Archive for October, 2017

Park Hill 20087 68th Avenue Langley 145 homes in a 4 storey building by Forewest Construction

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Living Urban and Rural at Park Hill


In the heart of Willoughby, a new urban-rural lifestyle is emerging. Located on a quiet residential street, Forewest Group’s Park Hill combines the tranquility and comfort in a rural setting along with all the conveniences of urban life.

This idyllic location offers easy access to six parks and a built-in secured greenway, where residents can meander along pedestrian bridges, walkways and nature trails. Countryside at your doorstep is what living at Park Hill is about.

Park Hill is a collection of 26 townhomes (two and three bedroom), and 119 condos (one, two or three bedrooms – some with two patio decks), featuring modern interiors expertly designed to create spaces that are both comfortable and stylish.

In Langley’s desirable Willoughby neighbourhood, everything you need is within easy access, including Willowbrook Shopping Centre, the Farmers Market and Langley Meadows Park. In addition, you are close to amenities such as the Langley Events Centre and several schools, including Willoughby Elementary, Yorkson Creek Middle School and R. E. Mountain Secondary School.

Designed by Keystone Architecture, the modern exteriors are showcased by a blend of Hardee Board, brick accents and black aluminium railings – creating a contemporary yet timeless traditional look.

The open-concept interiors – ranging from 1,518- to 1,804-square-foot townhomes, to 497- to 1,216-square-foot condos – are distinguished by nine-foot ceilings (with up to 14-foot vaulted ceilings in the townhome bedrooms and up to 12 feet in the condos), luxury vinyl plank flooring throughout the main living area and large windows to bring the outdoors in.

The gourmet kitchens feature quartz countertops with subway tile backsplash, island and bar seating (most homes) and a Samsung stainless-steel appliance package, including French-door refrigerator with cool select pantry. 

“We thoroughly enjoyed creating designs that reflect a lighter coastal feel to complement the warmer tones inspired by nature surrounding us,” says Char Lamboo, partner at Done to the Nines Design.

After a busy day, residents can unwind on the generous decks and patios or meander through 1200 acres of lush parkland and community trails just outside your door. The townhomes’ main-floor walkout patios also benefit from a natural gas BBQ outlet, perfect for entertaining family and friends.

Getting in and out of Langley is easy, with quick access to Highway 1, Langley’s new park and ride at Carvolth Exchange, and a new speedy route into Walnut Grove via the 202 Street underpass.

With a strong reputation for building smart, sophisticated homes, Forewest Group brings enduring quality and value to every community. As a local builder with more than nine decades of exceptional experience, the developer has partnered with the province’s best architects and tradespeople.

“Langley has become the place to live, conveniently located in the Fraser Valley, but a stone’s throw away from Vancouver,” says James Reimer, partner, Forewest Group. “We are proud to be a part of this vibrant community offering affordable urban townhomes and condos within 1,200 acres of lush parkland.”

Nicely appointed new homes, with timeless beauty and lush greenery, at such value are rare today. This is an opportunity to own a townhome or condominium in the Willoughby neighbourhood, starting from the low $300,000s. Park Hill, located at 20087 68th Avenue Langley, is in pre-sales. Tentative occupancy is expected to be May 31, 2018.

© 2017

Will OSFI regulations really strip consumers of choice with mortgage stress test?

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Neil Sharma
Mortgage Broker News

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions has been repeatedly excoriated by mortgage industry veterans for its intervention, but not everybody believes the lending regulations will spell doom and gloom.

On the one hand, alternative lenders and mortgage investment corporations will see business surge, but on the other hand, it will likely be to the detriment of monolines and consumers – the latter of whom will have to qualify for uninsured mortgages at higher rates.

Yet according to Susan Thomas, vice president of operations at Dominion Lending Centres Neighbourhood, most MICs are highly regulated and, ergo, practice judicious underwriting.

“If you have prudent underwriting practices, you should be all right,” she said. “The other thing to consider is these are fixed income securities – there’s an asset tied to it – so your risk is less. Our investors are all accredited investors, so they understand the risk. We make sure they meet stringent criteria.”

