Archive for the ‘Real Estate Related’ Category

Briza 10616 132 Street Surrey a 5 storey building with 61 condos and 4 townhouses by Genaris properties

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Location, value drive interest in Briza

Simon Briault
The Vancouver Sun

Briza is a 65-unit condo and townhouse development planned for central Surrey. There’s lots to recommend it. But the most noteworthy thing,  according to both the developer and some buyers who have already signed up, is the pricing, with homes in the current inventory beginning at well below $300,000.

The company behind the project is a relatively new player on the residential development scene, but Genaris Properties is already getting plenty of things done: single-family homes, townhomes and, with Briza, condos.

“The inspiration for our name comes from sui generis, which is Latin for something that is unique and of its own kind,” said Dharam Dhillon, one of the principals of Genaris Properties. “That’s the approach we take to every single one of our developments.”

Briza is nestled between two SkyTrain stations – Surrey Central and Gateway – so residents will get the benefit of all the local amenities, and be able to tap into everything that Vancouver and the rest of the Lower Mainland has to offer.

“I have some amazing memories from growing up in Surrey,” said Dhillon. “Briza not only gives you access to all these great amenities to build your own memories, but it’s also in an area that’s transitioning and turning into something very special. If you buy into this development and work in Vancouver, you’ll have the convenience of being able to hop on a SkyTrain within walking distance and then you have everything on your doorstep when you get home.”

The website for Briza includes a map that is peppered with locations for dining, banking, recreation and shopping. Central City shopping centre is within walking distance and features 140 stores, restaurants, services, Simon Fraser University campus, and an office tower.

Genaris Properties’ five-storey, wood-frame development will include condos and five townhomes, Most homes at Briza feature outdoor spaces overlooking Surrey City Centre or green space. There is secure underground parking for residents and visitors, nine-foot ceilings in all homes and laminate flooring throughout.

Kitchens feature soft-close cabinetry, elongated chevron pattern backsplashes and engineered quartz countertops. There are undermount single-bowl sinks and black Moen faucets with flexible pull-out spray hoses. The appliance packages – fridge-freezers, ranges, dishwashers and microwaves – are by Blomberg.

Bathrooms feature walls that highlight penny-round tile with contrasting grout colour, custom vanities in a velvet matte finish and undermount porcelain sinks. There are walk-in showers in all ensuites. Other features? Custom mirrors with storage shelves in black and white, dual-flush toilets for smart water consumption and tile flooring in all bathrooms.

“It’s a perfectly sized development in my opinion – not so big that you don’t know your neighbours, but big enough to create a vibrant cultural and family atmosphere,” Dhillon said. “There’s also a great unit mix. We’ve got studios for people who are living on their own and family-sized spaces for people who are downsizing or who have kids going to the local schools.”

The project is scheduled to be completed some time in 2022, but Maria Carlos saw the benefits of getting in early and has bought a studio apartment at Briza.

“The price, the quality and the location were the things I most liked about Briza when I saw it,” she said. “It’s expensive in that neighbourhood, but this place was a very, very good deal. It’s near to where all the action is. There’s a lot of development in the area and I think as it gets built up, Briza will be part of that urban core.”

Carlos is one of many who have shown an interest in Briza, according to Dhillon, who is keen to point out the diversity of the development’s buyer demographic.

“The intention with Briza is not only to make it accessible in terms of lifestyle and location, but also financially,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that nobody is priced out. We’ve had a lot of folks from the area and that’s been really encouraging for us. We’ve put our heart and soul into this project and it’s nice that it resonates with people who already live in the neighbourhood.”

“There have also been people from South Surrey who realize that there’s nothing better than being a stone’s throw from the SkyTrain station,” Dhillon added. “They work in Vancouver and this location gives them an extra half hour in their day and you can’t put a price on time.”

There is no sales centre for Briza, but potential buyers can contact the developers by phone or online.

“It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to live here and you’re not going to be putting your entire paycheque towards a mortgage,” said Dhillon. “This development is for everyone and so is the price.”

