Archive for November, 2020

Developers aim an innovative way to a pandemic proof homes

Friday, November 27th, 2020

Builders aim to pandemic-proof new homes

Frank O’Brien
Western Investor

Landmark: designs for “the new normal.” | Submitted

Vancouver developer Qualex-Landmark is among the first to implement a number of measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in two new residential projects, part of a trend that is gaining traction across North America.

“Just as the Spanish flu gave us the vanity room, which originated as a hand-washing basin immediately inside the front entry of a home, COVID-19 will influence innovation in home design,” Chris Marlin, president of Lennar International, one of the largest U.S. home builders, wrote in a recent report to a World Economic Forum COVID-19 action platform.

The modifications to new home design include variations in open floor plans, changes to ventilation systems, touchless technology and the use of antimicrobial metals, such as bronze, copper and brass, for touchpoints, he noted.

Some older designs that added work space in condos could also be revised, Beedie Living’s executive vice-president Houtan Rafii told Business in Vancouver.

Homes used to be built with small alcoves that included built-in tables large enough for computers, he said. The alcoves fell out of favour when technology enabled people to easily move around with their laptops, and Rafii thinks that they could make a comeback.

Qualex-Landmark, which plans to start about 300 units of housing in Metro Vancouver in 2021, will introduce extensive pandemic-proofing designs in a high-end 48-unit strata development in Vancouver and a mixed subsidized rental and market condo project it will build in Burnaby’s Metrotown, according to Jordan Beach, the company’s vice-president of marketing.

“At the Legacy on Dunbar, we have introduced a number of measures to reflect the new world we live in,” Beach said.

These included moving the two elevators for the five-storey project from inside to the north and south exterior of the building to reduce resident congestion. Most of the building amenities were move outside as well, including an open-air roof top lounge.

The ventilation system was changed to individual filtered systems for each unit to reduce the use of recycled air throughout the project. The common areas are also equipped with specific air exchangers that draw and exhaust directly to the outside, Beach explained.

In the Burnaby project, touchless entry doors and touchless faucets will be used and touchpoints in common areas, such as a children’s playroom, will be coated with antimicrobial material. Floors and countertop will use non-porous materials that allow for easy sanitization, he added. Sanitize stations are being custom-built into walls in the lobby, and Qaulex-Landmark is also looking at voice-activated smart appliances, which are widely available.

“These are all cost-effective procedures to put in place,” he said, referring to automatic doors or using ultraviolet light to sterilize ventilation systems. “It is quite shocking how little they do cost. It actually makes the home more marketable and it doesn’t cost the consumer or developer anything additional,” Beach said.

Lennar suggested that open floor plans, which are quite popular in new homes, could change in a pandemic-conscious world, because they are suspected of helping spread infections, and make it harder for people to quietly work at home.

But Beach believes open-floor designs will remain, especially in smaller condos, but he suggested they will become more flexible in larger new homes, with sliding doors that allow spaces to be divided.

Beach believes that, like the powder room, anti-virus designs will become more common in new homes, even if a vaccine ends the current pandemic.

“I think that, going forward, sanitization measures will become huge in new homes, as well as in furniture and appliance design. The pandemic has changed the way people think. This is the new normal,” Beach said.


Copyright © Western Investor

Concord Towers-1,014 units located in 10547 City Parkway and 13468 105A Avenue, Surrey

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

Concord to build 1,014 condos in two Surrey towers

Graeme Wood
The Vancouver Sun

Surrey’s downtown core is expanding with approval of two residential skyscrapers built by developer Concord Pacific and comprising 1,014 units.

Surrey City Council rezoned a parcel of land south of City Hall on November 24, with the effect of more than doubling the previously approved density for the area.

The development, like many others that have received bonus amendments to the Official Community Plan this year, drew criticism from some residents at the virtual council meeting.

“Somehow there’s got to be cumulative data on what these developments are bringing to current taxpayers,” said Ramona Kaptyn.

The towers will overshadow a local park, including the BC Lions facility, between the Surrey Central and Gateway SkyTrain stations.

Concord will provide amenity space for the new residents, such as pools and a fitness centre, plus a green roof. And it will also pay the city $1,000 per unit toward the community amenity fund, as well as $1,000 per unit for the city’s affordable housing reserve.

As a result of the added density, Concord will also be charged $20 per square foot of bonus living space. The development report to council indicates Concord is receiving a 255,807-square-foot bonus, which would result in a $5.12 million payment.

However, largely at issue is how the city is planning to accommodate school-age children.

The Concord towers will house 374 two-bedroom units; 30 two-bedroom-plus den units; and 30 three-bedroom units. City officials in conjunction with the Surrey School Board anticipate 25 elementary school children and 10 secondary school children living in the complex.

Nevertheless, residents suggest officials are underestimating how many kids will be living in these new towers. In the past year the same question has been raised on a number of occasions.

“I have to admit it does sound quite odd when there are 173 units and just six students identified,” said Coun. Brenda Locke, speaking to another development that was approved Monday and with similar child-to-unit ratios.

Prompted by Locke’s comment, general manager of planning and development Jean Lamontage said the number is “calculated with a number of factors.

“So the school district will look at similar building within the area that are in existence with people living in it,” Lamontage said. “And they know exactly how many kids are in school from those buildings from their statistics and enrolment.

The provincial government pays for new schools. Cities collect fees from new developments, but these fees are relatively meagre, as they are outdated, having not been adjusted in 20 years.

Minister of Education Rob Fleming told Glacier Media last March he is looking at raising the fees to pay for new schools, particularly in growing municipalities such as Surrey.

Known as a School Site Acquisition Charge, these legislated fees are intended for new developments to pay, in part, for new schools. A new house is presently charged $1,000; a townhouse is charged $800 and a new condo unit is charged $600. Buyers of these new homes pay these fees.

The Concord development will result in $614,400 for new school spaces.


Copyright © Western Investor

Analyst foresee about home prices could drop , pre-pandemic normal

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

New analysis says GTA home prices could drop by as much as 26%

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

A potential housing supply shock might send Canadian home prices plunging by up as much as 11% on average, according to equity think-tank Veritas Investment Research.

In a note to institutional clients, Veritas cautioned that inventory might surge once the nation’s remaining mortgage deferrals expire and spending behaviour veers ever closer to the pre-pandemic normal. This is assuming that 5% to 15% of homeowners with deferrals turn into sellers.

At present, approximately 297,000 mortgages with the country’s largest banks remained in some state of deferral as of September 30, according to the Canadian Bankers Association.

September saw the return of 498,000 mortgages to regular payments, accounting for roughly 63% of the total deferred volume during the pandemic. However, 5.97% of mortgages at the CBA’s member institutions were still on payment deferral that month.

Overall, the potential price decline might be anywhere between 4% and 11% on average, excluding additional supply that is already in the process of being built “and is often flipped back into resale markets,” real estate information portal Better Dwelling said.

Of the major urban markets, Toronto is expected to suffer the largest price drops, which may be anywhere between 15% and 26% on average. Veritas also projected prices in Vancouver to post declines between 10% and 17%.

“The firm expects this price movement around six months after the inventory increase,” Better Dwelling said. “The timeline puts it fairly close to when the CMHC has been forecasting. The forecast is a little more aggressive than those of banks and other vested interests. However, it’s similar to what other institutional risk advisory firms have forecasted.”


Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Federal government accepting applications for Commercial Relief Program

Monday, November 23rd, 2020

Applications open for fed?s new commercial rent relief program

WI Staff
Western Investor

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Surrey City New development update for the month of November

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

November City Centre?Update



The November issue of the City Centre Monthly Update is now out at This month’s newsletter includes a round-up of new Development Applications, Council Approvals, and Construction activity during the previous month.


New Development Applications

20-0233 (Center Block)

View from Civic Plaza of the initial phase of Centre Block – 14 + 35-Storey Office & Retail

A preliminary Rezoning and General Development Permit application has been submitted for the first phase of the much anticipated redevelopment of the North Surrey Recreation Centre site, known as ‘Center Block.’ The applicant, Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC), is proposing 1,446,088 sq.ft. of office and commercial space, next to Civic Plaza and Surrey Central Station as part of this initial phase, which will include 2 office buildings at 14 & 35-Storeys, with retail at grade. The current application is for rezoning and master plan approval only. Separate applications will be submitted in the future for each building / phase.

The Center Block project plans to transform the city’s core with a number of new office towers, an expanded SFU campus, retail, and a new transit plaza integrated with a revamped Surrey Central Station, expected to be built over the coming decade.


20-0244 (9525 King George Blvd)


This application replaces a previously approved Seniors Living & Care Facility project known as ‘Innovation Boulevard’ originally planned for a site across from Surrey Memorial Hospital. Since failing to attract investment in that project since its approval in 2016, WestStone Group has now submitted a new application for the site. The new application is proposing a mixed-use residential, office, and retail development, which is to include 920 residential units, and 10,841 sq.ft. of commercial space.


Council Approvals

18-0443 (13245 104 Ave)


13-Storey Rental Apartment at 13245 104 Ave

This mixed rental and market residential project at 13245 104 Avenue received 3rd Reading (Conditional Approval) in October 2020. The current application included a detailed Development Permit for just Phase 1 of the project, which will include a 13-storey rental apartment building (115 Units) on the north portion of the site. Phase 2, subject to a future detailed Development Permit application, is to include a 16-storey market residential building, containing 157 units, on the south portion of the site fronting 104 Avenue.

The site is adjacent to, and will eventually become integrated, with a similar application to the east, which received Conditional Approval in September 2020 for a 21-storey rental and 26-storey market residential project.


Master Plan for adjacent rental & market residential projects at 13245 & 13264 104 Ave


19-0105 (The Holland 2)

The Holland 2 – 32-Storey Market Residential

The second phase of Townline Homes ‘The Holland’ project received Conditional Approval in October 2020. This phase will include a 32-storey market residential tower consisting of 308 units at 13333 Old Yale Rd. The first phase of the project, consisting of a 25-storey market residential tower, began construction in September 2020.



The month of October 2020 saw continued construction on 15 major projects within City Centre, including 15 high-rise towers (>6 Storeys) and 4 low-rises (6-storeys or less) representing:

  • 5,190 Residential Units
  • 312,179 Sq.ft. of Office Space
  • 164,220 sq.ft. of Retail

A 6-storey residential project at Fraser Hwy and 140 Street known as Fraser Landmark completed in October 2020.


Fraser Landmark at Fraser Hwy & 140 St completed construction in October 2020

Construction progress at King George Hub (Phase B)

King George Hub (Phase C) – 34-Storey Rental Apartments

Linea – 28-Storey Market Residential nearing completion at 133 St & 104 Ave

City Centre 3 – 10-Storey Office across from Surrey Memorial

Georgetown One – 30-Storey Residential & Retail at 102 Ave & Whalley Blvd

One Central – 44-Storey Residential under construction in West Village



Copyright © UrbanSurrey

Housing Market remains optimistic amidst pandemic

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

October?s Housing Marketing Snapshot: The Numbers Aren?t Slowing Down


October was another busy month for Canadian home buyers and sellers! Housing activity across the country continued to increase from September into October, begging the question: is this trend here to stay?


+32.1% Homesalesareup32.1%acros Canada,with 59,159 units sold in October 2020 compared to 4,782 inOctober2019.


+15.9% Newlistingsareup15.9%across Canada,with 76,015 new listings added in October 2020 compared to 65,580 in October 2019.

+15.2% The average price of homes sold across Canada in October 2020 was $607,250, up 15.2% from $526,901 in October 2019.


CREA cautions that the average residential price is a useful figure only for establishing trends and comparisons over a period of time. It does not indicate an actual price for a home due to the wide selection of housing available over the vast geographic area of the country.
The trademarksMLS®, MultipleListingService®, and the associated logos are owned by The CanadianRealEstateAsociation(CREA) and identify the qualityofservicesprovidedbyrealestateprofesionalswhoaremembersofCREA.ThetrademarksREALTOR®, REALTORS®andtheREALTOR®logoare controlled by CREA and identify real estate professionals who a remember of CREA.

10 Multi family building in Vancouver posted for sale

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Large multi-family portfolios listed in Vancouver

Frank O?Brien
Western Investor

West 10th tower among 10-building portfolio for sale. | CBRE

For decades Vancouver had the highest rents and the lowest vacancy rates in Canada, creating a multi-family mega-market that turned small landlords into paper millionaires and attracted and entrenched some of the biggest players in the business.

But the pandemic has hardened anti-landlord legislation and honed the razor-thin margins in a city now characterized by soaring costs and restricted incomes.

B.C. rent increases have been frozen since March and are expected to remain locked until the end of 2021. The City of Vancouver has restricted multi-family renovations, outlawed demolitions of older apartment buildings and tethered development of market-rental housing.

With immigration to B.C. hitting negative levels – more people left the province for other countries than arrived in the first half of 2020 for the first time in history – Vancouver rents are declining while insurance premiums for apartment buildings have increased an average of 75 per cent, property taxes soar and capitalization rates have flatlined in the sub-3 per cent range.

This has resulted “in a dampening of enthusiasm to invest in the province’s biggest city,” according to Avison Young’s BC Multi-Family Report, released this October

It has also encouraged at least two of Vancouver’s largest, long-time landlords to shove substantial portfolios onto the market, part of what Mark Goodman of Goodman Commercial Inc. in Vancouver calls an “avalanche” of new listings. Goodman said that within a recent two-day period he heard from 12 apartment property owners who want to sell, and 11 of the buildings are in the city of Vancouver.

The largest package being marketed is a 10-building Vancouver concrete tower portfolio with 411 rentals in prime Vancouver neighbourhoods that Hollyburn Properties Ltd. put up for sale in October through a bid process. The portfolio represents about a third of Hollyburn’s multi-family buildings in the city, but less than 10 per cent of its total rental units in three provinces.

The Hollyburn buildings for sale are in the West End, South Granville and Kitsilano neighbourhoods. An example is the 14-unit University Manor on West 10th Avenue, which is assessed at $6 million, or the equivalent of approximately $428,000 per suite.

Hollyburn, founded in 1972 in West Vancouver, is a family business that manages and operates more than 90 rental apartment properties with approximately 5,700 suites in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa. The company owns 33 apartment buildings in Vancouver and four in West Vancouver.

Hollyburn did not reply to a Western Investor request for comment. Listing agent Lance Coulson, head of the apartment properties group with CBRE, Vancouver, said there “has been substantial interest” in what he calls a “legacy portfolio.”

Nearly a year ago, rental giant Belmont Properties, based in Vancouver for 45 years, offered a four-building portfolio of Vancouver concrete rental towers with a total of 188 units. Belmont owns seven apartment buildings in Vancouver and a total of 28 across Metro Vancouver and Victoria.

The typical per-door selling price for concrete rental buildings in Vancouver is around $490,000, based on rare recent sales.

Some see the increase in listings as a comment on the restrictive rental restrictions in Vancouver, but Coulson believes it reflects a pent-up release after markets stalled this spring due to the pandemic.

Others say they could be an early warning of a potential change in capital gains taxation early next year in the delayed federal budget.

Currently, 50 per cent of the profit on a multi-family property sale is exempt from taxes, but a federal government eyeing a record trillion-dollar debt could see a sudden hike in the capital gains tax as politically palatable and financially prudent, according to Goodman, who said there would be no forewarning that the tax is coming.

“A sudden hike in the tax could wipe out years, even decades, of price appreciation [for landlords]”, he warned in a recent Goodman Report newsletter


Copyright © Western Investor

Need to know about Land Owner Transparency Act

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

Land Owner Transparency Act

Tony Spagnuolo


Re: Land Owner Transparency Act


Good morning,


You are about to hear a lot more about the Land Owner Transparency Act (“LOTA”) and the Land Owner Transparency Register (“LOTR”) between now and Dec. 1, 2020. 


LOTR is a registry of interests in land (shareholders, beneficial interest owner of a trust, partners in a partnership), which registry will be a searchable and public database.  Whenever an interest in land is registered or created a transparency declaration must be filed so as to declare whether or not the transferee is a reporting body.  Reporting bodies include corporations, a trustee of a trust or a partner of a relevant partnership.  If the Buyer is a reporting body, it must disclose the following for each interest holder: 


• Full name, date of birth, SIN, tax number, location of principal residence and last known address;


• Date on which one became or ceased to be an interest holder and the nature of the individuals interest in the reporting body;


• Canadian citizen or PR of Canada, or neither. 


For most of our clients, who purchase properties in their personal names, this will not be an issue.  For any clients who wish to purchase in the name of a company, trust or partnership, this will add time and cost to their purchase.  If you have any such clients over the first week or two of December make sure they are aware of this. 


As of now this will begin on Nov. 30, 2020, so expect a flood of information to your inbox the next few weeks.  We will do our best to keep you informed as well.   Both Dick Chan and I are attending a course on Thursday, and once we receive further relevant information we may do a video or two.


That’s it for now, no doubt more to follow shortly. 


Tony Spagnuolo, Barrister & Solicitor

Spagnuolo & Company Lawyers

#300-906 Roderick Avenue

Coquitlam, BC V3K 1R1

Direct Phone: 604-777-7406

Fax: 604-527-8976

Need to know about Land Owner Transparency Act

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

Land Owner Transparency Act

Tony Spagnuolo

October marks a mild high side levels according to chief economist

Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

Statistics Canada releases October inflation report; levels held a ?mild high-side surprise?

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

The rising costs of home ownership significantly contributed to a 0.7% annual acceleration in inflation last month, according to Statistics Canada. October’s level almost doubled the 0.4% growth projected by Bloomberg-polled economists.
This movement came amid the greatest monthly increase in replacement costs for Canadian home owners, 1.4%, since 1991, Bloomberg reported. However, overall price pressures are still subdued as the second wave of COVID-19 infections gradually takes hold nationwide. The price index went up 0.4% monthly, with food and shelter costs accounting for much of the increase.

“October marks a mild high-side surprise for Canadian inflation,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at the Bank of Montreal. “But the big picture is that inflation remains below one per cent, and probably isn’t going far with the economy about to face some further near-term challenges amid renewed restrictions.” In its latest reiteration of its commitment to keep rates at record lows for the foreseeable future, the Bank of Canada said that prolonged economic recovery will require “extraordinary monetary policy support” that will likely last until “economic slack is absorbed so that the 2% inflation target is sustainably achieved.”

“We are committed to providing the monetary policy stimulus needed to support the recovery and achieve the inflation objective,” the bank said in its October 28 rate decision.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media