News

 

April 23

Times Colonist

Exec: More homes will temper Vancouver housing prices 
As the real estate market soared in recent years, experts were divided about why prices kept rising. And now, there is little agreement about what is needed as sales and prices fall. This week, developers gathered for an industry lunch to hear Andrew Ramlo, vice-president of market intelligence at RennieGroup, talk about what he called real estate market myths, including the notion that “we have more than enough [housing] supply to satisfy demand.”
 

Vancouver Courier

Bold moves needed now to resolve Lower Mainland livability crisis
It is time to get serious about housing, transportation, regional planning and growth in the Lower Mainland. When thinking about the region’s future and concerns about housing affordability and livability more generally, a useful starting point is demographics. B.C. government projections point to a significant increase in the combined population of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley regional district over the next couple of decades, rising from almost three million today to 3.8 million by 2040 – an increase of 800,000 people. The expected rise is even larger than the 700,000 people added to the region’s population over the preceding two decades. Most of this increase was due to immigration. It is reasonable to expect this pattern will continue, especially considering the Justin Trudeau government plans to sharply boost immigration numbers in the coming years.


Ladysmith Chronicle

Buying? Selling? Consumer real estate conference shares what you need to know
If the recent changes in mortgage rules and the housing market have you wondering what’s happening in mid-Island real estate, the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board has planned an event just for you! At the Real Estate Consumer Conference May 11, learn all about buying and selling a home from industry experts, including real estate expert Tony Joe, mortgage lenders, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and BC Assessment. Even better, the event is free, and you’ll have a chance to win one of five Google Home voice-activated systems


Better Dwelling

Canadian Real Estate demand slips further in March
Canadian real estate demand is still slipping, by at least one industry indicator. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) numbers show the National SNLR decline in March. Western Canadian markets were the biggest losers, accounting for most of the declines. The sales to new listings ratio (SNLR) is one of the quick ways to gauge demand for real estate. The indicator measures home resales compared to the number of listed for sale on the MLS. By measuring the same month absorption, we get a feeling for how hot or cold the market is. Organizations like CREA use this number to determine if the market is “balanced,” or how far off it is.


Global News

Affordable Housing: Would copying New Zealand's foreign buyers ban help?
Last summer, New Zealand nixed new foreign homeownership. Foreigners who already owned homes could keep them, but moving forward, only residents would be allowed to buy. The decision was pitched as a solution to unaffordable housing, a pain many around the world — including hopeful first-time buyers in Toronto and Vancouver — are all too familiar with.

 

April 15

Mortgage Broker News

Vancouver vacancies, supply drop further this year
Office vacancy and availability supply have fallen further in downtown Vancouver since Q3 2018, according to research by Avison Young. In its Tenant Profile Report Q1 2019, Avison Young stated that all tenant sizes are running out of options in the city, contributing to a steady increase in rents – a trend that will, in turn, continue the vicious cycle of price growth.


CBC News

New in town: Metro Vancouver still draws newcomers, despite cost of housing 
Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the world's least affordable housing markets, but that hasn't stopped people from moving to the region. According the 2016 Canadian census, Metro Vancouver's population grew by an average of 30,000 people per year, with international immigration making up 79 per cent of the newcomers. University of British Columbia professor Nathan Lauster studies immigration patterns. He says that despite the high price of housing, Metro Vancouver has a lot to offer — if you're not concerned about  the trappings of a single-family detached house.


Vancouver Sun

Squamish Nation expects debate over plans for 3,000 housing untis at Burrard Bridge
The Squamish Nation’s plan for a housing project with some 3,000 units on land adjacent to the Burrard Bridge and Vanier Park is destined to be one of the most interesting examples in the debate over the needs of future residents and that of existing residents. “I think there is going to be an important conversation about what kind of housing we are going to build for the city,” said Khelselim, a Squamish council member. “What do local residents need against the future of people who need homes, young people and young families?”

