Archive for the ‘Real Estate Related’ Category

Luxia at Yorkson 7947 209 Street Langley 138 three bedroom townhomes by Isle of Mann and Pollyco Group

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Luxia at Yorkson a fit for its Langley neighbourhood

Kathleen Freimond
The Vancouver Sun

Luxia at Yorkson

Project address: 7947 209th Street

Project city: Langley

Developer: Isle of Mann and Pollyco Group

Architect: Barnett Dembek

Interior designer: Portico Design Group

Project size: 138 three-bedroom townhouses

Unit size: 1,443 to 1,897 square feet

Price: from $639,900

Construction: Construction is underway, with the first homes are estimated to be completed this fall

Sales centre: 180 — 20780 Willoughby Town Centre Drive, Langley

Sales centre hours: noon — 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs

Phone: 604-318-0328


As Langley’s Willoughby Town Centre continues to grow, Luxia at Yorkson, a new townhouse development in the area, will relate to those surroundings and contribute to the identity of the emerging neighborhood, says project architect Maciej Dembek of Barnett Dembek Architects.

“The townhouse units along the perimeter [of the site] are designed to create a pedestrian streetscape and relate to their surroundings. We want to be part of the new town centre and help create the identity of the area,” Dembek.

The 138 three-bedroom townhouse development will be built on a 5.44-acre site at 7947 – 209 Street. Situated at the top of a gradual crest, Luxia at Yorkson will allow residents to enjoy views of the North Shore mountains, Dembek adds.

The architectural style of the development is modern with West Coast-inspired building materials including wood features and soffits, plus red, blue and sage-green cementitious panels.

“The panels give a colour punch against the more neutral walls,” he adds.

Inside, Natalia Kwasnicki, interior designer at Portico Design Group, has created a warm, sophisticated look.

 “The design is contemporary with smooth finishes and bold woods, but also maintains [some] traditional influences like the tiling in the kitchen and main bathroom, keeping in tune with the location. It’s welcoming and inviting, but also very polished and clean,” she says.

Homebuyers can choose from two colour palettes, Elm and Urban. At the sales centre at 180 — 20780 Willoughby Town Centre Drive, the lighter finishes of the Urban scheme can be seen in the two spaces – a kitchen and ensuite bathroom – built to showcase the interiors.

On the back wall of the kitchen, the stainless-steel slide-in 30-inch five-burner convection gas range and the refrigerator with french doors are by KitchenAid. The two-tone kitchen cabinetry has flat-panel wood-laminate lower cabinets and white matte uppers, while the elongated hexagon-shaped ceramic tile backsplash and the white quartz countertops enhance the roomy ambience of the space.

The backsplash is Kwasnicki’s favourite design element in the interiors.

 “The tile work is a lovely contemporary twist on a traditional style of backsplash, different [to] what you typically see, both in shape and orientation, which makes it feel modern and fresh,” she says.

At the sales centre, the kitchen island’s 36-inch wide quartz countertop includes an 11-inch overhang, providing plenty of space to comfortably accommodate four kitchen stools. The island also hosts an undermount stainless steel double sink with a pull-down Grohe faucet and the dishwasher and microwave in addition to storage space. The size of the islands in the development will vary according to floor plans, but most are between six and seven feet long.

Laminate floors (Nordic Oak Forged Iron or Nordic Oak Solitaire) throughout the kitchen, dining and living areas visually connect the spaces that will also benefit from great natural light through windows and sliding glass doors to the outside patio.

Neutral-coloured carpeting is soft underfoot on the upper floor and in the bedrooms.

In the ensuite bathroom at the presentation centre, a floating vanity with double sinks in a white quartz countertop and the frameless shower enclosure gives the space an airy quality. The chrome Grohe faucets and shower fixtures add a little sparkle while two full-height nine-inch-wide vertical strips of penny tile in the corner of the shower adds a custom touch.

