Archive for August, 2018

Inside a REALTOR owned product that provides true efficiency

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Digital services that create true efficiency


When The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) was designing the latest update to its CREA WEBForms®, it had one fundamental aim: to make life easier for its 120,000 members. CREA WEBForms® is a hub that allows members to connect all the aspects of their real estate transactions using any device. It saves REALTORS® time and helps them remain compliant.

“We heard from our members that they need a product that provides them with easy access to the latest versions of all forms and contracts, and that is what CREA WEBForms® does,” says Patrick Pichette, Vice President of Marketing and Information Technology at CREA. “It also allows REALTORS® to utilize these forms with other add-on services in an integrated fashion.”

CREA WEBForms® also has the capability to automatically populate important categories of information, including listing details, which reduces and in many cases eliminates the need for manual data entry. The new version of CREA WEBForms® has also been designed to be fully responsive and all forms are available in HTML, rather than PDF. It means REALTORS® can easily access documents on any device wherever they might be located.

“In the past, having to open PDFs on a smartphone or tablet was really quite annoying,” says Pichette. “The agent would have to do a lot of resizing and scrolling to get to the right part of the document. The new responsive HTML version is easy to read, navigate and fill out on any device.”

The latest version of the CREA WEBForms® has also been designed to link seamlessly with a number of third party e-signature solutions on the market. It enables REALTORS® to use their preferred e-signature and transaction management software.

CREA WEBForms® is developed with the feedback of CREA’s members in mind. The association listened to suggestions from its members before the design phase in order to build a product that could deliver real value for REALTORS® on the ground.

“As a national association, one of our primary focuses is to come up different things for our members,” Pichette says. “Our aim is to keep our members at the forefront of any changes and give them the opportunity to utilize modern technology to the best of our ability.”

The previous version of CREA WEBForms® is no longer available as of August 8th and REALTORS® are encouraged to switch to the new version as soon as possible.

“It is no additional cost and the new platform is much more user friendly,” Pichette says. “We appreciate that some people find change difficult to handle, so we have a number of training opportunities, webinars, online materials, and user guides available for members to make the switch. We are trying to eliminate any roadblocks that prevent our member from using the newest version.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Condo segment should brace for over a million boomers – report

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Boomers looking at buying homes

Ephraim Vecina

The newly released Royal LePage Boomer Trends Survey reported that approximately 1.4 million Canadian baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) have indicated a desire to purchase a home within the next 5 years.

“Don’t count them out yet – baby boomers will impact Canada’s housing market in a big way in the coming years,” Royal LePage president and CEO Phil Soper said.

“Our research does indicate that smaller cities and recreational areas will attract more investment than major cities,” Soper added. “This large segment of the population views our big cities as generally unaffordable for retirement purposes.”

Indeed, a significant proportion of those polled are considering condominiums – long seen as a segment that offers relative affordability – as their primary choice of residence upon retirement.

When asked about their home purchase plans, 32% of respondents indicated a desire to get condos, while 10% expressed a preference for semi-detached/town homes. Meanwhile, 5% of boomers want recreational properties, with nearly half (45%) saying that they are most likely to purchase detached homes.

42% of boomers in B.C. said that they are planning to use their current homes to fund future condo purchases. 37% also said that they would be willing to move to new markets in search for greater affordability.

“More and more, we’re seeing baby boomers in British Columbia downsizing from a detached home to a condominium,” Royal LePage Northstar Realty managing broker Michael Trites said. “Increasingly, they are transitioning into condos to unlock some of the equity they have built up in their homes, while gaining more flexibility as their health and lifestyle preferences change.”

Meanwhile, in red-hot Ontario, 46% of boomers said that they would choose condos as their next homes. 40% expressed readiness to move to more affordable locales, with 32% saying that they are willing to move more than an hour away from their current locations.

“Boomers in Ontario are looking to reduce expenses as they approach retirement,” Royal LePage Your Community Realty broker Caroline Baile explained. “They are looking to transition into a lifestyle that gives them more freedom to pursue other activities without having to deal with time-consuming upkeep and unexpected repairs.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Boomers slated to enter market en masse; here’s what they’ll buy

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Latest report suggests boomers flooding the market

Neil Sharma

A new report from Royal LePage suggests the real estate market is going to get crowded in about five years’ time.

According to the The Royal LePage Boomer Trends Survey, 1.4 million baby boomers are expected to buy and sell homes in the next half-decade. However, 9% of boomer parents don’t expect their children to move out before they turn 35—a number that nearly triples in B.C.—and 32% of home-buying boomers will likely opt for a condominium.