 

Seeking Alpha

The most splendid housing bubbles in Canada deflate
In Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada, house prices fell 0.5% in March from February, the eighth month in a row of declines, according to the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index released this morning. It was the sharpest eight-month decline since February 2013. The index is now down 4.3% from the peak in July 2018. And it's down 2.1% compared to March last year. This housing market had been on an extraordinary ride: From January 2002 to the peak in July 2018, the index skyrocketed 316% - meaning that prices more than quadrupled.

 

Times Colonist

Newer condo buildings energy hogs: study
VANCOUVER — British Columbians living in newer high-rise condos likely have a higher energy footprint than they might think, according to new data from B.C. Hydro. The Crown corporation compared the electricity consumption of condominium buildings that were constructed after 2010 and higher than five storeys to others built in the last four decades, and found the newer condos used almost twice as much electricity per square foot.

 

April 10

CTV News

Pre-sale buyers no longer allowed to flip condos in landmark Vancouver tower
A landmark Vancouver condo tower that won architecture awards before construction even began is nearing completion -- and that's actually bad news for investors hoping to flip their units before the building opens and get out with a tidy profit. The 407 condos at Vancouver House sold out quickly when they went on sale in 2014, with many selling for several million dollars. Some units have been resold since then in a process known as assignment sales.


Vancouver Sun

Apartment where Ernest Hemingway lived up for sale in Toronto
An apartment briefly occupied by Ernest Hemingway at the end of his tenure in Toronto went up for sale Tuesday, putting a spotlight on the writer’s somewhat rocky relationship with Canada. The American novelist lived in the two-bedroom unit in the midtown building — which now carries his name — for about six months between 1923 and 1924 when he was working as a journalist for the Toronto Star, said Kaitlin Wainwright, the director of programming for Heritage Toronto.


Western Investor

Condo assignments halted at Westbank's Vancouver House
The developer behind the Vancouver House tower has informed presale buyers they must remove any condo assignment listings from MLS immediately. Westbank says 33 Vancouver House condo assignments currently listed on MLS will need to be removed ahead of the building’s completion.

 

Better Dwelling

Greater Vancouver detached real estate sales just keep printing new lows
Greater Vancouver real estate is slowing, and the detached market is no exception. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver(REBGV) March numbers show prices are back to where they were almost 3 years ago. Rising inventory and a multi-year low for sales contribute to a declining outlook. The price of a detached home across Greater Vancouver is still falling. REBGV reported a benchmark of $1,437,100 in March, down 10.5% from last year. In the City, Vancouver East fell to $1,390,700, also 10.5% down from last year. Vancouver West dropped to $3,026,300, down 12.3% from last year. No need to whip out the calculator app, the last one is a whopping $424,441 loss over the past year.

 

CTV News

40% of Canadians live 'house poor': RBC Home Ownership Poll
Nearly one in four Canadians identify as “house poor,” meaning they spend 30 per cent or more of their income on home ownership. This is according to the annual RBC Home Ownership Poll, released Monday. The cost of home ownership includes mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance and utilities.  Two in five Canadians say that being house poor is a reality, while just less than half who answered the survey say it’s worth the sacrifice to own a home. Meanwhile, over half of those who responded said they would not put themselves into the position of being house poor, and 92 per cent of those who took the survey said that mental stress is a potential impact of being house poor.

 

April 9

Mortgage Broker News

Toronto hold strong while Vancouver dips and Montreal soars
Residential real estate in Canada slowed through the first quarter compared to the same time last year. The Royal LePage House Price Survey revealed that, early last year, Canada went through the most pointed housing correction since the Great Recession in 2008, and while signs of recovery manifested in late 2018, they have since receded.


Bloomberg

Canadian home building rebounds from deep freeze: Housing update
Canada housing starts rebounded in March from a sluggish performance a month earlier, returning to levels more in line with demographics and highlighting the buoyancy of the nation’s battered real estate market. Builders started an annualized 192,527 homes in March, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reported Monday. That’s up from 166,290 a month earlier, when excessively cold weather slowed construction.


