Archive for January, 1970

Royale?s Gabriola Park offers rural appeal and easy access to urban amenities

Thursday, January 1st, 1970

Spacious Lnagley townhomes will border green space, but be a short walk from shops, schools and services

ROBIN BRUNET
The Vancouver Sun

With two fully furnished designer show homes, Gabriola Park by Royale Properties offers buyers an excellent opportunity to purchase a high-quality townhome in a coveted part of Langley at today’s prices, with move-in scheduled for 2018. This means you can buy today and have equity gain before you make your first mortgage payment.

High quality is something awardwinning Royale Properties, which has been building exceptional homes for over three generations now, is known for. What makes Gabriola Park a unique addition to its portfolio?

For starters, the 153 threeand four-bedroom townhomes comprising Gabriola Park enable owners to live the way people did in the “good old days” when the homes were built to last — when children could play in the woods near their backyard and when everything from schools to shops was within easy walking distance.

Gabriola Park is a rare offering that borders Langley’s future Yorkson Park and protected Yorkson Creek with pathways and natural greenbelt, while homes on the south end are built around a lush courtyard with a grassy knoll. Together with two private entries to the property, Gabriola Park’s design echoes that of a gated community, but one with the friendly feel of cottage country.

Although Gabriola Park is tucked away from major roads, homeowners can easily walk to the retail hub of Willoughby Town Centre, The Langley Events Centre, and a variety of gyms and shops, tennis courts, golf courses, and parks. Plus, the nearby Carvolth Exchange provides direct transit access to downtown Vancouver and other Metro Vancouver destinations, as does Highway 1, Fraser Highway and Highway 10 for those who commute by vehicle.

Developed with families in mind, Gabriola Park is also situated close to high-calibre education institutions, including Willoughby elementary and the Walnut Grove School of Music and Dance.

Of course, the homes themselves are an integral part of the Gabriola Park experience. They range in size from 1,397 to 2,214 square feet with several different layouts to choose from, showcasing spacious, airy interiors and nine-foot ceilings complemented by large windows.

Special highlights include spainspired master ensuites and openconcept kitchens that combine functionality with outstanding visual appeal, augmented by contemporary pendant lighting and quartz countertops.

Gabriola Park also includes something that Jamie Squires, vicepresident of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Ltd., notes is rare to this kind of residential development. “We have two two-level masteron-main homes, each with sideby-side garages and double-height living areas,” she says. “Given that we’re currently in the fourth phase of sales, we don’t anticipate these exclusive homes to be available for much longer.”

Gabriola Park epitomizes the sought-after lock-and-go lifestyle: You can go down south for three to six months of the year and not have to worry about yard maintenance, as would be the case in a single-family home.

Visit us at 20498 82 Avenue, Langley, from noon to 5 p.m. (closed Fridays) or any time online at gabriolapark.com

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

The rising cost of homes compared to household incomes and rents will mean a slowdown in price appreciation

Thursday, January 1st, 1970

Canadian home price rises to slow says Fitch

The Vancouver Sun

Noting the impact of low interest rates and foreign investment on the Canadian housing market, the ratings firm says that a 30 per cent increase in prices in Toronto and Vancouver in the past three years is unsustainable.

The firm highlights the recent easing of prices in Vancouver and says that federal and local policy changes to cool the markets will see price appreciation slow to 3 per cent in 2017, from 12 per cent last year.

It expects the tightening of mortgage lending by CMHC last year to temper the rise in mortgage demand which has been boosted by low rates.

Fitch also expects US home price appreciation to ease this year, down to 4 per cent from 5 per cent in 2016.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

the usa owns $19 Trillian to creditors

Thursday, January 1st, 1970

The Vancouver Sun

Download Document

Strata Property Act doesn’t apply to air space parcel agreements

Thursday, January 1st, 1970

Who is responsible for what?

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

We purchased into a new strata in 2015 that is part of several properties with air parcel agreements and I have become actively involved as our strata treasurer. It has been very confusing to try and figure out how costs between the parties are calculated, how they are paid and how a variety of liabilities are shared. We get the impression no one really knows how to apply the cost-sharing formulas and there is a lot of guesswork on the go.

To try and sort out our electrical, we decided to hire a consultant to do a building audit and discovered even with a complete shutdown there was still electrical demand on our system from other parts of the complex and certain sections of our property continued to have electrical service, although no one could identify the source. Clearly the creation of air parcels and the design of the buildings during construction are the source of inconsistencies.

