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A majority of the world's housing markets are seeing slowing momentum, and Canada could soon be among them.

 

Orignal Article HERE

 

Housing markets around the world are showing signs of losing steam, but Canada's market isn't among them — yet.

The Great White North is still clocking in some of the world's fastest house price growth, though that is likely to come to an end in the first half of this year, amid tough new mortgage rules and higher interest rates.

 

According to data released this week by the Global Property Guide, a site for residential real estate investors, Canada saw the world's fourth-fastest property price growth in the third quarter of 2017, behind only Iceland, Hong Kong and Macau.

 

But prices in a majority of housing markets surveyed by GPG have either turned negative or slowed down. The U.K., Beijing, Singapore and Mexico are among the places now seeing falling house prices.

"Globally housing markets are slowing sharply," GPG said in a release Tuesday.

 

Of 47 housing markets surveyed, 21 recorded lower house prices in the third quarter of 2017 than a year earlier. That's a notable change from the previous quarter, when only 15 countries were showing year-on-year declines.

 

Two-thirds of all housing markets surveyed showed slowing momentum — either lower prices or slower price growth than earlier. Once-hot New Zealand is now barely eking out any price growth at all.

 

Meanwhile, "Canada ... is in the middle of a house price boom," the report noted.


That's despite the introduction of foreign-buyers' taxes for the Toronto and Vancouver housing markets, as well as other measures in Ontario's Fair Housing Plan designed to cool house price growth.


Recent data suggests that while the detached-home markets in those cities have slowed down, condos are still seeing strong price growth.


For instance, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported on Wednesday that benchmark condo prices in the metro area soared nearly 26 per cent in the past year, while detached home prices grew a slower 7.9 per cent.

A perfect storm for Canadian housing

 

Canada's housing markets are moving into 2018 facing a perfect storm of conditions that could put a damper on activity and add the country to the list of places where residential property is slowing down.


A new "stress test" for borrowers of traditional mortgages comes into effect this month, and it's expected to reduce homebuyers' purchasing power by about 21 per cent. The Bank of Canada estimates that the new rule will disqualify about one in 10 prospective homebuyers.


At the same time, the experts predict the Bank of Canada will continue raising interest rates this year, though there is little agreement as to how quickly that will happen.

 

A report from credit rating agency DBRS last fall warned Canadian mortgage borrowers risk "payment shock" in the coming years. After years of slowly declining mortgage rates, Canadians can now expect to see mortgage rates start rising in the long term, DBRS said, putting pressure on household finances.

 

With adverse conditions ahead, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has downgraded its forecast for Canada's housing market for 2018. It now predicts nationwide home sales will fall by 5.3 per cent in 2018.

 

"The overwhelming majority of the forecast decline in sales next year reflects an expected decline in Ontario sales, with activity anticipated to remain well below the record levels logged in early 2017," CREA said last month.

 

It sees house prices staying flat in British Columbia in 2018, while falling 2.2 per cent, on average, in Ontario.

The association estimates that the slowdown in the housing market will take a $1.1-billion bite out of Canada's economy, and will translate into 12,000 fewer jobs.


But CREA doesn't see disaster on the horizon. The group predicts a rebound in Canada's housing market in the second half of the year, once prospective buyers have adjusted to the new mortgage rules and higher interest rates

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New property listed at 305 3873 CATES LANDING WAY in North Vancouver.
WOW! Few settings on the North Shore can match Polygon’s spectacular “Cates Landing”. An exclusive enclave of luxury waterfront residences- borders West side of Cates Park & is truly the jewel of N.Vancouver. This private waterfront community features Panoramic Views of Burrard Inlet while offering a truly unmatched peaceful lifestyle. Spacious 2 Bdrm+Den features hi-end finishings, 6 top-of-line appliances, spa-inspired bathrms, 9’ ceilings & oversized covered patio. Waterfront path at your door step connects to Cates Park for easy hikes, dog walks, biking & Starbucks. Amazing amenities at Cates Landing incl.Kayak Storage, Bike Storage, Gardening Room & Dog Spa. Deep Cove’s cafes,restaurants, galleries & more just minutes away. An amazing lifestyle awaits here at Cates Landing.
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New property listed at 219 26TH ST E in North Vancouver.
Fall in love with this charming home offering south west exposure situated on a quiet street in North Vancouver Upper Lonsdale. This elegant 2017 renovation offers over 2,000 Sq. Ft of living space + zoned for a coach house, for an additional 1,000 Sq. Ft. The interior updates include: shaker kitchen cabinets, stainless steel LG appliances, quartz counter tops, engineered wide plank oak flooring, a wet bar with a wine fridge, french doors leading to the deck, two gas fireplaces,a his & hers walk in closet, recreation room with second laundry. This is an outstanding location within minutes to shopping, transportation, Holy Trinity + Carson Graham Secondary.
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New property listed at 1311 17TH ST W in North Vancouver.
Simple luxury in this stunning rancher. If you are looking for a real alternative to a condo, whether down-sizing or looking to get into the non-strata market, you will not find a better option. Completely rebuilt from the studs by Sinopoli Construction (zero asbestos & no GST!). The finest materials and unmatched workmanship offer you decades of maintenance free living. Quiet cul-de-sac location, just a short walk to restaurants, shops & transport. South and north facing yards (currently low upkeep) could be a gardeners dream. Single garage has power and could become a workshop or studio space.
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Original Article HERE


