Metro Vancouver home buyers set a record pace in February

Last month was the highest selling February on record for the Metro Vancouver housing market.

Residential property sales in the region totalled 4,172 in February 2016, an increase of 36.3 per cent from the 3,061 sales recorded in February 2015 and an increase of 65.6 per cent compared to January 2016 when 2,519 home sales occurred.

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Last month’s sales were 56.3 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and ranks as the highest February sales total on record.

“We’re in a competitive, fast-moving market cycle that favours home sellers,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “Sustained home buyer competition is keeping upward pressure on home prices across the region.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 5,812 in February 2016. This represents an increase of 7.1 per cent compared to the 5,425 units listed in February 2015 and a 30.8 per cent increase compared to January 2016 when 4,442 properties were listed.

“We’re beginning to see home listings increase as we head toward the spring market, however, additional supply is still needed to meet today’s demand,” McLeod said.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,299, a 38.7 per cent decline compared to February 2015 (11,898) and a 10 per cent increase compared to January 2016 (6,635).

The sales-to-active listings ratio for February 2016 is 57.2 per cent. This is indicative of a seller’s market.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches the 20 to 22 per cent range in a particular community for a sustained period of time.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $795,500. This represents a 22.2 per cent increase compared to February 2015.

Sales of detached properties in February 2016 reached 1,778, an increase of 37.2 per cent from the 1,296 detached sales recorded in February 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 27 per cent from February 2015 to $1,305,600.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,790 in February 2016, an increase of 43.9 per cent compared to the 1,244 sales in February 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 17.7 per cent from February 2015 to $454,600.

Attached property sales in February 2016 totalled 604, an increase of 15.9 per cent compared to the 521 sales in February 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 17 per cent from February 2015 to $569,600.

Tourists are back Buying Vancouver Waterfront Condos

Tourists Return To Buying Vancouver Coal Harbour Condos

The dropping Canadian dollar, along with Vancouver’s natural beauty, is bringing impromptu foreign buyers back to the Coal Harbour area, says one realtor.

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“It happened a long time ago and now it seems to be happening again,” Shaun Kimmins with Sotheby’s International Realty told The Huffington Post B.C. in an interview. He said his office fielded dozens of daily inquiries from tourists this summer.

Reblogged from The Huffington Post Canada | Andree Lau

“People walk in and with no previous intention of setting out to buy property, end up just falling in love with the area on a sunny day, walking into our office and end up writing offers.”

While Chinese visitors buying property remains consistent, it’s the American clients that have returned, he said.

Kimmins has sold several waterfront condos ranging between $2 million and $4 million this year to U.S.-based clients who use them as vacation properties.

When the towers in Coal Harbour were going up around 2001, the low dollar attracted many Americans. But as it swung up to $1.05, many cashed in.

“They have to be objects of desire but they also have to represent a safe or secure investment,” said Kimmins. “Now that we’ve seen a reversal in the depression of the [Canadian] dollar versus the U.S. dollar, we’re sensing that there’s more money coming back and buying back in.”

One of Kimmins’ clients from Mexico, who already owns in the area, bought a $5.5 million waterfront property this summer.

Meanwhile, Canadians who left Vancouver to work in Hong Kong after obtaining citizenship appear to be moving back to Vancouver, realtor Winfield Yan told the Georgia Straight.

The cost of living in Hong Kong is high, with rich mainland Chinese pushing locals there out of the real estate market, he said.

Read the original article here

We’re out of the Hole now! – Alture Midcity

Alture MidCity – Visit the Project Summary page – View Alture MidCity on Pinterest

To see the full project details and follow development updates as they happen, please visit the project summary page.

Empty homes not the issue in Vancouver, Urban Futures think-tank says

A THINK-TANK THAT looks into demographic and economic issues has had enough of some of the talk around unoccupied homes in Vancouver.

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Noting that “with recent headlines speculating on the share of the City’[s] unoccupied housing stock ranging between 25 and 50 percent”, Urban Futures thinks it might be helpful to give out again its previous report on vacant dwellings in Canada.