We believe we have solved the basic issues, but how do we solve conflicts under the Strata Property Act if we cannot agree to a solution with the other air parcels?

Wendy C.

Dear Wendy:

When any new property is started, one of the first efforts to protect the interest of the property owners is a building commissioning. There is no formal requirement under the Strata Property Act that relates to operations, or under the Homeowner Protection Act that relates to warranty requirements. However, the only way a property owner like a strata will understand how the buildings operate, how they pay for costs, and whether their building is operating the way it was intended is to enact some level of commissioning.

The building commissioning process is most critical for complex energy systems, and multiple properties sharing joint assets and facilities and air space parcel agreements. Air space parcels are basically separate properties that are stacked on top of and beside each other. They often share parking, storage, access, services and jointuse areas.

Before you do anything, a copy of the complete air space parcel agreement needs to be published and available for all council members and the strata manager. In the commissioning process of a strata in an air space parcel relationship, all contracts and agreements for services and utilities should be identified and reviewed. The mechanical and operations of the buildings should be inspected and tested to determine they are operating correctly and efficiently.

Shared costs and contracts established by air space parcel agreements should be reviewed and the cost formulas and methods of payment confirmed. Contract agreements that establish how each of the properties share liability, costs, obligations for maintenance, repair and inspections, and who has the authority and responsibility to administer those areas of shared property, are a critical part of the business relationships and essential in assisting the strata when you develop your annual budget.

Many strata owners believe the Strata Property Act applies to air space parcel agreements. The act does not apply. The relationship is purely contractual as it defines a relationship between multiple property owners, some of which may be strata corporations or commercial property owners such as hotels and shopping malls.

If your strata corporation has a conflict or problem with an air space parcel property, I strongly recommend your strata seek legal advice on the contractual relationship and your obligations as a strata corporation.

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Ottawa will attempt to close money-laundering loophole

Thursday, January 1st, 1970

Legal system ?vulnerable to misuse for money laundering,? report says

? SAM COOPER
The Vancouver Sun

The federal government will try to close a loophole in Canada’s antimoney-laundering system that excludes lawyers from having to report suspicious transactions, Postmedia has learned.

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that, unlike other professionals such as bankers and real estate agents, lawyers do not have to report to Canada’s antimoney-laundering agency, Fintrac.

Lawyers in B.C. won that case based on a constitutional argument about solicitor-client privilege, and the argument that law societies already regulate lawyers to prevent involvement in money laundering. But Canada faces increasing international scrutiny as concerns over money laundering in Vancouver real estate grow.

In September, the Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based intergovernmental group that makes recommendations for fighting money laundering, asked Canada to close the lawyer loophole.

A report by the agency suggested there is a close relationship between money laundering in real estate and the services provided by lawyers, such as placing wire transfers in legal trusts and creating investment vehicles that can shield the true ownership of property.

A number of sources confirmed to Postmedia that the federal government aims to bring lawyers under Fintrac’s oversight.

“The government is examining the impact and implications of the 2015 Supreme Court decision that excluded lawyers from Canada’s anti-money laundering regime and will announce next steps in due course,” Paul Duchesne of the federal Finance Department told Postmedia.

“We will review (the task force) recommendations closely to ensure that Canada continues to combat money laundering … while respecting the constitutional division of powers.”

“After the Supreme Court decision, Finance Canada has been weighing next steps,” another official in Ottawa said. “You can’t appeal a Supreme Court decision. But you can adjust the legislation.”

The federal government’s case will be bolstered by a Fintrac study that shows lawyers are often charged in money laundering cases. The 2015 study, obtained by Postmedia under freedom of information law, is based on Canadian court cases from 2004 to 2014.

“The second-largest profession in the sample are lawyers, representing 15 per cent,” the report states. “Based on court documentation, lawyers convicted of money laundering were willing to exploit reporting exemptions in order to launder funds … (and use) solicitor-client privilege to enhance money-laundering services.”

Cases in the study represent only a portion of the money-laundering intelligence gathered by Fintrac, the report says.

Kim Marsh, of due diligence company IPSA International, said that before the 2015 Supreme Court case, the company was asked by the federal Justice Department to do a report on money laundering risks connected to lawyers. “I think there are some people in the legal industry that are aiding and abetting money laundering, with impunity,” said Marsh, a former RCMP organized crime unit leader. “And the problem is coming to light now with the huge amount of money flowing into the property market, some of it stinky.”

