Archive for the ‘Real Estate Related’ Category

Cedar Creek 7133 14th Avenue Burnaby three 6 storey buildings with a total of 128 homes by Ledingham McAllister

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

Cool contemporary design on display at Ledingham McAllister?s Cedar Creek in South Burnaby

Kathleen Freimond
The Vancouver Sun

Cedar Creek is a project from Ledingham McAllister in Burnaby. PNG

The six-storey wood-frame Cedar Creek building comprises 128 units

Cedar Creek is Ledingham McAllister Properties? residential development in Burnaby, offering a range of homes from one-bedroom to three-bedroom.

The stone colour palette is seen in the den of the one-bedroom model

Cabinetry at Cedar Creek features a twist on shaker style with a cross-grain at the top and bottom

Pops of colour help create a glamorous ambience in the bedrooms, which feature both a sophisticated and an urbane style

Affordable style comes with amenities. PHOTOS PNG MERLIN ARCHIVE

Project: Cedar Creek

Project address: 7133 14th Avenue

Project City: Burnaby

Developer: Ledingham McAllister

Architect: Integra

Interior designer: The Mill

Project size: 3, 6-storey buildings (first phase: 128 units)

Bedrooms: one-bedroom and den; two-bedroom; two-bedroom and flex space; three-bedroom

Unit size: 639 to 995 square feet

Price: From low $500,000s

Construction: Starts early 2019

Sales centre: 7166 14th Avenue, Burnaby, BC

Sales centre hours: Saturday – Thursdays from 12 noon to 5 p.m. (closed Fridays)

Phone: 604-529-8868

Website: liveatcedarcreek.com

Cedar Creek, Ledingham McAllister Properties’ new residential development in South Burnaby, is part of the revitalization of the city’s Edmonds neighbourhood and will be located adjacent to the planned nearly 60-acre Southgate City community.

Construction of the first building in the three-phase Cedar Creek development at 7133 14th Avenue, Burnaby, is scheduled to start in early 2019. The 128-unit, six-storey wood-frame building comprises a range of homes from one-bedroom and den through to three-bedroom suites.

“This neighbourhood has a loyal and established long-term community and is attractive to first time buyers, people who are moving up to larger homes or those who are looking to stay in the community and downsize – it appeals to a very wide range of people,” says Manuela Mirecki, Ledingham McAllister’s senior vice president of marketing and design.

Mirecki says there is a lot of interest in the development from people who have lived in the community for a long time and those who prefer the scale of the six-storey buildings.

“The architecture is very West Coast with big overhangs and wood grain soffits. There is lots of articulation in the building, so it looks more like a collection of smaller buildings — it modulates in depth and height, creating a more vibrant and organic flow,” she says.

At the sales centre at 7166 14th Avenue, Burnaby, potential buyers can choose from two colour palettes, Stone and Sand. The Stone scheme can be seen in the one-bedroom and den example while the choices in the Sand palette are on view in the two-bedroom unit.

“Whenever we can have two display suites we always aim to show two vastly different interpretations in the décor,” says Mirecki, noting that the two-bedroom suite has a sophisticated and urbane sensibility with pops of colour and a glamourous ambience, while the one-bedroom unit is aimed at a younger buyer.

“The [one-bedroom] décor was inspired by a sweater-wrapped chair I saw at a fashion show in New York,” she adds, explaining that her inspiration, in the form of two sweater-wrapped chairs, is part of the show suite’s décor.

In the kitchens, different colours of the same cabinet style are used in both schemes. Mirecki is upbeat about the cabinetry.

“We spend a lot of time meeting with our suppliers, and on a factory tour I saw a small sample of the cabinetry we are using for Cedar Creek. I immediately liked it, it’s almost a twist on shaker style. It has the cross-grain at the top and bottom and it can be interpreted as contemporary or traditional,” she says.

The kitchen cabinets include soft-close mechanisms while matte black pulls on lower cabinets add a contrasting detail to the doors and drawers. The light countertops are complemented by the full-height backsplash of stacked white 12- by 4-inch tiles

The major kitchen appliances, all by KitchenAid, include a five-element ceramic-glass cooktop and oven; refrigerator with freezer and dishwasher. The modern hood fan is by Venmar and the microwave is by Panasonic. The in-suite laundry includes a front-loading washer and dryer by Whirlpool.

The developer has used Kohler products for all its faucets, sinks and plumbing fixtures in Cedar Creek says Mirecki, referencing Ledingham McAllister’s long-term relationship with the brand. The deep-bowl stainless steel kitchen sink and Purist faucet with pull-down spray nozzle is a nod to contemporary style in this functional area.

