $1,123,900.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,774 in June 2015, an increase of 35.6 per cent compared to the 1,308 sales in June 2014, and an increase of 66.1 per cent compared to the 1,068 sales in June 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 5.3 per cent from June 2014 to $400,200.

Attached property sales in June 2015 totalled 681, an increase of 7.1 per cent compared to the 636 sales in June 2014, and a 44.3 per cent increase from the 472 attached properties sold in June 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 7.1 per cent between June 2014 and 2015 to $506,900.

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Taking on the role of ‘interior designer’, within your own home doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can be a great opportunity to stretch your creative capabilities and with a few design lessons, you’ll be creating signature spaces in no time.

 

THE CAMERA DOES NOT LIE A smart way to begin is to take a photo of your space to help evaluate what’s currently working and what’s not. In a well-styled room, accessories are usually grouped together in clusters for visual impact. Consider that void space is a grouping, in and of itself. Not every shelf or landing surface needs to be accessorized. A good proportional relationship between the scale, colour and the quantity of items, provides interest and visual relief at the same time.

 

LAYERING RUGS Most homes have transitioned to hardwood, tile or other hard surfaces as the main flooring product, however, the majority of rooms can still benefit from the softness of carpets. A great solution for large spaces is to install wall-to-wall carpet. Now, splurge on a big punch of colour and interest, by layering a high quality area rug (at least two feet smaller than the room size) on top, to anchor the vignette or conversation area in your space. This combination also provides great versatility for future design changes.

 

MY LITTLE FRIEND, THE BAR CART The bar cart is your new best friend. It’s one of the most versatile and classic pieces of furniture, always in style, whether it’s retro or new. Equally as appealing in a living room, office, bathroom, bedroom or patio, it’s fabulous as a side table, a stand alone display unit, towel and toiletry storage, office supplies or, the obvious, alcohol and barware. In a category all its own, it can truly look fabulous in any room. Be sure not to overcrowd the cart so it maintains its classic simplicity.

 

BALANCING THE ELEMENTS If you’re uncertain why your space feels cold or sparse, despite your best design efforts, evaluate its ratio of hard goods to soft goods. Large expanses of hard surfaces, such as floors, walls, high ceilings, counters, fireplaces, glass and geometric shapes can be toned down by implementing soft goods and organic shapes in upholstery, area rugs, accessories and greenery. Combining these elements and layering textures provides relief to the senses, creating a cosy atmosphere. This is another great time to take a picture of your space to see if you’ve struck the right balance.

 

COME HERE, COLOUR! If you’re colour-shy, force yourself to embrace it. Although you may have heard this many times, you may not have confidence in properly applying the design principle. The easiest way to incorporate colour, with minimal risk, is to choose one or two bold colours to sprinkle throughout a room with a neutral backdrop. A lamp base, toss cushion and vase, all in the same colour or varying shades of the same colour family, may be enough to bring a room to life and easily swapped out to create a different look. For a greater colour infusion, paint the ceiling a bold colour, while adding a few accent pieces in similar tones to the space. The result is a dramatic yet intimately personalized look.

 

Try applying these lessons to transform every space in your home and you’ll begin to see how the rooms flow together beautifully.

 

Source - canadianhometrends

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Rates going up in the fall? Well probably…maybe…depends…
 
The U.S. Federal Reserve gave it's clearest indication that rates will start to go up in September. What happens in the U.S. usually trickles over to Canada but with that being said they also stressed that rates will "probably" or "maybe" start to go up and that it "depends" on a number of things. Will this be the time when rates do start going up? Only time will tell. We've had plenty of false alarms over the past few years.
 
Check out lender, First National's, market commentary for more details on this subject:
 
Market Commentary

"Given the close ties between the Canadian and American economies it is little wonder market watchers were paying very close attention to the latest musings from the U.S. Federal Reserve. It is also little wonder that what they heard created quite a flutter, even though nothing actually happened.

Fed chair Janet Yellen has given the clearest signal yet that interest rates will be going up and the clearest projection is that it will happen in September … probably … maybe … depends. It could be December or even next March. From the U.S. perspective employment growth is a key concern.

For Canadian mortgage holders when is not critical. How much and how many – "the entire path of rates", as Yellen put it – are what matter. On that point Yellen says the Fed is projecting increases of 100 basis points a year until rates normalize (likely in 25 bps increments).

Canadians contemplating long-term mortgages need to be aware that the U.S. increases, whenever they start, will likely move across the border."
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It's no secret that Canada's two top real estate markets of Vancouver and Toronto have a long standing rivalry. As both head into a white-hot and likely record setting sales season, real estate brokerage, TheRedPin, analysed the merits of each market. Their fact finding mission concluded that there are seven clear market advantages for homebuyers in Vancouver:

 

1) First Time Friendly

The conventional belief is that Vancouver prices have skyrocketed and there is a huge financial barrier to entering the local housing market. However, Research shows that although Vancouver housing prices are significantly higher on average, first time buyers in Vancouver spend an average of $420K, compared with $425K in Toronto - making first time home purchases actually lower than Toronto prices.

 

2) Land Transfer Tax Factor

Vancouverites come out way ahead on land transfer taxes by only paying provincial dues. Unless you're a first time buyer in Toronto, you get a double hit of both municipal and provincial land transfer taxes. This can add up to serious money on a market priced home.

E.g. For a $500,000 home
      Vancouver = $8,000
      Toronto = $12,200

3) Constant, Consistent Curb Appeal

In Vancouver, mild temperatures keep lawns green, flowers blooming and buyers/sellers active year round. Though the best months to buy and sell match Toronto's (January and May respectively), the Vancouver sales season never really winds down, allowing significantly more viewings and potential buyers.

 

4) Parkland Proud

Vancouver decimates Toronto in available parkland:

Vancouver's largest urban park, Stanley Park, is 400 hectares vs Toronto's High Park which is a mere 161 hectares. Enjoying nature in Toronto is a two hour drive from downtown. In contrast, mountains are only 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver and the beach is only five minutes away.

 

5) International Bragging Rights

Vancouver consistently tops liveability and best city studies. When compared against international and North American cities as recently as this year, Vancouver ranked fifth, decimating Toronto (ranked 15th). The study analysed factors related to safety, healthcare, educational resources, infrastructure and environment in 230 international cities.

 

6) Condo Crazy

Greater Vancouver condo resales soar over condo resales in Greater Toronto. In March, 40% of all homes sold in the Greater Vancouver Area were condos, compared with on 22% in the GTA.

 

7) In Vancouver, Over-Ask and You Shall Receive

Two recent Vancouver transactions show that the sky really is the limit when it comes to real estate prices:

 

Two recent Vancouver transactions show that the sky really is the limit when it comes to real estate prices:

A home that was listed at $5.99 Million sold in 12 days for $2 Million over asking in May.

 

Mere weeks ago, a home listed at just under $3 million sold for $1.1 Million over asking, in just hours.

 

"The GTA is an important market for us, but it only represents 25% of Canada's real estate market," said Rokham Fard, CMO and Co-Founder of TheRedPin.com. "Now that we've perfected our streamlined buying model we're ready to extend our unique real estate services to Vancouver, the next major real estate hub of Canada."

 

TheRedPin.Com is the first online real estate brokerage to combine both resale and new homes under one umbrella for the Greater Vancouver Area. The company is now servicing home buyers in Vancouver and will be adding selling services in the coming months. They will also be rolling out in Calgary and other major Canadian real estate hubs throughout 2015.

 

About TheRedPin:

 

TheRedPin connects people, data and technology. Our platform carries the largest database of active residential listings in the Greater Toronto Area, with plans to expand nationally. We are a challenger brand, with a unique business model that streamlines the real estate journey, and provides exceptional end-to-end services and benefits, not found at other traditional brokerages.

 

Founded in 2010, four friends recognized that the real estate industry might be the only sector not influenced by technology. The four saw this as an opportunity to reinvent the way people bought and sold properties, more specifically the way homes were searched. Today, TheRedPin is much more than that.

 

We are a tech startup that doesn't answer to the industry, we answer to our clients and ourselves.

 

Source: MarketWatch

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More Canadians than ever are choosing mortgage brokers because they see benefit in the expertise and unbiased advice that only a mortgage professional like myself can provide.


The latest consumer survey, conducted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), confirms “mortgage broker market share is trending upwards for most market segments”. The use of mortgage brokers increased to 42% overall in 2015; that’s a whopping 30% increase versus 2014. First time homebuyers that choose a mortgage broker over a bank surged to 55% in 2015.

