September 20th, 2018

Clients want real estate on-demand


Everyone wants everything. Right now.

For centuries, thinkers and philosophers have dreamed of a world where if you could think of something, you could have it—instantly. But now, that’s more than just a vision. Millions around the world simply can’t imagine any other way to live. 

And thanks to smartphones, they can get it.

With more than 207 million smartphones in the U.S. today, 2 out of 3 people use one. They love the fast, satisfying technology. But even more than that, they love the promise: Getting what you want, with a few touches. Today, not tomorrow. 

A successful business is an accelerated business.

Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Go, Uber and the entire mobile banking industry have all built their reputations on instant gratification. And now, real estate is joining the party, too—if you’re ready.

19% of clients expect a response within 10 minutes  more than 78% of clients expect a response within an hour

Be there for them. Or they’ll find someone who is.

76 percent of real estate agents said clients expect a faster response today than they did five years ago. But a simple filing cabinet or hard drive search can delay your response long enough to make clients nervous. That’s why it’s best to anticipate which forms you’ll need, storing them in the cloud for easy access later. Templates are another good idea— they cut down on contract prep time. 

Texting is everything.

Five years ago, most real estate business was still done via plain old voice phone. Now, although email use has gone up a tad, texting has skyrocketed. That means either you’re available to do business and close deals on your smartphone… Or you’re not available. Period.

Since you’re texting anyway…

With most clients already doing business on their smartphones, and in turn requiring you to be on yours, why not take advantage of all its powers? You can do a lot more than just text. 

Welcome to your new realty office: Your smartphone.

Receiving client notifications in real time? Drafting and sending offer letters from an open house, on site right after a showing? Speed up the buying and selling process, by using new apps to do business instead of just talking about it. Your phone does it all without missing a beat. 

Your next “close” is in your hands.

Real estate apps and other technology are advancing fast. So if there’s something you can’t do on mobile now, wait a few weeks. Chances are, time is on your side. We’ve met plenty of successful agents who don’t even have a physical office or desk anymore!

Technology is making clients smarter.

More than 86 percent of the clients in our survey took the initiative to educate themselves on the home market using Zillow. 70 percent used, 53 percent used Trulia, nearly 29 percent used Redfin, and 21 percent used

It’s making them tougher, too.

Compared to clients of five years ago, today’s smartphone- wielding buyers are nearly 72 percent more likely to have a specific listing in mind when they engage you, 51 percent more likely to have already calculated the listing price, 39 percent more likely to be aware of neighborhood comparables, and a full 48 percent more likely to know how the home-buying process works in general. 

39% of clients more likely aware of neighborhood comparables 

It’s time to keep up.

Look at it this way: If clients have access to the fastest and most sophisticated real estate buying and selling tools in history, shouldn’t you? After all, you’re a professional who does this for a living. At the very least, you want to hold up your end of the conversation. The goal: Conducting all the basics of your business, even while you’re away from your desk.

Vancouver passes change to zoning bylaw

September 20th, 2018

Vancouver councillors have voted to allow duplexes in most city neighbourhoods

Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Vancouver councillors have ended two days of public hearings by voting to allow duplexes in most city neighbourhoods currently restricted to single-family homes.

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for the so-called “missing middle,” which includes young families pushed out of Vancouver by soaring property prices.

A news release from the mayor’s office says the policy change means duplexes are now permitted on approximately 67,000 single family lots, offering an option that is more affordable than a detached home.

The 7-4 vote was split along party lines with Robertson, five Vision Vancouver members and councillor Hector Bremner approving the motion, while three Non-Partisan Association councillors and the Green party’s Adriane Carr voted against.

The vote also marks one of the last major decisions of Robertson’s decade-long tenure as mayor because he is not running in next month’s civic election.

Robertson agrees the duplex proposal is not a “silver bullet” that will resolve Vancouver’s housing problems, but says it responds to the demands of residents.

“Over the past two years of consultation for the new Housing Vancouver strategy, we heard loud and clear that Vancouverites want more housing options in single family neighbourhoods,” he says in the release.