In the ensuite bathrooms, marble-like 12- by 24-inch porcelain wall tiles and limestone-look floor tiles give the spaces a relaxing ambience.

“In smaller spaces the less aggressive the pattern on the large surfaces the more open and bright the space will feel,” she says.

In the main bathrooms, with their Kohler Hytec soaker tubs, the large format white wall tiles, enhance the fresh and clean design esthetic.

Laminate flooring connects the entry, kitchen, dining- and living-rooms while bedrooms are carpeted.

“We have found people like carpet in bedrooms, they want to step out of bed onto something soft,” she says.

In the one-bedroom show suite, the den is shown as an office, but Mirecki says in other developments she has seen this space repurposed for a variety of uses from a sewing or craft room to accommodate a day bed for a comfortable reading nook.

All units will have one parking stall and a bike storage locker in the underground parkade. Charging stations for electric vehicles are also included (a total of five in the three phases). The developer is also working with the car-sharing organization Modo Car Cooperative, and will provide on-site parking and access to three Modo cars.

Shared amenities for the whole Cedar Creek development include play areas for children (one of these play areas will be completed to coincide with Phase 1), a fitness room, guest suite, meeting room and community garden plots.

Burnaby’s official flower, the rhododendron, is prominent in the landscaping plan that includes planting more than 170 of the flowering shrubs. More than 225 trees will also be planted including nearly 50 dogwoods (B.C.’s floral emblem) and 26 maples in addition to many other shrubs and bushes including California Lilacs and evergreen huckleberries.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Allowing duplexes in Vancouver will increase land values, at least a little

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

City move to allow duplexes could hike land values

Joanne Lee-Young
The Vancouver Sun

Vancouver city council’s decision to rezone 99 per cent of single-family home areas to allow duplexes has set off a debate over whether it will significantly increase land values.

Josh Gordon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy, said he doubts values will go up much.

He said the rezoning didn’t change the limits on the total square footage that can be built on single-family lots. That would temper speculation, he said, because it would limit how much profit can be made in going from one larger unit to two smaller duplexes.

He expects some increase to total property value if a single-family home is rebuilt into two duplexes. Exactly how much is hard to predict and will vary, says Gordon. Wider lots, such as 50-foot ones, might increase in value more because more square footage of housing can be built on them compared to 33-foot lots.

Gordon said it is important when allowing for more density that there be a “mechanism of capturing that land lift,” so that it’s not only the land owner that benefits.

He said that when the City allows for more density in major projects, there are fees such as development contribution levies and community amenity contributions that go toward public funds for adding services or subsidizing rental buildings.

 “We can’t abandon that principle. Support for adding this density has to be conditional on this,” he said, especially given the next step would be considering triplexes and other multi-family buildings in parts of single-family neighbourhoods.

Tom Davidoff, a UBC professor, said “rising land values with more density are a good thing, not a bad thing.”

Simply put, the more people that live in an area, the higher the value of the land. And, “duplexes absorb twice as much demand as single-family homes.”

Gordon thinks that creating smaller units for more people has some short-term benefits and may draw more people into formerly single-family home neighbourhoods, but, in the long-run, it won’t necessarily increase affordability because “they end up paying more per square foot.”

In the real world, he said, if you have a 4,000-square foot house worth $3 million and you replace it with two 2,000-square foot places, they will probably have a market value greater than $1.5 million each.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Fixing affordability: Mayoral candidates in Burnaby, Vancouver and on the North Shore have plenty of ideas

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

When renters with good jobs find their income is mostly going to housing, politicians are under the gun to find solutions.

Dan Fumano & Lori Culbert
The Vancouver Sun

Accountant Lotfi Fetoui and his wife are raising their baby in a one-bedroom apartment in an older, low-rise Metrotown building where they have lived for five years and where they can afford the $900-a-month rent.

But the building, like many others in this gentrifying area of Burnaby, has been purchased by a developer who has told residents to move out by April — so the building can be demolished and replaced with a condo complex.

Fetoui, who works in downtown Vancouver and wants to live near SkyTrain, would love to stay in the neighbourhood, but rent in a similar building across the street is $1,650 a month.

“With these new prices we will be surviving, not living. We will work to pay the rent,” said Fetoui, adding he will vote for a mayoral candidate who will protect affordable rental stock. “I want to know: Who is the person who will take care of us, the middle class?”

Housing is the top issue for most voters in this municipal election, a recent report found, although some like Fetoui want access to affordable places to raise families while others are concerned about over-development.

