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David & Mark Goodman, The Goodman Report

 

Vancouver’s affordable housing initiative recently proposed by Mayor Robertson has triggered heated debate amongst its citizenry, especially those residing in single-family neighbourhoods. While most support the search for financially reasonable solutions to alleviate our well-publicized housing shortages and sky-high costs (amongst the highest in North America), there are those determined not to accept change particularly if it affects them directly.

It appears the City’s new direction with the support of the newly created Housing Task Force, is that the creation of new rental supply or affordable housing will move adjacent to traditionally single-family communities and along arterial routes (i.e., Dunbar). The City intends to solicit proposals for increased densities and height to allow for new six-storey rentals, stacked townhouses and row housing.

We are disappointed that the Mayor and Council have solely targeted our single-family districts for their densification strategy instead of focusing on the existing dedicated RM, CD, FM (Multi-Family) zones and the WED (West End District) zones that have existed for decades.

It was in 1989 (over 23 years ago) that Vancouver first implemented a temporary moratorium on the demolition of rental apartments in the West End in order to prevent the “erosion of rental stock”—this “temporary” moratorium is still in place. In 2007, the City followed up with further restrictions by expanding this program and imposing Rate of Change regulations throughout the rest of Vancouver—namely Kitsilano, South Granville, Kerrisdale, East Vancouver and Marpole for all buildings 6 suites or more. We were in attendance in 2007 at City Hall when Staff clearly told Council that the proposal to establish the permitted Rate of Change at zero was to be for a period of 2 ½ years until they completed a rental housing strategy. We have now entered the 5th year with no end in sight. It is the City’s stated policy that existing rental buildings are to be protected at all costs. Unfortunately these “costs” are being borne by apartment owners. Many of these buildings are at or near the end of their economic life. Meanwhile owners are increasingly being forced to absorb significant capital expenses for roofs, piping, windows, heating systems, balcony and suite upgrades in buildings that most rational citizens would agree should be redeveloped.

Vancouver has approximately 1,780 apartment properties (6 suites or more) of which 280 are mid/high-rise buildings. By our calculations and based on the data and statistical research developed over thirty years of apartment sales and publishing The Goodman Report, it’s estimated that there are probably 4,300 acres of multi-family zoned land devoted to the remaining 1,500 or so rental buildings consisting of 2-4 storey low density wood-frame buildings averaging over 50 years of age. By virtue of the City’s restrictive policies, namely their misguided and politically expedient goal of chasing the tenant vote, property owners in the multi-family zones are no longer permitted to redevelop their property unless the rentals are replaced on a one-for-one basis. Unfortunately, Council refuses to rezone these existing areas outright which would provide for an increase in the allowable height and densities required to make the development of replacement rentals financially viable.

Other than a small handful of proposals under the STIR program, there are virtually no examples of purpose-built rentals being developed that could undoubtedly assist typical tenants looking for choice and quality. By the way, STIR projects were not permitted on sites where existing rental housing would be demolished.

The City has repeatedly rejected proposals from building owners in these higher density zoned areas for creative new housing forms that would allow for a viable mixture of rental and market housing options (now known as “inclusionary housing”). Perhaps Council should explain why they reject outright the idea of replacing an outdated and aging 100-unit rental building with a new 250-unit rental/market building? Why wouldn’t the City accept the benefits of the trickle-up effect? With the delivery of new pricier rentals being occupied by tenants able to afford better and more expensive digs, the supply of more affordable suites is clearly increased. In addition, CMHC confirms that over 30% of all new strata units are rented by investors. It is our view that this underutilized resource (~4,300 acres) found in the existing multi-family zones should be the main focus of the City’s desire to create supply and affordability—not moving to our single family neighbourhoods.

As Nathan Edelson and Mark Guslits, members of the Mayor’s Task Force of Affordable Housing, wrote in their Letter to the Editor, Vancouver Sun, Oct 17th, 2012, “An honorable dialogue relies on factual information.” We would certainly agree. It’s also noted in their letter, with some irony, that only one of the eighteen members of the Task Force is a developer. Why was the development community so poorly represented? Who do you think will finance and build all these housing projects while expecting some reasonable return on investment? Unfortunately for us taxpayers, Council’s latest response could well be: “We don’t know, so let’s create a new City paid bureaucracy with no experience to take on the financial and development risk just like we managed the Olympic Village development.”

 

source: The Goodman Report

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We are changing some portions of the website over the next few days. Certain functions may not work intermittently. If you encounter any issues, feel free to let us know. We expect to be done and back to normal by Friday, October 26th.

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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement - October 23, 2012

The Bank of Canada once again opted to hold its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent this morning. Interest rates have been held constant for over two years, the longest such period since the 1950s. The Bank somewhat tempered its bias for higher future interest rates, including a softer statement regarding the appropriateness of a gradual withdrawal of monetary stimulus as excess supply in the economy is absorbed. In a bit of a surprise, the Bank actually raised its forecast for the growth in the Canadian economy this year to 2.2 per cent, but kept its 2013 forecast at 2.3 per cent growth. The Bank judges that at that pace of growth, the Canadian economy will return to full capacity by the end of 2013.

It is our view that monetary policy at the Bank of Canada will continue to be constrained by external events in the global economy and household debt growth at home. While the Bank's preference for tighter policy is clear, it is difficult to make a case for higher interest rates when core inflation is below the Bank's 2 per cent target and already slow economic growth is threatened by global uncertainty. Therefore, we are forecasting that the Bank of Canada will hold its target overnight rate at 1 per cent until mid-to-late 2013 when, conditioned on an improved global economic outlook, it may test the water with a 25 basis point rate increase.

source: BCREA

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Please visit our Open House at 307 1808 3RD AVE W in Vancouver.
Open House on Saturday, October 27, 2012 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Welcome to Kore! This luxury concrete condo has it all - located right in the heart of beautiful Kitsilano. NEW spacious one bedroom corner unit features high end finishings, large balcony, hardwood floors throughout, open-concept kitchen,stainless steel appliances, Caesarstone & marble counters, gas cooktop, floor-to-ceiling windows and great city views. Priced to sell, no HST, don't miss this one! Public Open House October 27th & 28th, Saturday/Sunday, 1:00 - 3:00pm
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If a client buys a new or substantially renovated secondary or recreational home in BC, but outside of Greater Vancouver or Victoria, before April 1, 2013, they may qualify for a provincial grant for the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

The grant for new secondary or recreational housing is directly administered by the BC Ministry of Finance. This grant should not be confused with the BC New Housing Rebate available for new residential homes bought as a primary residence, and administered by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The grant for new secondary or recreation housing is 71.43% of the provincial portion of the HST paid on the new home up to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Secondary or recreational homes priced at $850,000 or more are eligible for a flat grant of $42,500. To be eligible, the secondary or recreational home must be:

• a new home (detached, semi-detached, duplex, condominium, townhouse) constructed or substantially renovated (more than 90%) together with land bought from a builder;
• a new home together with leased land;
• a new mobile home or float home;
• a new home bought through shares in a housing cooperative; or
• a new home constructed or substantially renovated (more than 90%) by the owner builder. To be eligible, buyers must meet all of the following conditions:
• the HST was paid on or after April 1, 2012 and before April 1, 2013 on the purchase of a new or substantially renovated house, or to build or substantially renovate a house;
• the buyer or a family member will use the house as a secondary or recreational residence;
• the home is located outside the Capital Regional District and the Greater Vancouver Regional District;
• the buyer (or any other co-owners) or family are the first occupants of the home, or in the case of a substantial renovation, are the first occupants after the renovation; and
• the home will not be used for commercial purposes (vacation rentals, bed & breakfast, small business) by an owner who is an HST registrant claiming input tax credits for some or all of the HST paid on the home.

In addition to the general qualifications above, buyers must meet other conditions depending on the type of home and whether the client buys or builds the house alone or with others. For example, if two or more individuals buy a new secondary or recreational home, or build or substantially renovate a home, each buyer must meet all eligibility conditions, but only one may apply for the grant as the claimant.

You do not have to be a BC resident to be eligible for the grant. Buyers of secondary or recreational homes must complete an application form and provide supporting documents within six months from the date the HST was paid and before October 1, 2013 (whichever date is earliest).

To learn more, contact:
1.877.388.4440 or visit www.fin.gov.bc.ca/rev.htm and in the search box type in HST Notice #13. For application forms, in the search box type in “grant new secondary residence.”


source: realtorlink

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Please visit our Open House at 307 1808 3RD AVE W in Vancouver.
Open House on Saturday, October 20, 2012 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Welcome to Kore! This luxury concrete condo has it all - located right in the heart of beautiful Kitsilano. NEW spacious one bedroom corner unit features high end finishings, large balcony, hardwood floors throughout, open-concept kitchen,stainless steel appliances, Caesarstone & marble counters, gas cooktop, floor-to-ceiling windows and great city views. Priced to sell, no HST, don't miss this one! Public Open House October 20th & 21st, Saturday/Sunday, 2:00 - 4:00pm
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Please visit our Open House at 307 1808 3RD AVE W in Vancouver.
Open House on Saturday, October 13, 2012 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Welcome to Kore! This luxury concrete condo has it all - located right in the heart of beautiful Kitsilano. NEW spacious one bedroom corner unit features high end finishings, large balcony, hardwood floors throughout, open-concept kitchen,stainless steel appliances, Caesarstone & marble counters, gas cooktop, floor-to-ceiling windows and great city views. Priced to sell, no HST, don't miss this one! Public Open House October 13th, Saturday, 2:00 - 4:00pm
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I have listed a new property at Yaletown, Vancouver West.

RARE FIND! WATERFRONT WITH VIEWS OF WATER AND CITY! Exquisitely finished apartment with custom included furniture, Top miele and Leiberman appliances, silestone counter tops, italian tile, h/w flrs throughout, alpaca carpets, custom colours, grohe fixtures. Efficient layout makes this suite feel and look much larger then sq footage. Best location in Yaletowns Waterfront. Only 4 suites on the 9th floor which makes for a exclusive and private retreat. 24 hour Concierge, top security. Rare 1 parking and 1 storage locker. Just walk outside your door to some of Vancouver's best eateries or go for a walk on the waterfront. Available December 1st, minimum 3 month lease term.

NO SMOKING, NO PETS.

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Please visit our Open House at 307 1808 3RD AVE W in Vancouver.
Open House on Saturday, October 6, 2012 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Welcome to Kore! This luxury concrete condo has it all - located right in the heart of beautiful Kitsilano. NEW spacious one bedroom corner unit features high end finishings, large balcony, hardwood floors throughout, open-concept kitchen,stainless steel appliances, Caesarstone & marble counters, gas cooktop, floor-to-ceiling windows and great city views. Priced to sell, no HST, don't miss this one! Public Open House September 29th & 30th, Saturday/Sunday, 2:00 - 4:00pm
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Market update from wesellvancouver

 

 

Conditions continue to favour buyers in the Greater Vancouver housing market


The summer of 2012 drew to a close in September with home sale activity well below historical averages in the Greater Vancouver housing market.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 1,516 in September, a 32.5 per cent decline compared to the 2,246 sales in September 2011 and an 8.1 per cent decline compared to the 1,649 sales in August 2012.


September sales were 41.6 per cent below the 10-year September sales average of 2,597.


wesellvancouver wants to inform people that there has been a clear reduction in the demand the past three months since the federal government made the decision to eliminate the availability of a 30-year amortization on government-insured mortgages which is now making homes less affordable for the people in the region.


New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,321 in September. This represents a 6.3 per cent decline compared to September 2011 when 5,680 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and a 31.6 per cent increase compared to the 4,044 new listings in August 2012.


At 18,350, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 14.1 per cent from this time last year and increased 4.5 per cent compared to August 2012.


Since March our sales-to-active listing ratio was 19 percent because this ratio has been declining and now our current ratio sits at 8 percent which puts us into a buyer’s market.


The MLS HPI® composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver is $606,100. This represents a decline of 0.8 per cent compared to this time last year and a decline of 2.3 per cent over last three months.


Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in September 2012 reached 594, a decrease of 37.9 per cent from the 957 detached sales recorded in September 2011, and a 31.4 per cent decrease from the 866 units sold in September 2010. The benchmark price for detached properties decreased 0.5 per cent from September 2011 to $935,600.


Sales of apartment properties reached 676 in September 2012, a 26.7 per cent decrease compared to the 922 sales in September 2011, and a decrease of 30.4 per cent compared to the 971 sales in September 2010. The benchmark price of an apartment property decreased 0.7 per cent from September 2011 to $368,600.


Attached property sales in September 2012 totalled 246, a 33 per cent decrease compared to the 367 sales in September 2011, and a 35.8 per cent decrease from the 383 attached properties sold in September 2010. The benchmark price of an attached unit decreased 2.7 per cent between September 2011 and 2012 to $458,600.


Amalia Liapis states, “While I expect the market to remain slow, I do believe we will see a slight increase in activity mid to late October, lasting until sometime in November. From there, I anticipate the market to remain quiet until the end of February. Now is a great opportunity for Buyers looking to upgrade, as prices have trended downwards and interest rates remain low”.


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Resolving strata disputes will soon become faster, more accessible and more affordable thanks to recent provincial legislation.

 Bill 44: The Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, which passed in 2012, creates an independent body, the Civil Resolution Tribunal, which will provide dispute resolution tools as an alternative to going to court. The tribunal is expected to be operational by 2014.

 This is welcome news for the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, which together with BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) had, for many years, voiced concerns about strata property legislation.

BCREA advocated for this change and in 2011 reiterated the industry’s position during the province’s 2011 consultation process on strata dispute resolution.

 Who can access tribunal services?

Strata corporations, strata owners and tenants will be able to access tribunal services. 
• If two individuals are in a dispute, both must need to agree to participate in the tribunal.
• If a strata owner or a tenant decides to use tribunal services, the affected strata corporation must participate.

 The tribunal will have the authority to handle strata disputes between strata property owners and strata corporations, including: 

• non-payment of monthly strata fees or fines;
• unfair actions by the strata corporation or by those owning more than half of the strata lots in a complex;
• uneven, arbitrary or non-enforcement of strata bylaws (such as smoking, noise, pets, parking, rentals);
• issues of financial responsibility for repairs and the choice of bids for services;
• irregularities in the conduct of meetings, voting, minutes or other matters;
• interpretation of the legislation, regulations or bylaws; and
• issues regarding common property.

 The tribunal will not decide matters that affect land, including: 

• ordering the sale of a strata lot;
• court orders respecting rebuilding damaged real property;
• dealing with developers and phased strata plans; or
• determining each owner’s per cent share in the strata complex (the “Schedule of Unit Entitlement”).

 These matters will continue to be heard in the BC Supreme Court, as will other matters, including: 

• the appointment of an administrator to run the strata corporation;
• orders vesting authority in a liquidator;
• applications to wind up a strata corporation;
• allegations of conflicts of interest by council members; or
• appointment of voters when there is no person to vote in respect of a strata lot.

 How will tribunal services be accessed?

The tribunal services will be available online 24/7. Assistance will also be offered by phone, mail or even in person. Disputes are expected to be resolved within 60 days, compared to 12 to 18 months for the court process.

 The tribunal will have five stages

Dispute Stages
Souce: BC Ministry of Justice

 Stage 1 - Self-Help

Information and tools will be available online 24/7 to help parties resolve disputes.

Stage 2 - Online Party-to-Party Negotiations

If Stage 1 fails, parties can go through a guided negotiation monitored by tribunal staff.

Stage 3 - Facilitated Settlement

Where an agreement is still not reached, parties can pay applicable fees and request active facilitation by the tribunal involving mediation or other dispute resolution processes. All parties must consent.

Stage 4 - Case Management Preparation

A case manager will facilitate mediation and explore options for settlement.

Stage 5 - Adjudication

Any dispute not settled by agreement will be heard by an adjudicator with the authority to decide the outcome and make binding decisions.

Fees for tribunal resolution of a dispute have not been finalized.

 Learn more

Information on strata property and the tribunal available at: www.housing.gov.bc.ca/strata

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