Linda Marie Burchell

Cell: 604-868-6256 |

Economy, Population Growth Support Housing Demand Through 2018  
BCREA 2017 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update


Vancouver, BC – February 17, 2017. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2017 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.

Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to decline 14.1 per cent to 96,345 units this year, after reaching a record 112,209 units in 2016. A moderation trend that began early in 2016, combined with tougher federal government mortgage qualification rules and the foreign buyer tax inVancouver, is expected to limit consumer demand over the next two years. However, housing demand is expected to remain well above the ten-year average of 84,700 unit sales.

 

“Solid fundamentals continue to underpin housing demand in the province," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. "International trade, population growth and consumer confidence will be key economic drivers this year." Of note, net migration to the province exceeded 50,000 individuals during the first three quarters of 2016, the highest level since 2008 and a 50 per cent increase from the previous year.

The average MLS® residential price in the province is forecast to decline nearly 5 per cent to $657,000 this year, largely the result of increased consumer demand for multi-family homes and a higher proportion of transactions occurring outside the Metro Vancouver market. While a significant number of new homes are under construction in the province, market conditions will continue to be tilted in favour of home sellers in many regions, while home builders scramble to complete existing projects.

 

                          

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Cameron Muir

Chief Economist

Direct: 604.742.2780

Mobile: 778.229.1884

Email: cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca

BCREA is the professional association for more than 20,000 REALTORS® in BC, focusing on provincial issues that impact real estate. Working with the province’s 11 real estate boards, BCREA provides continuing professional education, advocacy, economic research and standard forms to help REALTORS® provide value for their clients.

 

To demonstrate the profession's commitment to improving Quality of Life in BC communities, BCREA supports policies that help ensure economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, preserve the environment, protect property owners and build better communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.

 

To subscribe to receive other BCREA publications such as this one, to unsubscribe, or to update your email address or current subscription list, click here.

 

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Repairs And Upgrades: How Much Will They Cost?


During the process of buying or selling a home, your clients often learn about recommended or required repairs and upgrades. This can happen as a result of the home inspection as well as your expert knowledge of your market and comparable homes. Of course, the first thing homeowners want to know is, "How much will that cost?"

Pillar to Post is pleased to offer our popular Residential Construction and Remodeling Estimates cost guide, which provides estimated cost ranges for repair and/or replacement of the major systems and components in a home. It also includes general guidelines for the life expectancies of those systems. This information can help your clients make informed decisions when they're considering home repairs or improvements, and is valued by buyers and sellers alike. Below is just a sampling of our list of estimated costs for hundreds of repairs/upgrades.

 

Floors

 

Hardwood Floor Refinish      $3-$6 / sq. ft

 

Carpet-clean                           $125 / room

 

Ceramic Tile                          $6-$11 / sq. ft

 

Kitchen

 

Renovation                             $7,500 +

 

Kitchen counter – laminate    $45 / lin. ft

 

Kitchen counter – marble       $80 / lin. ft

 

Security System

 

Alarm System                          $2,500

 

Alarm Monitoring                    $35 / month

 

Deck   

 

Pressure Treated                   $15-$30 /sq. ft

 

Custom Designed & Built       $55-$80 / sq. ft.

 

Windows

 

Skylight                                   $800 and up

 

Casement – replace                  $50 / sq. ft.

 

These estimates reflect the average basic costs for supplies and installation of building materials in United States and Canada. Costs may vary depending on regions, upgrades, complexity, and disposal fees.


For complimentary copies of our Construction and Remodeling Estimates cost guide, please contact your local Pillar To Post office, or download from http://www.pillartopost.com/costguide


THE PILLAR TO POST DIFFERENCE


  • The Pillar To Post Inspection Report is generated on site at the completion of the inspection, so your client won't have to wait for the results.
  • All Pillar To Post inspectors carry E&O insurance to protect you, the referring agent.
  • Three different Home Inspection Packages to choose from that allow your client to select the range of services they prefer - click here to learn more.
  • AsNorth America's leading home inspection company, Pillar To Post is committed to providing the highest quality service to real estate professionals and their clients.
                                                                   



                                                            

                                                                                             Pillar to Post - The Vancouver

                                                                                              vancouver@pillartopost.com

                                                                                             www.pillartopost-vancouver.com

                                                                                                            (604) 250-9263 


                                                                                        

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City prepares for another snowfall Wednesday, followed by rain and ice

February 7 2017

The City of Vancouver is preparing for another snowfall followed by warming temperatures and rain throughout the remainder of the week. 

We will continue to salt, plow and treat priority areas as required. 

Residents and businesses can expect to see any snow remaining on side streets and sidewalks turning to ice as early as Wednesday evening. The warmer temperatures and clear arterials will allow the City to shift focus and reallocate crews to salt and sand side streets. The priority for treatment will be for side streets most heavily impacted by compacted snow that has accumulated over the last few days. The salt will help to melt the ice, while the sand will provide traction for vehicles. 

Help us identify problem spots

If an area requires attention, report it using the City’s VanConnect app or by calling 3-1-1. The City is monitoring incoming requests to identify problem areas and dispatching crews to address those issues.

Download the VanConnect app     Use VanConnect on your desktop

Since Wednesday, February 1, the City has had a full fleet working 24/7. Work has included ongoing monitoring and treatment of arterials by plows and salt trucks, removal of snow by hand in key areas by and in response to VanConnect reports, and garbage collection. On Monday, February 6, we deployed over 200 staff for hand shoveling and clearing of bus stops, street corners, and catch basins. 