At Luxia at Yorkson, all floor plans include a powder room on the ground floor. While the powder rooms feature quartz countertops and Grohe faucets, the floor tiles are laid in a herringbone pattern, another custom detail designed to enhance the overall interior design of the homes that range in size from 1,443 to 1,897 square feet.

Each townhouse has a patio off the main floor and master bedroom and a front yard. Most homes also have a backyard. The homes that don’t include a second ground-level outdoor space have another sought-after feature instead: a large rooftop patio.

Dembek acknowledges these rooftop spaces are among his favourite features in the development.

“The rooftop gardens will be delightful. They have open and covered areas and have two-by-two [foot] pavers,” he says, adding that homeowners can add planters, outdoor furniture and other accessories to suit their lifestyle.

The development has a central pedestrian spine with children’s play area and outdoor seating, plus the two-storey amenities building that comprises a fitness centre and billiards and games room.

“The [design of] the amenity building developed out of the linear pattern of the pedestrian space. The landscape architect laid out parallel lines of planting, and pavement and pavement patterns, and we wrapped the building with that linear pattern and incorporated the entire colour scheme – the wood, and the blue, red and green – and made the amenity building,” says Dembek.

Location is always important and Luxia at Yorkson is conveniently situated close to Willoughby Town Centre with its array of shops and services. It is also close to schools, restaurants, banks, the Colossus Cineplex and sports facilities like Redwoods Golf Course and Belmont Golf Course. The Walnut Grove Community Centre and the Langley Events Centre are also nearby.

All the townhouses have a ground-level double garage and a storage area.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Metro Vancouver homebuyers face unintended consequences of mortgage stress testing rules

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Metro Vancouver homebuyers feeling effects of stress testing

Joanne Lee-Young
The Vancouver Sun

In Metro Vancouver, where the gap between incomes and home values makes the region an unaffordable outlier in North America, buyers are especially prone to get hit with unintended consequences of so-called mortgage stress testing.

The test was introduced earlier this year by Canada’s banking regulator to keep homebuyers from taking on risky levels of debt. But the result is reduced buying power that changes what first-time homebuyers can purchase. 

It is also affecting people hoping to use an existing mortgage when moving from one property to another.

“If you are selling a place for $750,000 and you have a mortgage of $500,000 and want to buy another place for $1.1 million, you can’t just (necessarily) ‘port’ that mortgage. It doesn’t automatically move,” says Gary Serra, a real estate agent who specializes in downtown and east Vancouver.

If “you have to re-qualify based on the stress test, you may not qualify to borrow (to that level now).”

Maybe, that person’s borrowing limit is $400,000 now. Even carrying over gains in equity, it may not be enough to get a mortgage on the higher-priced property, he says.

On the ground, there are anecdotes about deals not being completed as buyers are caught off-guard when last-minute number-crunching reveals what the new rules mean for them.

Serra says he knows of one recent deal that didn’t complete. “I didn’t represent the buyer, but the buyer was approved and backed out at the last minute because of the stress test.”

He understands there was a firm sale that was subject-free, that is, it would have to go ahead even if financing from a bank fell through. In the end, the bank didn’t approve the buyer’s loan at the amount needed. The buyer “now stands to lose the $36,000 deposit” and it could go to court.

There is about a 20 per cent drop in the amount of money buyers are qualifying to borrow with the stress test, says Justin da Rosa, managing editor at, which allows users to compare mortgages and credit cards.

To get a sense of what the change means for buyers in Metro Vancouver, da Rosa punched these numbers into Ratehub’s mortgage affordability calculator: Household income of $110,000 (based on average individual income of $55,000), a 20 per cent down payment, an amortization period of 30 years, the best available mortgage rate of 3.04 per cent, and the stress test qualifying rate of 5.34 per cent (“the greater of the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or the contract mortgage rate plus two percentage points.”)

Before Jan. 1, when the stress test came into effect, a borrower with this profile was deemed able to afford a home worth  $964,704. After the stress test, ordered by the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, the same borrower could afford a home worth a $735,857.

