Call me to get all the details and find out whats left in this great building.
FABULOUS OUTDOOR LIVING
At Verdi, we have the perfect place for you to gather with friends, watch a sunset or look at the beautiful view of the mountains. Head to the rooftop terrace where you will find plenty of open space to entertain or just relax on the seating area. The terrace also features your very own vegetable garden plot and a gas BBQ area under a large wooden trellis. It’s the perfect place to grill some steaks paired with your home grown veggies and unwind with neighbours and friends.
DESIGN AND FUNCTION
Project design by award winning Chris Dikeakos Architects
Interior design by renowned Cristina Oberti Interior Design with choice of two contemporary designer colour palettes: Giorno (Light) and Notte (Dark)
Wide-plank laminate wood flooring throughout living/dining areas and kitchens
Bedrooms offer the comfort of lush carpeting
Each bedroom closet includes built-in rod and shelving to maximize storage
Laundry closet with front-loading washer & dryer
Generous sized terraces and balconies for outdoor living in most homes
Large expansive windows allow lots of natural light
Stylish roller shades throughout
Energy efficient electric baseboard heating throughout
Residential rooftop patio with community gardens, seating area and gas barbeque
Easy-to-clean high pressure laminate cabinetry with soft-close drawer-slide mechanisms
Breakfast bars in most kitchens
Undermount stainless steel Kohler sink with in-sink food disposal
Kohler pullout faucet allows user to switch between pause, spray and stream options
2 cm Euro-inspired quartz countertops with eased edge and full height matching quartz backsplash
Ask anyone who’s been busy looking for a new home — especially in a market that’s been as hot as Metro Vancouver’s — and they’ll likely tell you the process can be daunting.
For first-time buyers especially, the process can seem overwhelming at times. There’s no easy road map, and there is so much to consider beyond a property’s age, location and square footage. From choosing between a condo and a townhome, from wood-frame to concrete construction, to an older or newer home — not to mention the neighbourhood — buyers have much to consider.
On March 1, the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association’s 23rd annual Homebuyer Forum will bring prospective buyers together with industry experts who will address such issues. The free event, presented by BC Housing, takes place from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at SFU Harbour Centre. (To register to attend or to watch via live stream, visit http://www.gvhba.org/homebuyer_forum).
The forum will feature a series of moderated, interactive panel discussions on topics such as Getting Ready to Buy, Market Intelligence and What Product is Right for Me? A marketplace, which offers attendees a chance to interact with real estate and industry specialists and view a variety of housing product, will run concurrently.
Among the speakers are Tony Gioventu of the Condominium Home Owners’ Association and Dan Morrison of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, both of whom will take part in Market Intelligence.
Derek Fenton, development and marketing manager for builder Zenterra Developments, is among the speakers who will discuss choosing the right product.
“A lot to do with this is asking, ‘What are your fundamental goals when you’re looking at your first-time home purchase?’” Fenton said.
“If you’re a single guy or a single lady, and maybe you just want to get into the market, maybe buying a 500-square-foot studio apartment — perfect. But if you’re a newlywed couple, you’ve been putting a down payment together and want to start a family, maybe you want a two- or three-bedroom townhome.”
Of course, buyers also need to look closely at the bottom line.
“Gone are the days — and we’re going to be talking to people in their twenties and thirties — where our parents bought a single detached home for $200,000 and you grew up in this ABC neighbourhood in this big home.”
Talking to a mortgage broker is a good starting point.
“If you go out and start looking at pre-sale homes or condos or townhomes, and you’re looking in the six-or- $700,000 range, and you go to a mortgage broker and they say ‘Well, actually, you’re qualifying in the high threes or fours,’ you need to dial in your expectations.”
First-time buyers also need to factor in costs for such things as strata fees and property taxes.
“Typically, your price per square foot on a concrete apartment is going to be higher than a wood-frame townhome,” he said. “For a wood-frame townhome out in Langley or Surrey, you may be looking at nine or 10 cents per square foot in strata fees. If you’re looking at a high-end tower in downtown Vancouver, in Coal Harbour, for example, you might be looking at 40 or 50 cents per square foot.”
Additional considerations come with purchasing new versus resale. Buyers of resale homes often want an inspection, and older condos, especially in older buildings, may require the payment of special levies.
Homes that are less than 10 years old come with warranties, a cost that Wendy Acheson will address, also in What Product is Right for You?
“It’s about raising awareness for prospective purchasers, so they know what they can expect from their home-warranty insurance policy,” said Acheson, vice-president and registrar of the Licensing and Consumer Services Branch of BC Housing.
She will also discuss the difference between homeowner and strata council responsibilities in case of defects.
