Archive for the ‘supply’ Category

Taxpayers funding condo flippers?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

By now everyone knows about the high cost of the Olympic Village project.

Current estimates are that it will cost taxpayers between $400 – $600 million to pay this off.

There are 68 units still left unsold over the last six years, but over at the ‘Canada House’ building it looks like a number of units have been bought and flipped, at least one for more than $400k profit in a month.

Hat tip to Mac who pointed out this article in the Province.

So whats going on here? Should these units have been priced higher or considering the tough sales across this project were they right to unload them quickly even if there were buyers willing to pay more?

Should you just move to an island?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Skook has a post over at VancouverPeak.com about an island dream gone sour.

A BC couple purchased land on Mayne island and started building their dream home only to run into a confluence of cost overruns and real estate market downturn.

Today, their house is only a wood frame shell that looks out over one of B.C.’s most dramatic views, with the Lower Mainland in the distance, and regular sightings of ferries, whales and seals. The tiered wooded lot is only a five-minute drive to the ferry.
It is the idyllic best that B.C. has to offer, and yet the Klingsats won’t even break even on the near $1-million they spent on the property and construction. They have relisted it for $539,000, after previous listings at $649,000 and $699,000 didn’t get any offers. “Everybody loves the place, but the people don’t want a house that’s not finished,” says Mr. Klingsat, who gave up on the project six months ago. “And I can’t do it. I haven’t got any more money to put into it. “The whole economy everywhere is lousy – nothing is gangbusters. There are places for rent all over here on Vancouver island.”

The original article in over at the Globe and Mail. Skook adds some extra thoughts and information.

RFM has also added some information summarizing other properties in that particular island market.  There are 113 properties for sale on an island with a population of 900.

Where are the 3 bedroom condos?

Monday, March 24th, 2014

M- and MarKoz brought up this topic – Vancouver seems to be seriously lacking in affordable family housing.

There are lots of 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, but not much available for 3-4 bedrooms until you go to houses.  M- suggest the city requires more large units to be built to provide future homes for Vancouver families:

CoV could require condo developers to include a much larger percentage of 2-bed and 3-bed units in the towers that they’re approving, and require some of those units to have a more family-sized square footage. Maybe in exchange for higher density, to make it less controversial.

It won’t help much of anything today, but it will prevent today’s towers from becoming tomorrow’s ghettos.

My wife and I used to have an 800 sq.ft condo. It was too small for the two of us. Then we got a 1000 sq.ft apartment, and it was enough space for the two of us (we would have liked more, but it was good enough).

Then we had a kid.

The 1000 sq.ft unit slowly became too small for our family, so we’ve upgraded to a house (rental, of course).

We keep an eye on the condo/house markets, and there’s not much selection of 3-bed units out there, until you get into houses.

MarKoz adds:

When I went condo hunting I could find nothing similar. You would have marginal master bedrooms and second bedrooms the size of a closet. The master bathroom was usually huge at the cost of a smaller living room etc. All had fireplaces – a waste of precious wall space in a small unit. Stainless and granite with barely enough counter space to lay a pizza box. Closets were minimal as was out of suite storage.

I moved on to townhouses. 1200 square feet spread over 3 floors is worse than 800 square feet on one floor. So much space given over to stairs and landings.

Who wants these places? Apparently everyone but me. They sure are selling. In the US they have plenty of 3 bedroom units but I guess those don’t attract specuvestors like 565 sq ft one bedrooms.

 

Downtown jail to become affordable housing

Monday, February 17th, 2014

The vacant remand center in the downtown eastside is going to see new life as affordable and low income housing.

In a $13 million dollar project, the former jail cells are being converted into homes.

In addition to the residential units, the development will include the conversion of the existing jail gymnasium to a multi-purpose room, a community garden in the courtyard, a communal lounge and a bicycle storage facility.

“By combining affordable housing with support services and job training opportunities, we’re providing quality housing and strengthening the Downtown Eastside economy at the same time,” said Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson.

The remand centre functioned as a jail for those not yet convicted of crimes, including the Air India bombing suspects, for 30 years before closing in 2002. The property has sat vacant ever since, prompting Vision Vancouver to recommend repurposing the space in 2006.

Read the full article over at Global News.

Excess of rental units in Toronto and Vancouver?

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

A new report from CIBC is warning of an excess of rental units in Toronto and Vancouver.

They are basing this outlook on the large number of condos being built in both cities and predict a less than half point rise in vacancy rates, so ‘warning’ sounds a bit strong.

The concern is that increased competition for good renters could drive owners to sell their condos, leading to a further downturn in the condo resales market.

Economists and policy makers have worried that an “increased supply of rental units will flood the market and will lead to a wave of sales by disappointed investors with no bargaining power,” Mr. Tal writes in the report. The Bank of Canada highlighted concerns about the condo market in December when it outlined the key risks to the economy.