Marsh said he believes Canadian law societies neither provide adequate member training on money laundering nor have the internal auditing and investigation needed to crack down on bad apples.

NDP MLA David Eby, who is a lawyer, said that his reading of the Supreme Court’s ruling is that judges believed Fintrac’s legislation granted law enforcement too much power to search the legal trusts and offices of lawyers. But the ruling left the federal government room to rewrite anti-moneylaundering legislation, Eby said.

For any new Fintrac legislation to pass a Supreme Court challenge, Eby believes, there likely must be evidence that law societies have failed to self-regulate.

David Jordan of the B.C. Law Society says the society is an effective self-regulator on money laundering.

Postmedia asked the B.C. Law Society to provide a list of citations in connection to its money-laundering rules. The society has cited six lawyers since 2004 for breaking a rule of handling cash transactions of over $7,500, according to Jordan. In one of the cases, a lawyer’s office received $40,000 in cash from a client in China who wanted to immigrate to B.C. The lawyer was fined $1,000. Jordan said in addition to “no cash” rule cases, the society will investigate complaints of suspicious transactions.

The recent Financial Action Task Force report underlined moneylaundering vulnerabilities in Canada’s legal and real estate sectors.

“The legal profession in Canada is especially vulnerable to misuse for money laundering … due to its involvement in activities exposed to a high money laundering risk, e.g., real estate transactions,” the agency said. “The real estate sector is highly vulnerable to money laundering, including international money laundering activities, and the risk is not fully mitigated, notably because legal counsels … are not required to implement anti-money laundering.”

The report pointed specifically to risks in Vancouver real estate.

“The real estate business is exposed to high risk clients, including politically exposed persons, notably from Asia, and foreign investors,” the report said. “For example, there are cases of Chinese officials laundering proceeds of crime through the real estate sector, particularly in Vancouver.”

© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.

The City of Lougheed 9855 Austin Road Burnaby 500 homes in Tower One a 55-storey highrise by Shape Properties

Thursday, January 1st, 1970

Colour schemes include warm and sultry, dark and sexy or white and bright

Mary Frances Hill
The Province

The City of Lougheed

Project Address: 9855 Austin Road, Burnaby

What: 500-plus one-, two- and three-bedroom homes contained in Tower One, a 55-storey concrete highrise sited in the community’s first neighbourhood

Developer and builder: Shape Properties

Prices: Starting at $329,900 for one-bedroom homes

Sales centre: 9850 Austin Road, Burnaby

Centre hours: 10 a.m. — 6 p.m., daily

In the homes at The City of Lougheed, an enormous master-planned community to be built in Burnaby, designer Merike Lainevool has embraced the idea of the kitchen and dining space as the heart of the home and the hub of family life.

Lainevool has made her mark on the three kitchens in the huge display space in the Burnaby presentation centre, with two dominated by warm, sultry tones and one that’s bright and white.
Lighting and mirrors punctuate one kitchen that illustrates Shape’s “Cashmere Grey” colour scheme. Lainevool took her cues from a classic fashion piece for this look.

“When I think of cashmere, I imagine a perfect kitten-soft classic grey or beige cashmere sweater from France,” says Lainevool, design director who speaks on behalf of the Shape Living interior design team.

“We selected a uniform shade of the perfect warm grey for the floors and cabinetry, and then played with contrasting textures in both the architectural materials and the decor to create visual interest.”

In another kitchen, defined by the “Jet Black” colour scheme, the mood is even darker; the intent here, says Lainevool, was to give the room a sexy edge, but not without what she calls the kitchen’s “nerdy side.”

The shine that gives this dark room its appeal can be credited to the quality of the finishes, a super opaque laminate from Italy; the surface is opaque, anti-fingerprint and soft to the touch.

“It significantly reduces the bacterial load making its surface hygienic and easy to clean, all this making it both sexy and smart.”
Lainevool says going bold with a dominant dark shade was the right choice, as she introduced some touches of bronze, mirror and marble to temper the effect. Without these softer touches, the look could have come off as more severe.

“There is little risk in using one dominant colour when decorating a home – depending on the colour, it can be a bold or gentle approach,” she says.
“We used bronze mirror, marble with a lot of movement, silvery fabrics and hints of light and smoky lilac colours to create that sultriness and to soften and mix things up.”

The third kitchen, an all-white version labelled “Pearl White”, offers a palette ready to be transformed. “It will [act as a complement] to different décor styles from modern to traditional.”