Western Investor

Richmond rental-only zoning bylaw sent back to staff
A proposal for rental-only zoning in Richmond was punted back to staff after the planning committee concluded there was still need for more information and consultation.The proposed bylaw would have imposed a “rental-only” zoning on 60 properties that already are 100 per cent rental as well as considered implementing rental-only zoning for new multi-family apartment developments. This would mean properties that were already pre-zoned in the 1980s could be required to include rental units. The new rental-only tool would allow the city to require rentals without needing to create a Housing Agreement Bylaw with the developer.

 

Times Colonist

Does Vancouver need its own auditor general?
The City of Vancouver stands out for many reasons. Its temperate weather. Its staggering natural beauty. Its million-dollar house prices. But one unique quality is a head-scratcher: it’s the only large city in Canada without its own independent financial watchdog to report on the effective and efficient use of municipal funds. If Vancouver is the world-class metropolis it claims, with annual revenue as high as $1.9 billion in recent years, why is its financial accountability so provincial? That may soon change as city councillors, the public and the provincial government find themselves asking what local accountability should look like for B.C.’s cities and towns. Whether it’s the province’s five-year review of the nascent office of the auditor general for local government, or Vancouver city council approving the first in-depth independent financial assessment in a decade, spending of tax dollars faces scrutiny.

 

Vancouver Sun

BC in 'policy-induced' housing recession: Capital 1's Helmut Pastrick
B.C. is in a “policy-induced” housing recession, but the chances of a broader economic recession remain low — for now, says Central 1 Credit Union’s chief economist. Central 1’s Helmut Pastrick spoke on April 4 at the Vancouver Real Estate Forum, providing his own forecast for B.C.’s property and economic outlook. Since 2016, B.C.s NDP government has increased the province’s tax on foreign buyers of major urban-area properties to 20 per cent, introduced a speculation and vacant homes tax on urban areas, and boosted residential tenant protections. The federal government, meanwhile, has introduced a new mortgage stress test on borrowers across the country.

 

April 3

Vancouver Sun

As city struggles to build housing for middle-income families, landlords pitch an idea
Pretty much everyone agrees that Vancouver needs more rental housing. But there remains a lively debate over the most effective — and fair — way to get those homes built. Some Vancouver councillors known for championing renters’ issues have recently proposed suspending the city’s Rental 100 program that waives development-cost-levies to encourage private developers to build rental homes instead of condos. Meanwhile, LandlordBC, the association representing the rental housing industry, is making a pitch to the provincial government for what it describes as the best solution to encourage new rental construction: exempting new purpose-built rental buildings from all rent controls for a set number of years.


Vancouver Sun

BC to create government registry of beneficial property ownership
People who hold an interest in B.C. property through corporations, trusts and numbered companies could soon have their names published in a government registry, according to new legislation. Finance Minister Carole James introduced a bill Tuesday to launch a beneficial ownership registry, which would be the first of its kind in Canada and designed to increase transparency of land ownership in an attempt to combat tax fraud and money laundering.


Better Dwelling

Canadian borrowing rates hit the highest level since 2009...then collapse
Borrowing rates are sliding before the traditional busy season for Canadian real estate. Bank of Canada (BoC) numbers show the effective borrowing rate peaked in early March. Shortly after printing the highest number since the Great Recession, the rate dropped. The minor drop made headlines, but only really impacts people shopping in that window. The reality is borrowing rates made the second largest annual increase in over half a decade.

 

Huff Post

Vancouver home sales were dismal in March. Realtors blame mortgage stress test and higher taxes
Home sales in Metro Vancouver in March plunged to levels not seen in more than three decades and real-estate experts blame government policies, not a lack of demand, for the dismal showing. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports 1,727 homes changed hands, a 31.4 per cent tumble from sales recorded for the same month last year. March 2019 sales were up just over 16 per cent when compared with February, but the real estate board says they were more than 46 per cent below the 10-year average for the month and the lowest total since 1986.
 

Vancouver Sun

Housing Matters Podcast: Examining activity in fraser Valley market
Mission Mayor Pam Alexis, Don Campbell of Real Estate Investment Network, and Kelowna-area realtor Clayton Diebert join host Stuart McNish to discuss trends in the Fraser Vally real estate market.

