Archive for the ‘BC’ Category

No More Hospital in Downtown Vancouver?

Monday, April 13th, 2015

A couple of weeks ago VCI commenter Corrupt in Canada linked to a story over at VanCityBuzz reporting that BC NDP MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert was upset the provincial government was on the verge of reneging its promise to revitalize and expand St. Paul’s Hospital.

Three years ago Premiere Christy Clark pledged half a billion dollars to improve the hospital, but nothing has been done to this date.

In the original article VanCity Buzz reached out to the BC Ministry of Health who had this response:

Government remains firmly committed to revitalizing St. Paul’s Hospital. St. Paul’s Hospital is an important part of the network of hospitals in the Lower Mainland, serving a large and growing population from downtown Vancouver, and from across the region. We are continuing to work with Providence Healthcare on the best way to revitalize the hospital for the communities it serves. We must make sure that this fits within the future long term vision of health care in the region and across the province, focusing on more comprehensive community services and a partnership between Lower Mainland hospitals.

We must also ensure that St. Paul’s Hospital can continue to serve the community while the revitalization project is underway.

So we know that most of you will be utterly surprised that Providence Health Care just announced that St. Paul’s will be closed and a new facility will be built in East Van.

Shocked even!

The west end MLA took his disappointment over this announcement to twitter:

St. Paul’s Hospital proved it’s worth during the Stanley Cup riots. Viaduct, bridges, + Skytrain all closed. No way out of downtown. downtown Vancouver needs an emergency room, especially in an emergency. In an earthquake all exits out of downtown may be closed.

Of course there may be a much better use of the land the current hospital sits upon: CONDOS!

Plus new hospital in East Van just has to drive up property values there right?

Win-win.

 

Hot American Money?

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

If you’re looking for someone to blame for high house prices (anyone but locals!) you’ve got a new scapegoat: Americans.

The Province has an article saying the falling CAD means that US buyers are responsible for the biggest surge in the local market over the last year.

Asian buyers make up about 60 per cent of foreign buyers of Metro Vancouver real estate, according to a story published by the Financial Times on Good Friday.

But buyers from the U.S. accounted for the biggest surge in the Vancouver market in the past year, the story said.

The article also said the Vancouver market is unique because record prices seem to have little impact on buyers’ enthusiasm.

Read the full article here.

Friday Free-for-all! Crazy market edition.

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Well hello there!

Looky here, it’s the end of another week already and you probably already know what that means…

Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our standard end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

But first a note. Many news sites have moved to a subscription model which limits views of articles (hello Globe and Mail!). This is a bit of a downer for a news and link round-up feature since you might use up your monthly limited article views on articles that don’t interest you beyond their headline.

So with that in mind we’re switching most of our FFFA links to the original VCI comment that pointed them out.  This means you get the context with selected quotes or excerpts to decide if you want to follow the link to the original article and you can see who here originally pointed out the article, but it means you need to click an extra link to read the full story.

Does this change drive you crazy as an overbred purse dog or are you west-coast chill about it? As always your comments about this change are welcome.

OK! Now here are the links to kick off the chat:

-Did you short Genworth at the right time?
-There will be fewer hungry realtors this month
-All about those rates?
-Vancouver is the next… Calgary?!?
-Economy shrinks
-Over 55? Stop paying property tax sucker!
-Who ya gonna blame for this crazy market?
-What is the Difference between bulls and bears?
-An orderly correction please.

So what are you seeing out there?

Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent long weekend filled with bunnies, eggs and chocolate!

US claims stolen Chinese money washed in Van RE.

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Anyone who’s read this site for a while has probably noticed a couple of things:

1. A number of regular reader and commenters here blame wealthy Chinese ‘investor immigrants’ for the high cost of real estate in Vancouver.

2. The administration of this site disagrees and thinks that over-stretched house-horny locals and government insured lending on real estate are primarily to blame for high prices.

Yet we must admit this story has us thinking perhaps the truth is a blend of those two viewpoints:

U.S. alleges Metro Vancouver homes were part of scheme to launder money embezzled in China

Authorities allege that in the summer of 2011, shortly after they qualified for U.S. green cards, Qiao and Zhao began surreptitiously using accomplices to transfer millions of dollars into bank accounts in Wenzhou city, Hong Kong and Canada. At least two Canadian banks were used, HSBC Canada and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Zhao recently put the White Rock property up for sale for $689,000. Paulo Leung, a real estate agent with Regent Park Realty, said he had also sold the property to her in 2012 as an investment. He declined to say more. Both properties are being managed by Vancouver-based Chartell Properties. A receptionist there said they knew Zhao.

A search of property and title records conducted by The Vancouver Sun show that Zhao’s numbered company bought the properties outright. However, a few months later, it took out mortgages on both, totalling $1.1 million, that represented almost their entire market value. According to the U.S. indictment, a few weeks later Zhao and Qiao took money from their Canadian RBC account to pay for a Bellevue home.

Officials for the RCMP and Citizenship and Immigration Canada said they did not know if their departments assisted U.S. and Chinese investigators, and could not comment if they did.

Read the full article over in the Vancouver Sun.

What do these cities have in common?