“Because it is an insurance policy, sometimes it’s difficult to read and understand. That’s why I really want to bring in information to the homebuyer in a way they can understand, and know what to do if they do have any problems with their home.”
Finding a realtor
Dan Morrison, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, will be on hand at the upcoming Homebuyer Forum to address the topic of finding the right real estate agent.
Here are some of his tips on finding a fit among the 13,000 licensed realtors in Greater Vancouver.
Don’t pick the first person you meet. “Find someone who you feel you can trust and has your needs at heart, who knows the area you want to buy in and types of product you want to buy. It breaks my heart when I see situations when somebody is working from out of the area, who doesn’t know the area or that type of product properly.”
Make sure that the realtor is available when you are. “If your realtor can’t be there to show you the inventory, how can they properly advise you on the transaction?”
Find someone with experience. “Problems do happen, and you want someone who can mitigate the problems and solve them in your best interest.”
Ask friends and family for referrals, “especially if they live in the neighbourhood you want to be in, or have bought the kind of product you want. See who’s active in the area.”
Ask for a special presentation. “Even if they don’t ask for it, a good realtor will give a presentation to the buyer to let them know how they work, and what their commitment is to you.”
Check their website. “When was it last updated, is the information current, are the links working? Are they actually in business, in other words? Is there a Twitter feed or a blog? Are they posting things regularly?”
Is it okay if they dress in an Adidas track suit? “Every buyer is different. Some will have higher standards. I typically wear a suit and tie, but lots of my colleagues don’t. It’s whatever your comfort level is.”
The Way Home is a series looking at the challenges faced by different generations of people who are in the market for a home – from first-time buyers and growing families to baby boomers who are downsizing.
With a little boy who’s just learning how to walk, Fred and Erin Desjardins would like to have a second child. However, their current home could prove challenging for their growing family.
The 1,000-square-foot, two-storey townhouse has several stairs, which make things tricky when they’re transporting kids, a stroller and groceries. They’ve been preapproved for a bigger mortgage, but they’re aware of the potential downside to upgrading.
“We’re not willing to put our family in a financial situation where we’re bankrupted,” says Mr. Desjardins, who works as an online broker. “We’re young parents, and we’re not going to jump into something unless the opportunity happens and we’re all comfortable with it and the math works.
Adds Erin, who is a dental hygienist: “We want to be smart. We’re not crazy risk-takers, like other people who take on a kajillion-dollar mortgage. These interest rates are not going to stick around.”
The Desjardins, who met while Erin was studying dental hygiene in Fred’s home city of Montreal, are looking at other townhouses on Vancouver’s North shore, ideally one with some outdoor space for their child and pet whoodle to run around. They handle their finances with care: They meet regularly with a financial planner, contribute to registered retirement savings plans, are diligently paying down debt, and seek guidance from their parents and friends’ parents on money matters. They’ve set a ceiling price and plan to hold each other to it.
Not everyone moves up in the housing market with such caution. And not being realistic about what you can afford can lead to trying circumstances down the road.
Edmonton-based Barbara Knoblach, an associate with Money Coaches Canada, has seen several cases of people taking on too much mortgage.
“This is a difficult situation as the clients have already bought too much house and locked themselves into payments that they really cannot afford,” Ms. Knoblach explains. “Sometimes it is possible to change the way the mortgage is set up. For example, some people opt for an accelerated-payment plan not realizing they can’t make the payments. In this case, the monthly payments can sometimes be lowered.
“In one extreme case, I had to convince the client to get out of the house as soon as possible as he really could not afford the payments,” she says. “This was of course an unfortunate situation, and the client ended up paying a ton of money for all the legal transactions, realtor fees, moving expenses and so on.”
When it comes to being approved for a mortgage, banks take into account income and debt. However, as Ms. Knoblach emphasizes, being approved for a certain amount does not mean you need to sign on for that much.
“What the banks do not look at is a person’s lifestyle,” she says. “Some people spend most of their time at home, but others have an active social life that involves a lot of going out and entertainment. Yet again other people spend a lot on their vehicles or on travel. So just because you get approved by a bank does not mean that you can afford this mortgage. Look at all of your expenses and ask yourself what you are willing to give up to buy that house.
“Also remember that you are in a house for the long term,” she adds. “Skipping your summer vacation once might be acceptable, but giving it up permanently in order to make mortgage payments? These are the questions you need to ask yourself when shopping for a new house.”
As a rule of thumb, you’re in a comfortable spot when your fixed expenses are no more than 50 per cent of your after-tax income, Ms. Knoblach says. So for a family making $10,000 a month, having monthly fixed payments of $5,000 would be acceptable. But for a family making $7,500 a month, $5,000 in fixed payments would be too high, as there wouldn’t be much left over for basic costs such as groceries and transportation, and even less for discretionary spending such as a dinner out or weekends away.
