Archive for July, 2018

RE/MAX 2018 Recreational Property Report

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

As Canada?s residential market recovers, recreational property experiences a surge


Canada’s increasingly aging population has retirees driving and inflating the recreational market in popular leisure locations

  • Recreational properties are experiencing a surge in pricing with 78 per cent of regions surveyed showing growth
  • A RE/MAX survey showed that retirees drive demand for recreational properties in 91 per cent of regions examined
  • An older Canadian population with more purchasing power is driving prices up


A recent survey of RE/MAX brokers and agents found that recreational properties are experiencing a surge in pricing, with 78 per cent of regions surveyed showing a higher median price in 2018 compared to 2017. A RE/MAX survey conducted in the spring showed that 91 per cent of popular Canadian recreational markets are being driven by retirees, and with seniors outnumbering children in Canada for the first time as reported last year, retirees as a population are also driving up prices.

Compared to 2018, the median price of recreational properties, including waterfront, non-waterfront, water access and ski-in properties, has increased by 13 per cent across Canada. Median price information was calculated for the periods of July 2016 to June 2017, and July 2017 to June 2018.

“Compared to 2017, when only 55 per cent of regions surveyed had retirees driving the market, this year’s 91 per cent are having a much bigger impact,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX INTEGRA Ontario-Atlantic Canada Region. “Combined with the fact that Canada’s senior population is the largest it has ever been, and many of these retirees are using recreational properties as retirement properties, pricing has increased across the majority of markets.”

Overall, British Columbia saw an increase of 19 per cent, with the median price in areas like Tofino increasing by as much as 112 per cent. Lack of inventory in the small region drove prices higher. Sun Peaks, one of Canada’s largest ski areas, saw an increase of 34 per cent, due to its available services and schooling attracting retirees as well as families.

The Prairies tell a different story however, with median price compared to 2017 decreasing by four per cent overall. For instance, median price for both non-waterfront and water-access properties in Turtle Lake, SK dropped by 16 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. The same is true for Qu’Appelle Valley, SK with the median price for non-waterfront properties dropping by as much as 25 per cent. Changes in mortgage rules and an economic slowdown are factors that contributed to the decrease. Sylvan Lake, AB showed no price change.

“The economic slowdown in the Prairies, combined with stricter mortgage qualifications, has affected demand in its recreational market,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. “On the other hand, BC’s economy is the fastest growing in the country and its status as a destination market has contributed to the strong growth of its recreational market.”

Meanwhile, Ontario saw an overall price increase of 15 per cent, with the median price in areas like Haliburton’s waterfront properties increasing by as much as 98 per cent. The same rings true for its water access properties, with the median price increasing by 71 per cent. The median price of waterfront communities in the French River also showed strong growth of 36 per cent.

Atlantic Canada saw a very modest median price increase of 0.13 per cent. While areas like Shediac showed modest growth – three per cent for waterfront properties and five per cent for water access properties – Newfoundland’s East Coast saw a decline of as much as 18 per cent for waterfront properties. Part of this was due to unusually high-priced properties that sold in 2017.

“Atlantic Canada’s market is faced by slow economic growth, compared to Ontario,” says Alexander. “Those still recovering from the 2017 market downturn in places like Newfoundland and Labrador are delaying purchases of recreational properties at the moment.”

RE/MAX brokers foresee current trends continuing into 2019. In the next two to five years, brokers in BC speculate the market will see a shift from retirees to younger buyers driving demand for recreational properties, as the latter accumulate more purchasing power. However, in the prairies, the tighter mortgage qualifications and overall economic performance will make it more difficult for younger buyers to enter the market. In Ontario, brokers see both retirees and younger buyers driving demand in the next few years. Atlantic Canadian brokers are closely aligned with those in the Prairies who see retirees continuing to drive the market.

Key Findings from the 2018 RE/MAX Recreational Property Omnibus Survey

  1. One-quarter (24 per cent) of Canadians would consider buying a recreational property in the future.
  2. Canadians cite the following reasons to own or want to own a recreational property:
  • It is where I can go and relax and spend time with friends and family = 58 per cent
  • It is a getaway home = 46 per cent
  • I can do activities I can’t do at my permanent residence (hiking, fishing, etc.) = 41 per cent
  • It is an investment property = 33 per cent
  • It is a retirement home = 19 per cent
  • Other = 4 per cent
  1. More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Canadians who own or are considering owning a recreation property are willing to travel up to two hours, with 31 per cent saying they would travel two hours. Slightly less (28 per cent) are willing to travel three or more hours.
  2. Canadians identify the following features as important when considering their current recreational property or a future purchase of a recreational property:
  • Affordable purchase price = 64 per cent
  • Waterfront access = 55 per cent
  • Reasonable maintenance costs = 53 per cent
  • Proximity to town = 43 per cent
  • Reasonable distance from primary residence = 37 per cent
  • Relative seclusion = 33 per cent
  • Land access = 30 per cent
  • Proximity to sports/recreation = 25 per cent
  • Accessible medical facilities = 24 per cent
  • Nearby neighbouring properties = 15 per cent
  • Island property = 12 per cent
  • Other = 1 per cent
  • None, don’t mind which features my recreational property has = <1 per cent
  • Don’t know/prefer not to answer = 3 per cent