 

April 2

Global News

Greater Vancouver home sales hit lowest point since 1986
A local realtor and real estate blogger has crunched the numbers and he says Greater Vancouver home sales just had their worst month of March since 1986. Steve Saretsky said the slowdown is a result of a gap between what sellers and buyers are expecting from the market. “Primarily because buyers have a certain price they want to pay, particularly given the outlook of housing market, and sellers are still trying to adjust to reality, which ultimately the market isn’t willing to pay for what they are asking,” Saretsky said.


Global News
Vancouver councillor calls for end to financial incentives to developers under rental program

A Vancouver city councillor is calling for the suspension of financial incentives to developers under the city’s Rental 100 program. The program offers breaks on development cost levies for buildings that are 100 percent rental. Maximum rents are also capped for the first tenants at rates established by the city. While the goal of the program was to promote affordable housing, Coun. Jean Swanson says the program misses the mark, with the starting rents deemed “affordable” still considered too high.


Better Dwelling

Canadian mortgage growth slows to levels not seen since the 1983 recession
Canadian real estate sales are still falling, and dragging mortgage credit with it. Bank of Canada (BoC) numbers show mortgage debt reached a new high in February. Despite hitting a new high, the annual pace of growth hit the lowest level in almost 36 years. Canadian mortgage debt printed a new record high, but it’s losing steam. Institutional lenders held $1.55 trillion of mortgage debt in February, up 0.19% from the month before. The increase represents a 3.2% increase when compared to the same month last year. A record is set for the dollar amount, but the growth rate is slowing dramatically.

 

Huff Post

Housing affordability survey finds it's harder then ever to go from renting to owning a condo in Canada
Canada's housing crunch is like a game of whack-a-mole. Solve one problem, and another pops up somewhere else. Runaway price growth for single-family homes is a thing of the past in Toronto and Vancouver today, thanks to rising interest rates and tougher mortgage rules. But with prices still high, buyers have turned to other options. Or really the one other option that exists: condos.
 

The Georgia Straight

Pete Fry rejects rental versus condo dichotomy in Vancouver housing debate as a straw man
It’s an argument Vancouver city councillors often make. It goes something like, “It’s either we approve rental or the developer will build condos.” It’s a line of reasoning often cited during public hearings related to so-called “for-profit affordable rental housing” developments. The result has been that the current council so far has approved all rezoning applications for these types of projects that critics say are not affordable housing in the first place.

 

April 1, 2019

CTV News

Speculation tax: 2 days left for BC homeowners to apply for exemptions
With just two days until the deadline, some British Columbians have yet to submit their speculation and vacancy tax exemptions, the province said. On Friday, B.C.'s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing said more than 90 per cent of the declarations have been made. The tax is designed to help control housing prices in urban areas and targets speculators who own residences in the province but don't pay taxes to the B.C. government.


Vancouver is Awesome

BC Real Estate Association predicts mortgage rates to drop this year
Those who are applying for or renewing fixed-rate mortgages this year may have some good news, as economists are predicting a decline in the average five-year discounted contract rate. While the Bank of Canada (BoC) is expected to hold firm on its overnight interest rate, which dictates variable-rate mortgages, fixed-rate deals are expected to improve somewhat over the next two quarters, according to a quarterly outlook from the economics division of the B.C. Real Estate Association.


Vancouver Courier

Executive rentals are collateral damage in backlash against Airbnb 
TORONTO — After first disrupting the hotel business industry, shared rental services like Airbnb are making life difficult for Canada’s corporate housing sector. Condominium buildings across the country are increasingly shutting their doors to companies that help find temporary accommodations for executives on short-term work projects or their families, following some well-publicized disruptions caused by overnight guests.

 

Huff Post

Housing affordability survey finds it's harder then ever to go from renting to owning a condo in Canada
Canada's housing crunch is like a game of whack-a-mole. Solve one problem, and another pops up somewhere else. Runaway price growth for single-family homes is a thing of the past in Toronto and Vancouver today, thanks to rising interest rates and tougher mortgage rules. But with prices still high, buyers have turned to other options. Or really the one other option that exists: condos.
 