Then there are interest rates to consider. For any transaction a client is considering, Ms. Knoblach pretends the interest rate is 5 per cent. If someone can comfortably make the payments at this rate, it’s a go.
North Vancouver, B.C., senior mortgage broker Karen Gibbard, founder of Gibbard Group Financial, says she can’t stress enough the importance of realistically examining all the numbers. When people are looking at options involved in selling their existing home and upgrading to a new one, her team goes through a three-step calculation that lays out all the various costs associated with selling and buying properties so that there are no surprises.
The process starts with establishing a realistic sale price of a person’s existing home.
“Ideally, clients should have a professional give them an estimated sale price so we have a solid starting point to run a thorough calculation of the costs of selling their home,” Ms. Gibbard says. “The estimated costs considered in this first set of calculations are the early payout penalty on their existing mortgage, realtor fees with GST, and legal fees.”
The second step looks at the costs associated with the purchase of a new home. Ms. Gibbard says people should generally budget approximately 2 per cent of the purchase price to cover closing costs, including property transfer taxes, legal fees, appraisal costs, title insurance and moving expenses.
“Step one establishes the net proceeds out of the sale of the home,” she says. “Step two establishes the costs associated with buying, and this amount needs to be subtracted from step one to give the client a solid number that they can use toward the down payment on a new home.
“Now that a realistic amount for a down payment is established, we can work through options for the purchase of a new home, looking at purchase price, mortgage amount, and monthly payments.”
One financial consideration that seems to catch people off-guard is the need to have a deposit for the new home at the ready, she says.
“Usually clients have all of their equity in their home and coming up with a 5-per-cent deposit on a new home can be difficult and stressful at the last minute,” Ms. Gibbard says. “With guidance, clients can have this deposit arranged beforehand, and it removes that step out of the flurry of activity required right at the time of selling and buying.”
There are other factors to consider when upgrading – including the eventual need to scale down.
“Most upgrades are followed by some downsizing later on,” Ms. Knoblach notes. “So at first the family needs more space for the noisy teenagers. But once the teenagers have moved out, they may have too much space. It’s good to plan an upgrade with this in mind. Could I convert the basement into a separate suite that I can rent out once the kids have left the home? A bit of preplanning can be very helpful to always have a home that fits our stage in life.”
While it’s understandable to want a comfortable place, Ms. Knoblach says that being stressed about mortgage payments isn’t necessarily worth the extra space.
“If your house ends up owning you, you have overdone it,” she says. “A house is just one component of our lives and we should not sacrifice everything else just to own a trophy.
“I deal with a fair number of clients who do not stay put in one particular property but are consistently house hunting and wanting to upgrade,” she adds. “I try to convince these people that they end up making everybody else in the real-estate industry rich, but not themselves.”
As the provincial government is trying to cool down the real estate market in Metro Vancouver, realtors are finding creative ways to stoke up interest among overseas buyers.
That includes the use of virtual reality to take local developments to places like Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Concord Pacific’s Brentwood project in Burnaby was marketed in those cities last year in pre-sales events that involved potential buyers strapping on virtual reality headsets and doing condo walk-throughs.
The immersive realty technology was developed by LNG Studios in Vancouver.
“Our company specializes in visualizations for the real estate market, primarily focused on 3D renderings and animation for pre-sale projects,” says founder and CEO Leon Ng.
“So someone from Hong Kong of Shanghai can load up an app on their phone, put it into a VR headset and then visualize the properties.”
Ng envisions the technology becoming a big part of pre-sales and real estate development.
“Having a VR installation in future presentations centres will be huge,” he tells NEWS 1130.
The company also works with realtors in the resale market, where Ng predicts you’ll soon be able to tour more properties from the comfort of your couch, but he says China has been one of the biggest first adopters of the technology.
“We are really excited. Hopefully in a year or two, as the headset prices come down, more people will be able to afford these experiences and the content will improve as well.”
There are a variety common household ingredients you can use to keep your house clean and fresh without stressing your budget. Because they are homemade products, and made from natural ingredients, they will not contain strong-smelling perfumes and chemicals.
(For a complete guide to eco-friendly spring cleaning, take a look at this.)
When you create your own cleaning mixtures, you control the chemicals you use (it is possible to use completely non-toxic cleaning supplies). However, don’t believe that just because it is homemade it is necessarily harmless. Ammonia can be purchased cheaply and is often featured in homemade cleaning recipes, but it is not a product you can use carelessly. Bleach and isopropyl alcohol are also common household goods that are toxic.
