Archive for the ‘Real Estate Related’ Category

Canada lost 13,000 jobs last month says ADP

Friday, January 18th, 2019

December 2018 say 13,000 jobs gone in Canada

Steve Randall

There was a reduction of 13,000 jobs in Canada in December 2018 according to the latest report from ADP Research Institute.

The decline was led by a loss of 7,700 jobs in trade/transport and utilities; 6,900 in construction; and 3,500in ‘other services’ which includes public administration.

Finance and real estate employment fell by 2,600.

However, the weak end to 2018 belies what was a solid year for employment growth and the November’s increase was revised upwards from 39,100 to 74,000.

“Despite a dip in job growth in December, overall gains for 2018 were strong,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Of the more than 340,000 jobs added this year, education and healthcare, professional services and leisure and hospitality were significant drivers of growth.”

The industries posting gains in December were led by manufacturing (up 4,700), administrative and support (up 3,700), and education and healthcare (up 3,000).

The ADP Canada National Employment Report is produced by the ADP Research Institute and derived from actual ADP payroll data. It measures the change in total nonfarm payroll employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

More rate cuts expected following RBC move

Friday, January 18th, 2019

Canada?s largest banks to cut 5-year mortgage rate

Steve Randall

Canada’s largest bank may have sparked a rate war by offering customers a “special offer” 5-year mortgage rate of 3.74%.

The reduction of 15 basis points is likely to be met with similar deals from other major lenders; many alternative lenders have already reduced rates but the Big 5 have been holding back.

“Banks could’ve cut fixed rates weeks ago. The reason they held out is because they can,” founder Rob McLister told CBC News.

With bond yields falling following the BoC’s dovish tone on interest rate rises, mortgage rates have been expected to fall and some lenders are already offering rates as low as 3.29% for a 5-year FRM.

The RBC cut is notable as it’s the bank’s first cut since 2017. It’s also notable for its minimal size, which will likely have a corresponding impact on the market – unless further cuts follow.

“RBC is the largest mortgage lender in Canada, so whenever they move their mortgage rates we can expect that the other four banks will follow suit,” James Laird, president of CanWise Financial told “We anticipate that the other big banks will soon have a publicly posted rate of 3.74% as well.” calculates that with a $400,000 mortgage a typical homeowner would save $32 a month on their $2,080 monthly payment.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Vacancy Tax Explained

Friday, January 18th, 2019

City of Vancouver – Vacancy Tax Office.


With regards to your inquiry, the definition of the “principal residence” per the Vacancy Tax Bylaw No. 11674 is as follow:


“principal residence” means the usual place where an individual lives, makes his or her home and conducts his or her daily affairs, including, without limitation, paying bills and receiving mail, and is generally the residential address used on documentation related to billing, identification, taxation and insurance purposes, including, without limitation, income tax returns, Medical Services Plan documentation, driver’s licenses, personal identification, vehicle registration and utility bills and, for the purposes of this by-law, a person may only have one principal residence;


Also, Section 4.7 and 4.8 of the bylaw;


  • 4.7 The Collector of Taxes may require a registered owner to provide information at any time and for a period of up to two years after the applicable vacancy reference period ………
  • 4.8 The Collector of Taxes may require a registered owner to submit evidence to verify a property status declaration and the status of the property.


For your reference, you can also find a copy of the Vacancy Tax By-Law No.11674, here:



Most properties will not be subject to the Empty Homes Tax / Vacancy Tax, including those:

  • Used as a principal residence by the owner, his/her family member or friend, or other permitted occupier for at least six months of the current year
  • Rented for residential purposes for at least six months of the current year, in periods of 30 or more consecutive days
  • Meeting the criteria for one of the exemptions


You can learn more about the Vacancy Tax at the or by following this link.


A reminder, pursuant to the Vacancy Tax Bylaw No. 11674 – every owner of class 1 residential property in the City of Vancouver must make a Property Status Declaration every year. The declaration period for 2018 Property Status Declaration is now open. The 2018 Empty Homes Tax property status declaration period will open until February 4, 2019. Failure to declare by February 4, 2019, will result in your property being deemed vacant and subject to a tax of 1% of its assessed taxable value.


During the declaration period, you can make your Property Status Declaration through one of the following options:

  • Online – at the City’s website  – with your folio number and access code you can make your declaration from anywhere, anytime with internet connection
  • By calling 3-1-1 within the City of Vancouver or 604-873-7000 (from outside the city) – our staff at the calling centre are available from 7:00am to 10:00pm 7-days a week including holidays
  • At the City Hall – during business hours
  • At your local Vancouver Public Library – during library’s hours, please have your folio number and access code available

Vacancy Tax explanation from city of Vancouver

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Will your home be taxed?


Each year, every owner of residential property will have to make a property status declaration. This will determine if the property is subject to the Empty Homes Tax, also known as the Vacancy Tax.

The Province of BC’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax  is in addition to the City’s Empty Homes Tax. If you own residential property in Vancouver, you may have to pay both taxes

Properties not subject to the tax

Most properties will not be subject to the Empty Homes Tax, including those:

  • Used as a principal residence by the owner, his/her family member or friend, or other permitted occupier for at least six months of the 2018 tax year
  • Rented for residential purposes for at least six months of the current year, in periods of 30 or more consecutive days
  • Meeting the criteria for one of the exemptions 

See if the tax applies to you

Exemptions and scenarios that may apply to you

This content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as advice or a determination of whether your property will be subject to the Empty Homes Tax

If there is any discrepancy between the information provided here and the provisions of the Vacancy Tax Bylaw  (183 KB), the latter will prevail.  These changes are in effect for the 2018 reference period (January 1 to December 31, 2018.)


You will not be subject to the tax if you can meet one of the exemptions listed below.

If you claim one of the following exemptions, you must be able to provide evidence that validates your declaration if asked.

Clarifications to the Vacancy Tax bylaw were made on September 18, 2018. These changes are in effect for the 2018 reference period (January 1 to December 31, 2018).

Evidence documentation is not required at the time of declaration and will only be requested if the property is selected for audit.

Exemption types

Occupancy for full-time employment

Exemption details

Examples of acceptable evidence

Your principal residence was outside of Greater Vancouver, but you occupied your property for residential purposes for at least six months because you were employed full-time in Greater Vancouver. The nature of the employment must require physical presence in Greater Vancouver.

Greater Vancouver as defined in the Vacancy Tax Bylaw (183 KB) refers to:

  • Village of Anmore
  • Village of Belcarra
  • City of Burnaby
  • City of Coquitlam
  • City of Delta
  • City of Langley
  • Township of Langley
  • Village of Lion’s Bay
  • City of Maple Ridge
  • City of New Westminster
  • City of North Vancouver
  • District of North Vancouver
  • City of Pitt Meadows
  • City of Port Coquitlam
  • City of Port Moody
  • City of Richmond
  • City of Surrey
  • Tsawwassen First Nation
  • City of Vancouver
  • District of West Vancouver
  • City of White Rock
  • University Endowment Lands
  • University of British Columbia

This exemption does not apply to properties that are being used solely as office space.

  • Address of your principal residence
  • Contact information for Greater Vancouver employer
  • Letter from Vancouver employer confirming full time employment status and required physical presence for purposes of work
Owner in care

Exemption details

Examples of acceptable evidence

Your property was unoccupied for more than six months because you or your tenant was residing in a hospital, long term, or supportive care facility and had previously been using the property as a principal residence or occupying it for residential purposes as a tenant.

This exemption does not apply to second homes that are used occasionally to receive medical care in Vancouver.

All occupants must be residing in a care facility for the exemption to apply.

 This exemption is not allowed for more than two consecutive tax years.

  • Contact information for care facility
  • Letter from care facility confirming you or your tenant is undergoing medical/ supportive care
Estate of deceased

Exemption details

Examples of acceptable evidence

The property was unoccupied for more than six months because the last registered owner is deceased and a grant of probate or administration of the estate was pending.

This exemption does not apply if a grant of administration or probate was issued by a date that would have allowed the property to have been occupied for six months of the calendar year. The property will otherwise be subject to the tax unless it was used as a principal residence or rented to a tenant or subtenant for at least six months.

