BCREA is forecasting a better year ahead for BC sales

November 9th, 2018

Sales forecast to rise 12% in 2019, says BCREA

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Home sales in British Columbia have been subdued during 2018 and are expected to end the year 23% lower than 2017 with 80,000.

The figures from the British Columbia Real Estate Board (BCREA) reflect the tough year the province’s housing markets – especially Vancouver – following policy changes including the mortgage stress test and interest rate hikes. It could have been worse though had the economy not remained supportive.

But there is better news ahead with sales forecast to rise 12% in 2019 to 84,000 units, just above the 10-year average of 80,000.

“The marked erosion of affordability and purchasing power caused by the mortgage stress test and rising interest rates continue to be a drag on the housing demand,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, continuing strong performance in the economy combined with favourable demographics is expected to push home sales above their 10- year average in 2019.”

Most markets in BC have moved to balanced conditions with fewer sales and rising inventory. That has meant an easing of price appreciation which is expected to more closely track consumer price inflation in 2019.

Record construction in BC is also bringing new supply to the market which BCREA believes should further support price stability.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Coquitlam council and developer clash over Fraser Mills details

November 9th, 2018

City says Beedie’s numbers on homes and park space in huge redevelopment of former mill site are still subject to public consultation

Gary McKenna
Vancouver Courier

The City of Coquitlam is pushing back against several assertions made by a developer about its plans for the Fraser Mills site in southwest Coquitlam.

During a presentation last week to the Real Estate Institute of BC, David Roppel, Beedie Living’s director of residential development, said plans for the riverfront project included 16 acres of park space, 118 market-rental units and 117 below-market rental units. 

But Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s GM of planning and development, said some of the numbers are still being discussed and that any final agreements for the site would be subject to public consultation. “The project is still in review,” he said. “It hasn’t had the full-blown public consultation process yet. That is all to come.”

One area of disagreement between the city and the developer appears to be how much park space will be included in the project. According to Beedie’s Fraser Mills website, the area will include “16 acres of public park, a state-of-the-art public aquatic and recreation centre, comprehensive pedestrian and bike trails, pier, plaza… and other amenities.”

McIntyre said the amount of parkland proposed is actually much smaller because Beedie’s 16-acre figure includes 6.9 acres of environmental preservation areas, including 1.9 acres of riparian space around Como Creek and five acres of greenway habitat compensation.

“Under federal and provincial government legislation, this green space protection would be required of any development,” McIntyre said. “The true usable park total is about 9.4 acres.”

In a follow-up email, Roppel acknowledged that while much of the land will be used for open spaces, including a foreshore walkway, riverfront park and riverfront plaza, some of the 16 acres includes riparian planting. 

McIntyre said any talk about hard numbers around market and below-market rental housing is premature, noting that the figures are still under discussion. There is also a disagreement over the size of a public aquatic complex Beedie would be required to provide as part of the development.

While Roppel and Beedie’s website state the facility is expected to be 40,000 sq. ft., the number has yet to be finalized and is still part of negotiations. 

At completion, the 95-acre Fraser Mills development is expected to contain 4,700 residential units in 16 to 18 towers. The project is also expected to include employment space for at least 1,500 jobs.



Re. “Beedie lays out plan for massive Fraser Mills dev’t. that will be years in making” (The Tri-City News, Nov. 2).

The referenced story incorrectly reported that Beedie Living’s Fraser Mills development planned in southwest Coquitlam would have 13,000 sq. ft. of commercial/retail space. In fact, while the final number is still being negotiated, it is expected to be significantly higher, creating enough floor space for at least 1,500 jobs. The article also stated that an aquatic centre included in the project would be 30,000 sq. ft. But in a follow-up interview, Beedie stated the facility is expected to be 40,000 sq. ft., although the final number has yet to be finalized with the city.

Glacier Community Media © Copyright ® 2013 – 2018

BCREA 2018 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast

November 8th, 2018

Canadian Housing Starts ? BCREA


Canadian housing starts increased 9 per cent on a monthly basis in October to 205,925 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The trend in Canadian housing starts continued to moderate lower, averaging 206,000 units SAAR over the past six months. In BC, total housing starts rebounded slightly in October after a sharp September decline. Total starts were up 17 per cent to 29,861  units SAAR and but were still down 45 per cent year-over-year. On a monthly basis, starts of multiple units were up 30 per cent to 25,464 units SAAR while single detached fell 8 per cent to 7,784 units SAAR. Compared to October 2017, multiple units starts were down 51 per cent while single detached starts were 22 per cent lower.   Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC: 