While many of these homemade cleaning products are safer than those commercially available, they may not work as well as the commercial products. Before you invest a lot of time and money in homemade cleaners, experiment a little. Keep track of the time required to clean, and balance that against your desires for a non-toxic home. It may also require more of a product to get the same kind of clean, which could impact the cost savings. In general, making your own products will be less expensive, but sometimes if you begin adding essential oils and other side ingredients, you may find yourself spending the same amount as on commercial products.
Baking soda is a very simple and effective surface cleaning. It is similar to commercial powdered abrasive cleaners and has the added benefit of being an odor absorber. Baking soda can be used alone with water and sponge to scrub out tough stains like a scouring powder, or it can be added to a solution to add extra deodorizing power. You can leave baking soda on particularly tough stains (even pots and pans) for 15 – 20 minutes before wiping away. Baking soda also works as a drain cleaner by adding up to a cup to the drain and adding a tiny bit of hot water. Let it stand for as long as overnight before flushing the drain with hot water. It will not work on completely blocked drains, but serves as a prevention method Combine ¾ cup baking soda with 2 tbsp cornstarch.(and a dry scent you favor) to make an inexpensive carpet freshener.
Borax (sodium borate) is a great all-purpose cleaner and can be mixed with water, baking soda or white vinegar. Borax works as laundry soap, and can clean wallpaper, painted walls and painted surfaces.
Cornstarch works well as a window cleaner, furniture polish and as a carpet cleaner and deodorizer. This mixes with many things without toxic results.
White vinegar is another all-purpose cleaner that most people already have in their homes. When using vinegar for normal cleaning, you will want to dilute vinegar in an equal part water but it can be used straight from the bottle on tough stains and mineral deposits. Vinegar is a deodorizer, like baking soda, and is also a disinfectant. Because it is colorless and contains no colorants, it will not stain. Vinegar does not work well on marble or on grout, and may damage it because of vinegar’s acidity. The vinegar smell will linger while wet, but will quickly dissipate while drying. Vinegar is also an effective stain remover on sinks, floors, stovetops, chrome and countertops and can be used to remove rings from your toilet bowl! If you have family members with sensitive skin, adding half a cup of vinegar to your rinse cycle will quickly break down laundry detergent and act as a natural fabric softener.
Lemon juice, another highly acidic liquid, works extremely well on hard water stains and on built-up soap scum. You can mix lemon juice with vinegar and/or baking soda to make a paste similar to Soft Scrub brand cleaning scrub or mix it with olive oil for a wood furniture polish. Lemon juice left to sit on a rust spot can completely erase the rust and hard water. This may need to be repeated several times before the spot is completely gone.
Salt can be used as an alternative scouring powder and also works as a rust remover when paired with lime juice.
Club soda is a great stain lifter for fabrics and can double as a glass cleaner. When using club soda as a stain lifter, allow it to soak into the stain before blotting. Do not rub the stain or you risk smearing it around.
Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol makes a brilliant window and glass cleaning cleaner. This is, of course, not as safe as the previous cleaners. It is also a powerful disinfectant for chrome and some kinds of ceramic tiles (test it in an inconspicuous area first). Alcohol also works well for cleaning dirty or dusty candles!
Ammonia is a very inexpensive cleaning agent, but can be toxic, so use with care. Ammonia is a strong alkaline and works in situations in which vinegar is not working. Do not ever mix ammonia with bleach as it creates an extremely toxic gas. Ammonia left to stand in the oven over night will loosen grime from the surfaces without the same chemical assault (and cost) commercial oven cleaners. It may be necessary to follow up with some kind of abrasive, such as baking soda or steel wool. Rinse with warm soapy water, as you definitely do not want ammonia residue lingering in your oven.
Chlorine bleach, another potentially dangerous chemical, is an inexpensive disinfectant/mildew remover. Dilute ¾ cups of bleach in 1 gallon of water to thoroughly clean and disinfect your shower or other areas that attract mold and mildew.
In the end, the decision to use homemade products is an issue of personal preference. If you stick to the non-toxic ingredients, you will be contributing to the health of the environment through not adding those chemicals to the ground water and air. You will probably save money, but the trade off may be a little more elbow grease to get your house clean.
Owners of a 114-unit condominium project in North Vancouver have become among the first in B.C. to secure court approval to sell their entire complex to a developer.
The BC Supreme Court approved Anthem Properties’ $51 million bid for the 6.5-acre Seymour Estates project on Lytton Street in North Vancouver district in December. The transaction closed in late January.
Justice Lisa Warren noted the sale price is 50% higher than the property’s assessed value of $32 million, according to court documents. This pencils out to an average of $447,368 for each of the 44-year-old units.
Seymour Estates is not a strata complex. It was created as a “common-law condominium corporation” – an ownership model popular in the 1970s that the province has since banned.
Unlike a strata complex, in which each owner individually owns his or her unit in a common-law strata, each Seymour Estates owner has a “fractional interest” in the whole complex.