Thomas believes it wise to step back and take a deep breath since the new landscape, slated to take effect January 1, isn’t even clear yet. She concedes that the previous interest rate hike stabilized the market, which effectively negated the need for OSFI’s intervention, but she added that any broker worth their salt is adaptive enough to survive a downturn unscathed. Still, she had one caveat.

“I do have an investment background and there are two simple things that rule the market: Greed and fear, and it depends where you are on that pendulum swing,” said Thomas. “In the spring market, it was greed, but we’re moving towards a fear market.”

Thomas expressed consternation about a few cohorts being undercut so suddenly. “You’re knocking out many first-time buyers and making it more difficult for refinancers, ultimately putting more people in a rental market, which will increase the cost of renting.”

Thomas says the alternative lending channel, which often takes on new Canadians and entrepreneurs – two borrowing groups that don’t meet banks’ strict documentation requests – is also used to help stem bleeding for borrowers with bad credit, and eventually turn them into institutional borrowers. However, that may no longer be an option.

“If you have somebody who needs credit repair – always, what is the exit strategy for the client? What’s most cost effective for the client? That question is being taken off the table,” she said.” Some of these people are never going to be institutional borrowers again with what’s happening, and that will only increase consumers’ costs.”

Frances Hinojosa, managing broker and managing partner of Tribe Financial, says lending practices change every few years. She simply referred to the latest OSFI intervention as part of the industry’s evolution, noting people are always resistant to change.

“It’s how you find solutions and differentiate yourself,” she said. “There is a lot of room in there for thought leaders – a lot of room for people who think and look outside of the box, they will find solutions.”

She added that the risk factor hasn’t been blown out of proportion because, “the mainstream media is doing their job and making it known. Clients don’t always understand what is happening until they need to get a mortgage. You don’t necessarily know what the new underwriting landscape looks like until you need a mortgage.”

Hinojosa echoed Thomas when she said prudent underwriting practices are paramount to averting any catastrophe, which neither believes is likely to occur anyway.

However, Hinojosa added that the new OSFI regulations will present brokers with an opportunity to offer their clients additional essential services.

“As brokers, we have to take a step back and say no to consumers sometimes,” she said. “We need to bring back brokers to a place where they’re also providing financial planning services. It’s going to be more relevant moving forward. Any good broker is going to sit there and look at the overall picture for their client. It’s going to be more relevant to know all your lenders, and all the products and solutions out there.”

Hinojosa also says the time is nigh for Canadians to address their addictions to debt.

“What will debt levels look like in the next five to 10 years? As a society, we have become addicted to debt,” she said.

“Sometimes measures have to be put in place, even if we don’t agree with them, to protect the few from the money.”

Copyright © 2017 Key Media

HBC to close $200m mortgage, consider sale of Vancouver flagship

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Hudson’s Bay Co (HBC) is considering the sale of its flagship Vancouver store at 674 Granville Street.

The company said Monday that its joint venture with RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust has appointed CBRE and Brookfield Financial Real Estate Group to investigate a potential sale.

“We are exploring a sale of this flagship property as the Vancouver real estate market has appreciated significantly over the past several years,” said Richard Baker, HBC’s Governor, Executive Chairman and interim Chief Executive Officer.

He added that no decision has been made and that the retailer would continue to operate from the building as part of any deal.

Additionally, the joint venture is set to close a $200 million mortgage on the building, expected to be for a term of four years at a rate of prime plus 1.0% and has no prepayment penalty in the event of a sale of the property.

BMO Capital Markets has been appointed as the sole advisor on the mortgage.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

City of Vancouver reveals preliminary design plans for Arbutus Corridor Streetcar

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Kenneth Chan

The streetcar running along the Arbutus Corridor east of Quilchena Park at West 33rd Avenue. (City of Vancouver)

A City of Vancouver planning document showing the preferred streetcar route at the area where the Arbutus Corridor intersects with West Broadway. (Daily Hive)

The Arbutus Corridor streetcar line will be a part of a future downtown Vancouver streetcar network that will have lines along South False Creek, North False Creek, and between Chinatown, Gastown, Coal Harbour ? ending at Stanley Park. (City of Vancouver)

The Arbutus Greenway at West 33rd Avenue. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

The streetcar running along the Arbutus Corridor east of Quilchena Park at West 33rd Avenue. This is also the ?S-Curve?. (City of Vancouver)

The public now has a first glimpse of what the Arbutus Greenway and its future streetcar line could look like.