Tofino and Ucluelet, BC

Recreational property buyers are attracted to the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, situated 40 kilometres apart on Vancouver Island’s west coast, for the rugged natural scenery. The region is known for surfing, whale watching, kayaking, fishing, hiking, camping, beaches and the ancient rainforest that connects the two communities.

The temperate climate on the coast allows for year-round access and the two communities provide magnificent vistas of the Pacific Ocean during storm-watching season in the winter.

Inventory for all property types remains low in the region, with 28 properties listed in Tofino and 63 in Ucluelet. Both regions have experience significant sales growth from 2017 to 2018 in both waterfront (increase of 112% in Tofino and 23% in Ucluelet) and non-waterfront properties (increase of 43% in Tofino and 33% in Ucluelet). Millennial buyers are moving their young families to the area as a lifestyle choice with the slightly older crowd looking more for second home and investment.  Most everyone is coming for the beautiful natural environment, beaches, trails, surf and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Salt Spring Island, BC

Salt Spring has always been an ideal destination for environmentally-conscious buyers. In recent years, low inventory has created a multiple bid situation. While days on market are low, with buyers becoming more proactive, receiving notifications from real estate agents about new listings immediately and racing to see the quality of the properties with the hope of avoiding multiple bid scenarios.

Waterfront, semi-waterfront, view houses on acreages and view houses are the most sought-after properties in the area. Waterfront properties command the highest prices with an increase in price from 2017 to 2018 of 29%.

Squamish, BC

Whether you prefer scaling the heights of the world-famous Stawamus Chief – one of the largest granite climbing faces in the world – or scuba diving in the Howe Sound, Squamish is ideal for recreational property buyers in search of adventure. From boating, hiking or surfing to attending one of the many festivals hosted in the region, Squamish never has a dull moment, making it a great location for young couples and families.

Conveniently located halfway between Vancouver and Whistler along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, Squamish offers younger buyers more affordable options than its higher-priced neighbours. The region has also seen a slight increase in foreign buyer activity this year as the 15 per cent foreign buyer’s tax in Vancouver does not affect Squamish.

Increasingly, many buyers are purchasing in Squamish with the intention of living and working in the area due to the relative affordability and proximity to Vancouver. With a number of new developments under construction, there remain good opportunities for buyers to enter the recreational property market.

Whistler, BC

Whether you prefer scaling the heights of the world-famous Stawamus Chief – one of the largest granite climbing faces in the world – or scuba diving in the Howe Sound, Squamish is ideal for recreational property buyers in search of adventure. From boating, hiking or surfing to attending one of the many festivals hosted in the region, Squamish never has a dull moment, making it a great location for young couples and families.

Conveniently located halfway between Vancouver and Whistler along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, Squamish offers younger buyers more affordable options than its higher-priced neighbours. The region has also seen a slight increase in foreign buyer activity this year as the 15 per cent foreign buyer’s tax in Vancouver does not affect Squamish.

Increasingly, many buyers are purchasing in Squamish with the intention of living and working in the area due to the relative affordability and proximity to Vancouver. With a number of new developments under construction, there remain good opportunities for buyers to enter the recreational property market.

For more recreational properties go to RE/MAX 2018 Recreational Property Report

Copyright © 2015 RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc.

New demographic puts recreation homes in demand

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Remote working from cottage increasing

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

The growth of Canada’s recreational home market is not all about retirees and family vacations, there’s another growing cohort of homebuyers wanting a piece of the cottage and vacation homes market.

As more people change the way they work – either as part of the gig economy as freelancers, or by the ability to work remotely – a rising number are shunning the city life for a more relaxed home-working environment.

Sotheby’s International president and CEO Brad Henderson says that he has seen a growing trend for people leaving Montreal or Toronto and basing themselves in the Laurentians or Whistler.

As remote working or ‘telecommuting’ becomes more prolific the choice of where to work will expand.

“I think it will further enable the larger trend of working from places that you like,” Henderson told CTV News.

A recent report from Royal Le Page forecast that Canada’s recreational homes market is set for expansion with the price by the end of the 2018 summer market up 5.8% year-over-year to $467,764.

