Strata council can’t make a policy change to how notice is issued or received

April 19th, 2018

Council can?t change policy

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our strata council and strata manager have sent the following notice to owners advising that the only way we can give notice or request any items from the strata corporation is through the property manager.  The council claim they have made a policy change with the instruction of the strata manager that no one may deliver a notice to any council member, and any such notices would be deemed to be void.

We have read the strata act and cannot find where the strata council or property manager has the authority to change how notice is issued or how it is received.

As a result of this change, several owners have had their requests for hearings declined and have been denied access to information. To the owners this looks like a slick way of preventing access to our strata information.

Could you please clarify how notice can be issued?

Devon M. North Vancouver

Dear Devon:

No, neither the strata council or manager may make a policy change to how notice is issued or received. A notice, record or other document that is required or permitted under the Strata Property Act or Regulations must be given to the strata in one of the following methods:

  1. a) by leaving it with a council member
  2. b) by mailing it to the strata corporation at its most recent address filed in the Land Title Registry
  3. c) by faxing or emailing to the strata corporation to the contacts provided or to a council member if a fax or email has been provided for the purpose of receiving notice or by putting it through the mail slot or in the mail box used by the strata corporation for this purpose.  

When a strata management company is contracted, they are acting as an agent of your strata corporation, and they may also be a destination for giving notice if they have provided an address, fax or email address. The Act in this section does not permit strata corporations to change or amend the form of notice that is provided or received.  The strata corporation must inform the owners who the council members are, and the council members must receive notice if it is delivered to them.  It is then up to the council member to inform the other council members the details and purpose of the notice.

Strata council members need to be vigilant about the procedures of having received notice.  The best solution is one location for address, email and fax so the council and manager can closely monitor what requests and notice have been received; however, because notice can be served on any council member, they need to be educated to understand the requirements for processing the notice immediately as many notices have requests that are time sensitive and could adversely affect your strata corporation. 

For strata corporations with rental bylaw limitations, a request for a hardship exemption requires a written decision within two weeks if no hearing is requested, or within one week of a hearing, otherwise the exemption is automatically granted.   Requests for hearings require the hearing must be held within four weeks after the request and notice of a Civil Resolution or Court action requires a response within the prescribed time period otherwise judgements may be made without the strata corporation involvement.  Requests for documents must be filled within 14 days of the request, seven days for a request of bylaws and rules, and a Form F Payment Certificate and Form B Information Certificate must be provided within seven days.  

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Fraser Commons 725 Southeast Marine Drive 363 homes in the complex by Serracan Properties

April 19th, 2018

A Fraser Commons Interior designer plays all the traditional shapes and angles to give rooms a refreshed look

Mary Frances Hill
The Province

Fraser Commons

Where: 725 Southeast Marine Drive

What: 363 one-to-three-bedroom homes

Residence sizes and prices: Remaining homes include two – and three-bedroom units ranging from 738 to 1,066 sq. ft; starting at $772,900 for a two-bedroom and $984,900 for a three-bedroom

Developer and builder: Serracan Properties

Sales centre: 725 Southeast Marine Drive

Sales centre hours: noon — 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs, or by appointment

Telephone: 778-737-3178

Fraser Commons is a project from Serracan Properties in Vancouver. (Note that image can’t run prior to project profile on March 24, 2018.) [PNG Merlin Archive] PNG

When interior designer Cristina Oberti took on the design of the display space for Fraser Commons, a condo project slated for Fraser and Southeast Marine Drive, its eventual occupants were uppermost in mind.

“The design and development of this project was first and foremost about the people who will live in it or in its surrounding area, and to me this was an endless source of inspiration during the design process,” says Cristina Oberti, principal of Cristina Oberti Interior Design, which worked with Serracan Properties on the development.

It began with a detail as simple — and as significant — as the hexagonal tiles on the kitchen backsplash.

Oberti’s team was inspired by the exterior diamond pattern that covered the Blue Boy Motor Hotel, built by the Wosk brothers in the 1960s at the Fraser Commons’ site.