Help a neighbour

We are extremely grateful to all residents and businesses that did their part to remove snow from driveways and sidewalks as soon as it fell, and who signed up to become a Snow Angel and help a neighbour. The clearing of sidewalks by residents and businesses is a vital part of ensuring that the city is navigable by all people. While salt helps to break up ice and snow, it is not a replacement for snow removal. 

In the coming days as temperatures rise, icy surfaces may still discourage those with mobility issues from leaving home. If you know a neighbour or colleague who may be feeling isolated or unable to leave home, please consider stopping in to see if you can help with any necessities. 

The City strongly recommends that residents and businesses:

  • Lay salt down on sidewalks and driveways prior to the snowfall. This will help to melt the ice and make it easier to remove.
  • Shovel new snow as soon as possible to prevent build up and melting into an ice crust. While residents have until 10:00am until after a snowfall to shovel sidewalks in front of their property, getting out early before the morning commute will help ensure snow isn’t packed down, and will make it easier to remove.
  • Provide help to neighbours who cannot clear their own sidewalks, if you are able. Consider registering to become a Snow Angel. 
  • Wear proper winter footwear to guard against slippery sidewalks. Use main roads when possible as they tend to have less snow and ice than residential and side streets;
  • If you choose to drive, ensure your car has winter tires. Take care on neighbourhood streets and drive for the conditions. 

Warming centres

The City, in partnership with the Park Board and supported by staff and volunteers, will continue to provide additional warm and welcoming space for anyone who needs to get out of the cold as this unusually cold and snowy winter weather continues. 

Three warming centres will be open again tonight. The three locations are: Oppenheimer Park Heated Tents (10:00pm-9:00am), West End Community Centre (11:00pm-6:30am), and The Hall at 1739 Venables (11:00pm-7:00am). 

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Empty Homes Tax

 
 
 
 
WHEN CAN YOU SUBMIT YOUR DECLARATION?
 
Property status declarations cannot be made until December 2017.

Homes that are deemed empty will be subject to a tax of 1% of the property’s assessed value.

The Empty Homes Tax will be applied annually, with the first tax year beginning on January 1, 2017. 

Most homes will not be subject to the tax, as it does not apply to principal residences or homes rented on a long-term basis.

Net revenues from the Empty Homes Tax will be reinvested into affordable housing initiatives. 

See if the tax applies to you

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February 2, 2017

Metro Vancouver housing market off to a quieter start than last year

Home sales and listings trends are below long-term averages in the Metro Vancouver* housing market. This is due largely to reduced activity in the detached home market.

Residential property sales in the region totalled 1,523 in January 2017, a 39.5 per cent decrease from the 2,519 sales recorded in January 2016 and an 11.1 per cent decrease compared to December 2016 when 1,714 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 10.3 per cent below our 10-year January sales average.

“From a real estate perspective, it’s a lukewarm start to the year compared to 2016,” Dan Morrison, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said. “While we saw near record-breaking sales at this time last year, home buyers and sellers are more reluctant to engage so far in 2017.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,140 in January 2017. This represents a 6.8 per cent decrease compared to the 4,442 homes listed in January 2016 and a 215.5 per cent increase compared to December 2016 when 1,312 properties were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver is 7,238, a 9.1 per cent increase compared to January 2016 (6,635) and a 14.1 per cent increase compared to December 2016 (6,345).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for January 2017 is 21 per cent. This is the lowest the ratio has been in the region since January 2015. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

“Conditions within the market vary depending on property type. The townhome and condominium markets are more active than the detached market at the moment,” Morrison said. “As a result, detached home prices declined about 7 per cent since peaking in July while townhome and condominium prices held steady over this period.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $896,000. This represents a 3.7 per cent decline over the past six months and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to December 2016. 

Sales of detached properties in January 2017 reached 444, a decrease of 57.6 per cent from the 1,047 detached sales recorded in January 2016. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,474,800. This represents a 6.6 per cent decline over the last six months and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to December 2016.

Sales of apartment properties reached 825 in January 2017, a decrease of 24.7 per cent compared to the 1,096 sales in January 2016.The benchmark price of an apartment property is $512,300. This represents a 0.3 per cent increase over the last six months and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to December 2016.

Attached property sales in January 2017 totalled 254, a decrease of 32.4 per cent compared to the 376 sales in January 2016. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $666,500. This represents a 0.4 per cent decline over the last six months and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to December 2016.

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February 2, 2017

Metro Vancouver housing market off to a quieter start than last year

Home sales and listings trends are below long-term averages in the Metro Vancouver* housing market. This is due largely to reduced activity in the detached home market.

Residential property sales in the region totalled 1,523 in January 2017, a 39.5 per cent decrease from the 2,519 sales recorded in January 2016 and an 11.1 per cent decrease compared to December 2016 when 1,714 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 10.3 per cent below our 10-year January sales average.

“From a real estate perspective, it’s a lukewarm start to the year compared to 2016,” Dan Morrison, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said. “While we saw near record-breaking sales at this time last year, home buyers and sellers are more reluctant to engage so far in 2017.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,140 in January 2017. This represents a 6.8 per cent decrease compared to the 4,442 homes listed in January 2016 and a 215.5 per cent increase compared to December 2016 when 1,312 properties were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver is 7,238, a 9.1 per cent increase compared to January 2016 (6,635) and a 14.1 per cent increase compared to December 2016 (6,345).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for January 2017 is 21 per cent. This is the lowest the ratio has been in the region since January 2015. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.

“Conditions within the market vary depending on property type. The townhome and condominium markets are more active than the detached market at the moment,” Morrison said. “As a result, detached home prices declined about 7 per cent since peaking in July while townhome and condominium prices held steady over this period.”

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $896,000. This represents a 3.7 per cent decline over the past six months and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to December 2016. 

Sales of detached properties in January 2017 reached 444, a decrease of 57.6 per cent from the 1,047 detached sales recorded in January 2016. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,474,800. This represents a 6.6 per cent decline over the last six months and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to December 2016.

Sales of apartment properties reached 825 in January 2017, a decrease of 24.7 per cent compared to the 1,096 sales in January 2016.The benchmark price of an apartment property is $512,300. This represents a 0.3 per cent increase over the last six months and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to December 2016.

Attached property sales in January 2017 totalled 254, a decrease of 32.4 per cent compared to the 376 sales in January 2016. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $666,500. This represents a 0.4 per cent decline over the last six months and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to December 2016.
 
Download the full stats package by clicking here.

 

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New Skytrain Lines

 

TransLink announced recently its plans for two new trail lines in Metro Vancouver: the Broadway extension of the Millennium Line, and the Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT project.

Plans also include doubling SeaBus services on Sundays and holidays, and adding more frequent services during peak times on the Expo, Millennium, and Canada skytrain lines. TransLink noted that these are just the first of a series of announcements the company plans to announce over the next few years.

The Broadway extension will extend the Millennium line from its current endpoint on to Broadway and Main, and then continue west to Arbutus Street. This plan is intended to alleviate pressure on the current 99 B-Line route.

Officials have also proposed extended the Millennium Line all the way to UBC, but ultimately decided that aiding the 99 B-Line was more pressing a matter.

Public consultation on the projects begins in late January.

Where else would you like to see additions to transit?

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Sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in the region reached 39,943 in 2016, a 5.6 per cent decrease from the 42,326 sales recorded in 2015, and a 20.6 per cent increase over the 33,116 residential sales in 2014.

“It was an eventful year for real estate in Metro Vancouver. Escalating prices caused by low supply and strong home buyer demand brought more attention to the market than ever before,” Dan Morrison, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said.

“As prices rose in the first half of the year, public debate waged about what was fuelling demand and what should be done to stop it. This led to multiple government interventions into the market. The long-term effects of these actions won’t be fully understood for some time.”

Residential properties listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver reached 57,596 in 2016. This is an increase of 0.6 per cent compared to the 57,249 properties listed in 2015 and a 2.6 per cent increase compared to the 56,066 properties listed in 2014.

“The supply of homes for sale couldn't keep up with home buyer demand for much of 2016. This allowed home sellers to raise their asking price. It wasn’t until the last half of the year that prices began to show modest declines.”

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $897,600. This represents a 2.2 per cent decrease over the past six months and a 17.8 per cent increase compared to December 2015.

December summary

Residential property sales in the region totalled 1,714 in December 2016, a decrease of 39.4 per cent from the 2,827 sales recorded in December 2015 and a decrease of 22.6 per cent compared to November 2016 when 2,214 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 8.1 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 1,312 in December 2016. This represents a decrease of 35.1 per cent compared to the 2,021 units listed in December 2015 and a 58.3 per cent decrease compared to November 2016 when 3,147 properties were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver is 6,345, a 5.3 per cent increase compared to December 2015 (6,024) and a 24.3 per cent decrease compared to November 2016 (8,385).

Sales of detached properties in December 2016 reached 541, a decrease of 52.4 per cent from the 1,136 detached sales recorded in December 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,483,500. This represents an 18.6 per cent increase compared to December 2015 and a 1.8 per cent decrease compared to November 2016.

Sales of apartment properties reached 915 in December 2016, a decrease of 25.3 per cent compared to the 1,225 sales in December 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property is $510,300. This represents a 17.3 per cent increase compared to December 2015 and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to November 2016.

Attached property sales in December 2016 totalled 258, a decrease of 44.6 per cent compared to the 466 sales in December 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $661,800. This represents a 20.4 per cent increase compared to December 2015 and a 0.8 per cent decrease compared to November 2016.

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December 15, 2016

BC government to offer down payment loans for first-time buyers

Premier Christy Clark unveiled a new loan program today to help first-time home buyers come up with their down payment.

The BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership program will offer qualifying home buyers loans of up to $37,500, interest and payment free, for five years.

The province will begin accepting applications on January 16, 2017.

To qualify, buyers must:

• be buying their first home;

• obtain a high-ratio, insured first mortgage for at least 80 per cent of the purchase price;  

• have a combined gross household income not exceeding $150,000;

• have saved a down payment amount at least equal to the loan amount;

• be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years; and

• have lived in BC for at least the full year preceding their application.

The loans will be due in full if the buyer defaults on a payment, ceases to use the home as a principle residence or resells the home.

Key facts:

• The loans will match a home buyer’s contribution to a down payment up to five per cent of the home’s purchase price. 

• The maximum purchase price to qualify for a loan is $750,000 (excluding taxes and fees).

• After five years, buyers can either repay their loan or enter into monthly payments at current interest rates.

• Loans through the program are due after 25 years.

“This program will boost sales to first-time home buyers. Without question, they’ll take advantage of it wherever they can,” said Helmut Pastrick, Central 1 Credit Union chief economist.

The province estimates this initiative will help at least 42,000 buyers or households province-wide over the next three years. About half of these buyers will be in the Lower Mainland, according to Pastrick.

Click here for more information.

 

copyright© real estate board of greater vancouver. all rights reserved.

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January newsletter!

I always consider January the "fresh start" month.  Holidays are behind us and now is the perfect time to look ahead to the new year.  Stick with me and let's declutter, get organized and put some great systems in place for 2017!

 

Each month we will cover 3 topics – Home Organizing, Move Management & Downsizing, and Office Productivity & Time Management.
 
With this fresh start theme, here are a few articles I picked for this special January newsletter.

If you haven't packed up your holiday decor yet, be sure to check out my Tips & Tricks: How To Organize & Store Your Holiday Decorations.  I was very happy to share these on Breakfast Television Vancouver last week.  
 
For those of you who have kids (and therefore toys), I provide some suggestions on how to get your adult space back in my post Quick Tips to Keeping a Living Room Formal.

Real estate was huge topic again in 2016.   If you are considering downsizing, be sure to read my article 4 Reasons to Move into a Small Living Space.  There are some great bonuses to living micro!
 
And finally, have a look at Do. Or do not. Jedi Master of Time Management again.  With the new Star Wars movie out, I thought this previous business organizing article would be a great fit for January.

Happy New Year and happy reading! Until next month…

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Bank of Canada Shocks Market with Rate Cut
by BARRIE MCKENNA
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Jan. 21 2015, 10:01 AM EST

 

The Bank of Canada announced a surprise quarter-percentage-point cut to its key interest rate Wednesday – a move it calls “insurance” against the potentially destructive effects of the oil price collapse.

 

The reduction in the bank’s overnight rate to 0.75 per cent from 1 per cent – its first move since September, 2010 – comes as a precipitous drop in the price of crude slams Canada’s oil-dependent economy.

 

“The considerably lower profile for oil prices will be unambiguously negative for the Canadian economy in 2015 and subsequent years,” the bank warned in its latest monetary policy report, released Wednesday.

 

The rate move, which few analysts anticipated, is an attempt by Mr. Poloz to shield highly indebted Canadian households from an oil-induced hit to their jobs and incomes – signs of which are already evident in Alberta.

The rate cut is a signal to private-sector banks to lower their own rates on mortgages and other loans.

Cheaper crude, while good for the U.S. and global economies, is unequivocally bad for Canada.

 

The move sent the Canadian dollar plummeting below 81 cents (U.S.).

 

The bank warned that lower oil prices would take a sizeable bite out of economic growth in 2015, delay a return to full capacity and hurt business investment – a trend that has already triggered mass layoffs and production cuts in Alberta’s oil patch.

 

But the effects could spread further, threatening financial stability as a result of possible losses to jobs and incomes, according to the central bank.

 

“The oil price shock increases both downside risks to the inflation profile and financial stability risks,” the bank acknowledged. “The Bank’s policy action is intended to provide insurance against these risks.”

The bank’s new forecast assumes a price of “around” $60 per barrel for Brent crude, more than $10 above where it is now. But the central bank said prices “over the medium term are likely to be higher” than $60.

As recently as June, oil was selling for $110 a barrel.


The bank also lowered its bank rate and the deposit rate by a quarter percentage point Wednesday, to 1 per cent and ½ per cent, respectively. And it removed any indication of which way rates might go next.

 

The bank’s decision coincides with a much more pessimistic economic forecast than the bank issued just three months ago.


Following the lead of most private-sector forecasters, the bank slashed its GDP growth forecast to 2.1 per cent this year (from 2.4 per cent), before rebounding to 2.4 per cent in 2016. The worst effects of the oil collapse will be felt in the first half of this year, when the bank expects annualized growth of 1.5 per cent, nearly a full percentage point lower than its October forecast.

 

The Canadian economy grew at an estimated rate of 2.4 per cent in 2014.

 

The bank said the economy won’t return to full capacity until the end of 2016, several months later than its previous estimate of the second half of next year. Among other things, the central bank pointed to significant “labour market slack.”

 

Crude’s effects on the economy will be broad and profound, the bank warned. Investment in the oil and gas sector will decline by as much as 30 per cent this year, while lower returns on energy exports will eat into Canadian incomes, wealth and household spending.


The bank also hinted at a possible spread to other parts of the country of a real estate slump already under way in Alberta. “The extent to which the downturn already evident in Alberta will spill over into other regions remains to be seen,” the bank pointed out in its monetary policy report.

 

“The ramifications of the oil-price shock for household imbalances will depend importantly on the impact of the shock on income and employment,” the bank added.

 

The bank also expressed growing angst about the impact that oil could have on inflation, which it said has been propped up by temporary effects, such as the “pass-through” effect of the lower Canadian dollar.

Consumer price increases, now running at roughly 2 per cent a year, are “starting to reflect the fall in oil prices,” the bank said.


The bank’s new forecast calls for overall inflation to fall well below its 2-per-cent target this year, averaging just 0.6 per cent. Core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, is expected to average 1.9 per cent in 2015.

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When you sell a stock, you owe taxes on your gain – the difference between what you paid for the stock and what you sold it for. The same holds true when selling a home (or a second home), but there are some special considerations.


How to Calculate Gain

In real estate, capital gains are based not on what you paid for the home, but on its adjusted cost basis. To calculate follow these steps:


1. Purchase Price:

The purchase price of the home is the sale price, not the amount of money you actually contributed at closing.


2. Total adjustments:

To calculate this, add the following:

  • Cost of the purchase – including transfer fees, attorney fees, and inspections, but not points you paid on your mortgage.
  • Cost of sale – including inspections, attorney fees, real estate commission, and money you spent to fix up your home just prior to sale.
  • Cost of improvements – including room additions, deck, etc. Note here that improvements do not include repairing or replacing something already there, such as putting on a new roof or buying new furnace.