Gen Xers remain the largest group of buyers but Baby Boomers are also gaining share as they seek great places to retire.

“The market is being driven both by those in search of the retirement home of their dreams, and as a place to introduce children to the wonder of the world’s largest and most pristine collection of wilderness areas,” said RLP CEO Phil Soper. “Not only do these families view recreational property as a good investment due to its relative affordability and history of steady appreciation in value, but also as a means to start the next exciting chapter of their life.”

Now it seems, those in the prime of their working lives could be part of that mix too.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Depreciating Chinese currency could impact Canadian real estate

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Lower Chinese currency favours Canadian Property

Neil Sharma
Mortgage Broker News

According to, the top Chinese international real estate website and database, strong desire to hedge risk of the renminbi’s depreciation is driving property investment abroad.

“The lower prospective rate of appreciation tends to favour the perception of the affordability of Canadian property versus its southern neighbour,” said Juwai’s CEO Carrie Law. “The most popular Canadian destinations for Chinese buyers are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, and Ottawa.”

Since March, the Canadian dollar is up more than 6% against the yuan, however, it still sits below where it was in 2017.

“We believe that, despite an increase in oil prices that would normally push the loonie upwards, it is being held back because the market expects the spread between U.S. and Canadian interest rates will widen in the quarters to come,” added Law.

Juxtaposing this year with 2016—when Chinese investors hurried to invest overseas because of worries that the renminbi was losing its edge in exchange rates due to capital outflows from China—there’s more confidence among China’s international property investors in Beijing’s ability to manage the currency, as well as GDP growth. Moreover, there exists pent-up demand for international property assets from smaller scale investors and large corporations alike.

Beijing is also considering loosening its restrictions on capital outflow.

“Another factor is that Beijing has been quietly experimenting with loosing capital controls,” said Law. “If this continues, we could see a corresponding increase in international real estate innocent investment. Capital controls are still a major restriction, and the steps Beijing has taken to loosen capital controls have not been directly relevant to international property investors—yet. Chinese demand for international property is growing again, however. They must be finding a way to pay for it—whether through China-based lenders, via overseas lenders, or simply from existing assets.”

The likely reason for the renminbi’s depreciation is China’s trade war with the United States. However, Evan Tang, a real estate broker with REMAX Crossroads, doesn’t believe that will in any way affect Chinese interest in Canadian real estate.

“If ultra-rich Chinese people want to park their money or invest in property in Canada, it’s only a one- or two-penny exchange difference,” he told “The foreign buyer tax and mortgage rules will have more impact on Chinese buyers than the exchange rate.”

Moreover, Tang doubts the Chinese government will loosen capital control because of the trade war.

“The Chinese government is tightening up capital outflow restrictions because of the trade war with the U.S.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media

Eby troubled by lack of anti-money-laundering compliance in real estate sector

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Eby eyes review of real estate transactions

Gordon Hoekstra
The Province

B.C. Attorney General David Eby says he is troubled by the continued lack of compliance with anti-money-laundering controls at B.C. real estate firms revealed in the latest deficiency reports.

According to figures obtained by Postmedia News, and reported Monday, Canada’s financial intelligence watchdog found “significant” and “very significant” deficiencies in the money-laundering controls at 88 per cent of 130 real estate entities they examined in B.C. over the last two years.

The companies were not identified by name.

The finding was similar to one made two years earlier when the watchdog, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada or Fintrac, conducted 79 examinations  in B.C.’s real estate sector, uncovering 71 companies — or 89 per cent — with “significant or very significant” deficiencies.

The heads of the Real Estate Council of B.C. and of the B.C. Real Estate Association said they supported Fintrac efforts, but couldn’t say if real estate companies have tightened their controls.

“It is obviously troubling that there is such a systematic problem with compliance with the basic reporting requirements for the industry. It is not like there hasn’t been profile on this issue. It’s not like there haven’t been headlines,” Eby said on Monday. “I don’t understand why the industry almost as a whole feels like there is no need to follow federal law in terms of reporting obligations.”

Eby said the continued lack of compliance underscores the need for the review the B.C. government has said it will launch of transactions in the real estate sector. That’s the next step after a money-laundering review of casinos by former RCMP deputy commissioner Peter German who concluded Lower Mainland casinos operated for years as “laundromats for the proceeds of organized crime.”

Eby said the compliance shortcomings in the real estate sector make him wonder what other rules are not being followed and what other problems exist.

“Is there a reason why these rules aren’t being followed?” he said. “All these questions, I hope our review is going to assist in answering.”

Eby said he expected his government would raise the issue of real estate money-laundering compliance with the federal government.

