November 6, 2013
October 2013 - Continued Stability
October was a month of stability in the Greater Vancouver Real Estate scene as it continues to hold its status as a balanced market, and statistics remain consistent with historical averages. In contrast to October 2012, sales volume is up 37.8%, although October 2012 is a weak point of comparison as the market then was much below historical averages. When comparing sales volume in October 2013 to September 2013 the Greater Vancouver market showed a decrease of 7.2%.
Here area a few markets within Greater Vancouver that performed much better than the average 7.2% decrease in sales from the previous month. Coquitlam detached home sales increased by a strong 27% and sales of attached dwellings increased 18.28%. Port Coquitlam also had a strong month with a 12.9% increase in sales.
Once again, this monthly data shows sales in areas outside of Metro Vancouver continue to be stronger than average statistics in the Greater Vancouver Market. The growth in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam is partially due to the new Evergreen line currently under construction. The Line is expected to be completed in 2016 but that isn’t the only factor driving young and growing families to this area. The Tri-Cities has always been a great place to raise a family, with attractive pricing compared to Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster. The future Skytrain line is simply an added benefit to the area and demand has grown - the proof is in the numbers.
November and December are often the slowest months of the year; October experienced a 14.2% decrease in new listings compared to the previous month, and this trend is expected to continue to the end of the year. Sellers who don’t need to sell or who haven’t found that perfect property to purchase may simply chose to sit tight until 2014. For those first time buyers, there may be the perfect opportunity to find a home at a great price, as some sellers are very motivated to sell their property before the end of the year!
October 3, 2013
Strong Sales, Stable Prices.
Sales volume continues to remain strong after the summer months of 2013, but prices remain stagnant as buyers are unwilling to drive home prices up. September 2013 showed a 63.8% increase in sales volume compared to September 2012. This is largely due to September 2012 being a historically slow month in combination with today's buyers wanting to purchase now, instead of paying for higher interest rates in the future. The Market’s stagnant prices demonstrates seller's awareness of the current situation as many are willing to sell their properties below top dollar, afraid that the demand may wear out. Sub markets driven by younger & first time buyer demand are specifically showing signs of this “low interest rate driven demand.” It's difficult to say how busy the market will remain towards the end of the year, likely we will continue to see the balanced market we see today.
September 29, 2013
3 Hot Pre-Sales
Pre-Sales! A great way for an investor or first time buyer to put down a relatively small deposit and hold off 1-3 years before completing the sale. Below are a few of the top Pre-sale opportunities in the Greater and Metro Vancouver Areas.
One Pacific - Concord Pacific
The 2nd tower was recently released at Concord Pacific’s latest Vancouver project, where positive buyer response was demonstrated by strong demand. Located between the Cambie Bridge & BC place, this building will offer amazing convenience for sports fans. With BC place and GM place only a few minutes away, a proposed Hotel and Casino nearby and the gorgeous waters of False Creek at its footsteps, the One Pacific offers a top Downtown Location. In fact, if the new hotel/casino project is approved, residents will be able to walk indoors to BC place through the Casino adjacent to the building once built. Prices start at a reasonable $310,000 for a lower level 505 square foot 1 bedroom unit, keeping in mind a parking stall is an additional $45,000.
Uptown - Bosa Properties
Tower 1 of 2 will be released sometime this October and many Investors are ready to sign purchase contracts. Why? Great building, stellar location. Bosa’s uptown development attracts the investor purchaser because they are offering the only new concrete highrise buildings going up on the West coquitlam side of the Evergreen line. Other developers such as Mosaic Homes have low rise, wood frame developments; and Beedie has the Austin close by, but not with a Skytrain at its doorstep. Uptown is the only development of its kind in the area. Its location at the corner of North Road and Como Lake ave will house a Safeway, Starbucks, and most importantly the Burquitlam stop on the Evergreen line only a few steps away. Simon Fraser University is also very close, making these units very easy to rent. All in all, the Uptown Development is expected to be an urban hotspot for the West Coquitlam area.
