Archive for November, 2018

Metro Vancouver’s industrial supply is lagging demand

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

There is a high demand for industrial units in Metro Vancouver

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

High demand for industrial units in Metro Vancouver is outpacing new supply and driving rental rates higher.

With an ongoing record low vacancy rate of less than 2%, even a 5% growth in inventory (more than 9.2 million square feet net) over the past 36 months has not done enough to meet demand, especially from the fast-growing ecommerce sector.

Avison Young reports that the industrial vacancy rate in the fall of 2018 has hit 1.5% in Metro Vancouver with rental rates have continuing to climb rapidly. The average asking net rent in Metro Vancouver is now at $11.43 psf, up from $9.99 psf a year earlier.

New build may be best for large operators Tenants in virtually all markets are faced with either renewing their lease at notably higher rates or relocating further away from the region’s traditional core industrial markets to markets located further south of the Fraser River and further east in the Fraser Valley.

“Companies are increasingly looking for efficiencies, including consolidating multiple locations into a larger facility,” comments Avison Young Principal Russ Bougie. “Given enough lead time, larger companies currently have more options for a new build-to-suit than if they were to lease an existing building in almost all size ranges and markets.”

Market fundamentals remain strong, and demand from owner-occupiers and investors at near record levels is expected to continue for at least the next 18 months.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

B.C. sets up new condo registry

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Pre-sale agreements must be registered

Duffie Osental
Mortgage Broker News

British Columbia is tackling tax evasion in condominium sales by setting up a registry that tracks a project’s pre-sales transactions and ownership history.

According to a Bloomberg report, the information collected by the new online database, which will include the terms of such transactions and the name and tax identification numbers of those involved, will be shared with the Canada Revenue Agency so that they can be matched with income tax returns.

Because there was no way to efficiently track transactions, it was possible to avoid paying taxes by buying and selling rights from pre-sale purchase agreements at inflated prices.

Starting January 1, however, developers will now be required to collect and report pre-sale agreements of condominium units, including when these contracts are flipped and re-assigned to a new owner.

“The days of avoiding taxes through condo flipping are over,” said Finance Minister Carole James.

“This register will help bring fairness and integrity back to B.C.’s real estate market, so that people can afford homes in the communities where they live and work.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media

Canadian Real Estate wealth’s Property Forecast issue will be out in December

Monday, November 12th, 2018

2019 forecast release in December

Neil Sharma
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Canadian Real Estate Wealth’s Property Forecast issue will be out in December, and after this year’s real estate market turbulence, readers will breathe easier next year.

The theme that will likely carry through the year is cautious optimism, as market fundamentals throughout the country will remain robust. Some provinces, however, will still face significant fiscal headwinds, while several key industries are running at full capacity, and that will taper growth. Prices aren’t expected to surge as they have in recent years past, but that doesn’t mean markets like Toronto and Vancouver won’t remain out of reach for a great many.

his year could have been catastrophic for Canada’s real estate market, thanks to repeated government intervention dating back to 2017. Ontario had its Fair Housing Plan, B-20 made its impact immediately, and British Columbia’s NDP government seems determined lower the cost of housing by stymieing market activity as much as it possibly can. However, markets remained resilient, and in the case of Toronto, have trended upward since the beginning of summer.

Heavily-leveraged investors relying on appreciation had a rough year, as did buyers hoping to wait out the market only to be torpedoed by stringent mortgage stress testing. Nevertheless, as 2018 draws to a close, investors in Canadian real estate markets still stand tall. While sales and average prices suffered a great deal, it hasn’t been to the level most feared. Trade tensions with the United States also curbed interest rate hikes for a while, and the new trade deal has helps sidestep many of the uncertainties that have had economists worried, namely tariff threats—auto sector tariffs would have plunged Ontario into a recession.

There was little chance of 2018 being a great year, but given that it could have been outright catastrophic, greener pastures doubtless lie ahead. Canada’s GDP grew 3% in 2017, and was expected to contract this year largely because of the real estate market. Expect a considerable private capital injection into the economy in 2019.

Building activity is expected to slow down next year, and that’s good news for landlords. The combination of sub-1% vacancy rates in a growing number of cities and a declining number of new properties will only add pressure to local rental markets.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Downtown Vancouver has highest average price per square foot

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Vancouver No. 1 in most expensive area to buy a home

Duffie Osental
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

According to survey conducted by Century 21, Greater Vancouver comes up on top as Canada’s most expensive metropolitan area to buy a home.

Vancouver has eight neighbourhoods in Canada’s top ten most expensive areas in price per square foot, with its downtown coming in at first place at an average price of $1,345 per square foot.

To collect this data, Century 21 asked its franchisees to track the average price per square foot in their local markets from January 1 to June 30 of each year. This information was then compared with past data to gather insights on pricing trends.

“This year’s annual survey of prices per square foot underline that many Canadian markets are seeing fluctuating prices,” said Brian Rushton, executive vice-president at Century 21 Canada.

“In several urban areas we saw prices decline in one suburb but increase in the neighbouring one. That trend has very likely only increased further since our cut-off for data earlier this summer. Now more than ever it is important to have good information when making real estate buying and selling decisions.”

Downtown Vancouver and West Side Vancouver take the top two slots, with the average price per square foot of the latter neighbourhood at $1,147. Downtown Toronto and Montreal are the only neighbourhoods in the top ten that are outside of British Columbia.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Tsawwassen Landing 4738 Hemlock Way 30 townhomes in phase one from 1,325 to 1,530 square feet by Onni Group

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

Three-bedroom townhomes launch onni group?s master-planned tsawwassen landing community

Simon Briault
The Vancouver Sun

Tsawwassen Landing

Project location: 4738 Hemlock Way, Tsawwassen

Project size and pricing: the 30 first-phase townhomes at Tsawwassen Landing start at $669,900 and top out at $785,900. They range in size from 1,325 to 1,530 square feet

Developer: Onni Group

Architect: Yamamato Architecture

Interior designer: In-house

Sales centre: 4789 Fisherman Way

Hours: noon — 6 p.m., Sat — Thurs

Telephone: 604-638-3500

Website: www.onni.com/tsawwassenlanding

Tsawwassen is somewhat of a “hidden gem” in Metro Vancouver, observes the Onni Group’s Andrew Joblin, but odds are, it will be far less hidden in the years ahead.

Work has begun on residential development on a 270-acre piece of land just west of the huge new Tsawwassen Mills mall, and Onni has almost half that property — 120 acres — for its new master-planned community, Tsawwassen Landing. The company is beginning the development with 30 three-bedroom townhomes, with future townhome phases to come, as well as single-family homes and low-rise condominium buildings. There will eventually be more than 1,000 residences.

Tsawwassen, says Joblin, is “kind of tucked away from the rest of Metro Vancouver. A lot of people who grow up in Tsawwassen end up staying there, so it’s a very well-connected and close-knit community because of that. There are lots of great schools, it’s very family-oriented and there are quite a few parks in the area.”

The development will be right across the street from Tsawwassen Mills, which is north of Highway 17 and features an astonishing 1.2 million square feet of retail space and a 1,100-seat food court. There’s also Tsawwassen Commons mall nearby, which has big-box stores like Walmart, Canadian Tire, Rona and PetSmart.

Apart from the location, the pricing of the homes on offer has proven to be a big factor for many buyers, according to Joblin.

 “There are lots of buyers from the local area because there is definitely a shortage of new townhomes around there,” he said. “But we’re also seeing people coming from other areas of Metro Vancouver that are looking for some more affordable housing options.”

“A lot of times, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a townhome that is under $800,000 in Metro Vancouver,” Joblin added. “This is an excellent option, especially because you can be in downtown Vancouver in about 30 minutes. That’s why we’ve got people coming from Vancouver, Richmond and Burnaby, where you’re often looking at $1 million and over for a townhome. This is a much more affordable price point.”

First-phase townhomes at Tsawwassen Landing, all of which have three bedrooms and either side-by-side or tandem garages, start at $669,900 and top out at $785,900. They range in size from 1,325 to 1,530 square feet.

“Some of them are really quite large and they’ll be great for growing families or downsizers who want a little less to do in terms of upkeep but still need space to host family and guests during holidays,” said Joblin. “Electric fireplaces are included with all living rooms and they have natural marble surrounds that complement the marble features in the kitchen. It’s a nice statement piece for the living room and it’s a feature that you’ll often find as an upgrade option. But we’re including that as standard.”

Those kitchen features include white quartz countertops, kitchen islands, built-in pantries, marble backsplashes, overhead pot lighting and a choice of either walnut veneer flat panel or shaker-style cabinetry. The appliance packages are by KitchenAid.

Main bathrooms have soaker tubs or frameless glass showers, quartz countertops, ceramic tiles and shower niches. Master ensuite bathrooms have floor-to-ceiling tiled walls, frameless glass showers and/or soaker tubs with pressure-balanced rain shower heads.

One of the biggest draws of the homes at Tsawwassen Landing is sure to be the gargantuan common amenity space that comes with them. This will include a swimming pool and hot tub, a gym, squash courts, a steam room and sauna, a lounge and entertainment suite, a children’s play area and an outdoor sports court. There will also be a yoga room and a golf simulator.

 “In many developments, you’ll have maybe 8,000 to 15,000 square feet of amenity space, whereas this is 30,000 square feet,” Joblin said. “It really adds a lot of value to the townhomes to have that amount of extra space to meet with your neighbours and entertain guests.”

“It’s great for a rainy day with the kids,” Joblin added. “You don’t even have to get in the car and drive to a community centre. It’s the kind of place where I would want to live if, for example, I wanted to have a workout either before or after work. I wouldn’t have to worry about driving to a gym – it’s right there at my doorstep. If it’s sunny out and you want to take the kids swimming, there’s a pool right there. It’s like having all the benefits of a community centre just steps from where you live.”

The first homes at Tsawwassen Landing are scheduled to be move-in ready in the spring or summer of 2020. Onni’s sales centre at 4789 Fisherman Way is open from noon to 6 p.m. every day except Friday.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

A year’s free mortgage attracts buyers to Langley development

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Incentives attractive in cooler market caused by reduced job, population growth

Glenda Luymes
The Vancouver Sun

Developers of The Landing condominium project in Langley offered an attractive promotion for first-time homebuyers ? the opportunity to live for one year mortgage-free. It?s likely that other developers will come up with similar incentives as the region?s housing market softens. JASON PAYNE/PNG

The Landing condo development at 20299 Industrial Ave. in Langley. Expect to see developers offering incentives ? like Kerr Properties’ promise to pay your first year’s mortgage at The Landing ? as the Lower Mainland’s housing market softens. Jason Payne / PNG

First-time homebuyers leaped at the chance to live mortgage-free for one year in response to a Langley developer’s offer to make their mortgage payments.

The savvy marketing move by Kerr Properties, the developers behind The Landing, 78 one- and two-bedroom condos in Langley, attracted several buyers before the promotion ended last week, development manager Travis Tournier said Friday.

“People really seemed to like it,” he said, adding “we hope to bring the promotion back in the future.”

Real estate analysts say creative purchasing incentives could become more popular as the Lower Mainland’s housing market begins to cool and prices come down.

Realtor and analyst Steve Saretsky said cities farther from Vancouver seem to be “cooling a little quicker” due to the one-two punch of a sales drop and inventory spike. Langley was the region’s strongest condo market just one year ago, with year-over-year price growth peaking at 51 per cent in December 2017. But in the months since, inventory has jumped 387 per cent and sales have declined.

Saretsky said the trend is concerning, although he cautioned the glut is exaggerated because 2017 saw inventory hit record lows.

“Some of last year’s demand was built on speculation,” he explained.

The trend seems to be hitting Abbotsford and communities farther east as well. In October, home sales plummeted 50 per cent year-over-year in the Fraser Valley, while prices also dropped.

A Canada Mortgage and Housing Association forecast released earlier this week said slowing population and employment growth have cut into housing demand in the region.

But the developers behind The Landing remained optimistic.

While Tournier agreed that the market has “absolutely changed,” he expects it will impact pre-sales the most. Kerr’s project, which is six to eight months from completion, is seeing significant interest from first-time homebuyers who harbour no illusions about breaking into the Vancouver housing market, no matter how much it cools.

Saving for a down payment continues to be one of the biggest barriers for people starting out, and the developer’s offer of one year free mortgage has proven popular, he said. Buyers must put 10 per cent down, while the developer “matches” that with a cash-back payment of five per cent, which works out to about one year’s mortgage. At closing, the developer gives the buyer the five-per-cent payment allowing them to essentially live mortgage-free for one year.

Tournier said the idea was hatched when the developer realized many first-time buyers borrow money from their parents for their down payment. The cashback allows them to repay the debt quickly, making it a more effective incentive than simply reducing the condo’s price.

Units at The Landing range from just above $300,000 to under $500,000, with the average price falling around $400,000. A 10-per-cent down payment would be about $40,000, while the five-per-cent cashback would likely work out to about $20,000. According to an online mortgage calculator, the monthly mortgage payment for a $400,000 unit, less the down payment, would be about $1,862 with a 3.84-per-cent, three-year fixed-rate mortgage.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

BCREA is forecasting a better year ahead for BC sales

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Sales forecast to rise 12% in 2019, says BCREA

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Coquitlam council and developer clash over Fraser Mills details

Friday, November 9th, 2018

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

Gary McKenna
Vancouver Courier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SETTING IT STRAIGHT

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

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

Glacier Community Media © Copyright ® 2013 – 2018

BCREA 2018 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Canadian Housing Starts ? BCREA

BCREA

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

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

Eligible voters should have chance to discuss proposed resolutions

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

The Strata Property Act does not permit mail-in ballots

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony:

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

Is this permitted?

Daria B., Vernon

Dear Daria: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.