Over the weekend, the City of Vancouver held a three-day long ‘Design Jam’ with 100 participants on the future of the Arbutus Corridor.

As part of this public consultation process, the municipal government revealed some of its identified route options for the streetcar along the planned greenway, and how the rail rapid transit service will share the space with pedestrian and cycling paths as well as other uses such as plazas, community gardens, and green spaces.

The existing nine-km long former railway Corridor starts at the corner of Fir Street and West 6th Avenue, just west of the south end of the Granville Street Bridge, before winding south to parallel Arbutus Street. It ends at the Fraser River, just west of TransLink’s bus depot near the foot of the Arthur Laing Bridge.

Preliminary conceptual designs show that the municipal government’s non-finalized, preferred route for the streetcar segment between West 8th Avenue and West 16th Avenue will take the northbound direction tracks off the Greenway and onto the northbound curb lane of Arbutus Street. The southbound direction will continue to run on the Corridor, next to the pedestrian and cycling paths.

The northbound track returns to the Corridor south of West 16th Avenue.

A City of Vancouver planning document showing the preferred streetcar route at the area where the Arbutus Corridor intersects with West Broadway. (Daily Hive)

While the City is still exploring options of keeping the tracks on the Corridor over this eight-block stretch, it says this area is challenging due to its narrower width.

The entire streetcar route has two-tracks for bi-directional service – there is no single tracking to ensure the transit service has the desired capacity, frequency, and reliability required.

“The most challenging part is where the Corridor is narrow. We’re trying to achieve a lot in a limited amount of space, so just keeping the transportation functions – each of them has a certain width requirement,” Lon LaClaire, the City of Vancouver’s Director of Transportation, told media during a press conference.

“We very much want to bring that delightful piece in the areas where it’s tight. There is less room for street trees, gardens, and public realm, and that’s where it’s challenging.”

He added that the Arbutus Greenway takes inspiration from the seawall experience and is an opportunity to create community gathering spaces while also delivering a key transportation purpose.

“This is a transportation corridor, but the idea is that it not only serves a transportation role and a transportation need but there is a recreational and community-building aspect to it,” he continued.

At least 14 streetcar station locations – largely at major east-west arterial streets – have been identified at this early stage, including:

  • West Broadway (connection to the future SkyTrain station)
  • West 16th Avenue
  • West 19th Avenue
  • King Edward Avenue
  • Nanton Avenue
  • West 33rd Avenue
  • West 37th Avenue
  • West 41st Avenue
  • West 49th Avenue
  • West 57th Avenue
  • West 61st Avenue
  • West 64th Avenue
  • Southwest Marine Drive
  • Milton Street

The stations are spaced between 400 and 800 metres apart, paralleling much of the existing No. 16 trolley route that runs on Arbutus Street.

The streetcar is intended to replace the street’s trolley service, and it will be part of a future streetcar network with routes running along the existing railway right-of-way in South False Creek from the Arbutus Corridor’s eastern end near Granville Island to Quebec Street – replicating much of the temporary streetcar service during the 2010 Olympics.

From the Olympic Village, the route is envisioned to run northwards along Quebec Street and past Science World, with one line traveling along Pacific Boulevard towards Yaletown in North False Creek and another line through the streets of Chinatown, Gastown, and Coal Harbour to Stanley Park.

As for the Arbutus Corridor’s southern end, the streetcar could potentially continue eastward, paralleling Southwest Marine Drive, to connect with the Canada Line’s Marine Drive Station.

The Arbutus Corridor streetcar line will be a part of a future downtown Vancouver streetcar network that will have lines along South False Creek, North False Creek, and between Chinatown, Gastown, Coal Harbour – ending at Stanley Park. (City of Vancouver)

At the moment, streetcar planning is only focused on the Arubuts Corridor.