Reblogged from The Georgia Straight | Carlito Pablo

In a media release today (September 26) providing a link to the paper “Much Ado About Nothing: What the Census data say, and don’t say, about foreign & temporary residents and unoccupied dwellings”, Urban Futures states that “discussions around this issue have suffered from, at best, misrepresentation of the available data to consider the issue”.

“At worst they are further entrenching misconceptions about housing occupancy in the region,” the group adds.

The Urban Futures study notes that an average of 4.8 percent of dwelling units in 33 major metropolitan areas across Canada was unoccupied during the 2011 census.

“With a 5.4 percent level of unoccupied units, the Vancouver CMA [census metropolitan area] was above the CMA average, but the difference was slight compared to other CMAs, such as the Victoria (7.5 percent), London and Windsor (6.9 percent), St. Catherines/Niagara and Sherbrooke (both at 6.8 percent) regions,” the paper states.

Zeroing in on apartments, Metro Vancouver had 6.2 percent vacant, which is “below the 7.0 percent average for all 33 of the CMAs in Canada”.

“The average of 5.4 percent of all private dwellings in the Vancouver CMA being unoccupied at the time of the Census represented underlying levels of 3.2 percent of the single detached stock, 6.2 percent of apartments, and 6.8 percent of attached ground oriented units. Single detached units accounted for 20 percent of the unoccupied units in the region on Census day, perhaps reflective of 2011’s active real estate sales market,” the paper notes.

It goes on: “Within the Vancouver region, with an overall average of 6.2 percent, unoccupied apartments accounted for a slightly above average share in the City of Vancouver (6.7 percent) and West Vancouver (6.9 percent), and well above average shares in Pitt Meadows (8.7 percent), Surrey (9.2 percent), and in the UBC/UEL area (10.1 percent). The spatial pattern of unoccupied apartment units throughout the region is driven by a wide range of factors, from the prominence of student populations within each municipality to sales activity.”

The authors note that there are no census data on foreign ownership or investment in housing.

Their conclusion: “There are significant housing issues in this region—the levels of occupancy by foreign and/or temporary residents and level of unoccupied units are not among them.”

Last year, the Straight spoke with one of the authors of the report, economist Ryan Berlin, who said at that time: “We were just trying to reframe the debate in terms of the actual numbers and in terms of the definitions.”

Read original article and more here…

Construction Update – Time Lapse | Alture MidCity

B.C. Supreme Court rules in mother-daughter housing dispute

A RECENT B.C. Supreme Court battle should serve as a caveat for relatives thinking of jointly buying property.

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Reblogged from The Georgia Straight | Carlito Pablo

This one pitted a daughter against her mother in connection with a home purchase where they did not put their agreement in writing.

In a July 18, 2014, ruling, Justice Barry Davies reminded us about the pitfalls of “undocumented or under-documented inter-generational ventures entered into amongst family members”.

As Davies observed in his reasons for judgment: “All too often…the best of intentions result in sorrow.”

In the case filed by Catherine Ann Cerenzie and her husband against the woman’s mother, Mary Teresa Duff, “what is lost by all involved…is far more than money.”

“The real loss,” Davies wrote, “is the love and trust which gave rise to the venture in the first place and which likely will never be regained.”

Wading through conflicting testimonies, Davies was able to piece together a narrative around the purchase and eventual sale of 1064 Buoy Drive in Port Coquitlam.

The property was purchased by Duff and her daughter in 2008 out of the younger woman’s desire to have a stable home for her three children. When mortgage financing of $464,000 was first approved, it was contemplated that both Duff and Cerenzie were to be the mortgagors.

“It was only later, after Mrs. Duff advised Mrs. Cerenzie that she would eventually qualify for lower property taxes, that the Buoy Drive Home was conveyed only to Mrs. Duff rather than jointly to her and Mrs. Cerenzie, with Mrs. Cerenzie then becoming a guarantor rather than a co-borrower on the mortgage obtained for its purchase,” Davies recalled.

Duff made a $137,000 down payment, and the Cerenzies contributed $5,000. The Cerenzie family occupied the upstairs of the house, while Duff moved into a suite on the lower floor.