Effective January 1, 2018, home buyers who don't require mortgage insurance — those with a down payment of 20 per cent or more — must qualify for their mortgage at a higher rate.

 

This new stress test doesn't apply to people renewing their uninsured mortgage.

 

Canada's Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced these rule changes on October 17. Draft changes were released in the summer for public feedback.

 

Under the new rules, the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages will be the greater of the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or the contractual mortgage rate plus two per cent.

 

OSFI will also require lenders to enhance their loan-to-value (LTV) limits and restrict certain lending arrangements designed to circumvent LTV limits.

 

These changes apply to all federally regulated financial institutions.

 

This is the seventh time since 2008 that the federal government has made mortgage policy changes.

 

Cameron Muir, BC Real Estate Association chief economist believes this will have a significant impact on the real estate market:

The impact of the new stress test requirement will be to lower the purchasing power of households by up to 20 per cent. Like past tightening of mortgage regulations, we anticipate that the market impact will be sharp but temporary. In the past, we’ve seen home sales decline in the three to nine months following the implementation of tighter mortgage lending standards, with the severity of the impact fading within one year. However, these new regulations impact a larger pool of mortgages and so the impact could be more significant than in the past.

 

Read the government’s full announcement here.

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New property listed at 3811 LAWRENCE PL in North Vancouver.
Fantastic family home at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in Upper Lynn Valley. This attractive West Coast Contemporary has 3 bedrooms up and offers vaulted ceilings, a huge renovated kitchen with stone countertops, stainless steel appliances and engineered hardwood floors. Brand new roof, insulation and furnace There is also a family room and large recreation room off the kitchen, a big S/W facing backyard with patio and a very large deck off the master bedroom. Great Family Home, Great Location!
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Original article HERE

 

If home buying is on your to-do list in 2018, there are some tasks to tackle before you hit the streets. Admittedly, many of these New Year’s Resolutions relate to finances, and rightly so. A home is likely the biggest investment you’ll make in your lifetime, so here are five New Year’s Resolutions that you’ll definitely want to keep this year.


START SAVING FOR YOUR DOWNPAYMENT


This is arguably the biggest, most difficult and most time-consuming part of the home buying process. This about it - the avergae home in Canada costs $504,000. To avoid taking out a high-ratio mortgage, you'll need at least 20 per cent down payment, or $100,800. It's important to start thinking about how you will come up with the money - wehter it's using your RSPs through the first-time Home Buyer's Plan, savings, or financial help from the Bank of Mom and Dad. 

 

CHECK YOUR CREDIT RATING

 

This one's important, because your potential mortgage lending will be doing the same. A credit score is a number between 300 an 900 that rates your credit worthiness. According to credit-rating company Equifax, a score of 690 or higher is considerd "good". Lenders will use this score in tandem with other factors, such as your debt-to-income ratio, to determin mortgage eligibility. 

 

CREDIT CLEAN-UP


Remember that phone ill you forgot to pay a couple of years ago? It can come back to haunt you. Even a one-day-late payment is still considered "late", and can negativly affect your credIT rating - and your potential to qualify for a favourable mortgage. If you're not happy with your credit score, take some time to bring it up to par before you start the pre-qualification process. 

 

GET PRE-APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE


You'll want to take advantage of this low interest-rate environment, while you still can. Interest rates will rise sooner or later (some argue sooner!) so getting pre-approved for a mortgage will lock in your rate for 90 days. A mortgage pre-approval is not an obligation to purchase in this time frame, nor are you committed to thatv particular lender. It's just a written confrimation of your lending amount and the promised rate, allowing you  to shop with confidence within a budget you know you can afford. 

 

START SHOPPING


The Web is a good place ot start your search, but nothing beats first-hand experience. With budget in mind, bundle up and hit the streets to explore different neighbourhoods and the amenities you'll have access to. Do you rely on public transit? Is an active night life important to you? Dayscares and schools?  Parks and rec? Highway access? How close (or far!) do you want to be from family and your work place? Think about your day-to-day needs, and anticipate how they might change over time. 

 

Last but not least… work with the right real estate agent who has experience in the area and the type of home you plan to purchase.  They will make setting up viewings easy, and be ready and on your side to negotiate the best price when it comes time to finally make an offer.

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Original article HERE

 

OTTAWA -- Foreign buyers make up a minuscule portion of the overall housing market in this country, new research shows, but what they own is more expensive and newer than the average Canadian homeowner.

And there are indications foreign buyers are moving out of the traditional bases of Toronto and Vancouver and into new cities.

 

Non-residents owned 3.4 per cent of all residential properties in Toronto and 4.8 per cent of residential properties in Vancouver, according to new housing statistics by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. and Statistics Canada.

Largely what foreign buyers scoop up are newer, more expensive homes. In Vancouver, non-resident owners, as they're known, had homes valued on average at $2.3 million compared to $1.6 million for the owners whose primary residence was in Canada.

 

In Toronto, the average detached home owned by a non-resident was valued at $944,100 compared to $840,600 for residents, a difference of $103,500 or 12.3 per cent.

 

Foreign owners are stepping into the big-city condo market where, again, what they own is more expensive than the what residents own. In and around Toronto, the average assessed value for a condo owned by a non-resident was $420,500, compared to $385,900 for a resident. In Vancouver, the figures are $691,500 and $526,700, respectively.

CMHC says that overall, foreign buyers owned less than one per cent of the condo stock in 17 metropolitan areas across the country.

 

The figures mark the first time that CMHC and Statistics Canada have measured foreign ownership in the country's hot housing market to see how much influence foreign buyers have over skyrocketing prices.

 

Ontario and B.C. have rules in place to dampen foreign interest in buying properties as investments.

 

The data from CMHC suggests that the foreign buyer tax in both provinces has shifted foreign ownership to other parts of the country.

 

The CMHC survey found that downtown Montreal and the city's Nun's Island had the largest increases in the share of non-resident owners over the last year. On Nun's Island, the rate went from 4.3 per cent in 2016 to 7.6 per cent this year; on the island of Montreal, the rate went from 0.9 per cent to 1.5 per cent.

 

"The lack of growth in Toronto and Vancouver, combined with the increases in Montreal, indicate the possibility of a shift from these centres after the introduction of foreign buyers' taxes in Ontario and British Columbia," CMHC chief economist Bob Dugan said in a release accompanying the data.

 

"Other factors attracting demand to Montreal include lower housing prices and a relatively strong economy."

 

The head of CMHC has publicly argued that foreign ownership is not the main driver for increasing housing prices. Evan Siddall has previously said that foreign ownership makes up less than five per cent of the housing market.

 

"Foreign ownership is a thing; it's not the thing," Siddall said in an interview earlier this year.

 

"The sources of demand that are pushing prices higher are many-fold and the sources of investment speculation...in the real estate part of our economy are many-fold and more domestic than foreign."

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Original Article HERE

 

With tougher new home-buying and mortgage rules and somewhat higher interest rates in place, Canada's once-hot housing market seems to be losing some of its mojo.


House prices in Canada fell for the third month in a row in November, pulled down by weakness in Toronto and other parts of Ontario, according to data released Wednesday.

 

The Teranet-National Bank house price index fell by 0.5 per cent in November. It was the largest drop for the month of November recorded outside of a recession, National Bank economist Marc Pinsonneault said in a statement.

 

Prices in Toronto, Canada's largest real estate market, fell by 1.4 per cent, while nearby Hamilton saw prices fall by 1.6 per cent, suggesting that Toronto's housing cool-down has spread to surrounding areas.

 

House prices also fell in Ottawa-Gatineau (down 0.8 per cent) and Edmonton (down 0.7 per cent). They were unchanged in the two British Columbia markets covered by the index, Vancouver and Victoria.


Prices rose in all the other cities covered by the index, including Montreal ( up 1.0 per cent), Quebec City (up 0.9 per cent), Halifax (up 0.8 per cent), Calgary (up 0.7 per cent) and Winnipeg (up 0.5 per cent).

 

Toronto's market has seen a significant cooldown since the province introduced its Fair Housing Plan in April, which includes a 15-per-cent tax on foreign home buyers, as well as expanded rent controls.


But National Bank's Pinsonneault notes that sales in the city grew from October to November, something that usually doesn't happen. It's a sign that some buyers are racing to purchase ahead of tougher new mortgage rules that will come into force in January.


"Therefore, a resumption of the downward price trend early next year cannot be excluded," Pinsonneault wrote.

"Be that as it may, market conditions turning from extremely tight at the beginning of the year to balanced is good news for affordability."

 

But in Vancouver, "market conditions remain tight," Pinsonneault wrote, noting that the city's condo price index has risen by 19 per cent in just the past 10 months.


Starting in January, borrowers of uninsured mortgages (those with 20 per cent or more down) will have to pass a "stress test" to see if they can afford their mortgage at interest rates about 2 percentage points higher than the rate they are being offered.


Of all the mortgage rule changes enacted in recent years to cool the housing market, industry insiders say this one will have the most impact. It's expected to reduce home-buying power by around 21 per cent.

No agreement on where prices are headed

In a report released this week, realtor Royal LePage predicted the new rules would slow down home sales, but "insufficient housing supply in Canada's largest cities" will keep prices rising.


Royal LePage predicts prices will rise 4.9 per cent next year.


However, not every forecast agrees with that. In a client note Wednesday, Capital Economics predicted that the new mortgage rules will end Canada's run of rising house prices.


"Higher interest rates and tougher mortgage rules will depress prices next year," economist David Madani wrote.

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Original article HERE

 

 

The median net worth of Canadian families rose to $295,100 in 2016, a jump of nearly 15 per cent from four years ago, mostly due to an increasing value of homes, Statistics Canada reports.

 

Statistics Canada released its Survey of Financial Security Thursday, the first time since 2012 the data agency has offered a comprehensive look at the financial health of Canadians.

 

The agency defined net worth as the amount of money they would be left with if a family sold all its assets and paid off all its debts. Any family of two or more persons was considered a “family.” Unattached individuals were also included.

 

The survey found that housing was typically both the largest asset and the largest debt for Canadians.

 

In 2016, 61.7 per cent of Canadian families reported a principal residence as an asset. Of them, 57.3 per cent still had a mortgage on their principal residence.

 

The median reported value of principal residences was $349,000, up just over 10 per cent from 2012 and double that of 1999.

 

Overall, only 29.6 per cent of Canadian families were debt-free in 2016. Among Canadians aged 35 to 44, only 15.4 per cent were debt-free.

 

The share of those who were debt-free was highest among senior-led families; 58 per cent no longer had debt. However, this was down from 1999 when 72.6 per cent of senior-led families were debt-free.

 

Families in British Columbia reported the highest median net worth in 2016 -- $429,400. Families in Ontario were next with a median net worth at $365,700. New Brunswick reported the lowest median net worth among the provinces at $158,400.

 

Differences in the value of homes accounted for most of the provincial differences in net worth. The median value of principal residences in B.C. was $550,000 in 2016 -- the highest value in the country.

 

Vancouver residents had the highest median net worth in 2016, at $434,400. Toronto families had the second-highest median net worth, at $365,100, followed by:

 

  • Calgary ($339,400)
  • Québec ($335,100)
  • Winnipeg ($287,800)
  • Edmonton ($230,200)
  • and Montreal ($170,000).

Private pensions were the second-largest asset category, accounting for 29.2 per cent of assets -- up 17.7 per cent from 2012. The majority of this growth came from employer-sponsored registered pension plans (EPPs.)

 

Other real estate such as cottages, rental properties and other commercial properties represented 10 per cent of total assets. Just under one-fifth of Canadians owned these types of properties in 2016.

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Original article HERE

 

Canada's two priciest housing markets are both showing signs of recovery following the introduction of foreign buyers' taxes in Toronto and Vancouver. But the markets went off in separate directions in November, data from the cities' real estate boards shows.

 

In Toronto, home sales were down 13.3 per cent in November, compared to the same month a year earlier. The average house price of $761,757 was 2 per cent lower than the same month a year earlier.

All the same, sales bucked the seasonal trend and rose slightly from October, to 7,374 transactions.

 

Board president Tim Syrianos suggested the sales bump may have to do with the upcoming new mortgage rules.

"It is ... possible that the upcoming changes to mortgage lending guidelines, which come into effect in January, have prompted some households to speed up their home buying decisions," Syrianos said in a statement.

 

He added that "similar to the Greater Vancouver experience, the impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and particularly the foreign buyer tax may be starting to wane."

 

Residential home sales in Greater Vancouver jumped by about 26 per cent in November compared with the same month a year ago.

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says the number of sales, which saw 2,795 homes sold, is 17 per cent above the 10-year average for the region in November.

Sales dropped by 7.5 per cent in November compared with October, when just over 3,000 homes sold.What's Going On In Housing?

Board president Jill Oudil says there is a steady demand in the market, with the townhome and condominium markets being particularly strong.

The benchmark price for detached properties was about $1.6 million, about a six per cent increase from November 2016.

 

Oudil says there are more listings entering the market this year compared with the same time last year, but inventories are still below typical levels.

 

The benchmark price of an apartment property was about $648,000 in November, an almost 24 per cent increase from November 2016.

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Many places in and around Toronto and Vancouver have crisis-level vacancy rates.

Original article HERE

 

High levels of immigration, strong job growth and an aging population are among the reasons why it's becoming increasingly difficult to find an apartment for rent in Canada, a new report says.


Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.'s latest rental market report found the country's apartment vacancy rate is falling, meaning there are fewer apartments available for rent.

 

The situation is particularly dire in and around Toronto and Vancouver, where many cities have crisis-level vacancy rates below 1 per cent.

 

 

Toronto's vacancy rate fell to 1 per cent in October of this year, from 1.3 per cent the same month a year before. That's the lowest rate the city has seen in 16 years.

 

"Rising costs of homeownership forced more people to seek and remain in rental accommodation," CMHC said in its report.

"House prices in the Greater Toronto Area reached unprecedented levels during the early part of 2017, making homeownership out of reach for the majority of potential first-time buyers."

 

That, in turn, led to rental rate increases, with the average rent up 4.2 per cent in Toronto. The average rent in Toronto is now $1,404 for a two-bedroom apartment and $2,301 for a two-bedroom condo. The CMHC report includes rates both for units on the market and already-occupied units.

 
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Origin article HERE

 

 

Gregor Robertson

 

 

The Canadian government launched its long-awaited national housing strategy Wednesday, but Vancouver advocates say the move is long overdue in a city already that is facing record levels of homelessness and an affordability crisis.

 

The 10-year plan includes some bold promises such as committing $40 billion to build 100,000 new affordable housing units, repairing 300,000 existing affordable housing units. The initiative also aims to cut chronic homelessness in half and remove 530,000 households from "housing need" by 2027.

 

Vancouver affordable housing advocates say the move is long overdue. According to Union Gospel Mission spokesperson Jeremy Hunka, it may be too late for some of the 2,100 currently facing homelessness in the city.

"The bottom line is this is a big number, there’s a lot of money coming, help is on the way. A lot of that help is a long way down the road and a lot of people are going to be struggling until that comes," he told CTV Vancouver Wednesday. "A lot of people are going to be suffering and some people might not make it to see some of this help because that’s the reality of the homeless crisis."

 

The strategy also allocates $4 billion for a national housing benefit intended to provide low-income renters with an annual $2,500-subsidy beginning in 2020.

 

"There’s a lot of single mothers, a lot of families who are low-income who could really use that subsidy. For it to not come until 2020 means a lot of long, hard years ahead," Hunka said. "We’re glad this funding is coming, but we’ve got a huge mountain to climb a lot of challenge to overcome until that help is there."

 

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said the city has struggled to have conversations about housing with provincial and federal governments in the past.

 

"It’s been an embarrassment to not have a national housing strategy as a country and it’s fantastic to see one delivered that has had rigour and has had input from all levels," he said Wednesday.

 

"We’ve struggled as a city with provincial and federal governments past who were not at the table with us at the level we needed them and as a result we’ve had record levels of homelessness right across Metro Vancouver, right across our region right now and it’s never been worse."

 

B.C. Premier John Horgan also echoed the sentiment that governments need to collaborate to address housing affordability and homelessness.

 

"If we’re going to crack the affordability crisis of housing in British Columbia, we need all levels of government working together," he said at a press conference. "This is a step in the right direction."

 

Robertson said the housing strategy shows just how important "urgent action" is for the country.

 

"We have to treat housing as a human right and it’s critical that our federal government recognizes that and follows through in terms of the monitoring and the reporting on that," he said.

 

However, both Robertson and Hunka pointed out that while having a strategy is a good start, targets need to be set to ensure the plan is implemented.

 

"It’s fantastic to have a game plan," Robertson said. "We need to take those next steps and take action."

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Original article HERE

 

Are Foreign Buyers Really Ditching Vancouver For Seattle?

"It's like Vancouver, but cheaper."

For those priced out of Vancouver's housing market, a recent story suggesting that foreign buyers are bailing on Vancouver in favour of Seattle may seem like good news.


But that may not translate into more affordable housing in Vancouver, because even as Seattle becomes the hot new alternative to Vancouver, there are still plenty of foreign buyers staking a claim in the Canadian city.

 

"A lot of people who were looking in Vancouver are automatically looking further south now to Seattle," Matthew Gardner, chief economist at Seattle's Windermere Real Estate, told CBC News.


"It's like Vancouver, but cheaper," Chinese real estate broker Yi Liu told the Seattle Times.


The influx of foreign buyers, which Gardner described as "frenetic," has shot Seattle-area house prices up by 17.6 per cent in the past year, according to the region's multiple listing service.

 

A detached home in Seattle now costs US$735,000 (C$934,000). But that is still much lower than the C$1.6 million average price for a detached home in Vancouver.


About half of the foreign buyers in Seattle are from Asia, Gardner said. Chris Hu, the vice-president of Beijing-based real estate agency B.A. & 515J Group, told the Times about half the homes bought by foreigners were for investment purposes, and half were bought to live in.

 
"The no-growth trend in Vancouver is far different than what we see overall, in all locations."Byron Burley, Juwai

So does this mean foreign buyers will leave Vancouver alone now? The data suggests that is not happening.

According to an analysis from Chinese real estate portal Juwai, the number of Chinese buyers in the Vancouver market has been "flat as a pancake" for the past year-and-a-half, following a steep plunge in the wake of the foreign buyers' tax introduced in the summer of 2016.


But Chinese buyer inquiries worldwide jumped 8.7 per cent over the past year year, meaning Vancouver is seeing a shrinking share of overall foreign buyer interest.

 

"The no-growth trend in Vancouver is far different than what we see overall, in all locations," said Byron Burley, a B.C.-based vice-president of Juwai, in a press statement.


"Vancouver's tax is working by driving a share of buyers to other cities, especially Seattle. It has taken the froth off of the top."


Burley says these days there are more "and-or" buyers — people who look into buying a home in Vancouver and/or Seattle, and/or Toronto, rather than just targeting Vancouver.


"When these uncommitted buyers compare Vancouver prices plus the tax to what they can get somewhere else, sometimes they decide it's not worth it."


Despite the change in foreign buyer habits, Burley doesn't see the city's housing market declining. The market "is more like a pancake than a deflating soufflé. Buyer demand has not collapsed, it's merely flat."


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Original article HERE

 

Image result for air bnb

 

Vancouver has banned owners of basement suites and laneway houses from listing them on Airbnb after a heated debate in which some city councillors warned that homeowners would not be able to pay their mortgages without the extra income.

 

City council approved new regulations in a 7-4 vote Tuesday for vacation websites such as Airbnb and Expedia. The rules prohibit hosts from listing homes that are not their principal residence, including any secondary suites on their property.

 

Mayor Gregor Robertson and members of his Vision Vancouver party defended the rules as necessary because the vacancy rate is just above zero and housing is needed for long-term renters.

 

"I'm stunned to hear that some councillors don't believe there's a problem here. We have 6,000 illegal short-term rentals in the city," he said.

 

"I can't imagine doing nothing."

 

The new regulations will come into effect on April 1, 2018. Hosts must buy a business licence that costs $49 annually, plus spend $54 on a one-time application fee, and display their licence number in online listing. Those who fail to comply will face a $1,000 ticket per violation.

 

Homeowners will still be allowed to list an individual room inside their principal residence. Tenants who are renting a basement apartment or laneway house will be allowed to list it on Airbnb, as long as it's their principal residence and they have permission from the owner.

 

Some short-term rental hosts criticized the proposed rules at a public hearing last month, saying the changes will deprive them of much-needed income.

 

Image result for laneway homes vancouver

 

Councillors from the opposing Non-Partisan Association echoed those concerns on Tuesday, with Coun. George Affleck warning that homeowners who depend on the extra income will be forced to leave Vancouver or lead "very challenging lives."

 

Affleck said the city should instead focus on ensuring more rental housing gets built.

"We're just creating more bureaucracy, more taxation, more sticks and we're not solving the problem. We're making Vancouver more unaffordable and a harder place to live, whether you're a renter or an owner," he said.

 

But Coun. Andrea Reimer of Vision Vancouver said secondary suites and laneway houses were approved to provide accommodation for local residents, not tourists.

 

She said she just received an eviction notice at her rental home on Monday night — her second eviction in 16 months due to "speculation and flipping.

 

If the vacancy rate rises to four per cent or higher, city staff will report back to council on whether to allow owners to list their secondary suites on short-term rental websites.

 

Council also passed a voluntary transaction fee of three per cent on bookings, which would be remitted to the city.

Alex Dagg, public policy manager for Airbnb Canada, said the company is unable to impose a voluntary fee and instead would like to see the province amend the hotel tax so that it applies to short-term rentals.

 

Dagg applauded Vancouver for making short-term rentals legal, but she criticized the ban on listing secondary suites. Many people list them on Airbnb because they're in use by family or friends for most of the year and can't be rented to long-term tenants, she said.

 

"What short-term renting does is allow a homeowner or someone in a primary residence to use their space in a flexible way," she said in an interview.

 

The city estimates 80 per cent of short-term rentals will become legal under the new rules. Dagg said the estimate lines up with Airbnb's numbers on people who are renting their principal residences.

 

Vancouver is the latest jurisdiction to crack down on vacation websites. Seattle council voted Monday to impose a levy of $14 per night for short-term rentals of entire homes, and $8 per night for rooms, with the taxes to kick in by 2019.

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Sping cleaning, fall edition! 

 

Original article HERE

 

#1 Wash Bed Pillows

 

A bed with white lines and fluffy blue-green pillowsImage: Laura W.

You love your trusty, old, perfectly-snugged-to-your-head pillow. But guess what’s also snug against your head? Fungus — 4 to 16 species to be precise. Gross!


With fall being the height of guest season, you’ll want your guest pillows fresh, too. Pop them in the washing machine and dryer for an all-over clean feeling. (But check manufacturer advice, too. Some pillows shouldn’t be washed, but replaced instead.)

#2 Clean the Mattress, Too

 

A pink note attached to a mattressImage: Anne Arntson for HouseLogic

 

Sleeping soundly gets even better when you know you’re lying on a clean and fresh mattress. The yuck factor: Skin cells and sweat get into the mattress, then dust mites show up for a dinner party featuring those tasty skin cell morsels.


You’ll want your guest mattress to be at it’s freshest. It’s easy to do: Vacuum it and then wipe it down with a cloth dampened with an upholstery shampoo. But be sure to let it dry; otherwise, you’re inviting mold. Also, be sure to rotate it 180 degrees to help keep it lump-free.


(Another option: if you’ve got a flippable mattress, go ahead and flip it. That, too, can help kill the yucky mites.)

#3 Insulate Windows

 

A living room with couch and blue roman shades on windowImage: Nick Smith, photographer | Clare Gaskin Interiors, designer

Bone-chilling drafts seriously detract from the cozy vibe you want. Keep it cozy by hanging drapes as close to your windows as possible to help you keep the heat inside.


You can even add clear Velcro strips or dots to the back of the drape and attach to fasteners on the wall to help insulate. Be sure to cross one drape over the other when you close up for the night. Insulating shades can do the trick, too.

#4 Stock Up on Snow Supplies

 

A man in a blue coat using a snow blower in a neighborhoodImage: Chiyacat/Getty

If snow is a given where you live and you’re lacking supplies, take advantage of seasonal sales now to make sure you’re not the one rushing to the hardware store at the last minute — only to find out they just sold out of ice melt.


If you have a snow blower, be sure to have it serviced and fueled up before the first winter storm arrives — and with it, price hikes on all the snow stuff.

 

#5 Trim Tree Branches

 

A woman with a green short-sleeved T-shirt trimming branchesImage: Michele Constantini/PhotoAlto/Getty

 

The last thing you need is a winter storm loosing the wrath of that mighty tree whose branches are angling over your roof. Long limbs invite pests to explore your roof for excess water to seep into cracks in the roof or siding.


Keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from the house. Plus it’s easier to trim branches after leaves have fallen. (If it’s an evergreen, well, sorry about that. It’ll be a prickly job, but the bonus is you’ll have greenery for the holidays!)

 

#6 Get a Chimney Sweep to Inspect the Fireplace

 

 

It’s time to dust off and sweep the chimney! Best to hire someone who knows wood-burning fireplaces. A professional chimney sweep will ensure your wood-burning fireplace burns more efficiently and will help prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter. So yeah, it’s pretty important. 

 

Tip: If you don’t already have a chimney cap, this is also the time to add one to stop wild outdoor critters from crawling down it — and (yikes!) into your house.

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Original article HERE

 

The traditional way of buying and selling in Canada has its limitations. You are only given one way to buy or sell a house. In a real estate economy that had previously only seen auctions as distressed property sales, it’s an unfamiliar system to many Canadians. But with over 125 years of proven success around the world – and growing popularity in the USA – auctions are evolving in the minds of Vancouverites as a successful, practiced and proven method of sale for all types of homes, from your everyday condo to luxury estates.

 

The best part about auctions is that they work well in both cold and hot markets, and benefit both buyers and sellers. In a slow or cooling market, the auction gives sellers another competitive way to stand out, and the process sets a clear timeline of sale and ensures the highest true market value of the home.

 

The same goes for a hot or rising market: you don’t want to sell for too little, so you let the competition bid up the price.

 

In both cases, buyers have an opportunity to negotiate terms and conditions prior to bidding, and to see how all other interested bidders value the property. It’s transparent, clear and equitable.

Here are some tips for both selling and buying a home via auction.

Selling at Auction

As a seller, the traditional pricing process can sometimes feel like a guessing game. How do you know the right price? What if your list price is too high? What if no one is interested? What if your list price is too low?

At auction, the buyers’ focus is shifted from price to value, as many auction properties are simply listed with no price at all.

 

The terms, conditions and property information take centre stage and negotiation around this is dealt with in an orderly fashion. The buyer must complete all due diligence before auction day, and the home is readily made available with a generous timeline – not the four or five days that many MLS® listings are exposed to the market for.

Once all interested buyers have individually agreed their terms with the seller, they register to bid at auction, and then it’s only price that remains to be established. Sellers know that all registered bidders are happy with the terms and the home, and all buyers know that whatever terms they have already negotiated with the seller are acceptable and that they are now completely qualified and ready to bid and to buy.

 

As a seller, the key to successfully using the auction process is to understand that when selling real estate, it’s never you or your agent that sets the selling price of your home; it’s the buying public that sets the true market value. That said, you can set a reserve price; if the bidding doesn’t reach your minimum, you’re under no obligation to sell.

At the end of the day, auctions don’t always result in a sale before auction or on auction day. This doesn’t mean your property or the process has failed; it has taught you exactly how much buyersaren’t willing to pay for your home. Your property’s reputation remains intact because you haven’t advertised your list price, and it’s a win-win situation because you can now go to market as a conventional listing, armed with a tremendous amount of information about the true perceived market value of your home.

Buying at Auction

As buyers, the auction process is a beautifully transparent and equitable process.

 

Firstly, there is more clarity surrounding the sellers’ desired terms. You will know the deposit, terms of sale, and closing timeline prior to even making an offer or bidding. All reports and disclosures – often reviewed by the buyer during the subject removal period – have been offered in advance by the seller. You can even submit offers on an auction property prior to auction, and the seller may accept your offer then and there. If your offer isn’t enough to “stop the show”, you simply register to bid at auction and see if your budget will allow you to make the purchase.

At auction, bids are called in a transparent environment and you see exactly how much money it will take to be the highest bid instead of wondering why your offer wasn’t accepted. If other bidders surpass the amount you’re willing to pay, you’re under no obligation to keep bidding, and while you may walk away disappointed, you’ll never leave wondering what just happened. You will also never blindly overpay.

 

In short, an auction is simply another way in which to transact real estate, and both buyers and sellers can benefit from the process. Auctions of all types of homes will see an increase in popularity in Vancouver in the years to come, as more of the public come to appreciate its simple effectiveness as a proven method to buy or sell a home. 

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New property listed at 4607 WICKENDEN RD in North Vancouver.
Great 8,600 SF building lot on a quiet cul-de-sac. Steps from Strathcona Park on the shores of Indian Arm. Gentle slope from front to back. South facing rear yard with pedestrian access to Strathcona Road and waterfront park.
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Original Article HERE

 

In early October, there was an affordable housing event hosted by the Kehilla Residential Program that discussed affordable housing and overall trends in the Canadian residential housing market. Dr. Frank Clayton, a noted housing economist at Ryerson University, proclaimed that the government essentially wants to make building suburban single-detached housing illegal in the Greater Toronto Area.

 

 

ACH-DP VIA GETTY IMAGES

 

Environmentalists are in favour of such a ban, as they want to preserve farmland and reduce commuting. Many municipalities struggle to fund the short- and long-term infrastructure costs required to service many of these new communities. Despite the opposition, buyers continue to flock to inexpensive new low-rise subdivisions far from employment centres.

 

In our latest Market Manuscript report, we asked urban planners what could be done to keep those buyers local, and prevent them from buying and/or moving elsewhere. Over half of the respondents indicated that governments should provide incentives for developers to build family-size condominiums. Sales of larger three-bedroom condos tend to be much slower than smaller units, and developers offer them less frequently as a result. New apartment units can be very expensive as well, due to high land, construction and financing costs. According to the latest census data, there were approximately 416,250 households in 2016 that own condominium apartments in Canada that are five storeys or taller; just 11 per cent of those units are occupied by families with children.

 
Is it smart to push families to high-density housing, even though a high percentage of future buyers don't desire it?

Many young couples currently living in high-rise buildings that are looking to start a family plan to move to a single-family house once they have children. The question remains as to whether there are enough homes to accommodate them, as the demographic clog that are the Baby Boomers will continue to occupy the most desirable ground-related homes for years to come. In addition, the Canadian population grew by nearly 450,000 people over the past year based on estimates from Statistics Canada, the highest level since the late 1980s. If we continue to add more people, but don't build new suburban housing, young families will have no choice but to live in vertical communities (unless they outbid others for a low-rise home, increasing their debt burden and further driving up house prices).

 

Should the government make financial incentives available to condominium or rental apartment developers to build larger units and encourage more families in high-rise towers? Is it smart to push families to high-density housing, even though a high percentage of future buyers don't desire it? Would it even help subdue the domestic housing crisis?

 

GETTY IMAGES/ALL CANADA PHOTOS

 

If a developer's apartment proposal has a certain percentage of larger units, a municipality could waive the application or building permit fees, they could reduce development charges, they could fast-track zoning approvals or support a much taller building. Perhaps the incentives could target the buyer instead of the builder: no property taxes for families in larger condos for the first five years after completion, or a direct rental subsidy to families that are leasing those suites.

 

Alternatively, the province could provide low-interest loans to developers for construction financing, or agree in advance to buy the larger units during pre-construction to ensure the developer is not stuck with unsold inventory. The city could buy up space in a new building to provide low-cost daycare to the residents, which is another major financial impediment for families in downtown locations.

 

If it was guaranteed that these units would be used by local families, would you support your tax dollars being used to boost the supply of family sized condos?

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New property listed at 102 3389 CAPILANO CRES in North Vancouver.
Good size Main Floor Corner Unit in well located 3389 Bldg (Chelsea). Superior flooring, crown moldings and lots of light! Great landscaped grounds. Take coffee or dine on your own patio. Don't miss this one!!
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