“The process was the same as selling a strata complex under Bill 40,” said Lance Coulson, senior vice-president of CBRE in Vancouver.
Coulson brokered the sale with Jim Szabo, CBRE vice-chairman of capital markets.
However, there are some key distinctions for what is an unusual ownership arrangement. The judge’s decision in the Seymour Estates case was based on the Partition of Property Act, an arcane piece of B.C. legislation that decides on the sale of all or part of real estate jointly owned by several parties.
However, the sale of the Seymour Estates complex mirrors the potential effect of Bill 40 for many strata corporations facing similar challenges.
Bill 40, which became law in July 2016, relates only to strata corporations. It lowers the required threshold to 80% from 100% for strata corporation members to vote to dissolve their entity and sell their buildings.
The Seymour Estates vote was close to 90%, but still required a court judgment to proceed.
According to Coulson, the Seymour Estates land would be allowed a density range increase from the current 0.75 FSR (floor space ratio) to 1.2 to 1.7 under the District of North Vancouver official community plan for the area.
CBRE is recognized as a leading agency in Bill 40 transactions and is often approached by strata corporations.
However, Szabo said, condominium owners must be realistic in the increased value they expect to achieve.
“If the land lift is less than 25%, it may not be worth it,” Szabo said.
He advised condo owners to consult the official community plan for their neighbourhood to see what level of density is allowed and to consider access to transit, the amount of land and other factors in deciding whether a project would be attractive to a developer.
Seymour Estates owners received more than a premium price for their units, and a chance to escape ongoing repair bills on the aging complex. Under the terms of Anthem’s offer, owners have the right to buy back into the building at a discount and can rent their units back from the developer at discounted rates for 18 months after the deal closed.
According to CBRE, the deal achieved one of the highest prices ever paid for residential land in the district of North Vancouver.
Well maintained 2 storey home in central location in Burnaby. Main floor has 3 bedrooms & 4 piece bathroom. Main floor opens up onto huge private deck overlooking large backyard. One bedroom down plus recreation room & mini bar. Original hardwood with walnut inlay in spacious living room next to kitchen. Newer hardwood in bedrooms on main floor & hallway. Double pane windows in most rooms with wood blinds in the front windows. Convenient lane access to rear carport with lots of parking plus garage. Close to all public transportation, schools & shopping.
Lovely 3-bedroom rancher on 0.62 acre lot situated in Anmore. Features attached double garage and driveway off Strong Road. The walk-out basement includes a legal 2-bedroom suite with its private driveway off of East Road. You can use the suite yourself or rent it out for additional revenue. Currently, there are no tenants. Completely private yard hidden behind the trees has loads of room for kids to play and pets to run around on. There is lots of parking for all your toys. Hot water heat makes the house very soundproof. Hot tub overlooks flat grassed private rear yard.
Vancouverites are, on average, paying $1,900 for a one-bedroom unit, according to PadMapper. The increase comes in spite of a drop in average home prices across the city; the British Columbia Real Estate Association February 15 announced home prices fell 19% year-over-year in January.
Toronto came in second with an average price of $1,620 for this home type, which was a 4.5% month-over-month jump.
Prices for two-bedroom apartments in Vancouver fell 0.6% in the month to $3,130. The city’s rent in this category remains in a class of its own in terms of high cost; the next most expensive city for this home type is once again Toronto at $2,060, making Vancouver 52% more expensive than in Canada’s biggest city. This gap has narrowed from January, when two-bedroom rents were 60% higher in Vancouver, as Toronto saw a price jump of 4.6% in February.
One-bedroom apartments cost 1.6% more in Victoria in February, with an average of $1,290. Two bedroom rents fell 1.3% to $1,470.
The city with the lowest rent in Canada in February was Saguenay, Quebec, where one-bedroom apartments went for $490, and two-bedroom units cost $600 per month.
Spectacular Anmore Estate comes with all the bells & whistles - brand new state of the art kitchen - Wolf stove & double ovens, 2 Bosch dishwashers, Sub-Zero fridge, beautiful Nano countertops, huge island, large pantry with washer and dryer for pool towels, temp controlled wine room, huge eating area overlooks stunning backyard with pool (with safety cover), hot tub, outdoor kitchen, gas fireplace, heaters & enormous party sized patios. You will enjoy the built-in Sonos sound system which can be controlled by your iPhone. Pool table sized games room off kitchen, complete with wet bar, wine station, bar fridge & large media viewing area. There are 8 spacious bedrooms, 8 1/2 bathrooms, huge den with built-in desks & cabinetry, dining room can accommodate huge table with at least 12 chairs. 2 dream garages can accommodate 5 vehicles plus storage - 2 stalls have over-height doors for possible boat storage or whatever else you need to park. Property contains authorized suite. Too many features to list them all.