“It was a way for us to celebrate the present while remembering the past,” she says.
After the great popularity of subway tiles in kitchen and bathroom spaces, creative designers like Oberti love to present classic items in refreshed designs.
“The backsplash is the focal point of a kitchen, so what you choose to do with this surface can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of the dining and living room areas,” Oberti says. “The hexagonal tile, though traditional in its shape, is very current and speaks to the tastes of today. In its familiarity, the shape feels surprisingly modern and new. We used the shape of the kitchen backsplash tiles as a graphic inspiration for the display suite designs. ”

Where kitchen tiles make an impact with small details on a grand scale, Oberti chose huge tiles for the bathroom to create a spacious, seamless space.
“Large tile formats have a lot of benefits in the bathroom. From a functional perspective, less grout means less maintenance for homeowners and less work for the installers. From an esthetic standpoint, the larger tiles create the illusion of continuity. The tiles make the bathroom feel as though it was carved out of a single slab of stone.”

Oberti created an interesting open-concept space by pairing and contrasting shapes. The pendant light over the dining table reflects the contours in the living room artwork and appears to soften the lines and angles of the furnishings.

“Too many angles can make a space feel stiff, so adding in a few curves is essential to maintaining a welcoming environment,” she says. “Next to raising comfort levels, the combination of hard and soft edges makes those accent angles pop all the more.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Bank of Canada makes interest rate announcement

April 18th, 2018

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement

Andy Blatchford
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

The Bank of Canada is maintaining its trend-setting interest rate as its careful assessment of the timing of future hikes continues amid a backdrop of moderating growth.

The central bank, which kept its rate at 1.25 per cent Wednesday, said slower first-quarter growth of about 1.3 per cent was largely a result of housing markets’ responses to stricter mortgage rules and sluggish exports. The bank had predicted the economy to expand by 2.5 per cent in the first three months of the year.

It’s expecting the economy to rebound in the second quarter with 2.5 per cent growth, in part because of rising foreign demand, to help Canada expand by two per cent for all of 2018. The economy saw three per cent growth in 2017.

“Canada’s economic growth has moderated, and the economy is operating close to capacity,” the bank said in its latest monetary policy report, which was released alongside the rate announcement.

“While a moderation was anticipated, temporary factors … are resulting in sizable short-term fluctuations in growth.”

The bank reiterated it expects further interest-rate hikes to be necessary over time and that it will follow a cautious, data-dependent approach when weighing future decisions.

“Some progress has been made on the key issues being watched closely by governing council, particularly the dynamics of inflation and wage growth,” the bank’s statement said.

“This progress reinforces governing council’s view that higher interest rates will be warranted over time, although some monetary policy accommodation will still be needed to keep inflation on target.”

The bank will also continue to watch the economy’s sensitivity to higher interest rates and how well it builds capacity through investment, which would enable Canada to lift growth beyond what is viewed as its potential ceiling without driving up inflation.

Signs suggest the economy has made some progress in building this capacity, the bank said.

The bank is also keeping a close watch on the evolution of external risks.

Exports and business investment in Canada have been held back by competitiveness challenges and trade-policy uncertainties, which include escalating geopolitical conflicts that risk damaging global expansion, the bank said.

It laid out estimates on the growth impacts on Canada due to tax reforms in the United States, which are expected to lure more investment south of the border. Due to these investment challenges, it predicts Canada’s gross domestic product to be 0.2 per cent lower by the end of 2020.

Exports are also expected to take a hit from reduced investment and trade uncertainties. The bank projects that Canada’s GDP will be 0.3 per cent lower by the end of 2020 due to the negative impacts on exports.

Fiscal stimulus introduced in recent provincial budgets is expected to help offset these effects by adding about 0.4 per cent to Canada’s real GDP by the end of 2020.

Governor Stephen Poloz introduced three rate hikes since last summer in response to an impressive economic run for Canada that began in late 2016. But due, in part, to factors such as mounting trade unknowns, Poloz has not raised the rate since January.

The bank offered an analysis Wednesday of some of the key indicators it’s watching ahead of rate decisions.