 

3. Your home’s adjusted cost basis:

The total of your purchase price and adjustments is the adjusted cost basis of your home.


4. Your capital gains:

Subtract the adjusted cost basis from the amount your home sells for to get your capital gain.

 

A Special Real Estate Exemption for Capital Gains

Since 1997, up to $250,000 in capital gains ($500,000 for a married couple) on the sale of a home is exempt from taxation if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have lived in the home as your principal residence for two out of the last five years.
  • You have not sold or exchanged another home during the two years preceding the sale.
  • You meet what the IRS calls “unforeseen circumstances” such as job loss, divorce, or family medical emergency.

 

Reprinted from REALTOR magazine (REALTOR.org/realtormeg) with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

 

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 by Linda Marie Burchell on Thurs, Sep, 11, 2014 10:32M

 

 

From: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/canadians-are-feeling-the-financial-squeeze/article20501623/

 

 

 

Canadian workers are feeling pinched when it comes to their finances, with a growing number saying they are living paycheque to paycheque.

 

An annual survey of employees by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) shows more people are overwhelmed by their debt, are saving less and would face real hardship if their paycheque was delayed by a single week.

 

“Even though the Canadian economy did well relative to other G7 countries in the past decade, many employed Canadians say they are having a difficult time making ends meet,” said Marie Lyne Dion, chair of the CPA, which is releasing the survey Wednesday.

Most of the survey’s measures of financial health have deteriorated this year, with more employed people planning on delaying retirement amid eroded savings.

 

And it’s not the only indicator to suggest households are getting squeezed. A separate Bank of Montreal poll released this week found a growing number of Canadians have only enough savings to cover one month or less in case of an emergency.

Subdued real wage growth and muted hiring have kept a lid on earnings. Meanwhile, house prices continue to climb and inflation has ticked above the 2-per-cent mark for four months in a row. And while consumers have kept spending this year, they appear to be running up debts to do so.

 

Just over half, or 51 per cent, of the 3,211 employees surveyed by the CPA said it would be tough to make ends meet if their paycheque was delayed by one week. That was up from an average of 49 per cent over the past three years. Those surveyed this year are also living closer to the edge, with more than one quarter of respondents saying they probably couldn’t pull together $2,000 in the next month if something urgent arose, such as a medical emergency.

 

More people reported they’re saving just 5 per cent or less of their pay, while of those trying to save, fewer said they’re actually able to do so. One of the reasons they can’t was increased spending, said Patrick Culhane, CPA president, with 44 per cent saying they’re spending all or more of their net pay on their children, home renovations and energy costs.

 

Canada’s most recent GDP data showed a slide in savings. The country’s household saving rate tumbled to 3.9 per cent in the second quarter – the lowest level since 2010 – from 5 per cent in the prior quarter as consumption grew at a faster rate than disposable income. (By contrast, in the early 1980s, the saving rate was above the 15-per-cent mark).

 

Drawing down on savings to support consumption “may boost GDP growth in the near term but it’s unsustainable – when rates move higher and crimp credit demand, real income growth will need to counteract the drag from higher rates,” said Emanuella Enenajor, senior Canada economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in a recent note.

 

The Bank of Canada, in its most recent monetary policy report, said risks around household imbalances are still “elevated.” Its financial system review showed the chief risks are in the housing market – with the threat of a sharp correction in house prices – along with household indebtedness, which leaves people vulnerable to a sudden job loss, or a sharp rise in interest rates.

More people – 39 per cent – said they feel overwhelmed by their level of debt, up from the average of 32 per cent in the past two years, the CPA survey showed. And 12 per cent of respondents said they don’t think they will ever be debt free.

 

Softer finances was causing more people to consider delaying retirement. Eight in ten, or 79 per cent, of respondents expected to delay retirement until age 60 or older, up from 70 per cent over the past three years. The top reason cited for why they were delaying was that employees aren’t able to save enough money.

 

When asked what the first step would be to improve their financial situation, the most common answer was to earn more. Spending less was the next most-frequent response.

 

 

Follow Tavia Grant on Twitter: @taviagrant

 

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Strata corporations with five or more units must now provide the most recent depreciation report as part of the new information Certificate (Form B).

 

Strata corporations of four or fewer strata lots are not required to obtain a depreciation report by passing a resolution with a ¾ majority vote at an annual general or special general meeting. The Strata Corporation then has 18 months from their last exemption vote to either hold another vote providing for further exemption or obtain a depreciation report.

 

 “This means a strata corporation not wanting a depreciation report will have to waive its requirement at each annual general meeting, according to Ed Wilson, a partner with Lawson Lundell Law Firm.

 

“In practice, this means that, if votes to exempt are being held annually at annual general meetings, there would still be about six months left to get a depreciation report done if the ¾ vote did not pass in a given year” says Wilson.

The depreciation report must be:

  • Prepared by someone qualified such as an architect or engineer with errors and omission insurance; and
  • Updated every three years

The depreciation report provides important information to owners, buyers, mortgage providers and insurers. The report must include:

  • An on site inspection and inventory of the common property and building systems;
  • A schedule of anticipated maintenance, repairs and replacement costs for common expenses projected over 30 years; and
  • A financial forecast which includes costs and cash-flow funding models for the contingency reserve fund.

For more information read the Office of Housing and Construction Standards’ Guide 12: Depreciation Reports available here: www.housing.gov.bc.ca/pub/stratapdf/Guide12/pdf.

 

Changes to approval vote for repairs to strata common property

 

Until December 11, 2013 a strata corporation planning to collect a special levy for maintenance and repairs to common property and assets required a ¾ vote of owners to get the resolution approved.

 

On December 11, 2013 the Strata Property Act was amended by regulation to allow strata corporations that do not each the ¾ vote threshold, but receive 50% or more of the votes, to apply within 90 days to the Supreme Court of BC. Where the court approves the resolution, it will use an order allowing the strata corporation to proceed with the special levy and repairs. This change will facilitate critical repairs being made in the timely manner before further damage is done to the property.

 

For more information contact Harriet permit, manager Government Relations at: hpermut@rebgv.org

 

Strata Corporations must now identify parking spaces and storage lockers

 

In strata developments, parking areas and storage lockers are not all allocated in the same way. The specific rights of owners or tenants to use parking stalls or storage lockers vary depending on how the use of these areas has been allocated in the development.

 

Verifying use can be a puzzling problem for Realtors. As of January 14, 2014, the process is easier because of changes to the Strata Property Act. Strata corporations must now identify parking spaces and storage lockers associated with units on the new Information Certificate (Form B) given to potential buyers and anyone authorized by the owner or buyer.

 

Realtors assisting clients buying or selling strata property should review the development’s strata plan to determine whether parking and storage areas are designated as:

  • A separate strata lot or part of a strata lot;
  • Limited common property; or
  • Common property.

The Strata lot or part of strata lot

This is any part of the registered strata plan identified with boundaries or as a separate strata lot and owned solely by the owner.

  • Parking and storage areas may be designated on the strata plan as a separate strata lot or part of a strata lot.
  • Parking and storage areas intended for commercial use can be designated as a separate strata lot, and will have their own strata lot number.
  • Parking and storage areas intended to be used in conjunction with a residential strata lot cant be a separate strata lot, but can be designated as part of the strata lot and so share the same strata lot number as the residential unit.
  • A parking storage area designated as part of a strata lot will always be owned by the strata lot will always be owned by the strata lot owner, and a strata lot owner will transfer ownership of these areas to a purchaser upon the sale of their strata lot.

Limited Common Property

 Parking and storage areas are designated on the strata plan as LCP for the exclusive use of a particular strata lot. An owner with exclusive use doesn’t own the area, but has the exclusive right to use the area.

  • LCP area are common property owned by all the owners in the strata corporation in the proportion to each strata lot’s unit entitlement.
  • If parking and storage areas are designated on the strata plan as common property and aren’t limited to the use of a specific strata lot, and strata corporation can create LCP designations by passing resolution either by a unanimous vote or a ¾ vote.
  • The right to exclusive use of an LCP area attaches to the strata lot, not to the specific owner. When an owner sells their strata lot, the right to exclusive use of the LCP area automatically transfers to the new owner of the strata lot.

Common Property

 Parking and stoage areas may be designated on the strata plan as common property. Similar to LCP, common property is owned by all the owners in the strata corporation in proportion to their respective unit entitlements.

The use of areas designated as common property can be allocated to owners in three different ways:


1. A grant of exclusive use. The strata corporation can give an owner exclusive rights to use parking and storage areas designated as common property for a maximum term of one year.

  • The strata corporation can renew the term, alter conditions, and cancel at any point during the term by giving reasonable notice to the owner.
  • The ability to use the common property attaches to the owner and not the strata lot. Vendors can’t contractually adding permission to use parking stalls or storage lockers to new owners, as with lease.
  • The new owner must ask the strata corporation for permission to use the area exclusively.
  • The strata corporation has discretion to grant exclusive use of the same or a different parking or storage area, or deny the new owner the right to use any parking or storage area.

2. An assignment of rights under a lease or license. When a developer creates a strata development, the developer can grant a lease or license over parking or storage areas to a related company or to itself (a head lease).

  • The developer or related company can assign its lease or license interest in individual parking or storage areas to buyers of a strata lot in the development.
  • Head lease or licenses of common property are created in developments with large underground parking and storage areas to enable the developer to control which buyers are assigned which parking and storage areas after the strata plan filed.
  • Some head leases or licenses are worded so the sale of a strata lot to a buyer automatically trigger an assignment of the individual parking or storage area to the new buyer. If this isn’t the case, the vendor can contractually assign their lease or license in the contact of purchase and sale.

3. Common use of parking spaces. A strata plan may contain a parking area designed as common property that is not allocated to the use of any specific owners.

  • Owners can often use common property parking areas on a first-come first-served basis.
  • There may be also be strata corporation by laws or rules governing how owners use the parking area.

The definitive source for this information is the Office of Housing and Construction Standards. For information, go to: www.housing.gov.bc.ca. On the right-hand side, select Strata Guides and then Parking Spaces and Storage Lockers, Guide 29.

 

If you have questions, please contact Harrier Permut, Manager, Government Relations at: hpermut@rebgv.org

 

 

 

 

How Consumers value Features and Attributes of a Home.

  • #1 is location
  • if a home is less than 10 years old 26% higher value
  • if a home is less than 5 years old 24% higher value
  • a view 8% higher
  • Good school nearby 8% higher
  • Strata that allows pets 6% higher
  • Strata that allows renters 5% higher
  • Condos that are the same square footage, but the condo with a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom layout would be valued 8% higher than the condo with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. People prefer a more open floor plan.

 

With compliments from: Patrick Mulhern.

 

 

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http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/Barbara+Yaffe+Does+neighbourhood+belong+residents/10286823/story.html

 

 

With land prices soaring and so much redevelopment underway, homeowners increasingly are becoming combatants in a fight to preserve their neighbourhoods.

Suzanna Crescenzo and Grant Hodgkins never imagined, back in 2011, when they bought their 1926 home on East 14th near Fraser Street, that they’d be organizing their block and fighting the city over plans for the lot next door.

But that’s what they’re doing. The couple is now considering suing over a developer’s plans to replace a house with a two-unit duplex structure that extends 18 feet farther back on the lot than the neighbouring homes, “completely boxing them in, taking away sunlight,” says Crescenzo.

The 30- by 122-foot lot is one of four on the block lately surveyed by developers.

With support from seven neighbours, Crescenzo wrote Mayor Gregor Robertson on Sept 22: “We live on a very nice, friendly street.

“A few houses have sold to developers who are trying to ... build massive front-back duplexes which dwarf all of the houses around them.”

What’s happening to the East 14th residents is happening across Vancouver as developers slip letters into front-door mail slots, beseeching would-be sellers to contact them before phoning a real estate agent.

In areas zoned for higher density, developers are bulldozing older homes, anticipating good profit from construction of townhouses or duplexes.

Next door to me, a builder bought a decaying 1950s-era Kits bungalow last year for $2.5 million, replacing it with two duplex units, each selling for nearly $1.9 million. You can’t beat those economics.

The city generally favours such development: More homes get built, with the dubious hope of more affordable prices.

Developers try to build as big and economically as possible, often battling neighbours wanting to retain the character of their streets.

Which highlights the issue of whom Vancouver’s neighbourhoods belong to. Who should get final say over development?

These issues can become so hot that communities have begun linking arms. Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver, formed in 2007, wants more say for local residents. Another group, the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods, emerged last June, asking Vancouver to “consider the interests of communities and residents above developer profits.”

Crescenzo and Hodgkins, business professionals with a young daughter and twins on the way, asked the developer to undertake the expense of building up rather than out. They were rebuffed.

Vancouver’s planning department imposed numerous conditions on the builders’ plans, which were appealed to Vancouver’s Board of Variance. It recently gave the project a green light.

This five-member volunteer board, appointed by city council for three years, is a little known body whose decisions are appealable only to the courts. Lawyers have told Crescenzo that could cost $40,000.

Should a board with this much power be elected? Or at least have representation from the broader community? Right now, its members are involved in construction, real estate and house design. One member works with a company pledging to “take your development and project proposal through all stages of approvals.”

And, outrageously, while a developer may appeal the city planners’ decisions to the board, neighbouring homeowners, since 2007, have had no such right. This is wrong.

The city is only starting to understand that to keep peace, more community viewpoints are needed. At present it’s experimenting with a citizens’ assembly model to develop a community plan for Grandview-Woodland.

Developers, to be sure, are crucial to a growing city. But Vancouver’s rampant redevelopment is not just about their needs.

If Vancouver is to justify its reputation as a livable locale with an engaged citizenry, it also must be about the aspirations of the people living here.

byaffe@vancouversun.com

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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/vancouvers-real-estate-boom-the-rising-price-of-heaven/article21071391/

 

Interesting read!

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From: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/housing/in-vancouver-home-sales-3-million-is-the-new-1-million/article20483704/

 

Metro Vancouver’s hot housing market is scorching when it comes to high-end sales.

 

Properties selling for $3-million or higher have surged 35 per cent in the Vancouver region, defying predictions of a slowdown after Ottawa shut down the federal immigrant investor program in February.

 

In the first eight months of this year, there were 572 properties in Metro Vancouver that sold for at least $3-million, including 135 homes for $5-million or more, according to Macdonald Realty Group’s compilation of statistics from local real estate boards. In contrast, there were 422 properties that changed hands for $3-million or higher in the first eight months of 2013, including 112 homes that sold for at least $5-million.

 

At the pace of sales volume so far this year, the luxury real estate market in the area will smash the record of 691 homes that sold for $3-million or higher in 2011.

 

To stand out in real estate circles on the West Coast, $3-million is the new $1-million. Having a million-dollar home will elicit yawns, not envy, because 55 per cent of detached properties in the City of Vancouver were assessed at $1-million or greater on July 1, 2013, according to research by Andrew Yan, an urban planner with Bing Thom Architects. About 37,800 properties made the cut for the million-dollar club last year.

 

There had been expectations in the industry that some rich immigrants from China would avoid investing in Metro Vancouver after the federal government scrapped the immigrant investor program, but transactions of at least $3-million are headed toward a new annual high, said Dan Scarrow, vice-president of corporate strategy at Macdonald Realty.

 

Single-family detached homes dominate posh sales, though there are also some condos and townhouses in the data.

 

“There is confidence in the Vancouver real estate market. People within the market itself are trading and there is also money flowing in from outside,” Mr. Scarrow said in an interview. “Real estate experts thought there was going to be a slowdown in sales, and I actually thought so as well, but we’ve been proven wrong.”

 

Macdonald Realty notes that 178 of the firm’s 531 sales of detached houses within the City of Vancouver last year, or 33.5 per cent, went to home buyers with ties to China.

 

Mr. Scarrow, who will be opening a Macdonald Realty office this fall in Shanghai, says the vast majority of buyers have family and/or business links to Vancouver and there are only a small number of strictly offshore investors engaged in speculation. He will spearhead efforts to find prospective buyers for residential properties and seek investors in Vancouver’s commercial real estate market and new condo projects.

 

In many instances, it would be prudent for foreign buyers to invest in commercial properties instead of entering the residential market, especially if houses are left empty, Mr. Scarrow added.

 

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver calculates a benchmark home price index, which strips out the most expensive homes to give what the board views as a better indicator of pricing trends. Detached homes on Vancouver’s west side sold at an index price of $2,282,400 in August, up 9.7 per cent from the same month in 2013. The index price for detached houses in the municipality of West Vancouver has risen 8.4 per cent to $2,018,600 over the past year.

 

Greater Vancouver’s total sales for detached homes, condos and townhouses climbed to 2,771 in August, up 10.2 per cent from a year earlier. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board handled 1,302 transactions last month, up 3.5 per cent from August, 2013.

 

The Greater Vancouver data include suburbs such as Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam and West Vancouver. The Fraser Valley statistics include the sprawling suburb of Surrey.

 

Follow on Twitter: @brentcjang

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From: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/real-estate/richmonds-lowest-priced-detached-fetches-31000-premium/article20381304/

 

4180 TYSON PLACE, RICHMOND, B.C.


LIST PRICE $539,000


SALE PRICE $570,000


TAXES $2,009 (2013)


DAYS ON MARKET Five


LISTING AGENT Owen Bigland/Macdonald Realty


The Action: Listing agent Owen Bigland says he marketed small freehold non-strata house as “West Richmond’s lowest-priced detached home.”

 

“It’s a zero lot line property, which are quite rare these days,” he says. “Back in the late seventies and early eighties, Richmond allowed some select areas to be developed as zero lot line. It allows you to build a home right up to the property line on one side of the lot to maximize the usable lot space. To many people it looks like a duplex, but it’s not. It has no common walls.”

 

More than 25 parties viewed the house in the first five days of it being listed. The owner received multiple offers and as a result it sold for more than the asking price.


What they got: The 36-year-old house is 1,400 square feet over two stories, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a southern-exposure backyard with patio area and hot tub.

 

The lot is 3,600 square feet. The house has a new roof, new fencing and seven-year-old windows. “It’s located in one of West Richmond’s best neighbourhoods, called Quilchena,” says Bigland.


The Agent’s Take: “When larger detached homes in the neighbourhood are selling for $1.2-million and up, you can’t go wrong buying a little cream puff like this,” says Bigland. “It’s detached. There are no strata fees. It’s close to the same price that town homes are selling for.” Buyers were definitely aware of the advantages to buying this type of home. This set an all time high price point for a zero lot line in this area.”

 

The most recent zero lot line sales in the area were $470,000 and $505,000.

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Source: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Barbara+Yaffe+Vancouver+property+owners+less+able+trade+bigger+homes/10185779/story.html

 

VANCOUVER — Housing affordability trends are such that, in Vancouver at least, a starter home no longer is a ticket to bigger and better digs as the years go by.

 

It used to be that homeowners would pay down mortgages and build equity, then be able to afford to move to a nicer house, perhaps in a more desirable neighbourhood.

 

Not any more.

 

Those pricier homes are simply unaffordable, even for owners of starter and mid-level homes.

So, by the time wannabe-buyers figure they can make the leap, they will increasingly find that the more expensive homes are out of reach.

 

Benjamin Tal, a deputy chief economist at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, outlined this new trend Monday in notes prepared for the International Housing and Home Warranty Conference in Vancouver.

The event, running to Wednesday, is being attended by 200 delegates who design, build, insure and provide warranties for both market and social housing.

 

Delegates are hearing about such things as how real estate practices have been changed by the Internet, new energy-saving innovations in home construction, and how shipping containers can be transformed into housing.

Tal explains: “The value of bigger and pricier properties is rising notably faster than less-expensive properties — widening the gap between starter home and dream house.

 

“Regardless of what your starting point is, and by how much your property has appreciated, the desired move-up target is getting further and further out of reach.”

 

The traditional cycle, which has represented a form of social advancement and “dominated the Canadian housing market for decades, is breaking.”

 

Nowhere more so than in Vancouver, where buyers are already fed up with a lack of real estate affordability.

Tal reports that most of the upward price activity in Vancouver for detached housing is in the high-end market — properties priced at $1.1 million or greater.

 

For this category of housing, average prices since 2010 have increased nearly 18 per cent, compared to growth in average prices of just two per cent or so for homes priced between $500,000 and $1 million.

 

The same trend is showing up in Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto.

 

But in Canada’s second-most-expensive housing market, the disparity is not nearly so pronounced between the high-end and starter or mid-level homes. For example, average prices of starter homes in Toronto since 2010 grew by nearly 30 per cent compared to luxury homes, where prices were up 50 per cent.

 

The upshot of this trend: People living in mid-level homes ultimately decide higher-end homes are out of their reach. So instead of moving, they renovate their existing homes.

 

Tal notes that over the last five years, home renovation spending, as a share of total residential investment, averaged close to 46 per cent — 40 per cent in B.C. — by far, the largest share on record.

He predicts the reno market will probably get even bigger in coming years.

 

The banker also observed that the condo market is playing a stabilizing role in the housing sector, providing a cheaper alternative to detached houses.

 

CIBC figures show a downward trend in the rate of home ownership among younger Canadians aged 25 to 34. Two years ago, 55.5 per cent owned property, a figure that has dropped to 50 per cent.

This decline might have something to do with tightened mortgage regulations that were introduced and a reduction in amortization periods from 40 years to 25.

 

What seems clear is that owning a detached home in Canada’s big cities has grown tougher, with the chance of moving up to posher digs evermore remote.

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