When it comes to our garage, not many of us really think about making it energy efficient. But an attached garage is one big way that hot and cold air can be entering into our homes. This causes energy bills to rise and your HVAC system to work harder. That's why it's a good idea to make your garage energy efficient—and we've got you covered. Below we have some relatively simple and inexpensive ways to help make your garage more energy efficient.
Windows and Doors
One of the first ways to make your garage energy efficient and save on your energy bill is to start with insulating the door connecting between your home and your garage. Check around the door frame for any gaps and leaks and seal them as needed. Next, put weather stripping around the door frame and install a draft stopper along the bottom of the door along the threshold if it's not sealing properly when shut.
As for windows in your garage, also check for any gaps or leaks around the window frame and caulk them as needed. Repair or replace any broken windows, and if the windows are old and not Energy Star certified, consider swapping them out for newer windows with the certification.
Lighting, Outlets, and Light Switches
Check which type of bulb you're using in your garage's overhead light. A 60 watt bulb is usually sufficient for providing enough light. To make it efficient, use an LED or CFL light bulb. To get the equivalent of 60 watts in LED, you'll need a 12-watt bulb and for CFL you'll want a 15-watt bulb. As for your outlets and light switches, installing foam gaskets in them will help to prevent the cold air from entering into the garage. These are easy and inexpensive to install.
Floor, Walls, and Ceiling
Cracks in the garage floor are one way that you could be losing a lot of heat since they allow cold air to enter your garage and also let the heat escape. To make it more energy efficient, use a concrete sealant on the floors to help seal the cracks. Also, where your garage walls and floor meet you can be losing heat as well. To fix this, use a foam sealant or a latex or silicone based caulk and run a bead of the sealant where the cement and the wall framing meet.
As for your walls and ceiling, adding fiberglass insulation between the joists will go a long way in keeping the heat in and the cold out. For interior walls, the kraft paper side should face the interior wall and for exterior walls, the kraft paper side should be facing the inside of the garage. If your garage has drywall, consider using a blown-in insulation. If there is drywall, be sure to check for any holes that need to be filled in before you blow the insulation in.
One of the biggest areas of energy loss may come as no surprise to you: it's your garage door. Some doors come already insulated, but if yours wasn't one of them, you don't have to buy a new door. You can simply buy a garage door insulation kit or use foam board. It won't be as energy efficient as a door that has the insulation built in, but it won't be as expensive as purchasing a new insulated door and will still save you from a lot of energy loss. Along the bottom of the door, install a rubber gasket if there's any gap.
Whenever you are checking your home for energy efficiency, don't forget the garage. An energy efficient garage has many benefits, including not only lower energy bills, but also protecting yourself and your family from any potentially toxic fumes you may have from chemicals being stored out there.
The latest record-setting Vancouver property assessments tell the story of the hottest real estate micro markets around the city. And nowhere is it hotter than the formerly low-income neighbourhood of Strathcona, which butts up against the Downtown Eastside and Chinatown.
The neighbourhood, which is a combination of light industrial, commercial and a village-like residential area, saw the biggest assessment increases in the city. The city averaged about a 30-per-cent overall increase, according to a comprehensive set of BC Assessment data obtained by planner Andy Yan, who is also director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program. Meanwhile, Strathcona averaged a 48-per-cent overall increase, due to high-priced sales that occurred close to July 1, 2016, when properties were assessed. Dunbar-Southlands came second, at 38 per cent. And downtown averaged the lowest increase, at 22 per cent. The relatively small increase in the downtown core is likely because it’s already developed. Areas such as Strathcona that have been undervalued and have development potential have the greatest to gain.
“We have to wonder what is the role of speculative investment in this,” Mr. Yan says. “The increase is obviously above the rate of local incomes increasing, and if this is not supported by local incomes, what is it supported by? Is it ultralow interest rates, global capital or by the outliers flipping?”
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Strathcona has, until recently, been a mostly unrealized gem. The neighbourhood is big on community and heritage protection, and is central to the downtown core. It’s a highly walkable, livable area, surrounded by a light industrial zone that has become trendy with tech industries, coffee shops and restaurants. It draws creative types who crave an urban area rife with old buildings. People with money started taking note back in 2007, when a 114-year-old house set a record when it sold for more than $1-million. Prices have since nearly doubled.
The sale of a house at 740 E. Pender St. set a new record as the highest sale on a standard 25-foot-wide lot this past fall. It was listed at $1.879-million and sold for $1.95-million after nine days on the market. It’s a two-storey, 3,171-square-foot character house with a one-bedroom basement suite. As a rental, the house brought in $6,000 a month. It sold far above its assessment of $1.629-million.