Again, Lainevool is inspired by timeless fashion.
“In some ways, what we provide is the decor equivalent of the little black dress, something that can be accessorized a multitude of different ways and always look stylish.”

© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc

“I Agree We Should ‘Tax the Rich to House the Poor’:” Mayor Robertson

Thursday, January 1st, 1970

Mayor Gregor Robertson expresses sympathies to message from protesters who storm stage at affordability panel event at re:address housing summit

The Vancouver Sun

The group of placard-wielding activists, from Alliance Against Displacement, burst into the summit’s first panel event, which was in the midst of discussing solutions and policies used by other global cities to build and preserve sufficient affordable rental housing to meet demand.

Seemingly unhindered by any sign of security staff, the  activists took to the stage, shouting “Tax the rich and house the poor, social housing now,” “Stop the war on the poor, make the rich pay,” “Action not words,” “Homes not jails, windows not bars” and “77,000 homes; build them now.” They also scattered flyers in the air, which read “F*ck the Experts: Build Our Homes Now.”

Two visible security staff members then arrived and attempted to get the group off the stage, but were unable to do so, prompting the Mayor to tell the audience, “We’re going to take a break, and you can listen to what these folks have to say.” The Mayor and his panel participants exited the room until it had been cleared of protesters and all audience members.

The group’s flyers stated, “Every single panel of today’s summit is concerned primarily with the causes and solutions to the home ownership crisis… We don’t care… Stop all demolitions of affordable rental housing.” The activists seemed unaware that they had interrupted a discussion of methods for the retention and supply of affordable rental housing.

Acknowledging the protest when the panel discussion resumed, Mayor Robertson said, “I think many of us can agree with and share the frustrations expressed [by the protestors]. We are looking at ways to ‘Tax the rich to house the poor.’”

The panel discussion continued with New York City housing commissioner Vicki Been, Toronto city councillor Ana Bailäo, San Francisco housing expert Kate Hartley and Vienna’s former city planner Kurt Puchinger all sharing their experiences and challenges of retaining and increasing supply of affordable rental housing in their respective cities.

The panellists agreed that while increasing supply was a major factor in solving the problem, it was not sufficient on its own and other policy measures, including taxation, needed to be implemented.

Speaking after the panel event with REW.ca, Paul Kershaw, founder of affordability action group Generation Squeeze, said that he applauded passionate and vocal protests on housing, but added that it was important to direct protests at all levels of government. “The problem that with this particular protest is that we get very angry at our municipal governments, but often their hands are tied at the provincial and federal levels.”

© 2016 Real Estate Weekly

Airbnb not exacerbating Vancouver?s rental woes ? academic

Thursday, January 1st, 1970

Only 0.11% of Vancouver?s rentals is using AirBnB

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Contrary to various experts’ observations, a B.C. business professor stated that Airbnb is not a major contributor to the extraordinary home price growth in the Vancouver market.

Tom Davidoff of the University of British Columbia’ Sauder School of Business noted that the effects of Airbnb are often misapprehended, as the sharing service is popular in high-end neighbourhoods that are expensive to begin with—and thus, the company cannot be said to be responsible for the high cost of living in these communities.

“If Airbnb eats up 1 per cent over a period of five years, that is probably driving prices up by 2 per cent,” Davidoff told The Globe and Mail. “The impact just doesn’t look as big as you might think.”

The comments backed the latest figures from Airbnb, which showed that only 320 units in the city “rent out their properties often enough to make more money than they would from long-term renters”. This amounted to only 0.11 per cent of Vancouver’s nearly 300,000 housing units.

“Just over 8,500 listings – about 3 per cent of the Vancouver housing stock – participating in occasional homesharing is not a material driver of housing prices,” Airbnb head economist Peter Coles said. Roughly half of the occasional homesharers rented out their properties for less than 30 nights, he added.

Coles said that Vancouver hosts earn an average of only $6,600 per annum—certainly not enough to influence the city’s home prices one way or another, the company argued.

Ample criticism has been heaped upon Airbnb and similar platforms, which have been blamed for gobbling up available supply and in turn driving up prices. Vancouver officials are currently mulling regulatory changes that are expected to strictly govern short-term rental firms.