“It’s not completely dire,” says da Rosa, who spoke to Postmedia from Toronto. “If you go to, and you look at the listings in Vancouver, there are 459 listings available (at that $735,000 level) of different home types.”

He adds, however, if you look at the $964,000 range, “there are 815. … There is nearly double the amount of listings at the pre-stress test level.”

“There are ways to work around this,” says Da Rosa. Buyers can defer or buy when they have saved up more money or they can consider a smaller home. Some will rely on gifts from parents and much has been said about the passing of generational wealth from longtime homeowners to would-be ones.

The intention of the stress test was to ensure homebuyers could withstand an increase in interest rates without becoming overextended. Indeed, since it was implemented, there’s been a “triple whammy,” says da Rosa, in that interest rates have increased, but also the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate on which the stress test is based.

Agents say buyers can “get creative” with options such as combining mortgages and turning to other lenders.

But the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions says in its fine print that the major banks cannot be involved in combining mortgage and other lending products with the intention of getting around set loan-to-value limits, even though brokers are allowed to put together packages of mortgages so long as borrowers qualify for them individually.

There are also other lenders who are partly regulated, but fall outside of OSFI’s reach with the new rules. These include credit unions, but also a descending chain of “A-lenders (major banks) to B-lenders (such as Equitable Bank and Home Capital) to private lending,” says Serra, adding that “B-lending is booming.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Canadian Real Estate Sales Drop Over 11%, BC Home To Biggest Declines

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Canadian real estate sales are slowing in the country?s biggest markets

Daniel Wong

Canadian real estate sales are slowing in the country’s biggest markets. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) numbers show June 2018 saw large declines compared to last year. Most of Canada’s major markets faced declines, but British Columbia bared the brunt of them.

Canadian Real Estate Sales Drop Over 11%

Canadian real estate sales are still down bigly from last year. CREA reported 47,413 sales in June, down 6.37% from the month before. This represents an 11.12% decline compared to the same month last year. The monthly drop is fairly normal, but the decline from last year isn’t. Over the past five years, the annual numbers have only dropped twice – this year, and last year.

Canadian Real Estate Sales


Quebec and Toronto Real Estate Lead With Minor Gains

The markets making the biggest gains were in Quebec and Ontario. Quebec City came in at 546 sales in June, up 3.61% from last year. Toronto reported 8,082 sales in June, up 1.35% compared to last year (which is half what TREB reported themselves). Montreal reported 4,081 sales, up just a teensy 0.64%. Yup, those are the country’s leaders rights now.

Canadian Real Estate Sales By Market


British Columbia’s Real Estate Markets Lead For Sales Declines

British Columbia is home to the biggest declines in sales across Canada. Fraser Valley reported 1,380 sales in June, a 44.11% decline from last year. Vancouver came in at 2,467 sales, a 37.59% decline from last year. Victoria reported 678 sales, a 29.52% decline from last year. The industry is blaming a policy measure that cracks down on second homes, but seriously? We thought the industry was saying there’s no empty homes in BC? Strange that it would be so impactful.

Canadian Real Estate Sales By Market – June 2018


Canadian real estate sales are showing minor improvements on a national level. The declines are getting smaller, but they’re still declines. Rising interest rates, policy measures, and availability of credit aren’t short-term issues. They’ll likely persist until a change in the macro environment – good or bad.

CMHC makes announcement regarding self-employed borrowers

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Lenders get more guidance and flexibility for the self-employed

Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is making changes intended to make it easier for the self-employed to qualify for a mortgage.

The national housing agency says it’s giving lenders more guidance and flexibility to help self-employed borrowers.

Self-employed Canadians may have a harder time qualifying for a mortgage as their incomes may vary or be less predictable.

CMHC is providing examples of factors that can be used to support the lender’s decision to lend to borrowers who have been operating their business for less than 24 months, or in the same line of work for less than 24 months.