Although the house sold to another Strathcona resident, a big part of the drive behind the big prices is the migration of west side residents into the area, says realtor Dwayne Launt. A west side couple paid $1.85-million last year for a 2,000-square-foot house on a 25-foot lot on Union Street.
“A lot of the big purchase prices are coming from people moving out of Point Grey and Dunbar,” Mr. Launt says. “We have a lot of people who’ve cashed out and their kids moved out – sometimes older people who don’t need a 50-by-something-foot lot on a big, sprawling yard. They want something more urban, and they want to go back to a sense of community. That’s the biggest thing for them, just like you see with all these east side neighbourhoods.”
Also, he says, boomer-age parents on the west side are spending so much time visiting their grown kids on the east side, they figure they may as well move there, too.
“They’re the grey wave who can now give the kids money for property, and they have more money to play with. They think, ‘We’re driving into the east side two or three times a week anyway, why don’t we just move over there?’ That’s some of our clientele, definitely. They’re driving values. There are no foreign buyers buying in Strathcona, although that may happen soon.
“There are some speculators, but most people are wanting to live there, absolutely. And there is the odd person buying multiple houses because they can rent them for a lot. You can rent out a basement suite in Strathcona for $1,800.”
Ilka Riemann is a Strathcona homeowner who owns a second house in the neighbourhood that she rents out to young professionals. She’d like to keep the rent affordable. Her houses increased in value by 42 per cent and 43 per cent, which will likely result in a future tax increase.
“Not only that, but I won’t get the homeowners grant any more,” she says. (The value increases could put her houses above the program’s threshold.) “At this rate, what is next year going to bring? I’ll see whether or not I can keep it up. I don’t think I can.”
BC Assessments regional assessor Jason Grant says it was a notable year overall for property value increases.
“What I can say is that there would only be a couple of times since the early 1980s when the single-family residential market in the Lower Mainland moved as much as it did from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016,” he said.
Massive commercial property hikes also drove the Strathcona figures, including some properties along Railway Street that saw 300-per-cent increases in values. Several business owners are planning to appeal the valuations. Long-time Inform Interiors owner Niels Bendtsen says he is considering moving his business out of Vancouver because of the increased taxes he’ll be facing.
Joji Kumagai, executive director of the Strathcona Business Improvement Association, says he suspects the increases are the result of speculative investments in the area. He says the latest assessments saw some properties around Railway average a 232-per-cent increase and other industrial properties in Strathcona average 100-per-cent to 145-per-cent increases.
“It’s a straight line upward, basically,” he says. “We haven’t seen that before.”
As a result, he’s hearing from business tenants that are caught off guard by tax increases. As well, the rise puts pressure on all business owners that depend on a work force that can afford to stay in the area.
“We’ve heard quite a few businesses say they are having a hard time finding the right workers, and the distance people have to travel to get to work, so if they could only offer a certain wage and that person is coming from Langley or something, they know they won’t stick around. You start hiving off the potential work force. There’s a real consequence to this.”
While residential properties are the hot topic in the Lower Mainland, commercial and industrial zones are interconnected because they make the city function. Take away industry and jobs, and you’ve got a resort town.
“This is one of the last areas where actual industrial uses can still function,” Mr. Kumagai says. “A lot of people don’t think about what they actually contribute, but they are important in terms of resilience to the economy. It’s a wealth-generating process.”
Mr. Yan used to release a map that showed the city divided between the single-family houses that sold for above $1-million and those that sold below that amount. Each year, his $1-million line crept further east. Some time between January, 2016, and July, 2016, it disappeared. He says soaring assessments may feel like a win to the homeowner, but he questions their intrinsic value.
“I think that on paper it looks like you’re winning, but isn’t this really about how we all lose as a vibrant and sustainable city? It’s a genuine question for renters, startup entrepreneurs, young families, seniors – who really wins when property prices go up this fast in such a short time? And what are the consequences?”
Well maintained 2 storey home in central location in Burnaby. Main floor has 3 bedrooms & 4 piece bathroom. Main floor opens up onto huge private deck overlooking large backyard. One bedroom down plus recreation room & mini bar. Original hardwood with walnut inlay in spacious living room next to kitchen. Newer hardwood in bedrooms on main floor & hallway. Double pane windows in most rooms with wood blinds in the front windows. Convenient lane access to rear carport with lots of parking. Close to all public transportation, schools & shopping.
Cultural centres around the Lower Mainland are sitting on valuable, large plots of real estate, and Vancouver’s Italian Cultural Centre is exploring a dramatic redevelopment proposal that will likely serve as a model for others.
The centre, also known as Il Centro, has been open since 1977, the result of 13 Italian associations banding together to build one centre.
