Archive for the ‘advice’ Category

Young adults buying condos: what are you thinking?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

You want the pride of ownership.

And maybe buying a condo is like training wheels for real home ownership.

You get the practice of paying property tax and maintenance.

But over at the Globe and Mail Rob Carrick is trying to talk down the market again – he says maybe you should rent the condo and save the difference on the cost of buying.

“I would say buyers in their 20s probably won’t live in that condo for five years,” Mr. Fleming said. “They’re going to either outgrow it, or find a mate and want a bigger, better or different place.”

Even if you meet someone and live together in your condo, you’ll probably want to move when you have kids. Mr. Fleming said an increasing number of couples are starting families in condos, but a house is still seen by most as the best place to do this.

Moving from a condo you own to a house will cost you a lot. If you used a real estate agent to sell the place, you might pay a $15,000 commission plus HST to sell a $300,000 condo. “It’s expensive to move,” Mr. Fleming said. “Hopefully you purchased that condo for $250,000.”

Read the full article here.

Hot at the edges

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Just in time for the spring buying season the Province newspaper has published a public service announcement about the hottest lower mainland markets.

What do the experts say are the hottest markets in BC?

1. Surrey
2.Maple Ridge / Pitt Meadows
3.Fort St. John
4.Dawson Creek

Surrey seems to do quite well with REIN – they took the number one investment spot in the province last year and also in 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Have you bought your surrey home yet?

Renting: The last, best real estate bargain?

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Somebody at the Sun has started looking at rent / buy ratios.  

Many Franks posted this in the comment section yesterday:

Barbara Yaffe discovers renting. Contains a few groaners. Renting a place may be the last, best real estate bargain and a majority of the city’s residents are taking full advantage

Vancouver rents have remained reasonable in part because of a 2.2-per-cent limit on annual increases imposed by the provincial government.

NO! Bad Barbara.

In a recent bulletin, [David and Mark Goodman] report Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation numbers that demonstrate it’s 32.5-per-cent cheaper to rent rather than own a one-bedroom unit in Vancouver.

“The gap increases considerably once strata fees, maintenance costs and taxes are taken into account.”

WTF kind of buy/rent comparison EXCLUDES strata/maintenance and tax?

Apartment building owners in Vancouver since 2007 have faced a municipal moratorium on the demolition of rental housing stock, and are reluctant to evict tenants in order to do needed upgrades.

Renoviction. When a phenomenon is popular enough to coin its own term, “reluctant” might be overstating the case.

The Goodmans are predicting that landlords of these older, minimally upgraded buildings soon may find themselves confronting tough new competition.

They report as many as 49 rental buildings, with 5,849 suites, could come on stream in the region within the next three years.

And the popularity of renting in Metro Vancouver may grow, says the Goodman Report, because of an increasing wariness about Canada’s possibly overvalued real estate.

“We live in a very special place with abundant resources and continuing investment from abroad,” says the newsletter. But with all the housing-bubble talk, “as a B.C. real-estate owner you’re wise to be cautious.”

Realtors say condos a great investment

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Royal LePage has released a report that forecasts condos values to have a robust future.

Yes, even Vancouver condo values, which have stagnated for years!

Status perceptions, too, have done a 180, according to Chris Simmons, owner/broker, Royal LePage Westside, City Centre and Sunshine Coast. In 1974, buyers kept condo purchases down to a disdainful two to three per cent of the housing market. Today, the idea of houses barely flickers on buyers’ radar. Instead they’re thinking about whether to buy a condo in a bustling or quiet location.

Simmons just placed a professional couple in a $750,000, 1,140-square-foot, two-bedroom-and-den condo near the Olympic Village, “with nice views and well located.”

Hopefully the proud new owners are in a building with heat!

We’re still waiting for the report on the future value of cars from the automobile dealers association, but early rumours have us excited!

Read the full press release news story in the Vancouver Sun.

Are the miserable more likely to rent or own?

Monday, November 18th, 2013

There’s an article over in the Globe and Mail titled “The Rise of the Miserable Canadian Homeowner

They talk about some of the complaints people have over the cost of ownership and the recent inability for the Canadian consumer to live within their means.

But if homeowners are dissatisfied about how they’re managing their finances, we must also consider their single largest expense on month-by-month basis. That would be the mortgage payments they’re making on their homes.

The problem with housing is that it’s expensive compared to our incomes. I will document this further in an upcoming column, but for now let’s just say that mortgages plus other basic costs of day-to-day living, such as cars and daycare, may leave us with little money left over. And so we borrow more through credit lines and credit cards. That’s our unofficial second income.

The Manulife survey shows homeowners are not happy about how things are working out, which is noteworthy. We’ve been borrowing madly as a nation for the better part of five years now, and the story has so far been cast as one of imprudent behaviour. Here, we get a sense that there’s a cost in stress and angst.

Read the full article for a run down on the numbers of people happy vs unhappy with their household finances. Basically one in three homeowners are very unhappy with how they are managing their money.

 

Strata council fraud nets house arrest

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

George pointed out this this story about a strata council member who bilked condo owners out of $160K.

The moral of the story?  Check your strata documents carefully and don’t accept photocopies of photocopy receipts.

In court Monday, Patrick Au was also given two years probation and ordered to pay back the entire $160,000. He pleaded guilty to theft and fraud over $5,000.

Au was a volunteer member of the strata for Gardenia Villa, a 250-unit condo building near Broadway and Nanaimo Street in East Vancouver.

Over a four-year period, starting in 2001, Au slowly took control of the strata’s finances and started siphoning off funds for his personal gain.

If the name Gardenia Villa sounds familiar, it may be because it’s been in the news before as the unfortunate leaky condo where the repair bill was higher than the construction cost.

Read the full article here.

A Mortgage Brokers view on rates and prices

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Rob McLister is a mortgage broker and the editor of the informative Canadian Mortgage Trends blog.

He’s doing a livechat at the Globe and Mail answering questions about mortgages right now.

Yesterday they published his rather bearish opinion on the future of home prices in Canada, which may suprise you coming from a mortgage broker.

“Buying the same house will be more expensive this fall than this spring,” National Bank Financial’s Peter Routledge told the Globe and Mail last month. But analysts point to a range of factors that could moderate home prices in the next six months, including higher interest rates, growing supply, modest income growth and stricter mortgage regulations. Canada’s banking regulator is weighing new mortgage rules as we speak.

Rates are the biggest wild card and the No. 1 factor that could put the brakes on home prices. Higher mortgage rates immediately make it harder for budget-strapped buyers to qualify for a mortgage. That’s why – other things being equal – as rates increase, prices usually decrease.

So if home prices potentially face headwinds, does it really make sense to run out, compete with a stampede of other buyers and purchase a home?

Read the full article here and find the live chat session here.

BC Real Estate Market: is the worst behind us?

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

With the exception of SFH homes in Vancouver, recent years haven’t been kind to real estate investors in BC.

Vancouver condo prices have been pretty much flat for years with miserable cap rates. Victoria has been sinking, the interior is deep underwater since the market peak and Whistler condo HPI is down more than 40%.

But cheer up! At least one economist says the worst is behind us!

“For all the horror stories out there surrounding Canadian residential real estate, the sector is actually holding in very well,” chief economist David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff + Associates said today.

“Note that the worst in British Columbia may be behind us as starts there shot up to 31,000 units from 23,000 in May to stand at the best level in a year,” he added.

Sounds like another one for the bottom call thread!

Want to buy the mayors house?

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

According to real estate reporter extraordinaire village whisperer, the Mayor has put his home in Vancouver up for sale.

Or at least his corporation has put his home up for sale.

As far as we know there has been no announced plan for the Mayor to move away from Vancouver so it’s curious to see this listing.

Perhaps he’s trading in his city farmhouse for a more Vancouverish condo lifestyle, some posters here are saying they’re beginning to find deals in the long stagnant condo market. Or maybe he’s just going to couch surf for a while.

You don’t think we’ll end up with a Mayor who rents do you? My God! What would the neighbours think?!

Boxing Day Blow-out Sale!

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Are you out there looking for deals today?

Doing some boxing day sales shopping?

Want to save big?

Jay posted a couple of recent discounts in the Vancouver real estate market, and boy do we have some deals for you.

If you act fast  and buy now you can save enough to buy more than 50 brand new 2013 Mercedes SLKs.

SLK, get 50 of 'em

50 of those would cost about $2.9 million, which is how much this property has just been reduced by now asking only $9.98 million.

Of course that just gets you land, if you want to get a home as well why not try this property out by UBC complete with an authentic 1997 style concrete and steel mansion.

Original asking price $10,380,000 it can now be yours for only $7,990,000!

Happy bargain hunting!

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