Under Canada’s anti-money-laundering laws, real estate firms are required to report suspicious transactions and all cash transactions over $10,000. The firms must have compliance measures in place that include a compliance officer, written compliance policies and procedures, a money-laundering risk assessment, a compliance training program and a documented review of the effectiveness of their compliance efforts.

Among key responsibilities for real estate firms are keeping proper records and identifying individuals involved in real estate sales.

Between 2015 and 2017, Fintrac conducted 343 examinations in the real estate sector in Canada, 130 of which were in B.C., with 87 of those in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

Fintrac provided statistics to Postmedia showing that out of those 130 examinations, they uncovered 115 cases of ‘significant’ or ‘very significant deficiencies’ in their policies and procedures, risk assessment, record keeping, reporting and client identification obligations.

Christine Duhaime, a lawyer who specializes in anti-money-laundering laws, said she was not surprised by the findings but said the figure of 88 per cent non-compliant was high.

“It is so out of sync with what the law requires,” said Duhaime. “It’s clearly a signal they need help quickly.”

Duhaime said she hopes the attention will lead to more emphasis on training and understanding of anti-money-laundering compliance, noting compliance deals with complicated legislation and training can be expensive.

It might be necessary for the federal government to step in and assist with training, she said.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Remote working impacting real estate

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Vacation property now the work office

Ross Marowits
Mortgage Broker News

The telecommuting revolution envisioned by futurists, in which vast numbers of workers eschew their daily commute in favour of working remotely from home, never quite turned out as predicted.

However, a growing number of Canadians are taking the term “working remotely” literally, leaving the hustle and bustle of city life behind to work from their cottage or winter home down south, says a real estate expert.

“To the extent that that expands further, I think it will further enable the larger trend of working from places that you like,” said Brad Henderson, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International.

For many, that means avoiding the summer commute to cottage country.

“My place of pleasure is in Naples, Fla., not even in my country,” he said in an interview.

It is especially suited for consultants and senior executives with the flexibility to work remotely from anywhere with little need to visit a corporate office, said Henderson.

Many are choosing to take their profits from selling their home in the city and relocating to a property near a lake while perhaps maintaining a condo in the city.

He’s seen interest across the country from Montrealers relocating to the Laurentians or Eastern Townships, Torontonians heading to Muskoka, Collingwood and the Kawarthas and western Canadians choosing Banff, Canmore, Whistler and Kelowna.

When Vancouver home prices were especially crazy, Henderson said there was a trend of people selling and moving to Victoria.

“They could telecommute for most of what they needed and if they really needed to be in Vancouver, it’s a half an hour helicopter ride from harbour to harbour.”

Chris Van Lierop and his husband and business partner, Tim Wisener, took it a step further by relocating their home and design business to Fenelon Falls in Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes area.

The pair has changed their focus from designing city homes to helping city folks build cottage retreats.

They made the move last September after constantly prolonging the time they spent at the cottage.

“Eventually we just decided that we think we can make a go of our business up here and why not just stay at the cottage,” he said.

Internet service can be a challenge when they visit clients in areas where signals are harder to come by.

It’s the number one issue people ask about when planning to work from a cottage, says Jim Pine, chief administrative officer of Hastings County and co-lead on the non-profit Eastern Ontario Regional Network.

The network has spent $175 million to upgrade service in Eastern Ontario and is working on further changes to reach more homes and improve access and speeds.

“There’s still areas where there are challenges for people to either get a line of sight signal even on satellite. When you’ve got trees and stuff in the way, it makes it a bit of a challenge.”

Enticing people to conduct their business from the cottage is a way to ensure more services are available in rural areas by increasing tax revenues, said Denise Williams, acting manager of economic development for the city of Kawartha Lakes.

Rural communities need to attract new people to open businesses and provide the local services required to maintain a quality of life, said Terry Rees, executive director of the Federation of Ontario Cottagers’ Associations.

“There’s a ton of small businesses in rural Ontario that have no transition plan and no succession plan and many of them are in the sunsetting kind of phase and that’s got to be worrisome to everyone who’s concerned about the rural economy across Canada,” he said.

The federation recently sponsored a survey that found that 28 per cent of respondents currently work from their waterfront communities. Nine per cent work remotely full-time and 70 per cent do so occasionally.

Of those who don’t work from their waterfront communities, 37.5 per cent would consider doing so.

The three largest barriers they identified were access and cost of internet service, distance to clients and the lack of social infrastructure.

About one million of Canada’s 12.6 million households owns a second home.

Statistics Canada doesn’t track the number of people working from their cottages, but the share of non-farming Canadians working at home has remain unchanged since 1996 at just over six per cent.