  • Total starts in the Vancouver CMA bounced back somewhat in October, rising 26 per cent on a monthly basis to 14,238 units SAAR as multiple units starts rose 41 per cent from September. However, starts have been trending lower for the past few months and were down 49 per cent compared to October 2017. Most new construction activity in October was concentrated in the City of Vancouver, which accounted for over half of all starts in the Metro Vancouver area.
  • In the Victoria CMA, housing starts fell 12 per cent in October to 2,728 units SAAR but were 71 per cent down year-over-year. However, on a year-to-date basis, housing starts in Victoria are just 6 per cent below the record level set in 2017.
  • In the Kelowna CMA, new home construction remained slow in October, falling 7 per cent to just 629 units SAAR. On a year-over-year basis, total starts were down 64 per cent to just 62 total units.  While housing starts in Kelowna have fallen off of the record pace of 2017, they remain on pace to finish above the 10-year average for the city.
  • Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA nearly tripled from September to 1,734 units SAAR due to 120 new multiple unit starts in October. On a year-over-

Eligible voters should have chance to discuss proposed resolutions

November 8th, 2018

The Strata Property Act does not permit mail-in ballots

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

Our strata council has decided to avoid holding a meeting to discuss a major change in the use of our property. We are a gated community and the current council doesn’t want to pay for the gate maintenance any longer and wants to remove the gate. They have sent out a notice with a proxy form and mail-in ballot that requires each owner to vote yes or no. They advise they will inform the owners of the decision by Nov. 15. 

Is this permitted?

Daria B., Vernon

Dear Daria: 

The Strata Property Act does not permit mail-in balloted or proxy vote-only meetings. 

The intention of the legislation is to ensure eligible voters have the opportunity to discuss the proposed resolutions or, at the very least, require every eligible voter to consent to waiving notice of a meeting and any proposed resolutions. 

Any significant change in the use or appearance of common property or a common asset requires a three-quarters vote at an annual or special general meeting. The exact wording of what is being approved or altered must be included in the wording of the resolution to confirm the strata council has the authority to proceed with the changes if the resolution passes. 

If a strata corporation is unable to hold a meeting due to time constraints or in the case of vacation properties, where owners are only present in the summer, the strata corporation may issue a notice of waiver of meeting.  A notice of waiver works well for small strata corporations as it enables expedient decisions, but for large strata corporations such as yours, over 100 units, it is difficult for the waiver to pass. A notice of waiver requires every eligible voter to agree in writing that they are waiving notice of a meeting and that they agree to the resolution.

In addition, if there is more than one person on title, all of them must consent to the waiver of meeting and the resolution. If one strata lot does not agree or simply does not respond, the proposed resolution does not pass. 

I would advise anyone implementing a wavier of notice to confirm your ownership list is up to date or it may be necessary to conduct title searches to confirm the names of all owners on title. When the strata corporation issues a form that indicates this is a waiver of notice of meeting, it requires all eligible voters, including multiple owners, to sign, consent and return the form. The strata corporation must retain copies of the waivers and consents. 

Any owner, tenant or person authorized in writing by the owner or tenant is entitled view or request a copy of the waivers and consents. 

If a Form B Information Certificate is requested during this period, the strata corporation must disclose if a waiver of notice has been issued for a three-quarters vote, and any three-quarters  resolution that has been passed but not yet filed in the Land Title Registry if required. 

A wavier of notice proceeding is much more complicated then simply sending out a notice. Speak to a professional before you send out your waiver. 

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

50 Electronic Avenue 358 homes at 50 Electronic Avenue Port Moody by Panatch Group

November 8th, 2018

50 Electronic Avenue part of a transformation in Port Moody?s core

Michael Bernard
The Province

50 Electronic Avenue

What: 358 homes ranging from one- to four-bedroom units in two six-storey wood-frame buildings

Where: 50 Electronic Avenue, Port Moody

Residence size and prices: From $459,000 for a one-bedroom home; from $649,900 for a two-bedroom home and $879,000 for three-bedroom units (four- bedroom homes available in phase two)

Developer: Panatch Group

Sales centre: 50 Electronic Avenue, Port Moody

Hours: noon — 5 p.m., Saturday to Thursday

Phone: 604-492-2202

Twenty years ago, when Kush Panatch bought a 3.5-acre parcel of industrial land opposite Port Moody’s downtown, he knew it might take a long time for it to appreciate in value. What he hadn’t anticipated was the new SkyTrain Evergreen extension or the nearby Westcoast Express station would make it excellent space for a 358-unit condominium development.