Staff are aiming to create a preferred design for the Corridor in spring 2018, and this design will undergo another round of public consultation before a draft master plan is sent to Vancouver City Council for consideration in the summer. Ideas from the recent public consultation process will be considered for incorporation into the detailed design.

When it comes to actual implementation, LaClaire said the Corridor will likely be built in phases, and this will encompass the pedestrian and cycling paths, pubic spaces, and setting aside space for the future streetcar tracks and stations, which is dependent on further funding as a TransLink-supported project.

The Corridor’s phases will be prioritized based on the funding approved as part of the City’s next capital plan, which will be determined by voters as part of the civic election ballot in October 2018.

No budget has been determined for the construction of the permanent design of the Arbutus Greenway, although when City officials announced in 2016 they had purchased the Arbutus Corridor from Canadian Pacific they had an early ballpark figure of between $25 million and $30 million for design implementation.

There is also no estimate for the cost of the streetcar infrastructure, but it will likely be significantly lower than Surrey’s light rail transit project, which has roughly the same length at a cost of at least $1 billion. It will be less expensive as the streetcar will largely run on a former railway right-of-way with few intersections.

A temporary paved greenway with pedestrian and cycling paths is already in place and actively used during fair weather conditions. Traffic signal-controlled crossings for pedestrians and cyclists are also being installed at West Broadway, West 12th Avenue, and Southwest Marine Drive.

Other interim additions elsewhere along the Greenway include the installation of lighting between 33rd Avenue and 37th Avenue, bollards and split-rail wooden fencing at intersections to prevent vehicles from accessing the path, and flashing crossing beacons at 33rd Avenue.

“It’s quite possible that some sections of the greenway with minor improvements can work fine for years to come, and in other areas there is a big opportunity to make a good investment and deliver what this community is expecting,” said LaCalire.

Here are some of the City’s preliminary conceptual route and design concepts for the Arbutus Greenway’s streetcar tracks, pedestrian and cycling paths, and public spaces:

© 2017 Buzz Connected Media Inc.

Report highlights next year’s real estate trends

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Neil Sharma
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Housing affordability continues to dominate the conversation in the Greater Toronto Area’s housing market. A new report released by the Urban Land Institute in conjunction with PwC, called Emerging Trends in Real Estate described governmental regulation as likely to exacerbate the affordability problem.

The laws of supply and demand lie at the heart of surging housing prices. Not only are single-family detached homes in high demand and low supply, but the condo market, too, is beginning to see signs of strain, as priced-out buyers realize they have no other choice to settle for skyward balconies over backyards.

The foreign buyer tax cooled the Vancouver and Toronto markets, where prices grew astronomically, but the report makes mention of suspicious players within the real estate industry, one of whom believes growth will continue with or without the tax because of natural growth. The report also noted that prices cooled temporally before rebounding and pushing condo prices upwards.

Those interviewed by the report parroted the need for government to stay out of the market, except to address the need for increased supply. It’s unanimously believed that the approvals process is one reason supply isn’t keeping up with demand.

Affordability will catalyze a growing trend: co-living. As the number of single people among the millennial cohort in expensive markets like, Toronto and Vancouver, continue rising, they’ll live with roommates out of necessity. While some may live alone, affordability will compel them forego ownership and rent. One in three young adults in Canada lives with at least one parent, and as others marry and look to start families during an inventory shortage, they’ll settle for living in condominiums. According to the most recent Census data, 6.3% of Canadians live in multigenerational households – a number that’s likely to rise.

The ’18-hour city’ is a burgeoning secondary market. Where NYC, London, Tokyo, and now Toronto, are 24-hour cities, the high cost has resulted in an exodus to smaller cities, like Austin, TX, Raleigh, N.C., Nashville, TN, which have grown in vibrancy. Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary are considered 18-hour cities and will continue staking their claim as emergent centres. Previous versions of Emerging Trends in Real Estate anointed Hamilton an emerging 18-hour city, and that’s likely to continue as affordability drives people further from the Toronto core.

Transit infrastructure is integral to attained 18-hour city status, and Hamilton is planning a downtown LRT.