“One other thing that stood out in the report to me is 56% of baby boomers believe that where they live today, their local neighbourhood is unaffordable for them for retirement purposes,” said Royal LePage’s President and CEO Phil Soper. “Part of the trigger sending so many baby boomers back into the market is relocation. They’ve indicated that they will relocate from single-family homes to condominiums, to suburban neighbourhoods, and to recreational areas. They’re clearly saying ‘The place that I lived to earn a living and raise children is not the optimal place for semi-retirement or retirement as an empty nester.’”

If boomers do, indeed, flock to condominiums and to the suburbs over the coming years, expect that their interest will be reflected in price points.

“What it will probably do is put price pressure on condominiums and suburban areas with a recreational feel that are within a couple of hours of where they live today, which is within a couple of hours of big cities,” said Soper. “A significant portion wants to live within an hour of where they live today and the next largest group wants to live about two hours away.”

Royal LePage has previously studied what it calls peak millennials, who are between the ages of 25 and 30, and it reckons they’re one the largest demographical cohorts to enter the housing market in Canadian history. Coupled with boomers, there should be no shortage of activity in the real estate market over the next decade.

“We are starting to see the millennials enter the market in a big way. The last few years they’ve been a factor to the point that they are the largest buying demographic now in transactional terms. One of the other interesting pieces from the report, a significant number of baby boomer parents are going to be helping their kids in real estate. I’m a late boomer and I can tell you it was rare when I was in my 20s for parents to play a significant role in kids getting homes, but what we found in this study is 47% are going to subsidize their kids’ home purchases.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Summer Home Sales Slow to a Simmer

Monday, August 13th, 2018

MLS sales across BC fall


The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,055 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in July, a 23.9 per cent decrease from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $695,990, down 0.4 per cent from July 2017. Total sales dollar volume was $4.9 billion, a 24.2 per cent decline from July 2017.

“The BC housing market continues to grapple with the sharp decline in affordability caused by tough new mortgage qualification rules,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, less frenetic housing demand has created more balanced market conditions in many regions, leading to fewer multiple offers and more choice for consumers.” 

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 18.9 per cent to $37 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Residential unit sales decreased 20.6 per cent to 50,926 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 2.1 per cent to $725,639.

Copyright BCREA


People love Canada which could mean higher interest rates

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Housing demand from new Canadians could have an impact on purchases

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Last year, a record 380,000 people moved to Canada, outpacing the federal government’s immigration target of 300,000 per year set in 2016.

But the positives of younger people joining the Canadian workforce as an aging population retires, are dampened by the rising demand for housing and the resulting upward pressure on home prices.

An analysis from BMO economists Doug Porter and Robert Kavcic cites population growth (which totalled 506,000 in Q2 2018) as part of the reason for a boom in house prices, especially in Vancouver and Toronto.

A rise in construction of housing is underway but follows a lag in supply even as the population increased to 37 million this year.

With forecasts for further increases, the BMO economists say that population growth may spur the BoC to conclude that the economy is growing faster and implement interest rate rises.

Sales have stabilized BMO economist Robert Kavcic says that the policy changes, especially the mortgage stress tests, that were designed to cool the hottest markets, have made an impact along with rising interest rates.

“Sales and price activity got heated even beyond what those demographic fundamentals would suggest and now we’re seeing a correction response,” he told HuffPost Canada. But “we do think sales are going to stabilize and, in fact, they have stabilized in the Greater Toronto Area.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Remediating Homes Used in Drug Operations

Monday, August 13th, 2018

Cannabis grown in residential homes could cause problems


On October 17, non-medicinal cannabis will be legalized. In addition to establishing regulated distribution networks, the federal legislation allows individuals to legally cultivate up to four plants per residence.

BCREA remains concerned with the damage drug production can have on properties. Four plants may not sound like much, but what if it’s grown in a closet? Or a 600-square foot strata unit? As with other types of drug production, growing cannabis can result in electrical issues and mould, putting property and people at risk.

To address these risks, we believe the BC Government needs to develop a consistent process to remediate buildings used in drug production to ensure they are safe. We commissioned research from the University of the Fraser Valley as a starting point.

The research recommends a public-health approach that makes clear the challenge is not with illegal or legal drug operations—it’s with the damage that any drug operation can cause and the potential risks to human safety and property.