Although there is “insufficient evidence of the specifics of the arrangements”, Davies noted that there was “general agreement” between the parties on buying a suitable home that they could all “collectively afford”.

One aspect of this agreement was that Duff would contribute $500 monthly toward paying off the mortgage and the Cerenzies would shoulder the balance of mortgage payments.

In the spring of 2012, Duff “began to assert sole ownership rights by unilaterally determining to sell the Buoy Drive Home”, Davies wrote.

Davies didn’t go into why there was a falling-out. He noted that there had already been “sufficient discord and recrimination in this litigation to likely irreparably poison the once good relationship between the parties”.

The Cerenzie family was evicted, and Duff sold the house.

During the trial, Duff testified that the Cerenzie family was her tenant, an assertion that the judge rejected. Davies agreed with the plaintiffs’ claim: “In this case, Mr. and Mrs. Cerenzie submit that evidence establishes that they are entitled to a share of the Sale Proceeds both by imposition of a resulting trust or by application of the equitable principle of unjust enrichment.”

The judge determined that the Cerenzies contributed a total of $83,913.86 toward the purchase of the house: their down payment of $5,000 and mortgage payments totalling $78,913.86.

Duff contributed $155,510.66, which is the sum of her down payment of $137,000 and her monthly mortgage payments.

Although Davies agreed that the Cerenzies are entitled to a share of the sale proceeds of $192,682.45, he denied their suggestion that the amount be divided on a pro rata basis or in proportion to overall contributions.

One reason is that Duff made a bigger initial investment to acquire the home, and that should “accordingly entitle her to a greater share of the Sale Proceeds”.

After some adjustments, Davies ruled that Duff is entitled to $136,800, and the Cerenzies, $55,882.45.

Davies also dismissed Duff’s counterclaim that the plaintiffs owe her for damage to the home and loans made by her to Mr. Cerenzie.

As in many cases similar to this, Davies noted, when courts are called to sort out issues, the “result will never be totally satisfactory to the parties”.

Read the original article and more here

CMHC policy change on second homes fails to dent cottage sales

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s decision to stop insuring mortgages on second homes is not having a noticeable impact on the country’s cottage market…

Reblogged from The Globe and Mail | Tara Perkins

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s decision to stop insuring mortgages on second homes is not having a noticeable impact on the country’s cottage market, Re/Max says.

CMHC, the Crown corporation that dominates Canada’s mortgage insurance market, said in late April that it was no longer going to insure mortgages on second homes effective May 30.

While a full month has yet to pass since the change came into effect, Gurinder Sandhu, Re/Max’s regional director for the Ontario-Atlantic region, says there has been “very little, if any,” impact on the market for recreational properties.

That’s in large part because people who are buying cottages tend to make a down payment of more than 20 per cent, which means that mortgage insurance isn’t necessary. Also, CMHC’s private sector rivals did not tighten their products to the same degree, meaning that insurance is still a possibility for those who have a smaller down payment.

“While some potential recreational buyers may have been discouraged by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s recent decision to eliminate insurance on second mortgages, there is little to no material impact expected from this change,” Re/Max says in its 2014 recreational property report, which will be released Wednesday.

The report says recreational property sales and listings have rebounded from the chill that this winter’s cold weather put on the market. Mr. Sandhu expects that an uptick in sales will make up for the slow start to the year.

“What we’re seeing across the board is high single-digit price increases, and by the end of the year the number of transactions will be on par with last year,” he says.

Here are a few highlights from Re/Max’s regional breakdown of the recreational market:

Tofino/Ucluelet, B.C.

– Overall prices are down about 20 per cent since before the recession.

– A number of vacant lots have been sold this year, meaning more construction is coming.

– The most expensive property sold in Ucluelet so far this year was a beachfront vacation rental home with a caretaker cottage for $1.6-million.

– The most expensive in Tofino was a 1.5-acre, 4,600-square-foot oceanfront property for $7.9-million.

Whistler, B.C.

– The market is picking up after suffering a slump following the 2010 Winter Olympics.

– One of the most expensive properties sold in the past year was a 7,000-square-foot, five-bedroom estate with a guesthouse, pool and tennis court on six acres of land for $10-million.