The only condo growth associated with condos in recent years has been their popularity, but they have, in fact, been shrinking in square footage. The need for larger, family-sized condos will likely buck that trend.

Montreal’s rental market is as strong as ever, however, Ontario – already suffering from a shortage of rental units – has reintroduced rent control, much to the dismay of the report’s interviewees, who noted some planned purpose-built rentals rebranded as condos. Ontario’s rental vacancy rate is dangerously low, and it’s expected it could worsen.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing report says affordability at heart of issues

Monday, October 30th, 2017

CMHC releases market outlook

Neil Sharma

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation released its Housing Market Outlook report, and affordability remains at the heart of issues plaguing Canada’s largest city. However, price growth is expected to moderate.

Although Canada’s economy is expected to remain healthy, GDP growth by 2019 is expected to slow down. CMHC forecasts 2018 growth to be between 1.2% and 2.5%, but only between 1% and 2.4% a year later.

Mortgage rates are also expected to incrementally increase over the next couple of years, as is normal with healthy economies, in tandem with global interest rates. CMHC’s expected a rate between 4.9% and 5.7% over the life of a five-year fixed in its baseline scenario, meaning the basis points won’t exceed 160. Moreover, the report concluded that mortgage rates will remain below levels antecedent to the Great Recession.

The cost of housing across the board will only rise moderately, unlike the astronomical growth the region saw in recent years.

“We’re not going to see double-digit price growth,” Dana Senagama, principal of market analysis for the GTA at CMHC. “It will be more balanced with more listings, but not more sales across the board. We’ll have more balanced conditions.”

The report also forecasts a dangerously low vacancy rate, which Senagama says will barely increase to 1.2% in 2019, up from 1% in 2018.

She added that in spite of the squeeze on rental housing, long-term investors are very active in the condo market, buying units and using them as rental properties, which will allay some of the pressures renters face. But it’s also impacting condo prices.

“It contributes somewhat to rising prices overall,” said Senagama,” and it raises prices because you’re competing with other buyers and now you’re competing with investors.”

While Senagama says the rental market will remain tight, the province has invested in tenants through the Rental Fairness Act. One provision is rent control, however, many will stay put in their abodes and further constrain the supply.

High migration levels will ultimately help sustain the market, even though demand will taper within a couple of years.

“Immigrants typically take three years from entering the country to transition into homeownership,” said Senagama. “There are also migrants from other provinces, too.”

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

New home sales down 48% in the GTA last month

Monday, October 30th, 2017

New home sales halved in the GTA last month

Steve Randall

Sales of new homes were down 48% in the Greater Toronto Area compared to a year earlier as low- and high- rise sectors saw large declines.

High-rise sales fell 37% to 1,749, 3% below the 10-year average; and low-rise sales of just 352 was 73% below September 2016 and 70% below the 10-year average.

The figures from the Altus Group show that the total of 2,101 sales was 30% below the 10-year average.

Year-to-date the stats show improvement for the high-rise sector with 27,153 units sold, up 29% from the same period of 2016 and 72% above the 10-year average.

However, low-rise sales year-to-date of 6,718 is 53% lower than the same period of 2016 and 44% below the 10-year average.

The overall total year-to-date is 5% down from 2016 and 22% above the 10-year average.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

Viridian 3618 150th Street Surrey 57 townhomes by Portrait Homes

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Quality on offer at Viridian ? Portrait Homes? 57-unit townhome development in South Surrey

Simon Brault
The Vancouver Sun


Project location: 3618 150th St., Surrey

Project scope: 57 homes, 2-3 bedrooms, 2,226 – 2,486 sq. ft.

Prices: Between $919,900 and $1,158,200.

Developer: Portrait Homes Ltd.

Architect: Burrowes Huggins Architects

Interior designer: 13 Design Group

Sales centre: 3618 150th Street, Surrey, B.C

Sales phone: 604-230-8970

Hours: noon — 5 p.m., Sat. — Thurs.


 “If you don’t build good bones, you won’t have a good home.” So says Robert Grimm, principal and co-founder of Portrait Homes, the company behind a new development of two- and three-bedroom townhomes in South Surrey called Viridian.

