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



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


Multi-Functional Finish

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


Pantone Color of the Year

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


Backsplash Drama

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


Gold, Baby!

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



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

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

See the full article below from

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

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

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

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

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



Tony Marchigiano310-328 West Hastings Street

Mortgage BrokerVancouver, BC


cell: 604 505 7109

fax: 604 909 4666

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SOURCE < TheGlobeAndMail

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

Here are some notable stats from the report:

Gathering Mortgage Information:

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

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


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

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

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

SOURCE < CanadianRealEstateMagazine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sales-to-active listings ratio for May 2016 is 61.7 per cent. This is indicative of a seller’s market.

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

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $889,100. This represents a 29.7 per cent increase compared to May 2015.

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

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

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


Source < REBGV

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


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

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

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

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

Sales are expected to slow as well.

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

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


SOURCE < MortgageBrokerNews

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

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


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

See the full article by Globe & Mail below…


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

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

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

What is a credit report?

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

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

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

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

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

What’s in your credit report?

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

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

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

How are you rated?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Tony Marchigiano 310-328 West Hastings Street


Mortgage Broker Vancouver, BC




cell: 604 505 7109


fax: 604 909 4666

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SOURCE < BusinessInVancouver

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The world has taken notice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


SOURCE < TimesColonist

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

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

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

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

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



Tony Marchigiano, 
Mortgage Consultant
Mortgage Alliance Meridian Pacific Mortgages

(604) 505-7109

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


See the full article below pulled form


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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




Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker

Vancouver, BC

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The government in British Columbia has introduced new rules that will apply to residential real estate contracts from next week. Premier Clark had promised in March to introduce new rules to prevent investors turning a fast buck by flipping.

As of May 16, 2016 contracts must include a clause stating that if the contract is assigned without the seller’s written consent, then any profit made from the assignments goes to the original seller. Sellers can instruct realtors to amend or remove the clause.

"Real estate consumers now have a tool to help them decide whether they want their contracts to be assignable," says BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) President Deanna Horn. "Like many other provisions in the contract, buyers and sellers have the option of keeping the new paragraph, changing it or striking it out completely—but at least the conversation is more likely to happen now."


BCREA says it supports the new rules and the government’s announcement that it will begin collecting data on citizenship of buyers through the Property Tax form from next month.

Meanwhile the province’s regulator says it will help real estate agents to implement the new rules.

“These new regulations are designed to empower real estate consumers to make informed decisions in their own best interests” says BC Real Estate Council Chair Marylou Leslie. “As the regulatory body responsible for administering the Real Estate Services Act, we will be working on many fronts to make sure the requirements are well understood, that licensees comply with their new obligations, and that comprehensive monitoring and enforcement programs are put into place.”


SOURCE < RealEstateProfessional

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A recent article by Globe & Mail looks at the two most likely scenarios for what rates will do over the next few years; that is stay the same or go up slightly. It includes some good advice on the length of term to pick for both scenarios. 
See the full article below:

A significant “negative shock” to the economy: That’s what it’s going to take to lower interest rates again, says Canada’s most powerful banker.

And Bank of Canada head Stephen Poloz isn’t betting on that happening any time soon. Neither are bond traders, the big guns that bet billions of dollars every day on the direction of interest rates.

So let’s suppose – just for fun – that they’re right (since we all know how often markets and economists aren’t right). If we are actually near a bottom in rates for a few years, what’s the best way to play your mortgage?

Well, it just so happens that there’s an app for that. It’s called a spreadsheet and I’ve taken the liberty of putting mine through its paces and model out which mortgage term (or combination of terms) yields the lowest hypothetical cost of borrowing over the next five years.


Keep in mind that what I’m about to tell you doesn’t apply to everyone. It presupposes that you:


  • Are a borrower who qualifies for the best advertised rates in the market;
  • Can handle higher interest rates and rising payments;
  • Are comfortable with making a five-year fixed mortgage payment.

That last point helps us compare apples to apples, by assuming you’ll make the same exact payment (equivalent to a five-year fixed payment) regardless of which term you pick. Assuming “equal cash flows,” as it’s called in finance parlance, gets us around sticky questions such as what you’ll do with the payment savings of a shorter mortgage term.

Remember that the following results are based on interest and renewal costs alone. There are so many other factors to consider when choosing a mortgage, such as the cost of breaking the mortgage early, so consider this only as a starting point in your mortgage research.

Now that we’ve got the disclaimers out of the way, here are the findings. These results are based on two scenarios out of an infinite list of scenarios, albeit two highly plausible scenarios. They are:

1) Rates stay roughly flat for the next five years;

2) Rates increase modestly in the next five years.

If you think the Bank of Canada is either going to slash rates to zero or take them to the moon, then your choices are simple: Snatch the cheapest rate you can find in the former case and lock into the best five-year fixed you can find in the latter case.

But those are arguably lower probability scenarios than the two I’ve mentioned, due to the extreme inflation risk that would have to materialize in order to justify them. For the sake of conversation, let’s assume rates are on a flat or modestly higher path.


Scenario 1: A flat-rate market

Low growth and low inflation rule the day in Canada. It’s been that way since the financial crisis and there’s little to suggest we’ll break out of this cycle in the next few years.

In such an environment, shorter terms make the most sense, for three reasons:

  • They come with guaranteed upfront interest savings;
  • In this environment, there’s less risk of rates rising before you renew into your next mortgage;
  • You can switch mortgages earlier with no penalty.

That latter point is key if you need to refinance or decide to lock in and want the best rate in the market.

Given these points, the answer is clear. A one-year fixed outperforms all other terms. The early year’s interest cost is lowest, it’s a highly flexible term that avoids penalties and renewal risk isn’t a big factor (based on the assumption that rates stay flat).

Now, if you happen to find a two-year fixed for about the same price, you’ll save almost as much and avoid renewing in 12 months.


Scenario 2: Modestly rising rates

If you’re betting on a big rebound in Canadian exports and oil (up 75 per cent already since the January bottom) then you’re likely in the rate-hike camp. For our purposes, that means a 1.5-percentage-point rise in the Bank of Canada’s key interest rate over the next three years, and related increases to all other mortgage rates.

In that case, the trusty crusty five-year fixed wins the race. It’s less than a half point above most one-year fixed rates and it entails the lowest interest cost over five years, given the assumptions. At today’s rates, the “five-fixed” easily offers the best combination of rate-hike protection and interest cost savings. It also requires the least renewal cost and effort.

Now, this is where the limitations of this article become apparent, because mortgages aren’t vanilla ice cream. They come in all kinds of flavours with all kinds of penalties, refinance rules, prepayment options and so on. Because of that, the overall borrowing cost between two different five-year fixed mortgages can differ by several thousand dollars, or even tens of thousands of dollars.

But when it comes to term selection, the news is better. Whether you choose a one-year fixed, a five-year fixed or some other term, your chances of making a bad decision have probably never been less.

Rates can’t drop much further and Canada’s lacklustre leveraged economy doesn’t support high inflation near-term (or soaring rates). So if you end up being wrong and pay more interest than the theoretical “best term,” it won’t send you to the poor house.


Tony Marchigiano310-328 West Hastings Street
Mortgage BrokerVancouver, BC
cell: 604 505 7109
fax: 604 909 4666
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Last month was the highest selling April on record for Metro Vancouver.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE > ApartmentTherapy

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


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


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


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


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



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

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

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


The Big One: Penalties

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

OBSI says:

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

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

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

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

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

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


Portability Caveats

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

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

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

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

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

Common portability considerations include:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Provincial support?

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

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

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

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

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

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

These are some preliminary criteria for prospective buyers:

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


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


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

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


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


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

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


SOURCE< ElleDecor

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