Realtor Dean Michel moved with his young family to a family owned cottage because he was tired of the “Toronto rat race.”

“I thought if I can make it work up here, then I’m going to do it,” he said.

Michel said moving to the tranquility of the cottage is part of a societal shift for those near retirees or retirees.

“They just look at the end of their life and say, ‘I’ve got 20 to 30 years left or whatever, do I want to spend it in the rat race?” 

The Candian Press

How Property Tax Differs Across Canada

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Best and Worst Cities for Property Taxes in Canada


When it comes to Canada’s housing markets, our nation tells a tale of many cities; property values, and the economic fundamentals that support them, vary widely from both a municipal and provincial perspective, from coast to coast.

However, while average home prices can differ dramatically by market, so too can homeownership costs. For example, the amount of land transfer tax paid by home buyers when they close on a property can range by as much as $20,000 depending on the market – and as it turns out, according to a recent study by Zoocasa, a similar disparity can be found in the amount of property tax paid across the nation.

Zoocasa compared the property tax rates of 25 major cities across Canada to understand how taxes range between municipalities.

How Are Property Taxes Calculated?

While each province and municipality have their own tax formula nuances, an individual’s property tax is generally based on the following:

  • An assessment of the value of their home, which is typically conducted by a provincial authority (for example, Ontario’s Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), BC Assessment (BCA), and the Saskatchewan Assessment Agency (SAA)). As well, the frequency of assessments can differ by province; MPAC conducts its valuation assessment on Ontario properties every four years, while BC values are calculated each January. A property value assessment takes many factors into account such as neighbourhood, the age of the home, whether it has received significant updates, the size of the lot, etc.
  • A residential rate set by the local tax authority or municipal council. This is established annually based on the municipality’s budget and required expenditures for the year. The proceeds of city property tax are then doled out for a number of services including a provincial school tax, local transit, hospitals, police and emergency services, parks and recreation, etc.

Municipalities Set Their Residential Tax Rates

The typical property tax formula for an individual multiplies the municipality’s residential rate by the assessed value of the home as determined by the province. Property taxes are paid directly to the municipality and are generally based on an ad valorem system – meaning tax owed increases in proportion to home values. However, while the province determines the value of the property to be taxed, municipalities have discretion in how increases or decreases are rolled out.

For example, some owners of Vancouver real estate are protected from taxation shock by Land Assessment Averaging. This allows the city to introduce BCA-mandated tax increases in phases, to reduce the tax burden on homeowners whose homes have skyrocketed in value. The criteria for eligibility is determined by March 31st each year; for 2018, homes that have increased in value by more than 19.62141 per cent may pay at the average tax rate rather than their actual assessed value.

In the City of Toronto, meanwhile, the residential property tax rate has purposely been kept near the rate of inflation. This was a campaign promise from sitting Mayor John Tory, and the city also has more wiggle room to keep taxes low as it also receives proceeds from its municipal land transfer tax; it is the only city in North America where home buyers pay LTT at both the municipal and provincial level.

The Impact on Home Buyers’ Budgets

Because property taxes differ between major municipalities, those looking to buy real estate in various cities or towns need to be aware of how the local tax rate, and the appreciation of home values over time, will impact their overall housing affordability.

Out of the 25 major Canadian cities studied, Vancouver ranks the best for property taxes with the lowest rate of 0.24683%; that’s less than half the rate of the next highest city, Abbotsford, BC which has a rate 0.51300%. In fact, the best cities with the lowest property tax rates were generally found in BC, with Victoria at 0.52035% and Kelowna at 0.52605%.

However, living in a region with a low tax rate doesn’t necessarily translate to less tax paid if average home prices are higher. For example, the Toronto tax rate is 0.63551%, which translates into $5,532 of property taxes based on the average June 2018 home value of $870,559. In comparison, the Edmonton tax rate is 0.86869% or about 1.4 times that of Toronto’s, but the average home value in Edmonton is substantially lower at $381,520, which would result in a lower amount of property taxes overall at $3,314.

Within major cities in Alberta, property tax rates varied widely: Calgary has a rate of 0.63573% while Lethbridge’s rate is 1.11067% or about 1.7 times that of Calgary’s.

There is also a large range in property rates for Ontario cities: London’s rate of 1.35082% is more than double Toronto’s rate while Ottawa’s rate of 1.06841% is 1.6 times that of Toronto’s.

Check out the infographic below to see how property taxes rates differ in major municipalities across Canada and how much in property taxes those rates result in, based on sample home value assessments.

All property tax rates were sourced from municipal websites.