Death certificate of registered owner

Transfer of property

Exemption details

Examples of acceptable evidence

Legal ownership was transferred during the reference period (the property was sold) and a new Land Title Number was issued.

The use of “transfer” is based on the definition of “transfer” in the Land Title Act, being a conveyance, a grant, and an assignment.

This exemption does not apply to properties that were issued a new Land Title Number solely because of a name or address change.

Title search or certificate of title showing the date that title was transferred

Undergoing redevelopment or major renovations

Exemption details

Examples of acceptable evidence

Your property was unoccupied for more than six months because:

  • The property was undergoing redevelopment or major renovations where permits:
    • had been issued and were being carried out diligently and without delay, or
    • were under review for redevelopment of vacant land or the conservation of heritage property.
  • Or, the property is vacant and part of a phased development which has:
    • A rezoning application under review
    • Approved rezoning with permits under review
    • Approved rezoning where construction has commenced
  • Short description of renovation/ redevelopment project
  • Building or development permit number
Strata rental restriction

Exemption details

Examples of acceptable evidence

Your property was unoccupied for more than six months because it was subject to a strata rental bylaw as of November 16, 2016:

  • that prohibited rentals or restricted the number of units that may be rented, and
  • the maximum allowable number of rentals had already been reached.

This exemption does not apply to properties where the number of permitted strata rentals decreased on or after November 16, 2016.

  • Copy of strata bylaws
  • Letter from strata council confirming the maximum number of units have been rented
  • Copy of waitlist confirming owner attempted to rent the property
Court order

Exemption details

Examples of acceptable evidence

Your property was unoccupied for more than six months because the property was under one of the following:

  • A court order
  • Court proceedings
  • An order of a governmental authority prohibiting occupancy

Actions to permit occupancy were carried out diligently and without delay, in accordance with any timelines in the order.

This exemption applies to owners who were prohibited from selling, occupying, or renting their property.

This exemption does not apply to properties that are uninhabitable due to inaction by the owner.

  • Copy of the court order
  • In cases where an order or a governmental authority prohibits occupancy, the owner must be able to show that they have acted diligently to meet the requirements of the order
Limited use residential property

Exemption details

Examples of acceptable evidence

Your property was unoccupied for more than six months because the use of the property was limited to one of the following:

  • Vehicle parking
  • A result of the size, shape, or other inherent limitation of the parcel, a residential building could not be constructed


© 2019 City of Vancouver

RBC cuts 5-year fixed mortgage rate

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Five year fixed rate dropped by 15 basis points

Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Royal Bank of Canada has lowered its posted five-year fixed rate by 15 basis points from 3.89 per cent to 3.74 per cent.

Mortgage rate comparison website founder Robert McLister says RBC is the first of the Big Six banks to cut its advertised five-year fixed rate after a fall in five-year bond yields.

McLister adds that he expects other big banks to follow suit in the coming days.

When asked what prompted the rate drop, an RBC spokesperson said a number of factors have impacted the Toronto-based bank’s cost of funds.

RBC says that includes the rate the bank pays in the wholesale market, increasing regulatory costs and market volatility.

McLister says now that market volatility has subsided, the bank’s competitors have started undercutting big banks which puts pressure on them to act.

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

Cedar Ridge 70 Seaview Drive Port Moody 28 three and four bedroom townhomes by Allaire Living and Headwater Living

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Cedar Ridge townhomes targeting a variety of homebuyers, from young families to downsizers

Michael Bernard
The Province

Cedar Ridge

What: 28 three- and four-bedroom townhomes

Where: 70 Seaview Drive, Port Moody

Residence size and prices: 1,304 sq. ft. — 1,602 sq. ft.; low $900,000s — $1.2 million

Developer: Allaire Living and Headwater Living

Sales centre: 1a – 555 Clarke Dr., Coquitlam

Hours: noon — 5 p.m., Sat — Wed

Telephone: 604-720-5357

Finding a niche in today’s highly competitive real estate market is no mean feat for today’s smaller developer, but it’s a bonus when that developer finds that his housing product is fulfilling the needs of not one but two generations of homebuyers.

That’s the market sweet spot Marc Allaire has targeted in building Cedar Ridge, 28 three-storey three- and four- bedroom townhomes in an area of Port Moody largely devoted previously to single-family homes.

“We are building for young families looking to upgrade from a condo who have built up some equity in the last three or four years,” said Allaire, who has worked 35 years in the industry, including the last 11 years with his own company, Allaire Living. “We are also looking at downsizers who want to sell their single-family home but remain in the area but aren’t necessarily ready for condo living and still want their own garage.”

He adds to that mix, executive couples who want their own home but don’t want a single-family house.

While there are lots of condominiums out there, there are relatively few three- or four- bedroom townhomes, he said.

Cedar Ridge is rendered in a West Coast contemporary style by the Vancouver firm of Integra Architecture Inc. whose principal, Duane Siegrist, makes liberal use of light and mid-brown natural colours to complement the timber and rock details emblematic of that genre.

 “The main design inspiration came from the large natural forest, and public park located just 300 metres east of our site,” he said, adding the look was successful.

Notes Allaire: “One thing we have seen is that the outdoor lifestyle is a big concern for people living in this area.”

Cedar Ridge is well located for this lifestyle, offering good access to transit (the West Coast Express and walking distance to the new Evergreen line) and a new nearby grocery store, and good schools and parks while being within a few minutes of the regional shopping centre at Lougheed Mall.

Inside, the developer has focused on an open-concept design with a choice of two colour schemes: white raised-panel painted Shaker cabinets or wood-grain laminate flat-panel cabinets. All homes have nine-foot ceilings on the main level with seven-foot doors throughout.

There is wide plank laminate wood flooring throughout the main living areas including the kitchen and powder room, tile flooring in the bathrooms, and carpet on stairs, bedroom floors and upstairs hallways.

Quartz countertops are used in the kitchen with contemporary under-mount stainless steel sinks.

Ensuite and bathroom cabinetry and vanities are matched with the kitchen materials. The shower-tub surrounds are tiled in the main bathroom while the ensuites have shower units and heated floors.

The homes have spacious exterior decks or patios and feature a natural gas barbecue outlet.

© 2019 Postmedia Network Inc.

Redfin to launch in Canada in March

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

U.S. based online real estate brokerage coming to Canada

Mario Toneguzzi

Another big U.S.-based online real estate brokerage is launching in Canada, selling itself as a more affordable way for consumers to buy and sell homes throughout the country.

Redfin, which is based in Seattle, will open in Toronto and Vancouver by March and it plans to expand to other major Canadian markets once it has established itself north of the border.

Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, said the technology powered brokerage will have its own agents working in the offices with a mission of delivering the best customer service possible.

“It’s such a different model,” said Kelman. “In the next few months we expect to be live. So many consumers start their search online. Being a technology-first brokerage just helps us meet customers at a lower cost and then I think consumers really want someone who is on their side. That’s having agents who are employees of the company, who can work together as a team, taking technology, which means we can deliver better service.

“It’s an on-demand world,” says Kelman. “People want to touch a button and have their groceries delivered or a taxi pick them up. Now they have the same expectation of Realtors, which means organizing to work as a team and using technology to get people into homes at a moment’s notice, to answer their questions whether it’s a weekend or weekday night.” He says it’s a challenge for the industry, but it’s “what Redfin was organized to do.”

Redfin was launched in the United States in February 2006 and today has a presence in more than 85 markets south of the border.

Redfin’s website and mobile apps will show all homes for sale through the local MLS in Toronto and Vancouver. It will also show sold prices in those markets.

Asked about the company’s bigger plans for the Canadian market, Kelman replied: “We don’t know yet. Our biggest plan is to make our first customer very happy and after that we plan to make our second customer very happy. We can’t get ahead of ourselves here . . . We do hope to be able to offer services in other major Canadian cities. That will take time . . .  It took us 10 years to cover most American cities and still we don’t cover them all. We’re going to focus on the major cities just because it helps us to have some density – some density of customers, some density of agents.”

Salespeople working for Redfin will be employees of the company – not independent contractors – and will be paid bonuses based in part on customer satisfaction. The number of agents in individual Canadian offices would depend on how busy those offices become.

“I think one difference between Redfin and other brokerages is that we just don’t measure our success in terms of the number of agents we have. We don’t recruit agents as a way to recruit customers. Our goal is to make the agent as efficient as possible. It’s not a recruiting operation primarily. It’s a customer service operation,” says Kelman.

Redfin says it will charge home sellers a one per cent listing fee. Agents will provide complete home-selling services such as pricing and staging advice, free professional photography, a 3D walkthrough of the home, open houses, yard signs and beautifully designed marketing materials. The company said its listings will receive premier placement on and will be displayed on and other Canadian real estate websites via the Multiple Listing Services.

“By working with a local Redfin agent, a seller in Toronto will save $11,250 on a $750,000 home sale when compared to paying a listing commission of 2.5 per cent. The one per cent listing fee does not include a buyer’s agent commission, which is typically paid by the seller,” said Redfin.

Kelman said the company’s technology makes it more efficient, which gives it the ability to implement its cost structure. He says that’s important because there is an affordability crisis in both Canada and the United States.

“It’s harder to get a loan. Foreign investment has driven prices up and now there’s just a bunch of people who need every dollar they can to go to the house,” he says. “So, paying real estate agents a living wage where really we want best-paid professionals to work for us but still investing in efficiency – let’s just have our cake and eat it too, if the consumer can get low fees and the agent can still have a good life.”

Blair Anderson, a Toronto native with more than a decade of experience in real estate, will lead Redfin’s operations in the Greater Toronto Area.

“Canadian consumers are discerning and tech-savvy and I believe they will be blown away by Redfin’s unmatched combination of agent service, technology and value,” says Anderson in a news release. “Not only will we provide full real estate services for a lower fee, the Redfin model rewards customer service, so our agents are accountable to deliver the best outcome for their clients.”

The company said its customers, whether they buy a home or not, are asked to review the service they received from their Redfin agent. The reviews are published on the agent’s online profile and agent bonuses are based in part on these reviews.

© 2017 REM Real Estate Magazine

Ontario Collective and Ontario Regional Technology & Information Systems to merge

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

OC and ORTIS agreed to blend the two MLS systems


Two regional real estate MLS systems in Ontario have joined forces to provide services to 22 boards and associations and more than 13,000 Realtors.

The Ontario Collective (OC) and Ontario Regional Technology & Information Systems (ORTIS), have signed a Transition Agreement to blend their two separate systems into one common shared regional MLS system.

Steve Dickie, chair of the OC, says: “For going on decades now, progressive Realtors and associations have been working to break down the artificial walls that have separated them. This initiative will significantly enhance the opportunities and services for our Realtor members as well as their clients.”

“From the beginning, this has been a member-centric process where we have put the needs of the Realtor first and foremost,” says Brad Johnstone, ORTIS chair. “Realtors and their clients all have the same wants, needs and expectations, regardless of the size and location of the association they belong to.”

Johnstone says, “The systems our two groups developed independently of one another are powered by the same stable, secure, proven and reliable technology, and both were developed by Realtors for Realtors.

Both groups are using CoreLogic’s Matrix system to power their MLS services. Matrix is used by more than 700,000 Realtors in North America and 32,000 in Canada, the company says.

Combining the two systems into a seamless one will result in a “best-of-breed” solution by taking the lessons both groups learned in their individual regional projects and bringing them together, say the groups. “Central to this project from the beginning is the recognition that members are equal. No matter what part of the province a Realtor practices in they have the same need for high standards and dependable technology,” say the groups in a news release.

“We’re going to take the best of both systems and combine them together to make something even better,” says Kati Strickland, project manager of the OC. “We’re working with CoreLogic now to align the needed resources and flesh out our project plan with the objective of having members online with it in the fall of 2019.”

The OC is comprised of boards and associations in Bancroft, Kawartha Lakes, London and St. Thomas, North Bay, Northumberland Hills, Peterborough and The Kawarthas, Quinte, Grey Bruce Owen Sound, Southern Georgian Bay, The Lakelands, Tillsonburg and Woodstock-Ingersoll.

ORTIS includes boards and associations from Barrie, Brantford, Cambridge, Guelph, Huron- Perth, Kitchener-Waterloo, Mississauga, Niagara, Oakville, Milton and Simcoe.

© 2017 REM Real Estate Magazine

Seniors housing touted as 2019’s safest investment

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

A report stated that senior living real estate a good investment

Neil Sharma
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

With seniors slated to comprise nearly a quarter of Canada’s population by 2030, real estate that caters to their needs is being touted as one of the most investment-friendly sectors this year.

That’s in spite of a somewhat volatile interest rate environment that’s expected to carry through 2019, says Montreal-based Fred Blondeau, an analyst with Echelon Wealth Partners.

“The sector should be able to generate significant growth no matter how interest rates evolve, so we’re putting more emphasis on senior living at this point,” he said, referring to a report Echelon released last month.

The report, The Ultimate All-Weather Investment: Canadian Senior Living Real Estate, differentiates between long-term care, which is the purview of governmental agencies, and senior housing, which requires private funds.

“The appetite from investors for senior living spaces remain strong,” said Blondeau. “The sector will be subject to strong inflows from investors wanting to put their money in the space.”

Echelon Wealth Partners reckons that times are turbulent and, in particular, it is worried about the global macroeconomic outlook. However, according to Blondeau, irrespective of whether the economic environment improves, remains stable or becomes more unstable, senior living spaces will be unaffected.

“Especially in Canada’s strongest markets, like Toronto and B.C.,” he said. “We also feel like the market will continue to see strong activity and development of products. The sector will be subject to major capital investments, too, so it will remain a very vibrant sector no matter what happens with both the global and Canadian economies.”

David Stroller, vice president of marketing at, an analytics platform that monitors health and behavioural patterns in individuals, expects substantial investment in the senior living sector over the coming decade. For proof, he points to hospitals.

“As population ages, we run into capacity issues within hospitals, so there will be a huge priority in keeping older adults living at home longer,” said Stroller. “There is greater need for residences designed to support and help older adults remain independent longer.”

That need is already manifesting in through-the-roof demand for monitoring devices for fall detection and wandering.

“Scarcity will be a major issue in the senior living sector,” said Stroller. “When you can find an industry that’s growing, you want to attach yourself to it, and this is one of those industries because we see an increase in consumer demand, an increase on the business side with suppliers and technology, and that should be met with an increase in supply.”

Copyright © 2019 Key Media Pty Ltd

In Canada’s housing slowdown, Vancouver proves to be the weakest link

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Vancouver is in ‘full-blown correction mode,’ RBC economist says, with more price depreciations expected

Greg Quinn
The Vancouver Sun

Vancouver’s housing market is looking more fragile than Toronto a year after policy makers tightened mortgage lending to slow a boom. Watch Video

While the country’s two most expensive real estate markets have both been hit hard by higher interest rates and tougher mortgage regulations, the data suggest Toronto is faring better and showing signs of stabilizing, while Vancouver continues its slide.

Sales in the west coast city plunged 32 per cent last year, driving benchmark prices down 6.5 per cent over the past six months, according to Canadian Real Estate Association data released Tuesday. Toronto also saw sales fall sharply, but by half as much as Vancouver and with prices in Canada’s biggest city little changed in recent months.

“I’m not worried about Toronto, I’m worried more about Vancouver at this stage,” said Sebastien Lavoie, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities in Montreal. “The biggest worry I have for Vancouver really is the expectations that could turn a lot more downbeat because of the downward trend we are seeing now.”

The relative performance reflects in part a bigger surge in prices during the boom in Vancouver, where they gained 68 per cent over the last five years. That’s ahead of Toronto’s 58 per cent increase.

“Vancouver is in full-blown correction mode,” Royal Bank of Canada economist Robert Hogue said in a research note Tuesday. “Prices are poised to depreciate more — potentially a lot more considering the degree to which they are still unaffordable to average buyers.”

© 2019 Financial Post