“A sharp correction in the condominium market could spread to other segments of the housing market with stretched valuations, as buyers and sellers adjust their expectations of the future path of house prices,” the central bank warned. “Such a correction could also have significant repercussions on the real economy, since the construction sector is an important component of economic activity.”

Read the full article here.

TD: Houses 10% overpriced nationally

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Somebody over at TD bank looked in their crystal ball and saw interest rates rising.

They say that a combination of factors including increasing supply, softening demand and the expectation of rising interest rates mean that home price across the nation are overvalued by about 10%.

It says markets such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa are likely more overvalued than markets in the Prairie and Atlantic regions, and will likely see more of an impact.

The national housing market and worries about a real estate bubble have been key concerns for policy-makers for several years.

Recent indicators have suggested the market may be headed for a soft landing instead of a bubble bursting, but concerns have persisted.

Full article here.

Condo marketer trades used cars for down payment

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

People aren’t buying condos like they used to and that means marketers have to get creative.

For instance, how would you get first time buyers without much savings to buy in a new building with no parking available?

Trade their old car in for a 2% down payment!

Car for a Condo lets car owners trade in their vehicles towards a condo unit in the gritty but fast-gentrifying neighbourhood just west of Main.

“Cars are a terrible asset,” said Cam Good, president of real estate marketing firm Key Marketing.

“For someone trying to get started in life and wanting to become a homeowner, taking a depreciating asset and literally turning it into an appreciating asset is a life-changing decision.”

The low buy-in of $5,400 is possible thanks to a two-per-cent down payment program offered by Vancity.

It allows qualified buyers to shell out only two per cent of, say, a $269,800 one-bedroom, 519-square-foot unit — although monthly payments will be required over the next 16 months of construction to get the buyer to at least a five-per-cent deposit before the building is completed in 2016.

We’re still waiting for the offer that lets you trade in your used helicopter as a down payment on a new condo in Whiterock or the one that lets you trade in your imaginary foreign investor parents on a new unit in the gritty but fast-gentrifying neighbourhood downtown near the Granville street bridge.

Goodbye 2013! Hello 2014!

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Well here we are wrapping up 2013.

The Vancouver market continues to fluctuate in its flat range.

Owners are still paying more than renters, but can paint their walls whatever colour they want.

Renters are still more flexible when it comes to relocation and some of them have more diversified investments, but some of them just want to paint their walls whatever colour they want.

The Vancouver housing bubble is boring.

Not like some of the more exciting housing bubbles around the world.  Remember the Celtic Tiger?  Ireland had a giant boom, but now they’re tearing down brand new homes.

So what will 2014 hold in store for the Vancouver Real Estate Market?  A slump, a dump, a bump or a jump?

What do you think, are we in for an exciting year or another yawner?

2 beds starting at $750k, heat extra

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Looks like more problems over at the Olympic Village.

You’d think that all the hot air over this project would mean there’d be no lack of heat, but I guess you’d be wrong.

A problem with the much-lauded heating and cooling system in the buildings constructed for the 2010 Winter Games has left some residents without heat since the beginning of Vancouver’s cold snap, condo owner and resident Tomasz Rutkowski said Monday.

It’s nearly freezing at 6 C in Rutkowski’s two-bedroom apartment in the Kayak building at 77 Walter Hardwick Avenue, where his five-year-old son has been walking around and sleeping in a winter jacket.

Rutkowski reported the problem a few times to the property manager and strata council, but said he was told that the system is “just a weak system.”

“They just told us, buy portable heaters,” he said, adding that’s a poor solution for his condo with floor-to-ceiling windows. “This is supposed to be environmentally friendly, now they’re telling us to get those heaters.”

(The city and the mayor have applauded the heating system, a neighbourhood energy utility that recaptures heat from sewage and redistributes it throughout the community, as a green initiative.)

Read the full article here at Metro News.

The good news? The strata is responsible for the costs of maintaining the system, so this is one part of the Olympic Village that tax payers won’t have to cover.

Ridiculous prices welcome ridiculous comparisons

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Did you know you could buy nine mansions in France for the price of one boarded up Vancouver tear down?

Of course you might have to live in closer proximity to fresh baked croissants if you choose the French route, but at least one of them comes with 400 acres of land which should give you some buffer if you find that scent offensive.

PriceyPads ran this comparison and includes some beautiful pictures in their post.

Of course this is Vancouver so that’s an ‘asking price’, which may or may not bear some some relation to reality.

Just like craigslist rents, sometimes we get carried away with our asking prices.

You might remember the story of the extremely expensive listing in West Van with pictures of an imaginary house in the listing.

The asking price on that one was just south of $38 million.  That was the asking price.  The selling price was a bit less, well nearly $30 million less actually.

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