Briza

Project location: 10616 — 132nd St., Surrey

Project size: Briza is a five-storey, wood frame condo development (including five townhouses). Homes in current inventory range from 421 to 1,243 square feet and priced from $270,900

Developer: Genaris Properties

Architect: Creekside Architects

Interior designer: BAM Interiors

Sales phone: 604-721-5460

Website: http://www.brizasurrey.com

© 2020 Postmedia Network Inc.

303 – 1680 Bayshore home takes in stunning outlooks

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Sold (Bought): Coal Harbour home takes in stunning outlooks

Nicola Way
The Vancouver Sun

303 – 1680 Bayshore Drive, Vancouver

Type: Two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment

Size: 1,132 sq. ft.

B.C. Assessment: $1,318,000

Listed for: $1,645,000

Sold for: $1,542,000

Sold on: Nov. 24

Days on market in this listing: 48

Listing agent: Holly Wood at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

Buyers agent: Les Twarog at ReMax Crest Realty

The big sell: The Bayshore Gardens development in downtown Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighbourhood comprises seven luxury highrise condominium towers on Bayshore Drive. This home is in one of these: Bayshore Towers, with 90 strata units that were constructed in 2002. The corner-unit home features northwesterly vistas of the water, marina, Stanley Park and mountains and an interior with two 13-foot-long bedrooms, a walk-in closet off the master, two full bathrooms and a flex room. There are overheight ceilings, a view balcony, air conditioning, a gas fireplace and cooktop, and new carpets and paintwork. Amenities include 24-hour concierge, a fitness centre and sauna. This property has a monthly maintenance fee of $828.84 and pets and rentals are permitted.

© 2020 Postmedia Network Inc.

Canadian home sales slipped in December

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

New data from CREA shows a 0.9% drop in sales nationally

Steve Randall
Mortgage Broker News

There was a split among major Canadian housing markets in December according to new data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

The stats show that sales were down 0.9% nationwide compared to November, following a wave of gains since March while, actual (not seasonal) activity gained 22.7% year-over-year and was up 18% from the 6-year-low of February 2019.

There was increased activity in around half of Canadian markets including BC’s Lower Mainland, Calgary, and Montreal, while the rest saw declines including the GTA and Ottawa. Year-over-year though, all major urban centres gained.

Meanwhile, the Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose 0.8%, its seventh consecutive monthly gain taking it to 4.7% above 2019’s lowest point reached in May.

“The momentum for home price gains picked up as last year came to a close,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “If the recent past is prelude, then price trends in British Columbia, the GTA, Ottawa and Montreal look set to lift the national result this year, despite the continuation of a weak pricing environment among housing markets across the Prairie region.”

Compared to a year earlier, price declines were focused in the Lower Mainland and major Prairie markets with gains in central and eastern Canada.

Supply issues
New listings are failing to keep up with sales and declined 1.8% in December and the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 66.9%, the highest reading in more than 15 years.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, just over half of all local markets were in balanced market territory in December including Greater Vancouver (GVA) but not the GTA, where market balance favours sellers in purchase negotiations.

Inventory-challenged markets are increasing although the GTA and Ottawa accounted for the largest share of the decline in new listings in December.

There were 4.2 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of December 2019 – the lowest level recorded since the summer of 2007.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Canadian vacancy rate declines for third straight year

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

The national vacancy rate for rental apartment units declined in 2019

Kimberly Greene
Mortgage Broker News

The national vacancy rate for rental apartment units declined in 2019 for a third consecutive year to 2.2%, its lowest level since 2002, according to the latest Rental Market Survey report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“The national vacancy rate for purpose-built rental apartments declined for a third consecutive year in 2019, as strong rental demand continued to outpace growth in supply,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Low vacancy rates in major centres underscore the need for increased rental supply to ensure access to affordable housing.”

The Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) reached a 15-year low of 1.5%, driving the decline. Demand remains elevated in Vancouver and Toronto, where the vacancy rates are 1.1% and 1.5%, respectively. Halifax also saw a decline to 1.0%. Vacancy rates in most other CMAs remained stable, including the major prairie markets of Calgary (3.9%), Regina (7.8%), and Winnipeg (3.1%). The national vacancy rate in 2018 was 2.4% for purpose-build rental units.

Even though the overall vacancy rate in Toronto is 1.5%, that is up from the 2018 levels of 1.2%. Despite the increase, high homeownership costs coupled with tightened mortgage regulations have encouraged individuals in the GTA to continue to seek or remain in rental housing.

“House prices continue to recover following unprecedented levels back in 2017, but remain elevated relative to previous years. Furthermore, prices of multiple-family dwellings (such as condominium apartments and townhouses), which are typically more popular among first-time homebuyers, have showed stronger price growth than other housing types over the past 12 months, thus pushing demand towards the rental market,” the report reads.

Rental apartment starts and completions have increased over the past five years in the GTA, but continue to lag that of condominium apartments. Conversions and units that have been added back into the “rental universe” after renovations have heled the total purpose-built market to increase by nearly 1% in 2019. The Halton Region has recorded the highest growth (4%) with about 590 units being.

“Strong transportation . . . [that] provides easy access to downtown Toronto has made this region an attractive market for young renters,” the report reads.

Nationally, tighter rental markets were accompanied by strong rent growth, with average rents increasing by 3.9% for a two-bedroom apartment between October 2018 and October 2019. This is the fastest pace of same-sample rent growth since October 2001. The average two-bedroom apartment rent was highest in Vancouver ($1,748) and Toronto ($1,562), Calgary ($1,305) and Halifax ($1,202) also remained above the national average, while Montreal ($855) “continued to exemplify the relatively lower rent levels” generally seen in Quebec.

For comparison, the average scheduled monthly payment for new mortgage loans was $1,936 in Vancouver, $1,826 in Toronto, $1,531 in Calgary, $1,133 in Halifax, and $ 1,098 in Montreal, based on Q4 2016 data from CMHC.

Demand for rental apartments last year also continued to be influenced by a probable decrease in the movement to homeownership among Montreal households aged under 35. While the proportion of renters within this group of households had shown a steady decrease between 2001 and 2011, the data from the 2016 Census indicate that this proportion increased. This situation has apparently continued since then, given the pronounced rise in house prices on the Montreal market in recent years.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Parker 13929 105A Avenue Surrey 218 homes in a 4 storey low rise by Mosaic Homes

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Parker to rise in Surrey City Centre

Mary Beth Roberts
The Province

At Parker, Mosaic Homes’ new development of apartments and townhomes in Surrey City Centre, residents will enjoy easy access to both nature and city life with a parkside setting at the edge of a growing metropolitan hub.

Parker consists of three four-storey buildings featuring one-, two-, and three-bedroom townhomes and condos at 105 A Avenue and 139th Street. In the first phase of development, with 218 units on the market, buyers can choose from four plans.

The development is set adjacent to seven and a half acres of green space at Forsyth Park, and an easy stroll or bike ride from Hawthorne Rotary Park.

While Parker’s location offers plenty of green space, it also promises the convenience of urban amenities. Parker is walking distance to Surrey Central SkyTrain Station and a wide range of shopping centres, restaurants and services.

“People are very excited about what is happening (at) Surrey City Centre in terms of the economic development and the jobs that are being added there,” says Mosaic’s senior vice-president of marketing, Geoff Duyker. “We’ve seen a lot of young people from the neighbourhood who have decided that they are ready to buy their first home. Parker’s been a great fit for them based on it being in a part of the city where they want to live and at a price point that they can afford.”

On the outside, Mosaic’s signature Georgian-style architectural elements are back – and better than ever. “We took the best and further refined it for Parker,” says Duyker. “It is an evolution of this style with even more rich details – like brick entries and colourful red doors on the ground-level townhomes.”

One of the distinguishing features of these new homes is the 10-foot-high ceilings. “This does two things,” says Duyker. “It gives it a lot of volume and storage space in the homes and it also allows for really big windows that will let in a lot of light.”

Buyers can choose from two colour palettes for their home: Oak or Walnut. The Oak palette features matte white-on-taupe cabinetry combined with classic herringbone patterned luxury vinyl oak-look flooring. And the Walnut palette offers the dramatic contrast of matte white cabinets with a dark walnut finish on the flooring.

The display home is the two-bedroom Hyde plan, where buyers can get a feel for the warm Oak palette. Flat-panel upper cabinets complement Shaker-style lower cabinets. The matte black lower cabinet hardware and faucet provide an elegant contrast to the white backsplash subway tiles. The butcher block harvest table is available as an optional upgrade.

“Parker has kitchens designed around a flexible harvest table that’s great for preparing, dining or working,” explains Stephanie Da Silva, director of interior design at Mosaic Homes.

Da Silva adds that the interior design of Parker is part of Mosaic’s signature interior design collection. “It’s a look and feel that is not classic versus contemporary, or less versus more. It’s both. It is a look that is modern while infused with tradition.”

Parker

What: 218 one-, two- and three-bedroom homes

Where: 13929 105A Avenue, Surrey City Centre

Residence size and prices: 538 —1,421 square feet; homes starting from the low $400,000s

Developer: Mosaic Homes

Sales centre: 10593 139th Street, Surrey, City Centre

Sales centre hours: Open daily, noon — 6 p.m.

Phone: 604-951-4932

© 2020 Postmedia Network Inc.

Plaza of Nations redevelopment moving forward, including new Canucks practice rink

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

Waterfront plaza, Canucks rink development moving forward

Dan Fumano & Patrick Johnston
The Province

A massive waterfront Vancouver development, which will change the face of False Creek’s north shore and give the Canucks their first dedicated practice facility in more than a decade, is working its way through the development process, after years of work behind the scenes.

The vision for the Plaza of Nations, built as one of the key venues for Expo 86, is described in a plan submitted to the city as a new neighbourhood that will emerge on one of Vancouver’s last undeveloped waterfront properties.

James KM Cheng Architects, on behalf of the current owner of the site, Canadian Metropolitan Properties (CMP), has applied to develop the project that would include “terracing” buildings of up to 30 storeys combining condos and commercial space, as well as public amenities including an outdoor plaza, a daycare facility, community centre, music venue and an NHL-sized rink to be used by both the Canucks and the public.

The project has been in the works for several years, and CMP hopes to move forward and break ground by the end of 2020. The formal development application was filed last September, after Vancouver’s previous council approved the rezoning in July 2018. An open house for the development was scheduled for Wednesday, but was postponed because of the weather. The open house has tentatively been rescheduled for Jan. 29, after which it’s expected the project will go to the urban-design panel for review in February and then to council for final approval in the second quarter of 2020.

The Plaza of Nations property has also been the subject of legal battles for years, between CMP and companies affiliated with the site’s former owner, Concord Pacific. A claim filed in court by Concord in 2016 pegged the value of the Plaza of Nations’ site at about $500 million, Postmedia News reported that year.

Last year, a B.C. Supreme Court judge dismissed Concord’s claim against CMP, a decision that Concord’s lawyers indicated they might appeal, Business in Vancouver reported last September.

Asked Wednesday about the lawsuit, CMP senior vice-president Daisen Gee-Wing said: “It’s been dismissed and we’re proceeding as were throughout the whole process.”

Gee-Wing said the company is “very excited” to get through the next stages of the process, and they “look forward to breaking ground very soon.”

CMP has been in talks with the Canucks for years about the creation of an NHL-sized rink in the civic centre at the Plaza of Nations development. Plans submitted to the city in 2017 described the vision for a Canucks facility. This would give the Canucks their own dedicated training facility, something the organization has not had for about a decade, and it would be located immediately beside their home ice at Rogers Arena. Currently, the Canucks use Rogers as their primary training facility, but on days where there is an event or concert, the team has used ice at the University of B.C. and Burnaby over the past decade, as their secondary facility.

If approved, it’s expected that the first phase of infrastructure work could begin by the end of 2020, but features like the rink wouldn’t be finished until at least 2023 or as late as 2025.

The Plaza of Nations’ site falls within the Northeast False Creek plan, which Vancouver council approved in February 2018. The plan includes the removal of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, which are near the Plaza of Nations. In 2015, when council approved a plan to replace the viaducts with a new street network, Postmedia reported at the time that it was expected that completion of the entire project would take about five years.

No one at the City of Vancouver was available for comment Wednesday.

The city currently estimates that the viaducts’ removal could begin as early as 2021 contingent upon securing funding. The Plaza of Nations’ development isn’t dependent on removal of the viaducts to move forward.

© 2020 Postmedia Network Inc.

The Most Common Home Improvement Scams after a Natural Disaster: How to Avoid Fraud

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

What scams should you avoid after a disaster like a tornado?

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The sad truth is that con artists prey on people who are at their most vulnerable, including homeowners after a destructive weather event. They may perform shoddy work, abandon an incomplete job, or even take off with your money and leave you high and dry.

No matter the disaster, there is a lot you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a home improvement fraud victim. Our guide will help you learn how to stay aware of potential scams and what to do if you’re taken advantage of.

The most common home improvement scams for natural disaster victims

After a disaster, homeowners are often targeted for home improvement scams related to storm damage. Depending on the type and severity of the weather event, as well as the impact it had on local property, scheisters may use different angles to deceive people hoping to get their property fixed as quickly as possible. Here are the most common home repairs needed — and the home improvement scams to be wary of — after natural disasters.

Blizzard

In many areas, blizzards are a threat for as much as half of the year. In addition to knocking down power lines, they have the potential to freeze and burst pipes, crack glass windows, and cave in roofs, even if you prepare your home for winter storms.

Be on the lookout for these scams:

Earthquake

Residents of earthquake-prone areas have probably already taken steps to prevent earthquake damage, but these events are still a gamble even if you earthquake-proof your home. If you’re lucky, a trembler won’t cause any significant damage to your property and belongings, and all you’ll have to do is clean up after an earthquake. Unfortunately, a strong earthquake can cause catastrophic destruction to homes and require significant repairs.

Be on the lookout for these scams:

Flood

Whether it’s a flash flood or a forecasted storm, torrential downpours have the potential to cause extensive devastation that requires a lot of flood damage repair and cleanup.

Be on the lookout for these scams:

Hurricanes have grown in number and intensity over the last few years, and some people are still working to recover after hurricanes that occurred a year or longer ago. There is almost always a substantial amount of cleanup and restoration involved after a hurricane has passed — and plenty of dishonest people posing as reliable home improvement specialists.

Be on the lookout for these scams:

  • Appliance repair
  • Electrical repair
  • Home building
  • Mold remediation
  • Roof repair
  • Water damage restoration
  • Water removal
  • Window repair

Mudslides and landslides

Although they’re not extremely common in the United States, mudslides are a risk for many areas after an earthquake, a wildfire, or a significant storm strikes.

Be on the lookout for these scams:

  • Home building (usually for external structures that aren’t attached to the home, such as garages and sheds)
  • Water and debris removal
  • Water damage restoration

Tornado

These disasters are notorious for appearing without warning and completely wiping out neighborhoods. Even if you prepare your home for a tornado, you’re not completely immune to their devastation. If your home is in the path of a tornado, you can expect to have some degree of damage once the cyclone is gone.

Be on the lookout for these scams:

  • Electrical repair
  • Foundation repair
  • Home building
  • Plumbing repair
  • Roof repair
  • Window repair

Wildfires

Wildfires are yet another disaster that many people lose their homes in. If you’re fortunate enough to have your home still standing after the smoke clears, your property may still be in need of repairs.

Be on the lookout for these scams:

  • Fire damage
  • Electrical repair
  • Home building
  • Plumbing repair
  • Roof repair
  • Window repair

Signs you’re at risk of home improvement fraud

You should always take precautions when hiring someone to work on your home whether or not the job is related to a recent weather event. Unfortunately, because they’re desperate to fix their homes as quickly as possible, homeowners are especially vulnerable to home improvement scams after a natural disaster.

To protect yourself from home improvement fraud, be wary of any contractor who:

  • Knocks on your door offering their services and who claims to be in the neighborhood working on another project. Trustworthy specialists don’t need to go door to door to find business — they earn work through customer referrals, online reviews, and advertising. This is an especially common scheme after a natural disaster.
  • Uses scare tactics to convince you to use their services. Although scammers are likely to use this strategy on anyone who gives them the time of day, many target vulnerable homeowners recovering from a natural disaster. If there truly is a serious problem, a quality professional will explain the situation in a frank and honest, but not an alarming, way.
  • Tries to pressure you into signing a contract without allowing you to perform due diligence. If they don’t want you looking into their past projects and customers’ reviews, it’s likely they don’t have a good reputation.
  • Offers an extremely low price because they claim they’ll use surplus material. “Surplus material” usually refers to leftover supplies they acquired from a previous job they overbilled for or didn’t finish, and this isn’t the type of person you should do business with. (Think about it this way: when you pay your contractor for your project’s materials, anything that doesn’t get used belongs to you. If you don’t want it and they offer to take it, you should be reimbursed. So, if a contractor has materials they claim they’re not charging you for from a previous job, they probably got them in a shady way.)
  • Won’t provide you references for their work. While online reviews are a convenient way to learn about the reputation of a contractor, even some top-notch candidates don’t have them (or it may be difficult for you to access them if the storm knocked out your power and internet lines). In this case, you should ask for the names and phone numbers of at least two previous customers, and the contractor should hand them over without question. If they don’t, they may have something to hide, or they may lack the experience you need to get the job done right.
  • Asks for payment (especially cash) up front. For long-term projects, a reliable professional will write a contract and not expect full payment until it’s been fulfilled. (If they ask for a deposit, it should be no more than one-third of the total project price, and you should only pay it once your materials have been purchased and delivered to the job site.) Trustworthy specialists working on short-term projects won’t ask to be paid until the work is done.
  • Doesn’t want to write a contract. Even projects that will only take a few hours should be put down in writing (with the price included) before the work starts.

What to do if you’re the victim of a home improvement scam after a natural disaster

If you do fall victim to home improvement fraud, don’t be too hard on yourself. Unfortunately, it happens to a lot of people, especially after natural disasters when emotions are running high. Try to keep calm, and follow these steps to seek justice:

  • Gather any documentation you have regarding the project, including your contract, emails, voice mails, and text messages. Take photos of the work site(s), regardless of how much work was completed. You’ll need all of this information when notifying the authorities of the fraud that was committed.
  • File a criminal complaint with your local police department. If they are unable to help you, file a small claims court case. It may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but remember, con artists count on you letting them win. In fact, many will return your money to avoid going to court, but only if they are officially summoned to make an appearance.
  • File complaints with the appropriate state licensing boards, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor.

Surviving a natural disaster — especially when your home does not — is an overwhelming experience. The last thing you need during this time is to fall prey to a scam, so keep your guard up and err on the side of caution throughout the process. Use a site like Angie’s List to read customer reviews from prescreened professionals, or get a friend’s recommendation for reliable contractors. For every project you need done, speak with at least three different contractors to compare prices, timelines, and your chemistry. Remember that the lowest bid isn’t always the best offer, and be sure to get contracts and receipts for all of the work you agree to have done. By taking these important steps, your home will be on the mend and you’ll be able to resume your normal, pre-disaster life as soon as possible.

© 1995-2020, Angie’s List.

What the 2020 BC Real Estate Assessment Report is Telling You

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

BC Assessed Values Leave Homeowners, Buyers and Sellers with Question

Catherine Musgrove
REW

You just bought a home for $2 million in lower mainland BC, only to receive notice from BC Assessment saying your property is valued at $1.7 million. How about your neighbour’s condo that sold for $700,000 and is now assessed at $595,000? Say what? Maybe, you just bought a home in Kitimat for $1 million, and you found out that your property has increased in value to over $1.4 million in six months. That’s a pretty good return!

In early January, homeowners across British Columbia received their 2020 assessed property values, released by BC Assessment. For the most part, the province remains relatively stable. However, there are significant changes to note, including a dramatic decrease in values in the lower mainland by as much as 15 per cent and increases of 41 per cent in smaller areas such as Kitimat. Regardless of the situation, it can be a confusing landscape to navigate as a homeowner, seller, or buyer. Here is a look at some of the need-to-know points that demystify the real versus the perceived impact of the newly released property assessments.

What is the BC Assessment?

BC Assessment provides a predictable base for real property taxation in British Columbia. It determines ownership, tax liability, classifies and values each property. To meet their mandate, BC Assessment completes property assessments every year. The values are completed by July 1st, and the information is based on the market trends from the previous year.

These assessments then provide the foundation for local and provincial taxing. They are used by the local and provincial taxing authorities to calculate the billions of tax revenue each year that will fund community services provided by local governments throughout the province.

“The assessments are based on what was happening in the marketplace by July 1st of last year. They reflect the conditions at that time,” says Tina Ireland, spokesperson and assessor with BC Assessment.

How Does the Assessment Affect Property Taxes?

Although BC Assessment exists for the sole purpose of creating information for the government to determine property taxes, this description can be misleading. Governments still need a tax income to provide all the needed services in your community. By lowering taxes, some of those needs may not get met. Most homeowners will see very little change in their property taxes despite their property value decreasing. Streets still need to be cleared, schools need to exist, garbage needs to be removed. You get the picture.

What matters is what is going around you. Essentially, your property taxes have more to do with your neighbourhood and community than it does with you. If your home’s value decreases more than other properties in your neighbourhood, you might expect lower property tax hikes. If your property held its value more than others in your area, then you can expect larger tax hikes.

With the larger properties, a.k.a. Mansions, significantly dropping in value around Vancouver, you can expect a relatively larger increase in Condo property taxes, even though their assessments saw a 7% decrease in value. There is a fundamental shift in the tax burden to the lower-end properties.

Your taxes are dependent on your property’s changes relative to your community

“If the change isn’t great, then the effects will be negligible. If your change is greater, then you may see an impact,” says Ireland.

When predicting whether your taxes will go up this year, keep in mind City Council recently approved a 7% tax increase (better than the 8.2% they originally proposed). To expect property taxes to go down because the assessed value has gone down isn’t necessarily going to happen.

How Does it Affect The Real Estate Market?

This is the interesting part. Property Assessments are based on what happened in the months leading up to the July 1st cut-off of the previous year. In this case, July 1st, 2019.

“The start of last year saw a slump in the housing market,” says Lyn Hart of MacDonald Realty. “Because the market was slower, it affected the information used for the assessments. The market picked up in the latter half of the year.”

The assessments are not exactly a reflection of what is happening in the current market. Tina Ireland is quick to point out the assessments are just another piece of information Realtors can use to set prices and negotiate in the housing market.

“There are valleys and hills throughout time with the housing market. Sometimes it is a seller’s market, and other times it is in favour of the buyer. There is rarely a dramatic shift,” Hart adds.

There is a difference between the assessed value on home versus the market value. Fluctuation in the market is natural.

“There is not a huge bubble in the lower mainland. It is simply a pendulum that can swing in either direction for a period,” adds Hart.

How Does it Affect Prices?

Homes have an assessed value and an appraised value. The assessed value is used by tax authorities to determine how much your tax bill should be each year. The appraised value represents the fair market value of your home. The price, however, is mostly determined by what buyers are willing to pay for the property. As a seller, work closely with your Real Estate Agent in determining your price. They will have their finger on the pulse. 

What Does it Mean for First-Time Home Buyers?

Hart says there is still a small window available for homebuyers to cash in on a “deal.” However, she is quick to advise not to sit around and wait for prices to drop further because markets continue to pick up.

Although consumers may see a correction in the marketplace for more affordable housing, don’t expect it to bottom out, she adds. In the end, prices will still be determined by what people are willing to pay.

What Does it Mean for Current Homeowners?

It is natural to be concerned with decreases in assessed property values, your home is not worth as much you might have paid for it, or you may not get the return on investment you hoped. Your property assessment may not affect your market value.

Homeowners may also wonder if it will affect their ability to renew their mortgages if they owe more than their home’s current assessed value. Rest assured, in most cases, mortgage renewal should not be an issue. If you are renewing with the same lender and your credit standing has not deteriorated, then the process should be smooth.

The challenge may arise if you are changing lenders, trying to access more funds, suffer from poor credit, or trying to negotiate a new mortgage. If it is a straightforward renewal, don’t worry, you won’t be kicked out of your home because the assessed value has decreased.

Overall, the housing marketing across BC remains moderate, and Real Estate Agents are already anticipating a busy spring as buyers and sellers negotiate their dream home. Be aware of the assessment and what it means to your community, look at what you can afford, and then negotiate based on the market value for your neighbourhood. 

© 2020 REW. A Division of Glacier Media

BC real estate agents now have to learn about money laundering

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

RECBC introduces mandatory training to prevent money laundering

Steve Randall
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia has become the first industry regulator in Canada to introduce mandatory training to help combat money laundering.

RECBC’s course will give licensed real estate professionals tools and insights to spot the signs of money laundering and help keep the proceeds of crime out of the province’s real estate market.

“For most people, purchasing a home is the biggest financial commitment of their lives.” said Erin Seeley, RECBC Chief Executive Officer. “Protecting consumers so that they can feel confident about their real estate transaction is our first priority, and that’s why we’ve decided to make this new course on anti-money laundering mandatory for all real estate professionals.”

The course was proposed in May 2019 amid several measures designed to tackle money laundering in real estate following two government reports highlighting its proliferation.

The RECBC will merge with the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) in 2021, creating a single regulator for financial services in the province.

“Education is a key initiative in the fight to reduce money laundering,” said Blair Morrison, Chief Executive Officer, BCFSA. “RECBC’s introduction of mandatory anti-money laundering training for real estate professionals will help ensure that buyers and sellers of BC real estate are better protected from the negative impacts of money laundering.”

Copyright © 2020 Key Media Pty Ltd

Metro Vancouver clocks record-high housing starts

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

CMHC recorded Metro Vancouver with the highest housing starts

Gerv Tacadena
Canadian Real Estate Wealth

Metro Vancouver managed to buck the national downtrend in housing starts, ending 2019 with a record-high growth, according to the latest figures from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Over the year, the metropolitan region recorded 28,141 housing starts, beating its previous record of 27,914 in 2016.

Of the total housing starts, 21,321 were for condo units, 3,426 for single-family homes, 530 for semi-detached dwellings, and 2,864 for townhouses.

Vancouver was the busiest municipality, comprising 6,823 of the total housing starts last year. The table below shows the five most active municipalities for new housing starts in 2019:

According to CMHC, around one in four building commencements were for rental housing. Vancouver also reported the highest number of rental housing starts at 2,716, followed by Surrey at 805, Burnaby at 509, Coquitlam at 481, and North Vancouver at 451.

This strong trend in housing starts, however, is not expected to continue this year.

The growth in starts last year was supported by strong presale activity over the past few years, said Bryan Yu, chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union.

“While the trend in housing starts is elevated, a pullback of about 20% is forecast for 2020. Nevertheless, recent interest rate cuts, rental demand and the federal first-time home buyer Incentive program will support activity,” he said in a think piece in Business In Vancouver.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media Pty Ltd