Archive for the ‘hype’ 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.

CMHC & Genworth increase mortgage insurance premiums.

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

An article over at the Financial Post by Garry Marr asks if recent hikes in mortgage insurance fees are targeting first time buyers.

The move by Genworth Canada, which matches an increase announced Thursday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. will raise insurance costs by 15% for those Canadians with the highest debt-value mortgages allowed by Ottawa.

Of course lets keep things in perspective here – that 15% increase may result in an extra cost of about $5 dollars a month.

You’d have to be really stretched for that to be an issue.

Rob McLister, founder of ratespy.com, said insurers are padding their margins and doing it for loans that usually result in the least amount of money recovered during defaults.

Read the full article here.

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.

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.

Local buyers drive up prices on east side

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

So the Canadian dollar is in the toilet now which means buying stuff here in some other currencies gets you a nice 25% discount compared to a year ago.

And yet who’s driving up prices on the east side of Vancouver? Local buyers according to some realtors.

“We had 20 people in the city who would have paid asking price and 10 who wrote offers and were willing to pay more,” said Rockel of Macdonald Realty Ltd.

She said no overseas buyers were involved in the final offers.

The big news was the property that got 31 offers:

Meanwhile, Vancouver realtors are still agog over the 31 offers that were received for a home at 3 East 60th Ave. in South Vancouver which was listed at $899,000 and went on sale 10 days ago.

“It was for sale on the Tuesday and by the Friday we took offers,” said Sebastien Albrecht, a realtor with Royal Lepage.

“I’ve seen multiple offers on properties — the most being 10 or 12 — I don’t think any of us have seen 31 before. It’s the talk of the town among realtors,” said Albrecht.

He said he couldn’t disclose the selling price because the property was in probate, which would have to be cleared before the sale could be finalized.

Not mentioned in that article is the fact that the asking price on that property was $30,000 under assessed, but still that’s a lot of bids.

Are you ready for higher interest rates?

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

That seems like a really weird question as rates continue to drop.

But over at the Vancouver Sun, Barbara Yaffe says ‘Prepare now for interest rate shock‘.

On top of the Bank of Canada recent surprise .25% rate cut there are a number of people predicting another cut coming this year, so why worry about interest rates at all?

The size of the average mortgage on a dwelling in Greater Vancouver is $400,000, reports Jeff Johnson, mortgage broker at Cloverdale-based Dominion Lending Centres Canadian Mortgage Experts, with offices in B.C. and Alberta.

That jumbo figure is based on the average 2014 value of a Vancouver property, $801,000, and a Canadian Association of Mortgage Professionals survey last year showing the average equity position assumed by borrowers is 50 per cent.

Johnson notes that if interest rates rise in 2015 by even just half a percentage point, monthly payments on a typical variable rate $400,000 mortgage could increase by $100 to $1,872.

“And this is the best case scenario, as rates could continue to slowly increase (thereafter).”

Elyea points out such increases would be coming on top of 2015 hikes imposed on B.C. residents for MSP premiums, car insurance and BC Hydro.

And it is worth remembering British Columbians have more modest employment earnings than elsewhere in Canada. The B.C. average weekly wage last year was about $890, compared to $940 across Canada.

Ok, sure. But we know all that already. How long have we been hearing the warnings about ‘being ready’ for rate increases while they just stay down at record lows or continue to drop?

It’s like that old story ‘The Boy who cried Wolf’.  Eventually the villagers get sick of hearing all the false warnings, learn to ignore them and live happily ever after.

Oil Prices drive Shell to cut Canadian Jobs

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Shell is cutting hundreds of jobs in Alberta as oil price drops change everything.

Already, some companies have put longer-term oil sands projects on hold until markets stabilize, which analysts say may not start to happen until at least midway through 2015. And service industries that support the sector have cut jobs as business has slowed.

Northern Alberta’s oil sands have among the highest development costs in global energy, so operations are particularly vulnerable to skidding crude prices. North American benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude fell 43 cents to $48.36 a barrel on Friday, down from more than $100 in June.

Shell said it is laying off less than 10 per cent of the 3,000 workers at the Albian Sands project, one of five major oil sands mining ventures.

A spokesman for the company declined to give exact job-loss numbers, but a labour official in Fort McMurray, who does not represent Shell workers, pegged them at around 200.

Read the full article here.

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