© 2015-2017 Zoocasa Realty Inc.,

Avani Centre King George Boulevard Surrey 181 homes in a 30 storey tower by Avani Investment Group

Monday, July 30th, 2018

Hotel amenities part of lifestyle at Avani Centre

The Vancouver Sun

How many people can honestly say they live at the gateway of a thriving new urban downtown core?

People who are buying into the new Avani Centre, a residential tower atop a seven-storey Hilton branded hotel at the southern entrance of Surrey City Centre, can lay claim to that rare distinction.

Since the plans for the 30-storey building were unveiled in May of this year, interest from prospective homeowners has been unusually strong – but that doesn’t surprise Jamie Squires, vice president of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Ltd.

She says, “Being the gateway to a new downtown core has huge benefits. You have all the new shops and services of what is truly a bustling new city centre, combined with a convergence of transit hubs that take you to all points of the compass. And then there’s the lifestyle experience of Avani Centre itself.”

The residential tower rises in a dramatically angular column, with what appears to be concrete ribs that are in fact the deep, covered decks of the structure’s 181 units. Supplied

As a gateway, it was vital that Avani make a bold visual statement in an area already recognized for its striking architecture. Montreal-based, acdf* architecture (whose work has been honoured with awards of excellence from the Ordre des architectes du Québec and the coveted Canada Governor General’s Medal in architecture) was retained to design the exterior, and it created a building whose block-like hotel base is wrapped in a shimmering curtain wall.

Above, the residential tower rises in a dramatically angular column, with what appears to be concrete ribs that are in fact the deep, covered decks of the structure’s 181 units.

The combination of hotel and condos has distinct advantages for residents. “The first living units start on the eighth floor, which means everybody has great views of the city and North Shore Mountains, the Fraser Valley, Baker and the surrounding areas,” says Squires. In addition to the tower residences, eight two-level city homes flanking 98th Avenue will also be available.

Avani homeowners will also be able to entertain guests in the hotel’s proposed wine bar or, on a pay-per-use basis, exercise in its fitness centre and swimming pool. Plus, they will have their own exclusive amenities, including an enclosed dog run on the rooftop deck and an outdoor yoga platform.

As an added touch, they will even have two entrances to choose from: their own, and via the hotel’s designer lobby.

Giraffe Design is responsible for Avani’s alluring gold and silver interiors, and the competitively priced residences range from studios at 349 square feet up to three bedroom units at 1,232 square feet, with the decks of each of these units ranging from 60 to over 200 square feet (and, because they are covered, they can be enjoyed year-round).

Each home boasts clean, angular lines with an abundance of warm wood features and floor to ceiling windows. B.C.-based Giraffe Design is renowned for its classical contemporary and traditional interior surroundings with a subtle French Canadian flair; some of its more high profile residential projects include Ascend, Zhang, and Prodigy.

Avani Centre’s immediate surroundings, City Centre, have won considerable acclaim for being a new downtown that is both architecturally creative and people-friendly. The tower is close to Central City Shopping Centre; the plethora of boutique shops and cafes that have sprung up due to the Simon Fraser University Surrey campus; and Holland Park, a welcoming gathering place with colourful horticultural displays, tree-lined promenades, water features, and public works of art.

A vast range of services is also close by, including those provided by Surrey Memorial Hospital.

City Centre is a transit hub, and when completed, “Avani Centre will provide residents direct access to New Westminster, Burnaby, Richmond, Vancouver, and the Tri-cities via the King George SkyTrain station,” says Squires. “They will also be able to board the future LRT to Langley and White Rock, literally from their doorstep.”

All of this is made possible because Avani Centre’s developer, Avani Investment Group, has considerable experience in the hospitality development sector and is inspired by the vision of home being a place where hospitality happens.

Due to the strong interest shown for Avani Centre, Squires urges prospective buyers to register now. “Early VIP information is now available upon registration with the opening and sales release scheduled for early this fall, so this is really their last chance to get in at the best values,” she says. “We also have two new full showrooms that will soon be available for inspection, so be prepared to be amazed.”

Please visit for more details.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Gov’t policies eroding Canadian household sentiment – report

Sunday, July 29th, 2018

Stricter government measures are pushing consumers towards a more negative outlook

Ephraim Vecina

The latest Housing and Mortgage Market in Canada report by Mortgage Professionals Canada revealed that stricter government measures are pushing consumers towards a more negative outlook for housing and real estate nationwide.

In particular, the study pointed at increasing interest rates and tighter mortgage qualification requirements as the main factors eroding Canadian consumers’ sentiments, despite many respondents still indicating a belief that real estate remains a good investment.

“We are still seeing a high level of desire in home-buying, especially among young people aged 25-34,” MPC president and CEO Paul Taylor said. “Whether they will be able to make that purchase may be an entirely different matter.”

“We support a stress test, albeit at a reduced rate of 0.75%, as it is a useful tool to test a borrower’s ability to make future payments,” Taylor added.

“However, the cumulative impact of rising rates, a 2% or greater stress test, provincial government rules in Ontario and British Columbia, and further lending restrictions are negatively supressing housing activity not just in Toronto and Vancouver, but throughout the country.”

The report stated that federal policies which would lead to a decline in housing prices will trigger a reduction in home equity, thus further wearing down consumer confidence and leading to shrinking spending, slower economic growth, and reduced jobs creation.

Such a price correction is “one of the most dangerous things that can happen to the Canadian economy,” MPC warned.

“While we would normally expect falling prices to generate an increase in demand in the housing market, we have seen historically that this can actually reduce demand,” MPC chief economist Will Dunning said.

He added that the resulting chain reaction would be an especially hazardous outcome.

“Significant price drops put into question the reliability of the market as a whole, causing prospective buyers to fear that values will fall further.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Park West at Lions Gate 258 one, two and three bedroom condos in two concrete towers, 19 storeys and 23 storeys at 1633 Capilano Road North Vancouver by Keltic Development Ltd

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Park West at Lions Gate a key component of North Van revitalization plan

Michael Bernard
The Vancouver Sun

Park West at Lions Gate

Project address: Capilano Rd. and Marine Drive, North Vancouver

Project scope: A total of 258 one-, two- and three-bedroom condominium homes in two concrete towers, 19 storeys and 23 storeys.  The homes, ranging from 513 sq. ft. to 2,467 sq. ft., have views of Vancouver’s skyline, Stanley Park and English Bay. Close to Park Royal, with its 280 stores and services, Grouse Mountain skiing, golf courses, easy access to Lions Gate bridge and downtown Vancouver.  Amenities include a 4,800-square-foot pool and hot tub, fitness facility, fresh food market, outdoor kitchen and lounge, guest accommodation

Prices: High $500’s to over $6 million

Developer: Keltic (Capilano) Development Ltd.

Architect: Rafii Architects Inc.

Interior design: Insight Design Group Inc. (interior specifications) and Cristina Oberti Interior Design Inc. (common areas, amenities and lobby)

Sales centre: 1633 Capilano Road

Hours: By appointment only – 604-770-1336


Completion date: Summer 2021

Mehdi Einifar and his wife Soudeh knew when they looked at the presentation suite for the first Park West at Lions Gate project on the North Shore that they wanted to settle down there because it reminded them of their home in Tehran, the capital of Iran.

Among the similarities: the mountainous backdrop.

“In every city in Iran that has a mountain nearby are the better neighbourhoods,” said Einifar, an architectural designer who moved to Canada a few years ago.

The couple had tried living in Vancouver’s Oakridge neighbourhood, but decided they preferred the scenery of North Vancouver.

Park West, with its two concrete towers containing 258 homes overlooking a pedestrian mall, is part of an ambitious plan by the District of North Vancouver to redevelop an older, largely commercial area around Capilano and Marine Drive in North Vancouver. Called Lions Gate Village, it is one of five town centres currently being developed in the district. The 10-year plan eventually calls for condos and townhouses that will be home to some 2,500 people. Threaded through the new neighbourhood will be a recreation centre and library, biking and walking trails and green spaces, all within easy access to Lions Gate Bridge and downtown Vancouver.

Nick Askew, whose firm Pacesetter Marketing is selling the Park West homes, says 80 per cent of the construction will be completed within the next five years.

“This area is going through a massive revitalization and given the proximity to downtown and Park Royal shopping centre, people are going to see this as the village around Park Royal,” he said.

A major advantage of Park West’s location is its proximity to the bridge and downtown Vancouver, Askew said. “We are literally first on and first off the North Shore. In years to come, that is going to be such an important thing.”

The Park West towers, designed by Foad Rafii, will offer enviable views of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and Lions Gate Bridge, the inner and outer harbour and the North Shore Mountains. They are also built to the equivalent of LEED gold standards, a set of guidelines for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings.

The towers, at 19 and 23 storeys, will contain 96 one-bedroom homes, 138 two-bedroom homes and 24 three-bedroom homes ranging from 513 to 2,467 square feet.

Askew says Park West is attracting a mix of buyers, including some move-up and downsizing families.

Inside, homes feature engineered hardwood flooring, oversized windows with privacy blinds and eight-foot-nine-inch-high ceilings and expansive balcony areas. All homes have individual temperature control and air conditioning and custom closet organizers in the main bedrooms.

The kitchen is equipped with a premium quality Miele energy-saving fridge, Miele Classic Chefs five-burner gas cooktop, microwave oven and range hood.