BCREA took this research to our multi-stakeholder Drug Operations Advisory Group, where we developed an action plan to promote our research report. Over the last several months, we’ve met with staff from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and the Cannabis Legalization Secretariat, Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth and opposition critic Mike Morris.

We look forward to discussing the issue further with other government officials and stakeholders, including Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association

Marigold 7874 Lochside Drive Saanich 38 condos, 9 townhouses and 8 duplexes by Marigold Lands Ltd

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

Marigold: Saanich Peninsula location ‘an opportunity to do something really special’

Michael Bernard
The Vancouver Sun

Marigold, Saanich, B.C.

Project Address: 7874 Lochside Dr., Saanich, B.C.

Project Scope: A total of 55 residences, 38 condominiums, nine townhouses and eight duplexes, on eight acres of land about five kilometres south of Sidney and 20 kilometres north of Victoria. Close to B.C. Ferries’ Swartz Bay terminal and Victoria International Airport, five minutes to a beach. Long-term plan calls for as many as 250 homes in a walkable neighbourhood with commercial, retail and community buildings.

Prices: From $329,000 with one-bedroom units ranging between 537 and 608 sq. ft. and two-bedroom homes from 912 sq. ft. to 972 sq. ft.

Developer: Marigold Lands Ltd.

Architect: KPL James Architects

Interior Design: Kimberly Williams Interior Designs

Sales Centre: 2387 Beacon Ave., Sidney, B.C.

Sales phone: 250.655.0615

Hours: Saturday to Wednesday, 12 noon to 4 p.m.


Completion Date: 2019

Marigold Lands, a $138 million project to build 250 homes on former nursery land on the Saanich Peninsula, had an improbable start, by developer Tim Hackett’s account.

“I went to the (former) Marigold Nursery to buy some African daisies for my wife,” says Hackett, “and I came back with the daisies and the (eight-acre) nursery.”

While there, he fell into a conversation with Ray Smith, the nursery’s owner, who had supplied plants to Hackett’s previous housing developments. While chatting, Smith said he wanted to sell the land. Hackett immediately made him an offer, they closed the deal with a hand shake.

Hackett, who has been developing land on Vancouver Island for more than 40 years, said he jumped on the sale because he knows all too well how hard it is to acquire developable land on the Saanich Peninsula. The resulting land shortage has driven up prices by as much as 40 per cent a year in recent times.

“Very seldom now do you get an opportunity to buy such a big site,” he says. “A lot of development today is in-fill, small lots with one building on them. But this an opportunity to do something really special.”

Named after the family-run nursery it replaces, Marigold’s first phase involves construction of 38 condominium homes in a five-storey wood frame building, eight townhouses and eight duplexes. The one and two-bedroom homes range between 537 square feet and 608 square feet and 912 and 972 square feet respectively. Prices for one-bedroom homes start at $329,000 while two bedrooms start at $499,000. The eight three-bedroom townhouses are 1,841 square feet while the eight three-bedroom duplexes measure 2,067 square feet with prices to be determined.

About 30 per cent of the 38 units have been sold to date to first-time buyers, local downsizers selling their larger single-family homes and people cashing in their equity in the Metro Vancouver area and moving to Vancouver Island, Hackett said.

The presentation centre in Sidney has a sample kitchen, living room and bath area and a touch screen panel that provides people with shots of the view from any given floor of the complex. Some homes have views of Georgia Strait including James Island, Sidney Island and D’Arcy Island plus Saanichton Bay Park.

Hackett said one feature of the property that particularly attracted him is that the site is relatively flat, making for a compact, walkable neighbourhood with featured public spaces and a mix of residential, commercial, retail and community buildings. Included in the centre of the site is a public park with a children’s play centre.

It is the largest residential project to be undertaken on the Peninsula since 2002, when Hackett developed 130 units of single family houses, townhouses and condominiums on what was called the Polo Grounds. The single-family homes, which sold in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, now fetch over a million dollars each, says Hackett.

Hackett credited the current Central Saanich Council for having the vision to see that it is through density that affordable housing can be created on Vancouver Island.  Another part of the answer is building homes close to where people live. He retold a story he had heard from an engineer for nearby Viking Air, which employs more than 1,000 people, in manufacturing parts and servicing de Havilland aircraft.

“She said she can’t afford Victoria and drives to work from her home in Duncan. She also said there are employees who camp out in their cars during the week and drive home on the weekends.”

Inside the condos, there are nine-foot ceilings in the main living space and bedrooms and eight-foot ceilings in the bathrooms. Kitchens come with a KitchenAid steel appliance package that includes a full-depth 30-inch refrigerator, a 30-inch dual fuel gas and electric range with an overhead KitchenAid 30-inch microwave hood, a 24-inch dishwasher and front load washer and dryer.

Kitchen cabinetry is flat panelled and is available in light and dark options with modern straight-grained high-pressure laminated wood textures that model real wood. Countertops are quartz.

Ensuite bathrooms feature glass panel showers while guest bathrooms have a tub with a shower rod.

Chloe Ramsey and her husband purchased a one-bedroom suite for their mother Francine, who currently lives 45 minutes away from them.  Buying into Marigold means cutting their drive down to 10 minutes.

“It is also nice and close to the (Saanich Peninsula Hospital) as well,” she says. But the couple is also thinking about the future, says Chloe, who notes that as a financial advisor, she is always thinking ahead.

“From the point of view of an investment 20 years down the road, we have it for our kids  (both under age four) to use if they go to university,” she says.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Dwell24 2565 Runnel Drive Coquitlam 24 townhomes with three to four bedrooms by Epix Development

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

At Coquitlam?s Dwell24, it?s all in the details

Simon Briault
The Vancouver Sun


Project location: 2565 Runnel Drive, Coquitlam

Project size: 24 townhomes with either three or four bedrooms ranging in size from 1,323 to 1,638 square feet, with prices starting at $898,900

Developer: Epix Developments and The Circadian Group

Architect: Studio One Architecture

Interior designer: Kleen Design

Sales centre: 2565 Runnel Drive, Coquitlam, V3E 2S3

Hours: Saturday to Wednesday noon to 5 p.m. (closed Thursdays and Fridays)

Telephone: 604.461.6698


Occupancy: fall 2018

Discerning buyers in B.C.’s Lower Mainland often look for something out of the ordinary in a new home. With the quality of the units on offer at Dwell24 – a new townhouse development in Coquitlam – Epix Developments and the Circadian Group are aiming to deliver just that.

Epix Developments has a business model that is different from many developers. Derek DiMartile, the company’s president, likes to work with independent builders and in the case of Dwell24, Tony Russo of The Circadian Group was the builder of choice.

“We have more control over construction by partnering with builders and I think we get better designs because we’re able to work with them from the get-go,” DiMartile said. “The alternative is to start designing the whole thing, meet with a builder to find out how much it’s all going to cost and then have to pare things back. We find with our model we get a better product and the quality is a lot higher.”

Dwell24 consists of five buildings and — you guessed it — 24 three-storey townhomes in total. Homes have three or four bedrooms, single or double garages and decks or patios on every level.

“When you’re working on a new-home development, it’s a real partnership between the builder and the developer,” Russo said. “It’s all open book and we negotiate with the trades on getting the best details and finishes we can. We go through the process of determining specifications – foundations, framing, finishes, plumbing and everything in between…. We make sure we pay a lot of attention to how things get done on our projects to ensure you get a good quality product at the end of the process.”

Homes at Dwell24 feature nine-foot ceilings on all levels, with vaulted ceilings in the master bedrooms and engineered hardwood flooring in kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, upper hallways and stairs. There is plush carpeting in all the bedrooms, round mirrors in the powder rooms over wall-hung sinks and two-inch roller blinds on the windows.

“The master bedrooms are quite impressive, with ceilings that are nearly 12 feet high and the type of specifications and finishes that you’re more likely to find in a modern Vancouver development,” DiMartile said. “We’ve got European appliances and hardwood throughout, as well as plenty of attached outdoor space.”

Kitchens come with Fulgor, Blomberg and Panasonic appliances, polished quartz countertops in warm white, penny round tile backsplashes and soſt-close kitchen cabinets with full-width recessed handles. There are stainless steel undermount sinks with double-bowl layouts and wall-mounted pot fillers in polished chrome above the five-burner gas cooktops.

Bathrooms feature shower niches with penny round tiles, quartz countertops, porcelain floor tiles and soaker tubs with rain shower heads. There are soſt-close bathroom cabinets, double vanity sinks and mirrors and pendant lighting.

Dwell24 lies between the Suter Brook Village area of Port Moody and Coquitlam Centre. It is within walking distance of both in a quieter, more residential neighbourhood. There’s easy access to rapid transit at Inlet Centre Station.

“You’re well connected through mass transit and you can make it into downtown quite easily,” DiMartile said. “But you live a little bit outside of the city with access to all the kind of outdoor amenities that you’d get on the west side of Vancouver, all for about half the price.”