On inflation, the bank said temporary downward forces weighing on the rate have largely dissipated. Other transitory factors, including higher gasoline prices and recent minimum wage increases are now expected to raise inflation above the bank’s January predictions.

Canada’s annual pace of inflation in February sped up to 2.2 per cent _ its fastest pace in more than three years _ to creep above the central bank’s ideal target of two per cent. Meanwhile, the average of the agency’s three measures of core inflation, designed to omit the noise of more-volatile items like gasoline, climbed slightly above two per cent for the first time since February 2012.

For wage growth, the bank said despite recent improvements it remains below what would be expected if the economy no longer had slack in its labour force.

On Wednesday, the bank also released new economic forecasts in its monetary policy report.

For 2018, it’s now predicting two per cent growth, as measured by real gross domestic product, compared to its 2.2 per cent prediction in January.

The bank raised its growth projection for 2019 to 2.1 per cent, up from its previous prediction of 1.6 per cent, before easing to 1.8 per cent in 2020.

It noted that these readings would still be slightly above Canada’s estimated potential output for the next three years.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

B.C. market sustains sustain upward trend in prices

April 18th, 2018

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Home sales in British Columbia plummeted last month compared with March of last year, but the B.C. Real Estate Association stated that the decline was not reflected in prices.

Sales figures released by the association for March showed that 7,409 homes changed hands last month, a decline of 24.6% over March 2017, while average property prices climbed 5.3% over the same period.

A news release from the association said that the average home sold for $726,930 last month. The BCREA attributed the climate of persistently high prices to the lack of properties available for sale, noting that the total of active listings has changed very little since March 2017, nudging a 12-year low across B.C.

Association chief economist Cameron Muir predicted that prices will continue to climb as long as the trend continues. He also criticized what he called the “burdensome” mortgage qualification rules that took effect in January, saying they have had the “predictable effect of swiftly curbing housing demand.”

 “You simply cannot pull as much as 20% of the purchasing power away from conventional mortgage borrowers and not create a downturn in consumer demand,” Muir said, as quoted by The Canadian Press.

B.C. home sales in March tallied $5.39 billion, a 20.6% tumble compared with March 2017. Meanwhile, quarterly sales dollar volumes since January have slipped 1.7% year-over-year to $13.9 billion.

Residential sales also fell 9.4% during the first three months of this year. On the other hand, the average price of a home increased 8.5% to just over $732,000 during the same period.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Provincial government leaves mark on Vancouver housing market

April 16th, 2018

Erik Hertzberg
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Home sales in Canada’s third-largest city are still declining after the provincial government introduced new housing measures earlier this year.

Sales in Greater Vancouver fell 8.6 percent in March from a month earlier to 2,108 transactions, the fewest since 2013, data released Friday by the Canadian Real Estate Association show. That’s in contrast to the broader Canadian market, which showed signs of stabilizing in March. Aggregate prices in Vancouver still ticked up, rising 1.1 percent on the month.

Sales in the Pacific Coast city may fall further as buyers come to grips with stiffer taxes on purchases by foreigners and a new levy on vacant homes, steps unveiled by the British Columbia government in February to deal with property speculation. “We expect this market to begin stabilizing towards the end of the year, or in early-2019,” Michael Dolega, an economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, wrote in a note to clients.

Benchmark prices, meanwhile, are up 16 percent in Vancouver from a year earlier, the CREA data show.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Spring Trends Report 2018

April 14th, 2018

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The Residences on Marine 1347 Marine Drive West Vancouver 16 condos in a 3 storey mixed use building by Atti Group

April 14th, 2018

The Residences on Marine offers prime location, single-family luxury

Simon Briault
The Vancouver Sun

When you’re moving from a large, single-family home in West Vancouver, possibly one that you’ve been living in for many years and where you raised your children, it’s natural for you to think very carefully about your next move. Atti Group, a family company behind a new development of 16 homes in West Vancouver, is targeting just this type of discerning homebuyer.

The Residences on Marine is a three-storey building of 16 luxury condos and four retail spaces at 13th Street and Marine Drive in the heart of Ambleside and just a block from the beach. The homes that are still available have two or three bedrooms and range in size between 950 and 1,321 square feet.

“There’s not a single investor or speculator in this building – not with this type of product in this location,” said Greg Zayadi, a senior vice-president at Rennie Marketing who is leading the sales and marketing of the project on behalf of Atti Group. “These buyers are, for the most part, downsizers from the local area and they’re taking their time. They will come and visit us two or three times over before making a decision.”

Zayadi said that Atti Group – led by father Siamak Tehrani and his two sons Arman and Sasan – has built dozens of multi-million-dollar, single-family homes in West Vancouver and on the North Shore. According to Zayadi, The Residences on Marine is one of their first multi-family concrete developments and this is the type of project the company is looking to focus on going forward.

“As single-family homebuilders, they are used to building these incredibly luxurious homes and they’re taking that same approach when it comes to the level of detail and the finishes on in this development,” Zayadi said. “There are some incredible details that you would really only do if you are a builder with the history that these guys have. It’s also because there’s only 16 homes. You would never do this if you had 100 or 200 homes so it’s a really exclusive offering.”

So, what exactly are these unique details and high-end luxuries? In the kitchens, there’s imported flat-panel Italian cabinetry with soft-close drawers from Arclinea, polished quartz stone countertops and full-height marble backsplashes. You’ll also get a professional-grade appliance package by Wolf and Sub-Zero. This includes a refrigerator with double freezer drawers and ice-maker, a stainless steel four-burner gas cooktop, a black and stainless-steel hood fan, stainless-steel wall and steam ovens and an Asko high-efficiency dishwasher.

In the bathrooms, the vanities are made in Italy and entirely clad in marble. You’ll also get mirrored Italian medicine cabinets with integrated LED lighting, solid polished marble countertops, chrome Kohler faucets and rain shower heads with hand showers. There are Italian marble mosaic tiled shower bases in master ensuites, soaker tubs with Italian marble base surrounds and Nuheat in-floor heating in all bathrooms.

“The site for this development is near and dear to the Tehranis’ hearts because they drive by it every day,”  Zayadi said. “They’ve been working with a very local team. Karl Gustavson, the architect, is on the North Shore, Cristina Oberti, the interior designer, lives in West Vancouver, and so do I as the lead on sales and marketing.”

The development will be built on a slight incline and all the homes will be on one level. The building will have an underground parkade, as well as a central courtyard in the middle at the level of the lane behind, allowing residents to walk straight into their homes. This also means that all the units will have windows on both sides, facing north and south. In addition, most homes will have skylights over the kitchens to provide natural light.

“We can talk about all the luxury, of course, but the main thing is that this is an incredible location that’s hard to ever replicate,” Zayadi said. “You’re right in the middle of Ambleside with Meinhardt, Earls, Heirloom and so many amenities opening up, along with the continuing development of Park Royal, which is about a 10-minute walk away.”

Ambleside Beach is just a block from this development. Known as West Vancouver’s gateway park, Ambleside provides spectacular views of Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver.

“The location is what really makes it truly worth the money,” Zayadi said. “You could paint the thing in gold and that wouldn’t really impact the overall value because really people are buying the opportunity to be in such a livable urban community. That’s really what’s driving this – 13th and Marine Drive is an incredible spot to be in.”

The sales centre for The Residences on Marine is at 1347 Marine Drive and it’s open by appointment only. Prices for the homes that are still available start at $1,795,900 for a two-bedroom and two-bathroom home of 950 square feet and top out at $2,795,900 for a south-facing three-bedroom and two-bathroom home.

The Residences on Marine

Project location: 1347 Marine Drive, West Vancouver

Project size: 16 two- and three-bedroom condos ranging in size from 950 to 1,321 square feet, with prices starting from approximately $1,795,900

Developer: Atti Group

Architect: Karl Gustavson

Interior designer: Cristina Oberti Interior Design

Sales centre: 1347 Marine Drive, West Vancouver

Sales phone: 604-281-1878

Website: https://residencesonmarine.com

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

B.C. and United Church partner on affordable housing initiative

April 14th, 2018

B.C. government, United Church partner in new affordable housing developments

Linda Givetash
The Vancouver Sun

The United Church in British Columbia is stepping forward to help address the province’s affordable housing crisis by offering up some of its properties for development.