The change aligns zoning in expensive and increasingly unpopulated neighbourhoods such as Kerrisdale, Dunbar and West Point Grey with regulations in crowded and growing areas such as Kitsilano and Strathcona.

Robertson calls the policy a “modest, but important change.”

Critics predict single-family homes could now be targeted by speculators, adding to already soaring property prices, while Tom Davidoff, associate professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, says the measure is good, but not enough.

“It’s a start. But when you have land that’s worth tens of millions of dollars an acre, to really put a dent in affordability, you want to go to at least townhomes or small apartment buildings,” he says.

As a way to reduce speculation on land values, the mayor’s office says the new policy does not allow for an increase in height or density on a single-family property, but it says other measures to add density are being planned.

“Further work is underway as part of the Making Room program to bring forward options for rowhouses, townhouses, and low-rise apartments- with a priority on rental housing and co-ops in low-density neighbourhoods,” the release says.

That report could be brought to council by next summer. 

The Canadian Press

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Downsizing may not be a golden nest egg for boomers

September 20th, 2018

Canada’s seniors happy where they are

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Canada’s seniors may be left disappointed by the costs and savings from downsizing their homes in retirement.

Of 1,870 homeowners over 55 polled by Ipsos for HomeEquity Bank, 39% said they were skeptical that they would save money by downsizing and 27% who had already done so said the costs were greater than expected.

Nearly half of those polled said they are not planning to downsize, with 93% of them happy with their current living arrangements.

“There are real costs to downsizing… financial, emotional and personal ones,” advises Yvonne Ziomecki, HomeEquity Bank’s Executive Vice President, Marketing. “From a financial perspective if you had to move outside your cherished neighbourhood or further away from family and personal support networks, it may mean you’ll spend more resources to maintain relationships, to develop reliable new connections and to navigate life in a different setting.”

Regrets, I’ve had a few Even among those who have downsized with 88% saying they are happy with their decision, they admit that there were unknown sacrifices and some regret.

Although only a third had intended to move to a new city/town when they downsized but almost half end up outside their current network and community. Older retirees are more likely to move to a new area when downsizing.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Rules are your ally against council bullies

September 20th, 2018

Owners can hold harmonious meetings by following proper bylaws and Strata Property Act

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our recent AGM lasted only 20 minutes before the owners engaged in a massive confrontation with the president of our council. He started the meeting by stating the room was only booked for one hour at the community centre and as a result he limited debate on any agenda items to five minutes. He then proceeded to decide that proxies could not be used for the election of council and would not accept any amendments to the annual budget.  The owners accused him of bullying and demanded he remove himself from the meeting at which time he declared the meeting over and left with no business conducted. He is refusing to respond to any owners or current council members.

This is the second condo I have lived in where a council president has acted like a bully. What is a reasonable method of dealing with these people?  CW Walters, Esquimalt 

Dear CW:

There is nothing in the act or bylaws that gives a chairperson absolute authority. Anything the chairperson declares is subject to the owners challenging the decision. This is done by challenging the chair. Section 50 of the Strata Property Act deems that at annual or special general meetings, matters are decided by a majority vote of the eligible voters present in person or by proxy unless a higher voting threshold is required.

For example, a chairperson has decided to limit debate on an agenda item and the owners wish to continue discussing the item and asking more questions. Any eligible voter may challenge the decision of a chairperson by simply rising and saying, I challenge the chair and move that debate be continued. The chairperson calls for a seconder to the motion, and if there a seconder the chair calls for the vote and the majority decision prevails. If they vote yes to continue discussion the discussion continues, if they vote no the discussion ends and the vote on the resolution is called.  There is no debate on a motion to challenge the chair. The chairperson is not in the position to debate, they facilitate the procedures and the motions of the meeting. 