After forty years of serving the community with everything from Italian classes to an on-site Montessori school, the centre requires millions of dollars of renovations and upgrades.
Il Centro approached several developers about exploring options for the site that would allow the centre to continue to serve the community from updated, state-of-the-art facilities, and make the centre financially sustainable over the long term.
They decided to work with local developer Bosa Properties and Henriquez Partners Architects.
Luca Citton, president of Il Centro, says Bosa was not only interested in working with the centre to redevelop the property, but also shared their vision for what it could become.
“It’s not a secret to say, (the building) is 40 years old, and there’s a lot of work to be done if we don’t do this.”
Nicole Riglietti, admistrator at Il Centro, says the proposal is a great way to keep the centre relevant to the younger generation.
“With this opportunity it will give us a chance to evolve and turn into something unique and amazing.”
Initial plans include a theatre, recreational amenities, child care facilities, restaurants, shopping, open air piazzas, gardens, classrooms, a museum, kitchens, a library, a sub-dividable hall for receptions and events, and purpose-built rental housing.
The architecture will incorporate Italian influences in its design and materials.
Over the following decades, the centre’s location at Slocan Street and Grandview Highway has become increasingly attractive. The Millennium Line SkyTrain runs past the site, and the Renfrew SkyTrain Station is located across the street.
Nearby is the Broadway Tech Centre, with thousands of employees working at BCLC, clearly.ca, the Vancouver Film School and others. Postmedia News, publishers of the Vancouver Sun, The Province and 24 Hours newspapers, will move into a new building this fall.
If all goes as planned, construction on the new Il Centro is expected to begin in Spring 2019, with completion in 2021. Members will vote this March on whether or not to proceed with the proposal.
No rezoning application has been filed with city yet. An open house for members is scheduled for February 18, from10am-2pm in the “Trattoria” at the Italian Cultural Centre.
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.
VICTORIA — B.C. is considering refunding the foreign buyer tax to some buyers, says the finance minister.
Mike de Jong said Wednesday the refund idea is one of several reforms under his consideration as part of changes to the six-month-old 15 per cent foreign buyer tax on real estate sales in Metro Vancouver. It comes after Premier Christy Clark announced last week exemption.
for foreigners with work permits, as part of B.C.’s response to immigration orders by U.S. President Donald Trump.
The rebate under consideration appears to apply to those people who paid the new foreign buyer property transfer tax on a home, but then shortly afterwards obtained Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status that would have originally exempted them from that tax.
“It’s one of the things that has been presented that we’re looking at, in terms of someone who has made a purchase and then in a very short period of time meets the criteria and acquires the status whereby they wouldn’t have had to pay the tax,” de Jong said in an interview Wednesday.
“We do this with things like the first time buyers exemption around residency and that sort of thing,” he added.
B.C.’s first time home buyers’ program gives a tax break to certain Canadian citizens and permanent residents, but it also allows people who become citizens or residents within 12 months of the purchase to apply for a rebate on savings they’d missed.
De Jong said he’s considering other ways to make the tax fairer, as government analyzes the impact of its abrupt August 2016 implementation. The tax was supposed to cool an overheated housing market in the Lower Mainland, but caught many by surprise because it came from a government that had been reluctant to pin any blame on wealthy foreign buyers.
“It was an example of policy shock,” admitted de Jong. “And so, in the aftermath, people have raised certain specific circumstances. That analysis is ongoing.”
The tax’s fundamentals — such as its rate and focus on the Lower Mainland — aren’t yet up for debate.
“There’s not going to be change in the rate and I rather suspect there will not be a change at this point in the applicable geography,” said de Jong, dismissing calls to expand the tax to southern Vancouver Island and the Okanagan.
NDP critic David Eby said government’s consideration of rebates is the least it could do for people who lost their deposits, and in some cases their entire real estate deal, because of the sudden impact of the foreign buyer tax.
“It was devastating for them,” said Eby. “At a minimum, the government should be moving quickly to fix this problem but they should have recognized this was a problem in the first place.”
Eby and the Opposition NDP proposed the foreign buyer tax exemption for people with work permits last year, but the idea was dismissed by de Jong and the governing Liberals.
Open House on Saturday, February 4, 2017 11:00AM - 1:00PM
Lovely 3-bedroom rancher on 0.62 acre lot situated in Anmore. Features attached double garage and driveway off Strong Road. The walk-out basement includes a legal 2-bedroom suite with its private driveway off of East Road. You can use the suite yourself or rent it out for additional revenue. Currently, there are no tenants. Completely private yard hidden behind the trees has loads of room for kids to play and pets to run around on. There is lots of parking for all your toys. Hot water heat makes the house very soundproof. Hot tub overlooks flat grassed private rear yard. OPEN HOUSE Saturday, January 28th from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.