DiMartile said he has had lots of interest from buyers in Vancouver, as well as Burnaby and the Tri-Cities.

 “We believe people will want to live in these homes because they’re really quite spacious units and they’re very well laid out,” he said. “We’ve put a lot of time into the floor plans. The level of the finishes is unmatched in any other townhouse project out in the Tri-City area and then you have the outdoor amenities within a short walk from your home.”

These outdoor amenities include Rocky Point Park, a popular Port Moody destination that includes an outdoor swimming pool, a spray park and hiking and biking trails, and the Coquitlam Crunch Trail. But the biggest attraction for Dwell24 buyers will be the homes themselves, according to Russo.

“The market is definitely changing and people are looking for higher end finishes,” he said. “We believe people are going to want to buy these homes because they’re of a higher standard than you would typically find in the industry.”

There are 10 different floor plans to choose from at Dwell24, homes range in size from 1,323 to 1,638 square feet and prices start at $898,900. The sales centre is located on site at 2565 Runnel Drive and is open from Saturday to Wednesday between noon and 5 p.m.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc

Multi-family housing starts drag overall rate lower

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Housing starts eased in July

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Housing starts eased in July as the multi-family sector pulled back from near-record highs in the previous month.

CMHC data reveals a trend of 219,988 starts in July, down from 221,738 in June, based on a 6-month moving trend of seasonally adjusted annual rates.

“The national trend in housing starts decreased in July, reflecting a decline in the SAAR of multi-unit dwellings in urban centres from the near-historical high registered in June,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Despite decreasing in July, the trend remains well-above historical averages, reflecting elevated levels of multi-unit starts in most major markets that has more-than-offset declining single starts.”

Around the markets There was little change in the Toronto CMA, with single-family starts lower but offset by higher multi-family units. The only time there were more multi-family starts in a July was in 2005.

Both main housing sectors saw fewer starts in the Vancouver CMA. The market has seen an elevated rate of new home construction this year though.

The Quebec CMA saw a 10% decline in starts year-over-year although the rental market including seniors housing surged 48%.

Victoria saw a higher rate of starts across the CMA with fewer multi-family units but a rise in single-family starts compared to a year earlier.

Monthly stats The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts for all areas in Canada was 206,314 units in July, down from 246,200 units in June. The SAAR of urban starts decreased by 16.2% in July to 190,093 units. Multiple urban starts decreased by 20.3% to 136,231 units in July while single-detached urban starts decreased by 3.6% to 53,862 units.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Stand by for a boomers homebuying boom

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

In the coming years 1.4 million boomers are expected to sell and buy real estate between now and 2023

Steve Randall

Baby boomers are set to play a key role in Canada’s housing market as they plan to buy but consider their current markets unaffordable.

Royal le Page says that 1.4 million boomers plan to buy over the next five years but 56% believe their local housing market is unaffordable for retirement.

“Don’t count them out yet – baby boomers will impact Canada’s housing market in a big way in the coming years, as another 1.4 million of this large demographic are expected to sell and buy real estate between now and 2023,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO, Royal LePage. “While the wave of older consumers will increase competition for condominium property in particular, there is no single type of home that boomers will be investing in.”

The study conducted by Leger found that 59% of retirees plan to renovate their current home rather than buy.

Where the boomers live, plan to live Over three quarters of respondents own a home, 19% rent, while 1% live with family. Most boomers (61%) nationwide live in a detached home, 21% in condos and 12% in semi-detached/town homes.

Among those planning to purchase a home in the next five years, 45% are most likely to purchase a detached home, 32% prefer a condominium, and 10% noted strongest interest in a semi-detached/town home. Just 5% would opt for a recreational property. Most (51%) boomers are not planning on downsizing.

A minority (10%) plan to buy a secondary property, while 15% plan to sell their primary residence and move into their currently owned secondary property full-time. Nearing or during retirement, nearly one quarter of boomers nationally plan to live in another city (24%) or country (23%) for at least three months of the year.

If they were to make a property purchase, 54% would have a budget of under $450,000, while 25% have a budget of $450,000 or higher.

Helping their kids Almost half of baby boomers said that they would help fund their children’s home purchases with 41% saying they would contribute less than a quarter of the home’s total value.

“Baby boomers are the most affluent generation in Canadian history, yet the journey has not been without challenge and adversity. Through several difficult economic recessions, the equity in their homes has proven to be wealth bedrock. This is a generation that deeply values home ownership and very much wants their children to have the same opportunity,” concluded Soper.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd