When Buying A Condo, Make Sure You Are Aware Of These 4 Important Strata Bylaws

3 Bed - 1550 Alberni Street, Vancouver  Alberni by Kengo Kuma - 3 Bedroom
In the past few years, the Metro Vancouver real estate scene has become very expensive. For many who want to get into the real estate market, detached homes are simply unaffordable, and purchasing a condo and town home is the only affordable solution.

Developers are now aware of this fact, and there are a number of housing developments sprouting up all over the Lower Mainland. Some buyers who jump into condo ownership do not pay attention to the strata bylaws and get frustrated when they learn that the bylaws work against them.

So before you sign any contracts, make sure you address and are aware of the following points with respect to the strata bylaws of the development you intend to purchase from:

Short-term rentals

No doubt offering part of your condo for short-term accommodation would be a great help for reducing your mortgage burden. With the popularity of AirBnB and the fact that many municipalities have now laid out clear rules for such accommodation, be aware that the condo strata corporation may prohibit this.

The strata corporations usually cite concerns about insurance coverage, security and damage. Many owners are not aware that a standard unit insurance policy does not cover damage caused by a guest.

Rental restrictions and prohibitions

You may want to travel for a few months and rent your condo out while you are away. Ensure that the bylaws allow you to do this.  In another scenario, you may buy a condo with the long-term intention of moving to another home and renting yours on the market instead of selling it. Check to see whether there are any rental restrictions in the strata bylaws that prevent you from doing this.

Pet restrictions

If you own a pet, don’t take it for granted that it will be allowed to stay with you in the condo. Pet bylaws vary greatly from strata to strata, and can be as extreme as complete pet prohibition. Some stratas that allow pets may have a size and number of pets restriction, and may require pre-approval and registration with the strata.

Flooring  and other renovation restrictions

Some stratas may not allow you to replace the current carpets with hardwood flooring. This may be a noise restriction measure between the floors of the building. Make sure you are aware of this before planning these changes.

Even if the strata corporation does not contain specific provisions about the installation of flooring, the bylaws always contain some general provisions requiring approval of the strata council for alterations or renovations to a strata lot. So you may have to get approval for any other planned renovations, and it is not a guarantee that your plans will pass.

If you are looking to purchase a condo in this very dynamic condo market, we have a number of condos available in our listings. Go to the VLIST search on our website and browse through the listings.

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REBGV Market Report For March 2018 – Housing Sales Dip While Prices Rise

2705 Edgemont Blvd, North Vancouver  Modern Living in Edgemont VillageThe Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) released its housing report for March 2018. It reported that Metro Vancouver home sales continued to drop on a year-over-year basis.

According to RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue, the region’s sales decline is not surprising due to the mortgage stress test that had been introduced at the beginning of the year, and “the situation got more challenging there after the BC provincial budget at the end of February announced a new round of market cooling measures.”

Home Sales

Residential home sales for March reached 2,517 units, which was a 29.7% decrease from the 3,579 units sold in March 2017 sales and an increase of 14% from February 2018 when 2,207 homes were sold.

March 2018 home sales were 23% below the 10-year March sales average.

Home Listings

There were 4,450 properties (detached, attached and apartments) newly listed for sale in March 2018 on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). While it represented a 6.6% decrease when compared to March 2017, it was 5.4% higher than February 2018 when 4,223 homes were listed.

According to REBGV president Phil Moore, “Last month was the quietest March for new home listings since 2009 and the total inventory, particularly in the condo and town home segments, of homes for sale remains well below historical norms.”

Sales-To-Active Listings Ratio

The March ratio was 30% for all property types across Metro Vancouver. By property type, the ratio was 14.2% for detached homes, 39.9% for townhomes and 61.6% 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.

The ratio has been steadily increasing for condos and town homes, and decreasing for detached homes.

House Prices

The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver for March 2018 was $1,084,000. This increased by 16.1% when compared to the same month last year, and increased by 1.1% when compared to February 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment in March 2018 was $693,500 and the benchmark price of an attached unit was $835,300.

The full report is available here.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, or have any real – estate related questions, contact us by email, visit one of our offices, or call 604 913 1000/ 604 695 1000

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10 Reasons Why You Should Use A Realtor When Purchasing A Pre-Sale Deal

286 Beach Crescent, Vancouver  The World Famous Erickson!Buying a condo through a “presale deal’ is when you make an initial lump sum payment for the right to receive a finished unit at the end of the deal.  It is a popular practice especially in the Lower Mainland, where there a number of condo projects currently under construction.

Some huge advantages to buying through a presale is that you can make portions of the down payment throughout the construction period and may have a limited say in the final design and finishes of the unit.

Having a realtor support you in your presale purchase is a best practice for the following reasons:

1. The Sales office of the building works for the builder, your realtor works for you

Your realtor works for you, is accountable to you and has your best interests at heart, whereas the sales agents are working for the builder and may not give you the right advice when it comes to purchasing the unit. While you may think you are getting a better price going directly to the sales office, you are doing this at the risk of your contract safety, and your realtor could have negotiated the same price for you.

2. A realtor will be invited to VIP events

By virtue of his/her profession, a realtor will be invited to VIP events, which will give them access to the best floor plans and price per square foot of the development, before it is released to the general public.

3. It costs you nothing to use a realtor

In the case of presales, the developer pays the realtor a commission. So you get the experience, knowledge and services of a professional realtor for free, allowing you to concentrate on your day-to-day activities.

4. The risks are less when you use a realtor

By working with a realtor you will be made aware of the risks associated with the presale deal – legal, financial or personal. Should any unfortunate circumstances arise, such as a softening market, you are in a better position to address these types of risks with a realtor, than if you went ahead on your own.

5. A realtor will have contract knowledge and expertise

Realtors have been trained to understand and interpret real estate contracts. Having a realtor present to review the contract, terms and disclosure statement is very important, especially since presale contracts vary from developer to developer. Presales contracts are not the standard MLS contracts that protect the buyer and seller, the former are more inclined to protect the developer, so a realtor would be able to view the contract with your interests in mind.

6. A realtor can help you with, and smoothen the negotiation process

Developers prefer to work with realtors as clients who work with a realtor are made aware of the project ins and outs, thereby making the whole process smoother.  This allows the sales team to spend more time on other clients. While price may stay firm, certain fees can be removed or capped within your agreement, which you would not have known about, if you did not use a realtor.

7. You get an unbiased view of the development

The sales staff at the development has one goal – sell units! They will sell you on the positives and skip over the negatives regarding the property. A realtor on the other hand, is obliged to show you the whole picture, ensuring that your best interests are at heart.

8. A realtor has expert market knowledge

A realtor has a number of resources on hand to give you an accurate idea of what comparable properties are priced at, so that you are not paying over market rates. You may be influenced by the slick presentations given by the sales agents. They may even offer you a discount on the unit, but this discount may have already been pre-negotiated with the developer and built into the profit margin. Also, a realtor will also be aware of the reputation on the builder  – you as a member of the public may not be aware of this. 

9. A realtor will take the emotion and stress out of the transaction

Buying a home is not a regular occurrence in anyone’s lifetime.  It can be stressful, time consuming and emotional. A realtor is trained to bring a perspective to the process, allowing you to stay focused on your goals and see the bigger picture. They negotiate on your behalf, keep you aware of various developments and issues, and are there to lead you through the whole transaction.

10. A realtor can help you market the property

If you are an investor and are looking to assign your unit, your realtor can help you find a buyer, as certain types of advertising is not permissible by the developer. With tools such as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), you will get a far greater sales audience.

The most important benefit of using a realtor when entering into a presale contract is that they have your best interest at heart. A realtor will represent you honestly, efficiently and ethically, and will assist you in making the best decision for your needs.

Looking to get into a presale? Please contact us or call us on 604 913 1000/ 604 695 1000 and one of our experienced real estate professionals will be able to assist you.

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The Steel Tariffs: We Have A Temporary Reprieve, But Will Trump’s Proposed Tariffs Affect Canadian Real Estate?

2102 - 583 Beach Crescent, Vancouver  Prestigious Park West TWO!Last week, US President Donald Trump announced plans to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum, in a bid to boost domestic production and add new jobs. Yesterday we got some relief as the proposed tariffs for Canada have been shelved for the time being.

But, if the tariffs go through, how will it affect the Canadian real estate market?

According to the chairman of the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), Randy Noel, “This announcement by the president could not have come at a worse time as tariffs hurt consumers and harm housing affordability.”

The tariffs on steel and aluminum likely will have an impact on new home prices if the cost of those materials increases in the U.S. But that effect will likely be more muted because new homes typically have more wood than metal

However, apartment and condo buildings require more steel and aluminum and the higher costs may get passed onto both homebuyers and renters. As the home building activity has begun to pick up in the past few months, there is less potential for an inventory slowdown.

Aaron Terrazas, a senior economist at Zillow said “The supply situation isn’t quite as dire and the concern is more supply at the right price point, and adding to construction costs will only make it harder to build at an affordable price point.”

Last November the US Department of Commerce imposed a 20.83% tariff on softwood lumber from Canada. This caused the price of lumber to jump by nearly 15%. It also added $6,000 to $10,000 to the cost of a median priced home.

But the cost of new homes isn’t the only way tariffs have an effect on single-family housing. The Canadian lumber duty was also projected to reduce investment in single-family structures by $1.1 billion. If a similar reduction were to now occur because of new tariffs on steel,  that could slow new home building. Inventory constraints could be further exacerbated and fuel even more competition for homes.

Whether you are listing a condo or a luxury home, we can help. Our experienced real estate professionals are available to assist you in making the transaction as stress free as possible. Contact us by email or call us on 604 913 1000 or 604 695 1000.

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REBGV Market Report For February 2018 – A Weak February Overall.

2855 Panorama Drive, North Vancouver  Semi Waterfront Living.According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) report for February 2018, condo prices rose as inventory failed to keep up with demand, but single-family homes continued to be in a buyer’s market.

Despite the condo market’s strong performance, the statistics show that it was a weak February overall, as new mortgage qualification rules, rising interest rates and policy-related uncertainty took their toll.

Home Sales

February’s sales were 14.4% below the 10 year February sales average. Residential home sales totalled 2.207, which as a 9% decrease from the 2,424 February 2017 sales and an increase of 21.4% from January 2018 when 1,818 homes were sold.

Sales of attached properties such as townhouses and duplexes saw a less-alarming annual decline, with February showing a slight drop of 0.7% year over year, and up 26.6% since January. The benchmark attached-home price rose 18.1% year over year, and 1.9% month over month, to $819,200.

Despite high demand – and perhaps because of the apparent lack of inventory – condo sales in February saw a steeper yearly decrease of 7.1%, with 1,185 units sold. That’s 17% more than were sold the previous month.

Home Listings

4,233 properties were newly listed for sale in February 2018 on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This was a 15.2% increase compared to 3,666 newly listed homes in February 2017, and an increase of 11.2% when compared to January 2018, when 3,796 homes were newly listed.

Sales-To-Active Listings Ratio

The February ratio was 28.2% for all property types across Metro Vancouver. By property type, the ratio was 13% for detached homes, 37.6% for townhomes and 59.7% 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.

House Prices

The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver for February 2018 was $1,071,800.

We have been in the real estate business for over 28 years and have a wealth of experience when it comes to selling your home. If you are planning on selling your home, contact us for tips on how to stage and present your home before putting it on the market.

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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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