Calgary most liveable city in Canada?

The economist ranks Calgary as the most liveable city in Canada, Vancouver follows up in 6th place.

Every year, the research and analysis arm of the London-based publisher of the Economist magazine ranks 140 cities and scores them based on 30 different factors, boiled down to five categories:

  • Stability (based on local rates of crime, terrorism and military unrest).
  • Quality of local health care.
  • Local culture and environment (everything from weather to quality of local restaurants).
  • Quality of education.
  • Quality of infrastructure (everything from transit to electrical grids and telecommunications networks).

Melbourne was first seven years in a row before being displaced by the Austrian capital.

Not factored in on that list: cost of living or incomes. Read the full article over at the CBC.

The hollowing out of Vancouver

Some smaller retailers are packing up and leaving Vancouveras rents rise and some owners would prefer to leave retail units empty:

“Certain areas of Vancouver are hollowing out,” Patterson said.

On Denman and Robson, he suggested it is due to higher rents, some of which is tied to rezoning potential.

“Some landlords don’t want to lower [retail] rents because it reduces the value of their building,” he said. “They would rather leave [storefronts] empty.”

Retail lease rates on Robson Street range from $120 to $250 per square foot, the second highest in the city behind Alberni Street, according to a recent survey by Cushman & Wakefield.

A second-quarter 2018 study by commercial realtor Marcus & Millchap showed the average price of a retail property sold in Vancouver this year was in excess of $1,000 per square foot, up 25 per cent from 2017. Average retail rents now average $30.10 per square foot, up nearly 10 per cent from 2017, the agency added.

Read the full article over at the courier.

Expensive to buy, cheap to own

Having trouble saving up enough for a teardown house in a terrible neighborhood? Good news! Although its expensive to buy real estate in Vancouver, it’s one of the cheapest places for property taxes in Canada or the US.

The owner of a C$1 million ($770,000) home in the Pacific Coast city will pay just C$2,468 a year in property tax, compared with C$6,355 in Toronto or more than C$10,000 in Ottawa, according to a new study by real estate website Zoocasa that looked at rates in 25 major Canadian markets.

Read the full article here.

Luxury condo tower pulled on weak demand

It appears there might be a limit to ‘build it and they will come’. Southseacompany points out a recent development proposal that was pulled amid signs of weak demand.

“A proposal for a downtown Vancouver luxury condo tower that was scheduled to go to a public hearing next week has been abruptly cancelled by the owner.”

“A representative of the developer, Brilliant Circle Group, sent a letter to the planning department last week withdrawing the project. The letter, obtained by The Globe and Mail, explained that the decision “is due to the impact of the rapidly changing real estate market, which affects both the unit mix and the CAC evaluation.””

““Everything’s corrected and the luxury market is gone,” said Ian Watt, a realtor who specializes in higher-end housing. “Anything under $2-million will sell, but in the last two months, there’s been only one sale over $3.5-million.””

Read the full article here.

Realtor: Bubble correction is underway.

VCI Favorite Ian Watt says the bubble is deflating in Vancouver, with a correction of 10-15% in Coal Harbor condos so far in the last six months:

“Usually you’d have five to 10 sales a month, but we’ve only had one in the last six weeks. Everything above $2 million is pretty much dead; anything related to international money is gone right now.”

Prices have also declined for downtown condos in the $600,000 to $700,000 range, Watt said.

In relatively affordable Langley and Abbotsford, where a two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhome goes for between $300,000 and $400,000, it’s a similar story: seven or eight weeks ago, sellers would receive multiple offers. Properties are now sitting on the market for longer, said Tim Sawatzky, a realtor with 2 Percent Realty Valley.

Where it was once common to see lineups to buy condo pre-sales contracts, Sawatzky said developers in Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford are now offering a variety of incentives, such as a $20,000 “furnishing package,” or between $20,000 and $40,000 off the closing price when the building is completed. (When buyers purchase a pre-sale condo contract, they typically pay five to 15 per cent of the price up front and then pay the full amount after the building is completed.)

All sorts of cash incentives in the market right now if that’s your sort of thing.  Read the full article here.