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Take a look at this list:

Calgary
Winnipeg
Edmonton
Gatineau
Halifax
Hamilton
Oshawa
Montreal
London
Kitchener
Kingston
Ottawa
Quebec
Regina
Saguenay
Saint John
Sudbury
St.John’s
St. Catharines
Sherbrooke
Saskatoon
Thunder Bay
Toronto
Trois Rivieres
Vancouver
Victoria

Know what those 26 cities have in common?

They’re all Canadian for one, but they are also places where house prices have doubled or tripled over the last 15 years.

As special as Vancouver is, it’s apparently not unique when it comes to rising prices.

Thanks to Joe Mainlander for pointing this out, original data source is Toronto Condo Bubble.

West Van debates pros and cons of Monster Homes

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

West Vancouver is considering limiting the size of ‘Monster Homes‘ and that’s got both sides of the issue up in arms. The primary concern from some residents is that a proposed size limit would bring down property values:

“At first glance, this is flawed, to say the least,” said Russell Lane, who said he and his wife were “one of the owners of one of the larger properties and our house is on it. It’s not a ‘monster property,’ or whatever the description is, but a house that was built appropriate to current regulations.”

He said it would be unfortunate if the municipal government created, in effect, two classes of properties, where older houses that were built to code would be more attractive to buyers than homes built after a policy change.

Meanwhile North Delta brought in similar limits several years ago:

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said her community limited the size of new North Delta homes to 3,552 square feet several years ago and feels the policy has worked well, with few complaints from builders or owners of would-be monster homes.

“We were having problems with some very large homes being built, some as large as 9,000 square feet or bigger,” she said. “Allowing an unlimited amount of square feet in new homes was not taking the community in the direction it wanted to go.”

Read the full article in the Vancouver Sun.

Tiny lenders chop rates to grab mortgage customers

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Rates have dropped and that means better deals on mortgages. The big banks have dropped discount rates to an average of 2.79% on a 5 year mortgage.

Meanwhile the smaller lenders are hungry for more business so they’re cutting profits to compete on lower rates.

Mortgage Brokers are also taking cuts on commission to compete in the race to the lowest rate:

The rate war is even more intense among mortgage brokers, many of whom are shifting away from the traditional full-service model that saw brokers spending hours working with clients to select the best mortgage and earning hefty commissions. These days, more borrowers are turning to online and “self-service” brokerages that compete on volume, offering less personalized service and sacrificing some of the commissions they earn from lenders in order to discount rates even further.

Not everyone is a fan of the model. Some are worried that with interest rates already so low, brokers are having to dig deep into their commissions to offer meaningful discounts, a model that some brokers argue could threaten the industry as a whole.

“The majority of people don’t like what we’re doing and it’s a troublesome thing for us to digest because ultimately it’s the best for the consumer,” said Jeff Mark, co-founder of Spin Mortgage, an 18-month-old online brokerage that is advertising a five-year fixed rate at 2.49 per cent, well below the typical bank rate, by sacrificing some of its commissions. “We make less money per deal. I don’t know how that isn’t a good thing for the market.”

Read the full article here.

OV condo unit sale gets big price drop

Monday, February 16th, 2015

“If they got in early, they got burnt” says the selling agent about the Olympic Village condo development.

The Globe and Mail features this deal where a unit was purchased new for $1,565-million + HST in 2010 and recently sold for somewhat less.

He says prices dropped in 2013, when the city took over sales. At that time, he sold a 1,200-square-foot unit, with a water view, in the same building for $860,000. “That’s more like a Burnaby price,” Mr. Yan says.

Last December, he advised a client to purchase this unit, and she jumped on it. She’d been looking for three months in Richmond and Yaletown as well.

“I said to her, ‘If you had talked to me a year earlier, I would have got you an even better deal [in the building],’” Mr. Yan says.

Read the full article here.

Vancouver, New York, London & Paris

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Reader tedeastside either hates Vancouver or he wants other people to.

Regular visitors here know teds comments have a certain reliable tone to them, but yesterday’s got creative and inspired people to riff on it:

to those proud vancouverites who mention vancouver in the same breath as New York or London probably thinks the following

Shangri-la = Empire State building
Robson Square = Rockefeller center
Nat Bailey = Yankee Stadium
Steam Clock = Big Ben
Olympic Cauldron = Eiffel Tower
VAG = the Louvre
Robson street = Champs-Élysées
Gassy Jack = Statue of Liberty
North Van Sulfer piles = the Pyramids

This of course got some pointing out that Vancouver can have overpriced real estate and still be a decent city, but where’s the fun in that?

(more…)

Luxury hotel to become a dorm

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Looks like those basement mortgage helpers might have some competition soon if this plan goes through:

Downtown Vancouver Luxury Hotel to become International Student Housing

The 17-storey building will undergo a $37 million renovation and have 220 beds for international students come September, according to Global News; the company is eventually hoping to expand into Vancouver and Richmond and have beds for 5,000 post-secondary and high school students in nine different buildings.

The Viva Suites will be available from $900 to $2,500, depending on the amenities, location, and building, The Province reports. Some of the amenities available are a weight room, housekeeping, secured underground parking, and Internet. The suites will be available for daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly rental, with no long-term commitments required, states a company press release.

Read the full article here.

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