“I remember coming here. I went down and walked around the park. It was simply a big industrial area with a sawmill,” Panatch said.

Called 50 Electronic Avenue, the two six-storey buildings are part of a transformation the area has been undergoing in recent years.

Panatch’s family business, the Panatch Group, is fuelling that urban renewal with an offer to help young families get started in real estate by offering a rent-to-own scheme for some 30 homes in the complex.

The plan, developed after some Port Moody council members expressed concern about the lack of affordable housing in the neighbourhood, provides below-market rentals for qualifying families. Panatch said those families are given the option two years later to buy the home by applying the money they have saved on the discounted rent and receiving credit for all rent payments they have made.

The project, designed by Rob Ciccozzi and his firm Ciccozzi Architecture Inc., works hard to engage with the community and to “activate” street life on both Murray Avenue and Klahanie Drive, which the two buildings border, Ciccozzi said.

Interiors were designed to combine traditional elements with modern innovations to make family living more convenient and practical, say Cheryl Broadhead and Nicole Duval of BYU Interiors.

A tour of the two show homes — a two-bedroom unit with a rooftop patio and a one-bedroom unit — illustrate how the firm maximized the use of space. The homes make liberal use of pantry cupboards extending into the space adjacent to the kitchens. The two-bedroom home features his-and-hers closets and drawers in a corridor leading to an ensuite.

Medicine cabinets are incorporated into all bathrooms, as are the accompanying niches for storage around the mirrors.

BYU was also responsible for planning the use of Club 50, the amenity building, which has a separate area for children attached to an outside playground, a video arcade for teens and a lounge area for adults.

The amenity also has a fitness facility, yoga studio, dog-wash room, bicycle repair room, media room and co-working space with two boardrooms.

Kitchens come with a Bosch high-performance wall oven, a 30-inch gas cooktop, and quiet dishwasher with custom panel, a 36-inch Fisher & Paykel french-door refrigerator with ice maker, a Panasonic stainless steel microwave and Venmar hood fan. Countertops are quartz with a waterfall edge and porcelain tile backsplash.

The homes come in light and dark colour palettes and have open floor plans with nine-foot ceilings.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc

Two downtown Vancouver office buildings acquired for $57.5M

November 7th, 2018

Two Class A office properties in Gastown and Yaletown have been purchased by Toronto-based Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust

Tanya Commisso
Western Investor

Two Class A office buildings in downtown Vancouver have been acquired by a Toronto-based real estate manager and developer for $57.5 million. 

Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust has entered into an agreement to purchase 151 West Hastings in Gastown and 1220 Homer Street in Yaletown. 

The West Hastings property includes 38,511 square feet of gross leasable area, currently leased to co-work company Spaces until 2033. The Homer Street property is comprised of 21,708 square feet, fully leased to Perkins + Will Canada Architects until 2023. 

“We’re increasing our penetration in urban Vancouver just as [Allied] is transitioning to a primary Canadian office market,” said Michael Emory, president and CEO for Allied Real Estate. 

Yaletown sale has already closed, while the Gastown sale is expected to close on November 30.

Copyright © 2018 Western Investor

Vancouver expects $30 million in first year of empty homes tax

November 7th, 2018

Empty homes tax goes to affordable housing

Canadian Real Estate Wealth

The City of Vancouver says it has collected $18 million from the first year of its empty homes tax and another $12 million could still flow into its coffers.

The city says in a news release that it expects to generate a total of $30 million from the first year of the tax which is applied to vacant residential properties in a bid to ease Vancouver’s near-zero vacancy rate.

The city says $8 million raised by the tax in 2017 has already been earmarked by council for specific affordable housing initiatives.

More details of the first year of the empty homes tax are due to be released Dec. 1 in the city’s first annual report on the levy.

Owners of residential properties are also being advised they must submit a property status declaration by Feb. 4, 2019, in order to meet the provisions of the tax for 2018.

Owners who don’t declare that status will be taxed, which amounts to one per cent of a property’s assessed value, and owners who miss the due date by even a day will also face a $250 penalty.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart says the tax is an important strategy in managing Vancouver’s unaffordable housing market.

“Housing affordability is the most important issue in our city, and the empty homes tax is helping to free up more potential rental units that should be available as homes for Vancouver residents,” Stewart says in the release.

The tax does not apply to principal residences, properties rented for at least six months of the year, or properties that are eligible for one of eight exemptions.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Mixed-use $250M Capital Park project 355 Menzies Street Victoria begins to rise

November 6th, 2018

Huge multi-phased development close to B.C. Legislature in capital’s downtown will have offices, commercial and residential uses

Carla Wilson
Western Investor

Construction is starting on the new Capital Park Residences at a six-acre, mixed-use James Bay project.

“It’s the last piece of the puzzle,” said Brian McCauley, president and chief executive of Concert Properties, which is partnering with Jawl Properties in developing the $250-million multi-phased project behind the legislature.

A total of 113 homes are expected to be finished in late 2020 or early 2021, McCauley said. Condominiums will be developed in five-storey and four-storey buildings, and seven townhouses are also planned.

Condominium prices range from $499,900 to $1.09 million. They will be 485 square feet to 1,759 square feet. Townhomes start at $1.489 million, and range from 1,451 to 1,757 square feet.

A presentation centre is set up at 665 Douglas St. Vancouver-based Concert and Jawl Properties of Victoria bought the site, bordered by Superior, Menzies and Michigan streets, in 2014 for $34 million when the province was selling land to balance its books.

At that time, the property was used for parking lots and held some older buildings, including out-dated provincial offices.

The Victoria Accord planning agreement developed for the area just over 20 years ago visualized a mixed-use approach.

Goals of the accord included the development fitting in with the James Bay neigbourhood and with the nearby legislature building, opening up the area with public access and amenities and to preserve views. Today, that vision is becoming a reality as workers are putting up a second office building of 120,000 square feet, to be finished late next year. That space is 40 per cent pre-leased to the province, McCauley said.

The first office complex, at 127,000 square feet, is finished and filled with provincial staff. A Red Barn Market is open, as is a new library branch. Tenants have moved into 53 new rental apartments. A trio of heritage houses hold 13 rental apartments.

Much of the large public plaza is complete. Still to come is a piece of public art by artist Adam Kuby, to be installed next year, McCauley said. The plaza is the “central unifying element to the entire development,” he said.

The Good Earth Coffeehouse will be opening at the south end of the plaza. Tenant improvements are underway now.

Capital Park “very much does execute on the vision from the Victoria Accord 25 years ago. And the ability for this site to really reconnect parts of James Bay back through to the legislature and the waterfront is, I think, what we are most excited about, and it is emerging well,” McCauley said.

The development has followed through on plans for a network of plazas, courtyards and pathways. The project’s primary architect is Endall Elliot Associates. HDR/CEI Architecture Associates worked with Endall Elliot on phase one.

A commitment to sustainability will see the office buildings reach the platinum level in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and the other buildings will be at the gold standard, McCauley said.

Capital Park’s development has made an economic mark on the community.

Including land costs, the overall investment in the project is excess of $250 million, McCauley said.

It has also been a local job generator. In the first phase of the project, more than 250 workers were on site, followed by 175 workers in the second stage, and the residential construction will require about 125 workers, he said.

Copyright © 2018 Western Investor

B.C. home prices will flatline over next two years: forecast

November 6th, 2018

Housing market in 2019 and 2020 will be characterized by slower sales and more home inventory, says CMHC

Joannah Connolly
Western Investor

The next two years in B.C. residential real estate will continue to see lower sales and higher inventories of homes available for purchase than in recent years, according to a forecast released November 6 by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

This will cause average home prices across the province to “hold steady” over the next two years, said the federal housing agency.

The CMHC said in its report, “Shifting market conditions across B.C.’s large urban centres is resulting in movement back towards balanced or even buyers’ market conditions in some cases, which is beginning to flatten price growth or, in some areas [such as Metro Vancouver, see below], result in price declines.

“Overall, we anticipate MLS® sales to trough in 2018 and see some recovery in 2019-20 while MLS® average prices will see a relatively flat growth profile with some risk of decline as demand and supply find a new balance.”

CMHC expects MLS resales across B.C. to drop from 103,759 units in 2017 to between 76,600 and 83,400 sales this year. Sales are then expect to increase somewhat in 2019 to between 79,100 and 87,900 units, and then in 2020 to range between 81,500 and 92,500 sales. They are not expected to return to the 100,000 mark seen in 2016 and 2017.

The agency is forecasting the average B.C. MLS home sale price to be between $683K and $749K this year (2017 average sale price was $709,597). It is then expected to range from between $681,800 and $756,200 in 2019, and then hit somewhere between $675,400 and $758,600 in 2020.

The CMHC added in its report, “Housing starts activity in British Columbia should moderate as economic and population growth slows.”

The agency also predicted the next two years for the rental market in the province. It said, “Rental market conditions across B.C. are anticipated to loosen as a result of slower growth in demand and a significant amount of new rental units set to enter the market. However, demand for rental is anticipated to remain fairly robust and result in the apartment vacancy rate for the province increasing gradually through to 2020. Meanwhile, average rents for purpose built apartments are anticipated to continue to see increases stronger than inflation in both 2019 and 2020.”