This 3 tower, 283 unit development in the Strathcona district of Vancouver is brought to you by the well known Wall group of companies. It is one of 4 new projects underway by the Wall group. The building will be sprouted on Hastings in an area that is expected to see a lot of change over the coming years with many new development applications. 900 Hastings is located in a character filled pocket of Vancouver, in close proximity to Chinatown, Gastown, Railtown, Commercial Drive and only a few minutes from Downtown. This trendy neighbourhood will be home to many young professionals who benefit from lower priced units compared to downtown, yet still experiencing a lively surrounding and fabulous location.
These are just a few of many of pre-sale opportunities in the Greater Vancouver area. Feel free to contact me directly if you need assistance or a professional opinion before making a pre-sale purchase.
August 5, 2013
What to expect in the Changing New Westminster
New westminster has come a long way in the past few years and is expected to continue to take large leaps forward as development plans continue. Many pockets of New West have seen immense change, the Queensborough area has added new residential housing, a large outlet mall and not to mention a first class Casino. Uptown has seen a nice influx of new highrise towers and Downtown New Westminster now actually carries some charm to it. Near the Quay we have an ultra urban shopping center and Movie theatre, the town is really growing and changing for the better.
Areas to expect future changes include the downtown area where a soon to be built highrise will shoot up 20 stories in the air. Along front street there has been rezoning and development planned for many years, planning is still in the works as Larco Developers and City Council continue discussions to finalize a plan. The existing plan includes 5 highrise buildings (image seen below) offering waterfront living along the south side of front street. Building permits were given out in 2008 but the Developer’s viability has since been questioned. A new plan is expected to be in place by 2015.
Along with the plans to grow the residential capacity of the city, Bentall Kennedy is planning on developing two office towers on their 38 acre parcel adjacent Braid Street Skytrain station. Rezoning and Development applications are in the works for this new construction which will occupy approximately 30 acres of the land parcel. Office towers and retail space will help support the city in terms of jobs and tax revenue.
Contact me anytime if you have any questions regarding city plans and new development projects in New Westminster or other areas within Greater Vancouver.
August 5, 2013
A Strong July
The Greater Vancouver Real Estate market experienced a mighty sales figure for the month of July at 2,976 sales. This 40.4% percent increase which I'm sure many of you have heard from the media is in direct comparison to July 2012. At that time 1 year ago activity had slowed quite significantly.
One of the most important determinants of market conditions is the Sales-to-Active-Listings ratio. This figure for the month of July was 17.7% for all of Greater Vancouver, representing a one month increase of 2.5% compared to June 2013. We have not seen a number this high since April 2012 and it demonstrates that our market is heating up again. Some sub markets in metro Vancouver saw above average figures, although most of the hot markets were outside of the Metro area such as New Westminster, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.
All in all, July was an extremely strong month across all Greater Vancouver Markets. We expect a minor slow down in August, as typically Buyer's are less motivated to Purchase/sell as many are traveling, visiting/hosting family etc.
May 8, 2013
How to prepare for your first home purchase
Thinking of buying...but where do I start?
Owning a home, whether it be a studio size apartment or a large house, will be one of your most fulfilling accomplishments. But just like anything worth having, getting there will take some work. Here is what you need to do:
Save up for a downpayment. Condo prices in the Greater Vancouver market vary depending on the sub-market, but be prepared to have a minimum of 5% of the total price ready. Average first time downpayments are $15,000 - $40,000.
Get in touch with a mortgage specialist and get pre-approved for a mortgage. Although pre-approval does not guarantee approval, it will provide you with some direction. This is a crucial step; without knowing your accurate price range, you could be looking at homes that are unaffordable, or at homes which you think are at the peak of your affordability when in fact, they're not. Getting pre-approved and eliminating the uncertainty is the first step to an enjoyable experience. This is your first home, do it right.
3: MONTHLY PAYMENTS
When looking at mortgage information, pay close attention to the monthly payments. Mortgage Insurance may be required by the CHMC (Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation). Check and see if the total monthly payment is inclusive or exclusive of insurance.
If you are currently renting, compare the mortgage payment to your current rent, add approximately $250 a month for maintenance fees which apply to strata properties (condominiums/town homes). These fees are taken in by the strata management company and are used towards regular and unforeseen maintenance costs. They often also include natural gas(hot water, fireplace, gas cooktop) and sometimes additional services such as Internet, phone, and television.
Total monthly Payment =
Mortgage payment (interest + principle) + Maintenance + Utilities
4: BEGIN YOUR SEARCH
Now you’re ready to search! Call your Realtor up, he/she will help guide you through the remainder of the buying process and show you the best properties that meet your criteria. Your agent should work closely with you to transform your budget, list of needs and wants, and other requirements into tangible properties which you could realistically own.
Q: What is Property Transfer Tax and do I need to pay it as a first time home buyer?
PTT is 1% on the first $200,000 + 2% on the portion greater than $200,000 of fair market value.
You MAY be exempt from the tax as a purchaser if you meet the following requirements:
- Property value is less than $425,000
- Property will be used as your primary residence
- You have never owned an interest in a principle residence anywhere in the world
- You are a Canadian Citizen
Click here for a detailed list of requirements from the Government of BC Website
Q: How do I know if the CHMC requires insurance on my mortgage?
Mortgage insurance is required where the down payment is between 5% and 19.99%. If your down payment is 20% or greater, you will not need mortgage insurance. The insurance premiums vary depending on the mortgage amount, the downpayment amount and the amortization period. Additionally, for homes above $1 million, mortgage insurance is unavailable and therefore downpayments need to be 20% or greater.
If you have questions regarding pricing in specific areas, mortgage requirements and regulation, or any other questions regarding first time purchases, feel free to call or email me anytime.
April 17, 2013
The Future of Laneway Homes in Vancouver
Categories:BC Real Estate
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Forget a garage, lets build a second home - what many Vancouverites are saying.
A Laneway home, known as a "coach home" on the Eastcoast where their existence is more prominent, is essentially a secondary dwelling built in the rear yard of a home most commonly along the rear alley entrances of detached homes.
The first Laneway homes in Vancouver were built in 2009, currently much regulation exists in their design and the potential for additional rental housing they could bring to the Vancouver market has not been fully utilized. This is what the city of Vancouver is trying to change, in an effort to increase housing for Metro Vancouver's growing population.
Relaxing design regulations for Laneway homes aims to promote increased construction of these 1-1.5 story homes. Currently, the average lanehome in Vancouver is 512 square feet and the proposed changes will allow for a maximum size of 680-1100 square feet, depending on the lot size of the existing home.
Lanefab - a company which specializes in the construction of these homes, has created some trendy laneway homes as seen in the pictures above. Expect this market to grow over the coming years and its adaptation to grow in municipalities outside of Vancouver.
April 9, 2013
Stunning View home in Coquitlam, BC
This brand new home is elegant and spacious with beautiful views of the Fraser River. Sitting on over 10,000 square feet of prime Coquitlam land, this home boasts 7 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms across three levels and 6400 square feet of living space.
Enjoy luxuries such as a gourmet kitchen with built in Appliances and a separate spice kitchen. A grand master bedroom and a private deck with water views, large walk-in closet and enough space to comfortably place a king size bed.
Drive through a motorized gate and driveway with 8 vehicle capacity to enter your attached double garage. This home truly has it all, enjoy movies in your designated theatre room w/ wet bar, open layout for the entertainer's dream, ample yard space and a separate legal suite. This list of features with this home never ends.
February 7, 2013
The untidy HST-GST switch
Thinking of Buying a New Home in 2013 ?
HST disappearing as of April 1st, 2013
If you're thinking about purchasing a new construction home this year then you've likely heard all the talk around the HSTdisappearing, the return of GST and the applicable 2% Transitional tax. The switching back and fourth from the GST era has created a large grey area for home buyers wishing the purchase a new home.
Depending on when you purchase your home and when you actually take possession of your new home, you may be paying the full HST of 12%, or GST of 5% + 2% transitional tax, or simply 5% GST.
The BCREA has created a simplified calculator to determine the final dollar amount you will owe, including all applicable rebates and grants. Click here for this HST calculator and for more information on the transitional rules and FAQ's please click here.
Feel free to contact me anytime to answer your Real Estate questions and assist in your buying or selling experience.