Archive for the ‘BC’ Category

Beautiful Empty Homes of Vancouver

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

A group of about 20 concerned west side residents have started posting a photo collection of vacant abandoned homes in Vancouver.

For some of these homes the term ‘beautiful’ is a bit of a stretch, but it’s interesting to see the growing resentment of abandoned and vacant properties in a town with high house prices.

There’s an article in the Province about that site as well:

The blog is “a documentation of what happens when Vancouver real estate enters the global real estate market,” but there may be factors other than absentee owners that contribute to the rubble-strewn yards and the decaying homes it showcases, Yan said.

As aging baby boomers begin downsizing to condos in other parts of the city “perhaps a good number” of their single-family homes are sitting empty between real estate deals, Yan said.

Still, this phenomenon could be the “edge of the new normal,” as Vancouver becomes a “resort city” where people from around the world invest their money in home ownership.

Regardless of why they are emptying, these neighbourhoods were centred around public schools and built for families, Yan said.

Read the full article here and visit the site here: Beautiful Empty Homes of Vancouver.

 

Politicians shouldn’t meddle with housing market

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

This is probably the first housing editorial in The Province that most readers here can agree on.  Well, the headline any ways:

Politicians shouldn’t meddle with the housing market.

Imagine a world where the government didn’t meddle with the housing market.  There would be no CMHC insuring close to $600 Billion in mortgages, instead lenders would loan based only on their own assessment of risk.  There would be no HBP, no HOG. In 2006 there would not have been the rule change that allowed zero down 40 year mortgages with interest only payments for 10 years. After 2008 the CMHC wouldn’t have purchased $69 billion of mortgages off bank books.

But of course you’ve probably figured out that this Province editorial isn’t about that. No, this editorial is about someone suggesting we should levy a tax on vacant properties, likely the tiniest possible example you could find for ‘meddling’ in the housing market.

Wong is not alone in unfairly blaming foreign investors for Vancouver’s high housing prices. The reality is that real estate is a commodity whose price is set in a free market, appropriately, through the forces of supply and demand. No one has a “right” to own a house in a particular city or neighbourhood, and it’s about time that people like Wong and her COPE and NDP pals stopped promoting such notions, especially when it involves taking money from one group and giving it to another. You want a house? Work hard and buy one — or move somewhere cheaper.

Read the full editorial here.

 

Rent to own?

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

At least one local developer has struck on an ‘innovative’ way to rent out their property: rent to own.

Just like TV and Furniture in the 80s, you can rent to own a condo.

Under the plan, 15 per cent of a tenant’s monthly rent goes into a credit account. That money can then be used in the future for a down payment on a new Bosa home purchase, to a maximum of three per cent of the home’s value.

This should appeal to someone who is having difficulty finding a unit for 15% less and putting the money away themselves.

Buy in the suburbs, prices dropping like crazy.

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Astute reader ‘reveal the truth‘ pointed out a few similarities between a recent Business in Vancouver article about people buying in the suburbs and an earlier article published in June:

Millenials Decamp to Suburbs”, published August 20, 2014, sure sounds a lot like “First Time Homebuyers Driving Surrey Market”, published June 24th.

Let’s see:
June 24th: Shayna Thow, director of sales for BLVD Marketing Group – which handles marketing for two Surrey developments for Vancouver’s Fairborne Homes Ltd. – said Surrey has become a viable option for first-time homebuyers who can’t afford to buy in Vancouver. While the average price for a single-family detached home in Greater Vancouver has soared to more than $1.36 million, the average price in the Fraser Valley is still under $655,000.

August 20th: Shayna Thow, director of sales for BLVD Marketing Group – which handles marketing for two Surrey developments for Vancouver’s Fairborne Homes Ltd. – said Surrey has also become a viable option for first-time homebuyers who can’t afford to buy in Vancouver. While the average price for a single-family detached home in Greater Vancouver has soared to more than $1.36 million, the average price in the Fraser Valley is still under $600,000, she noted.

Uh-oh. The only thing that stayed the same was the word for word structure. The PRICE however showed a DROP of nearly 10%! Yikes!!

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Swimming with ideas

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Looks like there may be another chunk of land that will give developers that claim they love: the last waterfront development available in Vancouver.

The 40 year old aquatic centre is up for grabs, but the city does want a new one built – they’re looking for bids and ideas for a big chunk of land downtown:

News of the potential arrangement — still a long way from reality — caught many off guard Wednesday, even though it’s contained in a city information package that has been available to potential buyers since May 12.

The city has invited offers on 12 parcels of land contained within the Granville Bridge’s northeast off-ramp and loop, which will be decommissioned and removed.

The land has a total assessed value of $36.14 million and bids from potential buyers are being accepted until Aug. 15.

The city’s “invitation for innovative offers” on the site notes it wants a “renewed” Vancouver Aquatic Centre on the property, to be built by a developer and transferred back to the city for a nominal fee of $10.

Read the full article here.

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?

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