Canmore, Alta.

– Including both houses and condos, the average price is about $556,000 and sales have been steady over the past year.

– The average price for a single-family home is $888,000.

– One of the most expensive homes sold recently was a 3,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom property with two fireplaces for about $2.3-million.

Lake Winnipeg West, Manitoba

– Prices start at about $70,000, while the average price of a three-season home ranges from $95,000 to $140,000. Winterized properties are closer to $375,000.

– There has been an increase in inventory in Sandy Hook with discussions under way about installing a sewer system in the area.

– Vacant land sales are becoming increasingly popular, especially among hunters and those looking for recreational land.

Collingwood, Ont.

– There is roughly a 60/40 ratio of homes and cottages to condos now.

– Recreational property prices have stabilized and are now rising.

– At least 13 properties have sold for more than $1-million this year.

– A typical two-bedroom winterized waterfront cottage ranges from about $450,000 on the east side of town to about $650,000 on the west side.

Bracebridge/Gravenhurst

– Appears to be a buyer’s market.

– Typical cottages start at about $300,000 riverfront or $400,000 lakefront, plus an additional $100,000-plus for ones that are winterized.

– One of the most expensive properties on the market, a 5,500-square-foot home on a 22-acre island, was recently listed for $6.4-million.

North Shore/South Shore, PEI

– Sales have been slow.

– An oceanfront cottage in PEI starts at about $180,000 and increases to about $900,000 depending on size and location.

– One of the most expensive properties listed in the past year was a 2,000-square-foot oceanfront place with five bedrooms and three bathrooms, which sold for $372,450.

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Boys and Their Toys – Alture MidCity

The Alture MidCity ground breaking event was held last week in Sunny Calgary! Fortunately catching the one sunny day in a week long rainy stretch, the boys have dusted off the hard hats and started off to work.

BCREA Housing Market Update (June 2014)

Questions for Property Transfer Tax (BC)

20140219-224133.jpgIf you are like me, then you probably have tons of questions about Property Transfer Tax. Do I have to pay it? What happens when I sell my house? What if I want to give my house to my children? Are there any rebates, discounts or first-time homebuyer benefits?  I’ve come across a nice article from David Simon – which is quite helpful in some of the odd particulars of Property Transfer Tax, like adding someone’s name to title – does that constitute a sale subject to property transfer tax? I’m by no means an expert nor a lawyer – should you consult your own lawyer if you have a particular situation or question? Yes. If you want to shoot me over a quick question, or get some recommendations on who you should really be speaking to, please hit up the comment section below or on my contact form.

For all you lucky Albertan’s, you’ve probably never encountered nor will you ever hear about this strange thing we call property transfer tax.

“I am often asked how a person can add someone to a title without paying property transfer tax. Usually that person contributed to the acquisition and has been helping paying the mortgage. Unless the person is a “related individual” as defined in the Property Transfer Tax Act and the transferor or the transferee has been living there as his/her principal residence for at least 6 months, then property transfer tax has to be paid. A related individual under the Act is a direct relative, e.g. son, daughter, parent grandparent. Siblings and aunts and uncles do not fall within the definition and the transfer tax has to be paid for transfers to them.

 I have been asked if a company can transfer its property free of property transfer tax to its shareholders. The answer is no as the company is a separate legal entity from its shareholders. Only if the company was holding the property in trust and the trust declaration was registered when the transfer to the company was registered, can the transfer be done free of property transfer tax.

 From an income tax point of view, the law is that on any disposition, or deemed disposition, of capital property, tax is payable on any capital gains. The main exception to this is for dispositions of a primary residence. There is no tax payable on the capital gains from a disposition of a primary residence.  A deemed disposition occurs when a person dies, there is a gift of property or there is a change of use of the property, e g. it goes from being your primary residence to a rental property, or from a rental property to being your primary residence. The gain has to be determined at that time and any applicable tax paid. So before anyone takes title to, or transfers title to, all or part of a primary residence or any other property, even if a family member is involved, they should consult with their tax advisor as to possible tax consequences. Once you do something it is difficult and potentially costly to undo it.”