Kitchen cabinetry is Italian made with wood-veneer finishing. One innovation is an adjustable kitchen island with movable cabinets that allow for leg room. Countertops are made of composite quartz with porcelain backsplashes. All homes come with an energy-efficient Blomberg washer and dryer set.

In the bathrooms, the cabinetry is Italian style with ample storage with a 24-inch wide medicine cabinet and an eco-friendly dual-flush toilet and a Grohe-designed faucet and shower system.

The towers will also have a shared 4,800-square-foot swimming pool and hot tub with a 15,000-square-foot pool deck area with a sculptured feature waterfall and fully appointed individual cabanas, chaise lounges and deck tables with umbrellas.

Also included are other resort-style amenities such as a 3,500-square-foot fitness room with cardio conditioning equipment and weights, a yoga and dance studio and a spa and massage room with massage stations, dry sauna and showers.

For entertaining, there is a professional-grade kitchen, as well as a piano lounge, a billiards room and a theatre lounge with a large-screen TV.

The towers will be served by 24-hour concierge service to take grocery deliveries.

Lions Gate Village itself will be a pedestrian-oriented neighbourhood with convenience stores, including a fresh food market. Nearby is the proposed Belle Isle Park with children’s playground, dog park and landscaped green space. There is also a planned community recreation centre and two public art pieces designed and produced by Tucson-based artist Blessing Hancock.

Einifar says the two-bedroom suite his family purchased had a special appeal because it incorporated a feature  many Iranians favour in their homes: a front-door entry that hides the home inside from view and bedrooms with doors that are entered from corridors rather than directly from the open living area.

He said he also purchased in Park West because he sees good potential for homes to appreciate in value.

“I studied the district’s master plan and decided I needed to buy something in the Lions Gate Village… the prices are going to go up.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc

Amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act have landlords worried

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Landlords in crosshairs

Neil Sharma
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

If Gregor Robertson’s legacy as Vancouver’s three-term mayor is marred by the city’s housing crisis, it won’t bother David Goodman.

While homeownership grew out of reach under the outgoing Robertson’s mayoralty, Goodman, the principal of HQ Commercial and founder of the Goodman Report, believes Robertson also exacerbated inefficiencies in Vancouver’s rental market.

“Gregor has been warned repeatedly about what’s happening and did nothing about it,” said Goodman. “As a mayor for 10 or 11 years, you can’t rule out his presence here, but when it’s come to the high cost of housing, he has not addressed the key issues, and those are the approvals process, land use and the high cost of doing business in Vancouver.”

Vancouver’s vacancy rate is staggeringly low while rents are jarringly high. Goodman takes particular aim at a moratorium the city imposed against tearing down old rental apartment buildings; he charges that they’re low density and adhere to outdated zoning requirements that are incompatible with a growing metropolis like Vancouver.

This puts landlords in a bind because they cannot sell their asset to a developer who would tear it down and build a modern high-rise with vastly more units. Moreover, in the unlikely event that they find a buyer, the building would need significant upgrades from the new owner.

Fat chance, says Goodman.

“It’s all politics, all about retaining power, because tenants will typically support a municipal government that protects rentals. It’s a fanciful idea to protect old rentals. These are 50-, 60-, 70-year-old rentals sitting, for the most part, very low density on zoning from 50 or 60 years ago that’s archaic when you look at the population crush and lack of land. Buying is out of the question, but so is renting because the city believes owners should maintain the cost of very low density, well-located sites, and upgrade and modernize them as much as possible, even though they’re past their shelf lives.”

Consultations on amending the Residential Tenancy Act are ongoing, but, because of mobilized tenant organizations, the outcome looks bleak for Vancouver landlords.

“Let’s keep in mind that for every 40 tenants, there’s one apartment owner,” said Goodman. “Tenant organizations are well organized; they have numbers and are dealing with a left-of-centre government. They’re able to promote their cause and they have eager supporters within the ranks of government, as opposed to landlords, who are often painted in a less than desirable light.”

The RTA consultations have landlords worried, added Goodman. He says that many have owned their apartment buildings for decades and are saddled with low yields, high expenses, and no control over the fate of their assets.

Jason Turcotte believes Vancouver’s municipal government under Robertson adopted a narrow view by preserving old buildings. While protecting the odd building, block or neighbourhood would have made more sense, the moratorium as it is disrupts the greater market.

“By not allowing redevelopment, should someone have been willing to redevelop those buildings into more dense rental housing, the greater market has been impacted because you’re no longer supplying it,” said Turcotte, Cressey Development Group’s vice president of development. “You have fewer units to rent and that filters down the ladder to the rental price points and makes everything more expensive. It does hurt affordability on the rental side because you’re constraining supply.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd