Archive for the ‘BC’ Category

Condo salespeople have no limits on claims?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Village Whisperer has been following the MAC-gate ‘fake foreign buyer’ story for a while and recently reported the Real Estate Council of BC decision in that case: a temporary suspension and small fine for one Realtor.

But what about the other MAC employees who played rolls in this story, why no repercussions for that deceit?

Here’s the loophole: condo salespeople who are not realtors are not ruled by the Real Estate Council and can apparently make any claim they want before passing a potential buyer off to a realtor to sign the legal documents.

Read all about it over at Whisperers blog.

Could we get some big companies here?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

This is an interesting post over at medium- basically positing that high home prices in Vancouver threaten it’s future, and proposing a tax to try to change that risk:

The secret that no-one actually wants to talk about is that the quality of a city is mostly determined by a simple factor — the number of smart, ambitious people who live there. These people are the ones who want to drive that city forward by investing in opening businesses, donating their time to the arts & community, participating in city planning, etc… Without them, growth wouldn’t happen and you wouldn’t get all of the benefits that great cities enjoy.

The biggest contributor to the decline of a great city is simple — it’s the decline of those smart people. When they decide that the cost of living in a place outweighs the benefit, they move. They don’t just take their money with them, they take their intellectual and future capital with them. This is dangerous. When people aren’t willing to make an investment in a place to live any more, the city doesn’t just lose their taxes for the year, they lose a massive function of potential jobs created, culture added and future capital they can put to work.

There are two issues here: the generation of local business opportunity and an attempt to draw established business head offices to town.

What do you think of a proposal for a housing tax that attempts to encourage economic development?

Condo parking dispute leads to forced sale

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

This story has been mentioned before, but this looks like the end of it. The RCMP has removed the condo owners.

RCMP escorted Cheng-Fu Bea from his home of 17 years under a court order issued last month that ruled the Beas must sell.

“The lawyer used the RCMP to force me out of my unit. It’s abuse,” said a visibly distressed Bea. “Where can I go? I have no place to go.”

Ah, that condo owning lifestyle!

A future based on past results

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Here’s an extrapolation for you: Altus group does home appraisal and valuations.

They looked at the numbers and say if everything carries on as usual the average home price on the west side will be 7 million in 10 years.

“If [the current] trend continues, in the year 2024 the average price for older [detached housing] stock could be greater than $2 million on the Eastside and $7 million on the Westside of Vancouver. We are not saying this will happen, we are simply applying the math from the past decade and extrapolating forward to the next decade,” said Pedro Tavares, Altus Group’s director of research, valuation and advisory.

And as any investor will tell you, past performance practically guarantees future results right? So what are you waiting for? Get out there and buy something!

Leaky condo crisis rears its wet ugly head again

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

If you’ve been in Vancouver for a while you might remember the ‘leaky condo crisis’.

That crisis peaked about 15 years ago, and its still a common site to see condo buildings under tarps.

Unfortunately there are some reports we’re not out of the woods yet on building maintenance and construction quality.

This article in the Vancouver Sun talks goes over the crisis and how many moist condo units may still be out there.

In response to the last round of the crisis, the government introduced a new requirement for depreciation reports on strata property.

However, stratas have the option to exempt themselves from the requirement by agreement of three-quarters of their members.

Gioventu said that provision was put in to accommodate commercial-property stratas or strata-ownership arrangements on bare land where owners build their own homes and have no common services.

He said there there is no doubt some older residential strata corporations are exempting themselves because they know a depreciation report is “going to give them an ugly picture,” but the market is going to catch up with those situations when banks refusing financing on sales without the reports.

Gioventu said if there is a common theme, it is that “strata corporations have not been maintaining their buildings,” which is evident in problems that are cropping up with building decks and balconies, roofing systems and windows.

If you’re shopping for a condo how important is a depreciation report to you? Are you concerned about the history of leaky condos in Vancouver?

Vancouver no longer on planet earth?

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The Condo King has emerged from hibernation and seen no shadow: that means two more years of bubble.

“We no longer live in Vancouver. We live on the planet.”

With that remark, renowned Vancouver realtor Bob Rennie attempted to explain the evolution of this city’s exasperating housing market.

He made the comment last week to a conference of the Urban Land Institute, an organization representing realtors and developers who intimately understand what the condo guru was referring to.

Full article in the Vancouver Sun.

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?

Vancouver a graveyard for job seekers?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

There’s been some discussion lately about the temporary foreign worker program (TFW) and whether Canada needs to import workers, skilled or unskilled.

This of course brings up the debate: companies say they can’t find people to fill positions, workers say thats just because you aren’t paying enough.

Is there something special about Vancouver that enables lower wages to be paid or are is it not true that Vancouverites tend to be underpaid?

Atomic Frog had this to say:

Here are some of the facts that I know of

Highly skilled and highly in demand workers do not stay in Vancouver. You get paid higher in another city and cost of living is likely lower than living in Vancouver. Local companies ALWAYS have problem hiring qualified applicants and if this snowball, they cannot stay in business for very long or be very competitive in their sector. What kind of industry is doing very well in Vancouver anyway these days? Movie industry? Mining? Tech? I work in the local IT industry for the last 20 yrs. I saw all kind of IT ppl who came to town, found a job and eventually left town after a couple of yrs because they had found a much better paying job in another city.

As a result, Vancouver is considered to be a graveyard for job seekers. Even for those who have a job, local salary has been stagnant for yrs. Without a steady stream of local workers who should see their annual salary go up steadily every yr, it is very difficult for this local property bubble to continue.

There are many cases in other parts of the world where property value goes up and stay there. Main reason being foreign investor, but the locals also keep making more money over the yrs. Prices that were higher five yrs ago may not seem to be that high for those cities. However, can we say the same thing for Vancouver?

Do you know skilled workers that have sought better career opportunities outside of Vancouver or are you and your coworkers properly compensated and happy to stay?

Saving is hard.

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

One of the great things about the Vancouver housing market is that we don’t have subprime lending.  All of our loans are rock solid and even if they weren’t guaranteed by the government banks would still be eager to hand out the same mortgages.

And yet..

If there’s one thing Vancouverites know, it’s that saving money is difficult.

So what are you to do as a responsible first time home buyer who is unable to save up the hefty 5% required to get a CMHC insured mortgage?

Don’t worry, at least one bank has your back: Vancity will match half your downpayment savings on a home priced under $500k.

Still that’s not exactly zero down, since the CMHC scrapped that in 2008, but if saving up 2.5% is still too difficult you may have other options.

But remember, unless you have a poor credit rating this still isn’t subprime.

Apparently it’s gotten harder to get the long term zero down mortgage the CMHC made available in the past, but not impossible.

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.”

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