It is also providing a broader range of documentation options to increase flexibility for satisfying income and employment requirements.

The changes, which apply to both transactional and portfolio insurance, will take effect Oct. 1.

CMHC chief commercial officer Romy Bowers said self-employed Canadians represent a significant part of the workforce.

“These policy changes respond to that reality by making it easier for self-employed borrowers to obtain CMHC mortgage loan insurance and benefit from competitive interest rates,” Bowers said in as statement. 

The Canadian Press

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Airbnb renters could face fines of $1000 a day in BC rule change

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Stratas can restrict or ban short-term rentals

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

British Columbia is taking action to curb the reduction of available rental homes caused by owners opting for the surging short-term rental market.

The popularity of services including Airbnb has been blamed for tightening availability of rental homes and the government has now announced a change to its Strata Property Regulation.

It will mean that strata corporations will be supported in enforcing short-term rental bylaws.

Currently strata corporations can restrict or ban short-term rentals and impose fines of a maximum $200 a week. With the high returns available from these rentals, that is not a strong deterrent.

But the new rules will hike fines to a hefty $1000 per day – 35 times the current limit!

“We’ve all heard the stories of renters losing their homes when units are pulled out of the rental market to be used as short-term rentals. With this change, we can ensure there is long-term rental stock for people and families who need them,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “As part of our 30-point plan to improve housing affordability in B.C., we are supporting strata corporations to both deal with the noise and security issues that can sometimes come with short-term rentals, and also preserve rentals for the long term.”

The change will take effect on Nov. 30, 2018, in order to allow short-term rental hosts time to adjust bookings and comply with a strata’s short-term rental bylaws.

“The new regulations will help define short-term commercial use as a different function than rentals, and provides some very real consequences for the violators,” said Tony Gioventu, executive director, Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. “For those strata corporations who prohibit short-term use, this is a valuable amendment. It will require strata corporations to amend their bylaws at a general meeting to permit the higher penalties, which in turn will provide the strata with a great opportunity to make sure the strata’s bylaw complies with provincial legislation.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Short-term rental hosts could face massive fines

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

Strata bylaws can restrict short-term rentals


Homeowners groups in British Columbia will soon be able to fine owners or residents up to $1,000 a day for defying the corporation’s bylaws on short-term rentals.

The B.C. government says the regulations for the so-called strata corporations will be changed as of Nov. 30 to help the associations address short-term rentals, such as those arranged through Airbnb and other vacation websites.

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says in a news release that it’s common to hear stories of long-term renters losing their homes when units are pulled out of the market to be used as short-term rentals.

Robinson says her government is supporting strata corporations to deal with the noise and security issues that can sometimes come with short-term rentals, and also preserve rentals for the long term.

Strata corporations can pass bylaws that restrict or ban short-term rentals and fine owners or residents who aren’t complying, but the maximum fine is currently $200 a week.

Nearly 1.5 million people in B.C. live in strata housing, where the governing corporation is made up of the owners in the housing complex.

“Short-term rentals are a huge concern to strata corporations,” says Sandy Wagner, president of the board of directors of the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association, in the release.

“The wear and tear on the common property, as well as the security concerns caused by a steady stream of unknown occupants are just a few of the reasons why (the association), on behalf of our members, is pleased to support the proposed amendments … which will permit strata corporations to assess fines at a real deterrent level.”

Airbnb spokeswoman Lindsey Scully says in a statement that when hosts sign up on the website, they must certify that they will comply with local rules before they list their space. The site also have a hosting responsibilities page that reminds people to check their local laws and regulations and includes additional information and resources, she says.

“The overwhelming majority of Airbnb hosts and guests are good neighbours and respectful travellers,” she says. “We want to do everything we can to help our community members be good neighbours in places they call home.” 

The Canadian Press

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Haven 45 three to four bedroom townhomes at 2560 Pitt River Road Port Coquitlam by Boffo Properties

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

At Boffo Properties? Haven, the design is in the details

Mary Frances Hill
The Province


What: 45 townhomes with three or four bedrooms

Where: 2560 Pitt River Road, Port Coquitlam

Residence sizes and prices: 1,312 to 1,843 sq. ft; prices starting in the mid $700,000s

Developer and builder: Boffo Properties

Sales centre: 16 — 2560 Pitt River Road, Port Coquitlam

Hours: noon — 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs

Telephone: 604-690-6672

At Haven, Boffo Properties’ planned community in Port Coquitlam, Joanne Laurino has created sophisticated spaces with the comfort homeowners want and a respect for the flexibility and practicality that they need.

When Laurino and her colleagues at Ross & Company Interiors first examined the specifications for the townhomes’ interiors, they were pleased to see a lamp that stretches from the wall into the kitchen prep area. So they added a large ceiling fixture in a similar form — a desk-like work light in a black metal thin silhouette extending from long-hinged arms.

The fixture, inspired by the style of the late French industrial designer Serge Mouille, hangs in the centre of the ceiling over the living room space, in contrast to the mostly white palette of the room and a stark white sofa.

“We knew we wanted to bring black accents into the otherwise fresh white space to ground the room, and we thought this light would allow us to do that, while also bringing lots of visual interest with its strong lines,” Laurino says.

 “We chose this light because we liked how it didn’t take away from the space, because of how closely it could be mounted to the ceiling, complementing the room, rather than being an obstruction.”

In that same living room, a dark wood armchair provides the space with a mid-century modern feel.

“We always try to incorporate an armchair or two in the living room when we can because we like how that allows for not only additional seating, but also flexibility in using the space,” Laurino says. “We liked how this chair brought wood tones into the room to warm it up.” Laurino says she and her colleagues wished, above all, to stay flexible and adaptable with furnishings.

That flexibility extends to the banquette seating beneath two shelves in the dining area. It’s practical and looks as if it naturally belongs with the shelves as part of a wall unit. “We always want to take into consideration how the space is going to be used and we thought the use of a banquette, with storage above and around it, would allow for ample storage, circulation and seating in the space, which checked a lot of boxes.”

Haven is within a few minutes’ walk of Gates Park, the largest in Port Coquitlam, and that green space is referenced in the design of Haven. “We considered how it is located near water and lush greenery, and we used that inspiration to influence our design decisions in not only designing the show homes, of course, but also in picking the finishes when designing the project,” she says. “In doing so, we incorporated wood finishes, with warm tones and also some organic lines.”

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Pre-sale condo action cools

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

More than 580 buyers also trying to sell their contract assignments

Frank O’Brien
Business in Vancouver

Pre-sales of new condominiums across Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley dropped from 91% of offerings in January to 50% as of June as the action shifts from “hyperactive growth to a more balanced, more normal market,” according to Suzana Goncalves, chief advisory office and partner of MLA Canada.

In its 2018 Mid-Year Market Review, released July 18, MLA, a Vancouver-based real estate market research firm, notes that pre-sale activity of new condo projects of from 50% to 65% is, historically, considered normal within the first six to eight months of a project launch.

In the first quarter of 2018, 79% of new condos pre-sold sold but this dropped to 67% in the second quarter, which MLA described as still  “strong activity.” In the entire first half, 74% of the 7,753 new condos offered pre-sold. This is down from 87% in the same period a year earlier, according to Urban Analytics.

Goncalves suggested that the cooling sales could reflect government policies introduced in 2018, such as the increase in the foreign-buyer tax, stricter lending regulations, most notably the expanded mortgage stress test, combined with rapid price appreciation.

“The pre-sale market is anticipated to see fewer projects sell out upon release, but rather experience a steady and longer sales period,” the MLA report stated.

The most active pre-sales markets this year so far are in West Coquitlam and Burnaby North, with pre-sales higher than 90%. The lowest pre-sales are in projects in Richmond, at 39%, and Port Coquitlam, at 19%.