Premier John Horgan announced Friday that the province will spend $12.4 million to help develop 414 units in four cities, beginning with 75 units on church property in Coquitlam.

The 75 units will be designed for individuals, seniors and families with an average income between $50,000 and $100,000.

Horgan said its essential for the province to establish partnerships between landowners, developers and municipalities in order to build much needed affordable housing.

Terry Harrison with the B.C. Conference of the United Church of Canada said aging infrastructure and shrinking congregations have led the church to look for ways to redevelop its properties.

“We had to do something innovative to try to figure out how to re-purpose properties,” Harrison said. “Our faith teaches us to serve those in need, and here and now, one of the greatest needs is affordable housing for middle-income families.”

The church developed a plan to leverage its prime real estate in places like Metro Vancouver to support development in locations with lower-valued land, like in Nanaimo, she said.

The plan will allow the church to upgrade and take care of its facilities while also providing a benefit to the community with affordable housing, Harrison explained.

“While it’s imperative that we use these assets for the United Church, we must also provide practical benefits for the wider community. That’s sort of our ying-yang.”

Horgan said B.C. Housing’s new program HousingHub, which facilitates partnerships for new development, will support the church to get the projects through the permitting and planning phases quickly.

Construction for the Coquitlam development is set to begin in June.

The church will retain ownership of the properties, Horgan said, and will be responsible for paying the developers.

Penny Gurstein, director of the University of B.C.’s School of Regional and Community Planning, said partnership between governments, non-profits and the private sector are key in addressing the affordable housing across the country.

Gurstein said in an interview with The Canadian Press that having the private sector solely buy and develop land does not ensure affordability, especially over the long term.

But allowing faith-based communities to retain ownership of housing projects on their land prevents the properties from reverting back to the regular rental market pricing, she said.

“It isn’t just about trying to get the best financial returns on the land, it’s also trying to create something that has some social use.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

B20 has tightened demand but done little for supply in BC

April 13th, 2018

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Homes sales fell by almost a quarter in British Columbia last month but supply remained tight and prices increased.

Figures from the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) show that sales of 7,409 in March meant a 24.6% decrease from a year earlier while prices gained 5.3% to an average price of $726,930.

More burdensome mortgage qualifications are having the predictable effect of swiftly curbing housing demand,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “You simply cannot pull as much as 20% of the purchasing power away from conventional mortgage borrowers and not create a downturn in consumer demand.”

Even with lower demand, supply of homes remains low across most of the province, with little change from a year ago and total inventory at or near a 12-year low.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 1.7 per cent to $13.9 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Residential unit sales decreased 9.4 per cent to 18,927 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 8.5 per cent to $732,243.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Despite dramatic decline in sales, B.C. home prices keep on rising

April 13th, 2018

B.C. home prices continue to climb as sales plummet on ‘burdensome’ mortgage rules

CAMERON MUIR
The Province

Sales figures released by the association for March show 7,409 homes changed hands last month, a decline of 24.6 per cent over March 2017, while average property prices climbed 5.3 per cent over the same period.

A news release from the association says the average home sold for $726,930 last month and it blames persistently high prices on the lack of properties available.

It says total active listings have changed very little since March 2017, nudging a 12-year low across B.C.

Association chief economist Cameron Muir forecasts prices will continue to climb as long as the trend continues.

He is also critical of what he calls the “burdensome” mortgage qualification rules that took effect in January, saying they have had the “predictable effect of swiftly curbing housing demand.”

“You simply cannot pull as much as 20 per cent of the purchasing power away from conventional mortgage borrowers and not create a downturn in consumer demand,” Muir says in the release.

B.C. home sales in March tallied $5.39 billion, a 20.6-per-cent tumble compared with March 2017, while the association says sales dollar volumes since January slipped 1.7 per cent to $13.9 billion, compared with the first quarter of last year.

Residential sales also fell 9.4 per cent during the first three months of this year, while the association reports the average price of a home increased 8.5 per cent to just over $732,000 during the same period.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.