CBC News

Gibsons grapples with both a housing crunch and prices that continue to rise
Three decades ago, Alex Henry remembers when he could rent a large house near Gibsons for $350.  Now, still working part-time in the construction industry, he says he can no longer afford to find a place to rent. "I just converted somebody's garage into a so-called studio. It's probably an illegal rental, and she's still gonna rent it out for like $1,200," he said.  "It's really impossible. I'm a poor tradesman. I'm a working man. But I've been five years in and out of accommodation."  Like all of southwest B.C., booming home prices have caused political tension in Gibsons, a community of 4,600 that's a 40-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver.

 

 March 13, 2019

Vancouver Sun

Housing report offers new insights into BC's non-resident home ownership
Compiled by the Canadian Housing Statistics Program, the report outlines the differences between non-resident owners and non-resident participation in the B.C. housing market, and whether assessments vary depending on the type of ownership. The report classifies a home as non-resident owned when the majority of owners are non-residents; homes are classified as resident owned if the majority of owners are residents. Meanwhile, homes are classified as having non-resident participation if at least one non-resident participates in the ownership.


Western Investor

Metro Vancouver residential land prices may have already peaked
Take a good look at the prices paid for residential development land in Metro Vancouver last year, as Colliers International did in its annual LandShare Report, because it could be a while before you see them any higher. In 2018, Metro residential land sales hit $627 million, which would be an all-time high were it not for the incredible spike during 2016 and 2017 when sales easily crested the $1.1 billon mark for the first time. The downward shift began in the last half of 2018, as an avalanche of government policies, interest rate hikes and a subsequent 40 per cent plunge in housing sales hammered developer and consumer confidence, noted Casey Weeks, senior vice-president, investment, at Colliers.


The Columbian

Vancouver Housing Authority makes progress on townhouse plans
For the first time in more than a decade, Vancouver Housing Authority will directly help families become homeowners.A subsidiary of the public agency, Vancouver Affordable Housing Nonprofit, is moving along with plans for an eight-unit townhouse development in central Vancouver. Saeed Hajarizadeh, deputy director of the housing authority and executive director of Vancouver Affordable Housing Nonprofit, said he’s been working since 2016 on the project originally envisioned for downtown Vancouver.
 

The Globe and Mail

BC' Maple Ridge promises housing plan after provincial housing minister calls for action
After months of talks with the province that went nowhere, the City of Maple Ridge must this week reveal a plan clearing the way for supportive housing units to be built in the municipality. Housing Minister Selina Robinson said she set a deadline of March 8 for a social housing proposal from the city, but agreed to wait until Tuesday’s council meeting for a plan. “We were hitting roadblocks and I got really clear with the mayor … that we need to see a plan,” Ms. Robinson said Friday in an interview. The province has said it would move forward on its own if it doesn’t get an acceptable plan from the city.

 

Maple Ridge News

Non-residents own %4.9% of Metro Vancouver, much higher in new condos: CMHC
While there is a common perception that overseas buyers have snapped up much of Metro Vancouver real estate, the number of homes owned purely by non-residents across the region is 4.9 per cent, according to a study of Statistics Canada data by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), published March 12. Including homes that are jointly owned by a mix of residents of Canada and non-residents – such as a satellite family where one spouse is resident in Canada, or a local student who jointly owns a home with their overseas parents – adds another 2.9 per cent. This brings the total proportion of Metro Vancouver homes with some “non-resident participation” to 7.6 per cent, said CMHC.

 

March 7, 2019

Mortgage Broker News

Vancouver's industrial rates are the highest in Canada
Amid record-level demand, Metro Vancouver’s industrial rates are now among the highest in Canada, according to commercial real estate services firm Lee & Associates. As of the end of 2018, annual lease rates for the asset class stood at $17.70 per square foot in the city of Vancouver, which has an industrial vacancy rate of 1.4% – indeed, the lowest of any Canadian market. The price per square foot is also at an unprecedented $370, growing by $80/sf from a year earlier.


Mortgage Broker News

Chinese property buyers veering away from Toronto, Vancouver
An increasing number of Chinese buyers are moving away from the traditional hotspots of Toronto and Vancouver in favour of previously unnoticed markets, according to a new analysis by Juwai.com. The international property portal stated that Chinese buying inquiries in Toronto went down by a significant 10.3% year-over-year in 2018. Inquiries in Vancouver also suffered a 2.8% decrease during the same time frame.
 

Vancouver Courier

Availability of newly built and presale condos skyrockets in Metro Vancouver: report
For buyers looking for a new-build condo in Metro Vancouver, there’s good news – the number of available units has skyrocketed, according to a report released March 7. In its quarterly State of the Market report for the Urban Development Institute, real estate research firm Urban Analytics said that the number of concrete condos that were either released for presale or completed and unsold, at the end of 2018’s fourth quarter, was quadruple that of one year prior.

 

Financial Post

Mortgage stress test proponents say rules are working. But what exactly were they supposed to do, again?
Housing sales in Canada’s large cities continue to show signs of weakness. The latest stats for February sales in Toronto and Vancouver revealed even fewer sales last month than February 2018, when sales had already declined because of stricter mortgage regulations. The real estate industry is holding the mortgage stress test responsible for the slowdown. The test requires borrowers to qualify for an interest rate that is 200 basis points higher than the contracted rate.
 

Macrobusiness

Vancouver house prices deteriorate
The Metro Vancouver* housing market saw increased supply from home sellers and below average demand from home buyers in February. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,484 in February 2019, a 32.8 per cent decrease from the 2,207 sales recorded in February 2018, and a 34.5 per cent increase from the 1,103 homes sold in January 2019. Last month’s sales were 42.5 per cent below the 10-year February sales average.
 

Shupilov Real Estate

Montreal VS. Vancouver and Toronto Real Estate Sales, Prices, Appreciation Rates
The total dollar value of real estate transactions in Vancouver dropped to $1.7 billion in January, which is 42% down from the same time a year earlier. Toronto recorded Canada’s largest number of real estate transactions in January, reaching $5.4 billion to start the year, albeit greatly reduced from the $8.5 billion in activity seen at the beginning on of 2017.
 

CTV News

Every member of Vancouver family now owns a home: a unique path to affordability
Inside a beautiful craftsman house in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood is a heartwarming story of family, support and housing affordability.“It starts with how do kids get to live in Vancouver with a piece of grass outside,” explained Vancouver real estate lawyer Richard Bell. His family is a living example of how to make that possible. A few years ago Bell and his wife Reni decided to renovate the home they had owned for 14 years. Their two young daughters were living on their own, Heather with her husband Andrew Stegemann and Bell’s eldest daughter Julianne had been traveling abroad.
 

Burnaby Now

Metro Vancouver's high-end house prices fall to a further 7.1%: Royal LePage
The national real estate brokerage’s 2019 Royal LePage Luxury Properties Report, which assesses high-end homes in five major cities across Canada, said that the sale price of the median “luxury” home in Metro Vancouver between February 1, 2018 and January 31, 2019 was $5,751,928, which is a decline of 1.7 per cent from the previous year.

 

Vancouver Courier 

Canadian real estate market outlook 2019: Stable but struggling
The Canadian housing market had a challenging year in 2018 as it struggled to regain its footing after the bubble-like conditions of 2017. It was a year characterized by decelerating sales and pricing. And it looks like 2019 may bring more of the same.

 

March 6, 2019

 

Business in Vancouver

Metro's high flying industrial rates faces turbulence
Metro Vancouver industrial lease rates are now the highest in Canada, and vacancy rates have fallen in the face of unprecedented demand, but clouds are forming over the region’s strongest real estate sector. As of the end of December, industrial lease rates averaged $11.86 per square foot, the highest in the country, according to commercial agency CBRE Canada.


Mortgage Broker News

Vancouver market labouring under sluggish sales, prices
Slow sales and significant price declines mainly characterize Vancouver’s housing market at present, according to the latest figures from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Residential sales across all property classes fell by 32.8% year-over-year in February, ending up at 42.5% below the 10-year sales average for that month, BNN Bloomberg reported. Breaking down by housing type, detached properties had 28% fewer sales last month compared to February 2018, while apartments had an almost 36% annual sales slowdown. Townhome activity suffered a nearly 31% decrease.
 

Business in Vancouver

Burnaby should displace homeownders, not renter: analyst
Burnaby has done the right thing in the wrong place, according to data analyst Jens von Bergmann. The city has built desperately needed housing along its rapid transit network at a furious pace – but concentrating much of that development in Metrotown has displaced vulnerable renters unnecessarily, he told the NOW. 

 

Vancouver Sun

Commercial Real Estate: A 'transparent' office space in more ways than one
It has been nearly three years since law firm McCarthy Tetrault moved into an open-concept, transparent glass, “democratized” office space in downtown Vancouver. Gone are the dry walled-in perimeter executive offices, closed doors and ample private space of their former space. In place of those traditional design concepts are equal access to natural light, small glass interior offices, relaxing common areas and views of the downtown buildings, water and the North Shore Mountains.
 

City News

City of Vancouver touts shortened permit wait times
The City of Vancouver is pointing to several improvements to permit wait times as development and permit applications skyrocket upward, with a 97.5 per cent increase in rezoning applications since 2010. Key improvements highlighted at a Feb 12. Vancouver City Council meeting include approval of 900 affordable housing units with development permit approvals under the Social Housing or Rental Tenure (SHORT) program, along with reducing single family and laneway housing permits from 28 to 38 weeks to six weeks through the Applicant Supported and Assisted Process (ASAP) pilot.

 

Feb 11, 2019

Vancouver Sun

UDI forecast predicts the housing market to 'reset' in 2019
Housing industry leaders say Metro Vancouverites can expect to see single-family home prices continue to fall this year along with some softening in the prices of new multi-family homes. But if you are counting on the housing market to be hit by a true recession, you may end up waiting a long, long time.
 

Western Investor

Weekly Buzz: Major commercial real estate sales
The week’s top stories cover three separate major sales that made news this week, from a shopping mall on Vancouver Island, to the sale of Vancouver’s newest casino and hotel, to a profile of several self-storage facilities across four provinces. Meanwhile, new analysis on construction costs across Canada reveal impending pressures for small developers.


Vancouver Courier

Opinion: BC Assessment process unfair to homeowners, small business
B.C. Assessment’s job is to assess all properties at “actual value,” which is synonymous with market value. For high-value industrial, commercial and investment properties, however, the assessment system often fails. That ends up squeezing smaller businesses and residential taxpayers to pay more than their fair share.
 

Vancouver Sun

Modular construction may prove to be a functional solution to the housing crisis 
Long before online ordering at Amazon.ca, the Sears print catalogue was the major shopping source for Canadian families, especially those in rural areas lacking any nearby retail locations. Consumers bought household tools and appliances through mail order as well as the same item of kids’ clothing in multiple sizes, with an easy return policy for items that didn’t fit.
 

Vancouver Sun

Housing affordability in 2019 - Will it get better or worse?
Although the temperature has dialled down in Canada’s hottest housing markets, it keeps on getting less affordable to own a home. In RBC’s latest quarterly Housing Affordability Report, the affordability measure is now at its worst level in Canada since 1990. Rising interest rates and the mortgage stress test are the main causes.

 

Feb 8, 2019

The Globe and Mail

For Canada's luxury property markets, the worst seems to be over 
“Real estate markets across Canada are facing a headwind,” says Brad Henderson, president and chief executive officer of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. Taking the blame are tightened mortgage guidelines, foreign-buyer taxes and higher interest rates. “Certainly there has been a significant decrease in activity everywhere.”
 