“Residents’ concerns about affordable housing were most pronounced in the City of Vancouver, the North Shore and Burnaby-New Westminster,” says the report, VoteLocal, based on a recent survey by the Mustel Group, FleishmanHillard Highroad, and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

In Burnaby, many residents like Fetoui are facing “demovictions” as older, smaller apartment buildings are replaced with more expensive skyscrapers. On the North Shore, the concern is how to help key members of society — families, young people and workers — afford to live there. In Vancouver, candidates argue over the role of housing supply in solving the crisis.

North Shore

In West Vancouver, where most residences are still single-family detached homes, worth $2.5 million on average, the idea of affordable housing seems improbable.

But it is a top priority for some candidates running for mayor, although none is advocating what has become the common response in Vancouver and Burnaby: build highrises.

Such towers would, most candidates agree, put too many vehicles on already congested North Shore roads, block view corridors and ruin the character of seaside neighbourhoods.

Mark Sager — a lawyer who was mayor from 1990 to 1996, and is trying to return to city hall — argues the district needs family-friendly, below-market housing for teachers, nurses and police officers.

“We have so many people commuting way too far,” said Sager. “My friends who are firefighters live in Squamish. … We can’t have our first responders, the people we depend on, commuting hours away.”

He promises creative solutions. For example, West Vancouver has many gas stations, he said, so some of that land could be re-purposed by the district for housing. City halls can encourage these types of complexes, he argued, by immediately zoning properties for exactly what they want built.

Mary-Ann Booth, a two-term councillor running for mayor, supported two highrise projects near the north end of the  Lions Gate Bridge because of their proximity to transit and because they didn’t displace renters. But she argued any further development along the district’s main street, Marine Drive, should be low-rise units geared to the “missing-middle” workers, young people and families that Sager is concerned about.

But how do you create something affordable without the density provided by a highrise?

Booth points to council’s proposal to build subsidized housing on district-owned land for moderate-income people who work in West Vancouver or for families with children who go to school there. The proposal includes 200 units, most of them to be rented at below-market rates.

Coun. Christine Cassidy, who also wants to be mayor, says the solution is more duplexes and low-rise apartments that will be “more reasonable” than a single-family home.

Asked whether a new $2-million townhouse is truly affordable, she said West Vancouver has never been an enclave for low-income families and that new developments should focus on being “achievable or obtainable,” rather than affordable.

“That has historically been the case in West Vancouver. It is individuals who are coming in here who do have to have reasonable jobs and will likely have to cinch their belt financially to come into the community,” she said.

Also running for mayor is a university student, Nolan Strong, who said he would advocate housing that is “attainable” for middle-income people but argued it wouldn’t be practical to build low-cost housing in West Vancouver. The fifth candidate is Rosa Jafari, whose contact information was not available.

Across the Capilano River to the east, the District of North Vancouver faces similar affordability challenges. Voters there will have a non-binding question on next month’s ballot, asking whether they would authorize the district to spend up to $150 million to build 1,000 units to be offered at below-market rents.

Former district councillor Mike Little is campaigning for mayor and arguing that the district is “building too much, too fast,” saying a building many high-end condo projects has not created affordable housing.

Instead, the district should make it easier and cheaper for people to create secondary suites and multi-generational housing in their exiting homes, he said.

He said projects like the one on the referendum question are flawed if the below-market rent is tied to the average income of North Vancouver residents. Rather, below-market rent needs to be based on the average income of residents in all of Metro, because it is people working on the North Shore but living in Surrey or Langley that need to be able to afford these new units, he said.

While residents in rapidly densifying neighbourhoods, such as Edgemont Village, may have “construction fatigue,” mayoral candidate Glen Webb said North Vancouverites must support new housing for families and young people. Otherwise, he said, the district will lose school funding because of a loss of fewer students and businesses will continue to struggle to find workers.

“In the long run, if we don’t create affordable housing projects, there won’t be anyone in Edgemont village to serve our coffee or bake your bread or teach at your school or to be a nurse at Lions Gate Hospital,” said Webb, a businessman.

Webb offers several solutions, including granny suites, infill housing and innovative “co-housing projects,” where residents own their own homes, but share common areas including a community kitchen.

Mayoral candidate Ash Amlani, who served on the district’s community services advisory committee and the B.C. take home naloxone advisory board, said traffic congestion is so bad on the North Shore because people who work there can’t afford to live there. She said solutions include secondary suites and coach houses, and densifying along transit corridors.

Among the many ideas put forth by a fourth candidate, filmmaker Erez Barzilay, are “creative incentives” for developers such as tax cuts and asking the financial sector for “attractive deals” to dramatically lower the price of a home.

Burnaby

How much should cities spend on affordable housing, when that responsibility has traditionally fallen to provincial and federal governments? It’s a question municipal politicians have grappled with for years.

Burnaby’s five-term mayor, Derek Corrigan, has long taken the position that kind of spending isn’t in the city’s mandate.

In recent years, B.C.’s third most-populous municipality has been debt-free and has accumulated a reserve of more than $1 billion.

Meanwhile, Burnaby residents are familiar with stories of lower-income renters being displaced from affordable homes, particularly around Metrotown, as older multi-unit buildings like Fetoui’s are torn down to make way for highrise condos.

As Corrigan seeks his sixth term at the helm, the campaign of his main opponent, Mike Hurley, is focused on attacking the mayor’s approach to housing.

Corrigan said that during his 16 years as mayor, the federal and provincial governments have done little to support housing, while affordability has steadily eroded.

“You’ve probably heard my complaint a million times,” Corrigan said. “Cities are the least powerful of all governments. We have much more responsibility and far fewer resources and far fewer powers.”

Corrigan pointed to the challenges of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who took office in 2008 pledging to end street homelessness by 2015.

“After spending a heck of a lot of money trying to take over those responsibilities for the feds and the province, Vision … has not succeeded in solving that housing problem,” Corrigan said. “Vancouver said: ‘We’ll take responsibility for this … ‘And the province and the feds said: ‘OK, go ahead.’”

Vancouver’s government made “an admirable attempt for them to try and fix a very serious problem, but it involved a degree of naiveté,” said Corrigan. “I think they could have stood in more solidarity with municipalities who were saying: ‘Feds and province, you must come to the table.’”

Corrigan defended Burnaby’s record on housing, saying the city has fast-tracked approvals and reduced development costs for housing projects that are affordable for residents ranging from seniors to welfare recipients to lower-income families. He and hopes the promises by the federal Liberal government and the provincial NDP government will soon bring relief.

Hurley, the retired Burnaby firefighter, said he would support using city money for affordable housing — such as the below-market rental units proposed on the North Vancouver District ballot — if it’s “done in a very effective manner.” He said he wouldn’t suggest dollar amounts until he can review Burnaby’s finances.

Hurley criticized Corrigan for allowing Burnaby’s housing market to become increasingly inhospitable for renters.

The B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association has analyzed census information for municipalities and rated the health of each rental market. Out of 522 Canadian municipalities, Burnaby is ranked 520.

“They’ve taken this hands-off approach. The narrative in Burnaby for a long time has been it’s the job of the provincial and federal governments to fund housing,” said Brian Clifford, the association’s policy manager. “We would say this is the responsibility of all levels of government.”

During the 16 years of Corrigan’s mayoralty, Burnaby had a net loss of 1,026 primary rental units, a seven per cent reduction, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation data. “Primary” refers to dwelling built specifically for the rental market. During the same period, many other Metro municipalities increased their rental supply: Vancouver had a net gain of 1,457 primary rental units (a three per cent increase), and Richmond had a net gain of 592 units (almost a 20 per cent increase).

Asked about the loss of rental units in Burnaby, Corrigan said that with the number of rental units under construction, the city will “soon see ourselves get back up to the plus side.”

Corrigan responded to Hurley’s criticism by pointing to his opponent’s lack of record.

“Mike Hurley has never been a councillor, he’s never sat on a committee, he’s never been part of the system,” Corrigan said. “He knows nothing about municipal politics. I just don’t think becoming the mayor of a city like Burnaby is an entry-level position.”

Burnaby is on track to be the first municipality in B.C. to use new powers, recently enacted by the provincial NDP, allowing municipal governments to zone areas for rental housing only. Corrigan has been advocating such powers since he was an alderman in 1990.

Corrigan’s council directed city staff in July to start work on the rental zoning bylaw, and Corrigan said he hopes it will be approved by the next council.

City of Vancouver

All the leading mayoral candidates in Vancouver are campaigning on housing affordability.

Hector Bremner, the only sitting councillor running for mayor, is pushing for a dramatic increase in housing supply to combat the affordability crisis.

Bremner is running with Yes Vancouver and is pledging to“increase the city’s home building target to 12,000 homes in the first year, subsequently raising it to 20,000 homes per year,” a goal he says is ambitious but attainable.

He isn’t the only candidate throwing around big numbers.

Independent Kennedy Stewart has pledged to build an average of 8,500 new homes a year over the next 10 years, including significant numbers of rental units with both market and below-market rents.

In November, the City of Vancouver adopted a 10-year housing plan aiming to add 7,200 new housing units a year for 10 years, or a 50-per-cent increase over recent years.

Andy Yan, director of SFU’s City Program, has analyzed CMHC data on Vancouver housing starts for the last 20 years and questions where some candidates are getting the numbers in their platforms.

“These kinds of promises by these mayoral candidates are so far off the construction capacity, and what’s happened in the past,” Yan said.

According to Statistics Canada, there were 309,418 total dwellings in Vancouver in 2016, an eight-per-cent increase over 2011. That means an average of 4,535 units were built each year.

The figures also show Vancouver had a boom of detached houses recently. During the third term of Vision Vancouver’s government, the average number of detached houses being built was up 60 per cent over its first term.

That’s both “unexpected and ironic,” Yan said. There was “this whole idea that Vancouver was in a post-SDH (single-detached-home) era,” he said. “But it’s like Mark Twain’s great quote: ‘The death of the single-detached home has been greatly exaggerated.’”

Yan said that raises the question of whether the massive amounts of construction Vancouver has experienced in recent years is creating units that might be more affordable for local workers or is mostly demolishing old houses to build new ones.

“It’s the revenge of the single detached home,” Yan said. “It’s not going out without a fight, it’s a zombie that keeps regenerating.”

The single detached home is a housing type that is almost by definition unaffordable for most Vancouverites. The median selling price of a detached house on Vancouver’s east side was $1.57 million last year. That’s less than half the price of the west side but still 24 times the city’s median household income of $65,327 a year.

Meanwhile, Yan found the housing types most affordable to working Vancouver families make up a fraction of the housing starts: row houses and townhouses made up less than three per cent of housing starts last year. Semi-detached units, including duplexes, were less than two per cent.

Other mayoral candidates have avoided specific housing targets in their platforms.

David Chen, ProVancouver’s mayoral candidate, said his party is “concerned about the big numbers and even the ones the city has in its 10-year plan. We are concerned that there is no capacity to actually increase builds because the available workers are the choke point.”

However, Chen believes it’s possible to commit to 5,000 units a year by expanding the city’s temporary modular housing program, currently focused on inexpensive homes for those with low incomes, to “middle class affordable rentals” as a “stop gap solution.”

NPA mayoral candidate Ken Sim didn’t include specific numbers in his housing platform, except for his promise to bring “up to 40,000 new units within reach” for renters by allowing two secondary suites in detached homes.

Independent Shauna Sylvester wants to make Vancouver “the North American capital of co-ops and co-housing,” and has set a target of adding 2,800 housing units at rates affordable for people on welfare, with 1,000 for women and children. But beyond that, she said big housing numbers isn’t the right approach, and she’s more interested in a target of a three per cent rental vacancy rate.

Coalition Vancouver candidate Wai Young has a different approach, and has said Vancouver doesn’t need more housing. David Cavey from Young’s campaign team said: “We are building faster than the population is growing and, more often than not, building the wrong type of housing. So, yes, the city is building too much housing.” Wai said the city needs to give priority to building rental units and starter homes.

Vancouver 1st mayoral candidate Fred Harding said he wants to review the city’s system of community amenity contributions, which are paid by developers in exchange for extra density. His party has not released a housing platform.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

HOW HAS THE ON-DEMAND ECONOMY IMPACTED REAL ESTATE?

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Clients want real estate on-demand

other

Everyone wants everything. Right now.

For centuries, thinkers and philosophers have dreamed of a world where if you could think of something, you could have it—instantly. But now, that’s more than just a vision. Millions around the world simply can’t imagine any other way to live. 

And thanks to smartphones, they can get it.

With more than 207 million smartphones in the U.S. today, 2 out of 3 people use one. They love the fast, satisfying technology. But even more than that, they love the promise: Getting what you want, with a few touches. Today, not tomorrow. 

A successful business is an accelerated business.

Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Go, Uber and the entire mobile banking industry have all built their reputations on instant gratification. And now, real estate is joining the party, too—if you’re ready.

19% of clients expect a response within 10 minutes  more than 78% of clients expect a response within an hour

Be there for them. Or they’ll find someone who is.

76 percent of real estate agents said clients expect a faster response today than they did five years ago. But a simple filing cabinet or hard drive search can delay your response long enough to make clients nervous. That’s why it’s best to anticipate which forms you’ll need, storing them in the cloud for easy access later. Templates are another good idea— they cut down on contract prep time. 

Texting is everything.

Five years ago, most real estate business was still done via plain old voice phone. Now, although email use has gone up a tad, texting has skyrocketed. That means either you’re available to do business and close deals on your smartphone… Or you’re not available. Period.

Since you’re texting anyway…

With most clients already doing business on their smartphones, and in turn requiring you to be on yours, why not take advantage of all its powers? You can do a lot more than just text. 

Welcome to your new realty office: Your smartphone.

Receiving client notifications in real time? Drafting and sending offer letters from an open house, on site right after a showing? Speed up the buying and selling process, by using new apps to do business instead of just talking about it. Your phone does it all without missing a beat. 

Your next “close” is in your hands.

Real estate apps and other technology are advancing fast. So if there’s something you can’t do on mobile now, wait a few weeks. Chances are, time is on your side. We’ve met plenty of successful agents who don’t even have a physical office or desk anymore!

Technology is making clients smarter.

More than 86 percent of the clients in our survey took the initiative to educate themselves on the home market using Zillow. 70 percent used Realtor.com, 53 percent used Trulia, nearly 29 percent used Redfin, and 21 percent used Homes.com.

It’s making them tougher, too.

Compared to clients of five years ago, today’s smartphone- wielding buyers are nearly 72 percent more likely to have a specific listing in mind when they engage you, 51 percent more likely to have already calculated the listing price, 39 percent more likely to be aware of neighborhood comparables, and a full 48 percent more likely to know how the home-buying process works in general. 

39% of clients more likely aware of neighborhood comparables 

It’s time to keep up.

Look at it this way: If clients have access to the fastest and most sophisticated real estate buying and selling tools in history, shouldn’t you? After all, you’re a professional who does this for a living. At the very least, you want to hold up your end of the conversation. The goal: Conducting all the basics of your business, even while you’re away from your desk.

Vancouver passes change to zoning bylaw

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Vancouver councillors have voted to allow duplexes in most city neighbourhoods

Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Vancouver councillors have ended two days of public hearings by voting to allow duplexes in most city neighbourhoods currently restricted to single-family homes.

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for the so-called “missing middle,” which includes young families pushed out of Vancouver by soaring property prices.

A news release from the mayor’s office says the policy change means duplexes are now permitted on approximately 67,000 single family lots, offering an option that is more affordable than a detached home.

The 7-4 vote was split along party lines with Robertson, five Vision Vancouver members and councillor Hector Bremner approving the motion, while three Non-Partisan Association councillors and the Green party’s Adriane Carr voted against.

The vote also marks one of the last major decisions of Robertson’s decade-long tenure as mayor because he is not running in next month’s civic election.

Robertson agrees the duplex proposal is not a “silver bullet” that will resolve Vancouver’s housing problems, but says it responds to the demands of residents.

“Over the past two years of consultation for the new Housing Vancouver strategy, we heard loud and clear that Vancouverites want more housing options in single family neighbourhoods,” he says in the release.

The change aligns zoning in expensive and increasingly unpopulated neighbourhoods such as Kerrisdale, Dunbar and West Point Grey with regulations in crowded and growing areas such as Kitsilano and Strathcona.

Robertson calls the policy a “modest, but important change.”

Critics predict single-family homes could now be targeted by speculators, adding to already soaring property prices, while Tom Davidoff, associate professor at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, says the measure is good, but not enough.

“It’s a start. But when you have land that’s worth tens of millions of dollars an acre, to really put a dent in affordability, you want to go to at least townhomes or small apartment buildings,” he says.

As a way to reduce speculation on land values, the mayor’s office says the new policy does not allow for an increase in height or density on a single-family property, but it says other measures to add density are being planned.

“Further work is underway as part of the Making Room program to bring forward options for rowhouses, townhouses, and low-rise apartments- with a priority on rental housing and co-ops in low-density neighbourhoods,” the release says.

That report could be brought to council by next summer. 

The Canadian Press

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Downsizing may not be a golden nest egg for boomers

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Canada’s seniors happy where they are

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Canada’s seniors may be left disappointed by the costs and savings from downsizing their homes in retirement.

Of 1,870 homeowners over 55 polled by Ipsos for HomeEquity Bank, 39% said they were skeptical that they would save money by downsizing and 27% who had already done so said the costs were greater than expected.

Nearly half of those polled said they are not planning to downsize, with 93% of them happy with their current living arrangements.

“There are real costs to downsizing… financial, emotional and personal ones,” advises Yvonne Ziomecki, HomeEquity Bank’s Executive Vice President, Marketing. “From a financial perspective if you had to move outside your cherished neighbourhood or further away from family and personal support networks, it may mean you’ll spend more resources to maintain relationships, to develop reliable new connections and to navigate life in a different setting.”

Regrets, I’ve had a few Even among those who have downsized with 88% saying they are happy with their decision, they admit that there were unknown sacrifices and some regret.

Although only a third had intended to move to a new city/town when they downsized but almost half end up outside their current network and community. Older retirees are more likely to move to a new area when downsizing.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Chelsea 79 condos in a 6 storey building at 4663 Cambie Street by Cressey

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Cressey?s Chelsea will take its place directly opposite Queen Elizabeth Park

Kathleen Freimond
The Province

Chelsea

Where: West 31st Avenue and Cambie Street,

Vancouver

What: 79 homes

Residence sizes and prices: Studio, 1-, 2-, 3-bedrooms, penthouses and townhomes; 461 — 1,733 square feet; 2-bedrooms from $1,269,900; 2-bed-and-dens from $1,699,900; 3-beds from $1,749,900; townhomes from $2,050,900; penthouses from $2,149,900 (plus GST for all)

Developer: Cressey Development Group

Sales centre: 3130 Arbutus Street, Vancouver

Hours: by appointment only; 604-736-3898

Chelsea, Cressey Development Group’s low-rise residential project at West 31st Avenue and Cambie Street, is part of the transformation of the Cambie corridor that is seeing more multi-unit developments in the neighbourhood.

Chelsea comprises two six-storey buildings with 79 units in a range of sizes.

True to Cressey’s philosophy of focusing on livability, the team spent a lot of time working on furniture placements and the floor plans, says Jason Turcotte, the company’s vice-president of development.

“We always design with the homeowner in mind, so whether the person is in their thirties and buying for the location, is new to the market or moving out of a single-family home in the area, the range of homes all have a comfortable scale,” he says.

“Chelsea is immediately across from Queen Elizabeth Park and being toward the top of the rise as Cambie climbs the hill, it affords great views towards the city, ocean and mountains in the distance and the western-facing units have views across to the park.”

The presentation centre shows an example of a Chelsea home with two bathrooms, two bedrooms and a den. Homebuyers can choose from two colour palettes created by Insight Design Group: the lighter Uptown scheme – used in the show suite – or Parkside, with its darker floors and finishes.

A distinctive wide-plank hardwood floor laid in a classic herringbone pattern makes an immediate impression.

“We see floors like this in some old character homes, but in those instances, it is often a narrow plank in yellow oak. At Chelsea, we have used a wide plank in a brushed finish, a light oak for the Uptown palette and a darker oak for Parkside. It’s a nod to tradition, but done in a contemporary way,” says Linda Gallo, associate at Insight Design.

The major kitchen appliances are by Wolf and Sub-Zero. The refrigerator and freezer drawers are behind integrated panels, while the cooktop is flush with the counter with the knobs on the front face of the cabinet panel and not on cooktop itself, Gallo notes.

In the show suite, the peninsula with a waterfall edge is an elegant design feature that provides a large working surface that also doubles as a place where the family can pull up a few kitchen stools for a quick meal.

In the ensuite bathroom, elongated hexagonal tiles on the floor of the shower extend up the wall in another modern interpretation of a traditional feature. The shower has a bench covered with the same stone as the bathroom counter, while a linear drain and rainshower head give the space a sophisticated ambience.

Turcotte says the premium finishes reflect the significance of Chelsea’s location.

“During the planning process, I visited the area and took walks in Queen Elizabeth Park. It was a reminder how amazing it is and how fortunate we are in Vancouver to have such a fantastic amenity in our city,” he says.

© 2018 Postmedia Network Inc.

Multiple offers become commonplace again

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Greater Toronto Area Homes selling to Immigrants

Neil Sharma
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Inbound migration to the Greater Toronto Area should allay fears real estate investors may have about how profitable the region’s housing stock is.

“We used to take 200,000 to 250,000 new immigrants, and 100,000 would come to the GTA,” said Cameron Forbes, general manager and broker of REMAX Realtron Realty. “Immigration has increased to 350,000, so now about 140,000 people are settling in the GTA every year. If you think about two to three people per household, that’s 30,000 to 40,000 new units of additional housing each year, and that’s what’s being constructed now. Fifteen thousand ground-oriented homes, including detached, semi-detached and townhouses, and about 20-25,000 new condos each year.”

“You can’t recreate the land, so there will be a higher average price increase for detached homes. There will be a good return,” continued Forbes. “It’s just a matter of affordability. They’re at a price point where not a lot of people can afford to buy them anymore in the 416, but it would be a great investment because they’ll go up in price for the foreseeable future and into the long-term.”

According to Canadian Real Estate Association statistics released for the month of August, unit sales are up 8.5% this year over August 2017, and the average selling price of $765,270 is also a 4.7% boost over last year.

Forbes indicated that CREA’s stats are in line with REMAX’s forecasts, which show a balanced market in which buyers can take their time deciding whether or not to tender offers, and also one in which sellers aren’t buckling under the weight of multiple offers.

“The stats coming out on a monthly basis were slow until May, and that’s the result of the foreign buyer speculation tax,” he said. “We’re seeing that the market is good, but it’s been slower than the fast pace we’ve become accustomed to for the last five, 10 years. In those areas that have shown the greatest weakness—the outer parts of the 905—we’re seeing renewed buyer confidence and renewed sales and price increases in the areas that had seen the greatest slowdown.”

According to Cam Woolfrey, a sales representative with Royal LePage Signature, multiple offers are still commonplace in downtown Toronto.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

Demand for Toronto’s townhouses loses pace in September

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

TREB says townhouse market slow in September

Ephraim Vecina
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Latest numbers from the Toronto Real Estate Board revealed that the city’s townhouse market has seen a notable slackening in sales numbers, going down by 25% on a year-over-year basis in the first half of September 2018.

This accompanied the introduction of 40% more listings in the market’s townhouse when compared to the same period last month.

Other housing types across the region have experienced robust activity, real estate information portal and brokerage Zoocasa stated in its analysis of the new TREB data.

Detached home sales went up by 11% annually in the City of Toronto and by 9% in the GTA. Inventory expanded by 81% month-over-month.

On the semi-detached side, the segment saw 9% growth in sales in the City of Toronto, and 5% across the GTA. Supply increased by 63% from the first half of August.

Condo apartments had good sales figures as well, with a year-over-year growth rate of 7% in the City of Toronto and 8% across the GTA. Supply expanded by a significant 30%.

“While buyers may be taking their time, sellers have entered the September market in full force, with a flood of new listings across every home type. That’s pushed the market into an easy buyer-friendly environment, from the relatively balanced market in August,” Zoocasa wrote in its analysis.

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd

NAFTA negotiations highlight looming crisis for homeowners

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

B-20 under review in light of NAFTA

Neil Sharma
REP

Interest rates have been expected to rise all year, but ongoing negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement have quashed the latest planned hikes.

“The Bank of Canada indicated that if there were another increase of the interest rate and then there was a collapse of the trading relationship with North American partners, that would significantly negatively impact the economy,” said Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association. “Certainly from our point of view, that’s bad for the housing market, so the Bank wisely took a wait-and-see approach until the trade negotiations are completed.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland has been on the file for the Trudeau government, but working diligently behind the scenes is Canada’s Ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton. While that could abet a favourable outcome for Canada, rising rates in conjunction with the mortgage stress test open up another can of worms.

“Every economist may not agree on the timing, but interest rates are heading up, which means mortgage rates are heading up, and if you add 200 basis points onto every increase, you’re really pushing a lot of first-time homebuyers out of the market and impairing the dreams of move-up buyers who have kids and want a little more space,” added Hudak.

Hudak believes the tribulations surrounding a new NAFTA agreement illuminate a looming problem for Canadians, and that the time is nigh to revisit the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institution’s B-20 stipulations, notably the mortgage stress test.

“In an era of rising interest rates, whether that rise is stalled by uncertainty in NAFTA or not, we need to drive home the importance of revisiting the stress test. It doesn’t make sense to keep piling up more expensive mortgages on top of rising rates from the Bank of Canada.”

Guideline B-20 was put in place largely to curtail exorbitant price escalation in Toronto and Vancouver, however, it’s chilled the Canadian housing market from coast to coast, with smaller markets bearing the brunt of what Croft Axsen calls restrictive policies.

“I’m not saying they shouldn’t be trying to address housing prices in Toronto and Vancouver, but I think most of that has to do with supply,” said Axsen, owner of Dominion Lending Centres Jencor Mortgage Corporation in Calgary. “There’s this overall restriction throughout the entire economy about who can get a mortgage, how many people can get a mortgage, and how big the mortgage they can get is. I don’t think they understand what they’re doing. It makes me nervous that bureaucrats are making these decisions and not bankers.”

Copyright © 2018 Key Media Pty Ltd