Metro Vancouver outlook

Metro Vancouver real estate will continue to see a steeper drop in sales than the rest of the province, said the CMHC. This will cause average home prices across the region to keep “softening” over the next few years, said the federal housing agency.

CMHC said in its report, “While existing home sales are expected to rebound in 2019 from the trough in 2018 in order to be more in line with the region’s growing population, resales will remain below the levels seen in 2015-2017.”

CMHC expects MLS resales to drop from 50,033 units in 2017 to 35,500-37,400 sales this year. Sales are then expect to recover somewhat in 2019 and 2020 to somewhere in the early to mid 40,000s range.

Home prices, however, are expected to head in the opposite direction. The agency is forecasting the average Metro Vancouver MLS home sale price to be between $940K and $980K this year (up from 2017’s $934,977). It is then expected to drop in 2019 to between $847 and $939K, and then slide to somewhere between $800,000 and $918,000 in 2020.

The CMHC said that a major factor in falling prices is rising interest rates making mortgage payments less affordable. It said, “Rising mortgage rates since May 2017 and stricter borrowing requirements are also having an impact on potential home buyers through two channels; 1) rising rates increase the carrying cost of holding a mortgage and; 2) rising rates have an impact on borrowing capacity.” 

On the region’s rental market, the report said, “The rental market is expected to remain tight across the region, average rents will continue increasing faster than inflation. The vacancy rate is expected to rise slightly; however, it will remain low in absolute terms, reflecting the strong demand for rental housing in the region.”

Greater Victoria outlook

Greater Victoria is also expecting to see slower resale activity over the next two years, with the market facing “headwinds,” according to the CMHC. This, it said, will lead to a deceleration in average price growth but it will not necessarily bring overall resale prices down.

The CMHC said of Greater Victoria, “While price growth in 2018 slowed, it remains above inflation and continues to outpace what would be expected given fundamental factors. Our outlook is for the pace of price growth to slow over the forecast horizon. Partially, this slowing in average price growth will come from a shift to more condo sales as opposed to single detached sales. It is likely that condo prices will continue to rise, albeit at a slower pace, until more supply is introduced into the market over the next two years.”

Of the rental market in the capital, CMHC said that vacancies will rise over the one per cent mark. It said, “The primary driver of the increase will come from the introduction of new supply. Units already under construction will expand the universe of purpose built rental significantly.”

Average rents in the Victoria CMA are expected to increase, which will be partly due to the turnover of tenants in older apartments. The CMHC said, “The average rent paid in Metro Victoria is currently well below the price paid by new entrants to the market. As older units turn over, their rents will be increased to reflect the new price level. As such, the average rent will increase, in part, as the lower end of the price distribution catches up to current market prices.”

Copyright © 2018 Western Investor

Slight bump for “more balanced” Fraser Valley market

November 6th, 2018

Inventory up, prices up in Fraser Valley

Steve Randall

There was an 11.6% rise in home sales in the Fraser Valley in October compared to September.

Year-over-year sales remained subdued with the 1,155 sales through the MLS system of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board representing a 35.8% decrease from October 2017.

But the monthly gain is a positive note for the market says FVREB president John Barbisan.

“While slight, this is the first time since May that sales here have been on the upswing.” He noted. “We’re beneath typical activity levels for this time of year but it’s good to see that buyers and sellers are still finding success this season.”

Of the 1,155 sales, 438 were residential detached homes, 306 were townhouses, and 292 were apartments.

Inventory surged in the past year Meanwhile, active inventory was up 1.3% month-over-month – and 41.3% year-over-year – to 7,746. New listings increased 12% year-over-year to 2,776, a decline of 5.8% from September 2018.

“We’re in a much better spot in terms of overall inventory compared to this time last year, and now closer to a more balanced market,” added Barbisan. “Attached inventory in particular has seen notable gains, doubling year-over-year for townhouses and nearly tripling for apartments.”

Prices up year-over-year FVREB’s HPI figures show that the benchmark prices for a single-family detached home was $986,700, down 0.2% compared to September 2018 but up 1.1 per cent compared to October 2017

For townhomes, at $538,400, the benchmark price decreased 1.4% compared to September 2018 and increased 7.1% compared to October 2017.

And for apartments/condos, there was a month-over-month decrease of 1.3% while the annual rise was 17.2%, taking the benchmark price to  $432,800.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd