Latest BC Budget Takes Shots At Cooling The Red Hot Real Estate Market.

805 - 6707 Nelson Avenue, West Vancouver  SUB-PENTHOUSE!The long awaited budget by the new NDP government has lived up to its promise by aggressively addressing BC’s urban real estate market.  This budget is aimed at cooling speculation, dropping house prices and taxing wealthy offshore buyers.

However, there is no way to see how these measures will affect the market in the long run, as according to the Finance Minister, Carol James, “we are treading on new ground.”

Here are the main aspects of the Budget:

An Increase in the Foreign Buyers tax rate

This tax, formerly introduced by the Liberal government one and a half years ago, will be increased from 15% to 20% effective immediately. The catchment area will also be increased beyond the Metro Vancouver area, into the Fraser Valley, areas of Vancouver Island and out to the Central Okanagan.

Speculation Tax

A Speculation Tax has been introduced covering the same areas as the Foreign Buyers tax. It takes aim at people who own empty homes but pay no income taxes in BC. The tax rate will be 0.5% on the property’s assessed value in 2018, and then increased to 2% in the subsequent years. This tax is expected to apply to around 15,000 residential properties.

Increased taxes and compliance on luxury homes

Homes valued at over $3 million will pay a higher property transfer tax of 5% (up from 3%). The government has also promised to close the loopholes such as hidden ownership that have been used by owners of the luxury homes to evade paying taxes.

Investing billions into affordable housing

The government has presented a 10 year, 30 point plan, setting aside almost $6.2 billion over 10 years to create 33,700 housing units. This huge commitment into homes and housing support over the next 10 years is to be shared by every corner of the province. Out of this amount, the government is promising $445 million over 3 years to build thousands of units for middle class families.

Using this budget, the new government’s plan is to stabilize the housing market and allow more people to get into the housing market.

Real estate in Metro Vancouver has proved to be a solid longterm investment. There has never been a better time to buy a luxury property than the present. If you need any advice on real estate transactions, our experienced real estate professionals are available to assist you. You can call us on 604 695 1000 /604 913 1000 or contact us by email.

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REBGV Market Report For January 2018 – Condos and Townhomes Were Still In Demand. Detached Homes Lacked Buyers.

4376 Arundel Road, North VancouverThe Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) report for January 2018 was released early this month. Townhomes and condos continued to dominate the real estate market  – a trend that has carried forward from 2017. Detached homes, on the other hand, faced less competition.

“Demand remains elevated and listings scarce in the attached and apartment markets across Metro Vancouver,” Jill Oudil, REGBV President said. “Buyers in the detached market are facing less competition and have much more selection to chose. For detached home sellers to be successful, it’s important to set prices that reflect today’s market demands.”

Home Sales

January recorded 1,818 sales of residential properties. While this was up from the 1,523 sales recorded in January 2017, it was down by 9.8% when compared to the 2,016 homes sold in December 2017.

Home Listings

The MLS recorded 3,796 newly listed homes for January 2018.  This pushed the total home listings to 6,947. In comparison, in January 2017 there were 4,140 new homes listed and in December 2017 only 1,891 new homes were listed.

In terms of total listings by property type, January 2018 had:

947 Townhomes

1,769 Condos

4,204 Detached homes

Sales-To-Active Listings Ratio

The January ratio was 26% across Metro Vancouver. By property type, the ratio was 11.6% for detached homes, 32% for townhomes and 57% for condos.

When the ratio is at 12% or below for a sustained period, there is downward pressure on home prices, and when it is above 20%, there is upward pressure.

These figures tell us that detached homes are now entering buyer’s market territory, while condos and townhomes firmly remain in seller market territory.

House Prices

The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver was $1,056,500. This represented a 16.6% increase over January 2017 and a 0.6% increase compared to December 2017.

Since October 2017, detached home prices have declined 0.5%, whereas townhome prices have increased 0.2% and condo prices have increased 3.6%.

Looking to buy or sell a home? Use our established and experienced company and resources to list your property or buy your dream home. Contact us and one of our real estate professionals will be more than willing to assist you.

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The Smart Homes Revolution: You Cannot Ignore It.

883 Wavertree Road, North Vancouver  Custom Forest Hills Home!The Smart Homes Revolution: You Cannot Ignore It.

In today’s homes, Smart Home technology is becoming more and more ubiquitous and difficult to avoid. It encompasses things like thermostats, lighting, video etc.; just about everything at home can be connected to a smart device making our lives easier.

For example, the Smart Home revolution has introduced many new technologies, which are very useful in managing your home energy and reducing your energy bill.

Our local power company, BC Hydro is testing many of the new energy management tools and are eventually providing them to their customers, who will be able to reduce their energy consumption and costs. Their favourites are being displayed in the “Connected Homes” section on their website bchydro.com

Many households already have smart thermostats that are programmed to maintain a range of temperatures throughout the day. All you need is a smartphone or tablet and an Internet connection, used together with other home automation,  to control the air conditioning or heating.

Another field that has a lot of interest and numerous smart home technologies available is security. Technologies are available to monitor what is going on in your home when you are away. There are products that will connect your home to your smart phone for 24/7 surveillance.

Smart locks are available that allow you to lock your home remotely or with a key or keypad. The app can be used to monitor the traffic that is coming and going through your front door.

The Internet allows just about any device in your home to be connected and                  controlled from your smartphone or tablet. And you don’t have to solve everything with a smart home device at one time.

Start with a system that allows you to control your heating and cooling from your phone or tablet. From there you can get into controlling your home security, and then a smarter home lighting system. Once you are comfortable with the concept, you can get into more specialized features, such as monitoring the contents of your refrigerator or controlling your washer and dryer. The possibilities are endless.

An energy efficient smart home will not only save you money in the long run, it will increase the comfort level within your home and ultimately increase the value of your home.

Everyone on our team of real estate professionals has years of experience and first-hand knowledge about the market. We thrive on working with homeowners to help them achieve their dreams, whatever the season or style of home. For more information, please call us on 604 913 1000 or 604 695 1000, or email us.

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REBGV Market Update For December 2017 – Condo and Townhome Sales Continued to Dominate.

2551 Highgrove Mews, West VancouverThe December 2017 Real Estate Board Of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) market report showed that the prevailing trend of the last few months, continued in December.
Home Sales
December sales of detached, attached and apartment properties totaled 2,016, a 17.6% increase from December 2016 and a 27.9% decrease from the previous month.
December sales were 7.5% above the 10-year sales average for the month.
Home Listings
There was a huge 44.1% increase in newly listed residential homes for December, when compared to December 2016 – 1,891 for December 2017 compared to 1,312 for December 2016.
Total number of homes listed for sale in the MLS was 6,958. This represented a 9.7% increase compared to 6,345 homes listed in December 2016, and a 20.5% decrease when compared to November 2017.
Sales-To-Active Listings Ratio
The December ratio was 29%. By property type, the ratio was 14.4% for detached homes, 59.6% for condos and 38.8% for townhomes. When compared to the previous few months, the ratio has not changed much.
When this ratio is at 12% or below for a sustained period, there is downward pressure on home prices, and when it is above 20%, there is upward pressure.
House Prices
The benchmark price for a detached home in the region was $1,605,800 – an increase of 7.9% when compared to December 2016. The benchmark price for an apartment in the region was $655,400 – an increase of 25.9% when compared to December 2016.
Get the full report here.
Beginning January of this year, the Federal government’s new qualification rules kicked in. It is too early to tell the impact they will have on the market. If you have any questions about this topic or any other real estate related topic, do not hesitate to contact us.
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Will The “Locals First” Policy Work At Reducing Vancouver Condo Prices?

1955 Alberni Street, Vancouver  Luxurious Laguna Parkside TownhomeVancouver’s on going escalating real estate prices and low availability have been a contentious issue with local residents.

In October 2017, Mayor Gregor Robertson introduced a controversial motion in Council  – “Locals first “ condo pre-sale policy –  aimed at preventing real estate developers from offering out of province buyers first chance at condo presales in Vancouver.

After much debate, it was passed 7-2.

According to the Mayor, the outcome was a step in the right direction towards making housing more available and affordable for locals. “Locals” are defined as residents who live and work in Metro Vancouver.

It is hoped that the passed motion could eventually make the locals first policy the default in any new building application in the city. In view of this, some developers have voluntarily adopted the policy in their up coming developments.

How effective will this be?

The problem arises on how companies define and screen for local eligibility, as there are many loopholes around this. Overseas buyers can use their local connections to buy in their name. More bureaucracy will be required to ensure that the policy is being enforced properly.

Another problem is that the city doesn’t have the legal authority to enforce the new policy unless it rezones a property, allowing it to place a whole series of legal covenants on the title.

Land is expensive, permitting and consultation processes are still time-consuming and expensive and construction costs are still expensive in the Lower Mainland. A 5-10% correction on a $700,000 condo will not make a noticeable impact. So the effectiveness of the policy in making housing more affordable is questionable.

Then there is the problem of “insiders” getting the first crack at local projects. It is not uncommon for developers to offer units to a consortium of friends and family, before opening to the public.

The Vancouver housing market is hot despite a number of obstacles being thrown at it to cool it down such as the foreign buyers tax, but prices continue to rise. Now is a great time to buy as it looks like prices will not drop in the foreseeable future. Contact us by email or call us on 604 913 1000 or 604 695 1000, if you are in the market to buy a home.

 

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New Mortgage Rules – Important Information For Homebuyers, Especially First-Time Homebuyers.

Beginning on January 1st 2018, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI) introduced 3 new rules that hit first time homebuyers and those thinking of refinancing their homes, the hardest.

New minimum qualification rate or “stress test”

All prospective homebuyers, even those with a down payment of over 20% have to pass this test.

Potential homebuyers need to qualify for a mortgage at a rate that is the greater of 2 indicators:

- either 200 basis points (2%) higher than the mortgage rate they qualified for

- the Bank of Canada’s 5 year benchmark rate

While the actual mortgage payment will still be paid at the contract rate, a higher qualification rate will be used for qualification purposes.

Enhanced Loan-To-Value (LTV) Measurements

Mortgage lenders must establish and adhere to appropriate LTV ratio limits that are reflective of risk and updated regularly as housing markets and the economic environment evolve.

The LTV ratio is used by banks to determine how risky a loan is  – the higher the LTV ratio, the greater the risk.

Restrictions placed on certain arrangements to avoid LTV limits

In the past, if you applied for a mortgage with an LTV ratio of 80% and the lender could only approve you for 60%, the lender could partner with another one for the additional 20% and complete the LTV loan of 80%. This is often referred to as “bundling” or a “bundle partnership”.

Banks and traditional lenders cannot do this anymore.

If you are a first-time homebuyer. Make sure you understand what you qualify for using the new regulatory rules, and get a pre-approved mortgage before you go house hunting.

If you require a further explanation of the new rules, please contact us on email or call us on 604 913 1000 or 604 695 1000.

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If You Own A Home With An Illegal Secondary Suite, Here’s Why You Should Get It Legalized.

With home prices in the Lower Mainland reaching dizzying heights, many homeowners are looking at ways of offsetting the high mortgage costs. So it should come to no surprise that secondary suites have become a widespread practice, especially with the incredibly low rental vacancy rate.

But a large proportion of homes with secondary suites in Greater Vancouver do not meet the requirements of a legal suite with the necessary building permits, and continue to be rented with little or no issues.

A legal suite functions as a self contained living unit that has been approved by the municipal authority and meets their secondary suite and building permit requirements.

While having an unauthorized suite may be acceptable to many homeowners, there are many benefits to legalizing it.

Increase the value of your home

You maintain the value of your home and potentially increase its value. With a legalized suite, all the work has been completed and inspected, and there is the possibility for supplemental income and a mortgage helper.

Avoid costly penalties

If the municipality receives a complaint about your suite and an investigation confirms the illegality, you may face costly penalties and additional water and sewage fees.

Ensure the safety of the occupants

By conforming to the building code and making the necessary structural changes, you comply with a variety of safety standards designed to provide minimum levels of health and safety to occupants.

Avoid costly lawsuits

If a flood or fire results in an accident or death, you can be sued by the tenant. If you haven’t provided the extra insurance, then the financial burden could be potentially catastrophical.

Don’t forget that the Residential Tenancy Act applies to secondary suites, even if they are not legal – both the landlord and tenant must comply with this act.

You may be considering buying a home with an illegal secondary suite –  balance the risks and rewards. If the home you are purchasing contains a secondary suite, keep in mind the benefits of legalizing it.

We have answers should you like to discuss this topic. Please contact us by email or on phone – 604 695 1000/ 604 913 1000.

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Here’s A Summary of Vancouver’s New Housing Strategy For The Next 10 Years

Vancouver is ranked as one the most unaffordable cities in the world in terms of owning a home and has a vacancy rate for rental units of under 1%.

After a year of studies and consultations, The City of Vancouver is proposing sweeping changes in a new 10-year housing strategy just released. It’s a plan aimed at building 72,000 new homes and keeping a lid on speculation.

According to Gil Kelley, the city’s general manager of planning, the new housing strategy includes “big moves” that haven’t been done before in Vancouver.

The strategy is accompanied by a 3-year action plan with 120 actions aimed to “create more liveable and affordable housing for Vancouver residents.”

The strategy to be adopted is very comprehensive covering everything from:

-       An attempt to eradicate homelessness.

-       How to tame real estate speculation – measures to “limit the commodification of housing and land for speculative investment.”

-       Improving the amount of rental and affordable housing in the city.

-       Address the supply and demand issues facing the city.

Of particular interest is the city’s proposal for the transformation of low-density neighborhoods,” which would open up single-family house zones to other housing options such as townhouses and row houses.

Traditionally affluent areas such as Kerrisdale, Dunbar and Arbutus Ridge would be targeted.

Home affordability has been a major issues and the new strategy includes setting home production goals based on income levels. Kelley told reporters “The underpinning here, philosophically, is to make sure that Vancouver remains a place for all people, all incomes. So we’re actually meeting the needs of Vancouverites, not only for investors. That’s a big shift.”

Plans are also underway to investigate what Australia and New Zealand have done to limit new home sales and resales to local buyers.

Everyone on our team of real estate professionals has years of expertise and first-hand knowledge working with homeowners to help them achieve their dreams, whatever the season or style of home. For more information, please call us on 604 913 1000 or 604 695 1000, or email us.

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Important Tips On How To Protect Your Garden From Frost During This Cold Weather

The freezing weather we are currently experiencing can harm or kill plants and damage crops. The cold weather especially frost, causes the water in the plant cells to freeze, damaging the cell wall.

Plants most vulnerable to frost are:

  • Spring blooming shrubs and trees such as cherry, azalea, and rhododendron
  • Houseplants and tropicals
  • Tender bulbs such as elephant ear and dahlia
  • Warm season annuals such as geranium and petunia
  • Warm season vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, and corn
  • Citrus trees

Here are steps to take to protect vulnerable plants:

1)    Bring potted plant indoors.

This is the easiest solution. Take your hanging baskets and potted plants and bring them indoors. They can be placed in the garage or a sunroom, where they will be protected from the harsh elements.

2)    Apply a layer of mulch.

Mulch made of wheat or pine straw will act as an insulator, holding in heat and moisture in the soil. Applying a layer of 2-3 inches will trap the heat well providing a much-needed layer of insulation.

3)    Cover your plants.

Larger plants can be covered with bed sheets, blankets or other fabric (avoid using plastic). For best results, drape the cover over a frame to keep the fabric from touching the foliage. Make sure your cover drapes to the ground. Uncover in the morning when the temperature rises.

4)    Water your plants before a heavy freeze.

By watering the soil prior to a very cold night, you will allow the soil to trap the heat better when it is wet than when it is dry. Don’t water soil that is frozen, as it will make the conditions for the plant more difficult.

Dealing with snow

There is a benefit to snow as it acts as an insulator, protecting plants from the cold and frost. When it snows do the following:

  • Shake excess snow from branches of trees, shrubs, and hedges, to prevent them from becoming disfigured by the weight of the snow accumulation.
  • Remove heavy deposits of snow from the roods of greenhouses and frames to let in light, and preventing the structures from bending.
  • Avoid walking on snow-covered grass as it will damage the turf underneath and leave unsightly marks on the lawn.

To learn more about Virani Real Estate Advisors or to discuss a property transaction, contact us at http://www.virani.ca/contact.php , visit one of our offices located in downtown Vancouver or in West Vancouver, or call 604-913-1000.

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REBGV Market Update For November 2017 – We Are Continuing To Experience Above-Average Demand And Below-Average Supply

The latest Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REGBV) report on the November 2017 real estate market, showed modest home listing changes and steady demand.

Jill Oudil, the current REGBV President remarked, “ We’re seeing steady demand in today’s market. Home buyer activity is operating above our long-term averages, particularly in our townhome and condominium markets.”

Home Sales

Home sales were above average for this time of the year. The region saw November register 2,795 sales, a 26.2% increase from the 2,214 sales recorded in November 2016, and a 7.5% decrease from October 2017 when 3,022 homes sold.

November sales were 17% above the 10-year November sales average.

Home Listings

Regarding home listings, Jill Odil made the following comment: “While we are seeing more listings enter the market today than we saw at this time last year, we have a long way to go before our home listing inventory rises back to more historically typical levels.”

She was alluding to the fact that the number of homes listed on the MLS for November 2017 was 8,747, representing a 4.3% increase from November 2016, but a 4.3% decrease when compared to October 2017.

Sales-to-active-listings ratio

The November 2017 ratio was 32%. By property type, the ratio was 15.9% for detached homes, 36.4% for townhomes and 67.8% for condominiums.

When this ratio is around or below 12% for a sustained period, there is downward pressure on home prices, and when it is above 20%, there is upward pressure.

Home Prices

The MLS Home Price Index for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was at $1,046,900 in November 2017. This was a 14% increase over November 2016 and 0.4% increase over October 2017.

The constrained supply coupled with rising demand is causing price increases in the market – especially the condo and townhome market.

In the last 12 months, detached homes have increased 6% on average, townhomes 17% and condos 23%.

Get the full report here.

Our real estate sales professionals are focused on looking after their client’s best interests. They are trained and highly experienced in all matters real estate. To contact a Virani sales professional, call on 604 913 1000/ 604 695 1000 or email.

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