The Seattle Times

Victoria housing market remains overvalued: CMCH
Greater Victoria’s housing market is now “moderately overvalued,” an improvement from its status as being “highly overvalued,” according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. The capital region and Toronto are the two areas among 15 in Canada to see their previous overvaluation rating decreased to moderate from high.
 

BC Business

Vancouver property prices plunge: report
The fast-paced Vancouver real estate market appears to have come to a screeching halt. The seller’s market saw home prices rise rapidly, leaving first-time homebuyers pulling their hair in many instances. The latest report by Toronto-based Zoocasa, however, suggests the detached market is beginning to plunge in all but one area.
 

Canada News Wire

Canada housing starts trend steady in January
The trend in housing starts was 208,131 units in January 2019, compared to 207,171 units in December 2018, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This trend measure is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR) of housing starts.
 

North Shore News

Housing 'solutions lab' sought by City of North Vancouver
City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan says it’s time for the North Shore’s municipalities to stop trying to tackle the housing affordability crisis in isolation.Buchanan won unanimous support for a motion Monday night calling for a “North Shore Housing Solutions Lab,” modelled on the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project.

 

Feb 5. 2019

The Georgia Straight

Market rates for social housing: East Vancouver project to take in high-income renters
Half of the units to be owned by B.C. Housing will be rented to low- and moderate-income households, and the other 50 percent will be for higher income tenants, who will pay market rents.
 

The Seattle Times

Big decline in Vancouver, BC, home prices could just be the tip of iceberg
Metro Vancouver’s composite home price, including houses, condominiums and townhouses, fell 4.5 percent in January from a year earlier to C$1.02 million ($780,000), the biggest decline since May 2013 and down about 8 percent from the June 2018 peak, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
 

The Georgia Straight 

Affordability crunch leads North Vancouver to eye subsidized housing for teachers
For some municipalities in Metro Vancouver, housing has become such an issue that cities are having to brainstorm how to attract and maintain top talent in fields that don’t pay enough to afford decent shelter in the area.
 

Vancouver Courier 

Banking regulator defends mortgage stress test, open to change when warranted
Canada's financial regulator hit back at criticisms of its stress test for uninsured mortgages, which has made it harder for borrowers to qualify and weighed on national home sales, but said it is open to changes when warranted.
 

Vancouver Courier 

Q&A: Pitfalls to avoid in buying a fixer-upper home
With real estate prices through the roof, many potential buyers may be considering a fixer-upper so that they can afford a home in their preferred location. Adding your own “sweat equity” can be a great way to build value – and it also means you get to make your home just the way you want it. But this strategy is not without risks.
 

Jan 28. 2019

 

Business Times 

Housing in HK and Vancouver Tops World's Most Expensive List 

For the 9th straight year, Hong Kong has proven to be a very expensive place to live in, in terms of property market prices. Business Times SG reported that urban planning consultancy Demographia listed the island state as an area where the prices have gone way beyond the reach of most of its residents.
 

Globalnews.ca

Vancouver council to vote on looking at increase to Empty Homes Tax
Vancouver’s EHT currently applies a one per cent tax on the assessed value of homes deemed to be vacant for more than six months per year, barring specific exceptions.
 

Yahoo! Finance Canada

Severe housing downturn in Canada is unlikely: RBC
In its latest Canada Housing Health Check — Royal Bank says the probability is “still low but has increased somewhat in recent months.” RBC says mortgage stress tests and rising rates are making it harder for buyers to get a foot in the door.
 

Times Colonist

Homelessness crisis comes to fore in Nanaimo all-candidates debate
Contenders for the vacant seat in the B.C. legislature shared their vision at a Nanaimo all-candidates debate Thursday, touching on issues such as homelessness, affordable housing and a foot-passenger ferry to Vancouver.
 

CBC News 

False Creek boat-dweller defiant in the face of 16 counts of anchoring without a permit
He's now facing 16 counts of anchoring a vessel in False Creek without a permit. On Thursday, Wilson made a brief court appearance with the assistance of University of British Columbia second-year law student Kes Posgate.