According to the survey, 50% of Canadians never negotiate or are not aware of the multitude of options that exist at renewal time. This could result in them paying thousands of dollars in unnecessary interest. Mortgage renewal time is a window of opportunity that all homeowners should exploit to reduce expenses as much as possible. It is the ideal time to look at your options regarding rates, mortgage types and terms, or evaluate strategies that could save you thousands in interest and pay your mortgage off sooner.


It’s clear that using a mortgage broker, who has the knowledge and access to the entire mortgage market, makes sense. If you know someone looking to buy a home or is in the process of renewing their mortgage, contact me today.  I can help.


Tony Marchigiano, 
Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

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Approximately 20% of Vancouver detached-housing sales can be defined as flips – the buying and selling of a property in less than 12 months – and Dunbar is the city’s hottest flipping market.

Dunbar, an established west-side Vancouver neighbourhood where the typical price of a house is now $2.27 million, accounted for 30 of the 328 detached-house flips in the city during 2014 and the first five months of this year, based on exclusive research done for Business in Vancouver by New Westminster’s Landcor Data Corp.

Dunbar average house prices rose 9.1% in the past year, which would equate to a theoretical return of approximately $200,000 for someone who had bought and sold a typical house in that period.

But the Landcor data suggests some savvy investors did much better than that.

For instance, a 1950-era house at 4086 West 30th Avenue was bought, held for 217 days and sold last June for $2.95 million, generating a $400,000 profit.

A house built in 1930 at 3464 West 38th Avenue was bought and sold in 107 days. The selling price, at just over $2 million, netted the investor $305,000. And the owner of an 80-year-old house on West 19th Avenue pocketed a profit of $340,000 after holding the house for 171 days and selling it for $2.34 million.

For the Dunbar area the typical house flip generated a 23% annual return, or an average of $1,360 per day that the house was held.

“A well-backed investor leveraging 20% down financing [around $400,000] would yield over 100% [on their cash investment],” said Derek Tinney, Landcor Data operations manager.

Vancouver realtor Ken Leong, who admits to a brief – and heady – history of flipping condominiums for himself and clients, said it takes more nerve and cash to speculate on Vancouver’s detached-house market than during the exuberant days of condo flips a decade ago.

Leong said that if house price increases go soft – as in the current condo market – investors could find themselves financially under water fast.

That was the experience of at least one East Vancouver speculator, who lost $61,000 in 57 days last fall flipping a $905,000 detached house on East 29th Avenue.

Leong is not surprised there’s not more flipping going on, despite the 10% increase in average Vancouver house prices over the past year. He suspects some of what might be seen as speculation is people forced to sell quickly for other reasons, such as changing family or employment situations.

Speculation, he said, is not a guarantee of hefty profits.

As Leong explained, if an investor bought a house for $1 million and flipped it a few months later for $1.1 million, he or she would have to pay $18,000 in B.C.’s property purchase tax. Realtor commissions to sell the house would total around $33,500. The capital gains tax, likely at the highest tax bracket, would be roughly $30,000.

“So now your $100,000 gain is down to less than $20,000, and you still have to add in the carrying costs of financing of around $4,000 per month while the house is for sale,” he said.

“It would be hard to make a big profit on such a flip,” Leong said. “Actually the government would make more than the investor.”

 

SOURCE: Business in Vancouver

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A recent article in the Globe & Mail provides a thorough understanding of what obstacles get in the way of getting the best mortgage rate. Being in the industry I would have to agree with all that the author covers in the article. I would also add that the best mortgage rate is not necessarily and always the most important feature when seeking financing for a home. Total Cost of Borrowing is one should look at very closely.

 

Anyone with a mortgage wants the lowest possible rate. But there’s an array of requirements for snagging the best all-around deal, and some of them are counter-intuitive.

Once people have chosen the term and rate type for their mortgage, they often find that rates for that same term can vary by a percentage point or more. Countless factors can keep borrowers from getting a rock-star deal. Here are 10 of them:

 

1. Rates vary by province

Ontario usually has the most competitive rates in Canada, partly because it has the greatest number of competitors. People living in the Prairies or the East Coast, for example, often pay one-tenth to two-tenths of a percentage point more than folks in Ontario. Other examples: Home owners in Alberta sometimes have to put down more equity to get the lowest available rates (thanks to larger default risks in that province); borrowers in Manitoba have the cheapest six-month rates; borrowers in Quebec have some of the best 10-year rates.

2. A long rate hold

The further into the future your closing date, the longer the rate guarantee you’ll need. In turn, the higher a lender’s rate hedging costs and the higher your interest rate. The cheapest rates in the market are generally for “quick closes.” That typically means you must complete the mortgage in 30 to 45 days from applying. Applying one month from closing can shave off one-tenth to two-tenths of a percentage point from your rate, but the risk is that rates jump even more while you’re waiting.

3. You’re refinancing

Lenders love to finance purchases. So mortgages for new buyers sometimes have lower rates than mortgages for refinances. What’s more, refinances, which essentially require a whole new mortgage, often have lower rates than mortgage transfers, where you’re switching lenders but the key mortgage terms stay the same.

4. You’ve got an apartment condo or atypical property

Some lenders charge more for high-rise condos, especially in cities where condo markets are arguably overextended. The same goes for cottages, co-ops, hotel condos, former grow-ops, larger multiunit residences and other non-standard structures, which lenders view as higher risk.

5. The property isn’t your full-time dwelling

The cheapest rates in the country rarely apply to income-generating properties that the owner doesn’t live in. These deals are statistically a higher risk for lenders and investors, so expect a higher interest rate.

6. Your credit score isn't high enough

The magic number is 680. That’s the most common minimum credit score to qualify for the best rates, especially if you have a higher debt ratio or a smaller down payment. But one number isn’t everything. To qualify for the best pricing you also need a two-year track record of managing your credit with no serious delinquencies.

7. You want flexibility

Some of the nation’s lowest rates come with strings attached, such as below-average prepayment privileges. This limits your ability to save interest by making lump-sum extra payments. Instead of prepaying 15 per cent to 30 per cent annually (which few people do anyway) a “no frills” rate might limit you to prepaying 5 per cent or 10 per cent. Restricted mortgages can also impose painful penalties, prohibit you from refinancing elsewhere before your term is up and prevent you from increasing your mortgage without penalty – useful if you buy a new house.

8. Your mortgage is not insured

In many cases, people with smaller down payments – less than 20 per cent – get better rates. That’s because their mortgage must generally be insured. Lenders like insured mortgages because someone else shares the risk of the borrower defaulting.

9. Your mortgage is too big

For lenders, bigger mortgages mean potentially bigger losses on default. This added risk results in rate premiums and stricter lending limits, especially on million-dollar mortgages without at least 25-per-cent to 35-per-cent down payments.

10. Your income is too low

If you’ve just become self-employed, are on probation or you can’t prove one to two years’ worth of stable salaried income, it can cost you. You may also need a bigger down payment. Lenders want less than 40 per cent to 44 per cent of your provable income to go toward debt.

In looking at this list, you may surmise you’ll get the best deal if you have pristine credit, don’t care about mortgage restrictions and are buying a detached urban home in Ontario that’s closing in 30 days.

That all helps, but there’s plenty more that governs mortgage pricing. Step one is knowing how well qualified you are. The stronger you are as a borrower, the more likely you’ll find exceptions to the rate “rules” above.


Source: theglobeandmail

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The City of Vancouver plans to protect a Shaughnessy neighbourhood from density and re-development with a new heritage conservation district designation.

 

If passed, the heritage designation would prevent a scenario similar to the Cambie corridor where dozens of single-family homes will be demolished for density. 

 

Brian Jackson, the city's general manager of planning development, says the bylaw would allow the city to say 'no' to tear-downs without the necessity of offering compensation. 

 

"If we don't want them to, and we want to designate against their will, we would have to compensate them."

 

Jackon says there are 595 houses in First Shaughnessy, and 317 were built before 1940. Those homes were initially protected under the First Shaughnessy official development plan, but an increase in interest to tear down homes — there were 19 applications for demolition in 2014, up from 3 or 4 a year before that — forced the city to act. 

 

Jackson said the plan is not designed to protect the city's wealthiest citizens from density, and argues it may actually anger those who seek to cash in on their valuable land.

 

"The very wealthy property owners may be the ones that are opposing this because they don't want the kind of protection tools we're imposing," he said. 