Copyright © 2016 Key Media Pty Ltd

 

MORE SUPPLY WON?T MAKE HOUSING ANY CHEAPER

Thursday, January 1st, 1970

And transit plans must suit our city, not the reverse

Elizabeth Murphy
The Vancouver Sun

The province is expected to make pre-election announcements starting in September featuring housing affordability fixes. Unfortunately, it looks like the policies they are considering may be ineffective and problematic. To find the right solutions, they need to work from accurate assumptions rather than myth.

The B.C. Liberals frequently suggest increasing supply as the solution to the housing affordability crisis. In the City of Vancouver, there is already ample zoned capacity. The city’s consultant’s report of June 2014 confirmed the city “has sufficient capacity in existing zoning and approved community plans to accommodate over 20 years of supply at the recent pace of residential development.”

This study only considered multi-family capacity, not any of the other zoned capacity across the city. The report also notes the city anticipates additional capacity beyond the year 2041 in these zones. Plus, the city has done more rezoning since the report was written in 2014 to create even more supply.

The city is also approving a record number of development permits. According to a recent city information bulletin, they are building way more than outlined in the regional growth strategy and are leading the region on permit approvals. The city says the data “demonstrates that new housing supply is at record levels and exemplifies the fact that we are approving significant new housing stock.”

Clearly, we do not have to create more zoning supply in Vancouver to meet regional growth. There may be other reasons to adjust zoning, but there is no rush. It must be done very carefully since upzoning causes speculation that drives land inflation. This has the unintended consequence of making housing even less affordable.

Increasing zoning supply generally won’t reduce prices for the end product either. To get bank financing, developers pre-sell their units and will only go ahead with the project if they can get their price. Simplistic supply-and-demand economics to create affordability may work in a closed economy, but not with the global capital currently flowing into the Lower Mainland, and the city of Vancouver in particular. As long as real estate is disconnected from the local economy, it doesn’t matter how much new stock we build — it will be beyond what most local residents can afford.

The 15 per cent property transfer tax surcharge for foreign buyers may not be the windfall of revenue expected. There are many ways to get around this tax. Foreign capital can be exempt from the tax if it goes through a local purchaser or corporation. The tax may also be successfully appealed through trade agreements such as NAFTA. Other regulatory measures will be required to deal with foreign investment and its impact on affordability.

Provincial investment in infrastructure, such as transit, is dearly needed. However, the province must not further download onto cities to achieve this by

appropriating from the limited civic tax base of property taxes and development fees.

The costs of growth are enormous and mostly paid at the civic level. Development fees such as development cost levies or community amenity contributions only cover about 10 per cent of the costs, with general revenue (mainly property taxes) covering the majority of capital and operating growth costs.

If the province expects these fees to go toward funding transit instead of civic infrastructure, there will be more density bonuses required to pay for transit and less civic revenue for the needed amenities for the increased population.

Even as it is, the city is becoming amenity-deficient for the amount of growth we have taken on to date. There is a structural loss of green space and recreational facilities. Building housing on school board and park board land, such as proposed for the Britannia Centre in the recently approved Grandview-Woodland community plan, will add many more people with less amenities. The school and park systems need to be protected, funded and expanded, not used for yet more housing.

Tying provincial transportation funding to transitoriented development is not a vote-getter. It tends to be implemented in a dogmatic way that forces tower forms that are disconnected from the surrounding community context.

Vancouver was built before the common use of the automobile. It was designed around a streetcar system that has all areas of the city within a 10-minute walk of an arterial, making the city inherently transit-oriented. All we need is more frequent and reliable electric transit. In the city, we need transit to serve the existing population rather than having transit form new land-use patterns like in the developing suburbs.

Using transit to dictate massive changes in land use in an established transitoriented city like Vancouver is letting the tail wag the dog. Land use should be based on local community planning with transit-oriented development in scale with the neighbourhood context.

For example, the Canada Line along Cambie Street was already at peak hour capacity upon completion. That was entirely due to a mode shift without any upzoning. Although some rezoning since then may be justified, there is no justification for the major tower developments at Oakridge and Marine Drive that put the transit way over capacity. And Phase 3 of the rezoning process for the Cambie Corridor is still yet to come.

The dogmatic application of transit-oriented development is not considering the capacity of the system or the surrounding neighbourhood impact.

So increasing housing supply and tying it to transit funding are not the solutions to affordability. But there are real solutions, although complex. These will be for a future discussion.

© 2016 Postmedia Network Inc.

Park & Metro in South Cambie 73 homes in a 4-storey building

Thursday, January 1st, 1970

Other

Download Document