The City of Vancouver is seeing pre-sales of 61% in east Vancouver projects and 54% for new condo developments on the west side of the city, according to MLA research.

The anticipation of slower sales and potentially lower prices could be encouraging some pre-sale buyers to sell their sales contracts, which are known as assignments. A BIV survey July 18 of listing services Craigslist, Kijiji and found 587 pre-sales condos being offered from West Vancouver and Squamish to Surrey and Langley by both real estate agents and private owners.

The February 20 increase in the B.C. foreign-home buyer tax from 15% to 20% could also be a factor in slower pre-sales. Since 2016, the share of new condominiums sold to foreign buyers reached 16% across Metro Vancouver and accounts for about one-quarter of buyers in Richmond and Coquitlam, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

MLA is forecasting 67 new condo project launches representing more than 7,700 homes during the second half of 2018 across Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. 

Copyright © Business in Vancouver.

June sales hint at turning point

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

CREA says we are still at a five-year low

Neil Sharma
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Home sales in the country rose 4% in June over May, and Toronto led the charge with a whopping 17% increase.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, Toronto has been forecasted for some time to bounce back, and while it’s too early to celebrate ameliorated fortunes, the seed is sown.

“The May to June increase is the first bit of evidence that it might be happening, but having said that, one month is not a trend,” said Shaun Cathcart, a senior economist at CREA. “These policy changes put a lot of buyers on the sidelines for the first six months, and things are starting to rebound. It’s a strong signal, but certainly not sustained at one month.”

Extrapolating market reactions to policy changes over the last few years, Cathcart says previous rebound timelines make things look promising.

However, June sales are still a five-year low.

“It depends on what months and stat you look at, but seasonally adjusted sales, we’re still at one of the lowest levels in five years,” said Cathcart. “Part of the increase from May to June just reflects how quiet the market was in May.”

According to the Altus Group Housing Trend report, first-time buyers’ absence from the housing market explains why the market has been languid all year. The report predicts an autumn rebound.

In particular, first-time buyers have not abandoned dreams of homeownership. Rather, they’ve deferred them while they save up for larger down payments, which is what an expensive market like Toronto’s demands.

“With all the policy changes we’ve had and additional stress testing, they have knocked many first-time buyers out of the market for a while, but part of what they’re doing is saving money. They’ll be back,” said Patricia Arsenault, vice president of research and consulting services at Altus Group.

“Particularly among younger renters; they’re inclined to buy homes. Because of their ability at the moment, they’re saving longer and tapping resources from parents to help them out, but they’ll be back in the short-term. There’s nothing out there that says they don’t want to own homes anymore.”

Arsenault added that housing sales will markedly improve by the end of summer.

“People are saving for down payments,” she said. “Savings rates are up in Canada and that money is being used for better down payments.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Vancouver wage levels aggravating housing woes

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Lack of affordablilty caused by gap between wages and home prices

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

The median cost of a Vancouver home currently stands at $672,000 – but while certainly elevated, it is still lower than San Jose (15% lower) and San Francisco (26% lower), the most expensive markets in North America.

Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program, argued in his latest study that what really drives Vancouver’s lack of affordability is the sheer gap between wages and home prices.

Vancouver’s median household income is $61,036 annually, less than other mid-range U.S. cities like Omaha, NE; Kansas City, MO; and even rural Lancaster, PA.

Considering that home prices in Vancouver have triples since 2005, it is unsurprising that households will find it daunting to close the affordability gap, Yan said.

 “You need one of two things: either Vancouver real estate prices need to halve to attain a certain level of affordability, or you need to double incomes,” Yan told Bloomberg.

Yan warned that because of this delicate situation, a major correction would be “potentially devastating” for the city’s housing market, especially since housing plays a major role in the local economy and real estate development is B.C.’s largest industry at the moment.

Home sales in the city fell to the lowest levels in 5 years last month, amid housing supply reaching a 3-year high.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd