Archive for August, 2019

Pilothouse at Hampton Cove 5535 Admiral Way Delta 87 one two and three bedroom homes by Polygon Pilothouse Ltd

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Pilothouse designed with downsizers in mind

Barbara Gunn
The Vancouver Sun

Pilothouse at Hampton Cove

Address: 5535 Admiral Way, Delta

Developer: Polygon Pilothouse Ltd.

Architect: Rositch Hemphill Architects

Interior design: Polygon Interior Design Ltd.

Project size: 87 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, some with flex rooms

Unit size: approx. 755 — 1,543 sq. ft.

Price: two-beds from $668,000

Sales centre: 5551 Admiral Way, Delta

Hours: By appointment

Telephone: 604-228-8530

Website: [email protected]

When the Polygon development group set about designing the homes at its Pilothouse apartment project in the master-planned Hampton Cove community, it had one main buyer group in mind: the downsizer.

And those individuals are reflected in a number of ways in the boutique 87-unit, three-level, riverfront building, now under construction in Ladner.

The project, the only apartment building in what is primarily a townhome community, reflects a keen awareness of the individuals who will likely be relocating from single-family homes — and in possession of a good number of belongings.

To that end, the homes, most of which have two bedrooms, have ample storage. Many will have laundry rooms with sinks, and some bedrooms will have not only a walk-in closet, but a secondary closet as well.

Then there are the kitchens, with their enormous islands and ceiling-height cabinets.

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“We spent a lot of time designing these kitchens,” says Goldie Alam, Polygon’s senior vice-president of marketing.

“Most of the kitchens have huge, generous islands. We did a bit of research and found that was very important to people, especially when they’re downsizing.

“They have so much kitchen stuff, and they want the space they’re used to having. They’re used to entertaining, cooking and hosting friends.”

On display at the Pilothouse sales centre is such a kitchen, which includes shelving in the island — perfect for storing cookbooks or displaying knick-knacks — and a wine fridge, an optional upgrade. The decorative hood fan, which fronts a full-height tile backsplash, is also an upgrade. “If you don’t want that, you have cabinets and a built-in hood fan,” Alam notes.

Bruce Kaduhr no doubt typifies the type of buyer who will call Pilothouse home.

In 2000, Kaduhr built a 4,850-square-foot home on an acre of property in Surrey he’d lived on for 51 years, and is now poised to move into a ground-level unit at Pilothouse.

He says he never thought he would move — that is, until wife Patti showed him the Pilothouse display.

“I was sold,” says Kaduhr, who is semi retired from his work in the movie industry. “We are world travellers, so love the idea of moving into a luxurious two-bedroom-and-den apartment facing the Fraser River (where we) can enjoy the sunset each night from our wrap-around balcony.”

Some 21 of the Pilothouse homes have been sold, with occupancy expected in mid to late 2020. “That’s a good time for people if they’re planning to downsize,” Alam says. “They have time to sell their house and get their ducks in a row to move here.”

Pilothouse, the second-to-last phase at Hampton Cove — a final townhome component is still to come, bringing the total number of residences to about 600 — will have plenty of green space at its doorstep, and be fronted by the 16-kilometre Millennium Trail and a marina. Adjacent to the building will be a small commercial space, which may be home to a pub.

Like the other homes at Hampton Cove, Pilothouse will reflect what Polygon calls “iconic seaside architecture”, with touches that include board and batten siding, stone detailing and cedar shingles. Exteriors colours will be soft blues, beiges and greys — hues that provide what Alam calls “a seaside-y feel” — while white accents and decorative cross bracing on the balconies enhance the charm.

The spacious decks will have gas outlets for barbecues or heaters, making them ideal for entertaining.

Inside, buyers have a choice of two colour palettes: Moonlight and Sunlight. Four different sets of plans are on offer for the residences, which will have overheight ceilings and engineered hardwood flooring throughout the main living areas.

Kitchens will be fitted with engineered stone countertops, soft-close hardware on doors and cabinets, undermount stainless steel double sinks and recessed pot lighting.

Master ensuites will have showers with frameless glass doors and integrated seating. All bathrooms will have engineered stone counters, flat-panel cabinetry and porcelain tile flooring.

Residents of Pilothouse will find themselves within strolling distance to a golf course, a jaunt from the character shops, services and eateries in Ladner and a short drive from the myriad amenities at Tsawwassen Mills and Tsawwassen Commons.

While at home, however, they’ll no doubt want to make use of the 12,000-square-foot Hampton Club, an amenity centre with an outdoor pool and hot tub, enormous great room, children’s play area, fitness centre, gymnasium and guest suites.

 “Sometimes,” Alam says, “it takes a while for that sense of community to build, but here, that’s not the case. You walk in there (to the Hampton Club) and you feel like you are walking into a resort — except everyone knows each other.”

She says the project is attracting attention from people in South Delta and beyond — “there are a lot of people looking to downside in the area” — and says there’s become something of an inter-generational aspect to some of the residency at Hampton Cove.

“Perhaps they (the downsizers) have had kids who moved into a townhome, so they’ve got their kids and their grandkids right here in the neighbourhood.

“And vice-versa, we see people coming here to look at the townhomes who get excited and think ‘oh, my parents could move here too.’ There’s a lot of talk about that.”

Bruce Kaduhr, meantime, appreciates the proximity to the marina, given that he has a boat, and says he and Patti are already enjoying their walks in the area.

“We have fallen in love with the small-town feel of Ladner, a town that provides all of the amenities,” he says. “Can’t wait to move in.”

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

Certification offers brokers territorial exclusivity

Friday, August 30th, 2019

Smith Manoeuvre an exclusive network for consumers

Neil Sharma
Mortgage Broker News

A new certification for financial professionals that comes with territorial rights is being touted as a way to help mortgage brokers boost their bottom lines and blow competition out of the water.

Robinson Smith, son of the late Fraser Smith who created the Smith Manoeuvre, will soon launch an exclusive network that uses the strategy to help consumers with their homeownership needs from start to finish. The Smith Manoeuvre converts non-deductible mortgage interest into the deductible interest of an investment loan. By financing into a readvanceable mortgage, homeowners can reaccess equity created by their regular mortgage payments.

After homeowners take the Smith Manoeuvre Homeowner Course, they can seek out financial professionals—which, in addition to mortgage brokers, include realtors, conveyancers, insurance agents, wealth advisors and accountants—who have completed the Smith Manoeuvre Certified Professional Accreditation Program.

Smith told that there will be one professional in each field for roughly every 50,000 people—“So for a city like Victoria with just over 100,000 people, there will be only three Smith Manoeuvre-certified professional mortgage brokers —but because of the network’s exclusivity, each professional will be carefully vetted to ensure the cream always rises to the top.

“The nice thing about this for mortgage brokers is they don’t have to compete on interest rate anymore, which is really of secondary interest to the homeowners because what they need is the right mortgage,” said Smith. “Over the past few years, lenders’ retention agents have been calling the mortgage holder earlier and earlier before maturity looking to bring the client back over to the lender, and the broker will lose the client. But now the client will know that the call centre agent isn’t privy to the Smith Manoeuvre strategy and will stay with the mortgage broker. A lot of loyalty will be generated through this program.”

Smith noted a mortgage broker is Sidney, British Columbia has been closing $8-12 million a month without having to seek out new clients or cold calling.

“It’s a way to avoid buying down interest rates to attract clients. That’s a race to the bottom and detrimental to brokers’ income and professional credibility,” continued Smith. “But that could be greatly mitigated when you implement a financial strategy someone has come to you to help them with. You’re the local expert in your area.”

Indeed, mortgage brokers are a dime a dozen and often have trouble distinguishing themselves in the eyes of the public. Where many relentlessly advertise dogged abilities to find the lowest interest rates on the market, SMCP brokers can break away from the fray.

“I want to build, in any given town or city, little modules of certified professionals who give full service in all aspects of the strategy,” said Smith. “Mortgage brokers will send clients to certified advisors, insurance agents and accountants to ensure every aspect of the strategy—taxation, investment, financing—is nice and tidy and part of a full-service regional package. Territorial exclusivity minimizes the number of brokers, giving them a leg up on the competition.”

The Smith Manoeuvre team will handle marketing and branding, he added.

The program is slated to launch in the next month and will coincide with the release of a new book, Master Your Mortgage for Financial Freedom.

Copyright © 2019 Key Medi

Price growth in Vancouver’s condo sector relaxes slightly

Friday, August 30th, 2019

Downward movement in condo prices hopeful for buyers

Ephraim Vecina

The recent downward movement in Vancouver’s condo prices was enough to give a slightly higher proportion of hopeful buyers access to the property type, according to Royal LePage.

“With a deceleration in Vancouver’s condo market, buyers for the first time in several years can benefit from the changing landscape. Higher inventory levels have resulted in the market nearing the point of oversupply and price per square foot has been decreasing considerably in this category,” Royal LePage West Real Estate Services real estate advisor Adil Dinani said.

From January to July this year, the median price of a condo unit in the City of Vancouver crawled back by 6.3% annually, down to $1,044 per square foot. During the same time frame, the Greater Vancouver region also saw its median condo price decline by 8.3% to $764 per sq. ft.

Despite these drops, however, Greater Vancouver remains Canada’s most expensive condo market – especially when compared with other asset classes.

Although condo affordability is more feasible in the City of Vancouver, where single-family homes were at $1,279 per sq. ft., the overall trend in the region is that a unit is more expensive than the average singe detached property ($648 per sq. ft.).

“We are also seeing a trend of buyers moving beyond the city core and closer to the transit corridor where properties are more affordable,” Dinani stated.

“We predict condo buyers in the coming year will continue moving east where properties are more affordable, especially while interest rates remain low,” he added. “In addition to better affordability, many neighbourhoods in Burnaby, the Tri-Cities and the Valley are developing attractive necessities that were previously only available in Vancouver.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Immigration patterns create crises throughout Ontario

Friday, August 30th, 2019

Disproportionate population distribution is causing economic and fiscal crises

Neil Sharma
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Disproportionate population distribution is causing economic and fiscal crises throughout Ontario, including in the Greater Toronto Area.

The GTA is home to 45% of Ontario’s population, yet received 77% of the province’s immigrants last year, which The Conference Board of Canada warns is overburdening the region’s infrastructure while leaving other census metropolitan areas looking skeletal.

The challenge, says Pedro Antunes, chief economist at The Conference Board of Canada—which released a report entitled Immigration Beyond the GTA: Toward an Ontario Immigration Strategy—has been convincing immigrants to choose some of these CMAs, many of which even have buoyant labour prospects.

“Toronto has diasporas that are much more attractive to new immigrants because they have local contacts and family that allow them to integrate into that market, so they favour the GTA more than other regions,” he said. “The reason to regionalize immigration is the demographical challenge all Ontario municipalities are facing with respect to population growth: In some CMAs, we see negative population growth. More importantly, it’s a challenge to grow their labour forces, and baby boomers are leaving the workforce and coming into their older years where they need more health care.”

Last year, 106,000 immigrants chose the GTA while the rest of the province received a paltry 31,000.

“Ontario’s smaller CMAs outside of the GTA have been trying to attract more international immigrants for a decade without much success,” said Antunes. “In fact, their share has dropped.”

The current trend line bodes badly for the entire province, but especially for the GTA because quality of life will quickly diminish. Housing demand has vastly outpaced supply, resulting is rapid price escalation in the GTA, Canada’s largest CMA, and the Conference Board of Canada cautions curtailment is imperative.

“We need to inform immigrants that Ontario is a big province with lots of opportunities and labour markets outside of Toronto,” said Antunes. “Unemployment rates for immigrants are lower outside of the GTA. The most critical issues in order are employment, cost of living, quality of life and housing affordability.”

That sentiment is echoed by Claude Boiron, who’s concerned immigrants’ quality of life will suffer the most in the GTA.
“Many immigrants have the mentality that they are willing to suffer initially for a better life, but my concern is the amount of immigrants coming to the GTA will remain the same, yet their living standards will worsen,” said the real estate broker, author, university instructor and founder of Boiron Group. “It will become increasingly normal to put up with smaller and smaller living and working environments that deteriorate in safety and sanitation.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

The Top 6 Things That Will Impact Fall Real Estate in Canada

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

2019’s fall home buying trends are looking pretty surprising.

Kara Kuryllowicz

Back to school and off to work! The post-labour day time usually coincides with supply shopping  and settling in after relaxing summer vibes – but it also tends to kick off Canada’s fall real estate markets, with home buyers and homeowners looking ahead to their next steps. 

However, before they make a move, buyers and sellers should get up to speed on the factors that will affect this year’s real estate landscape, ranging from the predictable to the truly surprising. Without further ado, here are the top six things that will impact Canada’s fall real estate season.  

  1. Fixed Mortgage Rates Currently hovering around 3%, an all-time low with further decreases anticipated, fall demand will be high in many parts of Canada as consumers do everything they can to take advantage of these rates. 


  1. Federal Election on October 21 Whether or not it’s warranted, elections create a real sense of insecurity and uncertainty. As a result, many consumers decide to delay real estate purchases until they know if the incoming government will modify or even cancel any of the programs and regulations affecting real estate sales and purchases. “In the lead-up to the election – that means more choice and better value for buyers that actively pursue real estate in September and October,” said Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada, whose office is based in Kelowna, B.C. Historically, federal elections dampen real estate demand, so sellers that want to maximize exposure and opportunities for their properties should likely list their homes after October 21. 


  1. Size May Not Always Matter Everyone has a budget, and consumers can expect to pay more in Canada’s biggest, costliest cities: Namely, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.  While some Canadians can afford the premium locations that come with square footage and put them close to work, shopping, green space, and more, they’re far from the majority. As a result, many urbanites with smaller budgets may compromise with a much smaller midtown or downtown condo, while others will drive or ride transit to work to get single-family home in the suburbs and outlying communities. “People are paying more attention to how far they’ll have to commute to work because fuel prices are up and we’re all more aware of climate change and our role in it,” says Ash. 


  1. Towns and Small(er) Cities  Think outside the downtown box. Areas like Ottawa, London and Windsor in Ontario; Halifax, Sydney and Truro in Nova Scotia; and Moncton, St. John and Fredericton in New Brunswick can make sense on multiple levels. With greater job mobility and the ability to work remotely, more people are open to fresh starts in less traditional places. After all, you get more home for your money and what some consider a far more balanced, less frenetic lifestyle.  “Homebuyers that want access to the Greater Toronto Area appreciate smaller, but still vibrant cities like Ottawa, London and Windsor, which are more affordable than Kitchener-Waterloo,” says Christopher Alexander, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX of Ontario-Atlantic Canada, Mississauga, Ont. “They have excellent infrastructure and amenities as well as road and train access to Toronto and Detroit, a major port and cultural center whose recent improvements have heightened its appeal.”


  1. Hyper-Local Real-Estate Markets Ask seasoned realtors about fall market trends and chances are they’ll hesitate, ponder and then hem and haw. Why? More than ever before, markets are hyper-local with trends as well as supply and demand varying significantly city to city and province to province. As a result, savvy buyers and sellers will get super local when researching markets to ensure they have the information and insight they need to make good decisions. Figure out which specific neighbourhood appeals to you, then talk to a realtor about what’s new in places like Toronto’s Leslieville, Montreal’s Outremont, Vancouver’s Kitsilano, Calgary’s Beltline or Halifax’s Westmount.  “Do your homework locally! Look at what’s happening in the specific city and as importantly, the neighbourhood you want to make your own,” says Ash. “Look for real estate agents that really specialize and know specific niches and neighbourhoods firsthand.”  


  1. Vacation Homes for All Ages Every urban centre, from Vancouver to Montreal and everywhere in between, is experiencing somewhat of an exodus as residents opt for a seasonal, weekend pied-a-terre and a place to retire with leisure opportunities, a slower pace and spectacular views. Homes in these recreational communities certainly aren’t cheap but they’re more affordable than urban equivalents with multiple lifestyle benefits. That’s a dream Canadians are starting to make a reality sooner than later.   

Now you’re up to date on Canada’s top fall home trends – let the fall markets begin, and good luck buying and/or selling!

© 2019 REW. A Division of Glacier Media

Condo prices rise in 3 of largest housing markets

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Vancouver condo prices dropped

Geraldine Grones
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Condo prices rose in three of the five largest Canadian housing markets on a year-over-year basis, according to a Royal LePage report released on Wednesday.

The median price per square foot of condos sold in Greater Ottawa appreciated the fastest, rising by 17.9% to $395. Greater Montreal Area followed, increasing by 10.3% to $362. Greater Toronto Area came in third with an increase of 9.1% to $743.

In contrast, condo price per square foot dropped the most in Greater Vancouver, falling by 8.3% to $764, while Greater Calgary experienced a decline of 6.7% to $313.

“In Canada’s largest cities, many younger buyers searching for affordability and baby boomers looking for maintenance-free living purchase condominiums,” said Phil Soper, Royal LePage’s president and CEO. “Not surprisingly, that strong demand has pushed up price per square foot, with the exception of Vancouver and Calgary. Buyers are adapting by purchasing smaller units, especially among those looking for entry-level properties.”

Across all markets studied, except the city of Vancouver, the median price per square foot for condos is higher than single-family detached homes.

“While condo units are smaller, they are the present and future of our communities,” Soper said. “With more development opportunities, they can meet both the growing need for housing and lifestyle expectations of homebuyers.”

Copyright © 1996-2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Condo Smarts: Collective purchasing a perk to strata living

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Collective purchasing a perk to strata living

Tony Gioventu
The Province

Dear Tony: We live in a townhouse complex in Langley. There are 38 units in our development and we are oriented in duplexes, so 19 buildings. Each of our units was constructed with a heat pump that is located in between each of the duplexes beside the garages.

Our building is now at the age where our heat pumps are due for maintenance or replacement and there is a significant division over who pays. The council has insisted each unit is responsible for its own heat pump as it only serves their unit. The strata corporation has obtained an opinion that advises each owner is responsible for their heat pump because it is located on limited common property for the sole use of each unit, and many elderly owners, with the support of our property manager, insist the strata was responsible for the heat pumps as they were on the outside of the units.

Who’s correct? 

Dorothy G.

Dear Dorothy: When it comes to air conditioners, where they are located, how the location is designated, who has the use of the component, how they were installed, who installed them, when they were installed and the bylaws of the strata corporation, there is a potential for any possible answer.

In your situation, gather all the documents that will help determine the outcome. You will require a copy of the Strata Property Act, your registered strata plan and any registered bylaw amendments your strata corporation has adopted and filed in the Land Title Registry. 

On your registered strata plan, the heat pump locations are shown on land that is limited common property assigned to each strata lot. It is important to understand that this designation does not necessarily make the air conditioners the responsibility of each owner as the air conditioner itself is not defined on the plan, only the parcel of land it is sitting on.

Our next step is to look at your bylaws. Your bylaws, similar to the Standard Bylaws of the Act only require owners to maintain and repair limited common property for events that occur once a year or more frequently — in simple terms, cleaning the site and snow removal. 

Your bylaws require the strata corporation to maintain and repair limited common property for all those items that occur less than once a year. This would include the repair and replacement of the heat pumps.

Your strata manager and owners were essentially correct. Because they are outside of the strata lot is partly correct,because of the property designation.

One of the major benefits of living in multi-family developments is the savings of collective purchasing. If each owner is required to call in a service technician for maintenance or repair, they pay the cost of the call and individual servicing for each call. It is much more economical for the strata corporation to negotiate a single-service agreement with a local heating company to routinely inspect and maintain the heat pumps and negotiate renewals. It will ensure the systems operate dependably, they operate quieter and ultimately consume less energy to function. The bulk savings is a cost benefit to all strata lot owners and the asset of the strata corporation is well maintained.

In a situation where the air conditioners were installed by an owner with the permission of the strata corporation as an alteration to a strata lot, the strata corporation would also want copies of any alteration agreements and a history of how the air conditioners may have been installed and maintained. 

Incorrectly installed air conditioners into window or wall openings are often the source of water ingress and pest infestations. These installations also become a focus on future disputes when owners sell their strata lots as there is often confusion over the responsibility of subsequent owners. Whenever a strata community is addressing these types of disputes, start with the information. No one knows the answer until you know all the facts.

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

Price mania in Vancouver is showing no signs of stopping

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Vancouver rental price going through the roof

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Vancouver’s home price madness does not appear to be cooling down any time soon, with one of the most outrageous recent examples being a $2,850/month “affordable” rental suite in the West End.

In a piece for the Vancouver Sun, columnist and markets observer Dan Fumano noted that a recent Craigslist entry advertised a three-bedroom rental home supposedly aimed at “low-income” families.

The asking rent rate for the property indicated otherwise, as it would have been affordable only for tenants who have incomes roughly two times larger than the market average.

Said listing was removed early last week, amid frank astonishment from a local market already labouring under exorbitant housing costs.

Danny Laufer, who previously occupied the unit for seven years with his wife and two children, expressed hope for a new local owner after moving out in early 2019.

Upon learning of the absurd price, he expressed his dismay to the mayor and every other significant local official, including the BC Housing Minister.

In his letter, Laufer wrote that Vancouver’s current situation is unsustainable, “taking away precious family housing that exists, and replacing it with market rate housing that is not geared to families.”

“I just don’t get it,” he told Fumano. “Everybody on council now ran on the platform of housing … What’s going on?”

Making matters worse is that the ad came out around the same time the city announced new projects for lower-income families.

“That housing is still a few years out [from being constructed and occupied], and in the meantime, you’re going to deplete the stock of non-market housing? It’s un-freaking-believable,” resident Judy Graves told Fumano.

Known as Vancouver’s leading advocate for the homeless, Graves previously worked for the city government for more than 30 years.

“There’s definitely been a policy shift, but I don’t know if council was informed of that policy shift,” she added. “I think most people who are on the current council would understand immediately the amount of outrage that will be experienced by people in Vancouver, when they realize they paid for social housing that is now being rented out for top dollar, and families are being screwed.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Remember vendor take-back mortgages?

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

Vendor take-back mortgages were fairly popular in Canada 25 to 30 years ago

Neil Sharma
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Vendor take-back mortgages were fairly popular in Canada 25 to 30 years ago when interest rates were stratospheric compared to where they are today.

While seemingly a relic, could vendor tack-back mortgages make a comeback in the residential real estate market now that B-20 has made mortgage qualification a nightmare for many would-be buyers?

“B-20 could definitely make vendor tack-back mortgages more attractive,” said Tim Syrianos, broker-owner of REMAX Ultimate Realty in Toronto. “If people have the qualifications necessary other than 200 extra basis points, that is.

“The seller could benefit by having the vendor take-back mortgage because they earn interest on money lenders don’t offer and it’s a more secure environment because it’s against real estate.”

While Syrianos acknowledged vendor tack-back mortgages could function as a solution to B-20, he does not expect they will resurface in the residential real estate market anytime soon. The growth of private lenders and mortgage investment corporations are a big reason. The other is reason is sellers usually need the money they earn from selling their homes to purchase new ones.

“They’re not as commonplace in the market today because people need money to purchase their own homes, but if they exit the market completely it’s possible,” said Syrianos. “If you sell your property and you have this equity on hand and you’re unsure of what to do with it, you may look to invest it with a mortgage company or lender.”

In the ‘80s and ‘90s when interest rates were well over 10%, vendor take-back mortgages were very common, he added.

“In the early 1980s when interest rates were as high as 19% and 20% you’d see them more. Even when interest rates were as high as 15% in the early ‘90s you’d see them.”

But according to Dustan Woodhouse, president of Mortgage Architects, while vendor take-back mortgages represent less than 1% of the traditional residential real estate market, they make quite a bit of sense in the commercial sector.

“With exceptions being unique or difficult-to-finance properties such as boat access-only properties, rural mobiles, rural acreage or even boat access mobile on acreage,” he said. “Where there’s likely more vendor take-back activity is on the commercial side where the rate of return is a bit more attractive for the investor and where an operating business may also be part of the transaction, such as the entire mobile home park, or a small manufacturing facility.”

Whether or not vendor take-back mortgages ever return to the residential market remains to be seen, but don’t be surprised if they do indeed return one day.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

New report reveals Canada’s most affordable markets

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019

A Royal LePage report reveals Montreal and Ottawa most attractive real estate markets

Neil Sharma
Mortgage Broker News

A Royal LePage report on Canadian condo prices by the square foot reveals Montreal and Ottawa remain among the country’s most attractive real estate markets.

“We’ve seen a continuous slowing in the rate of appreciation. Prices have continued to rise in Montreal, but right through 2019 we’ve seen the rate at which prices are going up begin to slow,” said Phil Soper, Royal LePage’s president and CEO. “Pent up opportunity that existed in Montreal has been taken advantage of, and as a city it sat on the sidelines for a good six years while the other big cities in the country had expanding real estate markets. It didn’t get in on the party until the latter half of this decade.”

According to the Royal LePage report, the median price per square foot for a Montreal condo through the first seven months of the year rose 7.9% year-over-year to $433. The price per square foot of a single-family detached home in Montreal increased 6.9% during that same span to reach $313. The aggregate price per square foot in Montreal proper and the Greater Montreal Area jumped 8.3% and 5.9% to $357 and $286, respectively.

In Ottawa, the median price per square foot of a condo surged a whopping 17.9% year-over-year to $395, while the median price per square foot of a single-family Ottawa home increased 8.5% to reach $265.

“Ottawa, for the most part, missed the market correction driven by the B-20 regulations, so they slowed but they never backed up the way Toronto and Vancouver did, and I think the base reasons are affordability—people found they could continue meeting the new stress test regulations given the lower entry price of property,” continued Soper.

“It’s a goldilocks market that doesn’t have the peaks and valleys you see in bigger cities, so there was no overshooting of price like there was in Toronto and Vancouver between 2014 and 2016.”

Through the end of July, Greater Vancouver condos saw the steepest year-over-year decline of any major Canadian market, as the price per square foot fell 8.3% to $764. In the City of Vancouver, the median price per square foot also fell, but only 6.3% to a still-exorbitant $1,044.

“The Vancouver issue was a perfect storm of regulatory intervention, meaning municipal, provincial and federal regulations were all raining down on an already twitching market,” said Soper. “It weighed heavily on consumers, developers and foreign investors. Everybody was pushed to the sidelines. It’s the most expensive market, which saw the highest appreciation in the run up to the middle of the decade.”

British Columbia is an interesting case study, added Soper. Economic prospects are auspicious with low unemployment and high business investment relative to GDP percentage—Soper points to the money flowing into LNG development in Kitimat, as an example. However, the homeownership rate in Vancouver is the lowest in Canada.

“It’s affordability-driven. It’s still much higher than in cities like San Francisco and New York, but low by Canadian standards. It’s an expensive city to live in; it has really expensive real property. The place is improving with development of new commercial and residential projects.”

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