 

"We're doing this because First Shaughnessy has this significant concentration of heritage assets."

 

Jackson says some density would come to First Shaughnessy in the form of additional laneway housing and the possibility of stratifying existing structures. 

 

City council has voted to send the report to a public hearing process. 30 other communities in B.C. have Heritage Conservation District designations.

 

Source: CBC

A $4-million “teardown” that sold for $1 million over asking price in West Vancouver this week is renewing debate about money flooding into the top tiers of the Lower Mainland’s real estate market and its ripple effect on affordability.

Debate about issues like foreign buyers and real estate flipping is in the forefront after a home listed for $2.98 million in the Bayridge area of West Vancouver prompted a bidding war and eventually sold for $4.1 million to a buyer from mainland China.

The 60-year-old, four-bedroom home with a swimming pool at 4130 Burkehill Place had never been listed before, said Viv Harvey of Royal LePage Sussex, who represented the sellers in the deal.

“It’s a lovely little rancher,” she said. But that wasn’t what most of the real estate agents and prospective buyers who attended an open house last week were interested in.

“When you’re looking out from the lot, all you see is water,” she said. “There are no homes, there are no wires.”
“It’s basically a teardown,” she said. “The value is in the lot.”

Harvey said at $2.98 million, the property was “sharply priced.”

“It probably was under the value,” she said. “That is the best way to make sure you get full exposure.”

Harvey said she expected the property to perhaps fetch as high as $3.5 million, but having it reach $4.1 million was a surprise.

Nine offers were made on the property — the lowest among them for the full asking price.

Harvey said having the house sell for $1.1 million over asking price is a first for her.

The buyer, from mainland China, already owns a home in the Lower Mainland, and plans to tear the existing home down and rebuild on the lot, said Harvey. He hasn’t decided if he’s going to live in the house or resell it, she added.

While a deal like this is still unusual, it’s indicative of what’s going on in high-end real estate markets like West Vancouver.

“It’s a market on steroids,” said Harvey. “The market has gone a little crazy.”

Increasingly the West Vancouver real estate market is attracting offshore buyers.

“With things escalating in the world, there’s a real need for people to put their money in a safe haven,” said Harvey. “Our dollar is so low that Canada is really on sale.”

Just how much real estate is being sold to foreign buyers isn’t clear, because it’s not well tracked by government statistics.

Harvey estimates about 15 per cent of her business comes from overseas buyers.

Allan Angell of Angell Hasman, a West Vancouver real estate company that caters to the high end of the market, puts that figure higher. “I’m selling 80 per cent of my high-end houses to Chinese,” he said.

Most see investment in real estate as a good way to bring money into the country, he said.

Others are making money by quickly flipping properties — sometimes assigning their contract of sale to a third party for a premium.

Those kinds of issues recently prompted Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to call for a speculation tax on real estate.

Houses that sit empty until they are flipped is another issue garnering attention.

That can contribute to the problem of housing affordability by putting pressure on housing supply, said David Wachsmuth, an urban geographer at the University of British Columbia. “It exacerbates the whole affordability crisis the city faces,” he said.

It can also lead to problems because people who leave their homes empty aren’t participating in the community, he said.

West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith said he’d support measures like a higher tax rate for homes that aren’t used as a principal residence — a practice common in other parts of the world.

“We hear that people are buying houses and they’re not renting them out,” he said. “That does not create a neighbourhood and does not create a community.”

Money made by quickly flipping real estate should also be taxed as business income, said Smith.

“There’s too much of an incentive right now for people buying houses and flipping them.

“I don’t personally believe in speculating in houses. It’s a house. It’s a place to raise your family.”

But Smith said any such measures would need approval from the province, something that hasn’t happened yet.

Angell said if it wanted to preserve affordability, the government should have brought in those kinds of measures before the market exploded. “By the time they bring this in, the market will have changed,” he said.

Wachsmuth said the issue isn’t about where buyers are coming from, but what they’re doing with the properties.

“The housing market’s a weird thing,” he said. “Houses are simultaneously a possible investment and a human necessity. Because they are both of these things at the same time, you can get some really tough situations. Vancouver’s in the face of one of those right now.”

- See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/4-million-west-vancouver-teardown-fuels-housing-debate-1.1963621#sthash.WUbzxy6M.dpuf

A $4-million “teardown” that sold for $1 million over asking price in West Vancouver this week is renewing debate about money flooding into the top tiers of the Lower Mainland’s real estate market and its ripple effect on affordability.

Debate about issues like foreign buyers and real estate flipping is in the forefront after a home listed for $2.98 million in the Bayridge area of West Vancouver prompted a bidding war and eventually sold for $4.1 million to a buyer from mainland China.

The 60-year-old, four-bedroom home with a swimming pool at 4130 Burkehill Place had never been listed before, said Viv Harvey of Royal LePage Sussex, who represented the sellers in the deal.

“It’s a lovely little rancher,” she said. But that wasn’t what most of the real estate agents and prospective buyers who attended an open house last week were interested in.

“When you’re looking out from the lot, all you see is water,” she said. “There are no homes, there are no wires.”
“It’s basically a teardown,” she said. “The value is in the lot.”

Harvey said at $2.98 million, the property was “sharply priced.”

“It probably was under the value,” she said. “That is the best way to make sure you get full exposure.”

Harvey said she expected the property to perhaps fetch as high as $3.5 million, but having it reach $4.1 million was a surprise.

Nine offers were made on the property — the lowest among them for the full asking price.

Harvey said having the house sell for $1.1 million over asking price is a first for her.

The buyer, from mainland China, already owns a home in the Lower Mainland, and plans to tear the existing home down and rebuild on the lot, said Harvey. He hasn’t decided if he’s going to live in the house or resell it, she added.

While a deal like this is still unusual, it’s indicative of what’s going on in high-end real estate markets like West Vancouver.

“It’s a market on steroids,” said Harvey. “The market has gone a little crazy.”

Increasingly the West Vancouver real estate market is attracting offshore buyers.

“With things escalating in the world, there’s a real need for people to put their money in a safe haven,” said Harvey. “Our dollar is so low that Canada is really on sale.”

Just how much real estate is being sold to foreign buyers isn’t clear, because it’s not well tracked by government statistics.

Harvey estimates about 15 per cent of her business comes from overseas buyers.

Allan Angell of Angell Hasman, a West Vancouver real estate company that caters to the high end of the market, puts that figure higher. “I’m selling 80 per cent of my high-end houses to Chinese,” he said.

Most see investment in real estate as a good way to bring money into the country, he said.

Others are making money by quickly flipping properties — sometimes assigning their contract of sale to a third party for a premium.

Those kinds of issues recently prompted Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to call for a speculation tax on real estate.

Houses that sit empty until they are flipped is another issue garnering attention.

That can contribute to the problem of housing affordability by putting pressure on housing supply, said David Wachsmuth, an urban geographer at the University of British Columbia. “It exacerbates the whole affordability crisis the city faces,” he said.

It can also lead to problems because people who leave their homes empty aren’t participating in the community, he said.

West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith said he’d support measures like a higher tax rate for homes that aren’t used as a principal residence — a practice common in other parts of the world.

“We hear that people are buying houses and they’re not renting them out,” he said. “That does not create a neighbourhood and does not create a community.”

Money made by quickly flipping real estate should also be taxed as business income, said Smith.

“There’s too much of an incentive right now for people buying houses and flipping them.

“I don’t personally believe in speculating in houses. It’s a house. It’s a place to raise your family.”

But Smith said any such measures would need approval from the province, something that hasn’t happened yet.

Angell said if it wanted to preserve affordability, the government should have brought in those kinds of measures before the market exploded. “By the time they bring this in, the market will have changed,” he said.

Wachsmuth said the issue isn’t about where buyers are coming from, but what they’re doing with the properties.

“The housing market’s a weird thing,” he said. “Houses are simultaneously a possible investment and a human necessity. Because they are both of these things at the same time, you can get some really tough situations. Vancouver’s in the face of one of those right now.”

- See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/4-million-west-vancouver-teardown-fuels-housing-debate-1.1963621#sthash.jY2TtN0A.dpuf

A $4-million “teardown” that sold for $1 million over asking price in West Vancouver this week is renewing debate about money flooding into the top tiers of the Lower Mainland’s real estate market and its ripple effect on affordability.

Debate about issues like foreign buyers and real estate flipping is in the forefront after a home listed for $2.98 million in the Bayridge area of West Vancouver prompted a bidding war and eventually sold for $4.1 million to a buyer from mainland China.

The 60-year-old, four-bedroom home with a swimming pool at 4130 Burkehill Place had never been listed before, said Viv Harvey of Royal LePage Sussex, who represented the sellers in the deal.

“It’s a lovely little rancher,” she said. But that wasn’t what most of the real estate agents and prospective buyers who attended an open house last week were interested in.

“When you’re looking out from the lot, all you see is water,” she said. “There are no homes, there are no wires.”
“It’s basically a teardown,” she said. “The value is in the lot.”

Harvey said at $2.98 million, the property was “sharply priced.”

“It probably was under the value,” she said. “That is the best way to make sure you get full exposure.”

Harvey said she expected the property to perhaps fetch as high as $3.5 million, but having it reach $4.1 million was a surprise.

Nine offers were made on the property — the lowest among them for the full asking price.

Harvey said having the house sell for $1.1 million over asking price is a first for her.

The buyer, from mainland China, already owns a home in the Lower Mainland, and plans to tear the existing home down and rebuild on the lot, said Harvey. He hasn’t decided if he’s going to live in the house or resell it, she added.

While a deal like this is still unusual, it’s indicative of what’s going on in high-end real estate markets like West Vancouver.

“It’s a market on steroids,” said Harvey. “The market has gone a little crazy.”

Increasingly the West Vancouver real estate market is attracting offshore buyers.

“With things escalating in the world, there’s a real need for people to put their money in a safe haven,” said Harvey. “Our dollar is so low that Canada is really on sale.”

Just how much real estate is being sold to foreign buyers isn’t clear, because it’s not well tracked by government statistics.

Harvey estimates about 15 per cent of her business comes from overseas buyers.

Allan Angell of Angell Hasman, a West Vancouver real estate company that caters to the high end of the market, puts that figure higher. “I’m selling 80 per cent of my high-end houses to Chinese,” he said.

Most see investment in real estate as a good way to bring money into the country, he said.

Others are making money by quickly flipping properties — sometimes assigning their contract of sale to a third party for a premium.

Those kinds of issues recently prompted Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to call for a speculation tax on real estate.

Houses that sit empty until they are flipped is another issue garnering attention.

That can contribute to the problem of housing affordability by putting pressure on housing supply, said David Wachsmuth, an urban geographer at the University of British Columbia. “It exacerbates the whole affordability crisis the city faces,” he said.

It can also lead to problems because people who leave their homes empty aren’t participating in the community, he said.

West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith said he’d support measures like a higher tax rate for homes that aren’t used as a principal residence — a practice common in other parts of the world.

“We hear that people are buying houses and they’re not renting them out,” he said. “That does not create a neighbourhood and does not create a community.”

Money made by quickly flipping real estate should also be taxed as business income, said Smith.

“There’s too much of an incentive right now for people buying houses and flipping them.

“I don’t personally believe in speculating in houses. It’s a house. It’s a place to raise your family.”

But Smith said any such measures would need approval from the province, something that hasn’t happened yet.

Angell said if it wanted to preserve affordability, the government should have brought in those kinds of measures before the market exploded. “By the time they bring this in, the market will have changed,” he said.

Wachsmuth said the issue isn’t about where buyers are coming from, but what they’re doing with the properties.

“The housing market’s a weird thing,” he said. “Houses are simultaneously a possible investment and a human necessity. Because they are both of these things at the same time, you can get some really tough situations. Vancouver’s in the face of one of those right now.”

- See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/4-million-west-vancouver-teardown-fuels-housing-debate-1.1963621#sthash.jY2TtN0A.dpuf

A $4-million “teardown” that sold for $1 million over asking price in West Vancouver this week is renewing debate about money flooding into the top tiers of the Lower Mainland’s real estate market and its ripple effect on affordability.

Debate about issues like foreign buyers and real estate flipping is in the forefront after a home listed for $2.98 million in the Bayridge area of West Vancouver prompted a bidding war and eventually sold for $4.1 million to a buyer from mainland China.

The 60-year-old, four-bedroom home with a swimming pool at 4130 Burkehill Place had never been listed before, said Viv Harvey of Royal LePage Sussex, who represented the sellers in the deal.

“It’s a lovely little rancher,” she said. But that wasn’t what most of the real estate agents and prospective buyers who attended an open house last week were interested in.

“When you’re looking out from the lot, all you see is water,” she said. “There are no homes, there are no wires.”
“It’s basically a teardown,” she said. “The value is in the lot.”

Harvey said at $2.98 million, the property was “sharply priced.”

“It probably was under the value,” she said. “That is the best way to make sure you get full exposure.”

Harvey said she expected the property to perhaps fetch as high as $3.5 million, but having it reach $4.1 million was a surprise.

Nine offers were made on the property — the lowest among them for the full asking price.

Harvey said having the house sell for $1.1 million over asking price is a first for her.

The buyer, from mainland China, already owns a home in the Lower Mainland, and plans to tear the existing home down and rebuild on the lot, said Harvey. He hasn’t decided if he’s going to live in the house or resell it, she added.

While a deal like this is still unusual, it’s indicative of what’s going on in high-end real estate markets like West Vancouver.

“It’s a market on steroids,” said Harvey. “The market has gone a little crazy.”

Increasingly the West Vancouver real estate market is attracting offshore buyers.

“With things escalating in the world, there’s a real need for people to put their money in a safe haven,” said Harvey. “Our dollar is so low that Canada is really on sale.”

Just how much real estate is being sold to foreign buyers isn’t clear, because it’s not well tracked by government statistics.

Harvey estimates about 15 per cent of her business comes from overseas buyers.

Allan Angell of Angell Hasman, a West Vancouver real estate company that caters to the high end of the market, puts that figure higher. “I’m selling 80 per cent of my high-end houses to Chinese,” he said.

Most see investment in real estate as a good way to bring money into the country, he said.

Others are making money by quickly flipping properties — sometimes assigning their contract of sale to a third party for a premium.

Those kinds of issues recently prompted Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to call for a speculation tax on real estate.

Houses that sit empty until they are flipped is another issue garnering attention.

That can contribute to the problem of housing affordability by putting pressure on housing supply, said David Wachsmuth, an urban geographer at the University of British Columbia. “It exacerbates the whole affordability crisis the city faces,” he said.

It can also lead to problems because people who leave their homes empty aren’t participating in the community, he said.

West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith said he’d support measures like a higher tax rate for homes that aren’t used as a principal residence — a practice common in other parts of the world.

“We hear that people are buying houses and they’re not renting them out,” he said. “That does not create a neighbourhood and does not create a community.”

Money made by quickly flipping real estate should also be taxed as business income, said Smith.

“There’s too much of an incentive right now for people buying houses and flipping them.

“I don’t personally believe in speculating in houses. It’s a house. It’s a place to raise your family.”

But Smith said any such measures would need approval from the province, something that hasn’t happened yet.

Angell said if it wanted to preserve affordability, the government should have brought in those kinds of measures before the market exploded. “By the time they bring this in, the market will have changed,” he said.

Wachsmuth said the issue isn’t about where buyers are coming from, but what they’re doing with the properties.

“The housing market’s a weird thing,” he said. “Houses are simultaneously a possible investment and a human necessity. Because they are both of these things at the same time, you can get some really tough situations. Vancouver’s in the face of one of those right now.”

- See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/4-million-west-vancouver-teardown-fuels-housing-debate-1.1963621#sthash.jY2TtN0A.dpuf

A $4-million “teardown” that sold for $1 million over asking price in West Vancouver this week is renewing debate about money flooding into the top tiers of the Lower Mainland’s real estate market and its ripple effect on affordability.

Debate about issues like foreign buyers and real estate flipping is in the forefront after a home listed for $2.98 million in the Bayridge area of West Vancouver prompted a bidding war and eventually sold for $4.1 million to a buyer from mainland China.

The 60-year-old, four-bedroom home with a swimming pool at 4130 Burkehill Place had never been listed before, said Viv Harvey of Royal LePage Sussex, who represented the sellers in the deal.

“It’s a lovely little rancher,” she said. But that wasn’t what most of the real estate agents and prospective buyers who attended an open house last week were interested in.

“When you’re looking out from the lot, all you see is water,” she said. “There are no homes, there are no wires.”
“It’s basically a teardown,” she said. “The value is in the lot.”

Harvey said at $2.98 million, the property was “sharply priced.”

“It probably was under the value,” she said. “That is the best way to make sure you get full exposure.”

Harvey said she expected the property to perhaps fetch as high as $3.5 million, but having it reach $4.1 million was a surprise.

Nine offers were made on the property — the lowest among them for the full asking price.

Harvey said having the house sell for $1.1 million over asking price is a first for her.

The buyer, from mainland China, already owns a home in the Lower Mainland, and plans to tear the existing home down and rebuild on the lot, said Harvey. He hasn’t decided if he’s going to live in the house or resell it, she added.

While a deal like this is still unusual, it’s indicative of what’s going on in high-end real estate markets like West Vancouver.

“It’s a market on steroids,” said Harvey. “The market has gone a little crazy.”

Increasingly the West Vancouver real estate market is attracting offshore buyers.

“With things escalating in the world, there’s a real need for people to put their money in a safe haven,” said Harvey. “Our dollar is so low that Canada is really on sale.”

Just how much real estate is being sold to foreign buyers isn’t clear, because it’s not well tracked by government statistics.

Harvey estimates about 15 per cent of her business comes from overseas buyers.

Allan Angell of Angell Hasman, a West Vancouver real estate company that caters to the high end of the market, puts that figure higher. “I’m selling 80 per cent of my high-end houses to Chinese,” he said.

Most see investment in real estate as a good way to bring money into the country, he said.

Others are making money by quickly flipping properties — sometimes assigning their contract of sale to a third party for a premium.

Those kinds of issues recently prompted Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to call for a speculation tax on real estate.

Houses that sit empty until they are flipped is another issue garnering attention.

That can contribute to the problem of housing affordability by putting pressure on housing supply, said David Wachsmuth, an urban geographer at the University of British Columbia. “It exacerbates the whole affordability crisis the city faces,” he said.

It can also lead to problems because people who leave their homes empty aren’t participating in the community, he said.

West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith said he’d support measures like a higher tax rate for homes that aren’t used as a principal residence — a practice common in other parts of the world.

“We hear that people are buying houses and they’re not renting them out,” he said. “That does not create a neighbourhood and does not create a community.”

Money made by quickly flipping real estate should also be taxed as business income, said Smith.

“There’s too much of an incentive right now for people buying houses and flipping them.

“I don’t personally believe in speculating in houses. It’s a house. It’s a place to raise your family.”

But Smith said any such measures would need approval from the province, something that hasn’t happened yet.

Angell said if it wanted to preserve affordability, the government should have brought in those kinds of measures before the market exploded. “By the time they bring this in, the market will have changed,” he said.

Wachsmuth said the issue isn’t about where buyers are coming from, but what they’re doing with the properties.

“The housing market’s a weird thing,” he said. “Houses are simultaneously a possible investment and a human necessity. Because they are both of these things at the same time, you can get some really tough situations. Vancouver’s in the face of one of those right now.”

- See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/4-million-west-vancouver-teardown-fuels-housing-debate-1.1963621#sthash.jY2TtN0A.dpuf

A $4-million “teardown” that sold for $1 million over asking price in West Vancouver this week is renewing debate about money flooding into the top tiers of the Lower Mainland’s real estate market and its ripple effect on affordability.

Debate about issues like foreign buyers and real estate flipping is in the forefront after a home listed for $2.98 million in the Bayridge area of West Vancouver prompted a bidding war and eventually sold for $4.1 million to a buyer from mainland China.

The 60-year-old, four-bedroom home with a swimming pool at 4130 Burkehill Place had never been listed before, said Viv Harvey of Royal LePage Sussex, who represented the sellers in the deal.

“It’s a lovely little rancher,” she said. But that wasn’t what most of the real estate agents and prospective buyers who attended an open house last week were interested in.

“When you’re looking out from the lot, all you see is water,” she said. “There are no homes, there are no wires.”
“It’s basically a teardown,” she said. “The value is in the lot.”

Harvey said at $2.98 million, the property was “sharply priced.”

“It probably was under the value,” she said. “That is the best way to make sure you get full exposure.”

Harvey said she expected the property to perhaps fetch as high as $3.5 million, but having it reach $4.1 million was a surprise.

Nine offers were made on the property — the lowest among them for the full asking price.

Harvey said having the house sell for $1.1 million over asking price is a first for her.

The buyer, from mainland China, already owns a home in the Lower Mainland, and plans to tear the existing home down and rebuild on the lot, said Harvey. He hasn’t decided if he’s going to live in the house or resell it, she added.

While a deal like this is still unusual, it’s indicative of what’s going on in high-end real estate markets like West Vancouver.

“It’s a market on steroids,” said Harvey. “The market has gone a little crazy.”

Increasingly the West Vancouver real estate market is attracting offshore buyers.

“With things escalating in the world, there’s a real need for people to put their money in a safe haven,” said Harvey. “Our dollar is so low that Canada is really on sale.”

Just how much real estate is being sold to foreign buyers isn’t clear, because it’s not well tracked by government statistics.

Harvey estimates about 15 per cent of her business comes from overseas buyers.

Allan Angell of Angell Hasman, a West Vancouver real estate company that caters to the high end of the market, puts that figure higher. “I’m selling 80 per cent of my high-end houses to Chinese,” he said.

Most see investment in real estate as a good way to bring money into the country, he said.

Others are making money by quickly flipping properties — sometimes assigning their contract of sale to a third party for a premium.

Those kinds of issues recently prompted Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to call for a speculation tax on real estate.

Houses that sit empty until they are flipped is another issue garnering attention.

That can contribute to the problem of housing affordability by putting pressure on housing supply, said David Wachsmuth, an urban geographer at the University of British Columbia. “It exacerbates the whole affordability crisis the city faces,” he said.

It can also lead to problems because people who leave their homes empty aren’t participating in the community, he said.

West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith said he’d support measures like a higher tax rate for homes that aren’t used as a principal residence — a practice common in other parts of the world.

“We hear that people are buying houses and they’re not renting them out,” he said. “That does not create a neighbourhood and does not create a community.”

Money made by quickly flipping real estate should also be taxed as business income, said Smith.

“There’s too much of an incentive right now for people buying houses and flipping them.

“I don’t personally believe in speculating in houses. It’s a house. It’s a place to raise your family.”

But Smith said any such measures would need approval from the province, something that hasn’t happened yet.

Angell said if it wanted to preserve affordability, the government should have brought in those kinds of measures before the market exploded. “By the time they bring this in, the market will have changed,” he said.

Wachsmuth said the issue isn’t about where buyers are coming from, but what they’re doing with the properties.

“The housing market’s a weird thing,” he said. “Houses are simultaneously a possible investment and a human necessity. Because they are both of these things at the same time, you can get some really tough situations. Vancouver’s in the face of one of those right now.”

- See more at: http://www.nsnews.com/news/4-million-west-vancouver-teardown-fuels-housing-debate-1.1963621#sthash.jY2TtN0A.dpuf
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Has anyone heard of a Smith Manoeuvre? Yes, No?
 
Well, it's not a WWF wrestling move as I once thought it was when I first heard the words. It's an investment strategy to gradually convert your non-deductible debt into a deductible one. 
 
Unlike our friends in the States the financing on our principal residence is not tax deductible. Fortunately, the Smith Manoeuvre can turn it into a deductible loan.
 
If you have at least 20% down payment or 20% equity in their home you could qualify for the specific type of mortgage financing needed to benefit from this type investment strategy.

This investment strategy isn't for everyone and the benefits do not come without some risk. This is why I would always recommend discussing this with a Financial Planner if considering.

If you have any questions or would like to start discussion on the 6 steps of putting this in place please give me a call.
 
Sincerely,
 
Tony Marchigiano,
Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages
Read Full Story

Developer Wesgroup refers to the River District as “the Lower Mainland’s best-kept secret.”

 

But the massive chunk of former industrial land stretching along the Fraser River below Marine Drive from Kerr Street to Boundary Road is going to become very well-known over the next 20 years as 7,000 homes are built and the total population swells to as much as 15,000 to 18,000.

 

Less than 10 per cent of the 52.6-hectare property is currently occupied, but the next residential phase of the multi-family project is launching this month.

 

The 296 homes in two concrete buildings, one of which is a highrise while the other is a mid-rise, are part of the One Town Centre that will be the core of what is one of the largest, master-planned communities in North America.

 

While the River District is smaller than the 82.5 hectares of Concord Pacific’s development around False Creek, it’s Vancouver’s last large-scale neighbourhood project and it’s also the last big waterfront property.

 

River District was planned after a discussion with local residents about what they’d like to see in an area that is three times the size of Granville Island.

 

Wesgroup owner Peeter Wesik highlighted his firm’s intent to build a community, not just housing.

 

“What we’re doing is building a setting that attracts people that make the community,” he said Wednesday.

 

Wesik pointed to the things at River District that will attract people: schools, walkability, nature and shopping, or “a place to have your breakfast, do your banking, have a cup of coffee.”

 

Services like a grocery store and bank will be part of the new town centre and its plaza. There will also be a high street of shops down toward the water and 10 hectares of park space — which is bigger than Gastown. There’s already a community centre and an energy utility that will help heat homes.

 

Architect and developer Michael Geller is familiar with the area, because he was a real-estate consultant for MacMillan Bloedel in the 1980s when it was selling what was then the White Pine mill site.

 

“I don’t think I would have ever envisioned a community of the scale that this is turning out to be,” he said.

 

But Geller likes what he sees, particularly that the River District has been planned as a complete community. “My sense is that it’s going to be very successful,” he said.

 

The River District won’t be restricted to owners only, because it also includes affordable rental housing.

 

According to the city, out of 55,800 rental-housing units in Vancouver there are only about 500 three-bedroom units. The city announced Wednesday that it would encourage more such units by waiving the development cost levies on new, three-bedroom units with a size limit of 1,044 square feet.

 

Source: Vancouver Sun

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It’s never easy to start saving up for your first home—especially in Vancouver’s white hot real estate market. For those looking to get into the market for the first time, the down payment is often the biggest challenge. So here are a few tips on how to get closer to your first home sooner than later:

1) Reduce your monthly spending with the small things

Little things like buying lunch or a latté every day can add up quite a bit. Instead, make an effort to pack your lunch from home. Consider brewing your own coffee instead of lining up at the coffee shop each morning. It may seem small, but those daily purchases add up over time.

2) Take a vacation closer to home

Resist the urge to pack your bags for an overseas getaway. Instead of the Mediterranean or South Pacific, consider something on a smaller scale like a trip to Whistler, Portland or Seattle. Expensive plane tickets aren’t always needed to enjoy some well-earned relaxation.

3) Downsize your current living arrangements

If possible, see if you can sacrifice some square footage now for a bigger place later in life. Maybe go from a two bedroom rental to a one bedroom if you don’t need that extra room? Or, if you’re really brave, move back home for a year – it will definitely boost up your savings.

4) Take advantage of government programs

The B.C. government has a First Time Home Buyer’s Program where they help reduce the amount of property transfer tax when you purchase a qualifying home. Also, the Government of Canada offers the Home Buyers’ Plan which allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 in a calendar year from your RRSPs to buy or build your qualifying home. This amount you withdraw is not counted as your income and there is also no withholding tax on the withdrawals, and you have up to 15 years to pay it back.

5) Talk to a Mortgage Broker or Financial Planner

Mortgage Brokers/Advisors as well as Financial Advisors/Planners can propose and even help implement creative, possibly even tax savings ways of saving for a down payment. Give me a call should you want to discuss.

Sincerely,

Tony Marchigiano,
Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages
Read Full Story

Six years ago, Jon Stovell and Reliance Properties built the first micro-lofts in Vancouver, turning a defunct Gastown single room occupancy (SRO) into a 30-unit rental project with suites ranging in size from 219 to 291 square feet.

Tiny by standards of the day.

But within no time — and advertised only on Craigslist — Burns Block was all rented.

In October, 2013 Reliance took the concept to Victoria’s waterfront. It offered 122 micro-lofts for sale in its proposed Janion development to be completed in 2016.

“Property sales in Victoria were very slow at the time,” said Stovell, Reliance president and CEO. Yet, “we sold them all in just over a month.”

Next it’s Surrey’s turn.

This month the company is offering 200 micro-lofts as part of its 371-unit Prime on the Plaza development to be across the street from the Surrey’s new city hall.

The $100-million 38-storey condo tower will take three years to complete. The units will range in size from 300 square feet to 437 square feet with a starting price of $139,000.

How does he think it will do?

“We’re expecting a good response,” said Stovell.

Reliance is in the process of presenting plans to Vancouver city hall for 294 micro-lofts in a 30-storey condo to be built at Davie and Hornby. It has to be for the rental market because Vancouver — unlike just about every major city in North America, says Stovell — won’t allow a condo to be sold that is less than 398 square feet in size.

This scuppered the company’s plans to build the city’s first micro-loft condo tower, which would have had 370 units.

“When you look at the city’s minimum size unit bylaw, it’s almost like it’s deliberately keeping a whole segment of people away from home ownership,” said Stovell.

Micro-lofts are an affordable way to enter the housing market and should be welcomed in Vancouver, he said, given the price of the average Vancouver home.

“Vancouver is a great city but it’s becoming a city for the rich. We’ve got all these young people living in Vancouver who make the city so vibrant and exciting and yet they are being shut out of the housing market,” he said.

“We’ve done our own research on all the major cities in North America — including Dallas in Texas — and they are encouraging micro-lofts, except Vancouver. … Surrey lets them happen, Victoria, Montreal, Seattle but not here,” he said.

The Vancouver Sun asked for an interview with city planner Brian Jackson or other officials in the planning department for comment on Vancouver’s minimum size condo bylaw but was told no one was available. A statement was issued from the city media relations department which said the city was monitoring the use of micro-suites in other jurisdictions to see “how well it was working for their communities.”

“We need to examine the consequences of micro-suites as there are concerns about livability, affordability and sustainability,” said the statement.

Michael Ferreira of Urban Analytics Inc. said it was hard to tell if micro-lofts were going to form a significant part of the housing market for people looking to purchase a home.

“We don’t see it as much of a trend yet,” he said. “While they are appealing to investors who can get a generally easily rentable investment unit for relatively low cost, the market for end users is pretty shallow as not everyone wants to live in less than 400 square feet.

“This could change as more are built and people see them as more acceptable but the challenge for end users is they don’t see themselves living in a small amount of space for a long period of time.”

Stovell says his company, which rents hundreds of conventional-sized apartments in Vancouver, was led into the micro-loft business by repeated requests seeking rental accommodation for under $1,000 a month.

“We’d keep seeing requests on our website, livework.ca, for anything under $1,000 ‘and I don’t care how big it is.’”

“We realized there’s an unsatiated demand out there for something like the Burns Block,” he said.

Stovell said the ‘millennials’ — persons born after 1990 — have different values than their parents who worked hard to buy a regular home outside of the city centre with all the attachments.

“Young people today place a higher value on their time. They are more interested in using things that society offers them free such as libraries, parks, and other public amenities so they don’t have to spend their own money.

“A lot of their self-worth comes from their social media network rather than ‘where do I live and what kind of car do I drive’.

“They don’t mind trading space for living in a place where they want to be. So they will choose to have a 300-square-foot home if it can be in a place they want to live,” he said.

Sam Baron, 29, has lived in the Burns Block in a 248 square foot space for two years and says he is more than comfortable.

He is a graduate student at SFU attending the university’s downtown campus, and has a job at Emily Carr University on Granville Island.

“Between working and school I’m very busy and I don’t need a lot of space because I’m not at home much. I live alone and this place is functional and comfortable and allows me to live centrally for work and school,” said Baron.

“I’ve got everything I need. All I had to bring in here were my clothes. I can find everything I need in the neighbourhood and your living room kinda spills out into the city.”

Stovell said micro-lofts are more expensive to build per square foot than normal apartments..

“It’s because we have to use high quality materials, the suites have high ceilings, big windows, hardwood floors, a wall bed, a full complement of appliances — stovetop, dishwasher, fridge, wall oven, flatscreen TV.”

Stovell said many items that used to take up large amounts of space in homes have shrunk in size.

“Your stereo and computer and phone can now all be carried in your pocket. When we did the Burns Block we felt everyone needed a desk.

“But we don’t do that anymore. People don’t use desktop computers, they sit and work with their computer on their lap and the printer is now wireless and sitting in a cupboard.”

Source: Vancouver Sun

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Why Buying/Owning A Home Still Makes Financial Sense


Owning a home just makes sense for most Canadians. A place to live and possibly raise a family that builds equity over time is sound financial planning. As home values continue to increase and mortgage principal gets paid down, you will see your equity grow. That equity that has been built is an ideal resource to help create greater financial security. Using existing equity to renovate your home for example, is an excellent way to add value and in many cases, a better alternative than moving. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), spending on renovations has exceeded spending on new construction since 2011 and the trend looks to be increasing.
 
There are many ways to access the equity in your home, sensibly. For example, a secured line of credit is a great product that has the most flexibility. You only pay interest on the amount you use when you use it. Refinancing your mortgage is another option that allows you to take advantage of low interest rates while accessing your equity.
 
I'm here to help people get their first home and get them on the path to building equity that will become the foundation of a long term financial plan. In addition, I can help look at the many available options that can release the equity that has been built over time for renovations, paying off higher interest debts or making other investments. So feel free to consult me anytime.
 
Download MOPOLO, my personal app so you have my information at hand and I'll keep you updated. It's available in the App Store.  


Regards,


Tony Marchigiano,
Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

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Hot real estate market generates interest in flipping in West Vancouver


The hot real estate market is generating a frenzy of interest in property flipping in affluent West Vancouver as speculators turn big profits in only a few months.

 

A review of 23 real estate listings by The Vancouver Sun reveals an average turnaround time of about 6½ months between purchase and relisting, with property asking prices inflated an average of 40 per cent, or $1.1 million per property, during that time.

 

In one extreme case, an undeveloped 18,000-square-foot property at 1424 Sandhurst Pl. in the Chartwell area sold for $3.7 million last May and was relisted in April this year for $6.18 million — a 67-per-cent increase in 11 months.

 

Some new owners are trying to flip their properties immediately for as much as $500,000, or almost 25-per-cent profit.

 

These sorts of turnaround listings are the latest manifestation of a controversial market situation that has already made Vancouver one of the world’s least affordable cities. And while offshore buyers have been cited for fuelling the trends, the West Vancouver listings reviewed by The Sun do not show if those flipping the homes live offshore.

 

“It’s really beyond our control,” West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith said Friday. “The bottom line is housing is a free market and people have the right to buy and sell houses. I don’t think our citizens would appreciate local municipalities trying to thwart them from selling their houses.”

 

Kim Taylor, a realtor with Royal LePage, said that increased home flipping is linked to the fact there are more buyers than real estate available, adding that foreign buyers — especially from China and the Middle East — have contributed to the hot market in areas like the British Properties, Ambleside and Dundarave.

 

“It’s a little out of control,” Taylor said. “The prices even shock the sellers — what they can get.”

Especially desirable are properties located in areas with good feng shui, such as those in the British Properties that are overlooking the water or surrounded by mountains. Others realize their returns might not be as good and they have to lower their asking price. “A seller will list them with huge price tags thinking ‘Oh what a great opportunity,’” Taylor said. “Next to those homes that are priced right they might look like an ugly duckling … .”

Taylor noted so many speculators in the market has had an adverse effect on the neighbourhoods.

 

“You see the diminishing sense of community there because a lot of people don’t live in the homes and they sit empty,” she said. “It’s more of an investment.”

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports that a typical detached home in West Vancouver sold for $2.23 million in April 2015 — up almost 11 per cent in six months and up almost 50 per cent over five years.

The current hot market comes with a warning from the Real Estate Council of B.C. — for both property speculators and for realtors.

 

Larry Buttress, the council’s deputy executive officer, noted there are no guarantees that property values will continue to escalate. “It’s common knowledge the real estate market has been extremely strong the past several years,” he said. “It can turn. It may have already turned, who knows? But markets change.

 

Source: VancouverSun >

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Where Will You Get the Best Rates? Your Mortgage Broker or Your Bank?
Whether you're a first-time home buyer, or you've owned a home before, the options for obtaining a mortgage today are extensive. Not only are there the conventional methods through your neighborhood bank, but there are now many independent mortgage companies, such as mobile brokers, that will come right to your door.
The question remains: who to choose, and why? 
For a quick overview of mortgage brokers and bank, check out the infographic below

How a mortgage broker differs from a bank

A mortgage broker is usually an individual who works freelance for themselves. They have many lending contacts and can negotiate and offer very competitive, or wholesale interest rates, thanks to their large connection of lender contacts.
They process your credit application in the same way that a bank would, and can help you determine what is affordable for you, often in the comfort of your own home and on your schedule.
A bank-based lender, on the other hand, only works for their bank. They, too, will try to get you the best rate possible, but it is you that has to do the negotiating for that rate. Banks don't have the access to quite as many contacts as a broker does.

Pros and cons of a mortgage broker:

PROS:

  • They offer extremely competitive rates, often more competitive than a bank
  • They will meet you anywhere, including after hours
  • They can often get you approved for a loan with poor credit
  • Since they are an independently operating business or freelancer, word-of-mouth referrals are extremely important. Therefore, they may offer to pay for your appraisal or legal fee in return for your business and referral especially if you commit to returning to them once your mortgage term is up.
  • They're easy to get a hold of and to meet with, thanks to non-banker hours

CONS:

  • Although it is nice to be lent money with little or no credit, or to be approved for a mortgage that you may not be able to afford easily, it can be unscrupulous for them to advise you to do so (put you into financial trouble)
  • The lenders may be smaller companies with little or no history (less borrower confidence)
  • If there are quality control issues or you aren't satisfied with the service, you don't have a supervisor to complain to.

Pros and cons of a bank mortgage:

PROS:

  • Banks offer a high level of security (they are large corporations, so unlikely to go out of business) and are trusted and familiar for borrowers
  • They may offer a perk or freebie with the mortgage, such as a free bank account
  • Ease of services, such as ability to connect a mortgage to an existing account for payments
  • The offer lines of credit, such as a home line, which can be attached to your mortgage
  • Accessible, with 1-800 customer service numbers available at all times and branch availability

CONS:

  • You are responsible to do the shopping around and negotiating for the best interest rate, whereas a broker will do this for you.
  • Subsequently, this also means that bank interest rates are not as good as mortgage broker rates.
  • Less able to overlook poor credit scores, so you may not be approved.

Conclusion

Purchasing a home is likely the most expensive purchase you will ever make, and you want to make sure that your lender is the right choice for you. The fact of the matter, is that the evidence suggests that there are tremendous benefits to utilizing the services of a mortgage broker.
The data tells us that most Canadians are not shopping around for their mortgage, for a variety of reasons. It nothing else, a mortgage broker can do the heavy lifting so that we are able to make more informed financial decisions.

So, are you planning to use a mortgage broker the next time you need a mortgage? Or are you happy with the rates you're getting at your bank?

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Appliances Shrink to Match Condo Sizes

 

Forget a double-door fridge in a 500-square-foot condo: as homes are getting smaller, appliances are too. With so many first-time homebuyers, downsizing baby boomers, and carless professionals flocking to condominium living, makers of everything from ovens to dishwashers are proving that bigger is not better.

 

“With the urban influx to Vancouver, there’s a big demand for European space-efficient appliances,” says Sylvia McDonald, designer sales associate at Midland Appliance. “We’ve come a long way from the old 30-inch fridge sticking out into the room.”

 

A width of 24 inches is now more common for refrigerators in small spaces. Ranges used to come strictly in a standard size of 30 inches wide; now 24-inch gas or electric cooktops are available. Add cabinetlike fronts, and you’ve got a fully integrated look and a highly functional space that belies the confines of a cozy condo.

 

“If you put panels on the front of your 24-inch refrigerator, it looks like millwork; it doesn’t look like an appliance,” McDonald says. “You can completely hide your appliances. You can have a kitchen that really looks more like a dining room. That makes a huge difference in a tiny space.”

 

AEG, Miele, Blomberg, Liebherr, Electrolux, and GE, with its Loft series, are some of the brands manufacturing new models for modern spaces. The appliances aren’t just more slender versions of the standard ones; in some cases, they have a whole new design. Twenty-four-inch stacking washers and dryers, instead of 27-inch side-by-side ones, are the microsuite norm, while combination washer-dryers—both in a single unit, common in Europe—are also an option. Under-counter refrigerators have one or two pull-out drawers rather than a swing-out door. Dishwashers, some as small as 18 inches wide, are also coming with single or double pull-out drawers and concealed control panels.

 

“You could have a single-drawer dishwasher with a storage drawer below,” McDonald says. “The door doesn’t flop down toward the floor, so it doesn’t take up as much space.”

 

All of these more compact units offer more than space-saving efficiency, however. They’re getting smarter, too, by conserving energy.

 

Induction ranges, for example, rely on an electromagnet to heat pots and pans. They lose less heat in the cooking process than gas or electric ranges and cook food faster. They also give off far less waste heat, which is an important factor in a home the size of your grandma’s living room.

 

“Twenty-four-inch induction cooktops are fantastic for apartments because they’re clean and sleek but they also don’t need a lot of ventilation,” McDonald says. “With gas, you need a lot of ventilation and it really heats up your space. You still need to have a hood fan, but it doesn’t have to be as high-powered.” (Those hood fans, too, can be fully integrated into the entire kitchen design or installed as a pull-out unit.)

 

Multifunctional combi-steam ovens save energy as well as space. You can steam veggies or fish but you can also use one for baking; its design ensures precise heat circulation and exact temperature control.

 

“The AEG model is really efficient with the convection fan because it’s a perfect cube,” McDonald says. “The convection fan moves air around really efficiently, much more efficiently than a big 36-inch oven. It comes from the restaurant industry and is becoming super popular for residential units.”

 

New dryers also leave a smaller carbon footprint. Many are condenser dryers, and some have heat pumps, which don’t require a vent outside. Condenser dryers extract moisture before draining it away as water, so they don’t pump humid air back into the laundry area. Heat-pump dryers recycle heat in the process of extracting moisture, resulting in energy-efficiency ratings of up to six stars—the highest possible.

 

Then there are “lifestyle” appliances, like wine racks, that are being designed with condo living in mind. They are, typically, 24 inches wide, but new ones are as small as 15. Built-in espresso makers are getting sleeker too.

 

McDonald points to AEG’s “Tower of Power” as a prime example of just how much you can do with smaller items. It has three 24-inch-wide built-in appliances: a microwave that contains an infrared grill, a coffee-maker, and a combi-steam oven with 17 cooking functions. It also has a warming drawer.

 

With that kind of functionality, tiny appliances don’t need to be restricted to small spaces.

 

“You could have two 24-inch Liebherr fridges side by side for 48 inches, which is more efficient than a standard fridge,” McDonald says. “You could stack two 24-inch wall ovens on top of each other if you have a big kitchen and a big family for twice the cooking power, with a really flush look, more versatility, and a smaller footprint than a regular oven. You can really think outside the box.”

 

 

 

Source >

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BMO Survey Reveals Where More & More 1st Time Home Buyers are Getting Their Down Payment From
 
In a recent survey by Bank of Montreal 42% of 1st time home buyers are getting all or a portion of their down payment from Mom & Dad or other immediate family members. 
 
See the full article, as reported by Canadian Mortgage Trends, for this & other interesting statistics below:
 
If you’ve ever wondered how first-time buyers are affording ever-bigger down payments, BMO may have the answer: parental assistance.

BMO’s 2015 Home Buying Report found that 4 in 10 (42%) of first-time buyers are relying on their parents or other family members to pitch in for a down payment. And this reliance is increasing along with home prices. It’s up 12 percentage points from last year and 15 percentage points from 2013.

On average, first-time buyers now plan to spend $312,700 on their first dwelling. That’s 29% less than the national average home price and it reflects about a $1,400 a month payment with 5% down.

The average down payment for a first-time buyer is much higher than 5%, however. It now stands at $59,413, or 19% of the purchase price. That’s up from 16% in both 2014 and 2013.

Meanwhile, for rookie buyers needing family assistance for their purchase, they’re expecting parents or loved ones to pony up an average of 12% of the property value in equity.

But first-timers aren’t the only ones looking to family for help. Repeat buyers wanting to upsize are also increasingly relying on financial assistance from relatives – 42% of them to be exact. They expect their family to contribute a not-so-modest 20% of the property value in equity. Three cheers for generous parents.

As one might expect, these ‘upsizers’ are shopping with substantially higher budgets as well ($473,900), along with higher down payments ($123,214, or 26%).

Other tidbits from BMO’s Home Buyer Report:
  • 48% of first-time buyers are willing to enter into a bidding war to secure their dream home (up from 35% in 2014)
  • 36% of upsizers are willing to enter a bidding war
  • Without help from their family, an eye-opening 40% of first-time buyers and 50% of those wanting to upsize say they wouldn’t be able to afford their home.
We can’t help but wonder how future generations will fare if more parents are unprepared for retirement and unable to donate such large chunks to their children’s home-buying dreams. No one knows when this trend will turn, but if it does, it could have a measurable impact. Indeed, the parental assistance effect may be meaningfully underestimated in Canada’s housing market as it is.

Source: Canadian Mortgage Trends

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Home buyer demand outpacing supply across the Metro Vancouver housing market

Strong home buyer demand coupled with below average home listing activity has created seller's market conditions within the Metro Vancouver* housing market.

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Metro Vancouver reached 4,179 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in April 2015. This represents a 37 per cent increase compared to the 3,050 sales recorded in April 2014, and a 2.9 per cent increase compared to the 4,060 sales in March 2015.

 

Last month’s sales were 29.3 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

 

“The supply of homes for sale today in the region is not meeting the demand we're seeing from home buyers. This is putting upward pressure on prices, particularly in the detached home market," Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said.

 

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,897 in April. This represents a 0.9 per cent decrease compared to the 5,950 new listings reported in April 2014.

 

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the region’s MLS® is 12,436, a 19.8 per cent decline compared to April 2014 and an increase of 0.5 per cent compared to March 2015.

 

“It’s a competitive and fast-moving market today that is tilted in favour of home sellers. To be competitive, it’s important to connect with a local REALTOR® who can help you develop a strategy to meet your home buying or selling needs,” McLeod said.

 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $673,000. This represents an 8.5 per cent increase compared to April 2014.

 

The sales-to-active-listings ratio in April was 33.6 per cent. This is the highest that this ratio has been in Metro Vancouver since June 2007.

 

Sales of detached properties in April 2015 reached 1,815, an increase of 35.9 per cent from the 1,336 detached sales recorded in April 2014, and a 70.6 per cent increase from the 1,064 units sold in April 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 12.5 per cent from April 2014 to $1,078,900.

 

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,579 in April 2015, an increase of 34.7 per cent compared to the 1,172 sales in April 2014, and an increase of 50.1 per cent compared to the 1,052 sales in April 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 4.4 per cent from April 2014 to $394,200.

 

Attached property sales in April 2015 totalled 785, an increase of 44.8 per cent compared to the 542 sales in April 2014, and a 53.6 per cent increase from the 511 attached properties sold in April 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 5.7 per cent between April 2014 and 2015 to $493,300.

 

Download the April 2015 stats package

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Empty Home on Your Street? City of Vancouver May Soon Have a Website for That

VANCOUVER -- The City of Vancouver plans to develop a new website in a bid to tackle the growing issue of vacant homes.

 

It will be a digital service where the public can report vacant homes "in a coherent fashion," according to a memo from the city's chief housing officer, Mukhtar Latif, which was made public Sunday.

 

Addresses of empty residences will be matched up with BC Hydro data, the memo adds.

 

“There is significant public interest in the issue of homes being left vacant given affordability challenges across the housing continuum and very low rental vacancy rates together with the impact on vibrancy of neighbourhoods," wrote Latif.

 

Latif has identified reasons why homes are being left vacant in a list that shows how difficult it is to get a handle on this hot topic.

 

In the memo sent to the mayor and council, the following factors were listed:

* Development timing (housing units that are vacant prior to demolition or following new construction pending sale and initial occupation).

 

* Property is in the process of being rented or sold.

 

* Property has been vacated in anticipation of being renovated.

 

* “Flipping” (housing units that are bought, renovated, and sold in a short period of time, with no real ability for rental prior to sale).

 

* Domestic investment property – pending decision whether to rent or leave vacant for a later sale.

 

* International investment property — pending decision whether to rent or leave vacant for a later sale.

* Probate.

 

* Hoteling (owner works in the city but has a long commute so has purchased a property to reside in during the week and is in primary residence at other times).

 

* Sabbatical/Snowbirds (through work, retirement or other reasons, owner is traveling or working abroad.

* Owner is in hospital or in care.

 

While there is some limited research about empty condos, Latif said “we have had difficulty in identifying data sources that can provide the exact numbers of vacant single family homes, length of time properties are being left vacant and reasons for why they are vacant."

 

His memo said the City is seeking a consultant to help it investigate and applications for the RFP close on May 12.

 

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Empty+home+your+street+City+Vancouver+soon+have+website+that/11006475/story.html#ixzz3Yobmqj6w

 

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