To show what he means, a guided tour of the display home at Viridian finds Grimm jumping up and down in the kitchen to demonstrate the sturdiness of the floor that is provided by extra joists under the island. Elsewhere on the project site, an unfinished home gives Grimm the opportunity to demonstrate the quality of construction to be found in the walls.

“There’s solid wood behind the walls in places where we’ll have things like handrails for the stairs,” said Grimm. “Even the toilet roll holders will be anchored into wood panels instead of just drywall so our customers will know that they’ll never come off. The point is that the beautiful finishes you’ve seen are not just lipstick. These homes are built to last a lifetime.”

The homes at Viridian are designed by Burrowes Huggins Architects. When the project is complete at the end of 2018 or the beginning of 2019, it will have a total of 57 homes between 2,226 and 2,486 square feet. There are two main types of home available in the initial release: two- and three-bedroom homes with two levels and master bedrooms on the main floor; and three-bedroom townhomes on three levels. All homes come with two-car garages.

“These units are significantly wider than the normal high-density townhomes you’re likely to find on the market,” said Grimm. “We’ve got vaulted ceilings in the master bedrooms and with prices starting at $919,900 for a three-bedroom family home, they’re also more affordable than you’d expect.”

Viridian is located in the Rosemary Heights neighbourhood of South Surrey. Amenities in the area include Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre, Morgan Creek Golf Course, more than 20 local dining options and easy access to a wide range of schools and educational institutions. There’s also plentiful shopping at Morgan Crossing. Outlets include London Drugs, Thrifty Foods, Gap, Everything Wine and Lululemon.

The development draws on Portrait Homes’ nearly three decades of experience in the residential construction industry. Robert Grimm founded the company with his brother Harry in 1990 and they’ve sold more than 1,300 new homes in the Lower Mainland since that time. Grimm explained that a big part of the company’s philosophy is respect for the environment and Viridian will be no different. The project backs onto parkland and is located just above the Nicomekl River.

“We’re always very aware of the environment we build in and we make sure that we protect it,” said Grimm. “The homes here are all oriented towards green space, the river and the agricultural land reserve behind it. The site is terraced in a way that maximizes the view corridors from each home. On a clear day there’ll be views as far as the North Shore mountains.”

“We’re building special rock beds below the development,” Grimm added. “These will capture the runoff water from higher up the hill and make sure that we keep those trees alive to preserve the natural beauty of this spot.”

Buyers can choose from two interior colour schemes created by 13 Design Group, there are nine-foot ceilings on the main levels and fully trimmed windows and doors with baseboard trim throughout. Selected homes come with the option of a wet bar and/or a wine cellar in the basement and other notable features include USB charging ports with plugs in the kitchens, dens and every bedroom as well as exterior fireplaces on covered decks.

Kitchens feature LED pot lighting throughout and contemporary Shaker-style cabinetry with soft-close hardware. There are ceramic tiled backsplashes, under-cabinet lights, quartz countertops and stainless-steel sinks with pullout faucets and in-sink waste disposal.

 “We did some research on the best and most popular kitchen appliance manufacturers on the market,” said Grimm. “The two that came out on top were Samsung and Fisher & Paykel so that’s what we’ve gone with — Samsung as standard and then you can upgrade to Fisher & Paykel.”

Bathrooms feature free-standing soaker tubs and tile surrounds, custom quartz countertops with double under-mounted porcelain sinks and oversized frameless glass-enclosed shower stalls. There are customized accent tiles and luxury Moen pressure-balanced faucets, low-flush Toto toilets and heated ceramic tile floors. Other features in what Grimm describes as some of the highest quality homes to be found on the market include laminated fibreglass shingles with a 30-year lifespan, high-efficiency gas furnaces, rough-ins for central vacuum systems and energy-efficient low-E windows.

Grimm expects the master-on-the-main style homes to be snapped up by downsizers and empty nesters while the three-level townhouses are already proving popular with young families. Viridian’s first phase of homes are on sale now and are priced between $919,900 and $1,158,200.

© 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.