A limit of time to debate resolutions is a good idea if it is managed well. If the debate requires continued discussion, the chair decides whether it is reasonable to continue; however, any eligible voter may also make a motion to call the vote if the debate on the issue has been exhausted. Procedures that promote good decision making, comply with the Act and the bylaws of the strata corporation, and respect the voting rights of the owners are essential.  Only an owner issuing a proxy has the authority to limit the use of the proxy.  Instructions on a proxy direct the proxy holder to vote in a prescribed manner. That is entirely between the strata lot owner and the proxy holder. There is no way to monitor how a proxy holder has voted if a secret ballot has been called as a ballot must be issued for each voting card issued, and that includes proxies.  If an owner has restricted their proxy it will specifically be itemized on the proxy. For example, to prevent one person from gathering a controlling group of proxies and influencing the outcome of council elections, you will occasionally see owners who restrict proxies so they cannot be used for the election of council. 

Because you did not elect a new council at your meeting, your council members are required to convene a council meeting and issue a notice of  a special general meeting to be held within 30 days so the owners can vote on your annual budget and elect a new council. Bullies are only enabled if we give them our power. Aggressive behaviour, abusive language, manipulative tactics, withholding of information and character attacks on challengers are all signs of bullying. The best solution, don’t engage and elect alternate candidates to your strata council. If meetings are respectful, address resolutions and motions in a business-like manner and enable the participation of all owners, they will run smoothly and contribute significantly to the harmony of your community. 

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Chelsea 79 condos in a 6 storey building at 4663 Cambie Street by Cressey

September 20th, 2018

Cressey?s Chelsea will take its place directly opposite Queen Elizabeth Park

Kathleen Freimond
The Province


Where: West 31st Avenue and Cambie Street,


What: 79 homes

Residence sizes and prices: Studio, 1-, 2-, 3-bedrooms, penthouses and townhomes; 461 — 1,733 square feet; 2-bedrooms from $1,269,900; 2-bed-and-dens from $1,699,900; 3-beds from $1,749,900; townhomes from $2,050,900; penthouses from $2,149,900 (plus GST for all)

Developer: Cressey Development Group

Sales centre: 3130 Arbutus Street, Vancouver

Hours: by appointment only; 604-736-3898

Chelsea, Cressey Development Group’s low-rise residential project at West 31st Avenue and Cambie Street, is part of the transformation of the Cambie corridor that is seeing more multi-unit developments in the neighbourhood.

Chelsea comprises two six-storey buildings with 79 units in a range of sizes.

True to Cressey’s philosophy of focusing on livability, the team spent a lot of time working on furniture placements and the floor plans, says Jason Turcotte, the company’s vice-president of development.

“We always design with the homeowner in mind, so whether the person is in their thirties and buying for the location, is new to the market or moving out of a single-family home in the area, the range of homes all have a comfortable scale,” he says.

“Chelsea is immediately across from Queen Elizabeth Park and being toward the top of the rise as Cambie climbs the hill, it affords great views towards the city, ocean and mountains in the distance and the western-facing units have views across to the park.”

The presentation centre shows an example of a Chelsea home with two bathrooms, two bedrooms and a den. Homebuyers can choose from two colour palettes created by Insight Design Group: the lighter Uptown scheme – used in the show suite – or Parkside, with its darker floors and finishes.

A distinctive wide-plank hardwood floor laid in a classic herringbone pattern makes an immediate impression.

“We see floors like this in some old character homes, but in those instances, it is often a narrow plank in yellow oak. At Chelsea, we have used a wide plank in a brushed finish, a light oak for the Uptown palette and a darker oak for Parkside. It’s a nod to tradition, but done in a contemporary way,” says Linda Gallo, associate at Insight Design.

The major kitchen appliances are by Wolf and Sub-Zero. The refrigerator and freezer drawers are behind integrated panels, while the cooktop is flush with the counter with the knobs on the front face of the cabinet panel and not on cooktop itself, Gallo notes.

In the show suite, the peninsula with a waterfall edge is an elegant design feature that provides a large working surface that also doubles as a place where the family can pull up a few kitchen stools for a quick meal.

In the ensuite bathroom, elongated hexagonal tiles on the floor of the shower extend up the wall in another modern interpretation of a traditional feature. The shower has a bench covered with the same stone as the bathroom counter, while a linear drain and rainshower head give the space a sophisticated ambience.

Turcotte says the premium finishes reflect the significance of Chelsea’s location.

“During the planning process, I visited the area and took walks in Queen Elizabeth Park. It was a reminder how amazing it is and how fortunate we are in Vancouver to have such a fantastic amenity in our city,” he says.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Almost all GTA residents want zoning review, more new homes

September 19th, 2018

Toronto residents want affordable housing

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Residents in the Greater Toronto Area want more new homes and a review of zoning rules to help ease housing affordability.

A survey has revealed that 87% of respondents said building more homes was important to addressing affordability, this view is strongest in the 416.

Almost 9 in 10 said that zoning by-laws should be reviewed and changed to allow for greater flexibility for middle-density housing types.

In the joint poll, the Toronto Real Estate Board and the Building Industry and Land Development Association have been asking for opinions ahead of municipal elections.

“Building more new homes is seen, overwhelmingly, as a critical part of the solution to housing affordability,” said TREB president Garry Bhura. “However, overcoming resistance to change and ‘not in my backyard’ sentiment in existing neighbourhoods is a huge barrier that municipal leaders can help overcome by taking a leadership role.”

Build, but somewhere else Despite the strong sentiment for more new homes, many people are not keen to have development in their neighbourhood.

Asked about homes being built within half a kilometre of their home, 30% would be opposed to a single-family home, rising to 59% for a high-rise condo apartment building.

“In order to build a livable GTA for the future, we need to be able to build more homes, faster. Clearly we need to have a broader discussion on how to accommodate growth, particularly in established neighbourhoods. I encourage citizens and municipal candidates to learn more about this at,” said Dave Wilkes, President and CEO, BILD.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

NAFTA negotiations highlight looming crisis for homeowners

September 19th, 2018

B-20 under review in light of NAFTA

Neil Sharma

Interest rates have been expected to rise all year, but ongoing negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement have quashed the latest planned hikes.

“The Bank of Canada indicated that if there were another increase of the interest rate and then there was a collapse of the trading relationship with North American partners, that would significantly negatively impact the economy,” said Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association. “Certainly from our point of view, that’s bad for the housing market, so the Bank wisely took a wait-and-see approach until the trade negotiations are completed.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland has been on the file for the Trudeau government, but working diligently behind the scenes is Canada’s Ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton. While that could abet a favourable outcome for Canada, rising rates in conjunction with the mortgage stress test open up another can of worms.

“Every economist may not agree on the timing, but interest rates are heading up, which means mortgage rates are heading up, and if you add 200 basis points onto every increase, you’re really pushing a lot of first-time homebuyers out of the market and impairing the dreams of move-up buyers who have kids and want a little more space,” added Hudak.

Hudak believes the tribulations surrounding a new NAFTA agreement illuminate a looming problem for Canadians, and that the time is nigh to revisit the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institution’s B-20 stipulations, notably the mortgage stress test.

“In an era of rising interest rates, whether that rise is stalled by uncertainty in NAFTA or not, we need to drive home the importance of revisiting the stress test. It doesn’t make sense to keep piling up more expensive mortgages on top of rising rates from the Bank of Canada.”

Guideline B-20 was put in place largely to curtail exorbitant price escalation in Toronto and Vancouver, however, it’s chilled the Canadian housing market from coast to coast, with smaller markets bearing the brunt of what Croft Axsen calls restrictive policies.

“I’m not saying they shouldn’t be trying to address housing prices in Toronto and Vancouver, but I think most of that has to do with supply,” said Axsen, owner of Dominion Lending Centres Jencor Mortgage Corporation in Calgary. “There’s this overall restriction throughout the entire economy about who can get a mortgage, how many people can get a mortgage, and how big the mortgage they can get is. I don’t think they understand what they’re doing. It makes me nervous that bureaucrats are making these decisions and not bankers.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Demand for Toronto’s townhouses loses pace in September

September 19th, 2018

TREB says townhouse market slow in September

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Latest numbers from the Toronto Real Estate Board revealed that the city’s townhouse market has seen a notable slackening in sales numbers, going down by 25% on a year-over-year basis in the first half of September 2018.

This accompanied the introduction of 40% more listings in the market’s townhouse when compared to the same period last month.

Other housing types across the region have experienced robust activity, real estate information portal and brokerage Zoocasa stated in its analysis of the new TREB data.

Detached home sales went up by 11% annually in the City of Toronto and by 9% in the GTA. Inventory expanded by 81% month-over-month.

On the semi-detached side, the segment saw 9% growth in sales in the City of Toronto, and 5% across the GTA. Supply increased by 63% from the first half of August.

Condo apartments had good sales figures as well, with a year-over-year growth rate of 7% in the City of Toronto and 8% across the GTA. Supply expanded by a significant 30%.

“While buyers may be taking their time, sellers have entered the September market in full force, with a flood of new listings across every home type. That’s pushed the market into an easy buyer-friendly environment, from the relatively balanced market in August,” Zoocasa wrote in its analysis.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Multiple offers become commonplace again

September 19th, 2018

Greater Toronto Area Homes selling to Immigrants

Neil Sharma
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Inbound migration to the Greater Toronto Area should allay fears real estate investors may have about how profitable the region’s housing stock is.

“We used to take 200,000 to 250,000 new immigrants, and 100,000 would come to the GTA,” said Cameron Forbes, general manager and broker of REMAX Realtron Realty. “Immigration has increased to 350,000, so now about 140,000 people are settling in the GTA every year. If you think about two to three people per household, that’s 30,000 to 40,000 new units of additional housing each year, and that’s what’s being constructed now. Fifteen thousand ground-oriented homes, including detached, semi-detached and townhouses, and about 20-25,000 new condos each year.”

“You can’t recreate the land, so there will be a higher average price increase for detached homes. There will be a good return,” continued Forbes. “It’s just a matter of affordability. They’re at a price point where not a lot of people can afford to buy them anymore in the 416, but it would be a great investment because they’ll go up in price for the foreseeable future and into the long-term.”

According to Canadian Real Estate Association statistics released for the month of August, unit sales are up 8.5% this year over August 2017, and the average selling price of $765,270 is also a 4.7% boost over last year.

Forbes indicated that CREA’s stats are in line with REMAX’s forecasts, which show a balanced market in which buyers can take their time deciding whether or not to tender offers, and also one in which sellers aren’t buckling under the weight of multiple offers.

“The stats coming out on a monthly basis were slow until May, and that’s the result of the foreign buyer speculation tax,” he said. “We’re seeing that the market is good, but it’s been slower than the fast pace we’ve become accustomed to for the last five, 10 years. In those areas that have shown the greatest weakness—the outer parts of the 905—we’re seeing renewed buyer confidence and renewed sales and price increases in the areas that had seen the greatest slowdown.”

According to Cam Woolfrey, a sales representative with Royal LePage Signature, multiple offers are still commonplace in downtown Toronto.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

How Much Income Is Required To Buy A Home?

September 18th, 2018

How Much Money Do You Need to Buy a House?

John Charbonneau

Very interesting map. It takes the average home price by area, and assumes a purchase price with 20% down and calculates the approximate home income required to qualify for the mortgage. For example in Richmond the average home price is $1,669,900 and the required income would be $230,000. The average household income is Richmond is $58,000 This means to buy this type of home, you would need to earn almost 4 times the average family income to qualify for a mortgage with 20% down. Pretty obvious to me that the average person buying a home in Richmond has way more than 20% downpayment. It does emphasize how tough it is to get into any local market with a small downpayment.

If you are interested in looking at the full map that shows more communities in the lower mainland and the average income per community, email me and I can send you the information and larger map.


John Charbonneau


[email protected]