What? It’s Friday already?

Seriously?

Well, I guess that means it’s time for another Friday Free-for-all! This is our regular end of the week news round-up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

We’ll post some links here, hopefully real soon…

-They’ll go here.

In the meanwhile, what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent, love filled passionate weekend!

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

Most everyone knows that Canadians hold a lot of household debt now.  Debt levels have been growing for years, but it still seems surprising that Canada is second only to Greece in household debt growth.  This according to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute who adds our country to a list of seven others at risk from high debt levels.

The report found household debt in Canada had risen to 155 per cent of income in 2014, up from 133 per cent seven years earlier. That’s a slightly lower estimate than the Bank of Canada’s, which estimates household debt at 162.6 per cent of income, a record high.

Only Greece saw a larger increase in household debt since the Great Recession, rising 30 percentage points. The U.S., by comparison, has seen household debt levels decline by 26 percentage points, relative to income, in that time. U.S. household debt levels have been largely falling since the country’s housing bubble burst during the last recession.

Read the full article here.

You’ll be relieved to know that even though our debt growth has been 2nd fastest, we still don’t have the highest debt levels. That prize goes to Denmark and Norway.

FFFA! oil, panic, debt, surge

February 6th, 2015

Hey, you made it to the end of another work week!

That means it’s time for another Friday Free-for-all. This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

-New alarm over household debt
-Panic in Alberta Luxury RE
-But Toronto and the ‘Couve are fine
-January Realtor Hunger Index 71%
-Oil prices surge to 1 month high

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

Luxury hotel to become a dorm

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.

Drop in west side sales?

February 3rd, 2015

Reader Barb Rennie posted this in yesterdays thread, can any Realtors vouch for it’s accuracy?

Total number of Sales in West Vancouver for Detached Homes:

Month of January 2014 – 55
Month of January 2015 – 36

Total number of Sales in Vancouver Westside for Detached Homes:

Month of January 2014 – 147
Month of January 2015 – 77

Are all sales from January 2015 are tabulated yet or is this apparent drop in west side sales simply due to incomplete data?

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.

Here we are at Friday again. That means it’s time for our regular end of the week news roundup and open topic discussion thread.

It’s Friday Free-for-all time!

Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

-Judge kills Yaletown land swap
-Labour participation drops
-Oil crash bad for BC labourers
-Condo cancelations in Toronto
-Toronto and Montreal best cities?
-Dodge warns on bank profits
-Another retailer exits
-Brain melting in panic

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

Last week over at VancouverPeak Skook posted about the bankruptcy filing of Wakefield Construction.

We missed that posting here at VancouverCondo.info, but it’s got some interesting details about the impact to the economy and a number of subcontractors on the sunshine coast, Vancouver, Whistler and Bowen Island.

There are no winners in this situation – not the employees, not the subcontractors, not the local businesses nor suppliers, not the community and not Lance Sparling. As the list of “Unsecured” creditors shows, he borrowed from himself, too, to keep the ball rolling. His waterfront home was put on the market a year ago and remains unsold despite a -25% drop in the list price; but, as we know those million dollar plus properties have been slow to move on the Sunshine Coast – only 17 sold in 2014 out of a total of 123 listed – that’s barely 14%.

Skook also relates a personal memory:

Like so many others living in and north of Sechelt I wondered what would replace the old “Wake-in-the-Field” Inn and then was fascinated by those uniquely curved roofs of that replacement – the Wakefield Beach development. When I moved down to Sechelt, I had the opportunity to walk through the project and it is a very special and attractive development. The company, Wakefield Construction, was born from that development and at least in this instance the company name lives on.

While Skooks posting is almost nostalgic in tone, the first major media to pick up this story is Business in Vancouver. In their story the Realtor is surprised:

“They ruled the world up here,” said Sechelt realtor Susanne Jorgenson,” “I don’t know how they could have failed.”

..The chamber of commerce is shocked:

“I was shocked,” said Kim Darwin, president of the Sechelt and District Chamber of Commerce. “[The Coast] has a number of new construction projects coming up, so I hope our smaller contractors can step up.”

And the customer is angry:

“They screwed a lot of people,” said Brad Copping, general manager of South Coast Ford Sales Ltd., which had hired Wakefield Construction to complete a 9,000-square-foot addition to its Sechelt dealership. Copping is now paying three of the former Wakefield employees to continue work that is now half complete.

“This will cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars,” said Copping, whose company is not on the creditor list. “They [Wakefield Construction] over billed us and then didn’t pay their sub-contractors. So we are paying twice for the same work.”

Read the full article over at Business In Vancouver.

 

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.

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