Canadian housing market still highly vulnerable says CMHC

Friday, October 27th, 2017

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Moderate overvaluation and price acceleration continue to concern the CMHC which said Thursday that the Canadian housing market remains “highly vulnerable”.

In two reports, the agency said that construction is set to slow down by 2019 after a boost in 2017, but the level will remain close to the average from the past 5 years.

The markets considered highly vulnerable are Toronto, Hamilton, Vancouver, Victoria and Saskatoon with evidence of overbuilding in Calgary, Edmonton and St. John’s.
CMHC’s Housing Market Assessment includes the following highlights:

  • Despite the recent easing in Toronto’s resale market, we continued to detect moderate evidence of price acceleration with strong growth in home prices among all housing types. High house prices could not be explained by fundamental economic drivers such as income and population growth.
  • Hamilton’s housing market remained highly vulnerable for the fifth consecutive quarter. House prices continued to grow more quickly than levels supported by economic and demographic fundamentals.
  • Vancouver’s housing market remained highly vulnerable, with evidence of moderate overheating and price acceleration, and strong overvaluation. Imbalances remained between demand and supply in the resale home market, especially for multi-family units.
  • Victoria’s overheating persisted due to continued elevated sales for apartments and townhomes in the resale market, but very low inventories in the new home market of unsold homes to support the strong demand.
  • The Quebec CMA market is now reported to have low levels of vulnerability. However, overbuilding remains an area of concern as we continue to see vacancy rates increasing for conventional rental housing.

The agency’s Housing Market Outlook forecasts a slowdown for new home construction; and for sales of existing homes to ease to around the level of 2016 (535,000 MLS sales).

Although it expects house prices to continue rising, it forecasts a slower pace with the national average in the range of $493,900 to $511,300 in 2017; and between $499,400 and $524, 500 by 2019.

“We continue to see a high degree of vulnerability in Canada’s housing market, fuelled by moderate overvaluation and price acceleration. House price growth continues to outpace economic fundamentals like household income and population growth. In 2018 and into 2019, housing starts are projected to decline while house prices should increase over the forecast horizon, but at a slower rate than in the past four years,” said chief economist Bob Dugan.

Copyright © 2017 Key Media Pty Ltd

Last week’s OSFI Mortgage Rule Announcement has an impact, but not enormously dramatic.

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

David Ford

Whenever OSFI is “considering” anything, it’s happening. Let’s be very alert not to hit the panic button. All this change does is level the playing field between qualifying for a Variable Rate and qualifying for a Fixed Rate Mortgage. Three years ago, OSFI passed legislation that anyone choosing a 4 Year Fixed Rate or less or Variable Rate Mortgage would have to qualify at their posted rate (hovering around 5%) Starting Jan 1, 2018 ALL mortgages must qualify at that benchmark rate OR the Contract Rate they offer you + 2.00% – Most banks are around 3.49% for a 5 Year Fixed Mortgage so you’d have to qualify at 5.49% to obtain that product. This makes Variable Rate Mortgages more attractive again as the posted rate is 4.89% in comparison. It’s likely we’ll see Fixed Rates come down a bit more but still harder to qualify for those rates presently.

People ask me – IS this the sky about to fall now? No. Not even close. First off we still have a massive supply issue – the main driver in any business is always managing supply and demand. On the actual mortgage front, many people have still been qualifying for Variable Mortgages for the past 3 years after the same rule was implemented. Who does this affect? Current applications in the queue requiring qualification at a Contract Rate. If we’ve sent you in for a Refinance or a Purchase based on say the 3.14 or 3.19% 5 Year Fixed we still have available then you’re getting scaled back pretty hard if we wait until the New Year. Maximum Mortgage qualifying will be about 20% less. If you were qualified for a $500,000 mortgage now your max would be approx. $400,000 and so on. This is not to be taken lightly if your Purchase or Refinance needs to qualify at the lower rate. Our phones have been ringing off the hook this week with fence sitters that are now jumping in the direction of acting prior to December 31st. With good reason. It’s going to slow down people using the equity in their home to Refinance or our “Classic” Refinance to Purchase more property (I can’t count the number of those we’ve done over the past three years as our motivated clients have capitalized on rising rental returns and capital appreciation of real estate)